Our week long visit began last Monday afternoon when Holly's Mom flew into Tampa. Holly's oldest brother, Gary, his wife, Blair and their 4 children flew into Orlando on the same day. They made it to Bradenton just about the same time we arrived from the Tampa airport. That evening we spent quality time together at our house. Boy, was it fun finding places for luggage, toys and a place for 6 extra people to sleep in our 2-bedroom condo; it was like we were at camp! Once everyone got settled, Mom, Blair, Christopher, the 4 kids and I went to the pool. The kids enjoyed the water and we enjoyed the sunshine. As Mom, Blair and I sat with our feet in the water, Mom made the comment, "When we get back to the room, it will be so nice to have dinner ready." How funny of a "blonde moment" for Mom as she must have thought she was at a bed-n-breakfast; it provided for some great laughs. For dinner, Gary made a delicious Italian feast complete with Italian sausage, spaghetti, salad and garlic bread.
Tuesday seemed to be a normal day for Christopher and I; he went to school and I went to work. Mom and Blair dropped me off as they had acupuncture appointments. Gary spent the morning with the kids as he prepared to leave for Orlando later that evening for a business training meeting. Mom, as always, enjoyed her acupuncture treatment. Blair got to experience it for the first time and found it interesting and different. Later that day, I was able to enjoy lunch with the girls at Jason's Deli. After Christopher and I finished our normal day, the whole family ventured to Bradenton Beach for some fun in the sun. Although the water was a bit chilly, Ridge, Kennedy and Connelly did not mind one bit. After a few hours on the beach, we ventured to Cortez Kitchen for dinner. The food was great as always. Kai became quite hungry as we waited for our food and proceeded to say, "eat," while blowing kisses to people in hopes they would share their food with him. The boy sure does love his food! After dinner, Gary left for Orlando, and we headed back to our home to call it a night.
On Wednesday, I took Mom, Blair and the kids to Red Barn so they could experience was a true farmer's market was like. They found all the fresh produce to be heavenly. They picked out a yummy feast for dinner as Christopher would be studying and I would be at work. For lunch, we ventured to Thai Wasabi for sushi. As always, it is so yummy!
Thursday was an all day fun day at Siesta Key Beach! Although it took an hour to get there and find a parking space, it was so worth it! We packed sandwiches and snacks for a picnic lunch and spent all day in the sunshine. We later found that the Florida got the best of us as most of us came home with sunburned shoulders, cheeks and legs. As Ridge, Kennedy, Connelly and Kai played in the water and the sand, Blair, Mom and I found pure enjoyment in people watching; we saw 2 groups of college boys walking in American flag speedos stopping for pictures, singing songs and providing great laughs. We found it to be quite hilarious! On our way home from the beach, we enjoyed frappucinos from Starbucks. We ended the evening by eating pizza and enjoying massages from yours truly.
Friday was a more relaxed day as we spent the morning shopping at the outlets. Blair found some great clothes and accessories for the children. After shopping, we met Christopher for lunch at Subway. We spent the afternoon at our house. The girls played outside and Mom and I were able to look at our proof albums from our wedding photography. Gary came back to Bradenton that afternoon and for dinner we visited Thai Wasabi once more! It was a great, relaxing day to end the visit.
On Saturday, we said goodbye to Gary, Blair and the children as they flew back home to North Carolina. After we sent them on their way, Christopher spent the day studying and Mom and I spent the day shopping and exploring Sarasota. I introduced Mom to Kohl's as she had never shopped there before. We both found lots of great deals and racked up on some great new clothes and jewelry for our wardrobe! We then ventured to downtown Sarasota to see the waterfront and the infamous replica statue of the Kissing Sailor. After walking the waterfront and taking a few pictures, we then drove to St. Armand's Circle for more shopping and fun. We walked in and out of stores imagining that we were not in Florida anymore. We fell in love with Tea and Spice Exchange and The Olive Company. We purchased some great additions to our kitchen cabinets since we both love to cook. After shopping and a gelato break, we ate dinner at Pei Wei. When we arrived home, Mom and I went from shopping girls to redecorating girls; we rearranged furniture and accessories in our living room and kitchen to give everything a fresh new look. The "new" room looks great. After redecorating, we ended the evening by watching The Blind Side.
I took Mom to the airport Sunday morning and returned home to begin getting ready for the new week. The house was quiet when I returned home and somewhat messy. But, Christopher and I would not trade anything for the world. We enjoyed every minute of our week with our family. We cannot wait to spend more time with our entire family in May to celebrate Nanny's 85th birthday. Enjoy the pictures below of our great and memorable week!