It’s been a busy few weeks in St. Petersburg and we haven’t gone anywhere! It’s been strange to be stationary for so long but we’ve made the most of it. Pasadena Yacht and Country Club is great. Heated pool. Exercise room and classes. Great restaurant. We’ve made ourselves at home. The kids swim just about daily. We’ve had two cold snaps while here that have kept them out of the water for a couple days but otherwise they are in the pool until sunset.
Thanksgiving was great. Strange to be just the four of us but great. We explored this little island by our marina. Soaked up the sun. Had a late afternoon dinner at the yacht club and then hung out on the boat and relaxed. Feeling blessed.
My mom flew in the Friday after Thanksgiving and stayed with us for a week. It flew by. We had a busy week. We took her exploring in the dinghy. We spent time at the pool. We did school (which she loved helping with and took over a big chunk of each day with Maddy!). We had a field trip day to Clearwater Marine Aquarium and then Tarpon Springs to see the sponge docks and stock up on sponges. We went to Sun City Center to visit my 99 year old grandfather. We went to Sarasota to see Jim who had flown down for a golf trip. And we still had some time for laying around the boat and visiting. Ben and I got out a couple of nights without the girls as well. All in all a great week! We were sad to take Grandma to the airport however we’ll see her again the day after Christmas! Feeling blessed.
Making the goodbye to Grandma Cathy easier was the invitation from Mike Rowe to take the girls out on his fishing boat. Mike, Ben and the girls spent last Saturday fishing. The girls loved it. They will tell you “we caught a lot, but no keepers”. They can tell you exactly what they caught. I can’t remember but they have learned so many new things on this trip! Mike made their day!
Also helping ease the goodbye to Grandma Cathy is your best friends arriving the very next Monday. Kathy and the girls flew down Monday morning and stayed with us until Friday. The week flew. We didn’t have as perfect of weather as I’d hoped (like is forecasted for next week!). But we had time to explore and play in the sun on the island. We took the dinghy into Gulfport to the park and lunch. We swam pretty much daily. We went to the Dali museum which the girls LOVED. We had a LOT of fresh fish. And we saw dolphins! I’m so glad the dolphins came out to play as we kept talking about them and then didn’t see any for a couple of days. But they did not disappoint and listening to 5 little girls in the dinghy squealing with delight was so much fun. Yesterday’s goodbye was particularly hard. The girls stood embraced in hugs that would not let go. Tears were shed. The Burnetts have an amazing adventure ahead and we won’t see them for six months. That’s too much for the girls to wrap their heads around. It will get easier with time but Molly laid in bed crying last night about missing Livia. Goodbyes are hard. But again, feeling blessed.
Easing the pain of the goodbye was a package full of Christmas ornaments arriving for the girls. My friend Molly had her girls choose from some of the ornaments they did not use on their tree this year and boxed them up and sent them along with some goodies and an adorable note. Our little tree looks much more festive now!
Today we had a real treat. My 99 year old grandfather came to see the boat along with my almost 86 year old great Aunt. I had cautioned against visiting due to the incredibly LONG walk out to our boat. Not to mention that once at the boat we are never at a good height for boarding here. The docks are high and don’t float so depending on the tide, the boat is either difficult or VERY difficult to board. But anyone who has met my grandfather knows that if he wants something to happen it will happen. There is no talking him out of it. I did insist that he could be strong willed about wanting to come see the boat but I was going to be strong willed about helping him on and off. Ben and Aunt Lill’s son in law Brett helped my grandpa on the boat safely. It was so great and special to us that he got to see where we live right now. We then went out for a great lunch overlooking a gorgeous day on St. Pete Beach. Then got to visit some more at Aunt Lill’s house. What a special day. Feeling blessed!!!
This week will be kind of tough. First, after two full weeks of visitors it’s back to the regular school schedule on Monday. Next, we are making a list of things we want to get done before we head south. Exciting to set out on our journey again however there are so many goodbyes. I’ve mentioned I am not good at them right? This week we say goodbye (hopefully more like see you later) to John and Gabi on Our Crazy Love and to Mike and Leann on Rowe Boat. We met Mike and Leann on Day 2 of our Loop in Joliet, IL. We’ve traveled on and off with them since. They have been so good to us here in St. Petersburg and are wonderful to the girls. We met John and Gabi in Green Turtle Bay and became fast friends as we were both laid up waiting on boat repairs. They are equally good to the girls and we bonded over rental cars, Walmart trips in Grand Rivers, KY and one very long day involving a drive to Mobile, AL and back to pick up props. While the four of them were a couple of weeks ahead of us crossing the Gulf we were so happy to catch up here in St. Petersburg. It’s going to be tough saying goodbye. We hope to see Mike and Leann along the way and hope to see John and Gabi in NJ when we head north. Also this week we hope that the other two families with kids can safely make their crossing! One family did a partial crossing last week and hopes to finish making their way down this way this week. The other plans to cross early next week and be here by Wednesday. We’re planning to stick around until they are here so we can actually meet and get all of the kids together!
I just have to say again that we are so blessed. We are so thankful and grateful that so many people have made the time and effort to come visit us. It is so special that others want to share this amazing trip with us. We are coming into another great month in Ft. Myers/Cape Coral. My sister Emily flies in Dec. 23rd and we get to spend Christmas with her. Then my other sister Libby and her family fly down Christmas evening. And my mom and Jim will arrive on the 26th. A full week together with family. A big thank you to my mom for making it all possible and for all of them for making the trip. Then on NYE Ben’s brother Max and his family fly down for a week. I’ll say it one more time…so blessed! The girls get two full weeks with cousins! They are giddy with excitement. What more can I say?!? Great way to ring in the new year.