2015.12.25 A Beach Christmas

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Merry Christmas from sunny Florida!  Orlando has been experiencing much warmer temperatures than normal.  Throughout the day it was difficult to remember that it was Christmas.  You’re not supposed to sweat on Christmas.

This morning, we got to sleep in, relatively speaking.  People were on their phones, eating breakfast, visiting, etc.  PK asked me if Mallory was a morning person.  I told her that I know Marissa is, and that I think Miles is.  PK said, “Miles is an All-Around Person.  He is always ready for anything.”  Miles says, “Thank you, Grandma.  That’s all the gift I need.”  A heartwarming start to the day.

Florida Christmas Tree

Florida Christmas Tree

Santa Claus did stop by and fill Miles, Mallory, and Marissa’s stockings.  After they opened them, we hit the road around 11am to visit the Yacht Club at Disney, where Scott and Erin got married 8 years ago.  This is Grandma Mary’s chance to see the location since she was not there for the wedding.  Scott and Erin got married inside the gazebo featured in the pictures below.

Scott, Erin and Grandma Mary

Scott, Erin and Grandma Mary

Scott, Erin, KK and PK (Today)

Scott, Erin, KK and PK (Today)

Scott, KK and PK (Wedding Day)

Scott, KK and PK (Wedding Day)

Scott and Erin recreating their magical Wedding Day kiss

Scott and Erin recreating their magical Wedding Day kiss

Scott and Erin’s original magical Wedding Day kiss

Scott and Erin’s original magical Wedding Day kiss

Marissa, Miles and Mallory recreating the lizard search (Today)

Marissa, Miles and Mallory recreating the lizard search (Today)

Marissa, Miles and Mallory looking for lizards (Wedding Day)

Marissa, Miles and Mallory looking for lizards (Wedding Day)

Group photo at the Gazebo

Group photo at the Gazebo

The couple who took our group photo were at Disney to celebrate their 8th wedding anniversary on the 27th.  We formed a special bond with them in the brief moment we had together.

After our visit to the Yacht Club, we departed for St. Petersburg.  Christmas at the beach sounded like a great time to us.  St. Petersburg is only about 90 minutes from Orlando, so why not.

In the Tampa Bay / St. Petersburg area, there is a huge bridge that spans the bay.  There were signs before entering that said “Long Bridge Ahead.  Check Gas.”  We timed how long it took us to cross it: 4 ½ minutes.  That’s a long bridge, but did enough cars run out of gas on it that it required a warning?

Once in St. Petersburg we headed straight for the beach.  Once we located parking spaces in the public beach parking, we unloaded our ice chests and made our way to the beach.  We assumed the water would be too cold to swim, so none of us wore or packed our swimsuits.  But there were plenty of people swimming.  Oh well, that did not stop us from splashing around and enjoying the waves.

Christmas Sandman.  (We didn’t make this, but had to take a picture.)

Christmas Sandman. (We didn’t make this, but had to take a picture.)

Merry Christmas from the Beach!

Merry Christmas from the Beach!

Surfer with a Santa Hat

Surfer with a Santa Hat

When eating our picnic lunch on the beach, we had some unexpected visitors.  A couple dozen seagulls.  They were very interested in our food.  In fact, both PK and Miles had their sandwiches stolen.  They took PK’s off of her plate when she was not protecting it, and Miles had his stolen right out of his hand.  The same bird that took Miles’ sandwich grazed the top of my head as it was coming in for the theft.  PK ended up yelling at the birds in hopes to get them to leave us alone.  I think the Okies provided some entertainment to everybody today.  As you looked around at the other people near us, a lot of them had their eyes on us.

Pic 13 Lunch

Pic 14 Lunch

KK and PK at the Beach

KK and PK at the Beach

Kings at the Beach

Kings at the Beach

We only spent about an hour at the beach because it was so stinking hot.  If a person wasn’t in the water and wasn’t just laying around in their swimsuit, the beach was not your place today.

Our next stop was the Bed & Breakfast that Scott & Erin stayed at on their honeymoon.  It was just a block from the Gulf in a very cool part of town.  Not that I had a negative perception of St. Petersburg before our visit, but I was very impressed with the town.  It is a place I would not mind returning to check out more.

Scott and Erin in front of their Bed & Breakfast

Scott and Erin in front of their Bed & Breakfast

After our quick tour, some of us visited a Starbucks for an afternoon caffeine infusion.  We passed a city park that was covered in homeless people.  If you are homeless, you can do a lot worse than pitching your tent in south Florida.

We made it back to the vacation home by 7:30 and enjoyed a chicken fajita dinner produced by Erin.  She rocks the kitchen!

After dinner, we got right into the traditional exchange of Christmas presents.  KK gave PK a gift of silicon pot holders, and this seemingly innocent present was the star of the show.  More specifically, Mom started dancing with the pot holders with the encouragement of her kids and grandchildren, and everybody was howling with laughter AND dancing with her.  Scott got a nice video of it.  It will be a family treasure.

PK dancing with her oven mitts

PK dancing with her oven mitts

Crowd reaction to dancing with oven mitts

Crowd reaction to dancing with oven mitts

Scott told me afterward how much he enjoyed the experience of our present exchange.  We open our gifts one at a time, and everybody weighs in on the gift.  It is a very much a family activity.  I agree 100% Scott!

Following our celebration of Christmas, we celebrated Mallory’s 16th birthday together.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful to turn 16 again?  If you hauled in as many QuikTrip gift cards as Mallory, the answer would be Yes.

After the opening of gifts, we enjoyed the macarons that the rest of the family purchased yesterday.  The box they purchased had a variety of flavors, and each one seemed better than the last.

Mallory and her Birthday Macarons

Mallory and her Birthday Macarons

What a wonderful way to spend Christmas.  Even more fun than the Yacht Club and the St. Petersburg beach was the time spent together in laughter and fellowship.  Spending time with family is truly one of life’s most wonderful blessings.

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