What a busy, action packed summer we have had. It’s been a whirlwind of activities. In June we attended birthday parties for Tyler (7) and Ayden (2). We went to the Dunedin Splash Park with the Butler boys. On Father’s Day we took a trip to a Children’s Garden in Sarasota and had a leisurely drive back home that included ice cream and dinner. Rachel had swim lessons and went from not letting go of her tube to her version of swimming. She does not like to put her head under the water (maybe next summer) so she doggie paddles. Rachel got her very first haircut, well a trim. And at the end of June we went to Sea World for two days. The first day at Sea World we were with the Butler’s and saw Shamu Rocks and the second day we spent on our own and rode the new Antarctica ride.
At the end of June and into the first week of July Rachel went to summer camp for a week and a half, for three hours each morning. She went to Anona Child Development Center where she attends preschool. She had her same teacher and almost her entire class attended. She had a great time. We went to more birthday parties in early July for Ryan (8) and Kolby’s (5). For the fourth of July we went to the Ferrazano’s for the third year in a row. It rained this year so we didn’t attempt to see fireworks, which was fine because Rachel still does not really care for them. The remainder of July we (meaning I) was spent preparing for our 19 day road trip.
We left July 23rd for our road trip, the ultimate destination being Connecticut. Connecticut was where we met up with Grandma Debbie, Uncle Nick, Amanda and Ayden to say our final goodbyes to my Dad (Rachel’s Grandpa) and spread his ashes. It was my Dad’s wish that we went as a family and spread his ashes in New England. We had an amazing trip. Rachel has experienced and seen more in her 3 ½ years of life then I did in my first 30 years. I am thrilled that she has seen and done so much. We pushed her to her limits – traveling over 3,500 miles with very few naps, lots of late nights, eating at odd times / places, sleeping in strange beds and not being in one place longer than 3 days.
We stopped in a lot of amazing, fun places. Our first stop was Kings Dominion in Virginia. We spent one day there with the Butler’s. Then we spent another two days in Washington, DC seeing the sights with them. From there we traveled to Aunt LaLa’s and Uncle Greg’s in Maryland for a few days. We went to the Inner Harbor in Baltimore and Ellicott City. We even drove by one of Jeff’s childhood homes in Maryland. Our next stop was Connecticut but on the way we stopped on the New Jersey side of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. We spent six days in Connecticut traveling from one end to the other. We got to visit with our dear friend, Pam (who we have known since high school) and her family. Pam took us in for the night when we had an accident that resulted in a busted rear van window. Pam has twins Sarah and Kyle; Rachel and Sarah despite a four year age difference became quick friends. One of our favorite places while in Connecticut was Mystic. It’s a beautiful really cool place to visit. The Mystic Seaport was really neat and a place my Dad would have loved. We saw as many lighthouses (in honor of my Dad who loved them) as we could find but there was only one we could go in. Most of the light houses in Connecticut are still in use, can only be accessed by boat or are privately owned. The furthest point we traveled was to Westerly, Rhode Island. Pam’s in-laws own a home on the beach there. It was freezing and misting while we were there so we did not get to take advantage of the beach.
We spread my Dad’s ashes at Lighthouse Point Park in New Haven, Connecticut. It was an amazing, beautiful place. It had the rocky New England coastline, a beach, tidal pools, shells, rocks, and a lighthouse. It was the perfect place to say our goodbye’s to him. He would have LOVED spending time there. I could not have imagined a more perfect place for him. I feel a little more at peace knowing that his wish has been fulfilled.
After our time in Connecticut we headed back to Aunt LaLa’s and Uncle Greg’s for about two days and then started our Southerly trip home. Our last major stop was for a few hours in Virginia at Luray Caverns. All in all we had a great time; we were exhausted once we returned home but got to see a lot of great places and had a lot of fun.
By the time we got home there was only two weeks to the start of the new school year. I was worried that Rachel would not like school this year. She spent the entire summer telling me she didn’t want a new teacher or a new classroom so I had no idea what to expect. By the end of the first day she loved it and is happy to go each day. She only goes for three hours Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. On Thursday and Friday mornings she is begging to go back. I am thrilled she loves it as much as she does.
Now that school is back in session the holidays will be right around the corner. It seems once September arrives the rest of the year flies by so fast it’s a total blur. It’s so hard to believe the Rachel will be celebrating her fourth birthday in a short few months! It’s exciting and sad all at the same time.
To all our friends and family who read my posts and keep up with Rachel via her website thanks for staying on this journey with us – it’s been one heck of a ride!
All our love,
Denise, Jeff and Rachel
Did you know... Rachel's first time rolling over was on 06/26/2010 more fun facts