When I discovered that Carson's summer classes were going to start in June, and that we would thus be moving in June, I was really bummed because I wanted to spend the 4th in Cleveland. I've always enjoyed the fourth of July and was especially sad to discover that we were going to be spending it just the two of us, since it was unlikely that we'd know anyone in Tallahassee.
And then I remembered that family isn't that far away.
So I worked the morning of the 4th (time and a half!) and then we packed up the Civic and headed to Ocala for the weekend. It was good to get away from all the "NEW" and be amongst familiar faces.
We stopped at McDonalds for apple pie first because apple pie is American and because we are gluttonous, apparently. Yay freedom.
Once it got dark, the fireworks began... Carson and Caleb did the honors. I wasn't trying at all, so this is the only picture i got.
The next morning, we got up and went to a diner with Caleb and Morgan. I was proud of us for getting up so early, after a late night.
The reason for being up and at 'em so early was because we'd decided to go kayaking, and we wanted to beat the rain. Rain seemed likely since every time I've been to visit Morgan, we've gotten stuck in a downpour.
We went to Silver Springs, which is where we went many times when we were little and visiting Morgan's family in Ocala. There used to be a waterpark there that we LOVED, but that's old and not running now, so we got to explore actual nature. We got two tandem kayaks so that Caleb and Carson could paddle while Morgan and I did absolutely nothing. It was Morgan's idea and it was BRILLIANT.
Isn't the water gorgeous? It was alligator mating season, so we weren't allowed to get in the water, but I wasn't sad about that, and enjoyed looking at it. Carson was disappointed.
We spent the whole first half of our trip wondering if we'd see alligators and looking for them, and the second half nearly running into them.
Behind all those turtles on the white boat is a gator.
We also saw monkeys! Around a dozen of them were swinging from trees, wandering around, and just looking at us.
I had to overexpose this one so you could see it, but this was the biggest gator we saw.
We wanted to go in these glass-bottom boats but decided against it when they were around $20 a person for a trip.
Our next stop was to the grocery store, to get things for lunch and dinner. We found this huge container of Cokes with different names on each one. We picked through the whole thing looking for my name, since Morgan's and Becca's were right on top (we didn't even look for Carson or Caleb's but I'm sure they were there). Finally, when we checked out, we noticed a "Linds" in the refrigerated sodas and I went back to take a picture. People looked at me like a crazy person.
We went back to the house, where Morgan and Carson both napped, and where Caleb and I meant to nap, but actually sat in the living room and watched a show about Alaskan Bush People. I'm not even sure why we turned it on, but we couldn't turn it off and watched for about two of the strangest hours of our lives.
When the rest of the team awoke, Morgan suggested a game. I'm not a game person, but this one was surprisingly quite fun to play. It's called "The Poo Game" and you get these cards that allow you to essentially fling poo at everyone else playing. Yes, it is a strange concept, but we got a little competitive about it and played it until it was time to start dinner.
We had steaks, pesto pasta, garlic bread and sauteed spinach for dinner.
Just as Caleb stepped outside to grill, the aforementioned rain began.
Between naptime and playing games, we made a batch of vanilla ice cream in the freezer with Morgan's ice cream maker. Now I want one, because it was delicious and easy.
My cousin Sydney joined us for dinner, ice cream and another game, this one called "Wits and Wagers". Someone reads a card asking for a stat (this one was "how long, in miles, is the longest tunnel in the world?") and you all write your best guess, put them in order from lowest to highest, and bet on which ones you think are most likely with your two little chips. The answer to this one was a huge surprise to us all - it was 77! It was easy to play and fun.
We went to church the next morning, then to Uncle Mark and Aunt Pam's house for lunch. We got on the road soon after, and decided to stop at a tourist trap with baby gators and oranges. We purchased nothing, but now we know what the hype was about (nothing special).
It was an uneventful drive home which was definitely a good thing for us!