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Indian Rocks Vacation

June 9, 2013

I know, a month without an entry…. I struggle sometimes. But it has been busy… end of the semester responsibilities, various graduation ceremonies and parties, getting my summer interns trained, taking a vacation, getting into the summer rhythm… it will keep a gal busy! But on this lovely Sunday, I want to talk about the much needed vacation that I took in late May.

The view of the Gulf of Mexico from our condo

The view of the Gulf of Mexico from our condo

Florida is a special place in The South. When you consider its geographic location, it is definitely a part of the American Southeast, but it doesn’t adhere to a lot of the traditions, history and even stereotypes that is held by most of the other southern states. I mean, busting out my political science minor here, it is what one can consider the new South. It is a huge mix of people and backgrounds, with a heavy international population- pending which part of the state you are talking about. This huge diversity is a part of the reason it is such a key state when it comes to the presidential election… you never know what is going to happen. But from the margaritaville atmosphere of Key West, to the uniqueness of the Everglades, the fast pace of Miami, the amusement park mecca of Orlando, the historical northeastern coast near St. Augustine and over to the Emerald Coast of the panhandle…. it is a cool and diverse place. It is also beautiful, but far more likely to get by a hurricane than any other place in the US…. I mean over 75% of it is surrounded by water!

I have been to Florida a million times or so now… I first went when I was five or so to visit my Aunt Jan in Fort Lauderdale and have been all over the place since then. One place that is very close to my heart is the Tampa Bay area. I spent my very first adult summer by myself there when I was in grad school doing an internship at the University of South Florida (Go Bulls!). While I could go on about all the reasons I love the Tampa Bay area (where I rode out my first real hurricane) I am going to try and focus on the coastal area, specifically Indian Rocks Beach.

The Bestie and her family  have been going down to Indian Rocks since she was a kid… making the 17 or so hour drive in one long shot and spending two weeks at a condo right on the water. She still tells about how her Dad would rent a boat while they were there and then pull right up onto the beach to pick up her and her brother. They were still going all through high school, and a number of our friends would go down with her each year and come back all tanned and full of stories about the beach and boys. For some reason (probably because I was on vacation in the South) I didn’t end up making it down there with her until that summer in grad school. Since then, I have been back with her five or six times now and I fall in love with the place a little more each time. It is so breathtakingly beautiful. The sand is this beautiful soft white sand that is not too soft to walk on and this crystal clear aqua water. We have made the point in the last several years to go in May. It is perfect at that time of the year with the weather and it is not jam packed like it is after Memorial Day. In mid-to-late May you can actually stroll out and sit anywhere you want. We had a perfect weather the whole time we were there, with just one cloudy night that had us miss the sunset. The condo is a family condo, so it is perfect and it is literally right on the beach, so there is nothing to block the view of the sunset!

So, I spent the week with my “adopted family,” the Bestie and her husband and two-year old daughter (love my little Lili), her mom (my second mom), and her brother and his wife and four month old son. We ate at all our favorite places, played rummy almost every night (the Bestie somehow cheated, I am sure of it), took long walks on the beach, played with Lili on the beach and in the pool, and all sorts of fun activities. I will be sure to post a review of all of my favorite places to go there soon. Minus the fact that Lili had both poison ivy that turned into a bacterial infection AND a cold that she gave to half the rest of us, it was a fun trip that gave me some much needed down time and the opportunity to pause and catch my breath. It also gave me the chance to reflect.

The Bestie is more than my best friend, she is the sister that I was lucky enough to find. I don’t know what I would do without her or her family in my life. They took me in and welcomed me as one of their own during one of the worst years of my life and never batted an eye about it. I love them to pieces and love that I am able to vacation with them. But this was the first time with little Lili and the Bestie’s 4-month old nephew- JR. It was the first real vacation with kids where WE were not the kids anymore. When did that happen? It was interesting to plan activities around nap time and change our plans based on what was best for the kids. It wasn’t a bad thing, and I was prepared for it, but it was just odd to think about… odd to pause and go… when did we grow up? Yes, there were moments where I wanted to just sit and read, but Lili wanted to swim, so into the pool I went. I usually get through at least five books on vacation. I didn’t finish a single one on this trip and I loved it. Who knew playing tea party with a toddler could be so much fun?

It was nice to just sit and reflect on how lucky we are to have gone to a place that has seen so much of our lives. I can’t tell you the number of miles the Bestie and I have walked on that beach over the last decade or so talking about the men in our lives, our schools and jobs, our families our hopes for the future. It is cool to actually look back and see how parts of those plans have started to become a reality… especially when one of them is an adorable two year old you are trying to lather up with sun screen while she screams at you (because what two year old wants to have 100SPF smothered all over their skin)? I love that we get to eat at some of our favorite places and play rummy or dominoes where the plays are debated endlessly over the weeks that follow. I just love that place and the time that I get to spend their with people I love…. and I can’t wait to go back again soon! A smattering of photos are below and more on places to go while visiting there will come soon!

One

Lili at sunset

Lili at sunset

Two

best beach!

best beach!

Three

tea party time

tea party time

Four

nap time

nap time

Five

Not only is JR one of the most beautiful babies ever, but he is also one of the sweetest I've ever met!

Not only is JR one of the most beautiful babies ever, but he is also one of the sweetest I’ve ever met!

3 Comments leave one →
  1. June 12, 2013 10:33 am

    I was way behind in my blog reading but I read this at the perfect time! It made my morning and I love you and am so thankful to have you in my life!

  2. Katie Brumley permalink
    June 12, 2013 10:35 pm

    I love this post! It makes me want to go back!! We had such a fun time and are so glad you were there to enjoy it with us! 🙂

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