Saturday, January 30, 2010

Ah, Farewell, Florida ...

Today's our last day in Florida. Up and at 'em and on a flight back to the frozen northland tomorrow morning. When we broke the news to Wynn, she said the only thing she could say under the circumstances: "Awwww..."

She's already told us NUMEROUS times that she wants to come back to Florida again sometime, and so do we. For now, let's focus on the fun we had today.

The morning was rainy and windy but not too cold, so we took another walk on the beach to look for shells and listen to the waves. We love that Wynn is so ridiculously enthusiastic about such simple pleasures; she's never even heard of a theme park, and we're going to keep it that way as long as possible.

We checked out the shops in downtown Fernandina Beach, drank coffee, bought some t-shirts, and bumped into another family with an adopted daughter from China.

Naps were enjoyed back at the hotel room; Wynn passed out on the floor with her gecko and snored away for a solid hour.

For dinner we went back downtown and strolled through the historic district looking at the quirky old houses and trying to wrap our minds around residential streets lined with palm trees. Most of the restaurants downtown post their menus outside - French cafes, a Philly Cheesesteak stand, an organic bistro with a chef's garden out back, and an assortment of pubs and seafood diners. We decided to try an adorable little place called Karibos (and it's neighbor Karibrews) that served up fantastic sandwiches - I had the Cuban, Scott had softshell crab, and Wynn dug into quesadillas. Our experiences with dining here - and the fact that we've been able to get so many wonderful, fresh meals for $20 - $30 for the whole family really makes us want to come back here again - just to explore all the great looking restaurants we've passed by.

The biggest treat today for Wynn was some quality splash time in the hotel whirlpool. We went out as the sun was setting, and the warm water and bubbles really hit the spot. Wynn giggled with glee and she clung to Baba. At one point she proclaimed that the whirlpool was SO much better than taking a bath.

It's been a great trip. We've started referring to it as our January Thaw and are already talking about doing it all again next year.

For now, all Scott and I can say is, "Getting up and going to work on Monday is NOT going to be easy."

Leaving Our Mark on the Beach

Wynn & I Doing a Scene from The Birds

The Crab Scott Ate for Dinner

Splish Splash!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Florida Photos of the Day

Showing Off Her Sandals (and Dance Moves)

Moss-Covered Trees at Fort Clinch State Park

The Fishing Pier
(It's a LONG Walk)

Cloudy-Day Beachcombers

Exploring the Tunnels at Fort Clinch

Highlights of the Day (So Far):

• An amazing lunch at the Happy Tomato Cafe in Fernandina Beach: eating on the deck, pulled pork sandwiches, Wynn's first taste of lemonade - and the surprised face she made after the first sip.

• Having most of the places we've been essentially to ourselves: the fishing pier, the best seashell hunting beach, historic Fort Clinch. We don't know if it's due to the clouds or because it's a weekday, but where is everyone?

• Wynn's absolute glee about picking up seashells. "Oooo, look what I found!" she'd call over and over. We talked about all the different shapes and colors, and Wynn figured out that she could use big shell as a shovel to scoop up a bunch of tiny shells. It was an hour of pure bliss - even when Wynn announced that she needed to go potty, and Scott took her behind a sand dune to do it.

• When the Civil War era costumed guide at Fort Clinch basically apologized to us for the weather (60 degrees and overcast). When we pointed out to him that it was sixty degrees warmer than what we'd left at home, he laughed, "Oh, then you folks are just fine."

Thursday, January 28, 2010

I Like the Air on My Feet

When we got up this morning at 3:45, it was about -5 outside. It was hard to get up and get everybody moving at such an early hour, but we all sensed it would be worth it. You see, we had an early flight to catch - and now we're relaxing in a lovely hotel room on Amelia Island, FL.

Wynn traveled like the trouper she is - flirting with the TSA agents, making sure we got her some juice before we boarded the plane, etc. She knows the drill.

The Island is absolutely beautiful - laid-back, quiet, 65 degrees. Our hotel is about two blocks from the Atlantic, so we checked out the beach this afternoon as soon as we got here. With all our travels, neither Wynn nor I have ever stood on the beach and looked at an ocean before; we usually end up flying over them. It was sweet for us to have our first "ocean moment" together.

