We’ve enjoyed our first week in Ft. Myers at Legacy marina. We have met so many lovely people here. Everyone is so friendly and wonderful to us and the girls. It’s been a busy week. But let’s back up. After my last blog post we spent another lovely day on Boca Grande before heading on. I got up early and went out for a sunrise walk. It was beautiful!
The girls and I went to the most adorable tiny church for the last Sunday of advent. We had a guessing game while driving there in our golf cart about how many rows of pews there would be. Maddy guessed right…11 rows of pews…but there were also two rows of chairs. After church we all headed to brunch. During brunch on this little canal the waitress casually mentioned that there were manatees right there off the dock. It was my first sighting! Two of them just lounging in the water. Pretty cool to see. Then off to the beach! Great day of playing in the sand and water for the girls.
After fueling up we left Boca Grande and headed a whopping 7 miles south to Cabbage Key where we anchored for the night. We took the dinghy and explored a bit and then pulled into Cabbage Key for dinner. After being attacked by bugs yet again (I’m a magnet for them) we went inside for dinner. The girls loved the ring game in the restaurant and all of the dollar bills everywhere. They got to add their own dollar bills to the walls. And did I mention that we were the ONLY people in the restaurant? We had a fine dinner. Nothing special but it was fun.
We spent the next morning exploring Cayo Costa State Park and cruising around Useppa in the dinghy. We started with Cayo Costa. Tied up at the dinghy dock and took the tram across the island to the beach side. We took a nice walk on the beach. We had studied tides that morning because the girls asked to learn about them. It was fun to see the markings in the sand that were left at high tide. We collected some more shells and enjoyed the gorgeous morning.
Once on our way again we headed south to Ft. Myers. Lots of awesome dolphins swimming and jumping with us again. Took a break from school to stand out back and watch them. We can’t get enough of them. It just never gets old. We got tied up at Legacy in Ft. Myers. We met our neighbors and headed to get some dinner. We had a full week of school planned before “winter break” so it was bedtime as usual with school the next morning.
We spent our mornings this week doing school and our afternoons at the pool or in the dinghy and making some Christmas candies. Thursday we picked up a rental car and I powered through some last minute shopping for Christmas. After a productive school week we put the backpacks away to enjoy family. Lots of aunts, uncles, grandparents and cousins to play with!
Friday Aunt Emily arrived just after lunch and the close of school. Molly powered through a unit math test, we finished the novel she was reading and Maddy had a word study test. We hopped in the rental car and headed to the airport. So happy to have my sister with us for Christmas again. It’s becoming a tradition…and a good one at that. After we got Emily and let her drop off her luggage and change into Florida heat wave appropriate clothing we headed to the Cape Coral harbor host’s house to pick up all the gifts we had shipped there. Kitty is wonderful. Look her up if you are in the Cape Coral/Ft. Myers area. She welcomed us into her home, told us to bring suits so the kids could swim in her lovely pool, she had drinks and snacks for us. It was a great visit. Friday night we took the dinghy to Pinchers for dinner and then dropped the girls and Emily at the boat and headed out for some more last minute shopping.
Christmas in FL is kind of surreal. As was Thanksgiving. And WONDERFUL! It’s warm. It’s sunny. There are dolphins. There is swimming. And there are no winter coats and snow and weather to deal with. We had a great Christmas Eve and day. Christmas Eve we took the dinghy out and went to the condo my mom and Jim rent here. We spent some time looking around for dolphins to no avail.
The girls, Emily and I headed to Christmas Eve mass at 4. We put a ham in the crock pot that morning. When we got back Ben had made a spiced hot cider and had that warmed for us along with the sweet potatoes in the oven and the green beans boiling. We had a great and very easy dinner on the boat, read Twas the Night Before Christmas and did our best to get the girls settled. Not easy! Boy were they excited.
Christmas morning is always so magical. Despite lots of talk about Christmas being smaller this year they still had a great day. It was a fun morning with lots of squeals and shrieking and they seem to love all of their new things. We kept it small but still have to find a place for all the new books, puzzles, legos, dolls, etc. It’ll happen eventually.
We spent close to 3 hours this afternoon in the dinghy. My back is not happy about that. We cruised up the river to the Orange River where there is a Manatee park. It’s next to a power plant so the water is very warm (like 87 degrees warm). But despite us, kayaks, and many people on land looking for them we did not spot a single one. We did however bask in the sunshine and beautiful nature surrounding us. On our ride back we spotted dolphins and chased them around for a bit. Emily was very happy to see them!
After a quick cleanup and tossing together of a dessert tray we headed to the Christmas potluck at the marina. What a lovely group of people and some fantastic cooks. I haven’t eaten that much since Thanksgiving. It was 4 hours ago and I’m still stuffed. And it was right next to the pool so the kids swam til we ate, then they ate, and then swam again. We took a long walk after dinner and then again tried to get them settled for bed. Not too successfully. And more fun starts tomorrow. My other sister, her husband and their kids landed about an hour ago. They will be at the condo my mom has rented tonight and we will see them tomorrow and for the rest of the week. We’re so excited to have so much family time. The kids cannot wait. My mom and Jim are driving now. Their plan is to make it 9 hours today (after leaving post Christmas lunch) and then another 9 or so tomorrow to hopefully be here in time for dinner. Should be a great week with lots of special memories. And then next Saturday Ben’s brother and his family arrive just in time for NYE!
We hope all of you have had as wonderful a Christmas as we have. It’s been a special day and is going to be a very special next two weeks. Again feeling very blessed!