A Very Special Trip to Florida!

Alicia, Marshall, Dad and Haydyn, Hayley and Tyler, Mom, Wes and me.

We arrived at the airport in Orlando early last Wednesday afternoon, where my mom, brother Marshall and nephew Tyler picked us up. Tyler didn’t know he was picking up Aunt NoNo and Uncle Wes, and oh my was he ever excited! Through the van window we could see his legs kicking, with him pointing and hear him saying NoNo and Wes. Needless to say, it sure made us feel good!! We were just as excited to see all of them. On the drive back to Okeechobee, Tyler enjoyed eating his “space pretzels” that NoNo saved and brought him from the airplane, while the rest of us talked of our latest adventures. My sister, Hayley, didn’t know we were coming for her graduation, so imagine her surprise when Wes walked into the house! Everyone did a great job keeping the secret, and Hayley was totally surprised! We all enjoyed a delicious dinner that evening at Marshall and Alicia’s house, and before eating, we went for a nice walk while Tyler rode his “motorcycle” and Haydyn was happy going along in her stroller. Then we had to swing for awhile and then dance like a robot, among other fun things.

Wes and Marshall, with his BBQ grill that he built and cooks on often.

Wes tries racing Tyler on his “motorcycle”, while riding Tyler’s bicycle.

Thursday, we all went to the beach in Ft. Pierce for the afternoon and had a blast! It was very empty, so we had it pretty much to ourselves, and there were a few nice waves! I couldn’t wait to get into the water, as it had been several years since I had been swimming at the beach, and boogie boarding is one of my favorite pastimes! We enjoyed riding the waves for awhile, and then I tried surfing on Marshall’s surf board. I worked on and perfected the “Wipe-out Ballet”, but tried to do so gracefully. After many unsuccessful tries, I finally rode it about 5 seconds, and decided that was about enough of that, and went back to my tried and true boogie board. I’ve come to the conclusion that boogie boarding is much easier, relaxing and I can ride every wave, which lends itself to a much greater success rate! However, at least now I can say “Been there and done that!” So I happily went back to body boarding and racing against my dad, and laughing with glee every time I beat him. I got paid back however, with the loss of the skin on part of my right arm after dragging it along the sand during one of my wins! Marshall and Hayley both surfed, while the kids had a ball playing in the shallow water and the sand. Time passed way too quickly and it was time for a picnic supper, and to head back to Okeechobee.

Perfecting the “Wipe-out Ballet” –  gracefully I might add  🙂

Ahhhh . . . Wipe-out!

Tyler and Haydyn make sloppy sand pies with Uncle Wes and grandpa.

Tyler “surfs” with grandpa’s help.

Friday was spent decorating for Hayley and the other graduates’ big event that evening, which included a lovely dinner for all of the families. Marshall did the BBQ for the meal, with others volunteering to take care of the remaining food. We decorated the table centers as well as the cake table and helped out with a few other details. It all came together nicely, resulting in a delightful evening for everyone. We were all so very proud of Hayley, and I know she was happy to celebrate this milestone, as was my mom who home schooled her. While in Wal-Mart earlier in the day, we met up with a very dear friend, Pam Peppers, whom we’d not seen in many years. She and her husband Mike, run a very successful boys ranch, and have done so for many years now. For several years, some of their boys were in the youth group that Wes and I led, so we became wonderful friends with Mike and Pam as well as many others through that wonderful endeavor. It was a real treat to get to catch up with them both, as well as many others we hadn’t seen in years, at the graduation dinner that evening.

Hayley and me in front of her photo board at her graduation.

Marshall lets me apply his home made BBQ sauce, with my eyes closed I might add.

Mike, Dad and Tyler, Wes, me and Pam, with her standing on a chair to be taller than all of us 🙂

Saturday was spent celebrating Tyler’s 3rd birthday with a nice party at Marshall and Alicia’s house. Tyler had a precious fire truck birthday cake and had a ball opening presents, and eating cake. We all put in a request for one of the tires, which was an Oreo cookie with icing stuck to it . . . yummy! A bit later on, we went out and played with Hayley’s baby chickens which also went along to enjoy eating bugs in a new location. Then we went for another walk, swung, and played yard golf until it was a couple of little ones nap times! Later that afternoon, we went out to the pond in my parent’s back yard, fed the fish, while watching and playing with Dolly the pig, as she also loves to play in the pond and be sprayed with the garden hose! After all of us enjoying eating supper together later that evening, we went for a walk at a restored wetlands area close by, which is simply gorgeous! It is full of several species of birds, White-tailed Deer and Alligators.

Looks like Tyler likes icing like his Aunt NoNo!

Fireman Tyler and Uncle Wes pose for his poster photo.

Sunday was spent relaxing and playing with Tyler at the house before heading back to the beach for the afternoon. The waves were awesome this time, and we had a ball riding them! Our friends Diane and John had brought a knee board, which they let me borrow for awhile. It was great with the smooth bottom and shape, letting you really go fast and catch a bit of air! Numerous hours were spent riding wave after wave while sometimes racing against each other and then playing with Tyler and Haydyn in the shallow water and sand. Dad and I also helped Tyler “surf” on my boogie board, which he really enjoyed. The time went way too fast, as it usually does when at the beach, and it was time to leave. Leaving there, we all enjoyed eating and laughing at McDonald’s afterward before returning home. Mom and Hayley took us back to the Orlando airport early Monday morning, and after saying our goodbyes, it was time to return home. Now it’s time to get back to work painting.

Tyler and I try to feed the fish, while the furry four legged one (the dog) eats all of the bread!

Me enjoying giving Dolly a much appreciated spray down!

Haydyn practices her runway skills, after mom and I dressed her up!

Another gorgeous Florida sunset!

Currently on the easels: I’m painting on a miniature of a Polar Bear that will be featured in the “Western Visions Miniatures and More” show in Jackson Hole, WY. Wes is currently painting on a miniature of a pair of beautiful swans.

until next time   ~   Rachelle   🙂


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