As the Crow Flies

Florida vacation recap, with pics. I took so many this might be long!

– Skyler did amazingly well on the 10 hour car trips for two days there and back, for never having been in the car for more than a couple hours. I got more grumpy being strapped in a crowded car than she did.

Doing impressions of Gramma in the car

– My aunt & uncle’s place on the Amelia Island Plantation is amazing and they are so blessed to retire there! They were wonderful hosts and made sure we were well-taken care of. From letting us take their golf cart around the island (despite the red one “Mack’s” malfunctions which I hope are fixable!), giving us and Skyler the reign of their upstairs, including a private balcony and their nephews’ toy room, and showing us the great beaches on the island, we had a wonderful time. And to check something off my would-be bucket list, we got to ride home from dinner one night in my uncle’s Bentley, complete with fur floor mats that I totally took advantage of by kicking off my flip flops! I never really considered I’d ever get to ride in a Bentley, so that was a cool surprise!

Aunt Karen & Uncle Bryce's house on Amelia Island
Mack the golf cart began malfunctioning and couldn't make it up the hill
Skyler wore the goggles as a fashion statement, she doesn't get under the water
Swimming in Aunt Karen & Uncle Bryce's pool

– Skyler was scared to death of the ocean. Not surprising, she hates loud things. But even after daily visits and a couple full-day trips, she preferred the sand by our beach chairs and never volunteered her toes to the surf. But there is hope – she is asking when can we go back to the beach? And I am asking the same thing!

Skyler's first time at the beach, Amelia Island
Safely watching Daddy walk the beach, away from the scary waves
Successful self portrait, on the first take!

– My Grandma Kelley, who normally resides at the resort-like Osprey Village, had just had knee replacement surgery prior to our visit, so we didn’t get to spend much time with her, but visited her at her rehab center and she was doing great! I was so excited for her and Skyler to reunite. We got to check out her place and she invited us to have a fancy dinner at her “dining hall” (though she wasn’t there) which meant getting dressed up and being waited on. We had the “veal oscar” if that tells you what kind of place it was. I just wish she could’ve been there to eat with us!

– Ronnie, my dad, and my uncle definitely had some male bonding experiences: from friendly daily games around the pool table to riding my uncle’s Harley’s around one afternoon, they had a great time.

Ronnie, "helping" my dad get the best shot

– And then there was the second half of vacation at Anna Maria Island. It was our first return to the place we got married. I actually got teary-eyed with excitement as we crossed the bridge from Bradenton to the island upon arriving. It couldn’t have been better, except if we could’ve stayed longer! We visited the BeachHouse Restaurant for a dinner date one night, but mostly just lounged on the gorgeous beach in front of our condo.

Ronnie & Skyler, Gramma & Grampa Carter (tiny in the background), and Gramma & Grampa Kelley
Gramma & Grampa Carter, hunting for shells
Walking the beach with Grampa Kelley
Skyler & Mommy
Anna Maria Island Sunset
Birds & the Beach

Me, jumping the waves of joy
Margaritas before dinner at the Beachhouse

– We spent our “date night” after the Beachhouse dinner in our condo’s outdoor hot tub, just talking about family, memories, and faith. It was one of my favorite conversations with my husband ever. It’s rare those opportunities happen that we both have the time and the urge to open up and really get to know each other, but that’s a clear gorgeous night on Anna Maria Island for you!

– We had a great visit with more family at Anna Maria, this time, with Ronnie’s Uncle Bill and Great Uncle Orville. They live in Bradenton and we had the unique opportunity to hear Uncle Orville play his guitar and sing for us. My dad and he took turns playing tunes on the guitar and singing and harmonizing with each other, even though they had just met, while the rest of us watched with joy. Uncle Orville reminded me so much of my Grampa Kelley, and I know how much it meant to my dad to share music with this other side of my family like he and Grampa used to. We topped the night off by a trip for homemade ice cream in waffle cones on our way back to the island.

Great Uncle Orville and my dad, pickin' and grinnin'

– As I ponder when can we go back, Ronnie and I agreed we will never again wait 4 1/2 years to go back to Anna Maria Island. It is such an amazing, beautiful, fun and special place to us, it’s silly to not make it a more regular part of our lives. I could go there for every vacation the rest of my life!

Favorite. Photo. Ever.


  1. Grampa Kelley says:

    What a wonderful trip!

    Skyler was awesome. Hers and my relationship grew immencely. She even tugged on my beard and then made her own white beard out of paper so she could be like Grampa!

    I also really enjoyed getting to know Ronnie better. Lori, you married a fine man. I look forward to continuing to build the relationship with my third son.

  2. […] What did you do in 2010 that you’d never done before? Family vacation with Skyler, including, riding in a Bentley. Ran my best pace in a race. Negotiated down the price of a car, […]

  3. […] and we got to stay in a sweet hotel. She has loved hotels ever since we stayed in a couple on our Florida trip, so that was the highlight of her […]

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