Sunny Florida

Here is what we were leaving when we hopped on a plane to Florida last weekend:



(The snow, that is–not our girls.  We took them with us.)

We had a delay at the airport so the girls entertained themselves:



(Don’t worry.  They asked the elderly lady first if they could use her wheelchair.)

Then finally at 10 PM, it was time to board the plane.


 Florida bound sisters!

We landed in St. Petersburg where our sweet niece Hannah (who plays volleyball for State College of Florida) picked us up from the airport and drove us to our condo on Anna Maria Island.

We arrived around 2 AM and tried to get into the condo–only to find out it was the wrong one. 


And darn GPS.

Sorry about that, people who live there!  Fortunately, they were nice about it and didn’t try to shoot us or anything like that.

A few blocks down, we found our condo and finally went to bed at 3 AM.

The next morning, the girls wasted no time jumping into our unit’s heated pool.  







The pool was heavenly! And we pretty much had the pool all to ourselves the whole week. Nice!

After the girls’ swim, we went exploring on the island.  And came across the friendly neighbor man whose condo we tried breaking into the night before.  He directed us to a short cut to the ocean, and we trekked off to the warm sand.


The sky was overcast but the ocean was beautiful–and a bit nippy.





Mike and the girls ventured out into the ocean–the lone swimmers out there!  A bit later, I worked up my courage to join them, ignoring persistent scenes from JAWS flashing through my mind.  It wasn’t my first time in the ocean (I was 11 when I first stepped into the ocean ankle deep–and a wave crashed over me, pulling me out into the ocean. I came up shocked, sputtering out salty water.  I’ve had a fear of respect for the ocean ever since).

Proof that we were in the cold ocean:



Then suddenly, we noticed a dark-colored animal flapping out of a wave nearby.  

We thought it was a bird who had gone after a fish, but we watched and the bird didn’t emerge.  Uh, that means the creature is STILL in the water!  With US!  

A bit unnerved, we decided to head back to shore.

Some fishermen along the shore told us that it was a black stingray that one of the fisherman had hooked accidentally.  

When we looked back at the water, we could see another one flapping out of a wave (that wasn’t caught).


Swimming with wild stingrays–we can now check that off our bucket list.

“That’s how Steve Irwin died!” Katie exclaimed.

Yes, child. So it is.


That was enough ocean swimming for us that day.

So we headed back to our condo for some safe pool swimming.

We relaxed the rest of the day to gear up for our trip to Universal Studios the next morning…

where the only shark there is a fake one. 








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