So....during the school year part...plus Veritas Classical Schools...equals...super hard. I spent the couple weeks prior to our trip trying to help the kids get their work done ahead of time so they could take a break on the trip. One weeks worth of Veritas work is PLENTY, trying to add more, downright insanity. Without going into detail, it was so stressful, that combined with just getting ready to leave town for a week and packing, I had a headache for the first 5 days of our trip. I've never had that prolonged of a headache that Ibuprofen wouldn't cure. A trip to a massage therapist 5 days into the trip finally did the trick. Apparently, muscles in my neck were all bent out of shape. So trips during the school year because we are homeschooling? Not so much.
No crowds? Cooler weather? Oddly, these two things combined made me (and my 14 year old) feel like we weren't on vacation. Weird, huh? But I'm totally serious. I don't really have an interest in traveling to the beach again when it's mostly deserted. If it's just Steve and I, sure that's great, but with the kids--they like playing with other kids! That's a highlight! And admittedly Steve and I love to talk to new people! :)
Oh, the other downside was that althought there were no kids at our condo, there were some retirees staying below us, so we had to be on our best and quietest behavior. Ah'hem....five boys? Quiet! Recipe for a stress induced headache in and of itself! Note to self-stay in a single-family dwelling next time if at all possible! We almost got kicked out of our condo because I didn't realize the max was 6 people....our extra child put us right over the edge. So added money and pressure to be on our best behavior. (to our chagrin, the folks below us gave us a box of cookies at the end of their/our stay, because they didn't hear a peep out of us the whole week! Miracles happen people.)
But at any rate, it was still a great trip full of memories for us and the kids!
Shelling is great at Sanibel so the kids enjoyed lots of hunting :)
There is a large wildlife refuge on Sanibel, in fact a large portion of Sanibel is a devoted refuge for wildlife. It's called the Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge. Pretty interesting name! We drove through one day and the next rode our bikes. That was probably my favorite thing we did on the trip.
Mangrove crabs--super cool.
On our way out of the refuge, the kids got to see an endangered turtle species! I'm momentarily blanking on the name of this turtle. Help!
These pictures are a good description of Jacob right now...see his fist balled up in the last picture! He is 3 1/2, going on 4, and has found his voice and opinion about all matters concerning him or others. He runs into life and grabs all his can get! And if you tell him no...watch out! You might just get punched in the nose or slapped in the eye (true story, he has done both to his precious momma this week).
It's at about this moment that Samuel starts saying "It's stinging me! It's stinging me!" Dear Samuel, it's not smart to pick up jellyfish :)
I couldn't take my eyes off this sunset! It was SO SO beautiful!!!
5 little ducklings all in a row....
Fishing by the bridge between Sanibel and Captiva islands on the last night of our trip was the highlight for the boys. Maybe for Steve-not so much. Pesky little no-see'um insects bit him up like crazy-he has been itching from the hundreds of bites the past week since getting home!
My dad recently told me he hates it when someone tells him to have a "great day". If they would just say, "Have an average day", that would be so much less pressure. I probably should approach vacations with that same type of attitude. Isn't that the way it is with all of life? Sigh...
Just about anything is hard in a fallen, sinful world. Vacations included. But where sin abounds...grace abounds all the more! (Romans 5:20) I'm so thankful for a God whose mercies are new every morning, even mornings on vacation! And thankful we are able to to take trips and explore God's beautiful world.