So a few months ago we decided that we would try to go to Florida to visit my parents for Thanksgiving. Ever since we moved to NC six and a half years ago, we have only been back a few times, and it has become increasingly difficult for them to visit us. I didn't know if we'd be able to swing it, but I made the reservations anyway. Since Art works in South Florida so much, we had several free nights' worth of credit, so we were actually able to rent a condo to sleep all of us for four nights, for about $100 total! Even Hannah and Canaan were able to come with us, so the whole family was able to go. Widsar met up with us in Orlando.
But first, on the way down we stopped in Georgia at the Veterans' Cemetery. Maggie has been wanting to put flowers on Pop's grave since he passed away two years ago. We were finally able to let her do that. We went to a local florist who was very helpful and let Maggie go to the back and pick out the flowers that she wanted for her bouquet.
Maggie and Pop always seemed to have a special bond.
As she knelt by his grave, she looked up at me and said, "Pop's not here though, is he?"
No baby girl, he's not. And you will see him later, just like you said.
So then we continued to drive south into Florida.
Here's how it is to drive with nine people in a van.
We finally made it that evening, and after checking in, we headed over to my parents' house where my brother, SIL and nephew were waiting. After a joyous meeting, the next thing I knew, I looked over and saw all of them engrossed in the new episode of Ninjago!
But when it was over, they all settled into playing some games.
We played outside in Grandma's back yard. Before long the kids were all climbing a tree.
Hannah had to join in.
Hannah tried to get Kiki to join in, but nothing doing.
Most of our family: back: Me, Canaan, Grandma and Grandpa, Hannah, my brother Jason, his wife Beth, and bottom row: Art, Kiki, Silas, Isaac, Eden, Maggie, their cousin Jacob, and Beth's parents Pat and Eric.
My three big kids all together.
Widsar trying a new hairstyle. "How YOU doin'?" I love this girl!!
And speaking of hairstyles, time for Kiki to get a new one from Widsar. She wasn't impressed.
Playing games with Grandpa.
Thanksgiving dinner. Art is at the kids' table. He likes it there. :-)
After Thanksgiving dinner, we went out to the playground for a while.
Hannah can swing pretty high!
That evening Beth showed us some of the work she has been doing. This was such a treat and fascinating. Beth is a very talented artist who has worked in many venues, from working for Disney, to working for magazines, designing book covers, lot of free lance work... and currently she is working for a company that makes tee shirts for Hard Rock Cafe, Busch Gardens, Cirque de Soleil, Sea World, and many other places. They also design hats, scarves, and jewelry. We really enjoyed seeing all of her work.
The next morning we were off to Green Acres Farm. Grandpa and Grandma graciously treated us all to a day at this farm and petting zoo. We were there two years ago, but this was Kiki's first time. We have gone there several times over the past 25 years. It has always been well worth it, and a great experience. If you are ever in Orlando, give it a try!
Pony rides for all the little ones. Maggie loves horses, and really enjoyed this.
Kiki was not afraid, and was very excited and happy.
Jumping off of an old truck.
Kiki did really great. For the mostpart, her curiosity ruled over her fear, and she also seemed game to do and touch anything that her siblings were. The only exception was the mini bull who was very loud, and pretty large. It was a bit much for her. Also, the cows caused some apprehension.
Maggie on the train ride with her sister.
Meeting a bunny. This was building where you could meet several small animals, bunnies, guinea pigs, etc.... but the most interesting one to me was the hedgehog! Very prickly, and very shy, but I didn't know they were so tolerant to being held. And his face was soooo cute, once you got him to reveal it!
Waiting their turn to milk the cow.
See how Kiki was not a big fan of cows?
Widsar finally got her to do it though.
The sheep were really cool. Sheep are one of my favorite animals.
I love Hannah's expression on the picture below. They are waiting to hold a baby duck or chicken, and Hannah is so excited, just like when she was a little girl.
They were pretty cute!!
Even Widsar had to admit how cute they were!
Uncle Jake and Aunt B
The goats were completely adorable, especially since they had several baby goats there. Kiki was not afraid to feed them, and went back twice.
If anyone were going to touch a baby goat, it would be Silas. He is such a gentle dearhearted boy.
Now off to see the chickens, and try to catch one of course!
Widsar's not too sure about this chicken thing....
Maggie brought her duck over to meet Grandpa and Grandma. Such a sweet hearted girl.
A duck with an afro.
On the hay ride. "We're still having fun, and you're still the one..."
Back at the house with Grandma.
Playing music, a highlight of every Thomas Family gathering.
Hannah played several of her favorite Christmas tunes.
Hannah doing the girls' hair with her new curling iron. Beautiful!
Then on our last day in Florida, my SIL's sister invited us all over to their house. The kids swam and swam and swam...
Then Beth and her mother gave kids the opportunity to work in clay. It was fun!
My Mom found a comfy spot!
And I guess that's it. Won't be visiting Florida anytime in the near future, but will certainly be looking for opportunities.