family time in Florida

Rewinding time here a bit: In October, before we headed half way across the world for our Israel trip, we met up with most of my immediate family in Cape Coral, Florida. Cape Coral is one of the places that I'll have to start referring to as "home", since my parents have built a house and taken up permanent residency in this community located near Ft. Myers.

Home is a moving target, as my family is currently scattered up and down the East coast. For this particular rendezvous, my sister ADP flew in from Pennsylvania. My sister ERP and her boyfriend CH flew in from Tennessee. I flew in from Cayman. N had just finished a quick trip to Pennsylvania for his mom's birthday followed by a business trip in New York, so he flew in from JFK. After a few trips by Mom and Dad to the airport (and a long solo drive from Miami across the state for me), we had all found each other once again, this time in sunny Florida.

The new house is all one level in an open floor plan - great for family gatherings.

So except for my brother and his wife, we were all happily enjoying the gorgeous autumn weather in southwest Florida, which included hours at the community pool and lots of trips down the water slide.

We certainly missed having DJP with us,
but CH was a good stand-in brother for the long weekend.
A kid at heart, no matter how tall.

Spending a day with both of my sisters, in the pool, soaking in the Vitamin D, and catching up on all the details of life (a.k.a. venting and gossiping and complimenting and advising) is my version of an ideal vacation day.

One new hobby my parents have enjoyed since moving to Florida is keeping an eye on the resident bird population. Not only do they have a nice selection of water-loving birds that hang out in and around the lake behind their house, but they also enjoy watching the majestic bald eagles that can be found perched high above their heads throughout the community.

Makes my heart swell with American pride.

On the opposite end of the bird spectrum, we took a little field trip to try to spot some burrowing owls - tiny little owls that prefer to make their nests underground.

Where is the little fella?

Grass had grown up around the nest, so Mr. Short Stuff was pretty hard to spot, but here's a photo of the same nest that I took during my trip to Cape Coral in March:

Kinda cute, huh? That's what my sisters must have thought, because we went stalking around the neighborhood, trying to get a better shot of our little winged friends.

With the educational experience completed, we all headed to the Cape Coral Yacht Club in time to see the effects of the sunset on the evening sky.

Unbeknownst to some in our party, there was a bit of snooping going on during our evening visit. In other words, the picturesque qualities of the pier and the beach and lighting were all under scrutiny. More on that later.

There's no better way to test out how picturesque a place is than to set three giddy girls in front of a sunset. I really do smile bigger when these two lovelies are around.

Someone might have been guilty of tickling.

Normally, taking photos during golden hour makes people look their best. The thing is, this is how my parents look all the time.

The Florida effect is visible.

But the big news of the trip revolves around the youngest member of our party. ERP turned 21 the very next day, and her guy had something up his sleeve.

Actually, he had something in his pocket.

A bit of diamond action coupled with a huge smile
entertained us during birthday dinner.

Early the next morning, he took her to the same Yacht Club for sunrise and a marriage proposal. She was surprised, the ring was a fit, the diamond was stunning, and the day was promptly dubbed the best birthday ever. So I did the obvious thing: Take 400 photos.

But I'm out of space in this post! You'll just have to stay tuned.

Okay fine, here's a preview.

Engagement photos are my favorite. Favorite. Favorite.


  1. great pictures! i love your little family :) sisters are the best