Happy New Year!
Ushering in 2019 means saying adieu to the holiday season of 2018. Today’s the end – my Christmas tree has come down!
I LOVE sitting in the dark living room and just looking at our tree. It’s become one of my favorite things about the holiday season. After the presents are wrapped and the cookies baked and dinner is put away, I like to sip a beverage, play a little Rat Pack Christmas on Pandora, and just sit for a few minutes. It’s a little bit of peace amid all the hustle and bustle.
This year I was making a little adjustment to Sinatra’s lyrics though: “I’m dreaming of a white (sand) Christmas…” Yes, the Snethens returned to Florida for Christmas this year, and that may just be the other best part of the Christmas season!
Each day melted into a comfortable rhythm: big breakfast, morning at the beach, late lunch, and LONG naps (sometimes for all 4 of us!), before dinner and bed. Perfection!
We spent the week in the most adorable little cottage, just across the street from a public beach access point. I mean, this gal and I are totally on the same page decor wise. She took this ramshackle old fishing shack and transformed it into bliss!
Edmond’s little room was teeny – just big enough for the antique twin bed, but it was perfect for him. The owner even lent us a Pack’n’Play for Gem so we didn’t have to bring ours.
This year we went a little further north than we have in the past. Treasure Island is situated between St. Pete and Clearwater near Tampa. The first couple days we were questioning our choice. It was wam – mid 60s and 70s, but the winds were up to 18 miles per hour. It made for some chilly days on beach. On the windiest day we skipped the beach altogether and went for a sailing venture with our neighbor, who happened to be a charter boat captain!
Captain Glen was the best! He let Edmond take the helm for awhile, which he LOVED! And he even drove us to and from the boat dock! Talk about service! (One of the major advantages to staying in Treasure Island over other spots was its walkability. We saved $500+ by not renting a car for the week. We could have taken the beach taxi to the charter boat dock, which was a 15 minute drive away, but it was much easier to load up in Captain Glen’s truck!) We found a family of dolphins while on our voyage, and it was great fun watching them splash and play near the boat. Since it was windy, we actually got to sail, and that made Tony very happy too!
Gemma wasn’t too keen on the sand and water on our first couple trips to the beach, so she spent a lot of time on the blanket and under the tent.
Eventually, though, she discovered how great sand tastes and feels between her toes! I did have to fish a seashell out of her mouth at one point…
And she went for her first paddle board ride!
EO’s favorite activity this year was burying his feet in the sand and jumping out.
He also learned how to jump in the waves and even went under the water!
But most of the time he looked just like this – covered head to toe in sand!
The majority of our meals were made in our little cottage – it’s just easier with the two littles, but we did venture out a couple times. The Middle Grounds Grill was about 10 blocks away along the paved beach “boardwalk,” and had fantastic food! We stopped along the way to watch the sunset and play at the park.
Caddy’s by the Beach, on the south side of the island, was a short bus ride away. It’s a great beach bar that serves food all day and has beach chairs and umbrellas right in front of the restaurant.
While the kids napped in the afternoons, Tony and I did all kinds of things. One day he took the wagon down 12 blocks for groceries to load up our refrigerator and pantry. We both read books – for fun! That doesn’t happen much these days. I got a fantastic massage at the Paradise Spa – it was such fun to ride a bicycle down Gulf Blvd to my appointment! And I found a delicious sangria at the supermarket to sip on while sitting in the garden outside our cottage.
We finished most evenings with a sunset viewing (if the kids woke up in time) and a trip to the Shake Shop – a fantastic soft serve ice cream place just a block away. If you’re ever in Treasure Island, I recommend the Strawberry Shortcake or the Vienetta (twist soft serve with waffle cone pieces, hard shell chocolate, and whipped cream.)
I must admit, returning to the frigid cold has not been pleasant, but it all worth it to have had such a great Christmas with our little family of 4!