Florida Vacay [Family, Disney, Beach]

We've made it to Florida about once or twice a year since we were married, but this time it'd been over two years. I have a nephew who is 1½ and a niece who just turned 2 and we hadn’t met either of them yet.  We were also majorly in need of stealing Reed away for a week, so we could spend some quality time with him and I loved spending time with him around the clock for the first time in too long. My family in Florida had never met Jude either and the last time we were at Disney World, Eden was 1 ½ and had since grown tall enough to ride every ride in Magic Kingdom (except for Space Mountain)! So we were totally due for this trip and I’m so grateful we had the opportunity to go!

Our family had all been hit with a cold shortly before the trip and I was worried about Eden and Jude having built up sinus pressure for our plane landing. They both did end up having some pressure (well I am obviously guessing with baby Jude since he got a little fussy), but we gave Eden her water to sip and Jude his binky and everything went okay. Besides that everything went really smoothly with the kids and the flight over there (Jude’s first time on a plane – Eden’s first time was also at 4 months on a flight to Florida).  We didn’t leave Utah until around 5pm and had a nice direct flight into Orlando. Eden had a blast with the whole row behind us to herself – she decided to go back there and spread out. She watched the Nightmare Before Christmas and Zootopia and spilled orange juice all over herself :/...ooops! Since we lost two hours going east though, we didn’t land till 11:30pm and by the time we got our suitcases from baggage claim, got home, got the kids to bed, unpacked, and got ourselves to bed it was 4am!! At least that was only 2am MST, but needless to say we all slept in and were a little zombie-ish the next day.


The next day after sleeping in and showering, we visited with my family (finally met our niece, little Violet) and made a trip to Publix. So basically, if anyone were to ask me what I miss about Florida, I would respond with, “Family, friends, and Publix!” Publix is THE BEST grocery store in the whole world! The subs! Oh, the subs! The bakery! Oh, the bakery! The ice cream! Oh, the ice cream! That first day we made sure to load up on ice cream for the freezer. We let Eden have some after dinner most nights and then Reed and I enjoyed sitting up late each night, talking and eating our ice cream, once we’d put the kids down.


It was really nice to have to a day to relax and recuperate, since the next day was our Disney World Day. Eden was SO excited that she kept getting up after we had tucked her in. I was worried she wasn’t going to get any sleep and that she’d be grumpy. She seemed pretty tired when she got up, but was too excited to care and surprisingly she was so good all day—and I mean ALL day.

We got up at 6:15 to get to the park as close to opening as we could. When we got into the park, for the first time, Florida felt like fall- thanks to the fake fall leaves that Disney decorates with during this time of year J . We went straight to Peter Pan and rode that first. I don’t know why, but out of all of the times I’d gone to Disney growing up, I had never rode Peter Pan! I think I thought they had taken it out of Orlando for some reason. Anywho, we’d recently been watching Peter Pan and Eden had been loving it (she almost changed her Halloween costume from Elena of Avalor to Wendy from Peter Pan). So we got that in first. Then we did the new Seven Dwarfs ride since it was the longest wait – 60 mins- and we were worried it would get longer.  After that, we proceeded to ride every ride we could.  Thankfully, for Florida, the weather was actually not too hot and there was some cloud coverage and a breeze most of the day. Though I think the park is always crowded, it was definitely less busy than in the summer. By the end of the day (we stayed almost until the park closed at 11pm) we had rode every ride we could, eaten our packed sandwiches and snacks, eaten surprisingly delicious hot dogs (loaded with pulled pork and sour kraut) for dinner, downed tons of water bottles and Eden had enjoyed a Mickey ice cream, that she chose instead of a souvenir (she is definitely my kid, haha).  Oh, I had also become very familiar with the baby care center and the nursing room. As we left that night, we were exhausted and completely satisfied. It was such a fun day – especially now that Eden could ride so many rides (and even Jude could rides lots of the rides). Eden’s favorite ride was Splash Mountain and Jude didn’t tell me, but I think his favorite ride was the Buzz Lightyear ride because he kept putting his hand on the gun like he wanted to shoot it. It was the cutest thing watching him hang onto it, even while Reed was turning it all around shooting it.

