Well we’re back from a month in sunny Florida, and let me tell you, it was great!
We had 25+ degree (celsius) weather virtually every day. The pool was a nice 85ish degrees (farenheit) and we swam in it at least once a day. The house was great, and the price was reasonable. We rented bikes a couple times, a pontoon boat once, and visited the beach 4 times. We ate outside regularly, the kids played in the grass (not many snakes/alligators/etc around during dry season) and visited museums and nature spots a few times.
We had two sets of visitors, with whom we did more of the vacation-type stuff. I even got in a round of golf with my old college roommate, Brad! Keeping score creatively, we did alright!
We had pre-found a church that we made our temporary home. It had a great childcare program, which even allowed us a “date night” one Saturday evening. Mostly it was our plan to just do our normal life, just in a warmer climate. I ended up a little further behind on work and school than I had hoped — despite my best intentions to stay focused. Nic also planned to keep up with Ben’s school work, but that didn’t happen as regularly as she would have liked either.
The trip home was a grueling 27 hours, with stops only for the potty and for meals. We left around 5:45am Monday morning, missing a massive lethal pile-up on I-75 by only a day, and arrived around 8:00am Tuesday morning. The older two kids stayed exactly on schedule, and were rested and ready to play in the (rapidly melting) snow when we arrived. Eli struggled a little more with sleep on the road, waking up every 20 minutes between midnight and 2am to complain about being stuck in a car seat before nodding back off. Nic and I took turns napping and driving, and although we were very tired and took some nap time on Tuesday, had no problem with the drive. The roads were great all the way through and although we were watching the temperature drop, it never fell below zero (celsius.)
It’s back into routine now, without much adaptation time — the kids will learn to live like daddy does, and hit the ground running wherever they land. On the whole, we were very pleased with our get-away, and its timing. Besides renting the place, and excluding vacation-stuff costs, our expenses weren’t much higher than living at home. We might tweak things a little next time, but we’ll definitely look into doing it again! Traditional vacations have never really seemed to work out for us :-p
It was a challenging year for all of us, physically, intellectually and professionally, but it paid off. Having our lives structured so we can do things like this is a real blessing from God, and an affirmation of the choices and priorities we’ve pursued. Pictures coming whenever Nic gets around to it!