To Florida and Back Again

Last week, we took a quick trip to Florida! There were several reasons for this trip:

  1. Vacation. As soon as Theo found out about his acceptance into the police academy, he took two weeks off of work. I know that it sounds so luxurious- and it is! It’s really nice to have this time together, especially to recuperate from the job that he has been working and to prepare for the job that he will be working.
  2. The Weather. I would be lying if I said we went to Florida without thinking of the weather. It was in the 70s each day and to us that was SO WARM!
  3. Visit my Grandparents. Theo and I both have such a rich legacy of grandparents who follow the Lord, pray daily for their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and who desire to see their grandchildren and great-children on a more regular basis. We know that the next few months will be busy with the police academy and we wanted to make sure that we got in some time to visit.

We flew Allegiant Air, and my review of them is this: we payed for what we got. It wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t fabulous, either. But then again, at $70 for a round-trip ticket, I can’t complain.

We also rented a rental car from Enterprise. We were also going to get carseats from Enterprise, but after finding out that it would be an additional $70, we just decided to take our own (for free). Now, I know that a lot of people have concerns about checking their car seats in with the luggage, but that is just one thing that Theo and I have chosen not to worry about. We understand the risks and have chosen to do it our way.

We also saved a decent chunk of money by not taking any luggage. We bought three seats, so we had three “personal items”. On Allegiant Air, a personal item is a large purse/diaper bag/backpack that can fit under your seat. A carry-on is an additional cost and can go in the overhead bins. So I carefully layed out everything that we might need and then whittled it down to only the essentials. We managed four people for a week with three small “personal items”. I’m pretty proud of that!

We stayed at an Air BnB type place that was just a few miles from my Grandparents house. Staying with my Grandparents is always an option, but with two little, loud children we decided it was best to have our own space. This worked out AWESOME. We loved having our own place to eat breakfast and go back to for naps and nighttime. At the request of the owner, I will not be posting any pictures of the house, but it was SO nice, and we felt like we were truly on vacation!!!

Our flight down was pretty rough. Theo chose the cheapest seats on the flight, which of course were the very last ones in the plane, next to the bathroom. That honestly didn’t bother us at all, but what was pretty annoying was the fact that there was AN ENGINE right outside our window. I kid you not, you opened the window and all you saw was metal. We couldn’t even see the ground or the lights or anything. Not only was it disappointing for Tera, but it also made the whole flight feel so incredibly claustrophobic! We flew down on a day that the east coast was experiencing major storms, and the turbulence was horrible. The pilot kept coming on and telling everyone to buckle their seat belts. He came on and said that the flight attendants needed to remain seated and that they wouldn’t be pushing the 400 pound beverage cart around due to the turbulence. There was an entire row of three seats across from me that were completely empty. People kept coming back and asking if they were allowed to sit in the empty seats. Finally the flight attendant explained that “there was an accident there on the last flight and that nobody in their right mind would WANT to sit there”. Oh, dear. Needless to say, I was not at ease at all during the flight! Yikes! However, we made it safely and I have never been more glad!

On our first morning in Florida, we saw these sand herons! Tera got up really close to them, too!

We may have mentioned the pool to Tera, and she begged and begged to go swimming! This was Kiah’s first swim!

The pool was heated, but it was still a little bit chilly! Haha!

Kiah and I ended up just dipping in our feet and then sitting in the sun (which was glorious!). Theo and Tera swam around for a while and then joined us in the sun.

We are so, so thankful for this time that we had together as a family. So thankful.

At the retirement village, there is a pond. The pond has at least one alligator living in it. My Grandpa warned us that we might not see it, though, as it likes to hide. Well, we saw that alligator FOUR times! Haha! Tera was SO excited and kept saying that she wanted to pet him. Um, no.

(The alligator is on the island)

Tera warmed up quickly to great-Grandpa and great-Grandma! The feelings were mutual!

We didn’t take any toys or books and we didn’t want Tera just watching things on our phone, so we were outside a lot! I won’t complain about that!

This swing was so fun because you can sit opposite and just swing each other.

We drove Grandpa’s golf cart around everywhere! Just after snapping this selfie, an lady came out from her house and immediately knew who I was. The whole retirement village is comprised of SIM missionaries, so everyone knows everyone (my grandparents and parents are both with SIM).

It’s so funny when people know me and so much about my life, but I have no idea who they are! Anyways, the lady offered to take this picture of us and I love it!!

Another sighting of the alligator! Do you see it? To the left of the bird…

Great-Grandpa got out some art supplies and did some coloring with Tera! We are still working on drawing pictures. Not sure when that skill comes into play, but so far Tera just scribbles circles. Haha.

Great-grandma with her youngest great-granchild (so far!).

They have 7 great-granchildren with two more on the way!

I love this picture and will treasure it always!

Our return trip was quite an adventure as well!

We made it to the airport in plenty of time and got to our gate about 1.5 hours early. An hour before takeoff, they started to board the plane. It seemed really early and we were wondering what the rush was about, but hey…I won’t complain about an early flight! We got on board and sat and sat in our seats. Finally, the pilot came on and told us that the bathroom was clogged and they needed to wait on maintenance to come and fix it. After waiting some more, they pilot came on and told us that they couldn’t get it unclogged so that bathroom would just be closed and we would be on our way. We taxied out to the runway and sat and sat (again). Finally, the pilot came on and told us that there was a problem with the air conditioning and that we needed to go back to the gate to have it looked it. After sitting and waiting some more, the pilot informed us that the mechanics had concerns about the plane and that we all needed to get off and they would find us another plane.

So we all get off the plan (about 1.5 hours after getting on) and start looking for food. The airport was pretty small and only one place was open, so our entire flight got in line for this horrible, greasy food. It was some of the worst food I’ve ever eaten, and the worst part about it was how ridiculously expensive it was. After everyone waited in line to get food, the flight crew brought out free water and soda as a peace offering. No, but seriously…people were starting to get mad! The whole thing was inconvenient, but I’m glad that they were keeping our safety as their priority!

They finally find us another plane and finally start boarding. Half the passengers on our plane had already thrown out their boarding passes, since you know…we had already boarded once before. So they had to manually check all our IDs and then check off on their charts where our seats were…it took a while. FINALLY, we are back on the plane and all settled in. By then, it had been over two hours since we were supposed to leave, and the flight crew had been on shift for a long time. They decided to switch flight crews right then and there, so we waited for them to switch and get their things settled. Boy, were we glad when our plane finally took off and landed safely in Dayton! Tera and Kiah did great on the flight, despite all the craziness and waiting around and the horrible, horrible food.

We are so thankful that we got to go, and we are so thankful to be back home!

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