Thursday, May 29, 2014

St. Augustine and El Galeon

While on our staycation beach adventure, we took a long, hot, humid walk through St. Augustine. We've been to this city many times, but decided to see things we haven't seen before.
 We trekked up the bridge to gaze over the two big ships in the harbor, then headed down to the docks to take a closer look.
 Josh wasn't happy with all that hot walking. He kept holding back, acting like he wasn't part of the family.
 Here they are, acting like Ponce De Leon (aka PDe L on this statue). I'm sure that's how he a lion, since, you know, that's his name.
We stopped to cool off in a magic shop where the employee put on a show for us using items the store sells. Ashley is in love with magic and is always trying out new tricks, so she was mesmerized by the act. And has a new wishlist for Christmas.
 We got some gelato because it was so hot. It cooled us off a little, and the kids loved their little plastic spoon-shovels.
 We also checked out the front (free) section of one of the little museums in one of the oldest buildings in town -- the pharmacy. I enjoyed seeing how this alcohol could solve so many womanly problems.
 Here's one last view of all the private boardwalks leading to the beach. We headed back to the beach early in the morning on our last day, and of course my camera died so I didn't get a picture of the amazing castle/lake/enchanted forest the kids built in the sand. We'll have to try again next time so they can have a picture to remember it. And I wish we also had a picture to remember the time I saw something white swim past us as we splashed around in the waves. Then a few minutes later a guy caught a hammerhead shark that matched the shadow I saw in the water. He wrestled with it on the sand for a few minutes, then threw it back in the water, right at us. Everyone on our part of the beach ran out of the water and didn't go back in for at least a half-hour. That was how long our fear of the shark lasted and we all went swimming again...
Such a great, relaxing weekend. We're so grateful to Chris's adviser who let us use her condo on the beach!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

a beach-filled weekend

 Chris's adviser kindly offered us to stay in her beach condo this past weekend. Ashley was in love with the bedroom (and the pink flamingos in the bathroom) and the kids kept asking me why I only decorate with tan, white, and black. "We need our house to look like this," they kept saying all weekend.
It was funny, staying in a condo on the beach. When we turned to look north, up the beach, it was super crowded where the public parking lots are. And when we turned to look south, where it's a mile of private homes and condos, it looked almost empty. We wondered why those public parking people didn't just walk a few more feet so they weren't all packed in one place.
But it was nice for us. We weren't complaining!
In this picture, I told them to jump a wave. But...the wave would obviously have to hit me first. You can see Ethan smiling as water sprays all over me and I almost get knocked over.

 We came at low tide, and the water kept getting higher, so we had to keep dragging our chairs backwards to keep our things from washing away. It was funny to watch Josh walk in the tracks we left behind.
 When we were done with the ocean, we headed to the condo pool. It was a perfect night with a gorgeous sunset and a nice breeze.
 When we needed some indoor time, the kids mostly played Lego's. Josh kept saying he was going to miss the condo Lego's because they were way better than his (even though we have over 5 gallons of cool Lego's at our house...).
It was a busy first day! Everyone was ready for bed early, and slept like a rock.
I'll post more pictures of our (hot and sweaty) walk around St. Augustine and the rest of our weekend in another post.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

springs hike

After our glass bottomed boat ride, we strolled around the park, and then went on a hike on a nearby trail in a connecting state park.
I almost stepped on this snake. There was a big sign at the entrance to the trail that talked about bears, so everyone except Chris (who has too much experience with bears...) was nervous, and jumping at every sound. Suddenly I look down and see a giant snake right where I was about to step. Luckily I didn't step on it and it passed as if it barely noticed us.
 The trail was so jungle-y, and at one point I think we heard a wild boar snort in the bushes. It scared everyone (except Chris...).
 At the end of the trail found the river that was connected to Silver Springs. It was beautiful and clear and calm. The kids crouched down and watched little fish swim around, and probably threw a few rocks or stick into the water.
 Can you see the fish jumping in the middle of this river? I took the picture just as it jumped. Too bad I wasn't zoomed in! It was a beautiful, hot hike, and we were all happy to get out of the woods and head home to drink water and cool off.

Friday, May 23, 2014

a trip in a glass bottomed boat

The other day I was itching to do something interesting, but didn't know what. Chris decided we should head over to Silver Springs and ride in the glass bottomed boat.
This is an old boat that's been there since the Spanish ruled Florida. There was also an indian dugout canoe, and some deep 80-feet crevices, and some old statues. The deeper the water, the bluer and brighter it gets (which is so weird -- my brain tells me it should get murkier and darker. Good thing my brain isn't in charge...) 
We also saw a lot of cool "nature" during the boat ride. Some turtles with their legs in the air, and a  huge tree with what seemed like a hundred birds in nests all over it.
Hollywood used the springs a lot back in the day because the water is so clear. Here are the statues from the movie I Spy (which I've never heard of, but now I need to watch it). They left them in the springs and now they are covered in moss. 
 Another view from the boat. It's like what you imagine the Garden of Eden to look like. Minus the millions of annoying love bugs.
You can see the bright blue and green sections in the water, even from the surface. Glad we took the time to go see another amazing place before we move in a few months. We also went for a hike after this, but I'll post those pictures later. My computer is being extra slow this week.