Saturday, July 31, 2010

Fun in the Sun

Last weekend was absolutely incredible! My family went on vacation in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. It was only a 2 day vacation, but we were able to pack in lots of memories and fun!

Christopher and I were fortunate enough to take a few extra days off and enjoy the drive to North Carolina. Before our road trip, we dropped Derby off in Orlando and Gary and Brandon's house on Wednesday. They graciously agreed to "dog-sit." Derby apparently had a great time running and chasing her 3 cousins while we were gone. Christopher and I drove to Savannah, the half-way point to NC, and stayed the night.

Thursday, we woke up bright and early and made our way to North Carolina. Before heading to the beach, we stopped at Duplin winery for lunch and wine tasting with my mom and dad. The food was delicious and the wine was great! We each stocked up with some of our favorites to take home with us. The 4 of us were then beach bound! My mom just recently got a new car, and it was only natural that she and I drive it...a 2002 BMW convertible! We set out on I-40 with the top down and the beach music playing. It was great! Once we arrived at the Sunspree Resort, mom and I headed to the pool, while the boys napped. For dinner, we ventured to a new restaurant, Kefi. It is bar style food with a Southern and Cajun flare. We enjoyed for the first time fried pickles; they were great! After dinner, we rode in the convertible under the moonlight and then headed back to the resort for a good night's sleep as the rest of the Miller clan would be joining us the following morning.

...Wine Tasting...Yummy...

...Off to the Beach...

Friday morning, mom and I woke up bright and early to enjoy the ocean before it got too crowded. But, boy was it already hot at 8:00am. We drank coffee poolside and then took a walk on the beach to the Johnny Mercer pier. After sweating in the sunshine, we knew it was time to put on our bathing suits and grab some chairs and umbrellas by the pool. The only way to enjoy the summer heat was to stay in the pool. Around lunchtime, Russell's family arrived and then Gary's family arrived not too long after that. After lunch and an application or two of sunscreen, the entire Miller family, all 14 of us, were in the pool! We played games, threw the kids, got in trouble by doing triple deckers and laughed a lot. Before heading out to our favorite restaurant in the Wrightsville Beach area, we dressed our best in khaki and white and took pictures on the beach. They turned out great! After pictures, we were off to Freddie's at Kure Beach. This restaurant is amazing! Although it is deemed to be an Italian restaurant, they are known for their porkchops and homemade salad dressing. Wow! This place gets better every year that we visit it. It was only natural to enjoy dessert after eating dinner at Freddie's. We made our way to Carolina Beach to taste Britt's donuts. This one fryer donut shop had a line wrapped around the block at the Boardwalk at 10:00pm. It was unreal. These donuts are unlike any that we have ever tasted. Double glazed is the way to go! The kids enjoyed playing in the arcade before heading back to the resort.

...The Gang's All Here...

Saturday was a bittersweet day. Christopher had to leave that afternoon for Kentucky as he was beginning a pharmacy rotation in Louisville. I wanted to soak up all the time I could with him. Before heading to the beach with the family, Christopher, Russell, mom and I enjoyed coffee poolside. Then, it was time to ride waves, make drip sandcastles and soak up the sun with everyone. For lunch, we enjoyed wraps and daiquiris poolside. The younger ones napped and the older ones continued to play throughout the afternoon. It was then time for Christopher to begin his next roadtrip. Before leaving, he gave me a going away gift and surprised me with Lady Antebellum tickets. We are going to their concert in Tampa in September. The good-bye was like reliving our long-distance relationship days, a few tears and a few laughs. But all-in-all, we know it is temporary and it is only for the betterment of our future. After Christopher's departure, my family and I continued to enjoy the sunshine. Before we knew it, it was 7:00pm and dinnertime. We knew there would be no way 13 people could get ready, be seated at a restaurant and return back to the resort at a decent hour. So, we ordered pizza and enjoyed a private pool party as no one but us was there. It was so fun and great! Overall, we stayed in the sun for 13 hours on Friday. Now, that is crazy!

