December 2007

Bode and Courtney and Family and Kids30 Dec 2007 09:01 pm

This year we decided to try something new.  We booked a trip to Florida with the kids for Christmas.  With no destination in particular in mind, we ended up in Indian Shores, a town along the shore between Clearwater and St Petersburg.  We stayed in a 1 bedroom condo at the Barefoot Beach Resort which was across the street from a beautiful beach.  We had a great time relaxing and enjoying the warm weather.  It was 85 degrees when we left!

The vacation had an interesting start.  On Saturday morning, we got the dogs to the kennel and were finishing up last minute details before heading to the airport when we realized that our flight was on Sunday!  Oops.  A day early is better than a day late and at least we realized before leaving for Minneapolis!  We laughed hard on this one and then called a babysitter and headed to ski patrol for the night since we weren’t gone yet.  We thought maybe Sunday was going to have better weather for a flight out, but we were wrong.  The drive to the airport was super windy and snowy with white-out conditions at times.  We got there with plenty of time, especially considering the flights were all being delayed.  Nothing was going in and out of the airport.  Eventually we got on our flight, but we knew we wouldn’t make our connection at the Dallas Fort Worth airport to get to Tampa.  We had anticipated arriving in Tampa at 12:30 AM but ended up arriving in Dallas at 12:00 AM with a flight to Tampa arranged for 6:25 AM.  We debated going to a hotel for those few hours or to stay at the airport.  Given the limited time, we  chose to stay at the airport.  We grabbed a couple cots and some blankets and tried to get the kids some sleep.  Bode settled in after a while, but Courtney had napped on the flight and was happily playing until nearly 3:00 AM when I finally strolled her to sleep.

    Courtney at DFW

Our flight in the morning went smoothly, but we found that 2 of our bags didn’t make it to Tampa with us.  They were still in Dallas and would be arriving on a later flight and be delivered.  Luckily the car seats made it.  Aaron’s clothes and some of Courtney’s were in the suitcase we had.  We picked up our rental car, a new Taurus X with 6 miles on it, and headed to the resort to check in.  We then headed out to pick up some supplies (a swimsuit for Bode, sunscreen, underwear, some Christmas presents and food).  We also picked up a pack ‘n’ play at Kmart since it was going to cost $75 to rent one for the week.  That’s crazy.  We bought a brand new one for $39. 

Our luggage didn’t arrive until after dinner.  Bode had no clothes to wear and was eating in just his underwear.

Bode dinner in underwear

We got back and hit the beach.  It was nice. Soft sand…like powdered sugar.  Over the next couple of days we went to the beach, to the pool, back to the beach, a couple naps here and there and back to the beach and then maybe to the pool.  Bode absolutely loved going to the beach and playing in the sand.  Mostly we went to the beach area across the street.  We did venture further north and south to check out the beaches in Clearwater and St Petersburg.  They were very similar.  On the last day we had to be checked out of the resort by 10 am but didn’t have a flight out until 7 pm.  We decided to head north to Honeymoon Island state park.  Courtney got a short nap in on the way and we went to the beach there.  It was mostly the same, but we liked this beach better.  There were no resorts lining it…just palm trees and nature.  We had lunch at a picnic table and a seagull swooped in and stole Bode’s sandwich.  He got sad, but at least it wasn’t the cheetos getting taken!  We stopped by the nature center and saw some interesting displays about tortoises and other wildlife and how the island came to be.  We also saw a group of baby sharks in the shallow water nearby.  We weren’t in the water there.

Christmas at the beach

Christmas morning was low key and fun.  We had stockings and opened presents and then headed to the beach!  Lunch was leftover pizza and sandwiches, but we had a nice steak dinner later in the day.

