how i spent my thanksgiving vacation

I had preconceived doubts about the smoothness of our nearly week long trip up to the middle of nowhere before it happened. From the first night -- where Ethan effortlessly slept nearly twelve hours without a single fuss at bedtime -- it was apparent this trip was going to go way smoother than I thought. Maybe even Ethan was looking forward to the fresh air and nature for miles or a break from life. We had made the trip up to my parent's lake house, a four hour drive into rural Central Florida, on Tuesday afternoon and returned home very late Sunday evening, almost at midnight. It's been hard to get moving today as it usually is upon returning home from a vacation. The suitcases still sit there, still packed, and the empty refrigerator nags you to get your grocery shopping done.

It was a wonderful week spent alongside family, enjoying a slightly slower pace than usual and enjoying the opportunity to bundle up and keep warm against unfamiliar temperatures. On Wednesday, my husband and I packed up Ethan, my sister and Ethan's red wagon and drove over to an organic citrus grove to do some citrus picking. When in Central Florida, right?

The sleepy lake town our family's lake home is in has a population of 950 people. I come from a town notorious for being one of those small and boring cities that teenagers dream of escaping from come high school graduation -- and we have a 121,000 person population. There are times being away at the lake house, away from the people and the bustle and the chaos and the stress and the traffic, is relaxing but there are also times it can get a bit eerie. Like when a bear tears up your recycling bins or you're unsure what animal you just heard scurrying through the brush behind you at nighttime. Or like the park up the road with it's beautiful lakeside setting that looks like a park that time just simply forgot, with it's rickety wooden playground and rusty playground toys that are likely older than I am. I secretly love that park, minus the splinters. There's something about the antiquity and simplicity that just feels special, or the fact that if the equipment was in fact older than I was, Ethan certainly didn't notice.

Thanksgiving dinner was cooked by my mother while all of us routinely drove her nuts in the process. We tried to stay out of her hair as best we could but, well, you know. Everything just smelled so good.

The day after Thanksgiving was one I was looking forward to for some time. We had made plans weeks upon weeks ago to use that Friday to take Ethan over to a local Christmas tree farm. When we used to spend Christmas at our lake house in the days before Ethan, we loved to chop down our own Florida Christmas tree -- a luxury in Florida, you see -- and I loved to see the petting zoo. Really, I just loved to see the petting zoo while gushing about how I couldn't wait for Ethan to be born and play with all of the baby goats with me. I wasn't the only one overcome with excitement over our trip to the tree farm. My dad made sure to track down a pair of cowboy boots and a cowboy hat for Ethan to wear on the hayride and the ponyride. We didn't chop down our own tree this year, but we still took the hayride. Again, when in Central Florida, right?

And how could I possibly forget to mention the boat ride my dad took us on? You see, the boat broke down out in a side canal in the middle of nowhere. My husband and my dad had to take turns paddling the boat back to safety -- which took two hours. On a boat. With a toddler. But we survived and I imagine it'll be one of those stories funny to tell in a few weeks, maybe. (But not right now.)

It was a wonderful week away and I think we all feel refreshed having gotten away for a little bit. The fresh air works wonders that way, I believe.


  1. It looks like a wonderful trip. You got some gorgeous photos.

  2. ohmahgah that little man is adorable!!! love all the picture, thanks for sharing!

  3. Looks like you had a wonderful holiday!
    p.s. You are doing such a great job at getting pictures of Ethan and Mommy.


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