We returned Sunday afternoon from nine days in hot, sweaty Orlando, Florida. Yes indeed, we were insane to go to Florida in the heat of the summer! We certainly would have chosen a slightly more off-peak period (even mid-June or late August), had it been up to us. The primary reason for going to Orlando was to hang out with Mike's sister and her family, who were not able to go until the week of July 4.
However, they cancelled their trip a few days before we left because of a family crisis. Needless to say, Mike and I were not feeling enthusiastic about going at that point, but we decided to put on a brave face for the kids and give it our best shot. (We have been to Orlando several times before and were just there 2 years ago.)
Fortunately, my mother-in-law came anyway, and we spent time with Mike's Floridian relatives. Mike's mother's brother married an American woman, and they had three daughters. All of them live in the Orlando area, and they have kids (and grandchildren) of varying ages. Our boys were very disappointed they wouldn't get to hang out with their English cousins, but at least they got to know their Florida cousins a little better.
We stayed the first night with Mike's cousin Tanya, her husband Stan, and their children Anna and Nicholas. They were in the middle of moving house, which I believe proves just how incredibly generous of spirit and hospitable they are, to insist that we stay with them! I can't imagine hosting houseguests during a move, relatives or not!
Our kids had a great time hanging out with Anna and their Nicholas (who we began calling Big Nicholas). On Saturday we watched their swim meet--both kids have only been swimming for a short time (1 and 2 years) and are very skilled swimmers already. Anna even swam in the Junior Olympics! Here's 7-year-old Nick during one of his races:
Kieran at the swim meet--the kids were already complaining about the heat on that first day!
After the swim meet and lunch at Chick-fil-A, we went to see Tanya and Stan's beautiful new house. It was a classic Florida house, with tall oaks and sprawling lawn down to the lake. Inside, it had an open floorplan, a to-die-for walk-in pantry (which I helped unpack and organize--fun!), great closets, and lots of windows with spectacular views. Here is cousin Anna with cousin Matt's wife Lindsey and their four-month-old daughter Kylie. Kylie was the happiest four-month-old I've ever met. Constantly smiling!
Below are pictured (left to right) Kieran, Chris, Mike, cousin Erica's husband Ryan, Anna, cousin Matt, cousin Tanya, and her husband Stan.
Here are the views from the upstairs living room deck: