Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Our Summer Vacation to Florida!!

Vacations are GREAT!! This year we spent our vacation with Craig's sister & parents at their house in Indian Rocks Beach, FL! We had a blast!! We were only there for 10 days, but we could have easily stayed a month or more! We loved every minute of it! We went to the beach, Disneyworld, had a party, saw friends & family, did some sight-seeing, you name it & we did it! And there was so much more to do too! Be prepared for a really long blog entry - these are only a few of the many pictures we took on our fabulous vacation!

The girls super excited about seeing Grandpa & Grandma & Auntie Anna!
Welcome to Florida!!

Only 12 more miles to Indian Rocks!!

On gulf Blvd. headed to Grandma & Grandpa's!

We couldn't resist going to the beach on our ver first night there! This is Kylie admiring the sunset from the surf.

Auntie Anna pushing Kylie on the swings at the park close to their house.

Kylie riding a bike for the first time to the park!

She did such a great job!

A few days after we arrived, Craig's parents had a "Jimmy Buffet" party! They are famous for their parties! We got dressed up & had tons of fun visiting with family & friends, listening to great music, & eating tons of food! We also had a birthday cake to celebreate Kylie's 5th birthday!!

Our little "Cheeseburger in Paradise"

Grandma & Auntie Anna hanging out in the kitchen before the party began!

Our little hula girl!

Jilly loved her watermelon! Look at those blue eyes!

Craig & his Mom grilling some yummy food!

Kylie loved dancing & playing with her cousins Morgan & Julia!

Kylie blowing out the candles on her cool cake!

Party people hanging out on the dock!

Jilly & Grandma all dressed up for the party!

Of course, what would a trip to Florida be without lots of beach time! Since the beach is only a short walk from the house, we went every chance we got. We even took a trip on the "Anna Suzanne" to a gorgeous beach island called "Three Rooker Island"! To me, that was the definition of paradise! We also took the boat to McDonald's to get some dessert one night! The girls LOVED the water & the beach! Jillian is our little fish & hated to get out of the water! They definitely felt at home at the beach!

Kylie building her sand castle - her favorite thing to do!

Birds checking out for food in the surf.

Kylie riding the waves! Hang Ten!!

Auntie Anna helping the girls make drip castles.

Daddy & Kylie hard at work on their castles!

Ready for the water!!

Jillian concentrating really hard on getting her drip castle JUST right!

Her finished masterpiece!

Daddy & Jilly in the Gulf! The water was SO warm!!

My favorite picture of the girls playing in the sand at sunset!

The girls ready for their sail on the "Anna Suzanne" to Three Rooker Island!

Craig & I relaxing on the boat ride!

Craig anchoring the boat at Three Rooker.

Three Rooker Island! You could walk directly across it! It was indeed paradise!!

Daddy & the girls playing in the sand on Three Rooker - I took this from the boat!

The back of the house & dock as we were leaving for McDonald's.

John's Pass - lots of cool bars & shops there!

My dream house - those are actual slides going down into the inground pool!!

Morton Plant Hospital - where Craig was born almost 33 years ago!

The Hogan House - where Hulk & his family lived!

Dolphins that were jumping near us in John's Pass!

I love this shot! It's the best one we could get of the dolphin that jumped RIGHT next to the boat!!

Me, Jilly, Kylie, & Anna on the bow of the boat!

Two cuties! Autnie Anna & Jillian!

Our family photo on the bow!

The definite highlight of our trip was spending the day in Disneyworld for Kylie's 5th Birthday! She was so excited!! We stayed at a resort in Kissimmee, which was gorgeous!! Then on Kylie's actual birthday we headed to the Magic Kingdom! Kylie got a button that said "Happy Birthday, Kylie!" on it & EVERYONE who saw her wished her a very Happy Birthday! It was so cool! She felt like a princess! And speaking of princesses....Kylie got to meet all her favorite Disney Princesses & get their autographs! We got on some rides, had some lunch, met Mickey & Minnie, & then came back for the SpectroMagic Parade & fireworks display! Definitely a magical day! As Kylie put it, "This is the BEST day of my life!"

Kylie & Jillian ready to head into the park!

Our family shot just outside of the Magic Kingdom!

Kylie & Daddy posing in front of Cinderella's castle ready to meet some Disney characters!

Craig trying to pull the sword out of the stone! He didn't quite get it...

Kylie & Cinderella - she was super sweet!

