On Tuesday August 4th, we packed the car and headed out for our annual summer family vacation. The past few months have been very busy with the start of a new school year, and I love that I can sit down today and write about our summer trip, even if it’s 2 months late.
We were up early on the 4th, and headed to Starbuck’s for coffee and breakfast before we took the 3 hour drive to North Captiva Island. When we arrived at the island check-in/ bus station, we were greeted by staff who packed our suitcases and bins of food and beverages onto a bus that would transport us to our next stop, the boat ferry.
The boat ferry delivered us and our belongings to North Captiva Island, right around 1pm.
Because we arrived a few hours early, and our house was not yet ready, we spent a few hours swimming at the resort pool, and enjoyed lunch too.
We were very excited to get settled into the house we rented for the week, and it was ready for our arrival around 3 pm.
Here are some pictures of our accommodations with a private pool:
The girls were ready to swim again, so after unpacking their suitcases, they ran downstairs to the private pool behind our beach house for an afternoon swim.
In the early evening, we decided to take a golf cart ride around the island, and explore a bit. We found some beautiful treasures on the island, and Doug’s dream home.
After a little exploring on the island, we headed back to the house for dinner. Doug created a beautiful wedge salad and the most delicious burgers, stuffed with blue cheese, and topped with carmelized onions, tomatoes and bacon.
Doug surprised the girls with 3 gifts that he wrapped prior to leaving home. He placed the gifts atop a table in the living room, a perfect spot for the girls to be reminded of the fun ahead. The girls were curious and anxious all day to know the contents of each package. After dinner, they were permitted to open one gift.
They were surprised with the game Uno attack!
We played for 2 hours, before we called it a night. Day one was wonderful!
Day two began on the beach. We packed a cooler full of food and drinks, and set up our white beach tent and beach chairs, then turned on the jaw bone speaker that played island music.
After a few hours of fun in the sun, we packed up and headed back to the house for more swimming at the pool. And, a little visitor stopped by to say hello, our friend Mr. Turtle.
During the early afternoon hours, we decided to take a golf cart ride to the other side of the island, in search of the air strip that we heard about.
The girls played on the beach and in the surf for a bit, and we hoped to see a plane land on the strip. While we waited, we watched dolphins play in the water, and renamed this location, Dolphin Beach.
Doug made wings for dinner, a naughty but tasty dinner before the girls got to open the second gift that awaited them, Jenga blast!
It was another fun family game night!!
On day three, the girls were in the pool right after breakfast. At lunch time, Doug grilled burgers for his girls, before we decided to drive back to Dolphin beach.
We stopped along a beach trail on our way to visit Dolphin Beach.
When we arrived back at the house,momma and daddy decided we wanted a little afternoon nap. Before we napped we let the girls open their last gift, a Wii game station. The girls spent the afternoon playing table tennis and sword fighting via the Wii, while Doug and I napped. The sun has a way of making one feel completely relaxed, and in a state of rest. Vacation is all about resting!
The rest of the day was spent enjoying time playing together, savoring a delicious dinner and wine, and doing whatever our hearts desired.
Friday marked day four, which began on the beach. We set up the white umbrella, packed lunches and drinks, played island music on the speaker and watched the girls play in the water. Doug and I spent time playing in the water with girls as well.
After we arrived back to the house, the girls spent the afternoon swimming in the pool, and our friend Mr. Turtle came back for a visit.
Friday night we had planned on dinner out at the local restaurant. After a day of swimming, we got cleaned up and dressed up and traveled to the restaurant near the resort pool for dinner. Sara did a great job on Sophie’s hair!
You could say that the girls and I are quite spoiled by the chef in our family, Doug. Our dinner was ok, but not great, especially after a week of Daddy’s great food!
The company was the best though!
After dinner, we went back to the house and watched The Little Mermaid, one of my favorite movies growing up. It felt right, being on an island, swimming in the ocean and watching the dolphins jump. During this week, we felt like mermaids.
Saturday morning we started our day on Dolphin Beach. The dolphins are always playing right by the shore at this beach. I was able to capture a few shots before we had to clear the way for the little plane that landed on the air strip, right in from of us.
The girls loved watching the plane land, and I tried to get video footage, but was only able to capture these pictures, as I was not prepared and only focused on the pictures I was taking of the sea and the dolphins. It was loud above our heads, but exhilarating.
For the next hour, we drove around the island on the golf cart to some of the more remote areas, in search of new homes we had not previously discovered. We also came upon the island fire station, and for a moment I thought to myself how amazing it would be to work on the island as the head nurse, for any emergencies that come up.
