Joe had a work conference in Fort Lauderdale, so why wouldn’t I want to join him? I mean seriously
:-) I am one for taking advantage of any/all perks that go along with having a CPA for a husband.
quick note...I made the last minute decision to leave my beloved camera behind. I was at initially at peace with the idea of "packing light"...something that mommas of toddlers don't get to do often...but found myself regretting it the moment I stepped off the plane! I felt like I was missing an appendage or in the very least fashion accessory (thanks to the fancy flower strap my hubby got me). There are so many beautiful scenes in this lovely beach town. I was craving my camera, and wanted so desperately to photograph every palm tree, hammock, sailboat, footprint in the sand and frothy beach beverage from every angle. Uurrrgh. Yes, I’m crazy I know. But another part of me was glad to just relax and take it all in without the constant anxiety of wanting to capture everything in still frame. I was also kind of “picture-takered” out…with several photo sessions and an Easter holiday season just behind me, I was ready to hang up the camera strap for a few days. But….now that I am blogging about it, I once again, regret the “no camera” decision. Uggh. I can never win right!? J
We arrived in Sunny Fort Lauderdale a little before noon. The beach was screaming our name, so we dropped the bags and bee-lined down towards the white sand to soak up the sun and ocean waves before the impending storms were due to arrive. Arrive they did around 3pm or so. These unseasonable cold FL temps justified a few hours of laziness up in the hotel room. That much needed middle of the day nap was AWESOME! J
Later, we met up with a group of friends for dinner and drinks at Coconut's Restaurant. Aside from the monsoon outside, It was a delightful experience!Afterwards, we met up with more friends down in the hotel lobby bar (you'll find this was a recurring theme each night of our trip) each night the lobby was filled with several familiar faces, which made for fun times.
Saturday - In true vacationer fashion, we slept in till noon (afterall, it was cold & overcast outside, not like we were missing out on much) Joe and I ventured out for an afternoon run in the rain. It felt great!
|pretty hot huh?|
Sure, I can get this weather in NE…but most certainly NOT these picturesque iews!
By the time we finished our lunch & run the skies had cleared up and enabled us to sit poolside for a while. We later met up with 30 more of Joe's closest work acquaintances (and spouse tag-alongs such as myself) for dinner at Marios Catalina. We've been here before and couldn't fathom not making a return visit to our friend, the infamous Mario. The food, mojitos and sangria at this place are scrumptious…but even MORE magnificent than the food is the overall dining experience. The servers are kind, Mario, himself, just might be the most fabulous person I know. From the moment you walk through the door of this charming Cantina, you are warmly greeted and kissed on the cheek by the handsome and charming, Mario, himself. He, once again, took great “care of us”. Needless to say, the next time your travels land you in the Fort Lauderdale area, I HIGHLY recommend stopping in to say hello to Mario. :-)
The night ended with a few drinks back at the hotel...at the outside bar near the pool.
Sunday – We were excited to be blinded by the bright warm sun reflecting off the beautiful calm waters of the Atlantic ocean. I don’t like to brag…but we had a kickass 10th floor room with a great view of the ocean down below (again just one more sight I so desperately CRAVED photographing).
|view from our room...this little iPhone pick will have to do for now :)|
Every morning greeted us with a stunning sunrise!
|gotta love me some "instagram" pics :-)|
|yep, that there's a gator!|
|The fearless (and somewhat handsome I must say) alligator show dude...|
|This sweet little girl was super excited to sit atop this gator's back. CRAZY! but sSOO cute!|
|My friend Lindsey was brave enough to hold a crocodile...me...not so much. ha! kinda cute...from a distance. :)|
That night we met up with our “gang”...boarded the vans that would take us to a local Italian restaurant. It was pretty good…but to tell you the truth, my steak was a little over-cooked...but seriously, who orders steak in Florida anyway right?? Tough to compete with our “home-grown” NE beef. J The night was off to a rough start as I find myself texting/emailing back and forth with Erika back home about a sick little Miss Macy.
It was determined by a visit to her pediatrician the next day, that she has a Viral Infection of sorts…NO FUUUN! (but she got an atibiotic to treat infection and is on the upswing from it now) At that moment though, I just SOOOO wanted to be home cuddling with her and accessing her condition myself. But…I must say that I was more than comfortable, at-ease, and confident that she was in good hands with my niece who I KNEW was taking amazing care of her. It also helped so very much. That Erika was constantly sending me texts & photos of their goings-on back at home. They all had a wonderful time while we were away.
