Monday, August 11, 2014

Miami Beach, The Florida Keys and the Everglades

This past year we've been trying to decide where to go for our family vacation.  I really want all of our children to go to Washington D.C. because I feel like it's so important to go there.  Everyone should!  Anyway, so that was an option.  Then C & AA moved to the south for the summer so we thought we would go see them in Georgia.  Then I got looking at my credit card travel points and realized I could get five free flights anywhere in the USA.  I quickly called D and told him it was now a possibility to go on a Carribean cruise since we wouldn't have to buy the flights except for one.  I got on it right away and got us tickets to Miami and a Western Carribean Cruise reserved for August.  The boys were thrilled because they love cruises and little g was excited to be going on his first cruise.  It would be just the four boys at home, knowing the girls wouldn't appreciate it, the expense would go up considerably, and they would have plenty of other opportunities in the years to come.  

I'm loving D at the airport.  Decked out with his new glasses, huge earphones, Pirates hat, and his book, "Stalin" that he has been reading the last two cruises.  Fortunately, the third time was the charm and he finished it this trip.  haha

After checking into our hotel room in Miami, I got an idea of what my first picture of the trip should be.  Myself holding my suitcase that weighed forty seven pounds.  That's how much weight I've lost prior to the trip.  I've been working really hard by getting out every day and walking/running, and completely changing the way that I eat.  I'm so happy.

We had arranged to spend some time in Miami while we were there for a couple days.  Our home teacher told us that it wasn't really a "family" town so then we got nervous and wondered what we could do.  We decided that we would visit the Everglades, drive down to the Florida Keys and visit the beach.  So, the Florida Keys.  We can say that we did the drive.  That's about it.  Not the coolest way to start our big vacation.  We did love the beautiful trees that I had seen down in the Dominican Republic when I went down to visit my parents.  And the huge dangling fish was kind of cool.  :)

So, same thing with the Everglades.  We can cross them off of our list.   We rode neat boats that seemed to fly over the swamps and saw a couple alligators. G and A were brave enough to jump in for a second.

Some of us opted to pay $3 each to hold an alligator.  Some thought it was an absolute waste of money and were not going to hold it.  I thought it was a waste too but I had something to prove to my "new self".  I was determined to do things I never would have done before.  So, I held the alligator.  Needless to say my kids were shocked.  Chalk it up to the new me.

This looks just like a grasshopper, but it isn't.  It is the most ginormous grasshopper we had ever seen.  Just the body was the size of my pointer finger.  

D needed a picture with the alligator guys.  Just before leaving, we all  D decided that we would order an Alligator sandwich and try it.  I peeled the breading off of mine and ate it plain.  That people, is the new me.  Tastes like chicken.  :)

After crossing the Everglades off of our must see list, we decided to drive down town and see what Miami looked like.  We ended up at Miami Beach.  We weren't prepared with swimsuits or towels but the water was so beautiful and warm that the boys and I all got in anyway.  We looked so tourist-y it's hilarious.  We had fun looking for real shells rather than the puny things you sometimes find at the California beaches.  Loved it.  Could have stayed there for hours.  Grateful for the two we got in.  
D snagged this picture of me and it made me so happy.  

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