We had the good fortune to spend the first days of our vacation with one of my oldest and dearest friends, Kelly and her family. We arrived in Orlando and Kate quickly made 28 cents by the time we had gotten the keys to our rental car.
Since we had taken an afternoon flight, it was quite late in the day by the time we got our car and got on the road. It didn't take long for the soporific effect of a car in motion to work its magic.
Fortified by dinner, night-time swimming and a long night of sleep, they woke up the next day ready to take on the trampoline before heading into the pool.
Lucy practicing her somersaults.
The public pools here in Chicago will not allow masks or snorkels so they girls were very happy to finally get a chance to put them to use. After a few tries with mouthfuls of water, Kate got the hang of breathing through the snorkel and traversed the length of the pool many times.
Karlie woke up a bit later and joined them in the raft.
Tony built a see saw in the front yard much to their delight.
Time to practice her flute! Kate was very excited to see if her Aunt Kelly could still play. Kelly and I were in band together (her with flute, me with saxophone) many years ago. Kelly and Karlie gave a short performance.
Both girls really wanted to play Karlie's clarinet so she told them how to hold their mouths in order to make a sound.
Later that evening, Kate and Lucy taught Kellen how to do the death stare.
Karlie and Kellen babysat the girls while we went out for sushi with Kelly and Tony. Their construction company built the restaurant.
Meanwhile, the girls were bathed and ready to settle in to eat cake and watch Barbie.
The next day began with swimming and learning that they could dive down 8 feet to retrieve dive sticks.
Lucy was the first to make the attempt to dive down in the deep end. She made it easily while Kate watched from the ledge.
Well, if one sister can do it, by golly the other one will to! Kate headed down next and made it on the first try with Lucy watching protectively above her.
Meanwhile, Karlie had headed out early to the barn to work with Santana (her horse) in the ring. We rode out there to watch her for a bit.
Karlie and Santana made the jump!
Lucy was taking it all in and dying to get a ride on Santana.
Kate slumped in the chair, wilting from the heat.
Finally it was time for the girls to have a ride. Although Kate was first to the fence, she let Lucy go first. I think the sight of Santana up close gave her pause--that's a big horse!
Lucy did not need to be told twice!
Next up was Kate who climbed right up with Karlie's help.
She loved it!
Time to clean Santana up!
Kate and Kelly bonded with the stable's resident bunny.
Lucy spotted that and came flying over to get her turn.
Back to the pool to cool off from the heat and practice diving. They both learned how to jump off the edge to dive instead of doing the head roll into the pool that they were doing last year.
Sunday was our last morning before heading on to Ocala. Once more swim in the pool was in order.
Having Rex join them for a dip made their day.
Visiting with good friends is like balm for the soul. I always look forward to summer vacation in FL for this very reason. And their property is so beautiful and peaceful--it really set the tone for a relaxing vacation.