Thursday, December 31, 2015


This is a long post and most of the photos are from my iPhone. 

Right before winter break started, Grace had an assignment at school where she wrote about her family holiday traditions.  She wrote about going to Florida for Christmas. She got the flight time wrong (we always try to get the first flight in the morning) but she is correct about being tired. This year we woke up at 3:00am to catch a 5:30am flight.

For Grace's entire life this has been our tradition. It is really all she knows about Christmas. When we were kids, I remember going to my grandmother's house on Christmas Eve with all my cousins and waiting until midnight to sing "Silent Night" together. Kyle has shared how Santa brought gifts for their stockings and the presents under the tree were from his parents.

Santa comes to our house on the morning of Christmas Eve. Grace and I baked cookies and left them out for Santa, who seemed to enjoy them. And our elf, Chris, left Grace a nice note before he flew back to the North Pole with Santa.

Santa left some great toys including a Calico Criters house, an American Girl car, and a robotic racetrack called Anki Overdrive.

Grace is a great sleeper.  Even though she knew Santa came, she didn't wake up until almost 9:00! I love a kid who lets mom and dad sleep late.

Later on Christmas Eve, Kyle's family came for dinner.  It was fun to see Grace with her cousins. But we missed Carrie, Adam, Elijah and Vaughan who spent Christmas at their new home in Montana.

And, then it was off to Florida where our view changed to sunny skies and warm temperatures after a few hours of travel.

As soon as we arrived, we went to the pool and beach. Ohioans need to soak up as much sun as possible!

The weather was PERFECT during this trip - mid-80s and sunny every day.  Grace got very brave in the ocean.

I think this pose at the dock is also becoming a tradition....

December 2015

December 2014

 What a difference a year of ballet lessons makes!

Seeing family and friends in Florida makes the holiday tradition so much more special. We love having Christmas dinner at Aunt Phyllis and Uncle Mickey's house. Grace was a really good helper this year.

Aunt Nancy and Uncle Chris

With Nana on Atlantic Avenue 

 Ba, of course!

 Our friends, Madeline and Jonah always spend Christmas in Del Ray, too!

This year I got to visit with Jill, Hannah, and Nancy
(where is the selfie stick when you need it?)

Grace made some new friends at Seagate - Allison and Olivia - twin sisters from New Jersey.  They are also 8 years old and in 3rd grade.

Part of Grace's tradition is spending time with Aunt Nancy, Uncle Chris, and Bella alone without mom and dad.

This year, she swam in their pool and caught her first fish - a Peacock Bass that Uncle Chris said was beautiful. Grace didn't really want to touch it so Uncle Chris did and they threw it back so it can keep growing.

We also had a chance to visit The Girls Strawberry U-Pick hydroponic farm. The plants (strawberries, mangoes, tomatoes) are grown in a soil-less medium with a nutrient solution. Although it wasn't strawberry season we loved exploring the farm and looking at the rescue birds and animals. Grace and Madeline loved the petting area. They tried, without success, to catch the rabbit. This bird was much more friendly!

The Wakodahatchee Wetlands were another new adventure for us.  The name "Wakodahatchee" is derived from the Seminole Indian language and means "created waters". This wetlands was created by the Palm Beach County water utilities department and they pump 2,000,000 gallons of highly treated water into the wetlands daily to sustain the life of plants, birds, and reptiles.  It is home to turtles, frogs, alligators (we saw three!), 140 species of birds, and iguanas.  We had a great morning walking along the 3/4-mile boardwalk to view the different parts of this habitat.

New for us this year, was First Night in Del Ray.  First Night is a family-friendly event held in cities around the country.  The Del Ray version included giant inflatables, face painting, food trucks, and fireworks.

I thought this photo looked better in black and white.

It was another holiday break full of fun and family.

Happy New Year 2016!
(We remembered to use the selfie-stick.)

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