Sunny Florida


Last week, we spent an amazing few days in Tampa and St. Pete Beach Florida.  Since I have so many pictures and we did so many things, I  decided to create several posts about the trip.   This one will be about the first few days...

Day 1:
On Monday, we headed out at 5:30 a.m. to John F. Kennedy National Airport in NYC to take our plane to Florida.  We thought we had given ourselves enough time, but after getting lost trying to find the Long Term Parking Lot, we ended up arriving at 7:50 a.m. for an 8:30 a.m. flight.   The employees from Delta Airlines made it known that we were much too late for our flight, and so they found another one for us to take at 6:50 p.m.  Long story short--we ended up spending the whole day in the airport, and we were charged $150 for the flight change...

Still we made the most of our wait...

First, we rode the air train for about an hour.  (Lewie never got tired of pretending he was the conductor.)

Conductor Lewie telling us about the train (wearing my sunglasses, of course).

Then we found a Delta Lego Plane in one of the stores.  I helped him put it together,
and Lewie pretended to fly the plane everywhere--including behind Daddy's head.

This is Lewie driving a plane.  I'm so glad I wasn't on that flight!

Then, we waited for another hour, and another hour, and another until it was finally time for us to board our flight.   I've decided that I will stay in a hotel over night before missing another flight again.  Airports seem like a lot of fun until you're there with a five year old for the next ten hours...

We arrived at the Sirata Beach Resort in St. Pete Beach, Florida around 10 p.m. that night.

Day 2: 
We decided to treat ourselves to a fancy breakfast at the resort, and then we planned for a day of adventure at the beach...  My husband chose to rent a jet ski for a half hour, and I chose to go parasailing.  Lewie, who never wants to miss out on all the fun, decided to do both with us.  The really awesome story is that the owner of the water sports place, Captain Dave, allowed Lewie to parasail with me for free.   It was definitely a fun experience!

Chilin out at the Tiki Bar for breakfast.

Waiting for our chocolate chip pancakes...

Jet ski time...

A photograph of our hotel while I waited for the jet ski crew to return.

My two adventurers.

A forced smile.  Lewie was upset that his goggles flew off his head!

Aye Aye Captain Lewie.  Mommy is all set to go parasailing...

A pleasant surprise.  Captain Dave allowed Lewie to come with me even though we didn't sign him up...

Me and my little trooper.

Up, up, and away...

A wedding at our hotel.  I couldn't resist snapping a picture of their shoes...

A little pool action.

Good catch Daddy!

Our beautiful pool--simply paradise.

Time for the beach water slide...

Definitely much slippier with water.
A little water action.

Back to the Beach...
"Lewie, you have to take a picture with Mommy too!"
Castle wrecker!
Don't float away Daddy!

Our day ended with this amazing sunset.   I'm not sure where we found the energy to do so much in one day, but I definitely know we made up for the time spent in the airport.  Our next few days consisted of a vist to LEGOLAND, which I'll reserve for my next post...
Thank you all for your wonderful heartfelt comments last week!

Blessings and Happenings in Our Little Corner...


Early last week was difficult; my father-in-law was hospitalized with double Pneumonia (having Pneumonia in both lungs), and my husband and I weren't sure what to expect.  (My father-in-law has been ill for a long time, having survived throat cancer, mini-strokes, heart problems, and even  Mesothelioma, which is present in his lungs.)

Still, Papa is a fighter.  After several days in the hospital, he took well to the medication, and today he's back home with the family.  AMAZING!  During his illness, he's written a book, and this week he has asked me to help him with starting his own blog.  In his eyes, he has too much to live for, and his journey is not over!

On Sunday, my wonderful husband watched Lewie, so my mom and I could go on a bus trip to Narragansett, Rhode Island.    There my mom and I had brunch at the Quidnessett Country Club, took a lighthouse tour of Narragansett Bay, and went shopping at the quaint, historic town of Wickford, Rhode Island.  It was a beautiful day; the only "minor" flaw is that we missed the Peter Pan Coach Bus that was supposed to bring us.  There was a mix-up of times on the web, and so we learned quite quickly that the bus had already come and gone when we arrived at the commuter parking lot only to see dozens of empty cars and no people!  Fortunately, we knew we could drive ourselves with a little help from Google Maps.  It would have been easier to sit and nap on the bus, but oh well, the bright side is that we arrived to everything on time, and we even gave ourselves an extra few hours to shop since we had no "bus curfew" to follow.  My mom and I are best friends, so it's always fun when just the two of us can get away for a little R&R.

My mom and I posing after a delicious brunch at the Quidnessett Country Club.

A gorgeous view from the country club dining room.  (As we were leaving, wedding guests were starting to arrive...
I so want to go to another wedding.  I'm suffering from withdrawal.)

