Finally! I can now 'talk' about our trip to Florida!! We have been planning a trip back to Florida for several weeks now; however, it was to be a surprise for my mother-in-law as well as our kids. You just don't know how many times Karl and I mentioned something and had to back-pedal to cover it up and keep the kids from finding out...
Karl had a business trip scheduled to Florida. It just so happened that it was going to fall on the day of his mom's birthday, so he was planning to stay an extra day to surprise her with a visit. But, when we talked about it, he realized I would really love to go too, and the sweetie that he is, he got tickets for all of us. Thank you, darlin'! We decided to keep it a secret...only Karl's Dad knew, or so we thought. It turns our that Karl's brother and many of Pearl and Ron's friends knew too, but we were amazingly ALL able to keep it under our hats. :) So, I packed secretly..the kids hadn't a clue. We woke the kids up Tuesday morning at 3:30 and told them to get dressed. They wanted to know why we were getting up early, but there was no crying and whining like I thought we might get. We fed them breakfast, and were able to hold off until we were right at the airport; at that point Logan guessed we may be going to Florida. Karl and I did not answer, however, so he thought he was wrong. It was not until we were in the line for security that we actually said to them, "Yes, we are going to Florida." To say the least, they were very excited! I had already emailed some of our friends there, and we had a dinner planned for that night, and a beach day on Wednesday.
Tuesday, we just had lunch once we got there, and headed to the hotel. We decided we all needed a bit of rest before our planned late night. Corbin and Hailey ended up sleeping 1.5 to 2 hours respectively; Karl dozed for a bit too. Logan and I are perpetually unable to sleep when we need to, so we just kind of hung out and read a while! After naps, we went out on the beach. It was about 55 degrees, so kind of chilly, but we enjoyed it so much! We found lots of shells and examined jellyfish; the kids had a great time running on the beach in the wind, and into the waves, and Karl took advantage of many photo opportunities. I forgot to mention...when we stepped off the plane the first thing I did was take in a large breath of air to see if I could get a good whiff of the ocean. I was so happy to be back; growing up in the south that smell has been a mainstay, and I have to say I've really missed it! Anyway, we soon headed out to meet our friends at Jason's Deli for dinner. It was so nice to see their faces again and talk about what we've all been up to. The kids and adults all had a wonderful time.
Wednesday morning, Karl had a presentation to do at work, and then lunch with some colleagues. The kids and I met another family at the beach and spent a wonderful two hours catching up and playing. I'm so thankful for the Christian women in my life; it's always a pleasure to chat and see how God is working in others' lives! And watching the kids play together is always a joy....
Wednesday afternoon, Karl met us at the hotel and we loaded up to drive down to Vero Beach, where Karl's parents live. We had collaborated with Karl's dad and decided to pick up a cake for Pearl on the way to their house. When we arrived, alerting Karl's dad just minutes before, we called Pearl and sang 'Happy Birthday' to her over the phone. She still thought we were in New York. Then, we sent the kids to the front door, not ringing the door bell, to sing again. However, she did not hear them, so we rang the doorbell after some confused pointing by Ron and looking by all of us! :p All I can say is that the people in Florida have probably never heard such whooping and hollering in their lives! Pearl was so surprised and very happy to see us and "my babies" as she calls her grandchildren! We spent the night with them, enjoying pizza together, and homemade waffles the next morning.
Karl had some more business at work on Thursday, so we headed back to Palm Bay. I took the kids by the school they used to attend, which is located at the church we used to attend there. We got to see a few past teachers, as well as a close friend that I previously worked with at the school. We again met some friends for lunch at Chic Filet, an old favorite hang out for us. I've missed their Cookies-n-Cream milkshakes, but it's probably best that I can't get them here! We had a nice time talking and eating (and the kids playing on the playground). After that, we traveled to the church, where a Webkinz party was in session. The homeschool ladies there were very gracious in inviting us, even though we are no longer members of that homeschool group. Thank you! It was awesome to see all the familiar faces, as well as the unfamiliar ones that indicate growth in the group. The kids had a super time, and I'm so glad they had the opportunity to attend.
