Thursday, April 21, 2011

Sanibel Stories: Where's Zach?

So we spent the first evening on Sanibel Island....well, on Captiva Island!
We were "captivated" by the island fun there!
It was a great way to spend the time while we anxiously waited for Tim, Andrew and Zach to arrive from their cross country treck.
Every so often we'd think to ourselves..".they are still in the car..."
Then we would shudder and eat some more seafood quesadillas.

It really bothered us a lot!...
No...seriously, I was more and more anxious as the day and evening wore on.  I knew they must be exhausted, and once it got dark, all I could think about was their safe arrival.
But eventually, around midnight on a dark moonless* night, they got there and fell into bed, only to wake up the next morning to paradise!
It was a georgous Sunday morning.
I know it was moonless because I had imagined this fantasy where as soon as Tim got there, we would grab hands and run out onto the moonlit beach and rejoice in our good fortune, the balmy air, the waves crashing around us...  But as midnight drew near and I looked out the window, it was SO dark (Sanibel Island allows NO streetlights etc.) and chilly that my romantic reunion plans quickly went up in smoke.  Instead, I stood in the winding parking lot directing them right and left via cellphone until they finally found our condo. Then we unloaded their car.  
The youngest always cares the most about having the family all together!
The view out the balcony behind Tim is the pool and then the ocean!

(Take a good look at Zach.... you won't see him much for awhile!)

We went to the Sanibel Community Church, which turned out to be fantastic, although I don't have any pictures of the event because it would be considered rude, I think, to snap pictures at church....although I have done so in foreign countries....but always discreetly and outside the sanctuary... anyway....
after church, Zach sort of...disappeared...
Where's Zach?

Mom, Katie, Lily and I explored the Farmer's Market.

Lily was all over the girly stuff!
Big surprise there.

But where's Zach?

We got back from the Farmer's Market and settled in on the beach right outside our condo.

That's my mom and Lily  in the background.
Grandmas are a real plus to have around on vacation...Lily can use every pair of eyes on her she can get!

But where's Zach?

Later in the evening...
Lily cornered Grandma Marsha.....literally!
The game is called "Slamwich" and it quickly became Lily's favorite game...until...

...we pulled out the Uno cards....
Can you tell she's serious about this????
Playing Uno is no laughing matter until...

Can you tell she loves to WIN?....

..A LOT!!!

But whhhhhhere's Zach?

1.  BASKETBALL was flowing full throttle through his blood.
2.  It was MARCH.
3.  His mother was MAD at him all the time because we were on a family vacation in the tropics and he just wanted to do research on college basketball players...

BASKETBALL....MARCH...MAD.....If you live in the United States of America, you know exactly where I am going with this.  Collegiate basketball "bracketology" (yes there is such a word... refers to the study and action of choosing who will win EACH and EVERY game in the tournament).  Well, it stole my son.  It took over his brain and made him hide in closets and research statistics.  

Luckily, the deadline for "picks" was only 24 hours of our vacation.  Or else one of us was goin' down.  It was going to be me or his brackets!  But I gave him the 24 hours grace period.  Lucky for him.

Because of March Madness, there was an interesting, unexpected undercurrent to all of our fun...well...a picture is worth a thousand words: the pool dinner random moments when I least expected it... usually when I was taking a sip of hot coffee.....

...and bless his (Timmy's) heart....when his team lost, and all seemed hopeless and the world was darkened, we still made him come down to the beach (in dressy clothes no less!) for a family photo shoot instead of hiding under the (kingsize!) bed licking his bracketological (now this may not be a word) wounds.
Ya gotta love "Pillow Pets" when the world treats ya wrong...

(Note...I really really wanted to say something to him at this point about sand getting in the fur of the pillow pet and getting dragged into his bed....but I took my tongue and placed it firmly between my incisor teeth and held it there until the urge went away.   Or until I remembered I wasn't the one sleeping in his bed with him....)

Zachary did eventually emerge from the cocoon of March Madness Bracketology...but only because most of his teams lost.
Just wasn't our year for basketball, I guess.
(Note:  despite his desolation, Timmy experienced a comeback in the brackets.  Just so you don't feel too badly for him!)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Sanibel Stories: The Boys are Coming! The Boys are Coming!

Late our first night in Fort Myers, we started receiving texts.... 
the suspense on our end was palpable as we received constant updates from Tim
 keeping us abreast of the score.
Our future hung in the balance!

If they won the game, then they would play again four days later.  That would mean that for those of us already in Florida, the females would outnumber the males (well male, poor little Timmy) three to one.
That in turn would mean at least four or more days of pastry shops and pedicures, boutique shopping and sunbathing for hours.

On the other hand....if the game was a loss....Tim and the two boys would hop in the already packed car and head south.  (Molly the dog was already at the kennel for those of you wondering...)  It would take them TWENTY-SEVEN hours according to the Garmin, so they would arrive approximately a day later....which would mean the ratio would shift and we would have a vacation of a more "sporty" nature...and a MUCH higher grocery bill.