Dinner was, once again, followed by drinks and good conversations at the hotel lobby bar. People attended this conference from all over the country. I love meeting new people. I love conversations that start from the beginning…“what’s your name?”, “where are you from?”, “have any kids?”, “interesting hobbies”, etc…It is SOO fun to discover commonalities among us. It really is a small world when you think about it J
Monday – This was a jam-packed stressful day.
That is if stress involves a full schedule from sunrise to sunset of laying out on the beach, followed by sitting poolside, sprawling out on the hammock with book in hand, eating yummy foods, sipping frothy beverages…tossing the pigskin around in the pool with a bunch of random strangers…you know…that kind of “stress”. The day concluded with a fierce game of beach volleyball…yes, big deal, I get to play sand v-ball all the time back home…but people…this was SEASIDE beach v-ball…not much of that happenin’ back home in “The Good Life”.
oh wait...how could I forget! Since it was too windy to parasail...boo...six of us brave souls opted for the banana (or as the hotel brochure calls it "weenie") ride. oh MAN!!! It was INSANE! Crazy. Ain't nothing leisure about it...Do not underestimate the power of a banana boat ride in the ocean. The waverunner driver most certainly did NOT take it easy on us. He whipped us around like rag-dolls, going round & round and super fast speeds...Water gushing in our faces at every turn. We were ejected a few times. Joe got a few battle wounds (sorry 'bout thaose claw marks) Now I get why a life jacket was required...better yet, I TOTALLY understand (even though we joked about it before-hand) why we also had to wear helmets. wowza!!! And I guess I understand why they made us SIGN OUR LIVES AWAYS prior to boarding the banana...Goodtimes, goodtimes...will I do it again? naaa. But I'm glad to say I have at least done it.
|NOT us...but I thought you'd like a visual...:-)|
Around 7pm that evning, we met up with the usual crew of about 25+ of us and ventured on over to 15th Street Fisheries.There website description says it best: Visit 15th Street Fisheries for the freshest seafood and a waterfront experience in an authentic Fort Lauderdale marina. The Fisheries is situated directly inside the city's most famous nautical landmark, Lauderdale Marina, and provides a superior complement of fine food and fun along the waterway near the 17th Street Causeway drawbridge and Port Everglades inlet to the Atlantic Ocean. Arrive by boat or car!
Can you say fabulous "lifestyles of the rich and famous? Wowza! The fact that we had a front row view of Steven Spielberg’s $200 million dollar mega yacht docked before us, helped make the experience a bit more surreal. J
|Apparently you can charter his boat for a mere $1.3 million per week. Nice. Maybe on the visit huh? J|
On this night we did much of the same as previous nights…hotel lobby bar…but there were a few added attractions…a few groups of people set up makeshift bars inside and out and offered FREE drinks tp all us guests…hmmm, $12.00 glass of mascato from the bar (which mind you, is 3x more than what it costs to buy the BOTTLE back home) , or a FREE anything we want from these dudes over here? The groups were associated with my husbands’s conference, only from different states, so we could trust ‘em. J The night ended with a cold dip in the ocean followed by an intense medical industry chat/debate in the hot-tub. Once we finished solving the world's healthcare problems, we returned to our respective rooms around 4:00am.Night-night!
You would think we’d probably want to sleep-in just a little bit the following morning right?…but heck no. We have one last day here in paradise and it WILL NOT be spent laid up in the hotel room J
Breakfast, followed by more beach/pool time/off to airport and HOME!!
I’ve gotta say that I love getting away with the hubby…but what’s even better than that is coming home and reconnecting with my beautiful girls! That next morning, McKenzie excitedly filled us in on her weeks adventures with Erika…which included seeing a horse with Jonathon, going to the zoo, eating at G&G Lee’s house, going to Anna’s, loving Erika’s spaghetti (cuz it’s different than the kind I make), Vollen's B-Day Party, school, Macy therapy, etc…
A little later in the morning, a bright-eyed and smiley Macy joined me in my bed. She gave me the WORLD’S LARGEST hug! As you know, she is somewhat of a prodigy hugger…but even better than that, she gave me a kiss and repeated the word “MOMMA”. Yep. For the first time ever, my baby girl said “MOMMA”. Like any other self-respecting momma, we have been working on this since the day she was born. But up until this point she would just look at me funny or respond with “POPPA”. But not this time!? Nope, that morning, a milestone for the baby-book (I mean blog book) she responded with a crisp and clear as day “MOMMA”. Joe heard it too..
that right there is what mommahood is All about! Tear.