A view of the Dutch Island Lighthouse from our boat.

A view of Newport Harbor from the boat... I LOVE Newport!

A view of the Rose Island Lighthouse and Newport Bridge.
My mom chillin in Wickford, Rhode Island

The Beach Rose CafĂ©...Don't you just love the colorful buoys!

A flower box in front of one of the many cute stores...
An adorable church nestled in between homes from the early 1800's.

On Wednesday, my husband and I will be celebrating our 8th wedding anniversary.  We had some rocky times over the years (when my husband became addicted to prescription pain medication for his back), but I'm happy to report that he's almost one year clean and sober and going strong.  Our anniversary is nothing short of a miracle, and I am thankful to none other than God who both gave me the patience to stay in the marriage and gave my husband a new, second chance at life.  If our prayers had not been answered, I would be a single parent right now, and my husband most certainly would have turned for the worse.  (As we know, stories of full-blown addiction never have happy endings.)  This year we feel renewed in our marriage (one day I may share the whole story), and we have agreed that if we're celebrating our 10th anniversary in another two years, we WILL rent a hall, invite all of our friends, and dance until the wee hours of the morning.  I cherish my marriage now more than ever, and I NEVER want to take anything for granted again!

Lew and I -- Lake Tahoe in August 2005

Next week, to celebrate our anniversary and our little family, we will be going to Tampa, Florida to enjoy the beach, visit the zoo, and to spend a few days in LEGOLAND.  For me, going on vacation is my reward for working so hard during the year.  It hasn't been easy to go back to work full-time and hold back tears each time my son has asked me to spend the day with him. And it certainly hasn't been easy to stay up all hours of the night to teach online classes to make extra income to pay off bills either.  (In-patient treatment for drug addiction costs tens of thousands of dollars, and since our health insurance refused to pay for it, the only viable option was to use credit cards...)

Today I feel blessed.  We all go through challenges in life--some that we share and some that we choose not to share.  While we are facing these challenges, life can seem very grim, but I'm convinced that prayer is the answer.  This week has been a reminder of just how powerful prayer can be...prayer has saved my marriage, prayer has helped Papa get better and come home from the hospital, and prayer is the reason we have good times nearing the corner--a happy Father's Day Celebration with my husband, Papa, and Lewie and a fun trip to look forward to where we can spend quality time together as a family.

(Lew and Papa)

Life will not always be perfect, but just for today, I will be thankful for what I have...

My First Days Away from Little Guy....


Since Lewie was born, I've been so fortunate to be with him every single day.  Granted, there are days when I come home late from work at 8 or 9 o'clock, but even on those days, I get to greet my little guy in the morning and give him kisses at night (even if he's already fast asleep).

Reuniting with my little guy after a long four days.

Last week was different.  For the first time since Lewie was born, I was scheduled to go away to Poughkeepsie New York for MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) training that would be for four full days.  The idea of becoming an MBTI Certified Trainer made me excited, but I was terrified that I would be leaving my little guy for almost a week.  Would he be able to sleep okay without me?  What if he thought I abandoned him?

My husband and I decided the training was not too far away, and so we made the pact that if Lewie was having a difficult time, my husband would bring him up to Poughkeepsie in the middle of the week to see me.  Then, a colleague of mine from work gave me an even better idea:

"When I had to leave my son for work trips, I would buy him little gifts and hide them throughout the house.  Each night that I was away, I would call him and give him clues on how to find his first gift.  It became a little game between us, and the best part is that he was so excited about finding his presents that he didn't miss me."

My friend from work was right!  I bought Lewie three little gifts for the three nights I would be away from home and wrapped them.  Then, the night before I left, I took care to hide them in safe spots throughout the house--one in the living room, one in the kitchen, and one in the office/play room.  I told Lewie what I was doing, and so he was so excited to get my call the first night I was away from home:  "Mommy, do you think you can give me a clue?" he asked with excitement!

We'd play "hot and cold" over the phone until he found his first gift.  Then, the next night and the next night would be the same thing.  I would call in the morning too, and my son would ask if I could help him find his gift in the morning.  "Nope," I said, "you have to wait until tonight."

In case you are wondering, the three little gifts I bought Lewie were a bubble flashlight, a train jigsaw puzzle, and a Toby Trackmaster train.  They were worth every scent.  The "game" kept both Lewie and I so excited that neither one of us had a chance to shed any tears, and the toys themselves gave Lewie something new to play with to keep his mind occupied.

The good news is that I don't anticipate going to another training like this in a while.  I'll admit that I did enjoy having a few days to myself to break the normal routine, but by the forth day, I couldn't wait to be home!