A Denver Family's Adventure Through The Ups And Downs of Life

Monday, February 28, 2011

Our Southwest Florida Adventure (Very, Very Long)

Nailing down a date was the hardest thing about our entire Florida vacation.  Everything else was a breeze.
The condo that we stay at is owned by my mom and her siblings, so determining time when it is not being used is coordinated by my aunt.  That part was relatively easy, no one was looking to use it for the 3 weekends in February that we were figuring out when we wanted to go.  (We decided to go in February before Sam turned 2 in March because, after that, we will have to pay for a plane ticket for him.)

The tough part was waiting for Brian's work to give us the final okay on his time off.  Thank goodness flight prices didn't change very much while that was getting nailed down.

We decided that a Thursday - Sunday weekend would be short enough that we wouldn't miss too much work, but long enough to have a nice long weekend. 

I had Sam packed for a week, but didn't have myself fully packed until about 30 minutes before the shuttle picked us up.

The direct flight to SW Florida International airport was uneventful.  I scheduled our flight to be during Sam's lunchtime and nap which ended up going very smoothly.  As we were going through security and having them check Sam's milk containers, a family next to us had to have some medicine checked and the littel girl with them said "It's not a bomb."  Brian wished that he could have gotten her saying that on tape, but we were unprepared.

We were able to upgrade to a small SUV from a compact for less than originally booked through National.  Score!!

We got to the condo, dropped of some stuff, headed to the grocery store for some staples (milk, cereal, fruit, booze) and had a relaxing dinner.  It took Sam a little longer than normal to go to sleep, but he got used to his tent and crashed.

We decided to go to the pool the first day, so we had breakfast, packed up our gear and while I went for a 4 mile run, Sam and Brian headed for the pool and I joined them when I was done.

My grandfather stopped by when we were still at the pool.  We apparently didn't hear the cell phone ring while we were having a blast splashing around.  Oops!!  Sam really didn't know what to make of his great grandfather initially, but he is normally a little shy around new people.

We cleaned up and headed to lunch with my grandfather's wife at a nice place called Silver Spoon Cafe.  We were told that since the recession started, getting a table at the cafe has gotten easier.  Good for us, not for their business.  The food was really good and we were able to take leftovers back to the condo.

We decided to drive up the coast after lunch and take a look at the surroundings.  We first stopped at a tourist shop where we bought a few items (t-shirt and a toy for Sam, sunglasses and hat for Brian, etc.).  We then headed up the coast to Ft. Myers.  About 3 minutes after we left the tourist shop, Sam crashed in his car seat, which didn't surprise me at all.

There definitely weren't as many people around as there have been in previous years.  We also noticed a lot of "For Sale" signs on houses and condos. 

Dinner on Friday night was the wonderful leftovers that we had from Thursday night and lunch on Friday. 

I had it planned that I would be running 16 miles for my marathon training on Saturday morning and Brian would take Sam on the shuttle to the private beach that is part of the condo development.  I headed out before 9am ET (it was really foggy and muggy) and said that I would stop by the beach on my first half of my run.  It was just dumb luck that when I hit the beach area (5.4 miles into my run), the shuttle had just dropped them off.  I'm so happy that I was there to see Sam take his first look at the Gulf of Mexico, stick his toes in the water and play in the sand.  Brian said that the water was pretty cold (60+ degrees).  I'm glad that I didn't take my running shoes off.

I didn't stay too long, because I was worried that I wouldn't be able to get my mileage in before it got really hot, but that didn't matter.  The heat came, the shade went away and my energy was zapped around mile 10.  Luckily, I was about a mile from the private beach, so I hoped that I could meet back up with the boys and take the shuttle back to the condo with them.  I found out that they had left on the bus only 17 minutes before I arrived.  I gave them a call and they had just walked into the condo door when I called.  The came and picked me up and we went to a Doc's Beach House, a restaurant just down from the beach.  The food was good, but the service wasn't.  I don't think she smiled even once.

We had a very nice lunch and headed back to the condo for Sam's (and it ended up being Brian's) nap.  I took the SUV and headed to a nail salon where I got a very nice pedicure and had my toenails painted green (something I NEVER do). 

We wanted to go out to a seafood restaurant on our last night in FL, so we packed up and headed out to a place that looked really good (we checked it out online).  It was packed.  The 2nd place was packed too, so I saw a "decent" review for Rodes Fish House.  We walked in and I think there were only a few people that were younger than us- definitely the silver section.  I noticed on the door that the restaurant was only open until 9pm, which made me laugh.

We ordered Sam a chicken tender dinner with broccoli.  I haven't seen Sam eat a lot of fried chicken, but we couldn't keep ordering him grilled cheese sandwiches his whole life.  After chowing down on the broccoli he ate quite a bit of the chicken.  I was definitely impressed.  I ordered shrimp stuffed tilapia with a crab meat sauce and Brian ordered Mahi Mahi and thought it was pretty good.  It wasn't the best seafood we ever had, but it was better than we could have gotten at a decent restaurant in Denver.  I'm glad the place was pretty noisy because Sam was being very vocal and letting us know exactly what he was thinking.
Sunday came and we were all bummed that this was our last day in Florida.  We took another hour long dip in the pool and had a blast.  Sam loved when we were blowing bubbles and splashing all over the place.

We had scheduled another lunch with my grandfather and his wife, so we headed out to Bravo in Naples. We ordered Sam salmon and veggies which he ate very well.  I had ordered a panini and french fries so part of the time Sam was eating french fries one at a time and then was alternating eating green beans the same way, which was with his pinkie sticking out.  It was very cute and we were happy that he was getting some good nutrients (for the record, he only had about 6 french fries).  Sam was having a lot of fun with his great grandfather and warmed up to him very well.  He even gave him a kiss.  I couldn't help but give a big smile.

When we got back to the condo, Sam fell asleep on Brian, so I packed us up.  It wasn't too difficult since everything was pretty well packed up from the night before.  We said goodbye to the condo around 3:30pm and headed to the airport.

We ran into some difficulty at  security.  I had forgotten to take out the sunscreen from one of the bags, Sam wet through his diaper, his milk took a long time to be checked and the car seat was a pain in the butt.  We had to rush to get to the plane, which was already boarding.  I wish we took a few extra minutes to grab some real food in the airport, because the only thing that we had in our carry on luggage was Nutri-Grain cereal bars.  A very nutritious dinner (definitely read SARCASM).

Our flight left 25 minutes late because there was a head count issue and, because there were a lot of infants on the plane, 2 people had to take the next flight so that there would be enough life preservers for everyone.  If we would have know when the next flight was to go to Denver we would have volunteered and went back to the condo, but they didn't give us that info until 2 people were already off the plane.  Because of the delay, were were give free live TV for the flight.  Another SCORE!!

Sam wasn't the least bit interested in sleeping during our flight.  We was interested in everything else that was going on around us, including the free TV.  We pumped him full of about 3 cups of milk so the Sandman finally found Sam with about 45 minutes left in the flight.  He crashed hard.  I think that we could have lit him on fire and he wouldn't have woken up. 

We landed in Denver around 8:45 (of course Sam woke up), we verified our ride home Super Shuttle, then headed to baggage clain. 

Sam had a ball in the van on the way home.  He didn't fall back asleep until after we got home around 10:45pm.  Brian and I didn't get to sleep until after 11:15.

And Monday started at 6am for us all.

Have a great week everyone.  Hopefully we will be able to catch up on sleep later this week.

I will post pictures (hopefully) tonight.

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