Summer Vacation: Florida

When planning for this multi-destination trip, we were so worried about how we would survive the long flights to and from Seattle but thought the three-hour flight from Montreal to Orlando would be no problem at all. 

Little jet setters. #ontheroadagain #floridabound

Guess which flight was the worst? When we boarded the plane, they announced that some routine maintenance still needed to be completed, so we wouldn't be taking off for half an hour. And of course it ended up taking longer than that. Then there were some thunderstorms in Orlando so we had to circle around for a while before the plane could land safely. 

As soon as we got off, Claire fell asleep in the stroller, which we were really, really hoping to avoid. You see, some of our good friends from Pitt are FOCUS missionaries and we were planning to drive across the state to Ave Maria University, where they were attending summer training, for a brief visit before Adam's extended family reunion. 

But by the time we got our luggage and rental car and unsuccessfully transferred a once-sleeping-now-screaming toddler into her seat, it started to seem like a not very good idea. Thanks to our delayed flight, we just wouldn't be there for long enough to make the drive worthwhile. Instead, Adam drove aimlessly around the airport while I used Hotel Tonight to book a last-minute condo near Disney World.

First stop in Florida - the pool!

We went to the pool, had dinner at Chick-fil-A and just generally took a breather before really beginning the next leg of our trip. The next morning, we had breakfast at Chick-fil-A, let Maggie take a good nap while Claire explored the complex's playground, and hit the road for New Smyrna Beach (about ninety minutes outside of Orlando, where Adam's grandparents live).

Next stop: Chick-fil-A! The Peppa Pig books they're giving out right now totally won Claire over.

We might have stopped for lunch at Chick-fil-A too. We just really miss it since moving to Seattle, okay? After we got settled in the beach house Adam's parents rented for the week, our friends Tim and Abigail stopped by! We had planned to see them at Ave Maria, but when our plans changed, they were able to swing by New Smyrna briefly on their way back to Nashville.

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It was such a treat to see them and their daughter, Amelia, who is a month younger than Claire.

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Abigail is due with Amelia's younger sibling in August. I am dying to know whether she'll have a brother or a sister!

Our little family of four went to Mass the next morning and afterwards, the family in front of us asked how old we were. When we said twenty-four and twenty-five, the dad said, "And you've got two already! So you're thinking five or six more, right?" to which we replied, "We hope so!" As we chatted with them more, we learned that they had started a family in their early twenties as well and now had six kids. I know this doesn't seem like a particularly remarkable encounter, but it was just so nice meeting a family with similar values. For being the world's largest religion, the Catholic world feels awfully small sometimes, you know?

The rest of the week followed a pretty great routine. A couple hours at the beach in the morning.

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(I feel like I should point out that those legs most definitely do not belong to me, but rather Adam's little sister Katie, who has been taller than me since she was in fifth grade.)
A dip in the pool following afternoon naps.

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Big family dinners every night, which we each took a turn making. For our night, we made Lizzy Writes' Korean Beef and Roasted Broccoli with the Peach Crisp from Bread & Wine for dessert.

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And after the kids were in bed, games and big bowls of Bluebell ice cream. Okay, the kids had their fair share of Bluebell as well. We must have gone through close to ten half gallons over the course of the trip!
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There were five kids, ages three and under at the reunion. (Adam's cousin has three year-old twins and his oldest brother, Jeff, has a daughter turning two next month, Estelle.) It was so much fun seeing Claire and Estelle playing together all week! When the toddlers were together, there were some pretty raucous games of hide-and-seek and jumping on the bed sessions.

We loved getting to introduce Maggie to her great-grandparents, affectionately known as Baba and PopPop.

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As well as all of Adam's siblings, several of whom we hadn't seen since Claire was a newborn!

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Here she is with Jeff and Jenn, Estelle's parents. They live in Houston, where Jeff works for a software company.

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Steve and Elizabeth are next in line. They recently returned from an over-a-year long trip throughout South America to their home base of Pittsburgh, where Steve's an elementary school librarian.

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Alex, Adam's brother closest in age, and his wife, Kate, just finished their grad studies at Indiana University and are moving to DC later this summer for Alex's new job at a consulting firm.

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And here's Adam's little sister, Katie, who just finished her first year at Tulsa, where she's studying biochemistry.

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Adam's dad hadn't seen her since she was two weeks old, so they had quite a lot to catch up on.

On our last day there, the other friends we were hoping to see at Ave Maria, Matt and Kelly, generously made the drive to New Smyrna. Their sons, Jude and Finn, are both exactly two months younger then Claire and Maggie. Like, to the day. Crazy, right? Kelly and I were joking that when we find out we're expecting baby number three one day, they'll know that they only have two months to go!

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We left early Saturday morning to head home. It was our longest day of travel (I think Orlando to Seattle is just about the farthest you can fly within the continental US) plus we had a ninety minute drive to the airport. But the girls were surprisingly well-behaved. Maggie took good naps on each flight and Claire managed to hold it together despite her 5:00 am wake up call. The highlight of the day occurred during our layover in Dallas - lunch at Pappasito's!

A two-hour layover in Dallas means lunch at Pappasitos!

The other highlight of the day was seeing Mount Rainier as we descended into Seattle. As much fun as we had seeing everyone, it was great to be home. Florida is so hot and humid and there's all these mosquitoes everywhere. We're not used to that anymore!

Well, hello again, Mount Rainier. #homesweethome #nofilter

We came home, got the girls in bed at 6:00, and passed out ourselves at 8:30. I guess that's what happens when you wake up at 1:00 a.m. pacific time...

Overall, the whole trip went way better than we could have imagined. Claire and Maggie were well-behaved on the flights, slept well in unfamiliar locations, and were just generally much more flexible than we had hoped. They are turning into quite the little jetsetters!


  1. Great pictures!! So good to see pictures of you guys with our FOCUS friends. :) I didn't realize Abigail was pregnant, that's so exciting!!

  2. What fun! I love that y'all went to Chick-fil-A for three meals in a row. We probably would've done the same thing. :)

  3. How fun! You're so brave to take that flight but it looks like the trip was SO worth it. I'll admit I'm a bit jealous - I'm craving some beach time! Glad you had a great family visit.


You are awesome.