Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Florida, Finis!


I've been trying to finish this post for a week now, but it's been a busy week! We've had lots of special company, and just keeping three kids going is enough work for this pregnant lady!

Anyway, it would have been much more satisfying to publish these pictures back when they were taken, in the frozen grayness of February. Showing pictures of Florida when it is becoming increasingly warm and green, even here in NY, is not going to make people envious. And that, of course, is the point of vacation photos. Oh, well, I wanted to put them up sometime!

The first night in Florida, we had to drive out to the beach to catch the sunset. I love this view-- the pathway to the beach!

There wasn't much of a sunset, because it was quite cloudy. The light was still pretty, though!

Olivia and Tori got to stick their feet in ocean water for the first time, despite the fact it was REALLY cold.

I did for about three seconds, before I recovered my brains.

Olivia was a glutton for punishment, though.

She's STILL in the water!

This was Cheyenne's reaction to the temperature of the water!

Elliott was the really smart one, though-- he stayed bundled up in a blanket in Grandpa's arms!

Elliott and the two grandpas.

The whole group of us.

Cheyenne and Tori put on a play for us. Cheyenne was bitten by the play bug after the scintillating play with Wilson and Katie, and Tori was a willing playwright.

A little confused by the lines...


It was followed by quite the dance, only enhanced by her flea market fan.

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Here is the inevitable tantrum. Inevitable if you're Cheyenne, anyway. As she stomps off, she tells Tori, "You're making me do EVERYTHING!" As if that wasn't what she was after the whole time...

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Actually, I'm kind of impressed with her LACK of meltdown here, when Elliott was busy inserting himself into the show.

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The grand finale dance, and the bow.

Elliott kept busy (when he WASN'T running into the play) by dressing Gilbert the Sock Monkey in sunglasses.

One extremely hip sock monkey.

There's no dishwasher in the trailer. With eleven people there, quite a bit of time was spent in the dishpan! Cheyenne loved helping Grandma Marilyn with the dishes.

Rilla eating Cheerios. And trying to see what picture I was taking.

Elliott chilling beside the recliner one morning.

Taking a bath!

Cheyenne reading to Grandma Marilyn! She is quite good at reading these days.

There was no dryer there, so lots of wash to hang on the clothesline. This is Olivia's artsy shot of drying towels.

And here is the not-so-artsy shot of laundry drying all over the living room, when it was a little too chilly to dry it all that day!

A running Rilla, and LOTS of drying laundry.

Cheyenne and Elliott opening their Valentine boxes from Auntie Lisa!

Play-Doh time.


And since Elliott and Cheyenne were engrossed in Play-Doh, Rilla got free rein with the coloring books.

Any time someone sat down with a computer, there were kids crawling up so they could see what was going to happen. Usually it was someone checking their e-mail, but sometimes someone would play a game, or Grandma would show the kids little video clips of themselves! It was best to be prepared by crawling up as soon as an adult sat down.

Elliott in his John Deere shirt.

Rilla, with a puddle of water and some sidewalk chalk. A pretty good setup for fun!

Elliott showing off his chalk.

A serious amount of sidewalk chalk!

Rilla playing with dollhouse toys.

Tori and Cheyenne.

Elliott pretending to be asleep.

Elliott, REALLY asleep! It's hard to play all day and then read books in bed without falling asleep! For some reason, too, he got the idea that he couldn't go to sleep while the light was still on. One night, I went to shut the light off after he'd been in bed quite a while, and he sighed with relief and said, "OH! I can very close my eyes now!"

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Elliott enjoyed playing Wiffle ball. Here he is after hitting the ball THREE TIMES!

A family portrait, the first Sunday we were there. All looking good, except for the little pout-face on my lap.

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Rilla, playing while singing "Tell Me the Story of Jesus." She's kind of a cute little songbird!

One of our big outings was to the circus!

It's the winter circus in Sarasota-- it had some pretty impressive acts!

One of the most heart-stopping ones was this-- a seven-person pyramid on the tightrope.

And yeah, they didn't have a safety net.

