March 28, 2015

Go RVing - Leaving the Keys

Our last morning in the Keys started out pretty relaxed.
Derek and Miles took in the sunrise from our porch.

It was so fun to be in a location where you can see the sun set and rise along the horizon because you're on such a small island.

We had some shrimp and squid bait to use up, so the boys fished a little.

Then we took a few photos for RV "Go RVing" to use for promotional purposes.

They manufacture park models as well as RV's, so wanted some shots in one.

So, we obliged. 

Then the boys went fishing... yes again, while I finished packing our things. Derek took a phone video of this catch and Cooper can be heard saying, "Oh, it's a big one!"!  This made me laugh so hard coming from a kid who had a shark on his line a couple days before!  The fish on his line here is that little speck to the right of the pole closest to the camera.  :)

That's when it rained a little.  Not much but just enough to make me thank God again for answering our prayer for good weather.  The forecast showed pretty high chances of rain when we were scheduled to be there.  We prayed for sunshine during shooting and are thankful His answer was "Yes".  We drove into the Keys in a light rain but had sunshine the whole time there, then it rained just a little as we left.

We loaded up and hit the road, enjoying our last drive across the bridges of the Keys.  I kind of felt like I needed to pinch myself.  I'm so thankful for the opportunity to go on this trip and spend the week soaking in God's beauty with my little family!

We had worked it out to stay a couple extra days in Florida after shooting had wrapped.  Our first extra night we headed to Miami.

Where we found our hotel and checked out the view first thing!

Miles had never stayed in a hotel before and Cooper didn't remember when he did last since he was so little.  They ran around looking at everything so excited!  Even the bathroom... ha.  Things I remember hearing: "Look at the sink!"  "It comes with a built in blow dryer!"  "And a coffee maker!".

It didn't take much to convince them to change into swim trunks so we could hit the beach.

Where one of the first things they saw was a jellyfish. 

So we spent the rest of our time there avoiding stepping on it.

We didn't have any time on a beach in the Keys, so it was fun afternoon in the sand.

The boys worked their way out into the water.

And had fun playing in the waves, something else we hadn't done yet on this trip.

I put my feet in and maybe got wet up to my knees, good enough for me!

I enjoyed my view of the boys playing from my beach towel. 

 They also did some sand castle construction.

And Miles just really liked the sand.

He was also always searching for something.  When he found this old coconut he asked if he could take it home. 

But then he noticed the seagulls.

And since we were about to leave, I let the boys feed them some leftover snacks... 

Feeding the seagulls attracts a bunch of them, so we had our fun and the left!

We went to get cleaned up and then headed to Cousin Donna's condo.

Donna is Derek's G'pa's cousin, who never had kids of her own.  She's always more of a G'ma or the "Cool Aunt".  :)  Derek and I spent Thanksgiving with her the year we lived in Florida... she holds a special place in our hearts. The last time we saw her Cooper was a baby, so it was fun to have the boys get to know her.

We headed out for a walk around the park right by Donna's condo.

We saw a drawbridge in action which was fascinating to the boys.

Donna took us to dinner at one of her favorite little eating establishments across the park. 

The boys had pizza, but Miles said, "Didn't you hear what I wanted? That cake!".  So after he finished his meal, Donna bought him the cake too!  Cooper chose a spiderman ice cream bar with gum ball eyes.  He even shared one eyeball with his brother. :)

After we finished, we made the walk back to Donna's.

Where she let Miles unlock the door for us.

We spent the rest of our time telling Donna way too many fishing stories about our time in the Keys and showing her pictures from my phone.   We enjoyed seeing Donna and before we left I heard her say to Cooper and Miles that she didn't know she could fall in love so fast.  So sweet.

And then the boys were asleep almost as soon as we put them in the car!

March 26, 2015

Go RVing - Fishing and Fun

To start our last full day in the Keys, Derek and Cooper got up early to meet up with the camera crew and head out on a fishing excursion.  They drove down the Keys a little to their destination and when they got to the docks, they spotted something in the water...

A manatee!!

It was swimming around and coming up for air every little bit.  Cooper was thrilled to see one, and I had to laugh when I saw some of the footage of this event.  While Derek was taking these pictures and Cooper was saying, "Don't send those to Mom, I want to tell her!". 

