From May 27 - June 15, Curtis and I took a 3-week vacation and traveled all over the state of Florida. Our goal for the time: to relax and to get refreshed. If you look at the map below, you can see all of the places that we stopped. Our final destination was Key West, which was to celebrate our 4 year anniversary. I'll have a separate post for that part of the trip.
If we would have traveled this non-stop, it would have taken us over 30 hours to get back to Savannah!
Here's the highlights from the first 2 weeks:
We were able to spend some time with my family while we were in Jacksonville. Here's a nice picture of my mom.
Let the relaxing begin!
All the boys (my dad, brother Ben and Curtis) relaxed.
Here's a picture of me with my immediate family minus my older brother. I like how we arranged by height without even realizing it. We could be in one of those AT&T commercials with the "bars."
We also stopped in to meet our newest cousin, Alan David. He was only about a week old when we met him. He's pictured above with his proud mom & dad.
Here's Curtis holding Alan - he was such a sweetheart. Actually, both of them are. ;)
Not only did we get to see Alan, but we also got to see my grandparents. I forgot to take their picture though - that's a bummer! Curtis and I also spent some time with the newest youth pastor at my old church, Pinewood - it's always encouraging for him to talk with other pastors.
One day, we were able to spend some time with Randy & Debra Warren. I almost forgot to take a picture. This was taken right before I drove away. We had a great time together!
OK, now for a small segment on our sweet kitten, Lion-O, before we head on to our next stop:
We left Lion-O with my parents in Jacksonville while we gallivanted around. When he first arrived, he hid in this large cat litter box to get away from the other cats. Haha!
Lion-O had to adjust to being around my parent's cats - Buddy & Teddi. We had to separate them at first. Notice that Lion-O is on the other side of the sliding glass door. (Note: The cats did eventually get a long - they spent 2 weeks together while we were away.)
Teddi curled up Curtis. It was really precious.
Before we left Jacksonville, we celebrated Lion-O's 1 year birthday (June 3) by giving him some cat milk.
And on with our tour...
We headed to Gainesville and stayed with the Fields. Even though Emily was not in town while we were there, her hospitality was definitely noticed! She prepared for us by providing lots of food for yummy meals. Ryan did an excellent job of cooking them.
Ryan took us to a new part of Paynes Prairie that Curtis and I had never visited when we lived in Gainesville. It was really beautiful there. It was a little hot though.
We were looking at the alligators behind us before we took this picture.
I liked this candid shot of the best buds talking. Curtis loves spending as much time as he can with Ryan.
They had a great time together. Even Emily's cat, Vince, joined the party!
We also had the privilege of getting to hear Ryan preach at his church (and where I attended in college), Creekside Community.
One of my closest friends, Kaylen, also lives in Gainesville. I was so glad that we were able to spend time with her and her husband, Jono.
Not pictured in Gainesville: We also spent time with our RUF campus minister, Steve Lammers, and his family; I was also able to spend time with another good friend, Jenna McMicken. All of it was very refreshing to our souls! We praise God for giving us so many good friends that encourage us in our relationship with the Lord. :)
Next stop - Beverly Hills, Florida to see the Lauranzons. We met this beautiful family (back then it was only Robyn & Brandon) in St. Louis during seminary. They were good friends that we met with weekly. Brandon now has his first call at Seven Rivers Presbyterian and we were so glad we were able to stop and see them during our trip!
I fell in love with Karis. I think she fell in love with me too. She seemed to get upset whenever I would leave her presence. I love her expression in this picture!
It was like old times! I hadn't seen Robyn since we left St. Louis almost 3 years ago.
Then, we traveled to Orlando for the day and spent time with the Donovans. Curtis and I really felt encouraged by our time with them! Jess makes such a cute pregnant woman, doesn't she? She is due in August and we can't wait to find out what they're having (they're keeping it a surprise).
Next up...we went to Melbourne to spend some time with some of my dad's side of the family.
This is my cousin, Elle. She was playing around with my iPod and gave me about 10 photos that looked almost just like this! She's a big fan of sticking out her tongue.
We went to Sebastian Inlet to bask in the amazing weather. Elle and I bonded a lot.
There weren't that many people there that day so we had the place to ourselves. What a fun day!
Elle was showing off some of her crafts that she has made.
One of our final places to stop was in Fort Myers to see Curtis' parents. It was our first time getting to visit their new church. We had the opportunity to check out a really awesome ministry called ECHO (Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization) and tour their facilities. It was so cool to see what a difference they are making in third world countries that don't know what type of plants grow best in their area.
We also visited the winter homes of Henry Ford & Thomas Edison.
This is the largest Banyan tree in the United States. I had never seen anything like it!
It was absolutely gorgeous there.
I think we left right before the rain came.
While we were in Fort Myers, we stayed with a family that owned this beautiful cat named Lexy. I was so excited to meet her because I was really missing Lion-O. She was a very large cat!
We attended church at New Hope Presbyterian and got to hear Curtis' dad preach. Curtis even got to read the Word before he preached.
And now that we have our vacation hats on, we are ready for our final anniversary destination - Key West!
Stay tuned for another excited post about our final week in Florida. :)