vacation & family

As some of you know, I went to Florida on vacation with my brothers and cousin Julie to visit our aunt Gail and uncle Duane - we left last Saturday and got back last night (Wednesday). It's funny because when you tell someone that you're going to (or just returned from) Florida, they give you this look of jealousy and get excited for you. I think they assume that you went to Miami, Orlando, Key West, or one of the other usual suspect vacation spots in Florida. But when you tell them you went to Tallahassee, a look of confusion overcomes the jealousy. Why Tallahassee? Because that's where our family is. And to be honest, I would take that over Disney any day.

An overview of the trip:


Travel day from Minneapolis to Houston (where we met up with Julie) and then Houston to Jacksonville. We rented my cool mini-van there and drove to Tallahassee, stopping in Live Oak at Big Daddy's for dinner.

We went to the beach house and enjoyed great food, drinks, views, and company. We took an intermission to our sitting around and visited St. Mark's lighthouse, saw some gators there, and then returned to the beach house where we continued to relax and had a great dinner there.

The boys swam a bit in the morning. We split up for the day and the boys did the antique car museum (which actually held a lot of other things - pianos, boat motors, motorcycles, etc...) and then they went out for wings/beer with Duane. Julie and I went shopping with Gail and we only made it through Bealls, which was great - but we then had to figure out how to pack for the way home. Gail made appointments for me and Julie to get massages, which was awesome.

Duane took the guys and Julie to Wakulla Springs to do a boat tour to see more gators and other wildlife. I stayed behind at the house and sat in the sun by the pool with a book and some coffee. One of my goals for the trip was to relax - so this was perfect. Gail could do her thing for a while and I did mine - and then we had some nice one-on-one time. That night, Russ did a test-run with Duane's new smoker and we had smoked pork chops that were awesome.

Another travel day. We left early in the morning and drove back to Jacksonville and then back to Minneapolis. It was cold when we got home and were all ready to go back to Florida weather.

What I Learned
Something I learned from Duane: y'all is singular; all y'all is plural. :)

That's the brief version and I'm happy to tell you more if you want more. All I can say is it was amazing - we all thought so. We all appreciated Gail and Duane letting us invade their home and their lives for a few days. We ate in for most meals (awesome food, including the best key lime pie I've ever had) and spent a lot of time just hanging out, relaxing, and having fun. We can't possibly thank them enough for their hospitality and generosity.

I've mentioned before that last year was a rough one for us. Among other things, it was the year we lost both of our grandmas. And it was the year we became grandparent-less. One of the things that I worried about (and still do sometimes) is that extended family came together for holidays and events so that our grandparents could see everyone... so what now? That was part of the reason this was important to me. And we've never been to Gail and Duane's to visit and it's something I've talked about and wanted to do for a long time. So, why Tallahassee? Because that's where our family is. And that's why I head to Caledonia regularly, and have visited Becky in Atlanta, and hope to go to Colorado again.

And without further adieu, here are the pictures:

More later on our flight stories... :)


  1. Glad you guys had a great time and got home ok . . . was a little blustery around here the last few days. Sounds like a wonderful trip; sometimes it's good to just go . . . instead of always talking about going and not doing it (I should take my own advise - tee~hee). And . . . Happy Birthday . . . LATE . . . sorry!

  2. looks like a lot of fun!! I'm glad you were able to have this famiy time and hopefully miss the windstorms.

  3. What a wonderful vacation you all had with Duane and Gail. Many happy memories made. Love your video. MOM

  4. Looks like a great time in a lovely place! You are a great family, "all y'all" ! Love - Cousin Nel

  5. Awsome job on the video, Brenda! So nice you could share with all of us! Love those alligators...Belva


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