The first week of May we took our first real family vacation. The kids were thrilled about flying on an airplane. I was a little nervous about the flight and wondering how they would do. But they were perfect angels! Kade sat next to Dad on the way there and Cam sat by me. We read books and watched movies on the iPad. Kade and Dad napped for part of the flight.
We stayed on Clearwater Beach and it was the perfect family vacation destination! We spent most of our time on the beach, but there was plenty to explore within walking distance.
One of our favorite parts of the location we were at was the amenities that were so close by. There was a nice playground and inflatables for the kids right outside our hotel door.
On our third day we took a day trip into Tampa to the Florida Aquarium. It was an awesome aquarium and we spent most of the day there. Derek and I both bet a sting ray, but the kids weren't brave enough to touch them. I told the volunteer they were "slimy" and he told me that they call it "silky". Apparently they are covered in mucous. I consider that slimy--not silky.
We saw all sorts of fish at the aquarium. Camden was able to identify several kinds of fish. She said Grandpa taught her the names.
We all took turns touching starfish. Kade loved this part - he petted several of them!
The aquarium had a really great play area outside for the kids. It was a really hot day so the water features and fountains were a hit with the kids!
Our last stop at the aquarium was the boat tour into Tampa Bay looking for dolphins. At the very end of the tour, we caught a quick glimpse of a few dolphins. But that wasn't the only time we saw them. We also saw them when we were sitting on the beach and eating dinner along the water one night.
The kids were fascinated by the boat tour!
The view of downtown Tampa from the bay.
Two hours was a little too much for this little guy. He spent the second half of the boat tour sleeping in his mama's arms.
This is how we spent most of the vacation. Just relaxing on the beach. Camden said her favorite thing about Florida is that you only wear a swimsuit or pajamas when you are there. You don't need any other clothes!
The kids loved picking up seashells on the beach. We had a bucket full of them each day and it took a lot of convincing to get them to put them back.
Kade loved to jump over the waves. They would stand knee-deep in the water and when a large wave would come, Kade would jump over it. This entertained them for hours!
Kade would also ask for one of us to run into the ocean with him.
Our hotel was located right next to Pier 60 which had vendors and live entertainment every night. It was great because we never had to drive anywhere! Our hotel is the one over Derek's shoulder on the far right of the picture. Right on the beach!
Kade discovered a love for seafood while we were there. His favorite was the oysters! Steamed or on the half-shell....it didn't matter! He loved them!
We celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary while we were in Florida. It's hard to believe how much our life has changed in the last 8 years. I think it is even better than we could have imagined it could be!
We hope we can make this into an annual tradition. It was the break we all needed. It was so nice to have a week to just relax and have fun without any of the stress of our everyday life. I feel so blessed!