AND THEY.....lost!
Sadly, in an AGONIZING OVERTIME battle, Andrew and Zach's 2010-11 Basketball Season came to the end.  They were sad.  But they gathered their emotions and jumped in  and headed south for a short little drive to the ocean!

 As for us...the next morning my Mom and I...we hid our unpolished nails, got pen and paper and are we going to FEED everybody for 10 days!!!!????
It was daunting.
Nonetheless we made our list and hit the road after proper carbohydrate sustenance...
....and proper stretching...
...and stretching was not a bad thing before
 ....we TACKLED the grocery store...

...because this is what we had to carry up three flights of stairs that morning!
As we walked into the store, I thought to myself, "I bet I spend $360 on this trip."
I spent $365.
I hate when I am wrong.  Wrong on the flounder.  Wrong on the grocery bill...but just by a little.

A lot of groceries you say?
Didn't I tell you?
The boys were coming!

"Mom Moment" Alert:  She looks so GROWN UP.  She's so TALL!  When did this HAPPEN?  To her complete lack of comprehension, I snapped photos of her as she pushed that loaded cart all through the parking lot.  It just struck me then how fast time flies....I think it was yesterday that I would have been pushing that cart, while pulling the other cart, and she would have been hanging over the handlebars.  Ok...I'm done now!  Ouch.

Next to get the groceries to our condo on Sanibel Island with NO open trunk space....

There was momentary confusion when we told them to "get in first."

....then they realized the plan....

"Pile it on Mom!".....NOTICE the basketball under Timmy's elbow.  It rarely left his sight.
She's thinking...."We will never eat all this....even if we can carry it all into the condo....What floor are we on by the way?"
"third floor...So who wants to head to the beach?"

Our family tradition is...whenever we arrive at a beach we immediately RUN to the ocean before we do ANYTHING else!  It was a BEAUTIFUL beach...full of shells and....
...these things...
I know every Mom out there is thinking......"somebody's going to cut their foot!"
...AND YOU ARE ALL CORRECT!  Good instincts ladies!
This too is a family tradition....or a Timmy tradition anyway!  The first five minutes are the most dangerous!
But we persevered and suncreened up...
After a lovely, sunny but cool afternoon exploring the beach...
....we found a little place outside for dinner to savor the atmosphere...
....while the guys were still driving....
...and driving...
....we suffered for them....
...and driving...
...the hook game was a great way to keep our minds off of their agony....
...and driving....

...but finally-- they made it!
After 27 hours driving in a small car....they RAN OUT OF LAND....

...and this is what a dad looks like after spending 27 hours in a car with his two teenage sons...
Look at his he happy...or is he crazy?
I can't decide.
What do you think?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Stories of Sanibel: A Conch in the Head

 The plane landed!
We had one night in Fort Myers before heading out to Sanibel Island the next morning.
The scene was set for adventure.
The balmy air of Florida went straight to our heads, and we immediately lost all sense of time and space as we admired the greenery and the lovely warm flowery smells.
Yes, more than one of us hugged the palm trees on the way to the rental cars.
It's tough living through a Minnesota winter!
My senses were so scrambled it took all I could do to find our hotel for that night...but a couple of u-turns and way longer than it should have taken later, we were settled in our hotel.
Then...the big question...what to have for DINNER?

Let's just say we found a place nearby with a lot of local color.
Right off the bat, we ordered...
 Conch Fritters....
You know...conchs...the slimy, snail-like creatures who live in those beautiful orange seashells...
...only fritterized....
because seriously....who would eat them otherwise?
We'd eat shoe leather if it was fried....
Of course....with the Conch Fritter experience being a new one....we made the littlest amongst us go first!
Disk error.....

 Timmy, however, seized the day undeterred!
Fritters beware!

 Katie approved as well!

 Lily:  "Note to self...just stick to the noodles....just stick to the noodles....just stick to the noodles.."

 Timmy was wooed and wowed by the crab stuffed flounder!
I told him when he ordered it that he wouldn't like the would be all breadcrumbs and the crab flavor would taste funny and not at all like crab...
Hey!  I'm a's my job!
But I guess I've eaten at Long John Silvers a few too many times because wouldn't you know it...the flounder was done to perfection and STUFFED with fresh delicious crab meat...nary a breadcrumb!
I hate it when I'm wrong.
Thumbs up from Timmy though.

 No....we don't allow any technology on vacation.  It's a principle of that NOBODY EVER LISTENS TO!  There will be more on that in future posts....LOTS more....

 The next morning, after receiving the news at 9:00 pm the night before that Andrew and Zach had lost their basketball game and were heading south, we gathered for a hotel breakfast that of the joys of hotel living....
 ....a MILK machine!  (There was a waffle maker too!)  Ah....the good life!

 Then, we took our pale, sun-deprived selves through the hotel lobby and out ...out....out into...
SUNSHINE!  The REAL kind!  The kind you can FEEL to your bones!

I will leave you with this image:
"Minnesota Boy Makes Good in Florida"