10. Riding the train at Pier Park.... it was FREEZING! It was our last night and a cold front came through during the day and by the time we finished our pizza dinner and went to the train we were freezing- of course none of us had on warm clothes as we were in FLORIDA... I mean, hello?!?! But we had a great time. Caleb wanted to ride the blue car but there was already a boy getting into it... but his parents graciously offered to ride in another car so Caleb and Cooper (their little 3 year old) could ride together in the blue car. Noah also wanted to ride in the blue car, but he was very attached to Daddy. So.... Daddy rode in the blue car with Noah, Caleb and Cooper and Copper's parents and I (along with Josiah) rode in the caboose (and yes, we laughed at what people must be thinking seeing 3 adults in the caboose!). They were very kind people from Indiana- the dad even took off his coat so I could use it to cover Josiah!
9. Watching Noah play Putt-putt golf- what a goof he is! He constantly cracks us up! Hopefully Jack will have the vacation video done soon and you can see him in action. He swung the club like a bat... watch where you stand when he's playing golf!
8. Being on the beach.... it was so relaxing. Even with the two big boys constantly clamoring for us (and by us, I mean Jack!) to play in the sand or the waves, just being in the warm sunshine listening to the surf was so nice!
7. Watching Caleb and Noah in the surf- again, you'll love this on the video! They giggled and rolled around in the waves with no fear! And Noah once again was cracking me up as he rolled down the beach into the waves, it looked like he was trying to be sexy like he was in a scene in From Here to Eternity!
6. Our condo..... We have stayed in the same condo for the past three year and we love it. The owners, Steve and Kelly are so wonderful every year and the condo fits us just right!! It comes stocked with beach toys, chairs, umbrellas and even a wagon to tote it all to the beach. The boys' room has a TV/DVD player hung up in the corner so the boys can sit in bed and watch movies. It has a closet full of games, including games for preschoolers! It has TWO pools which the boys LOVED (I'll save more on them for further in this countdown!). And it is right on the beach, just a short elevator ride and you are on the beach! Our 18th floor balcony over looks the ocean and one day we watched two sting rays in the surf and another we watched probably a dozen dolphins swim by!
Here the boys were taking their wet bathing suits to the balcony when we spotted the dolphins and we just had to stay out there and look!
5. The weather.... it was great! We were worried that the cold front and rain were originally supposed to come in at the beginning of the week, but Caleb prayed for sunny days and God blessed us! It was in the upper 80's and sunny everyday until Friday. And Friday, it was too cool and breezy for the beach, but the pools were perfect so we spent our morning there (and while Josiah slept close by in his bouncy seat, Mommy enjoyed the hot tub!).
And tied for #5 as it kind of relates, our sun tent! We got it down there last year on clearance for $5. It is an open tent that is SPF 50! So, we brought Josiah's bouncy seat and set it in the tent. We didn't have to worry at all about him being in the sun or sunscreen for him or anything... and he enjoyed many a good nap!
4. The pools!! Again this year, they were the boys' favorite. Last year, Caleb mastered staying afloat and swimming by himself in his life vest. And to our surprise, Noah did the same this year... by the end of the week he could walk in on his own and swim around with Caleb. Even Josiah loved the pools (I know, you think we are crazy for taking our 6 week old in the pool, but we did!). He cried everytime at first, but quickly settled into his float and floated around for a while until the floating lulled him to sleep. And one of the pools is partially indoor so we could take him to that end of the pool and again didn't have to worry about the sun!
3. Another great family photo! We took a couple of good ones this year. We can't decide which one we like best.... what do you think?
2. Naps for everyone, everyday!! (Can you tell we are two sleep deprived parents?!?!)
And the #1 moment of Vacation 2009.......
QUALITY FAMILY TIME!.... Life just gets too crazy sometimes. I guess I should say, we allow it to get too crazy. It is so easy to let priorities get out of whack and before you know it church, or housework, or commitments somehow jump up above family. Financial planners probably would have frowned upon taking money from our ever shrinking savings account to take a vacation, but I am so thankful that we did. I know that our time with our boys is fleeting and one day before we know it they will be grown and gone. I want to know that we made the most of our time with them... that we cherished every moment, that we invested wisely in their lives more than our bank accounts, that they have memories of a Mommy and Daddy who loved them immensely and proved it beyond a shadow of a doubt. We didn't answer our phones or check work email... we didn't watch TV or worry about housework... we just enjoyed each other. We had no schedule- we played on the beach and in the pool, we ate our favorite foods, we played board games, we played putt-putt and rode a train, we went out to dinner and got ice cream, we were together and we had fun.
A friend of mine commented on my vacation pictures on Facebook saying she could tell how family centered Jack and I are. It is one of the best compliments I have ever been paid. That's the kind of wife and mother I long to be... one who is grounded in Christ and centered on her family. There is nothing I love more than my husband and my children and above all the God who gave them to me. I hope it shows.... to them and to everyone who sees us.
I had to put this one in cause it makes me smile! You can see now why getting a good family shot on the beach makes the Top 10 list.... cause this is how we usually do! Noah looks mad, Caleb looks silly, Josiah looks scared and Dad and Mom aren't too shabby! Thank you God for this family!