Grampa called us a month or two ago and told us that he had tickets for us to come down for a visit, so this was a bit of a spontaneous trip. At first, we had been trying to work out a September date, but when that couldn't fall together, it seemed that God was really leading us to going at the end of July. We packed our bags and headed to Columbus airport of July 24th. We actually had non-stop flights both ways, so there was only a little over two hours spent in the air either time. Not bad!
1.) View of Miami Int'l Airport from Gramma and Grampa's Condo
2.) Elizabeth at the Door of the Condo on Our First Day There
We arrived in the afternoon and our aunt and Grampa picked us up. Boy, was it hot down there?! The first evening was spent visiting at Gramma and Grampa's condo, and the next day was spent hanging around, shopping for groceries, etc. Elizabeth and I had a lot of fun going through the back issues of Grampa's newspaper to clip out stories about little Prince George. We'd been able to get The New York Times with pictures at the airport, too. That gave us fun that lasted out the week as we looked at papers and magazines.
Friday dawned sunny and hot. Plans were pretty loose, and in the end Dad changed a light and did some painting at the condo. Mom and the two of us went up to Aunt Lori's house in Hollywood. Gramma Gail came down and even Aunt Susie was down from Tennessee for the week. It was a regular family reunion! And fun! We all went to lunch at Villa Rose. That is a little pizza place that is almost like a family tradition when we all get together down there. Even Brian was able to go to lunch, so that was fun to visit with him. After that, we went to Kohl's to do some shopping together and then back to Aunt Lori's house. Uncle Jack came home in the afternoon, so we got to see him for a little while, too! It was some noisy, fun, loud "Chaffin-style" visiting until nine or ten in the evening. It was pretty late by the time that we got back to the condo.
1.) Elizabeth and Gramma Gail
2.) Mom, Aunt Susie, Elizabeth, Gramma Gail, Me, (on the floor) Aunt Lori and Kelly
Saturday was quite rainy. Patty was having a party for Leilani in the afternoon, but she ended up having some kind of stomach bug. None of the four of us felt like spending part of the vacation with the same bug --- or worse yet, getting on an airplane with it, so we opted to stay behind. In the end, we drove over to Leonor's house and visited for four hours! That was great, as she is one of the people that Elizabeth and I just love to see. She is the sweetest lady you could imagine and always happy.
Pictures above are at Leonor's house on Saturday and Sunday.
Sunday was nice outside, and we spent the morning starting slowly. Gramma and Grampa's church wasn't having a service that morning on account of there being a wedding instead, so we were all at the condo. Did a little laundry and the four of us went to Payless and looked around. Come the afternoon, all six of us went back to Leonor's house. Eloy was over, too, so we had a nice time visiting with him. Spent about three and a half hours over there and then went straight on to Tia Ela and Clemente's house for the evening. That was fun! They are fabulous people (our great-aunt and uncle) and always so special to visit. Benny was there as well, so it was a real get together. We had dinner together and stayed pretty nice and late. Tia Ela had gotten some of the cutest mini Cuban pastries (as seen in photo). Elizabeth and I had never seen the party sized ones like that, so we had fun!
1.) Tia Ela, Benny, Me, Dad, Gramma, Clemente, Grampa and Elizabeth.
2.) Clemente was nice enough to save his "Royal Baby" paper for us!
3.) The BEST pastelitos you'll ever eat. Wow!
Monday and Tuesday morning gave us some time to go driving around and a little casual sight-seeing. Mom and Dad drove us through Coral Gables and we got to see the Banyan trees and the Biltmore Hotel and the George Merrick House. The Merrick House wasn't open for tours that day, so Lizzy and I are hoping that we'll be able to go another time to see the inside, too! For fun, we also stopped at Einstein Brothers Bagels and got bagels and coffee. Yahoo! We also stopped at the Whole Foods down there, and that is a real cool store. More on that in another post (if I remember!). I think that the picture of Elizabeth with the coffee is my favorite one from the whole vacation.
We also went to the Miami Bass Pro Shop, which is one of the most amazing places. There are a ton of photos from there, though, so I'll post another entry on that. We had some time to catch up on laundry and Dad's family came over for a visit. Leilani is sure getting big. She was such a little thing the last time that we saw her.
Above Left: Grampa, Gramma, Dad, Leilani, Patty, Aunt Elena, Elizabeth and Mom.
The flight home on Tuesday afternoon was bumpy in a couple of spots, but otherwise uneventful. There was a pigeon in the Ft. Lauderdale airport that was the cutest thing. He just walked around and picked up food and crumbs from passengers --- and obviously gets very well fed! He was so adorable! All in all, this was the best family vacation that we've ever had. Great visiting and just a fun time. The sight of good-old Ohio was nice, though, and we were all pretty happy to make it back home where there is grass and greenery, etc.