Monday, January 14, 2013


Right after Christmas, in the dead of winter, Dustin and I packed our bags and headed to sunny Florida with my family.    Getting there was a bit of a challenge. The day after Christmas, we experienced a blizzard (the local news named it and everything!), so our offices were closed the day before we left, leaving me to cram in quite a bit of work (left over from Christmas and in prep for leaving town for a week) into one day.  Also, poor Dustin came down with the flu the day we left, meaning the 18 hour drive through the night was going to be even more miserable.  A lovely mix of Spark [[insert Advocate advertisement here]] and Starbucks definitely made the trip possible.

But we made it to Anna Maria Island!  My pasty white skin hardly knew what to think.  The first couple days hovered in the 60s, but after that we had a great weather.  Our cute green house was called "Mojito Splash."
Headed down to the beach on the first day

At first, Neil was not impressed
....But then he got the hang of it.

Before it warmed up, we ventured out around town.  We went on a nature walk near Coquina Beach.  I had hoped that we would see Manatees, but it was too cold.  

Mojito Splash had the most amazing pool and hot tub get up. Seriously, best part of the house. 
My Dad and Tootie Bug

My sister, Mackenzie and "The Chubbs"

I joked via text with friends back home that Anna Maria Island was a legitimate wild life preserve.  Dolphins swam right near the beach into the surf, a fishermen next to us caught three hammerheads (baby ones....I kept imagining momma near by), pelicans galore, and this enormous bird. 

Just kidding, of course.  But tell me that this guy doesn't remind you of Kevin from Up!
Confession: I may or may 
not have told my niece to try and ride it.

Avery loved the beach.......
.......until she lost her legs in a horrible beach accident.
The little beach bum
Unfortunately, Neil was not such a fan and pulled this move
almost every time we tried to sit him down.
Avery and I playing one evening.  
My mom snapped this one on my iPhone if you can believe it. 
My 91 year old grandmother even made her way down to the beach!  Poor Ave, must have misplaced her shades--rookie mistake.

My sisters' significant others being good sports :)

We spent New Years' Eve on the beach lighting off fireworks.  It took us nearly 5 times to even get this close.  Just pretend you see a "3."

Anna Maria Island and Coquina Beach had some of the most beautiful shells.  During our last Florida vacation, I combed the beach for hours looking but came home mostly empty handed.  This time around I came home with bags full. I've had a Pinterest project in mind for awhile and now will hopefully have enough oomph to get it done.  Speaking of shells, my Dad found this guy one morning.  (Actually, truthfully, he found this guy three days in a row.  He was quite proud, and lucky for him, this little guy didn't move very quickly and was usually only a couple feet from where he was left the day before).

As a family, we've always gone to the beach in the summer.  But I must say, getting out of the wintery weather and spending New Years in Florida was just what the Dr. ordered.  
I miss you already, Anna Maria Island!

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