The saying is, the older we get the
faster time flies. That seemed to be it for me this week.
It was kind of like Christmas as a kid, so much anticipation and
then the event itself seems to be moving by too fast. The second
day was to begin with a bike ride in the park which I missed getting to
photograph because I had to go get a loose cap reglued onto my tooth
before I swallowed it in my sleep. They said it was fun but it
was a hot day and they
were too tired to stay for the picnic in the park we had planned and
called saying, "could we just come
home and eat on the porch".
The Selig Family had sent a great lunch of sandwiches, chips and the
usual, but Publix does a great sandwich tray, especially good and refreshing after working up an appetite
riding bicycles in the park. Our deepest sympathy for the Selig
Family, because since this they have lost their long
and hard fought battle with cancer by the head of household,
Steve. Jeanie had wanted them to do this even though Steve was by
then bedridden. We love you for that.
Then a free afternoon for just playing in our nice warm waters.
We were so glad the weather cooperated and gave them the right
amount of surf action to not be too treacherous but still big enough to
be enjoyable on the boogies boards and for body surfing. Never
the less when you have 10 children out in the water you are always
watching and counting heads.
Their youngest, Tucker, was unafraid of getting wet as were they all, just into the water with gusto.
Ours is a beach that is good for children, without crowds to get lost
in and space to spread out. Tucker looked pretty small out there.
is "Big Sis" to all the little ones as Michael and Samuel the oldest
boys are "Big Brother" to the Clan helping to keep a watchful eye.
Dragging myself away I felt it time to leave them to their privacy and
time for me to get some real work done. Amy had already spotted
this big guy which has a burrow just up the street from the Jones Dozen
vacation house. We watched this very large Gopher Tortoise as it
made its way up to the door of his burrow and started remodeling
efforts by tossing unwanted sand out the door. As sand does
it is constantly sifting down and they have to keep their house wide enough inside to
Their first dinner out was at the Salty Pelican and they loved it.
Their first Fernandina Fried Shrimp was a main item for ordering.
Wednesday morning was a Turtle Patrol day for me and I invided Hayley
to go with me. She went, but only on the down trip with Amy
picking her up at the Beach near the Pier to take her back to help get
her large family's day started. We didn't find any Sea Turtle tracks but
we did find some big Alligator Tracks. I had never seen Gator
tracks like this before and for a few minutes thought someone was
playing a joke on me, then it hit me what we were seeing. The
tracks were coming in straight out of the middle of the Cumberland
Sound and headed back into the dunes.
tracks were much larger than Hayley's foot making it a pretty large
fellow. We followed it back toward the dunes a bit then decided
we better go back or we might just find what we were looking for.
thought birds leave a track very similar to a Gator's footprints, this
one would only be able to leave one side of the track. One of the
birds we saw on our Turtle Patrol was missing part of his track as his
foot had been lost to some catastrophe, probably got it bitten off when
it dangled in the water or more likely had the circulation strangled by
a fishing line wrapped around it causing the foot to die and fall off. But Mr. Gull seemed to be managing quite well.
flock of Pelicans flew over making a pretty Amelia Island photo opt.
Amy came and picked up my sidekick and she went back to being the
momma of 10 little chicks of her own.
momma's on the beach with chicks to watch over as our Little Wilson's
Plovers have hatched out lots of little fuzz balls. We take great
care to watch out for them riding very slowly down the beach
making sure we see where they all
are before proceeding.
single Little Snowy Egret will provide entertainment for me a lot in the days
that follow with its antics as it fishes the tidal pools on the
was a day for lots of activities after the morning respite.
Hamburgers at Tasty's was a treat for them and even Bruce
benefited as I bought him a burger to take back. It was a day
which would cause cause some cause for concern with threats of rain
showers and the possibility of having to skip the ride with the
Amelia Island Carriage folks.
lunch it was off to the Amelia Museum History Museum to bone upon the
extensive history of our island. You can see the rain drops on
all had fun with a scavenger hunt given them to solve by the museum
staff. Samuel even said, after all was said and done, that the
museum was his favorite thing to do.
around in front of my gallery for Brother Michael, who was being family
photographer, they were all into the rabbit ears photo fun.
Inside my art gallery, it was a nice stop over on their way to the
Fantistic Fudge ICE CREAM SHOP, at the end of the next block. Yea!! Amy was busy
explaining something to one of them. She had as much fun that
week as the Jones children did.
The ultimate hams they all are.
Family Photo time, and here we are at the Ice Cream Shop and everyone is ready for that.
most popular choice was the Superman flavor, not sure if it was the
name or the colors, maybe both. They had a great dinner that
evening at Cafe Karibo a favorite around town. What a fun filled
After the ice cream Fantastic Fudge sent them out a plate of samples of their fudge candy. Talk about a sugar high.
was a very special day planned so that Mom and Dad could have some time
off to be alone and Amy, Laura Swain (who taught school in Sierra Leone
once upon a time), and I would entertain the children. Lunch at
Lulu's Restaurant was their planned time together and then Laura and I would
take their big van with the children, and Mike and Haley would be wisked away for a
wonderful Massage by Coastal Massage, a first for at least one of them.
this was an amazing photo with the Iguana statue of Malachi, I want to
say a beautiful face but think handsome is more appropriate. I
have a hard time with the middle childrens names and
keeping them straight so here's hoping I get them right.
