Wednesday, August 28, 2013


The last leg of our trip was set to a more relaxed pace. After visiting Gainesville, Logan, Gibson, and I, traveled a bit further south to visit my dad, who moved to Florida early last year with his dog Maynard. After spending a day and a half with him, we drove on a bit more to spend time with Logan's brother and his family.

Admittedly, around this time, both Logan and I were dragging. Since leaving Monday morning, we had been on the go nonstop. Being the homebodies that we are, it was Thursday we also began to get itchy to come home.

It was nice to be able to visit with my dad. We watched a movie together, went out to eat at our favorite spot, and were able to relax in a comfortable setting.

Not wanting to miss an afternoon, the three of us decided to travel to Weeki Wachee Springs State Park. When I was very young (Gibson's age, actually), my parents took me to Weeki Wachee and I thought it was just the greatest place ever. (I mean, what six year old little girl in 1990 wouldn't love seeing dancing mermaids under water?)

Needless to say, it wasn't how I remembered it, as a great deal has changed in 23 years. (Imagine that!) Despite a thunderstorm that rolled in as we were waiting for our boat tour, the three of us made the most of our day and had fun.

Weeki Wachee is a natural spring, and it's in the spring itself that the mermaids perform underwater. (Viewers watch from an underwater theater). From the springs comes the Weeki Wachee river, which, like the springs, is absolutely gorgeous; crystal-clear water where you can see straight down and get a look at the plentiful Sheepshead, Mullets, and turtles.

The water temperature is  74°F year-round, and while that sounds pretty nice, 74°F is actually pretty dang cold. (The ocean temperature in Fernandina when we visited was 81°F!) Still, Logan, Gibson, and I, swam out to the floating dock in the river, held hands, and jumped off together into 12 feet of that crystal clear ice water. We swam while gulping in giant heaps of air because we couldn't catch our breath. We walked around and searched for lizards and birds. And we cruised the river, where we happened to catch a beautiful osprey swoop down and snatch fish from the water.

After saying goodbye to my father, Logan drove us to our final destination: his brother's home in Fruitland Park. We have never visited his family in Florida, so it was exciting to be able to see where they live and to spend time with my nieces and nephews. As I don't have little girls, I'm quite taken with my nieces Riley and Ashlyn. (They let me paints their nails! Eep!)

Our visit was short and sweet. Both Logan and I were torn on whether or not we would stay for a bit longer, but in the end decided to drive through the night to get home. It was a long, long drive--13 hours--and it was at this point we were desperate for our own bed. So, that's what we did, and even though it was a rough drive, we were so happy we left when we did. It gave us the opportunity to come home and settle in before the week began.

As our mini-vacation ended, I couldn't help but realize just how far I've come from the girl I once was. Traveling was such a part of me before I met Logan, who hasn't traveled very much, that I found it difficult to adjust early on in our marriage. I've been a worm in Logan's ear for years--"We've got to go here!" "You need to see this!" To find myself fiercely wishing to be back home was surprising for me. Upon more reflection, I realized that I was always searching for the bigger and better thing--whatever 'it' may have been. I don't search anymore. I'm grounded. My home is where my family is; truly where my heart is, and I couldn't be happier to be right where I am. (Cue Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros!)

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