We landed in the Orlando airport Thursday afternoon and arrived at my parents home just shy of a couple of hours later. It was a pretty drive mostly through the open countryside filled with lots of cows and scattered, beautiful cypress hammocks. We were greeted by my mom who was very excited to see us, sister Hayley and their two dogs. Shortly thereafter we were joined by my dad and we all headed over to my brother’s house for a nice BBQ supper and to meet beautiful little Haydyn in person for the first time. Before eating we enjoyed walking around the cow pasture, behind his house, that is skirted by lots of pine trees and Live and Scrub Oaks that are laden with lots of beautiful Spanish Moss. After I pushed my nephew Tyler in his swing for a bit, we enjoyed watching a magnificent Florida sunset that filled and painted the sky with an array of intense pinks, salmon and orange hues that slowly faded into a clear night sky. In the short distance the calls of Sandhill Cranes and a Whippoorwill along with several other birds could be heard. We enjoyed a wonderful supper together and then a time of playing with Tyler and niece Haydyn.
Friday morning the entire family enjoyed a casual drive over to Sebring, FL to visit one of my all time favorite state parks, Highlands Hammock. We loaded the kids in their strollers and all headed off for a nice, long walk around the loop road that goes through the park. Wes and I spent a lot of time hiking, riding bikes and having picnics in this park when we were dating and camping there after we were married, so as you can imagine it holds a special place in our hearts. I also spent quite a bit of time there with my family growing up. Unfortunately we didn’t get to see an alligator while there. However we did get to see a nice water snake resting in a lovely, sunny spot, which made me and Tyler very happy! My mom wasn’t as thrilled about it. We spent a couple of relaxing hours just meandering down the tree lined road and walking several of the trails through the Cypress Hammocks and swampy areas.
Having worked up an appetite, we headed to Red Lobster to enjoy a yummy lunch. Feeling reenergized, we went back to the park so Tyler and Haydyn could enjoy the swings. First I talked Tyler into going down the big tornado slide with his Aunt No No (me). It was a fun trip down, but at the end I could feel the static electricity big time which made both mine and Tyler’s hair stand straight up! After sliding a few times, to the swings we went. Even though we were told we were too big by Tyler, my dad and I swung too while seeing who could swing the highest, and we were followed by the rest of the family. It was then time to return home and we all enjoyed supper together at my parent’s place that evening.
Saturday was enjoyed by getting to see many family members that I had not seen in about 15 years, at a family reunion. Lots of hugs were given and there was much conversation and laughter as we ate and caught up on what was going on in everyones lives. I must admit it was weird that I, and my several attending cousins that I grew up with, were no longer the kids, but alas were all grown up and most with kids of their own now. Although there was great joy in the air, there was at the same time a bit of sadness with the absence of my precious grandpa Jackson and his many brothers and sisters that are no longer with us. Somehow it makes everything feel different now without them. . . . . time is truly a strange thing.
Getting home that afternoon, we had time for a pleasant walk with the kids and my parents and enjoyed throwing rocks into a small pond with Tyler. When his rocks made it to the water we clapped and he was happy. When they didn’t make it he exclaimed in most adorable voice “it’s not working”. He’s just too cute! Haydyn enjoyed being pushed in her stroller and is always most happy to be outside. We all enjoyed supper together and just sitting around talking and reminiscing. After treasuring and enjoying every moment together Sunday and saying our goodbyes, we left for Dunedin where Wes and I have served today and will also spend tomorrow serving as 2 of the 5 jurors that make up this years selection panel for the Miniature Art Society of Florida’s show. We have had a wonderful time with everyone today and are looking forward to enjoying tomorrow with them as well. At the conclusion, we’ll fly home and then get ready for our next adventure.
Happy Fall Ya’ll!
Until next time ~ Rachelle 🙂