Hello, everyone! I'm back from Florida and ready to rock! Actually, we've been back from Ft. Myers Beach since about 5:00 a.m. on Monday morning, but I honestly haven't managed to get back into the swing of things enough to warrant me sitting down and writing out a recap of our trip. I seriously think that people should take vacations AFTER vacations. No matter how much relaxing I do during my time off, I still feel like I need an extra two days to sleep to recuperate.

And, I need to mention that we came back home from our trip only to discover that while we were away, a tornado touched down in my apartment complex. Yeah. Not exactly the welcome home party I was hoping for. Luckily, the tornado was only an F1 (which I know is still freaky as a heck because a twisting funnel of wind and debris is scary no matter what the size) and left very minimal damage.  My downstairs neighbor's windows exploded and are now boarded up, siding and roofing is missing, and there are trees down everywhere. The stop signs and speed limit signs were ripped up, too. But that's about the extent of the damage. The worst of it is along the road next to my apartment where there are literally DOZENS of giant trees uprooted and laying on the ground. Fortunately, I only saw one house that had a tree knocked onto their roof. We are all incredibly lucky. We were just minimally inconvenienced by the damage this storm did.  It was nothing even close to comparable to Joplin ... and for that I am incredibly, incredibly thankful.

And I cannot even begin to articulate how happy I am that we were not home when this happened.  I'm not sure if I've mentioned this previously, but I am petrified of tornadoes. When I was a kid, even the smallest rumble of thunder would send me running into my parents' room asking, "Can I please sleep with you?"  The possibility of an angry tunnel of black clouds coming out of the sky was the most horrifying thing my young brain could possibly imagine. Tornados were, and still are, number 2 on my Top 5 Scariest Reoccurring Nightmares list (coming in second only to dreams about giant ships, but beating out nightmares about crabs or my teeth falling out). Now that I'm married and sleep with a big, burly man every night, a severe thunderstorm doesn't appear as much of a threat to me. We've heard tornado sirens in the middle of the night and I've felt my heart rate start to quicken, but I don't go diving under the bed or running into the closet anymore.  For some reason, being with a man makes me feel safer and torando-proof. Also, I naively assumed that tornados only like to roam in open fields like some kind of windy herd of cattle.  There's no way a tornado wants to wander around a city.

Apparently I was a wrong about that.

So guess what? I'm terrified of tornados again.

Regardless, Clay and I still had a marvelous vacation, and I was sad to see it end. Every single day the forecast projected thunderstorms, but it never rained until about 9:00 pm on our very last night while we were sitting on the beach drinking beers and watching the sun set. We watched the storm roll in, eclipse the beautiful pink sun, and then leave a giant rainbow in its wake. It was awesome. Every day was sunny, clear, and a sweaty 95 degrees. The ocean was warm and inviting, and I only saw one crab go scuttling sideways across the beach (THANK GOSH).

Lovers Key!

Sunset on the beach near our hotel.

Clayton absolutely fried on our first day there and stubbornly insisted he continued to go out in the sun each day, hoping his redness would soon fade to a golden brown (which it did ... before it started peeling). We went through an entire bottle of sun screen.  I managed to survive the vacation sunburn-free, but that's because I went to the tanning bed prior to the vacation and had a nice base color. I got progressively darker and Clayton progressively start to resemble a lobster.

After being in the car for 19 hours and not sleeping for about 40 hours at this point.

After this trip I am convinced that Clay and I are some sort of animal whisperers. We saw so many marine animals and had an outrageous amount of luck with close encounters. On our first day alone we saw a sting ray swim past my leg, saw a baby sea trull, and that night during dinner at the marina, we saw dolphins swimming around the shrimp boats and yachts. Then, the next day, while swimming at Lovers Key, a dolphin SWAM PAST CLAYTON. Apparently a dolphin swam too close to shore and managed to beach itself.  It started thrashing and sent everyone on the beach running because, come on, if anyone sees a fin sticking out the water, you assume it's Jaws coming back for revenge. Clayton, who I now know doesn't love me nearly as much as he claims, literally shoved me as he tried to run out of the water and onto the safety of the beach (Thanks, babe). Once the dolphin righted itself up, everyone realized that it wasn't a shark and started squealing and pointing in its direction. Clay and I were the closest to it, frozen in awe as it moved towards us.  The dolphin was literally only feet away from Clay, and it was absolutely amazing to watch. (While on our honeymoon in Mexico, we had the opportunity to swim with dolphins. The dolphin I was paired with was named Gandalf and he swam through my legs and gave me a kiss. They are awesome animals.)

Lovers Key was perfect for sea shell hunting and I left Clay to fry on the blanket to go searching for the perfect shells for a craft project. Wandering alone on the white beach was pure bliss. There was no one around, it was quiet, and the perfect moment to take some time to myself and count my blessings.  It was amazing.  I found several gorgeous shells and had the amazing fortune to find a fully intact sand dollar. There were some really pretty orange conch shells lying around, but every single one of them had a "trab" living in it (I used to run around the beach as a child screaming about how scared I was of all the "trabs"). I kept picking up the shells, see a crab recoiling in fear, and would immediately toss it back on the ground, muttering, "I beg your pardon, sir". I don't think I'd like it if someone went picking my apartment up and shaking it either (... I'm looking at you, Mr. Tornado). My walk on the beach ended when I saw my first and only full-sized crab go shuffling across my path and I immediately started power walking back to my husband.

Lovers Key is literally covered in them!

I managed to get in two runs during our stay in Ft. Myers and they were definitely the hottest runs of my life. I don't think I was running so much as crawling across the ground in agony. My normal 26 minutes for 3 miles ended up being more like 32 minutes. Clay refused to go with me.

In all, it was a fantastic vacation. Nothing is better than being at my favorite place in the whole world with my favorite person in the whole world (and getting an amazing tan!).

The most awkward pose ever.  But still, I'm tan!

We arrived home to find that not only did a tornado hit, but that dang mouse is STILL living in our apartment. I know this because I opened our pantry and saw the mouse go shooting by at eye-level. The traps we have are a joke. I think I need to buy a cat. The mouse left a few little poopers by my bananas last night and now I'm completely turned off to eating anything in my house.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, Clay loved his birthday present! We are Atlanta Braves fans (he's been a fan for life and he converted me when we started dating), and is obsessive about checking scores and getting updates about them on ESPN. So, for his birthday, I bought him tickets for their game against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field in August. Neither one of us cares for the Cubs at ALL and are not looking forward to being the odd men out at the game, but Chicago is one of his favorite places to go and, fan or not, Wrigley Field is pretty historic and awesome. He's never been the to the stadium, so I thought it would be a real treat.  I even went behind his back and scheduled the vacation days with his boss (which kind of blew up in my face because that made his boss aware of his birthday, so Clayton got the whole "HAPPY BIRTHDAY CLAYTON!" awkwardness from his co-workers and a pitch-in lunch for his big day. Clayton HATES that kind of attention. Ooops!)


  1. Loved this post! It was cute and I LOLed and Florida seems like it was awesome!

  2. Thanks, Sis! We should take a family vacation there!

    When are you going to get your blog up and running again? I'm anxious to read!


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