“Lets Run Away.”

 

“Lets run away.”

So, that is not what he really said, but its kind of what it felt like. Thursday afternoon I asked Anthony what I had been asking him all week, “What do you want to do this weekend?” I really wanted to head to the beach, and really that isn’t hard for us. We live 25 minutes from the coast. But, Anthony threw out an even bigger idea. What if we left Friday afternoon after swim and after he finished work and drove to our favorite place (which happens to have 2 fabulous beaches)? We had a free hotel night and the clock on summer is quickly ticking down so we decided there was no time like the present to run away and make some family memories.

So with little thought we threw our stuff in the car and headed out to have an amazing time in what I feel like calling “Our Place” – Sanibel Island/Fort Myers Beach, FL.  We have gone 5 times since living here, first discovering it (or part of it) on my 30th birthday and now returning whenever we can. We always have a fabulous time, and there is no doubt in my mind that the memories of these trips are ones that we will be talking about with the kids when they are grown.

We took our time in the morning resting, stopping at the surf shop, a book store and getting our traditional lunch of ice-cream at Pinochio’s. And then we hit the beach.

The cool/unique thing about Sanibel Island beaches is that you can literally just reach down and grab and handful of shells without digging. It is really fun. You still have to search to find unique shells but the search is half the fun.

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See? Natalie is sitting in the “sand” –  I mean shells.

Truth be told, not 100% of the sand is this way, but there is always a long strip of sand that is just piles of shells, and as we discovered this trip if you take your shovel and dig into the parts that are sand it doesn’t take but one scoop and you’ve dug into another pile of nothing but shells.

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Bella spent time out in the water showing Daddy what she had learned in swim lessons. (Isn’t the water amazing) The sky is a little darker than usual because a storm was brewing off the coast, but it sure looks pretty in pictures and it gave the water a real light blue look that was pretty awesome.

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So, while they were out working in the water I took some shots of the other two. (In many shots you can see Anthony and Bella in the background, like in this picture they are the two blurry dots in the left hand corner. Oh, and see – some smooth sand.)

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This is called the “Sanibel Stoop.”

Meaning you’re stooping over to find shells, you see people doing it all up and down the shore line.

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More stooping.

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I told them to “do something funny” for this shot and Ethan grabbed his bottom and began to shake it. The girls thought that was pretty funny.

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I really like this next picture. The colors are just awesome in my opinion.

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Bella after her swim. She’d missed out on all the other pictures I got of Ethan and Natalie alone so I had to get one of her.

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So Ethan might get a little unfair attention in the next..um…5 shots…but he was just so cute. His friend Boyce has a little boogie board that he used on his birthday and its size was just so perfect for Ethan that he could actually do it. The board we have is too big. He calls it his surf board and I kind of have a vision of him growing up here in Florida and becoming an awesome surfer – so when he does I’ll pull out these pictures and tell him this is where it all began. And if that dream never comes true, well, then he is just so darn cute and was having so much fun I have to share.

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So after we left Sanibel we headed over to Fort Myers to find a good dinner. When we had come here in May we had tried for 2 nights to see the sunset but both times storms rolled in just before the “show”. Anthony and I were tired and weren’t sure if we wanted to wait 3 more hours for the sunset but we decided to have dinner and play it by ear. While at dinner we asked the kids what they wanted to do – go home or see the sunset. Without hesitation they told us they wanted to see the sunset.

I loved that they wanted to see the sunset, not just because LOVE the sunsets on Fort Myers Beach, but because it meant they were having such a good time and they weren’t ready for the day to be over. We went to our usual spot on the beach and had about an hour and a half before sunset. Many times there is a pretty large sandbar off of Fort Myers Beach and this time it was huge. We (even Ethan) could walk for what seemed like forever out into the ocean and still touch. We were having such a good time I almost decided to forget the camera and not capture the sunset but it was so incredibly beautiful that I couldn’t help myself. I ran to shore to shoot for a few minutes, but put the camera away in time to make it back out to be with Anthony and the kids as we watched the sun’s final moments. When the kids realized it was gone and that our day was done they each told us they wished it would come back out because they didn’t want our day to be over.

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As we piled into the car and settled in for the 4 hour drive home we were tired but happy because we made memories. Good memories.   I asked the kids this morning when I woke them up earlier than normal to shower before church if being this tired was worth it and they unanimously agreed that it was. (Although sadly enough Bella woke up to fever, so she, Ethan and I stayed home and rested and agreed that we were thankful her virus had waited a day to surface.)

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