They loaded onto the boat and headed out.  I asked Cooper what he caught in this photo and he said, "That's my bait, Mom.  But it's a pin fish.".  Oh, my mistake.  :)

With bait that size, you can imagine they were fishing for pretty large fish.  They were after tarpon or grouper, but never got any that day, although are sure they lost a couple off their lines.  Cooper did catch this mangrove snapper.

And although it's a small in the keys, it's a large fish to us midwestern 'park pond' fishermen.

Derek caught this jack too.  These aren't huge but they put up a nice fight!
(Cooper says "It's a fighter" about every fish he hooks anyway)
These guys had a great morning with captain Freddy!!

Meanwhile back at the RV Park, Miles and I had a leisurely morning since the guys had taken the camera crew with them.  We slept in and ate a relaxed breakfast at the cottage.  Then Miles wanted to do some fishing.  So we grabbed his rod and headed to the little canal.

Miles is getting good a baiting his own hook. (Shrimp here.) 

In the mornings, there were hundreds of fish in huge schools under this bridge!!  So it wasn't too surprising when Miles caught a fish on his first cast.

Still, this was one excited boy!! 
His is a mangrove snapper too, just a bit smaller than Coop's.
 Later I heard him tell someone he caught a "full-grown snapper" and it took me a while, but I realized he kept calling them that because he misunderstood 'mangrove' as 'man grown'.  Ha!  Get it?  Man Grown = Full Grown?  Ha ha ha.   It cracked me up anyway.

After Miles had reeled in three little (or man grown) snapper and fed countless amount of shrimp right off his hook to other fish, we decided to head to the swimming pool.  While walking with Miles, you're always on a creature hunt...  he can spot every little gecko.

And was positive he saw not one, but TWO, Florida Panthers in this bunch of trees.

We did eventually make it to the pool.  Which is right by the beach area, all overlooking the water.  I loved it.

Miles didn't waste any time enjoying the views though.

He got right down to swimming.

And was only slightly bummed that my answer was "no thanks" when he suggested we "Hold hands and jump in together.".

He went for it anyway!  Over and over again.

Walking back to the cottage we spotted a few more geckos, one without a tail.  Some other kid might be faster than Miles at catching them!

We cleaned up and went to lunch with the producer, Ginger, Karen and Greg from the RV company and Richey, the driver that delivers RV's and had driven 'ours' down from Indiana.  We went to another cute little place with outdoor seating on the water.

Ginger talked Miles into a frozen drink, called a strawberry shortcake, that he loved.

I enjoyed a grilled fish sandwich... Mmmmmm.

Just as we finished, Ginger let Miles start feeding the seagulls his leftover fries.  When he was asked to stop so that the birds don't hang around and dive bomb other diners, we made our exit.  :)

Meanwhile the big guys and crew had wrapped up their fishing excursion and were at lunch too.  Derek had a lobster reuben.   We ate so well on this trip, it was definitely part of the fun experience!

We headed back to the RV where we did a few interior shots.

We did some homeschooling for the cameras. 

Which is really all we did, a few minutes and wrapped it up.

This was our last evening with the crew so Karen brought out all the fixings for s'mores.

We all enjoyed them... before dinner.

Miles may have had at least one s'more without graham crackers or marshmallow.

All while we enjoyed yet another gorgeous sunset. 

The camera crew needed a few night shots around the RV so didn't join us at dinner that night.  These guys work hard!  They're shooting all the time, taking care of gear and hauling around heavy packs full of more gear, then logging and sorting footage after the rest of us have gone to bed.

We all might have been a bit worn out by the time we ate dinner that night.  This photo about sums it up!  Hungry, sunburnt and tired.  Plus, Cooper had burned his fingers pretty good on hot marshmallow goo.  Our server gave him a bag of ice and even brought burn cream from the kitchen chefs!  He was really hurting though and we rushed them through dinner.

Hardly having time to enjoy ours...  this dish was supposed to be an entire stuffed fish and the boys were disappointed when I asked for just the filets instead.  Ha.

But by the time the adults had finished... the boys had crashed!  "Uncle" Richey, as the driver had been nick named by then, helped us carry them to the car and they didn't even wake up! 
Yes, Cooper is covered in cloth napkins.  :)