Kylie & Belle - Kylie loved talking to her!

Kylie & Sleeping Beauty

Kylie outside of Mickey's House!

Kylie in Mickey's backyard waiting to meet Mickey himself!!

Heading into the Judge's tent to meet Mickey Mouse!

Kylie with Mickey & Minnie Mouse!!

Next we went into Ariel's Grotto!

Jillian playing in the jumping water while Kylie waited to see Ariel! She was soaked!!

Kylie & Ariel - "under the sea"

Kylie & her favorite princess, Jasmine & Aladdin!

Cinderella's Castlee at night all lit up!

The Disneyworld SpectroMagic Parade!

A very bright peacock!

Ariel singing with her underwater friends!

Cinderella & Prince Charming in their pumpkin carriage!

The fireworks were fantastic!!

Here's a video I shot of the fireworks:


The grand finale of the fireworks presentation! What a sight!!

Craig & I posing for the camera!

The backs of our shirts & our hats with our names on them!

Our favorite shot - you may just find this in your Christmas card this year! :)

A trip to Pinellas County, Florida would not be complete without a trip to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium! It's not your typical aquarium! It's a rescue, rehab, & release center. They rescue different marine animals, rehabilitate them, & then release them back to their natural habitat. They do have a few animals there that would not survive in the wild on their own so they made their home at the aquarium! One special resident is Winter, the tail-less dolphin! She was rescued by the aquarium after she got tangled in the rope from a crab trap. She lost her tail due to her injuries from the trap. Since she lost her tail she has taught herself to swim like a fish, however, this could eventually cause her severe spinal problems. So, she has been fitted with a prosthetic tail to help her learn to swim like a dolphin again! It is so amazing & inspiring!! Kylie even got the chance to have her picture taken with Winter & touch & feed her! What a day!!!

The Clearwater Marine Aquarium - Clearwater, FL
Kylie loved climbing on the sea turtles on the deck of the aquarium!

Daddy & Kylie pose for a quick picture!

Jilly trying to get a closer look at the stingrays with Grandpa!
Winter's therapy session with her new tail! She did really great!
Winter's prosthesis up close!

Indy soaring through the air!

Nicholas showing off some of his tricks!

Winter's trainers feeding her a yummy fish! If you look close, you can see her lack of tail under the water.

Kylie even got to touch & feed, Winter! She was SO excited!!!

One day, Grandma & Grandpa were so wonderful & offered to watch the girls while Craig & I went out by ourselves for the day. Craig wanted to visit all his old haunts & go by the houses where he used to live & his old schools. It was cool to walk (or drive) down memory lane with him! Lots had changed, but his memories stayed the same! What a great day! That night, we got to spend dinner with Craig's cousin, Dianna & her family! We had a great time & the girls had a blast playing with their cousins, Morgan & Julia!!
The house on Virginia Lane where Craig lived until 5th grade.

The house on Sever Drive where Craig & his family lived before he left for USNA.

Plumb Elementary School - where Craig attended!

The original part of the school building where Craig went!

Oak Grove Middle School - where Craig went to middle school, although they tore down the original building & rebuilt it completely after Craig left. :(

Light of Christ Catholic Church - the church where Craig & his brother & sister were raised!

Morgan, Julia, Kylie & Jillian - cousins & now friends!

Morgan & Jillian - too cute!

On our last night in Florida, we headed to "Jimmy Guana's", a really cool restaurant where we met up with a few friends & family! Craig got to see his good friends, Kevin & John again after 15 years!! It was great to see them reconnect after all this time & it was as if no time had past! Kylie & Jillian loved playing with John's son, Jack too! Great food, great company, a great end to a great vacation!
Auntie Anna & Kylie with some iguanas on thier faces! They were toys that the waiter brought over for the kids!

Craig, Kevin, & John - first time they saw each other in 15 years!
Grandma walking with Jack, Jillian, & Kylie to see the shark!

Craig getting "eaten" by the shark!

Kylie & Jillian hanging out after dinner.

A beautiful Indian Rocks Beach sunset! Nothing beats it!
We had such a wonderful time in Florida with Grandma, Grandpa, & Auntie Anna! We made such wonderful memories & can't wait to make more! We love you all & miss you already!!

1 comment:

Andi said...

Looks like a great vacation. I was in the back room and I came out to Saul checking your blog. I didn't know he knew how to get on. (I still think it was luck) He wouldn't hand over the mouse until he looked at all the pictures. :)