Sunday, we enjoyed brunch buffet before we all headed in our own directions. After saying our goodbyes, Russell and his family enjoyed some more beach time, Gary and his family took a daytrip to Myrtle Beach and mom and I hit up some shopping before she and dad took me to the airport. A great surprise to our trip was that Brady happened to be enjoying a beach weekend getaway too. It was great to see her for a hot minute. It was not too long after that, it was time for me to get to the airport. I flew from Wilmington to Sanford, where Gary and Brandon picked me up. After a quick pit-stop at their home, Derby and I made our way back home where it is just the two of us until the end of August.

Ultimately, our family vacation was great. We certainly know how to pack some fun in a short period of time. It is what the Miller's do best!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Welcome to Our Home!

In the words of Elvis Presley, "Welcome to my home. Won't you come on in." The past 6 weeks or so have been incredibly busy filled with visits from family and friends. Here is a recap of who came to Florida and what fun in the sun we had.

First, Brady, my best friend from high school, came for a 4 day visit during the middle of June. Unlike her visit from the previous year, we had great weather and took full advantage of the sunshine. Brady arrived on a Thursday evening. We enjoyed sushi and wine once she got into Bradenton. On Friday, after Christopher and I finished our day at work, the three of us ventured to Plant City to enjoy an evening outside at a winery, called Keel & Curley, listening to live music. The drinks were delicious and the music was great. We even brought our own picnic basket filled with yummy food to accompany the fruit-based wine. On Saturday, we enjoyed the morning at the beach and lunch at a local pizzeria. For dinner, Brady and I enjoyed a girls' evening and spent the night at St. Armand's Circle. We enjoyed dinner and mojitos at Columbia Restaurant and managed to find great finds at the local and unique shops. Sunday, before I took Brady to the airport, the three of us searched for a great cheeseburger for lunch. After driving around Bradenton for one hour, we finally ate lunch at a new local restaurant in downtown Bradenton. It was then time to take Brady to the airport and to prepare for another set of visitors.

The following weekend, Christopher, Derby and I traveled to Orlando as Gayle was in town with her best friend, Carol. Carol surprised her daughter, Alissa, by planning a trip to Disney World and Sea World. While they enjoyed the theme parks, we were able to enjoy the resort. The Grand Cypress Resort and Villas were wonderful; the hotel offered all-inclusive activities. We played par-3 golf, went bike riding, swimming and more. It was a great getaway even if it were only 24 hours.

Over July 4th weekend, Cayla and Chris were able to join us to celebrate the holiday weekend. We welcomed the happy couple with a shrimp boil. On Sunday, the weather was not great. We were worried we would not be able to enjoy the festivities of celebrating America. We showed Cayla and Chris the town of Bradenton, ventured to the outlets in Ellenton and prepared for a great evening in Sarasota. Like with Brady, we too ate dinner at Colombia Restaurant. It has become one of our favorite places to take our friends. After dinner, we made our way to downtown Sarasota, and enjoyed the block party before the fireworks festivities. They were a great show. Monday the rain continued so we thought it would only be best to enjoy the bad weather with a movie marathon. We went to Walmart, purchased ice cream, popcorn, frozen pizza and more junk food, and then hopped into our pajamas and laid on the sofas watching movies for the rest of the evening. Cayla and Chris left Tuesday morning only to welcome another couple later that evening.

Alicia, Christopher's best friend from high school, and her fiance, Matt, were able to enjoy south Florida for an entire week. They were able to experience Thai Wasabi, Siesta Key and the outlets in Ellenton. Over the weekend, we took them to Universal Studios so they could experience The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. While they played at Universal, Christopher and I were able to play at camp. It was nice to catch up with old friends and campers.

As July comes to a quick end, we have even more things to look forward to. Derby is getting spayed tomorrow. We are traveling to North Carolina next week for the Miller family vacation. at Wrightsville Beach. After vacation, Christopher will head to Kentucky for a rotation in a nuclear pharmacy and I will fly back to Florida to continue to work and be with Derby. It is hard to believe that we recently just celebrated our sixth month wedding anniversary. We could not be happier and more in love. Life is good!