I love being able to come home. As lovely as it would be to live here, in Florida, with my parents and close family, I enjoy being able to come home and cherish each moment spent with them. Growing up, I took for granted the luxury of seeing my family and closest friends each day and living in such a beautiful place. It truly is a resort here. (This weekend, I went stand up paddle boarding in my backyard and was joined by dolphins.)
As I drove down a road to meet a friend and her family for dinner, one I hadn't driven down since high school, I was taken back to eight years ago when I last lived here. I flashed back to nights of driving around singing in my Volkswagen bug packed full with friends or going on a forty five minute trek for a One Hot Cookie treat. I slowed down my speed to obey the 35 mph speed limit and simply took it all in. Every tree along the two lane road seemed familiar and I was ten years younger. I passed by houses I recognized and newly built waterfront mansions that replaced the once modest homes who stood there. As much as time changes things and as much as I love all of the new conveniences in Jacksonville (hello Nordstrom, Louis Vuitton, and Pottery Barn that were not around when I was in high school) I love how a simple drive can make everything feel the same and take you back in time.
It can be so easy when I'm here, as in most vacations, to get caught up in the sharing of my experience through social media (mainly SnapChat and Instagram.) Fortunately for this trip, I left my phone charger in Charlotte so my attachment to the phone was on an ambiguous schedule. I shared a few of my favorite moments below.
Henry never swims, like ever. Usually, we throw a toy for Sam, he swims the entire length of the pool to retrieve the toy, and when he is just about a foot from the steps, Henry swims out, takes the toy, and proudly brings it to you. This weekend, he swam the full length of the pool to retrieve a toy. Twice. I was in shock. He then didn't move for a few hours that evening and I literally had to pick him up and force him to go outside to potty, but he did it.
Sammy, the champion swimmer that he is, really enjoyed the new pool floats I requested.
My first night home, we ordered catering from Mojos, my absolute favorite BBQ, and had enough left overs for days. The second night, when we made burgers, I heated up the left over Texas Toast and pulled pork to accompany my burger which I topped with Mojo's sweet sauce. (Fact: Freshman year of college, my parents brought me a pint of sweet sauce that I carried to the dining hall with me.)
I love this picture mainly because it is far from perfect and that is life. While Courtney and I have perfected our picture poses since elementary school when we pretended we were Mary Kate and Ashley, the babies haven't yet caught on. I love them nonetheless. On Monday night, I went to dinner with my friend who is now an incredible mother to the two sweetest babes. It truly is a wonderful thing to watch one of your friends grow into being mommy. I know babies are far in my future, but I hope to be as good as a mommy as my super-girl friend.