I have found growing up in the military that I am a floater. I haven’t really had a place I would say I am “from.” The Air Force Bases are all the same wherever you go, so while thankfully there is a sense of familiarity, it’s not exactly a hometown. However, the one constant place in my life that I have visited almost every summer since I was a kid…Florida. Niceville and Crestview. Both of my grandparents, and many aunts, uncles, and cousins live there. It became the closest thing I had to a hometown. I remember the jitters I would get whenever we would pull up onto the street where my grandparents lived. Many fond memories of beaches, sunshine, family, and laughs have been associated with Florida.
Well, since we moved to the Houston area, it is only an 8-9 hour drive to Florida. The closest I have lived to it in decades. So I kept feeling the strong desire to go and visit. With Adam trying to secure his place in his new job, I knew that him skipping out for a week to come with me was not an option; so I decided I would drive the girls myself. I hadn’t driven this long of distance before, but I could not shake the feeling that I needed to visit Florida. I ran it by Adam and he was so supportive. He let me know his different fears, but that he felt I was more than capable and would support my decision. We said a prayer and I got a blessing of safety and we were off! It was so empowering! The girls were so great. I stopped 3 times and I was always guided to safe rest stops where I had my routine down pat: 1. Get gas, 2. Pull into a parking spot near the gas station and get Claire in the front seat to nurse while the doors are locked, 3. Change Claire’s diaper and load her back in her seat, 4. Change Bailey’s diaper, 5. Get both girls in the bathroom with me so I could use the restroom, 6. Load everyone back in the car and get back on the road! That order was the key to my success of driving with 2 kids in diapers by myself lol.
The girls did great and I conquered some fears of driving over bridges and bodies of water, and I made it safe and sound! It was definitely a long drive, but I am so thankful I was able to see that I could do it! Adam’s dad ended up flying him out the next Friday so he could drive back with me, and that ended up being pretty awesome, because it gave Adam a little weekend trip in the sunshine state as well 🙂
Visiting Florida felt like home. It was familiar. I feel so lucky to have so many family members around to spend time with and make memories with my own kids. We went to the beach multiple times, the gulfarium to see the dolphin show, the Niceville children’s park that has a splash pad, the movie theatre to see Finding Dory, out to Jay Florida to see my cousin that I hadnt seen in like a decade, and good quality family time! Bailey became tan in about 10 minutes in the sun 🙂
My Nana ended up in the hospital with pneumonia during our trip, but we were able to see them our first night in town and have lots of quality time with her and Papa with the girls. I am so thankful for that 🙂 She is now home and recovering thank goodness.
Seeing my family and having good quality time was amazing. My girls were so loved and I know Bailey was so happy to play with her girl second cousins; which I am pretty sure she thought she was older like them….oh boy lol.
Once Adam got to Florida we were able to go to the beach one last time as a family, and it was just heaven. There is not a single beach in the world I love more than my Florida beaches. Just sayin. Plus, it was really nice having him drive back with us because we hit tons of traffic, and having another adult to talk to made it a lot quicker lol.
We are home now to my new hometown in Texas…but Florida will always be my childhood 🙂
P.S. I also included some cute pics from before we left in Texas 🙂 (Sprinkler, pool, and cousin/sibling time)
These are our Bits O’ Bertoch.