Monday, June 24, 2013

Dear Tracy Copes:

When our dear Kahuna was waiting for his kidney transplant, our small town most graciously held several benefits to help his family.  During one benefit, a local family generously auctioned week long vacations to their Florida home.  After a few drinks, Coach jumped to his feet and bought! (He knows I heart vacations and he hearts Kahuna) Originally, Coach purchased the trip with the plan to take all five siblings and their spouses (sans children).  After the drinks wore off, we realized many of us had scheduling conflicts. The end result was our family + Warhol's family.  Still fun but maybe (definitely) a little less fun than taking childless siblings..
Flag Girl's childhood BFF (and Coach's childhood crush) Tracy Copes also purchased a week for her family.  She asked me for details... so here goes:
* As mentioned, we drove down to Florida.  18 long hours.  Our children were extremely well behaved (we have TV's in our van) but the drive is still VERY long.  We really wanted to quit.  We arrived to the house at 5:00am after driving all night.  The kids raced through the house and squealed with excitement.  It is large, much more fancy than our real homes!  We all congregated on the enclosed patio to watch the sunrise over the impressive pond directly behind the house (had a quick celebratory drink and slept like we were in a coma):
 The view from our patio.
* Where you will notice, a six foot alligator lives.
Look closer:
these pictures were taken from the patio screen door.
easily, the best moment of the trip for me, was watching Warhol sneak close to the alligator and then JUMP a mile after it whipped and snapped in his direction... people may think Coach is fast... but people have obviously never seen Warhol's Wylie Coyote impersonation.  Unforgettable.

* If you are less brave than Warhol and would rather hunt for gators from the safety of a golf cart... you're in luck, because the home has it's very own, provided for your use!  (Coach and the kids LOVED this feature.... We might need one for our house.)

(I spent all week asking/telling/demanding that Coco put down her Rock-On hands... it didn't really work.)

*The kids spent HOURS swimming in the pool/hot tub combo. While they swam, the adults casually hung around the marble topped outdoor furniture.  Once and awhile, a few mosquitoes would sneak inside the screen (and those bites are NASTY, take bug spray) but mostly the evenings on the patio were perfection.

*The kitchen is fully stocked.  We made a trip to the local Wal-Mart (which is set up like Pontiac BONUS except it also had only 3 working check-outs...)  We grilled and cooked several meals.

*The home and surroundings are amazing.  But the location is at least 30-50 minutes from all beaches.  If you are accustomed to sunscreening and packing 3 kids for beaches (as I am) it is not too different but if you are unaccustomed (as Warhol and Coach are) the beach days may become a little long.  Don't you DARE skip Siesta Keys Beach.  Pure Paradise.

- We mostly saved money by always being too chaotic to stop to feed our children... but if you are able to eat at Laishley's on the Punta Gorda bay: The swordfish meal may be the greatest thing I've ever eaten and the brothers' went to town on some awesome sushi.  Plus the view on the deck (above) priceless.
- Berts Bar & Grill in Punta Gorda great shrimp and perfect southern Florida ambiance on the dock.
- Spotted Cow Ice Cream in Punta Gorda a great stop for the kids (and adults).
On the way home, we continually made frequent food stops (because I was pissy like a five year old about leaving Florida and food make me happy).  Coach ordered the best crab legs he has ever had.  Pretty great Shrimp Po Boy at (see pic below)..

In Conclusion:
Great trip.  Amazing memories.  We are very grateful to have had the opportunity to stay there.  You will have a wonderful time!  Promise.
But we made a couple rules:
1.  Next time, maybe no kids. Kidding (not really) We totally LOVE our kids! (mostly, in smaller doses)
2. And definitely, booking airplanes.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Boca Grande:

Used to be the home to hundreds of pirates...
now it shall be known as the perfect setting for a Tru Stories Photorama... (I love a good photo opp.)
We rented two golf carts to cruise around the island.

 (Tiny pink Tinkerbell toes)

 (Warhol and family)

(Dancing Beach Beauty)

Next, we checked out a perfect old lighthouse:

And then traveled down a few local roads, which were authentically beautiful.

