It’s a lot easier to write about a vacation while it’s happening than in midst of the whirlwind of unpacking, laundry and schedules of “real life”.  On top of all the “real life” I also caught a cold or flu and missed my first day of work.  So this will just be a quick summary.

Our favourite beach by the Sanibel LighthouseOverall we had a very good vacation.  Probably the best we’ve ever done in terms of being relaxed, not trying to cram in all the activities we possibly could.  Our week on Sanibel Island was very relaxing.  A typical day involved a leisurely morning bike ride, lunch at some quaint local restaurant, building sandcastles at the beach, and lighting the hannukah candles back in the luxurious condo. 

Shana’s favourite activity was the bike rides.  She had one of those single-wheeled bikes that hooks up to the back of an adult’s bike, and she felt SOOO grown up!  Kenan’s favourite was playing in the living room with the Thomas train set we borrowed from friends.  Helen enjoyed eating out at a different restaurant every day–lots of fun local places to choose from, like the Bubble Room with its goofy waiters and thousands of nicknacks, the Island Cow which was just udder fun, and the Mermaid Kitchen with a delicious selection of cakes (and mermaids).  Mine was definitely building sand castles–Helen bought me Sandcastles Made Simple, and it was fun to try something bigger or fancier each day (and to try to involve the kids without destroying it).  We made a sandcastle, a dragon, a lighthouse and a sea turtle family.  Unfortunately with our computer out of commission our camera’s memory card filled up before the real sandcastling began so I captured them only in my carbon-based memory cells.

Aaah! He's escaping!The Gorilla’s escaping!
Sand dragonOur first large sculpture (note the life-like expression on her face).
Movie star materialMovie star material.
Playdough menorahWe couldn’t pack a menorah so we made one out of playdough.
Pool timePool time.

We saw tonnes of wildlife “lifers”:  alligator, manatee, a little tree frog that hopped onto Kenan’s arm, iguanas, dolphins, raccoons, a black snake, lots of little lizards, pelicans, lots of white heron-like birds and other long-legged and long-beaked birds.  We didn’t see the no-see-ums but they apparently saw us–Kenan was the most attractive to them, his legs were covered with bites.

The last week in Florida we were back in Orlando, staying at the Thousand Trails RV park in a tiny cabin, with Palm Tree Grandma and Grandpa (as our kids know them) across the way.  This cabin was TINY!  But it seemed that every detail was meticulously thought through and planned out to encourage renters to upgrade to the Getaway Cabins on their next visit.  From the sharp little screw sticking out just far enough to shred the toilet paper as you unroll it, to the bunkbed’s ladder that only fit snuggly if it blocked the door, to the fridge that could only be accessed by walking away from the kitchen and squeezing past the table into the corner of the room.  Oh well, we’d spoiled ourselves on the beach, we could rough it for a week!  🙂

The kids had fun times with G&G, Shana finally (and unexpectedly) got over her fear of water and would swim for hours in the beautiful large heated pool if we’d let her (with water wings), Helen and I got time to ourselves to watch Santa Clause 2 at the club house…  We all celebrated the last day of Hannukah (a day late) with Helen’s aunt/uncle/cousins/cousin’s kids, and all the kids hit it off great.  

Nate and JillianNate and Jillian
Lisa and KenanKenan and his girlfriend Lisa
Shana and LeahShana and Leah were inseperable
Kenan and ZachZach was great with all the kids

Later Shana would keep asking to see Leah while Kenan kept asking for Lisa!  I celebrated my first traditional Jewish Christmas:  a movie (Charlotte’s Web) and a Chinese restaurant–the only two establishments open on Christmas Day. 🙂

The flight home was long and tiring but uneventful.  We came home to a beautiful new house, as it was being painted while we were away.  Now we just have to get pictures re-hung and furniture moved back in place, but we’re nearly done.

Bedtime for the kids, I’d better go.