Thursday, July 4, 2013

The Sunshine State and Nasja

Hey everyone!

I wanted to share the details of a very exciting week! As I posted several weeks ago, Scott, Emmy (my sister) and I traveled to sunny Florida for a week-long and much deserved vacation last week. And how sunny it was, the temperatures reaching over 90 degrees daily. 
   Monday was a long difficult day, but we made the best of it. Detroit Airport is usually easy to navigate, but this time the long-term parking lot was re-located and the detour signs for it were confusing. We spent a half hour looking for the lot and the drive to access it. We finally got parked and got our luggage loaded into the shuttle, sped through check-in and were headed to security when our flight called to tell us it was delayed one hour. All that hurrying for nothing! We then picked a place to get breakfast, Emmy got pancakes, I got french toast and Scott got an omelet. After breakfast was over, we sat at the terminal for what seemed like forever. Emmy really liked the moving sidewalk that led to the gates, but she didn't like the escalators while rolling a carry-on bag. Our flight went well, it was fun watching Emmy look out the window while in the air, I don't think she looked away from her window once! She also got a kick out of our female pilot, since she wants to go into aviation herself.
   Upon landing in Florida, there was a long wait to get our rental car. We were upgraded twice due to the lack of economy cars! Then we tried to navigate through the lunch hour traffic to our hotel, which was extremely close to Sanibel Island, one of our destinations. We checked in and changed into our bathing suits and decided to head for Sanibel. When we arrived at Sanibel, we headed straight for lunch. We ate at one of Scott and I's favorite restaurants, The Island Cow. The muffins were amazing as always, and the food delicious too. And the best part? We ordered GATOR! And it was awesome! After our lunch we headed for the beach, which wasn't too packed. Emmy and Scott enjoyed looking for shells while I floated in the saltwater. At one point we were being poked in the feet by something round. It felt like it never stopped. We were so worried, and then we discovered that the ocean floor was covered by live baby sand-dollars. They made the bottoms of our feet orange! We quickly moved out of their way. A storm rolled in about an hour after we arrived at the beach, so we headed for the hotel. We swam in the olympic sized pool there for awhile before retiring to bed for our Tuesday adventure.
   Tuesday was reserved for traveling to Sea World, Orlando. The trip according to Google Maps was only supposed to take 3 hours, but it felt more like 5 hours. It was exhausting, and we had to be up early to get on the road. On the way up on I-75 we went through cities like Punta Gorda, Sarasota and Tampa. As soon as we got to Sea World, we sprayed down with sunscreen and got on with our day. We visited the new Antarctica exhibit (with Penguins!), fed dolphins and sharks, watched several animal shows (awesome as always) and ate awesome food! We had a great time, but then we had to drive the several hour commute back to the hotel. We got back around 0100, and went straight to bed.
   Wednesday was dedicated to shopping and various sight-seeing. We visited the Tanger Outlets, Coconut Point and Gulf Coast Town Center. Emmy found several cute tops and bottoms at a few stores and I window-shopped. We ate at Panera Bread for lunch while another storm passed. We shopped all day and visited Bass Pro Shops and Ron Jon Surf Shop too. We then visited Sun Harvest Citrus and were disappointed to find that late June is the off-season for citrus fruits in Florida. We enjoyed sampling the fresh juices and looking through the candy. Later that afternoon we ate at Chili's for dinner and visited yet another mall, the Edison Mall. We were literally shopped out and exhausted by 2300. 
   Thursday we visited the Six Mile Cypress Slough. We saw baby feral pigs, various birds, turtles and even alligators. It was very humid but the shaded boardwalk helped keep us cool. After we visited the Slough we had lunch and went to the hotel to get our bathing suits for the beach on Sanibel. Bowman's Beach which is known for it's fantastic shelling was our beach of choice. Unfortunately, the shells were picked over and there weren't very many to pick up. Toward the end of the afternoon we witnessed an alligator swimming very closely to the beach. Everyone evacuated as the officer on scene told the swimmers that the alligator was probably trying to reach a nest up on the beach. It was awesome to see. We also visited the Sanibel Lighthouse and Pier, where we watched a fisherman haul a 40 lb fish up from the water. Several feet from the Pier five dolphins were jumping in the water. It was such an amazing day.
  Friday was our flight home. After a quick lunch, we headed to the airport. We were informed that our flight was again delayed because of storms in Detroit. The plane had been waiting on the tarmac for two hours waiting for the weather to clear. We were never so happy to be home in our lives when we finally got back into Michigan and back to Homer around midnight.  
   Monday we added a new family member. I had been wanting a German Shepherd Dog for several years, and more so after meeting our Hillsdale County K-9, Baja. I found my girl on Craigslist, a 9 y/o female German Shepherd named "Nasja" and she has been a joy! I never knew that I liked dogs so much until I got her. She is so much fun, she loves to go for car rides and walks. Our other dog and our cat have had a rough time adjusting to Nasja, but I have been reassured that it will get better as time goes on! It has been a great July so far, and I hope everyone else feels the same!