Every summer, since we moved to Texas a couple years ago, we make an annual trip to the SouthWest Florida area, specifically Fort Myers. My entire family is there, so we go to visit with them and we have our beach timeshare condo during July as well. We usually go for a week to my parents house, then the second week is when we go to the condo. After the beach, we are all worn out, so we don’t want to have that first, then be too worn out for the rest of the trip. It has been working really well. The first year we flew with the kids, because Ryan was only a couple months old. Last year and this year we made the long road trip to and from Florida. It’s a 17 hour drive, but it’s about a quarter of the price compared to flying (even on Spirit).
This year, while we were at my parent’s house for the week, we did a crash-course of swim lessons for the boys. My nephews have been doing swim lessons with a family friend once a week for months. While we were there, she came over every day to work with my boys, and did a longer time than my nephews get since we had such a short amount of time. And let me tell you, it was worth every penny! They aren’t fully swimming just yet, but it gave them a lot of confidence, and they are on their way to swimming.
Because of swim lessons, we had to work around that schedule, which meant we were limited on what else we could do during the day, but again, totally worth it. Including daily swim lessons, the boys were in the pool twice per day that week, and absolutely loved it. Well, Ryan hated swim lessons, but he still was learning even though he complained the entire time!
We left Texas at 4am on June 29 and drove straight through. Tyler got car sick on the way there, but we still made really good time. Because of the time difference, we got to my parent’s at about 10pm that day, got some food for the boys since they didn’t eat much in the car, and we all went to bed. The next three days we were recovering from the drive, had swim lessons, and just hung out with family. My sister brought her boys over every day so the cousins could all play together and they had a blast.
On July 3rd, my dad got the “big boat” ready, and after swim lessons we went out on the boat. We weren’t out very long because it was very hot, but it satisfied the boy’s desire to go out on the boat. Tyler even got to drive the boat with my dad for a little while. If you ask Tyler what the two rules of the boat are: “always wear a life jacket and listen to grandpa!” Yeah, my dad loves that!!
For July 4th, we didn’t really have anything planned until late that morning. Mom and I decided to text the family and invite them all over for a pot luck get together at the house. We invited a few neighbors as well, and had a great time. We all had dinner together, then a bunch of us got in the pool. The boys didn’t stay up for the fireworks, mostly because there aren’t many that you can see from my parent’s house and we weren’t going anywhere.
The next day Justin left for Orlando for a few days to go to DiceTowerCon. He’s been wanting to go for years, but it always fell during beach week. This year, since the beach was late, he was able to go! My mom and I decided we needed to do something fun with the boys, so we talked to her friend who owns a bunch of land with a few horses, cows, and a donkey to go out there to show the boys. She wasn’t ready when we got close, so we went to a different place where you could feed the goats while we waited for her. Ryan loved seeing some of their big machines around the farm and was more impressed with that than the animals! Mom’s friend has a baby calf that was only about a week old. When Tyler asked what the name was, she said she didn’t have one. He decided to name it Pig the Cow!!
For Mother’s Day this year, my sister and I got a groupon for our mom to go get a manicure and pedicure done. Well she said to go buy two more and we would all go together before the beach. Thursday was the only day we could get an appointment, so we planned it. Since Justin was in Orlando, my brother-in-law watched all four of the boys! We were also supposed to meet up with our Kindergarten teacher who was in town, so invited her to go with us to get our nails done. It was so fun catching up with her! It’s crazy to think that my oldest son is almost the age I was in her class!! And she went to my sister’s house with us afterwards so got to meet all of the boys too.
On July 7th, mom treated us all to lunch at Perkins. That was interesting with all four boys there! Then that afternoon I decided, on a whim, to go see my cousin at Beller’s Salon and get my hair cut. I’ve decided I like the idea of long hair, but not the reality.
Day 1. Finally, Saturday…. beach day!! Our timeshare at SeaWatch On-the-Beach is a Saturday to Saturday condo, so it was time to head to the beach! Justin drove back from Orlando that morning, and we laid Ryan down for his afternoon nap. Once he woke up, we headed to Fort Myers Beach. It worked out perfect because check-in is at 3, and we got there just after then. We had plenty of time to unload the car and get everything unpacked and put away at the beach, then still go to the sand and pool that evening.
Day 2. More sand. More pool. We went down to the Gulf to check out the water. And had a lot of family time. My entire family on my moms’ side is at SeaWatch every year. Her cousins and aunt/uncle come in from Virginia and Washington as well.
Day 3. More family time. This is basically our annual family reunion. There are about 50 of us that are there every year now as our family has grown greatly since my grandparents started going almost 40 years ago!
Day 5. Flamingo Follies is a tradition as old as SeaWatch. There are 6 flamingoes, each are jockeyed by a kid. Two large dice are rolled, and whichever number comes up moves one forward. Whoever reaches the end first, wins! My boys had fun the first time, until they didn’t win, then they decided they were done with it.
Day 6. July 13th. My mom’s 50th birthday! We went out to the beach and pool that morning. Then later in the afternoon we all started sneaking away from my mom to go up to the 6th floor and set up her surprise birthday party! We own the entire 6th floor, so we did it there for her. My family is slowly taking over, there are 42 rooms in the building, and we own 14 of them that week!! In the evenings, once it’s dark out, we usually get some games going. Justin got a lot of new games when he was in Orlando, and we taught my mom and aunt how to play Machi Koro which is one of my new favorites.
Day 7. Last full day at the beach. My sister and her husband had to go back in town for a while, so we got the water balloons out to keep the kids occupied for a while. They had a great time with the water balloons, especially the older two. In the afternoon, a bunch of us brought some games to the lobby to play, and we played Duck, Duck, Go with the boys. The rest of the day was just hanging out with everyone before we had to go home, and packing up everything before our long drive the next morning.
Time to say goodbye to Florida for now. We got up and left by 4am again, armed with Kids Dramamine for the boys, which helped a lot with the car sickness. We had a wonderful time in Florida, and got to do a lot, but it went by to fast.
So long SeaWatch, until next year! My home away from home: