Posted by: Tricia | November 2, 2009

Life’s a Beach

My mom travels a lot for her job so when she landed a few weeks in the Miami area Elliott and I decided to take advantage of her perks and fly out to meet her for a long weekend at the beach!

I was very nervous about how Elliott would do on a plane for the first time and even more nervous about taking him by myself.  I gathered all the advice I could from veteran fliers beforehand and left super-prepared for our trip.  With a backpack stuffed full of dollar store finds, crayons, snacks, chewy candy and juice for the take-off and landing, books, and way more movies than we could watch on a 3-hour flight we boarded the plane.

Elliott did much better than I could have hoped for.  The thrill of being on an airplane didn’t last long, but boy was he excited about reading his new books and watching Dumbo!   I offered him gummy bears and juice while we were taking off but the cabin pressure didn’t seem to bother him at all.  We didn’t even need to get up and cruise the aisle on the way there!  He made friends with a nice lady behind us who commented on what a good boy he was.


We got into town late in the evening and couldn’t see the view from our hotel window.  We were so excited to wake up and find this waiting for us in the morning!!



Mom had a few hours of work to do, but Elliott and I grabbed a quick breakfast at the hotel and headed straight for the beach!


We dug our feet into the cool sand and marveled at how beautiful the ocean was.  It was so much fun to see Elliott taking it all in for the first time.


We spent a good part of the morning playing in the pool.  A real live iguana stopped by to see us!


That afternoon we met my mom for lunch at a local seafood restaurant.


After a nice long nap for everyone we headed back out to the beach to make use of all of that sand!  We made lots and lots of sand castles!


Thankfully Elliott had a healthy fear of the ocean and didn’t want to get too close without us.  At first he was too scared to even let the waves wash over his toes, but by the end of the weekend he was enjoying getting in deeper waters with us.


We played in the pool for a while before dinner.  Elliott saw all of the big kids jumping into the pool and wanted to try it himself.  Here is a cute video of Elliott jumping in to my mom.

The next day we drove to a local nature center.  This place operates solely on donations and didn’t have the highest quality exhibits, but we had so much fun anyway.  I can remember going to places like this when I was a kid and I absolutely loved them!

Soon after we got there an employee got a snake out of its cage and asked if we wanted to touch it.  Elliott was positive that he didn’t want to touch it but I gave the snake a little pet.  It was only afterward that the man decided to tell me that snakes carry salmonella and that I should wash my hands!  Ick!


We hiked around the swamps a bit and saw lots and lots of these guys hanging above our heads!


Then we came to this really tall fort.  Elliott climbed up all by himself with my mom and I trailing behind.  My calves were sore for a week afterward!  I really do need to work out more often!


Then we hiked over to the butterfly gardens.  They were disappointing, but what do you expect for $3??  I didn’t get a good picture of one of the few fluttery friends that we did manage to see, but I did get this super sweet picture of Elliott sitting on a bench just his size!


Add in one Grandma, and you’ve got a really happy boy!

We were so anxious and excited to go and see the baby sea turtles…we had no idea that this is what that would look like!  Apparently they have to keep them separated in their own baskets or they will kill each other!  They were all clamoring to get out…I thought it was a little sad, but I guess it’s what needs to be done to keep the little guys safe and off of the endangered species list.


Then, we saw where baby sea turtles come from…these guys were less than discreet about what they were doing.


We also got to visit this big guy (I forgot his name).  It’s hard to tell in the picture, but he is over 60 years old and weighs over 100 lbs!  The tank attendant told us that we would be lucky if he moved an inch.  Well, maybe we need to take a trip to Vegas because we were so lucky that he left his normal resting spot on the tank floor and came up for a breath of air….twice!  Oh yeah…the tank guy was pretty impressed by all of the action and we were happy to have been there to see it!  He said the giant sea turtle probably wouldn’t need to move again for another hour or so after that.


I just had to include this last photo of our trip to Gumbo Limbo to show the effect the Florida humidity had on Elliott’s sweet head!  He was soooo sweaty!


The next day the weather was much cooler so we decided to visit a local park and museum.  This place was awesome!  For my Fort Worth friends, you guys, it was like Tillery Park on steroids!  Check this place out!  There were nooks and crannies, secret passageways, rocket ship controls high up in the towers, tons of ladders and stairs to climb, and lots of twisty slides to explore!  Elliott had a blast running around here.  In fact, my mom was out of breath just trying to keep up with him!


I thought this guy was amazing!


Elliott and I climbed inside of his mouth to say “cheese” for the camera!



There was a sweet little carousel at the park as well.


That afternoon we spent some time on the beach admiring the big waves the cool front created.  It was absolutely beautiful!



And, where there are big waves, there are surfers!   It was a lot of fun watching them try to catch the waves and wipe out.



Elliott spent a lot of time digging in the sand and finding hidden treasures.  This coconut was a huge hit!



We stayed for a while, then said our “goodbyes” to the beach.  It was the last time we would see the ocean…probably for a very long time.


That evening we had dinner at a Luau. My mom got reservations at the perfect time and at the perfect table.  I was totally prepared for Elliott to watch the dancing for about 10 or 15 minutes, but never in a million years would have thought that he would sit, mesmerized, for an entire hour!  This was such a fun time!



The next morning we caught a glimpse of a beautiful sunrise and were off to the airport.


Elliott did really well on the way home despite it being nap time and skipping lunch (his choice, not mine).  I didn’t even panic when I went to turn the DVD player on only to realize that the battery was dead.  My heart was racing, but I tried to be calm about it.  I knew we would be in for a very long and grumpy flight without it.  I took Elliott to the bathroom to kill some time and perform the famous stand-up diaper change in the teeny-tiny lavatory.  On our way out I asked the flight attendant if there was any place on the plane to charge our DVD player.  She said, “no”, but that there were some outlets on a few rows of the plane that would work if we had a car charger, but we had to be sitting in the middle seat of one of those rows.  We made our way back to our seats and then I saw it!  I cannot explain how happy I was to find out that we were in the right row!  Hallelujah!  I immediately plugged the DVD player in and had a movie playing in no time for one happy little boy…and an even happier Mom!

Elliott was happy to see Daddy at the airport and before we got onto the freeway he was fast asleep!


We had such a great time in Florida, Grandma!  Thank you so much for giving us the opportunity to go!  We love you!




  1. […] using her frequent flier miles.   I flew alone with Elliott on his first flight when we went to Florida, but had never flown with both boys.  I am so VERY glad she was with us!  It was a tremendous […]

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