Diary of a Homeschool Dad - Week 32

When I left off last week, we'd just arrived in Florida for vacation, and that's pretty much what this week was all about.  I came up with what I've termed the "Law of the Three Es" for where I like to put my money: education, experiences, and eternity.  The things we learn, the things we remember, and the things we do for God's kingdom seem like good places to invest since nobody can steal those away.

Sunday - One year ago, we sat in a room near San Juan Capistrano, CA and watched our church's service on live stream for the first time, little realizing that would be the only way we could meet for months thereafter.  This time we watched again from several states away and realized how much of a blessing our church really is.  After the service we decided to start getting some time in the sun - the forecast was iffy at best for outdoor activities during the week, so we wanted to take advantage when we could.  We spent the better part of the day in the beautiful white sand of Okaloosa Island, and even got a history lesson on the location we chose - Beasley Park was created due to frustrations over racial segregation.  Designated "for colored only" the park was opened in 1960 as the only safe place along that portion of Florida's Emerald Coast for the local African American community to gather.  We all took turns walking along the beach, sticking our toes in the surf, hunting for jellyfish and sand dollars, or just lazing around enjoying the beautiful day.  We snagged lunch at a local beach bar, then as the afternoon wore on we headed back to the room to get cleaned up for dinner.  Sporting brand new sunburns, we all met up with Mrs. Geo's family (both of her parents had also travelled to Florida, along with her sister and brother-in-law who were staying in the same unit) at a local seafood joint that boasted over 140 alligators on the property.


Monday - We typically manage to hit up either a zoo or an aquarium on our travels, especially with an oldest daughter who wants to get into marine biology.  This trip was no different, and today we took in a dolphin show that explained how many of the tricks allow the animals to participate in their own veterinary care, along with allowing us to check out seals, turtles, alligators, pelicans, penguins, etc.  We got to try out a really cool Irish restaurant (with signed dollar bills hanging EVERYWHERE), which seemed like the thing to do right before St. Patrick's Day, and everyone purchased appropriate green attire for later in the week.  We weren't about to try getting there on the actual holiday, however!  The rest of the day was spent hanging around the room, including the girls getting a trip to the pool by their awesome aunt.  They were all pretty exhausted after that, so at dinnertime they stayed behind to munch on whatever snacks were lying around while the adults went out for some pizza.


Tuesday - It doesn't matter where you think you're going on vacation, when you've got a crew of girls you're definitely going to end up shopping eventually.  We all made a few stops around town, picked up some beach-style apparel, and eventually wound our way back to the room so that everyone could try out the pool.  I also made a point of tubing around the lazy river for a while, which seemed safe since the worst of my sunburn was on my back.  Unfortunately that portion of the water wasn't heated, and with weather barely above 70 degrees it seemed best to get back over to the warm pool where everyone else was enjoying themselves.  We had dinner at a beachfront restaurant that specialized in crabs before heading back to our room for game night.  Trivia from the 80s and 90s was on the docket, and every other question seemed to lead to a new search on someone's phone to watch a funny clip or listen to an old favorite song.

Wednesday - Happy St. Patrick's Day!  The weatherman threatened a day of rain, so we were a bit cautious in our planning, but it turned out to be yet another beautiful day.  We all donned our new green apparel, grabbed hot dogs at a roadside stand, and headed to the bowling alley to knock down some pins.  Since the sun was still out after we wrapped up, the youngest two once again convinced their aunt to have a bit of pool time while some of the older folks caught a quick nap or watched TV.  We hit Margaritaville for dinner, and I have to admit that of all the tourist trap restaurants I've been to, I think Jimmy Buffet's place had legitimately the best quality food that was worth every penny.

Thursday - The bed weather finally caught us, but it wasn't until 2:30 in the morning the day we were heading out of town.  Back home, my mom had been watching our mutt at our house since she was able to stay there and conveniently visit my dad who has been at the Texas Medical Center.  He was transferred back to the Beaumont area, however, so she needed to get back to her own house.  Not wanting our poor pup to stay home alone for too long without being let out, we loaded up and hit the road early.  Unlike our trip east, we had an uneventful ride and good traffic nearly the entire way.  We did get back into the Houston area as rush hour was heating up, but we got home before the dog lost either his mind or his bladder control.  We love our vacations, but it's always nice to get back home and into your own bed!

Friday - With nothing really planned and some cool, beautiful weather outside, we decided to open up the windows in the house and start the packing process.  We should be closing on our new house during the upcoming week, barring anything unforeseen, so we started pulling out boxes and filling them up.  My vacation was technically over so I logged back onto my work computer to get several requests answered before the weekend arrived.  Two of our girls got to restart their social lives, as Girly spent a few hours at her boyfriend's house and Curly went for a sleepover with one of her school friends.  So Whirly got to enjoy some special time with her parents all to herself before picking her favorite spot for dinner (the restaurant that claims to have invented the chicken sandwich).

Saturday - It was a delayed birthday celebration for Whirly, as she finally got to have a party with her friends.  She opted to have it at our martial arts studio, and the black belt who hosted us did a great job of entertaining all the kids and making it a special day for her.  We lost a couple of friends who couldn't come due to younger siblings getting sick, but everyone had fun and the cake was good.  Mrs. Geographist's sister and brother-in-law stuck around after the party for a quick drive past our new house, which was in the process of getting emptied by movers, and dinner together at a restaurant that was showing some college basketball tournament action. 

Next week should be a good one with school starting back up, and a new home for our crew.  Be sure to come back and see how things turn out!


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