Thursday evening Karl spent some time with some more friends from work, while I had dinner with my former colleague and friend, Stephanie, and her kids. We had some yummy pizza from Bizarro Pizza, then went back to walk on the beach for a while. Again, it was so nice to catch up, and I miss her already! Hailey had stayed for a sleep over with a friend, so the boys and I just spent the rest of the evening on the beach and at the hotel.
Friday morning we had breakfast at IHOP, then headed back to Vero Beach for a little more time with Karl's parents before leaving Friday evening. The kids enjoyed walking in the neighborhood with Grandma, and playing with the Wii that their grandparents own...I think Ron is as much into it as they are! We had some burgers with them for lunch and some leftover birthday cake before driving back to Melbourne for our flight.
Now, I don't know about all of you, but we've been hearing of all of the flight delays and cancellations with Southwest in the past weeks. Well, Thursday night I saw on the news that Delta (who we were flying with) had some problems with that on Thursday. So, I told Karl, and he set up his phone so we would get notifications of any changes right up to our flight's departure. We received a couple on the way to Melbourne, just changing it by about 20 minutes. By the time we got there, the flight was scheduled to leave at 7:20 instead of 6:30, with a connection leaving Atlanta at 9:21. For some reason the flights from there to Atlanta are longer than the ones from Atlanta to Melbourne...? Anyway, by the time our flight arrived in Atlanta and we got off the plane, it was about 9:15. We had to catch the train from our terminal to three terminals over, then run all the way to our gate (which of course was at the last gate in that terminal!). I ended up running ahead with the tickets to see if the plane was still there; the board had said the flight was closed when we got there. Karl was carrying both our carry-on bags and Corbin, and trying to run....we were too late, :( and watched our plane pull away from the gate. Karl then led us all through the airport to a customer service desk where he arranged for tickets leaving at 8:00 the next morning and for a hotel that night. I sat with the kids trying to keep them busy; I have to say they did great, not really any whining. We all read books. By the time he finished (many people missed their flights, so he had been about 30 or so in line) it was nearing 11:00 p.m. We grabbed some food from Atlanta Bread in the airport, then made our way to the shuttle, which took us to our hotel. We go to the hotel, ate our dinner at about 12:00 a.m., and were all in bed by 1:00a.m. We then awoke at 5:00 a.m., caught the shuttle at 5:30 a.m. for an 8:00 a.m. flight. We had enough time after getting through security to eat a leisurely breakfast; on Delta's dollar. Leaving the restaurant at 7:00 a.m. we made our way to our gate. Upon arriving there at about 7:15 a.m. we were told our gate had been moved. WHAT!!! So, we then caught the train and went to the new gate....it was okay, the plane was still there this time. Actually, after sitting for a few minutes wondering why they weren't boarding yet, we soon heard an announcement that the plane was late. (Oh no, not again!?) It was re-scheduled to leave at 8:30 a.m., and fortunately, this was the actual departure time. Yeah! We arrived two hours later in Rochester, to a sunny 26 degrees. It was 84 degrees when we left Florida the day before....what a HUGE difference. But, today it got up to 52 degrees; very odd. :) We got our bags, grabbed some sandwiches from Subway (again on Delta's dollar), and drove home to enjoy our lunch in the quiet of our own home. Aaaaaahh....
So, that was our trip. We had such a great time, even with all the trouble with our return flight, etc. The kids traveled so well, and Karl and I were even able to sit next to each other some of the time to talk. All of the flight attendants were very accommodating, so that's a plus for Delta. I do have to say though, their agents at the customer service desk were less than the best. At least the first one we dealt with...she left in the middle of rescheduling tickets for us when a fight broke out at another gate. I made the assumption that she was going to help break it up...not so. She left us at the desk to go watch a fight! I couldn't believe it...apparently a customer hit an agent (over a delay, I'm sure) and of course went off to jail. We were irritated about the delays and such, but it's just not worth all that, is it? Still, their customer service agents leave a lot to be desired.
I miss the sea air already, and the warm weather, and all of our friends and family. You all mean so much to us; thank you for being a part of our lives. We love you very much!