Well I thought I would blog while I was in Florida. But, alas, it did not happen. But after 5 weeks in the Sunshine State, my family and I are back home in the Buckeye State. So back to blogging I go.
During our time in Florida, we spent part of nearly every day on the beach, either swimming or just walking along the beach. There were so many beaches to explore, each one unique. We drove up and down the Central Florida coastline, mostly staying between Vero Beach in the north and Juno Beach on the south. We went as far south as Palm Beach and as far north as Merritt Island. We saw more than 20 different beaches, but our favorite one was on Hutchinson Island, near Jensen Beach. It had soft sand and stayed the water stayed shallow for quite a distance, allowing us to explore more.
Many of the beaches were nearly deserted when we were there. Several times, we were THE only people on the beach. It was amazingly peaceful and relaxing. Watching the waves come in and out. Feeling the sun on my face. Building sand castles with my daughter. Reading on the beach. Collecting sea shells. Playing in the water. Walking along the beach. It was the most fun I’ve had in a long time.
All 3 kids could live at the beach. Addie, who is 3, fell in love with the beach immediately. It was her first visit to the ocean, but you can be sure it won’t be her last. She would spend the whole 3 or 4 hours that we stayed at the beach playing in the sand with her bucket and shovel. Or her other favorite activity was to sit on someone’s lap at the edge of the water as the waves would wash up onto her lap.
Emma, 6, was very cautious around the water when we first arrived. It was only her second trip to the ocean. Her dad had taken her and her brother to Myrtle Beach 2 years ago. But even though she was uncertain, she loved to dance along the edge of the water and when she got brave enough, wading into the shallow water. Many times though, even in the shallow water, the waves were pretty powerful for a 6 year old to deal with. But by the end of our trip, she was brave enough to go out into water that was almost up to her neck, as long as I was right there next to her. She even stuck her face under the water a few times. I was proud of the progress she made in conquering her fears.
Nassem, 10, turned out to be part fish. At the start, he would go out with me as far as he could as we let the huge swells lift us off our feet and push us toward the shore, over and over. However, he quickly graduated from that. By the time we left, he was spending the whole time at the beach in the water, and at least half of that time, he had his goggles on as he scoured the ocean bed for seashells. I think he’s going to be a marine biologist or oceanic archaeologist someday.
For Erin, the beach was very therapeutic, both mentally and physically. Being at the beach made her probably the happiest I’ve ever seen her. And laying on the hot sand really helped ease her fibromyalgia pain. She also enjoyed photographing all the seashells and other beautiful scenery.
Personally, I don’t know how to swim, but I still love the water. I took swimming lessons for two summers as a kid, but never quite got the hang of it. Yet I do my best to not let that hold me back from doing things I want to do. I spent hours in the ocean, just letting the waves blow me around. It was so relaxing, so fun, and good exercise.
Besides going to the beach, we also explored the natural beauty of the area. We searched for manatees, took a nature hike to an ancient Native American burial mound and visited several centers devoted to marine life. Unfortunately, we didn’t see any manatees or dolphins, but it still was fun watching for them. The weather was too hot while we were down there. There were so many different things to see and do, I think even if we had stayed another 5 weeks we wouldn’t have exhausted our options.
So as you can see, everyone in the family was the happiest I’ve ever seen them while we were on the beach. Which made our return to Ohio that much harder. At least on the beach you had nice cool breezes which made the weather feel 10 or 15 degrees cooler than it actually was. In Ohio, you just get this nasty muginess that makes it almost unbearable. But the kids start school in two weeks, so it was time for us to come home and get back to real life. We have hundreds of photos and lots of great memories from our time in Florida. I’ll probably share more later this week.
A move to Florida may be in the cards for our family. There are issues to deal with before that can happen, but if I was a betting man, I would put money on us making our home there eventually. But for now, home is where you make it, and right now, that’s in Ohio. So to all our Ohio friends, we’re back and ready to get back in touch with all of you. So say hi when you get a chance, and let’s catch up.