During the afternoon hours, the girls swam in the pool, while listening to the entire sound track of The Little Mermaid. I spent the afternoon reading a good book on the lounge chairs, and Doug napped.
Then girls re-enacted the entire movie The Little Mermaid, and I played mermaid with them too. I’m pretty good at the mermaid flip.
Then we went to town for ice cream!
We decided to watch the sunset and walk on the beach prior to dinner, and we did just that!
Last year during vacation, Doug surprised the girls with a movie theater night. He made movie theater tickets, bought movie theater candy, and set up the beach condo like a movie theater, with the an “audience” sound track playing in the background to give it an even more realistic feel. It was one of the main highlights of vacation for the girls. So much so, that a week after we returned home, they begged for another movie theater night. This year Doug surprised them again, with movie theater night. I love the sound track that played background audience noise.
The movie of the night was The Princess Bride, my favorite movie of all time. It was the first time Doug and the girls had seen it, and they love it as much as I do!
Saturday was amazing, and ended perfectly!
Sunday, we were up and on the beach early. We spent a better part of our day playing in the sea, relaxing in beach chairs and napping under the white umbrella on the warm white sand. Sophie explored arts and crafts with driftwood and dead sea life. Sara explored photography, by capturing some great shots of Sophie while she created art.
After a few hours of play, we decided to switch beaches and travel to Dolphin Beach. The girls played for hours, and Doug and I watched them from our beach chairs that we set up between the border of the beach and the water, a border that was only broken by the waves that crashed upon our feet, sometimes making it up to our knees. Like I said before, the dolphins are always playing on this beach, always. I think I took about 1,000 photos of the dolphins playing, and at one point the girls were mad that I wasn’t in the water playing with them, but I was having a moment (an hour long moment) of enjoying my favorite sea animals play.
That night after a long day in the sun, and a delicious dinner created by Daddy, we watched the first Harry Potter movie with the girls. We had so much fun that we followed it with another movie, Freaky Friday. It was the last night of vacation, so we made the most of it.
On Monday, we packed our bags and headed home, with loads of memories, sunburnt skin and anticipation of getting home to see the cats. I do feel so blessed to live where we live, in our beautiful town of SH, on the water, where we get a view of the bay everyday. It’s not so bad coming back from vacation, when home feels like vacation.
This was only a very quick snapshot of our summer family vacation. The moments and memories we shared during our time away cannot be encapsulated in such a short nondescript post. This post is more of a photo collage with descriptions attached. The moments, emotions and feelings go way beyond the simplicity of this post. There were moments that were lived and enjoyed in the moment. There were days when my mind was lost in nothingness, only enjoying the vastness of the never ending sea, or the girls little voices laughing as they played in the waves together; the most beautiful view and sound I can recall. There were moments when we bounced along in the golf car as we drove along the uneven dirt roads, past the beautiful three story beach homes or the dilapidated unoccupied beach homes. We made stories about we thought happened behind the walls of both types of homes. There were days when I was up early and reading, from my online nursing journal that dates back 100 years, while everyone else was sound asleep. They were fun and inspiring mornings, the type of mornings when I thought about how I’d like to write in a nursing journal someday. I read articles from as far back as 1915 and 1978. There were moments/evenings when I sipped red wine and my heart felt warm, not from the wine alone, but from the satisfaction and gratefulness I felt in my heart for a week with my 3 favorite people. How could I be so blessed? There were moments when the girls and I were lost in hours of play in the pool behind the house, like time never existed. We played mermaid, dolphin and had an underwater tea party. Those were some of the best days. There were mornings when Doug and I awoke holding one another, and listening to the sound of a private jet land on the air strip near the beach house we slept in. There were moments when I felt like the luckiest lady alive, to be blessed with the most beautiful family in the whole world.
Since then, we’ve been very busy. Sara started 5th grade, Sophie started 2nd grade, and I’m working on pre-requisites for acceptance into the Bachelors of Nursing program. Sara is taking a jazz class, and Sophie is in ballet, and will be performing in The Nutcracker this year. Doug moved into a new studio/office space, only a mile from home and has spent a lot of time moving in and making it his own. I can’t wait to post pictures of his new space…it’s amazing. Our time is very carefully planned out, and every second accounted for, even the seconds that are labeled “relaxation”. I’m a firm believer in scheduling time for relaxation, and this past weekend was all about relaxation, but that’s for another post. There are many things I long to write about, but Spanish, Government and College Algebra courses consume my time instead. There will be a time soon in which I’ll have more time, but for now I plug along and dream of vacation days like the ones that we experienced over the summer.