Aug 10, 2012

Vacation with Family

On the Beach. Tuesday, July 10, 2012, Anna Maria Island, Florida.

This summer I've not had much of a vacation.  I know for all you non-teachers out there that sounds pretty spoiled of me.  After all most people are lucky to get two weeks out of the entire year, much less a whole summer plus Thanksgiving, Christmas, Spring Break, and various federal holidays.  I get that, after all Babs is one of those regular people.

Still the summer seemed particularly short this year.  There was post week for the first week of June (which for me extended halfway into the second week of June as I couldn't get all my stuff done in the first week).  The third week of June was free--Elijah and I had some quality time that week, although three days out of the week (and every week this summer) I spent a couple hours tutoring students to make extra money to pay for all the new baby-related bills that are already pouring in.  Then I had a week of class for my final course in my master's degree in Education.  This was the only non-online course of the program, and we met everyday all day for the last week of June.

The first week of July was broken up by the power outage and preparations for our summer travel.  I knew that when we got back from our trips, I'd have essentially a week left and then summer--for me--would be over.  So as it turned out, our trips constituted what felt like the only real vacation of the summer for me.  For a little while I could finally sleep late, do some serious reading, watch some movies, spend relaxing time with my wife and son, and on top of be with some of the most precious people in my life.

The best part of vacation.  The beach was wonderful, but the best part was simply being with family. 

The first half of our vacation was with family.  We flew down to Florida to see Mom, Vince, Dawn & Jim and their kids, and grandma.  Most of the extended family was away during the time we were there, but we had some wonderful time with my immediate family.  Dawn and Jim spent much of their time hanging out at Mom's house, which must have been quite a sacrifice given that they have two kids under the age of two, and I'm sure it would have been easier for them to be in their own home.  I appreciated their efforts to make the most of our time together.

On Monday, we made our long-awaited annual trek to the Gulf Coast to spend a few days on Anna Maria Island.  It was absolutely wonderful--about as close as you can get to the feel of Saipan this side of Hawaii.
We stopped off in Tampa to visit the aquarium there and to meet up with Saipan friends Ken & Crystal Pierson and their two daughters, and arrived at Anna Maria Island around six in the evening--early enought to get a few hours on the beach before sundown.
The cousins check out the stingrays at the Florida Aquarium in Tampa, FL. Monday, July 9, 2012.   

My brother Vince enjoying Florida's Gulf Coast (or a picture thereof anyway.  This was a backdrop at the aquarium. We'd experience the real thing in  just a few hours)

The Piersons!  We enjoyed an all too-brief reunion with our Saipan friends Ken and Crystal Pierson and their two daughters.  They're on annual leave for the summer and we spent a little time with them at the Aquarium in Tampa and then had lunch with them.  It was such a joy for us to catch up with them and all the latest news from our island home.   The time was too short--Babs and I spent the rest of the week reminding each other of things we forgot to ask the Piersons about Saipan--but delightful nonetheless. 

Our remaining two days we spent as much time as we could in the sun, the sand, and the water.  I almost felt guilty if I spent too much time inside when we had such a short time to be at the beach.  Still, I managed some lesiurely reading on the couch and a little napping too.

Sunset at Anna Maria Island. Monday evening, July 9, 2012

My brother-in-law Jim (no pun intended!) taking in the view.  We stayed at the Anna Maria Island Inn again this year, and to be honest it's just about perfect.  Nice, comfortable apartments right on the beach.  This year we had one unit and Dawn's family had the other so we had plenty of space.  We'd come back again next year except there is something in the units--mold maybe? Though none is visible--that gets mom's allergies going.  Both year's she's been pretty miserable for the length of our stays, so we'll probably have to look elsewhere next year.
Our Little Feller with his best stuffed-animal pal Elephant Elephant.   I took this photo mainly in a vain attempt to capture the warmth of those special moments you can only have with those closest to you.  The golden, comforting light of Jim and Dawn's unit, the sound of familiar voices laughing and talking, food being prepared in the kitchen.  None of this really comes through in the photo, but it was the most special part of a special time together.
Beach Scenes

I never tire of the beach.  So I've got some of my favorite beach photos from our time at Anna Maria Island. Enjoy.  Or skim past them if you like.  I know they'll bring me comfort on cold snowy days here in Ohio.

Morning,Tuesday, July 10, 2012

A week or so prior to our arrival there was a tropical storm that just sat over  Florida for about a week.  According to the innkeeper at Anna Maria Island  Inn, the storm surge washed away much of the beach.  As a result the soft white sand that was on the beaches last year was gone when we arrived, replaced with a coarser, shell-filled sand.  The storm also carved out numerous tide pools like the one you see our son wading in above.  These pools would nearly dry up during low tide and would be refreshed by more water from the sea during high tide.  The children spent a lot of their time playing in these pools.
Afternoon, Tuesday, July 10, 2012.  In the late afternoon a thunderstorm began making its way towards our area.  We snuck in a quick swim before the storm got too close, and also got some of these pictures.  Again the pictures don't begin to capture the majestic beauty of this storm rolling in over the land and sea.

One last dip in the ocean. Wednesday morning, July 11, 2012

Wednesday around noon we drove back to Orlando and ended the day with a baby shower Dawn and Mom planned for us.  They were calling it a "sprinkle" rather than a shower since it was supposed to be rather small, but for a supposedly small shower we were deluged with a lots of great gifts for baby Ezra and had a wonderful time with the friends and family that came.

Family at the baby shower at my mom's house. Wednesday, July 11, 2012.   From left to right: My cousins Yvette and her brother Nabih, sister Dawn, Uncle Roland, and Aunt Colleen.
Our Little Feller looks a bit perturbed by the new arrival on the way!
We got tons of great stuff for Ezra!
I find my brother Vince looks very "Thomson-like" in this photo. Something reminiscent of  Uncle Robert or even Grandpa in his posture siting maturely and solemnly while his nephews play around him.
Getting back in practice with my newest nephew, Ethan. Next time we visit Florida he'll have a playmate! 
The Endorsement:   Anna Maria Island Inn

This is our second year staying at the Anna Maria Island Inn.  The accommodations are great, the location is perfect.  Other than my mom's mysterious allergies we have zero complaints about the place. There may be fancier places on the island, but both my mom and sister have done pretty exhaustive research of the various rentals available on Anna Maria Island and both have concluded the that this place really is the best total package of the things we're looking for in a beachfront location.  The video on their website gives a great feel for the place.


Mai said...

So fabulous!! How wonderful to spend quality time with family & great that you got to see the Piersons, however short! And the beach pictures were much appreciated!! :)

Mai said...

So fabulous!! So great that you got to spend time with family and see the Piersons!!! And I loved all the beach pics!!! :)

Jane said...

Hi Sean!
My name is Jane and I'm with Dwellable.
I was looking for blog posts about Anna Maria Island to share on our site and I came across your post...If you're open to it, shoot me an email at jane(at)dwellable(dot)com.
Hope to hear from you :)