Monday, May 29, 2017

St. Petersburg Florida - Family Road Trip

My skin has turned a reddish brown, speckled by freckles that only return after a little time in the sun.  Sand from our morning at the beach has taken up residence in my sun dried ocean blown hair. I sit on the very balcony that I've relaxed on since birth, my eyes squinting against the sun as I look over the tops of palm trees and into the sparkling waters of the Gulf of Mexico. 
1982-Me (standing) with Rhea and Grandma

It's a moment I never saw happening. The condo my grandparents used to bring us to yearly now have the laughter of our children bouncing off the walls.  I haven't stayed here since before Scott and I said "I do," 7 years ago.  Between the fast pace of time passing and vacationing in other locations, returning to St Petersburg hadn't been a priority, until now.  Yesterday we filled the car with gas and luggage and began the 13 hour drive south.  The kids were entertained with "prizes" every few hours and a movie or two.  Scott drove the entire duration, stopping for gas and pee breaks as we drove all day and into the night. The kids napped, played and sang along to the radio as the floorboards were occasionally decorated with popcorn kernels and dried cherries. Scott and I answered "are we there yet" at least 50 times and in the same breath commented to one another how glad we made the road trip down as a family. At 10:30pm, we pulled into our parking spot and lugged tired kids and heavy luggage to the 4th level.  
Road Trip!

This morning the sound of bare feet running across the wood floor woke Scott and I from our much needed sleep.  Before cereal could be poured both kids were in swimsuits begging to go see the beach. Paisley didn't remember his last trip to  Florida, he was only 3 months old. Lila didn't know what to expect, only that her brother was excited, therefor she was also.  

We quickly ate and slathered on sunscreen. A short 5 minute drive had us parking at St Pete Beach and following the boardwalk out to the white sand.   Both kids immediately dropped burying their hands into the powder like substance. "Is this really sand?" Lila asked with pure confusion mixed with delight. The soft white sand of St Petersbugh is nothing like the course brown sand that fills their sandbox at home.  
Beach Boy
We quickly set up our canopy and headed to the waters edge. Within minutes the kids were knee deep, squealing as the waves crashed into them. They turned and ran to the safety of the sand before plunging back into the cool water. For the next 3 hours we played in the ocean, dug holes, created sandy volcanoes, and tossed the football around.  The  kids were dusted head to toe with the fine white sand and could have stayed there all day.  

We headed back to the condo for lunch and to watch the Indy 500. The race couldn't get over soon enough for the kids whom were ready to hit the pool.  With life jackets zipped, both kids slipped into the warm water. Paisley enjoyed swimming the length of the pool (his newfound confidence grew as he realized his life jacket wouldn't allow him to sink) while Lila enjoyed playing on the steps. Dinner time came before either kid was ready to leave the pool but they reluctantly agreed as we promised there would be more time to swim this week.  

With clean kids and empty bellies, we headed to Silas Dent's Steakhouse for dinner. Lila was excited to get good seafood and none of us left disappointed or even remotely hungry. Back in the condo, our 2 water babies got into pajamas and curled up in bed. Good night kisses were given and little eyelids slammed closed.
Castle builders

This condo. This place that holds so many memories. Images of my grandmother standing in the kitchen cooking. Images of my grandfather walking up the drive in the early morning hours after having walked to the newspaper box.  Memories of my sister and I playing in the pool for hours upon hours. And now new memories with Scott and our kids. Memories that will reside in their minds and resurface as they grow older. Memories that will hopefully bring a smile to their faces and fill their hearts with happiness.  

Tonight my heart is full as old memories collide with the new and the images I carry of my grandparents share space with images of our children here now.  I look forward to seeing what memories will resurface tomorrow as well as seeing what new memories are made with our babes.
Family vacation 2017

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