Out of all of these amazing pictures taken on that afternoon, the next is my most favorite.  Coach really loves his hometown.  Sure, he enjoys vacationing and is still his bubbly self but he really prefers to stay close to home.  This week, he was able to take one of his favorite people (besides his wife and children....) down to Florida with him.
Look past our kids, past Coco flashing the world, past Tink and Galway's matching sunglares... over to the brothers.  Who knows what they are talking about amongst all our chaos but they are cracking each other up.  As they did All Week Long.  And sometimes, usually, they crack us up as well.

Great day on a couple Golf Carts.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Day Three:

Otherwise known as The Day the Kids Started Ticking us Off.  Two siblings had to be yanked from the ocean to leave early... one mother threatened to throw Coco's new toy out of the window, on the highway... kids were forced to nap.  Aloe had to be rubbed on adult brothas (and now that rubbing can never be unseen by others). The shine wore off the vacation on Hump Day.
But we did squeeze in a few good memories:
We packed up the beach gear and fancy sand digging contraptions and traveled to Caspersen Beach (the smaller less touristy version of Venice Beach). The Shark Tooth Capital of the World.  We spent 3-4 hours searching searching and searching the shell filled shore for shark teeth.  Each family came home with about a dozen fossilized artifacts.  None bigger than a quarter.  Then I witnessed an adorable lil southern couple bebop over to the shore sweetly chatting me up with their so fresh and so clean shark tooth hunting excitement... and just 15 minutes later find one at least 3 inches long!!  Good for them! (F them...)

 (The Kid and Coach hunting)

We (needed too!) end our evening with a beautiful seafood meal, sitting above the marina.  Perfection.

Today is our last full day.  The kids are already whining about the vacation ending.  We have a little adventure to a nearby island planned.... fingers crossed no thing or no one gets thrown out the window.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Florida 2013 (Thus Far)

Immediately after The Teacher married Her Really Nice Guy, Warhol and his Fam plus Us and our Fam, took off in the morning for an 18 hour drive to Florida.  (Wha?? Exsqueeze me? Baking Powder??  Did she say 18 hours?!  Yes. Yes, she did.)

We hard core, drove straight thru... like, we only fed our kids once, drove straight thru.  The fastest potty breaks eva, drove straight thru... and it got tense.  Warhol got a wee bit stressed.  But Day 1 at Siesta Keys Beach?  Made every minute worth it.
Most Beautiful Beach, I have ever seen.
We saw a REAL Manatee swim past us!  Just feet away from The Kid.  We collected sand dollars with our toes.  We watched tiny crabs swim and bury themselves.  Amazing.

 Yep.  Coco still Rocks Out in Florida.

Day 2, poor Galway Girl found herself ill.  So the Coach and I gathered the other kids and headed to an alligator farm (Gatorama) about an hour away. 
PS- Gator Farms in the middle of southern Florida, are warm.. and sweaty and smelly.  But I loved it.

We each took turns holding a LIVE gator.
Which the worker caught, by walking his flip flopped feet around in a giant pool of teen aged alligators.

 Look at my very brave Tink!!

You should know: I don't wear make-up in Florida.  Sorry... but my face is literally melting...
 I flippin loved holding this!
Coach said, I smiled less on our wedding day...

Coach was not amused by the reptile.  He also was MUCH less amused by his baby girls holding the animal.  He really flipped his lid over this peacock...  He did not want this bird anywhere near our kids, while I actively encouraged Coco to reach her hand out.  Dang!  Live in the Moment, wimpy!

Many more Florida pics to follow!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Her Last Chance to W(h)ine.

Continuing the wedding festivities...
Saturday, we celebrated a Bachelorette Party for The Teacher (the prettier half of our Fav Band).  The Teacher requested a tame, simple bash and that is pretty much what we gave her.  We had a little wine tasting at the yoga studio.  Threw in some crafts (threw a few wine corks down each other's tops...) 

We then hired two distinguished designated drivers to take us to a wine bar out of town.. (and by 'hired' I mean we just told our husbands when to show up, told them where to drive and then told them to get lost and leave the girls alone.)

 The Teacher was pretty excited to have her own DDs.

 (Coach continuing his tradition of taking great pictures with random women, other than his wife)

I took barely any pictures because I forgot to take out my camera. I do remember... the back of the van thought they were pretty funny...
Nice little gathering.
And now, on Friday, The Teacher will marry her Very Nice Guy.  Capping our busy wedding whirlwind couple of months!