February 4, 2012

Florida or Bust!

Even though we had a very mild winter here in Ohio, by time January rolled around we were ready for a break. We decided to take my in-laws up on their offer to join them on their timeshare in Florida. We arranged to get all of Gracie's classwork so we could take it with us since she would be missing a week of school (she thought that was pretty cool). Since she's a really good student we didn't have any worries. We actually lucked out and how only 1 rainy day which was perfect for her to get all of her work done. 

Since we had all been to Florida many times we decided to do some things and go some places we had never been before. One day we decided to check out Anna Maria Island. This cute little island was the perfect retreat in January. We literally had a whole stretch of beach to ourselves. We built sandcastles, read our books in the sun, walked along the beach, and had a picnic on a nearby table.

Anna Maria Island

As evening drew close we took a walk down to the boardwalk and had lunch at their restaurant.  What an amazing view!

Pier restaurant Anna Maria Island

We follwed that up with ice cream and window shopping in the little town. On our way off Anna Maria we stopped at the larger more well known beach just in time to watch the gorgeous view of the sun sinking into the ocean!

Sunset

Part of the kid's Christmas present from Grandma and Grandpa was money to go to Busch Gardens. We were in luck....they were having a buy one get one free day. We couldn't pass that up. The kids were thrilled! We got to spend 2 whole days riding rides, 

Busch Gardens Rides
looking at animals, and eating yummy food. There were absolutely no lines in the park. At one point we were the only family on the bumper cars! 
Busch Garden Animals

We loved Busch Gardens in January!

Busch Gardens

On our last full day there we decided to take a little adventure to a town called Tarpon Springs. They are world known for their sponge docks. Because the weather was cool and slightly rainy that day we didn't get to go out on any of the boats but it was still fun touring the little town. We walked away with some real sponges and homemade olive oil bar soap.

Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks

We had such a wonderful time! A time that none of us will ever forget. There is just something about exploring new places with my kids that I love so much. Watching the look of amazement and delight on their faces makes my heart sing!

On a side note: This is the trip and pictures that sparked a major change in my life.....but I'll get to that in another post! :)
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