Through someone’s generosity, Mommy was able to go to the T-Tapp retreat in Safety Harbor, Florida 😀   Florida was not originally in the plans, we were going to dip down into it real quick just to say we were there, but instead, we got to experience it for 4 days!!!   At first Mommy didn’t think she’d do the retreat, since we were on our family vacation, but we all urged her to go, and we very much enjoyed our visit to Florida!   We know she had fun, but probably we had more fun…after all, she was exercising!  We, on the other hand, were playing at the beach 😀

Mommy’s room at the retreat…

 

A little porch off of the room

 

Outside on the porch…the landscaping was beautiful!  Seeing palm trees down there was like seeing maple trees up here…they’re just everywhere!  If you see any palm trees in Indiana, they’re short ones indoors, or neon-lighted ones on people’s porches at Christmastime (somebody tell us what palm trees have to do with Christmas??)  😀

 

A pretty fountain

 

{Lovely pink hibiscus flowers}

 

 

{Safety Harbor}

 

This little guy knows how to relax 😉

 

Fancy-schmancy folded towels 😀

 

Charissa checking out the breakfast menu…

 

 

The whole resort was amazingly beautiful!

 

 

 

 

Going back to the van without Mommy *sniff!*

Or maybe we were thinking “PARTY TIME!”  lol!  For some reason whenever somebody leaves, we like to party…maybe it’s because they are having fun, and we don’t want to be left out, so we make our own party 😀

Also, notice the trees?  We were trying to figure out what the stuff was…somebody said it was Spanish Moss…but we told each other “Look!  It’s just like the trees in Fireproof!”  😀

 

It was Isaiah’s birthday that day, and we stopped by Chick-Fil-A for lunch…

 

The younger girls and the boys *loved* the playground 😀  The boys especially didn’t want to leave!

 

 

Obviously, their spicy chicken sandwich was new at that time, and they had all kinds of fun ‘fire’ themes 😀  It looks like this sandwich was so hot it burned a hole right through the sign!

 

None of us are really ‘hot & spicy’ fans, but just in case…

 

When the lady at Chick-Fil-A found out it was Isaiah’s birthday, she gave him some colorful balloons 😀

 

The nice thing about this part of the trip was the slow pace…we meandered and poked and relaxed 😀  We really enjoyed all of the cities we visited, and all the history we learned and experienced, but it was nice to have a part of our trip that we didn’t *have* to be anywhere for a couple of days.

This is the Sunshine Skyway bridge…some of us liked it, some of us did not…it’s *very* high!  We heard that the old bridge collapsed when a ship ran into it 😯 so they made this one bigger and better (we hope!)

 

We loved what they called the pass for the toll-roads…up here it’s the I-Pass, in Florida it’s the Sun-Pass  😀

 

We stopped at the rest stop before the Sunshine Skyway, and got to see the Gulf of Mexico up close for the first time ever 🙂  At the rest stop a man and two ladies were getting back into their car about the same time we were, and the man told us, “You all look very smart in your frocks!”, only we *think* he must have been from Britain (couldn’t quite figure out his accent!) because it sounded more like “You all look very smaht in your frahks” …er, however you’d spell that!  😀   We got to see and talk to people from lots of different countries, not to mention it was fun to hear different accents just in our own country, especially the southern accents!

 

People were SO friendly in the south!  Especially the African-Americans! Once we stopped at a run-down gas station, and as we were all waiting for the one restroom, an African-American lady came back in that area to buy some milk or something and she commented on our dresses and said, “What religion are you?”  We replied that we were Christians, and she said “Wow!  That’s great!  Praise the Lord!”  😀  Then we were like “Wow!”  Strangers don’t talk to strangers like that in Indiana!

Another lady at the same gas station asked, “What are you?”…and then before we even responded said, “Is it Christian?”  Yes!

Anna gave a lady a tract, which the lady took, and then she told her friend, “Hey! These people are like us!”

It’s wonderful being a Christian (for many reasons)…you have brothers and sisters in Christ everywhere, and connect so quickly.  It’s amazing!

 

A view of the Sunshine Skyway…isn’t it so high?!

 

 

 

We found a beach along the way and spent the afternoon/evening there.  It was so relaxing!

 

 

 

The waves were pretty warm, too.

 

 

 

Charissa making sand castles

 

{Looking for shells}

 

Just looking at these pictures again makes us want to go back!  It was so relaxing 🙂

 

 

 

Charissa made a sand sculpture of a cat 😀

 

 

 

We stayed and watched the sunset

 

The sun on the waves was beautiful

 

Isaiah, splashing in the waves…the boys’  pants were soaked at the end of the day!

 

While at the beach, Isaiah was running around playing when suddenly he came running to Jessica and said, “Chess-i-ca, is God ever’where?”  😀  He’s *so* cute!

 

 

Watching the sunset…

 

{Sea Oats}

 

 

Isaiah & Noah

We ate at Cracker Barrell for supper, and once again, Isaiah got a special treat 😀  Only this time it was cobbler and ice cream.  He ate the ice cream, but wasn’t so interested in the cobbler.  However, he had several sisters who were interested in it 😀   While waiting for our table, we found hats and shirts for the Florida Gators, so we took a picture and sent it to our pastor whose whole family are Gator fans 😀   We sat out on the porch afterwards on the rocking chairs, just enjoying ourselves and going nowhere 😀   When we headed back to the van, we noticed that the asphalt in Florida has shells embedded in it, which we thought was very neat!

 

The hotel we stayed at had this sign on the porch:

 

Alligators??  We never saw him though 🙁

 

That day we went to Bonita Beach and ate at ‘Doc’s’, a restaurant on the beach.

 

The food was yummy…especially the Philly Cheesesteaks 😀  Can you tell we like these sandwiches?!

 

 

The beach was very hot (as Charissa said, “This is the kind of weather you pull weeds in!”) so we went to a gift shop called Winds, and had fun looking around and trying on hats…several hats!  We ended up each buying a floppy hat kind of like the one Bekah has on, as well as postcards and a few other trinkets.  The boys got little plastic shovels 😀

 

 

We found a spot that was a lot less crowded and enjoyed another relaxing afternoon!  You can see Isaiah is already putting his shovel to good use!

 

 

Leah and Susannah making a sand castle…it seems no matter how ‘old’ we get, we older girls like to play in dirt and make houses or castles 😀

 

Noah & Isaiah (and shovels!)

 

It looks likeIsaiah’s going to scoop all the water out of the Gulf with his trusty shovel!

 

While on this beach, we got to talk to a couple from Germany…they come to Florida every year for vacation.   One thing they said was about how big our country was…he named several countries in Europe he could go to in 4-6 hours time, whereas it takes that long, or longer to just go from state to state!

 

More sand castles…

 

 

 

Notice the ‘steps’ on either side of the arch?!

 

 

 

 

Cassia did her favorite thing…sand-writing 😀

 

 

 

Another sand-sculpture, of a starfish.

 

 

Leah & Bekah

 

Our next stop was down in Fort Meyers, Florida, where a cousin of Daddy’s lives…but that’s for another post!

 

 

 

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3 thoughts on “East Trip: Safety Harbor

  • October 6, 2011 at 5:48 pm
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    WOW your sand castle’s are soooooooooooooooooooo neat i wish i could
    make mine that good!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    cassia put my fav bible verse on the sand 🙂
    your pics look so GOOD,AMAZING and awsome!!!!!!!!!!!!
    looks like you had LOT’S of fun!!!!!
    *alaina

    Reply
  • October 8, 2011 at 5:13 am
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    On behalf of the British population…. we don’t all say “frocks”

    Reply

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