Monday, July 6, 2009

Florida Part 2

This trip was quite different than the last few times we have been to Florida. For the first time, we went on vacation with no diapers, no nappers, and no pacifiers! In fact, we have even gone above and beyond that milestone and arrived at the milestone of being able to say, "y'all get ready for bed," or "come make your breakfast!" In addition, we have reached the milestone of having four independent swimmers who discovered a love for kayaking!

Uncle John has two kayaks, and we brought down Uncle Billy's two kayaks also. All week long, the four were constantly in use by all of the kids. After the first day or so, they were granted permission to head up-river as far as they wanted to go!

Well, everyone but Josh... He still needed a chaperone. Not because he was incapable of kayaking... rather, he was a little too fond of mischief and tumping people over! In this picture, you can just see his little wheels turning... the one below shows the aftermath! :)
William and Sarah most enjoyed the independence and fun of kayaking. They heavily relied on their cousins Garrett and Mattie to show them the ropes (and frequently come to their rescue!)
Garrett, Will, and Sarah heading out on an excursion
Sarah, Garrett, and Will returning safely

Hannah and Mattie enjoyed the kayaks also; I am not sure why I do not have pictures of them. Hannah was a bit less adventurous than the others, but she really enjoyed fishing off the dock. Here she is, kissing her fish!

One afternoon we were hanging out under the pole barn and discussing placing pennies on train tracks. Scott told them that he tried many times as a child but never found his pennies afterward. Aunt Lisa donated about 30 cents, and the kids painted them all with bright colors... so they could be found in the gravel! We carried them up the hill to the railroad tracks, and the kids spaced them out on the rail... and then added some extra paint on the pennies and rails for good measure.
TAH-DAH! We actually found most of the pennies and were amazed that all of our paint was gone! Uncle John drilled holes into them, and the everyone made necklaces.

Mattie, Hannah, and Sarah show off their treasure

On our last day, we had a full day of sunshine! We were the last family to leave, so Scott, Kevin, and I took our kids and Garrett and Mattie to the "Jumping Trees." We kayaked downstream just a little way... two or three per kayak.... and made our first stop at the really high jumping tree. Someone has nailed boards up the side of this tree, and people climb up it and swing off into the river. You can see straight to the bottom below, and it is about 60 feet deep!

Scott led out, followed by Kevin. First kid to jump? No brainer... the 5 year old, of course. The stick was a little big to hold on to, so we moved on to the second jumping tree after everyone had taken their first turn.
Garrett taking the plunge

Will got a little nervous climbing the steps...
There goes Kevin
Watch out for the big daddy!
Fearless Josh!

The second jumping tree was much more kid-friendly. Mama was definitely much less nervous! The kids kept a steady loop of climbing up and jumping off going for quite a while...

Sarah jumping

Way to go, Hannah!
Pausing for a group shot- From the bottom: Hannah, Will, Mattie, Sarah, Garrett, Josh

After we left the second jumping tree, we paddled back upstream, past Uncle John's dock, past Uncle Billy's dock, and all the way to the top of the river. We got to see turtles, fish, and some huge elephant ears! Most interestingly, we got to see a sunken glass-bottomed boat from years and years ago! (I am telling you, this water is clear... the boat is on the bottom of the river!)

Here's a picture of Will at the top of the river
When we got back, everyone was pooped and needing a break. We took it easy for a little while, and then the girls and I went into town to do a little shopping with Aunt Connie. I had seen a yarn store, "The Stitch Niche" and a neat older home doubling as a gift shop. Hannah found some handkerchiefs for a friend of hers, and I found a neat antique tin full of old buttons. After one more dinner and a little more visiting, we headed back to Jack's to pack up and get ready to hit the road the next day.

Thanks, everyone for such a wonderful, relaxing vacation! We love y'all!


Anonymous said...

it looks like you had so much fun! That place seems awesome!!!

Heather Brandon said...

That looks like such a great place to swim, only didn't you say it had ALLIGATORS? Wasn't that in FL?
When I was a teen, we used to jump off a tree like that & swing into the water on a creek that is on hwy 6 past the Trace State park. We went every summer for years. Oh, what fun! Scott Duley looks like he is taking on water & his kayak looks awfully low in the water...
I hope we get to kayak in NC in a couple weeks. Are you still up to babysitting my farm? Would you pick my butter beans? <;)
Heather Brandon