Florida Day 5: Clearwater Beach

On day 5, we drove down to Clearwater to visit the beach. It was cloudy the whole day and we had spotty rain, but we still had a lot of fun. The boys had never seen the ocean before, so they had a lot of fun just splashing around a little and playing in the sand.

The salmon pink monstrosity that is the Don Cesar Resort.

The salmon pink monstrosity that is the Don Cesar Resort.

It's a manitee! It's a mailbox! It's BOTH!

It's a manitee! It's a mailbox! It's BOTH!

This is someone's HOUSE.

This is someone's HOUSE.

Arrrrrr! There be PIRATES!!

Arrrrrr! Thar be PIRATES!!

The Clearwater Beach pier

The pier in Clearwater Beach

A bird, also on vacation in Florida

A bird, also on vacation in Florida


View of the beach from the pier

View of the beach from the pier

Kyle takes a picture of me and Ian looks in the opposite direction, and this is still the best family photo from the trip.

Kyle takes a picture of me and Ian looks in the opposite direction, and this is still the best family photo from the trip.

A pelican in the water.

A pelican in the water.

A couple of fishermen on the pier

A couple of fishermen on the pier

Another pelican, waiting hopefully next to the fishermen

Another pelican, waiting hopefully next to the fishermen

The nastiest looking seagull in all of Florida.

The nastiest looking seagull in all of Florida.

Kyle and Ian experience the ocean for the first time

Kyle and Ian experience the ocean for the first time

Kyle was SO excited about the water, I could barely hold him still

Kyle was SO excited about the water, I could barely hold him still

I know! If I can't hold him still, I'll just swing him around by his arms!

I know! If I can't hold him still, I'll just swing him around by his arms!

Ian was not so crazy about the water. He dipped his feet in and that was about it.

Ian was not so crazy about the water. He dipped his feet in and that was about it.

Playing in the sand

Playing in the sand

Playing in the sand.

Playing in the sand.

Still playing in the sand.

Still playing in the sand.

Ian excited about something or other.

Ian excited about something or other.

On the way back from an excursion to the water. Guess who got more wet?

On the way back from an excursion to the water. Guess who got more wet?

Florida Day 3-4: Lakeland and Parksdale Farms

On day 3, we finished the drive down to Lakeland, then spent some time with Grandma Mary. Kyle and Ian were immediately drawn to the golf cart, which all the residents of the neighborhood use to make short trips. We drove down the street in the golf cart a couple of times to see the wildlife in the creek that runs along the edge of the neighborhood.

A squirrel in Grandma Mary's neighborhood. It seems like there were a lot more squirrels the last time we were down there - I wonder why there are so few now?

A squirrel in Grandma Mary and Grandpa Bob's neighborhood, eating a peanut we gave him. It seems like there were a lot more squirrels the last time we were down there - I wonder why there are so few now?

Oh. That's why.

Oh. That's why.

How would you like to have this little fella living in the creek near your house? He was probably a good 8-10 feet long.

How would you like to have this little fella living in the creek near your house? He was probably a good 8-10 feet long.

Aw, look at the cute little babies! There were these three, plus a few in the water. Maybe 12-18" long.

Aw, look at the cute little babies! There were these three, plus a few in the water. Maybe 12-18" long.

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17083

On day 4, we drove to nearby Plant City, home of Parksdale Farms. This place is known for it’s strawberries, and you can see why as soon as you walk in. The main attraction is the giant bowls of strawberry shortcake they sell. We ate our shortcake, unanimously elected Kyle as Strawberry King, then went to visit Grandpa in the hospital.

I am *SO* cool.

I am *SO* cool.

Not as cool as me, my brotha!

Not as cool as me, my brotha!

Parksdale Farms, home of the absurdly large strawberry shortcake.

Parksdale Farms, home of the absurdly large strawberry shortcake.

Waiting in line for strawberry shortcake is a great time to make silly faces.

Waiting in line for strawberry shortcake is a great time to make silly faces.

The Strawberry King, and the winner of the congeniality award for the day

The Strawberry King, and the winner of the congeniality award for the day

The Strawberry King blows kisses to his admirers.

The Strawberry King blows kisses to his admirers.

The Publix water tower, which provides cake-flavored water to the citizens of Lakeland.

The Publix water tower, which provides cake-flavored water to the citizens of Lakeland.

Florida Day 1-3: The Long Drive Down

This is the first in a series of posts about our vacation to Florida. We had a fun, if exhausting, 11 day trip. Highlights (other than the thrillling 40 hours of driving) included a trip to the Creative Discovery Museum in Chattanooga, Tennessee, a stay at Grandma’s, a trip to the beach, three days at Disney World, a day in Savannah, and a drive along the Blue Ridge parkway.

Louisville at night, handheld camera at 70 mph. Pretty bad, but I thought it was interesting.

Louisville at night, handheld camera at 70 mph. Pretty bad, but I thought it was interesting.

Tennessee at 70 mph. It was interesting to watch the seasons change as we drove farther south.

Tennessee at 70 mph. It was interesting to watch the seasons change as we drove farther south.

All tuckered out from a late night and big breakfast.

All tuckered out from a late night and big breakfast.

Daddy wasn't the only one who had work to get done on the drive down.

Daddy wasn't the only one who had work to get done on the drive down.

You know you're in Tennessee when...

You know you're in Tennessee when...

An interesting looking bluff along the side of the highway

An interesting looking bluff along the side of the highway

Driving into Chattanooga, TN. There are actually supposed to be two lanes here. For bicycles, maybe?

Driving into Chattanooga, TN. There are actually supposed to be two lanes here. For bicycles, maybe?

The Creative Discovery Museum in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Full of fun stuff for kids to do.

The Creative Discovery Museum in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Full of fun stuff for kids to do.

Ian inspecting some millipedes at the Creative Discovery Museum

Ian inspecting some millipedes at the Creative Discovery Museum

Kyle explores a cave at the Creative Discovery Museum

Kyle explores a cave at the Creative Discovery Museum

Here, Ian -- you stick YOUR hand in that hole in the rock...

Here, Ian -- you stick YOUR hand in that hole in the rock...

Doctor Livingstone, I presume?

Doctor Livingstone, I presume?

Mommy, can he come home with us?

Mommy, can he come home with us?

Climbing the tall steps

Climbing the tall steps

Gears!!!

Gears!!!

What does this contraption do?

What does this contraption do?

Kyle pulling himself up in a pully-driven lift chair

Kyle pulling himself up in a pully-driven lift chair

Kyle in the tall tower at the Creative Discovery Museum

Kyle in the tall tower at the Creative Discovery Museum

Slinky craziness!!

Slinky craziness!!

Dreaming of Mickey

Dreaming of Mickey

The view from our "conversation mirror"

The view from our "conversation mirror"

And finally, the sight that greeted us as we drove into Lakeland, Florida. Vultures eating a dead armidillo. Yummy.

And finally, the sight that greeted us as we drove into Lakeland, Florida. Vultures eating a dead armidillo. Yummy.

The Thaw.

It finally warmed up enough for the snow to start melting. This is the first time we have seen the grass since mid-December.

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Where’s Mr. McGregor when you need him?

This morning we saw proof that our rabbit is still very much alive and well (we thought he might have been hit by a car last fall).

This is the same rabbit that ate every single one of our edamame plants last spring. Time to send the cats outside. :D