Given all of the excitement getting to Florida, our trip back was rather uneventful.  We had a planned layover in St Louis due to frequent flyer mile availability for travel.  We had a room at the St Louis Airport Marriott booked.  It was a super quick shuttle ride over there.  The first thing Bode noticed when we got to the room was that it didn’t have a kitchen!  We ordered a pizza from room service and the kids got complimentary meals, which they ate voraciously.  It was a nice place to stay.  The night of sleep was way better than staying on a cot at an airport!  We made it home.  No more flights with Courtney on the lap.  She’s a wiggler and will definitely do better if strapped into her car seat. 

Aaron already asked on the way home about where we should go for Christmas next year.  Mexico?

I added lots of pictures over in the photo gallery.

Bode and Courtney and Family and Kids19 Dec 2007 05:16 pm

bode & courtney

Welcome to the Hislop family Christmas letter.  We hope you’re having an enjoyable holiday season so far.  It’s been cold and snowy…just what we love.

We started off the year with a bang.  In January, Aaron went up to Moose Lake to check out a land auction with his uncle.  We’ve always talked about having some land in northern Minnesota some day.  Although Aaron said there was a 98% chance that he was just wasting his time, he went up to get a feel for how these things worked.  He called me later in the day to say we were now the owners of 145 acres of property, including 2 trailer homes, a bridge and 900 feet of river frontage.  In February, we went up with the kids and got to see what we really bought.  We drove 4-wheelers around in the snow and checked out the property.  We parked our camper up there in the spring and spent a lot of weekends there with the kids.  Aaron spent a few more without us working on projects and mowing the lawn.  Bode loved hiking, fishing and stomping through puddlesCourtney rode around in the front carrier and graduated to the backpack.  The camper was a little small with the pack n play, 4 people and 2 dogs, but it was a good time.  Wednesday and Pugsley loved having freedom to run in the woods.  Talk about a couple of dirty dogs!

Ski patrol at Welch Village still fills our Saturday nights during the winter months.  In February, we made a trip out to Utah.  Aaron and I got some skiing while grandma and grandpa watched the kids.  Although he didn’t get to ski in Utah, Bode got 10 days of skiing last season.  He already has 2 days this season.  He loves riding the chair lift and listening to the wheels squeak.  It’s wonderful to have him interested in skiing.  Hopefully, we can get Courtney at least 1 day by the end of the season.  She’s been walking for a few months and should be a little steadier and stronger by then.  It could get really interesting next year with both kids. 

In August, we took a road trip with the kids out to Island Park, Idaho.  We spent a week with Aaron’s family vacationing in the Yellowstone area.  It took a little bit of time, but we eventually saw plenty of animals at the park…grizzly bears, elk, moose, bison, antelope and more.  We visited the popular spots, such as Old Faithful, but one of our favorite memories is a short little hike behind the Roosevelt Lodge where we walked to a waterfall and found wild raspberries along the trail.

Although busy with a lot of projects this summer, Aaron managed to squeeze in 2 days of skydiving for a total of 15 jumps.  That’s not much, but he plans to get serious with a team again next year.  I’ve yet to decide whether I’ll be jumping then or not.  I went to Duluth for the NorthShore Inline Marathon in September.  It was 27 degrees when I headed there that morning.  There was also a vicious headwind the whole way.  It wasn’t the best of conditions, but I finished it and then proceeded to sign up to do it again next year!  Aaron watched the kids while I went and did that and then went hunting as soon as I was back.  Hunting and preparing for hunting was a big activity this fall.  Aaron got a lot of help from his uncle when it came to baiting bears.  He hunted for bear, deer, grouse and woodcock.  No new animals for the walls this year!

It’s been fun to watch the changes in the kids throughout the year.  Courtney has gone from a little pipsqueak who didn’t crawl yet to a walking girl who is starting to talk and let’s her opinion be known even without words.  Bode’s language has been the major change in the past year.  We’re really enjoying having conversations with him now.  He says the funniest things.

Another year has come and gone.  For those of you that we’ve seen this year, I hope we’ll be able to spend time again next year.  For those who it has been a while, maybe the upcoming year will bring us together.  We wish you and your families the happiest of holiday seasons.  Stay warm and enjoy each other!

The Hislops