We have a full kitchen in our hotel room, so we went to the Publix Market this afternoon to get provisions. We were a bit taken aback by seeing so much shelf-space devoted to insecticides (and that it was in the same aisle as the soft drinks), but with all the swampland to our west, I guess it makes sense.

Wynn slept through dinner. Conveniently, we'd decided to go to Sonic, so she just snoozed away in the back seat while Scott and I had our dinner delivered by a car-hop.

The hotel has a really nice seating area with big comfy patio furniture and a fire pit. There was no fire tonight, but, as hardy Minnesotans, we were still out there - alone. We breathed in the air and relished not having to wince from the cold. Wynn pointed up at the stars and told us how she simply can't help herself and MUST wiggle her toes when she is wearing sandals. It was at this point that Scott and I smiled at how great our life with Wynn is - and she interrupted by explaining, "I like the air on my feet."

There's a big, full moon tonight, so we all strolled down to the beach to listen to the waves and watch the moon's reflection. It was glorious. No one else was at the beach. We had miles of white sand all to ourselves. Just us, the waves, the moon, and the lights of a few ships far off-shore.

Yes, getting up SO early and facing the cold was definitely worth it.

Snacking in the Sunshine at the Atlanta Airport

Our First Ocean Moment
(Wynn is literally dancing with excitement.)

Strolling on the Sand

Hanging out by the Unlit Fire Pit
(with a Gecko)

Friday, January 15, 2010

What's Big & Green & Came Out of Wynn's Nose?

Wynn's had a cold for the last week or so. We all have. But hers was getting progressively worse as the week went on.

Last night she was doing these monstrous sneezes and coughing constantly. Scott and I agreed that if she didn't start getting better over the weekend, we'd take her to the doctor.

Well, this morning as I turned off the hair dryer, I could hear Scott yelling, "Ann! Come up here! I need your help!" He had that tone in his voice where I could tell it was serious, so I sprinted up the steps and found him holding Wynn in his arms on the bathroom floor. He explained that she was bleeding - a lot - and that he was having trouble getting it to stop. He told me to go strip her bed while he worked on getting this super-soaker of a bloody nose under control.

Her bed looked terrible. A big pool of bright red blood, soaked through both sheets and the mattress pad. And she was still bleeding.

Every time he'd get the bleeding under control, she'd sneeze and start it up all over again. She was covered in it, Scott was covered in it, most surfaces in the bathroom were covered in it. It was officially bad, so we both quickly called in sick and got her the first appointment of the day at the doctor's office.

She was in good spirits on the ride there and wasn't bleeding anymore. She pitched a fit in the waiting room when we wouldn't let her play with the germ-infested toys, but they got us back to the room quickly. The doctor looked up her nose and asked, "Is there something green up her nose?" Scott and I looked at each other, unsure of how to respond.

"Um, is it dried snot?" Scott ventured.

"No, it's bright green. She's got something up in there."

A walk upstairs to the ENT was next on the agenda. Nose-numbing spray was shot up her nose, and the ENT, who wore one of those old-school round mirror things on his head, brought out a nose-opening device and some long forceps. Then he extracted a bright green plastic bead from her right nostril while she sat on Scott's lap. (He held her head still, while the other doctor and I took care of the hands.)

Where did that bead come from?!

Wynn played dumb.
She shrugged.
She got quiet.
She'd never seen that thing before in her life.

Only in the car on the way home did she admit that she'd found it by her cot at school - several days earlier - and had put it up there for reasons she couldn't explain.

So, that's how our morning that started in panic ended up being kinda funny.
And that's Wynn's foreign-object-up-the-nose story, certain to be told and retold for years to come.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Wynn turns four tomorrow, and we keep looking at her in amazement and saying, "She's not a baby anymore. She's a full-blown kid."

She has decided that her now-that-I'm-four rite of passage will be eating off the same dishes as the grown ups. No more plastic IKEA plates for this girl. Bring on the Fiesta Ware!

Dictating the Story for the Book She'd Made
"I don't know how to make the words yet, Mom"

Blowing Out the Candles
(Favorite Color = Yellow)

Working Intently on a Scissor Project
(With Gecko Pillow in the Background)