Making Memories

The past week was spent making memories.   

I thought a lot about how thankful I am for my family and for the many blessings in my life.   There are too many to count.  

I love visiting South Florida, where I was born and raised.  I can see my mom and dad, relax at the beach, swim, and just really have a VACATION.

We spent one morning with my mom at the Naples Botanical Gardens.  WOW!   What an amazing place to visit.   There was an exhibit of Zimbabwe sculpture throughout the gardens, which was very interesting.   We learned a lot about this African art form.  Did you know Zimbabwe means "great stone house"?

There was a fantastic children's garden that GMan really loved - lots of old fashioned water pumps and interesting botanical "art".   Don't you love the picture on the bottom right?  It's the Common Screwpine.

 Another day was spent at the beach.   There were so many shells, which my kids remembered from our last visit here (we had followed up with a unit study about seashells). The kids are at the ages where they love to play and explore, and my husband and I could sit and chat, nap, and read.   

The kids saw dolphins playing in the water, which was a bonus!

My fluffy beach read was Save Me - I loved it!  I'm not sure of its literary merits, but it allowed me to escape for a bit.  

My parents live in a vibrant retirement community.  We are able to stay in the lodge in their community, which is a huge treat.   We had a nice suite with a full breakfast each morning and swimming and tennis courts.   

My dad (almost 82) would come to the pool and swim laps with the kids.   I was asking him how he learned to swim and he told me when he was a little boy his dad would take him to the gravel pits to swim.    I jokingly asked, "So, you didn't come visit your grandparents in south Florida for spring break?"   By this I meant that my dad has made a great life for his family... he has worked hard, coming from being a child of the Depression to where he is today.    He enjoys treating us to fun times and spoiling us with homemade hamburgers and malts.

The kids got a tour of a train exhibit which is run by a man in their community.   It was amazing to see everything that goes into model trains.  

My favorite picture of the trip (I just wish my husband was in it, but he took the picture) is the one above of my kids, parents and myself.  We had such a great time with them making memories.

On our last night in Naples we revealed the Disney surprise to the kids and spent the next two days at the Magic Kingdom and Epcot.   More on that tomorrow for Collage Friday.

*Happily linking today with Theresa at Red Oak Lane