And yeah, when it already looked impossible, they stopped in the middle so the top lady could stand up on her chair! Needless to say, it was quite a relief when they all got to the other side.

One morning, Olivia, Marilyn and I drove up to Tampa to IKEA (swoon). Here is one of Olivia's shots of the Sunshine Skyway bridge.

Coming into the city off the bridge.

Palm trees! Olivia forgot her camera in the car, so we don't have any pictures of the umpteen hours we walked around IKEA. I had expected to spend about an hour there-- I'm not much of a shopper at all. Well, we ended up eating a morning snack AND lunch there, as well as wandering around looking at things for three straight hours. Knowing Evan wouldn't want to pack anything extra in the van, and that I already had WAY too much luggage for the plane kind of put the kibosh on actually purchasing much. I'll always have my memories, though...

One Saturday, Dana and Marilyn took pity on my poor beach-deprived children, and took them out to the beach, despite the fact it was a breezy 50°.

Which didn't deter Cheyenne from wading.

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The surf (with it's six-inch waves) was a little scary to her-- "I need to get away!"

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This is Elliott's reaction to the water-- run far away, fast!

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He would brave the waves to throw shells in, though-- and THEN run away really fast.

He liked writing in the sand. This picture doesn't really do justice to the psychological damage inflicted on him that day-- I had brought two of his sweatshirts with us, but I realized when we got there that one was way too small. This Saturday was a wash day, so we had to wash his one sweatshirt. So he was forced to wear his sister's pink sweatshirt. Not only that, his only clean shirt was a coral color-- and his only clean pants were WAY too big. So we have coral shirt, hot pink sweatshirt, pants that dropped to his ankles with no provocation-- all topped (or bottomed) off with some bright red Crocs. The poor kid will be in therapy for years.

As our vacation progressed, though, Elliott did become braver about the water-- this is a warmer day, when we all went out.

Elliott with his trusty pail.

Two skinny little minnies-- this is before the sunburn set in.

Olivia, checking out the shells in the shallows.

Marilyn sculpted wet sand sculptures by letting the sand dribble through her hand.

Elliott, digging away.


Pouring water on a buried Olivia.

Sculpting Olivia into a mermaid.

Although, due to a little overenthusiastic application of sand from Cheyenne and Elliott, she ended up looking a little more like a manatee!

That was before Tori dumped a bucket of salt water on her, splashing her face liberally.

The manatee emerges!

Cheyenne got her turn at being buried.

It ended up being more of a half-mermaid, in her case.

Elliott's turn!

Showing a handful of sand and shells!

Of course, being Elliott, he got a little bothered about dirty hands!

Little wind-blown girl!



Rilla wasn't any too sure about the beach.

She hung pretty close to Daddy or Mommy!

She finally did agree to a walk with Evan-- normally, it was lots of carrying instead of walking!

She did have luscious little cheeks, red from sun and wind!

Sitting with Daddy.

Olivia, really immersing herself. After all, the water temperature was almost up to 60°!

Dad, despite his hatred of the heat, is not too fond of cold water, so this was about all the ocean contact he had.

After a long day at the beach, Grandpa Dana carries Elliott to the car so his feet don't get sandy after the final rinse-off.

The last day, before the van contingent headed north.

Elliott was more interested in his balloon than the camera.

Silly Cheyenne.

The three sisters.

Quite a crew!

The van stopped at a manatee viewing area. Olivia took some pictures...

But this is about as exciting as pictures of manatees are, when you're standing over them and they're in the water.

Ooh, a nose?

According to Marine Expert Olivia Vaughan, this is the kind of ray that killed Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin.

The walk went through a neat arch of trees.

The coal fired energy plant-- this is why the manatees congregate here-- the water tends to be a little warmer.

AND a picture of some tadpoles. And this is the last picture that Olivia took on that trip, DESPITE the fact that I had let her take the camera, AND they stopped in Kentucky to see Scott, and had all sorts of adventures... Nope, no more pictures. See if I hire her again!

Now that I have these pictures up, maybe I'll get around to some pictures of our spring eventually!