This picture makes me laugh...Jude is mid-sneeze and Eden is eating little leaves from the bushes :/

rough life :) 


They next day, we again slept in, and took it easy. Eden had fun playing with grandma and jumping in the bouncy house and that night we went to dinner on Lake Minneola with one of my best high school friends, Katie. I try and see her each time we go and there is never enough time to catch up as much as we’d like, but the time we have sure is wonderful.

Lounging around = true vacation


On Friday we made our way to Clearwater beach. I love to go towards the end of the day, so we can miss the super strong sun in the day and so that we can catch the sunset—especially since it is on the west coast. Clearwater is one of my favorite beaches – mostly because we get to drive through Tampa (a super cool city) and the sand is like baby powder! It’s super nice! It takes a little longer to get there from  Orlando, than the beaches on the East coast, but is totally worth the extra half hour drive!

We had to fit in all of our food requests and this day was great for that. We picked up Publix subs for lunch on the way there (per my request) and on the way home stopped at Steak N Shake (per Reed’s request) for dinner and shakes.

Eden loves the beach – she has only been a handful of time, but she can’t contain her excitement each time we arrive. She goes crazy in the sand, and starts collecting shells right away while she plays along the shore. Jude should have been hungry as soon as we got there, but he was totally distracted and content with his first beach experience that he held out until the sun had set. It was so cute watching his expressions, his hair blowing around in the wind and his squishy little piggies in the sand.  I thoroughly enjoyed watching my cute family and spending time with them watching the sunset, playing in the sand and water, and walking along the shore. I tried to bring the ombre tan in style, but the Floridians weren't going for it :D ! 

Excited for the beach!!

Ready to go!

I. Can't.Even...<3

Publix subs...my mouth waters just looking at this photo!

Those cute crossed feet tho! :)

This photo makes me think of a celebrity sighting :) Haha! Whew, who are those cute boys anyway?! 

First time stepping in the ocean

squishy little piggies in the sand <3

This "little" guy was waiting by the front door when we got home...We named him Little Buddy :D


The next day, we were able to get up early and go to watch our nephew’s soccer games. Eden was so excited to see Kaden and had been talking about him the whole trip! He was so fun to watch and my brother was actually coaching his little team, so that was fun to see as well. After his games we went a fall festival in town, where we finally met our little nephew Rowan, and fortunately while at the festival the dads took a hit for the team and rode the spinning rides with the kids. It was pretty hot, and Jude was starting to get hungry, so we didn’t stay too long. After that we went back to grandpa and grandma’s house for visiting, swimming and pizza.

Not used to this Florida heat! 

It's hard to catch the kids all together...Rowan escaped this photo

Now Violet escaped :D
Got 'em all! :) <3 ...and Jude's staring at his big sissy <3


On Sunday, after church, we were able to visit my grandma. Growing up in Florida, I had spent a good amount of time with my grandma Rose Marie. Almost every summer she would take us kids to her house for a week and we would do something fun every day. I loved spending that week with her and my grandpa! In the spring, when I was big and pregnant with Jude, I found out that she had a pretty extensive surgery and long recovery and I really wanted to be able to see her and spend time with her. I had to wait to have Jude and for him to grow a bit and we were finally able to come to Florida and see her. She had been in the hospital a few days before we saw her, having some follow up surgery from her procedure in the spring, and she seemed in great spirits and to be healing well. She is a strong woman and I am SO glad I got to finally see her and visit for a bit. After visiting her in Ocala, we headed back to Clermont to Craig and
Alicia’s house where we met up with our family there again and had a really nice dinner and visit, then headed home to get ready for our early flight home the next morning.

<3 <3 <3

Our flight was super early so we could get back in time for trick-or-treating that night. It was a crazy long day, but turned our great. And we were grateful for my dad, who took us to the airport at 5am!! And to my father-in-law who helped us on the Salt Lake City end!

It’s always so wonderful to spend time with family. When we get together, it feels almost like we’ve never been a part. It’s always hard to say goodbye. I’m grateful for modern technology that helps us to keep in touch during the time we are apart, until we get to see each other again.

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