Michael is the oldest and Samuel is the
next then Gabrielle (easy since she is the girl), and then I can tell
Tyler which is pretty obvious and then I get lost until I get down to
Zion and Tyler the youngest ones.
Alligator hunter show (Swamp People?) on TV is one of their favorites
so we decided to take them Gator Hunting. The best place to do
that is The Eagans Creek Greenway. We pretty much knew where
Momma Gator hung out with her babies so we were on a mission.
Used to posing for the camera they really seem to enjoy taking
photos and being the subject of them. Zion and Tucker with
trick was to keep them from falling into the creek because they kept
getting very close to the edge and with the tall grasses it was hard to
see where the edge of the bank was. I had seen lots of snakes in
there also and we do have water moccasins among the non venomous ones
also, but we made our safari into the wilds of Egan's Creek without a mishap.
Lots of Sliders were out sunning wiith their brightly colored yellow striped heads and orange trimmed shells.
did find our first Gator who was pretty smug sitting next to what will
sometime in the future be his favorite food, Ummm turtle, but that won't happen today.
babies were pretty spread out up and down the creek and he has a gator smily face with his new found freedom to roam.
one is chillin' as he is very relaxed as he and another one on further down the log were
stretched out. They will lose the brighter markings as they
grow older. The markings help them blend into their environment
while they are small and are subject to a lot of predators. They seem to be pretty unaware of any threat to them so far.
headed back disappointed that Momma Gator was not around Then
about half way back Tyler spotted a big one which was quite a feat
since there was not much to see except eyes and nose. A good
defensive move because with just the nostrils exposed and the eyes he
can breather and see what is around him, and at the same time be pretty
invisible himself. Tyler may be the next Swamp Man.
it was time for our appointed time with the Party and Play place.
They loved all the bouncy things and the big blow up slides.
A great fun place for kids.
and Dad could not stay away. They showed up for a quick look in on the
children and also Hayley could not resist challenging her eldest to a fast game which I do believe she came out on top.
the Amelia Island Carriage ride was rained out the day before and
Island Falls Minature Golf was also
rained out with a downpour while we were at Party and Play. We
were determined to try to get the carriage ride
in and this was our last day available to do it. I had been told
by their Mimi,
Susan, that they really liked horses but had never been around them
very much. After some Pizza provided by The Amelia Film Festival
folks we found an opening with clearing skies and we took it. I
knew Boomer would be the perfect horse because he is
really a people horse and so gentle. The kids with their cameras
in hand were introduced to Boomer The Carriage Horse. I had
already put a book about Boomer in their items to take home with them.
Cyndi knew (she's done this before I bet) where we could take our own
picture as we looked at our own reflection in a restaurant window.
So that's the whole crew. We dicided it would be more fun
to all ride together even though it was a bit crowded rather than
divide up into two carriages.
explored the Historic Streets of our town and she shared all kinds of
information. She asked them what kind of tour did they want.
Did they want old history, Ghost tour, or some other choices but
we just left it all up to her knowing which ever it was it would be
Cyndi had promised to let them feed Boomer but forgot the carrots and instead
brought out the peppermint candies. Cyndi was careful to show
them how to feed a horse with a flat hand and helped those with
Michael who had driven the carriage most of the way was showing off his skills for his brothers.
had been a full day as we took them back to the beach house I asked if
they wanted to do anything else but ever dependable Samuel said, "it's
bedtime so we better go home." And that is what we did. Amy had
brought them some fun treats of course and I could not have done it
without her. The children are huge soccer fans and were
very involved with watching the World Cup Soccer games down in Brazil
brought out the bags of popcorn and some snacks and settled in to let
thank you notes to some of the people who had done the special things
we were putting everything away after our craft project we noticed the
TV was turned off and the children sitting quietly around the living room.
Samuel said, "its our bedtime and we need to say our prayers".
What a priviledge to get to share that special time with the
children. Each in turn said their own prayers as "Amens" echoed
after each one had his say and words were spoken asking for a good day
tomorrow, prayers for those of us helping with the vacation, and thanks
for the week. Sooo sweet were those prayers and with perfect
timing the door knob turned as the prayers ended and Mom and Dad were
home from their special evening out on the town with a special dinner
at Espana's and a visit to the Ritz to enjoy a bit of music. They had opted out of doing the play since it would
be a late night and I think they were not used to being gone at
bedtime. But they had a great dimmer at Espana's, the same people who
had sent the children to The Pirate Store, and also invited Amy and me
to come by for some Tapa's and a pitcher of Sangria when it was all
over with. Very nice people we have here.