Monday, December 3, 2012

Just an overview...

So we've spent the last week in Florida. 

We left the Sunday after Thanksgiving and so, combined with Thanksgiving break, this is the first day the girls have been in school in almost two weeks.  Unpacking and catching up on rest has gone well, and we were all sad to leave Florida behind, but also happy to get back to our routines.

We've been waiting for this trip since last Spring, and for the last month the kids have been counting down the days.

Grandpa and Grandma (Jim's parents) came along with us, which made the kids incredibly happy and could be summed up with one image:

We stayed in Orlando, thanks to their timeshare (thank you!)  Here is a snapshot from our balcony...

Our first time flying with all four kids was not only smooth but fun; Hudson especially was delighted with all things air travel.  The trip in general was easy, action-packed, and relaxing all at the same time.  We swam, we ate well, we went out on late-night dates.

Of course there was some of this

and this

When I get to it, I'll share some pictures from it all, along with entries from the girls' travel journals.

An albatross about my neck, I bore the burden of the camera. 

It is both a blessing and a curse to constantly attempt to fully engage and properly document a vacation.  I would never have been able to stand leaving my camera behind and every photographer loves photographing something new; but it also gets tiring.  Not that I'd ever decide it wasn't worth it.  Also, when you're on a family vacation, almost everything you do happens in full sun.  Barf.  You make the best of it.

I couldn't have wished for our first real family vacation (not to a relative's house) to have gone better and it left us very excited to start taking the kids to more new places now that they're older and travelled so well.  These days with GPS, Starbucks VIA, and dry shampoo, travelling is so much easier than it used to be.  Sigh.

Florida in November (the only other time Jim and I have been to FL it was also November) is similar to South Dakota in late May.  It's warm but not hot, not humid, just nice.  It would have been nice to come home to some snow (especially since we have friends that would have blown out our driveway for us before we got here) but the ground was bare (or as Lily said, "We went from palm trees to bald trees.") 

I do have a sun allergy which got activated with a vengeance while we were there (yes, I am not only incredibly pale but actually allergic to sunlight.)  Every spring I have to expose myself to the sun gradually to keep it under control, then once it's run its course I'm fine the rest of the summer.  There is no other way to prevent it.  Obviously I've had enough time away from the sun this fall to cause it to flare up again once we were there.  So, I spent the trip with blotchy, itchy, hot hives, but, it was worth it.  After less than 24 hours back in-state, it's completely gone.

Ultimately it is just a good thing to get completely away from everyday life, to explore, to experience something new, and to do so with people you love.  It is important to put down your work and take an extended rest, to remember that the world will continue on just fine without you, to wake up without an alarm clock.  My mind is already working to think of what kind of adventure we'll take next.

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