Thirteen hours. (over two days, because kids and other factors)
We finally went to Daytona Beach. The last time we went, Cameron was 18 months old, Julian was a month old and Lily had not crossed our minds yet. Thanks to five years of college, financial issues and a slew of other things, it took us 12 years to get back.
Tails and Miss Purr were left in the very capable hands of Ashley, otherwise known as the animal whisperer. We left plenty of food, water and toys. I’m sure plenty of playtime and cuddles occurred.
My mission? To relax, have fun and not end up in a flare. If you aren’t familiar with rheumatoid arthritis, flares can be brought on by a lot of things but lots of activity like walking can do it. Flares, to me, is pretty much like having the flu without the stomach part.
My mission was partially accomplished. After the lighthouse trip late in the week, I was exhausted and achy. The drive home was hard on me. This post was written in the beginning of a flare. I’m just glad we got home before it hit.
Getting there was an adventure- we broke up the trip over two days. We stayed overnight in a cheap hotel and… a small thing happened.
Yes, Matthew is holding the door handle to our room. He was able to put it back on and everyone was safe afterwards. It was probably one of the funniest moments of the trip. Everyone except Lily laughed.
We got to Florida, stopped for orange juice at the welcome center and continued our journey. The kids were happy to be in Daytona until… “Mom, it stinks.” Of course, Julian thought the ocean air was gross. He’s sensitive to smells and all of us are used to it.
Over the next few days, we went to the beach, spent a lot of time in the hotel pool and we may have learned a few things.
Julian and Lily collected seashells, but Cameron wasn’t into it. All of the kids were into the idea of burying me in the sand. I found sand in my ears for two days after but it was fun. (I found the hat on Amazon- photosensitivity is no fun but my meds are working so the tradeoff isn’t that bad.)
We spent part of an afternoon at the Daytona Beach Pier and Boardwalk, which was great. It’s super pretty there. Lily hates walking, but she didn’t mind the view.
Kids at the Pier
Lily shooting hoops at the Fun Center
Julian didn’t want to do anything educational but went along with a tour to the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse. There’s 203 steps, which destroyed my joints, but it was still pretty cool. The view was beautiful. Lily did not like this, partially because of the steps and because she hates heights. We weren’t up at the top long. Warning: if you’re not a fan of Dutch staircases, I’d skip this. I thought I was going to fall more than once.
The Marine Science Center was a bit better. Unfortunately, the touching pool was closed the day we went but we were still able to see everything else. Plus we got in for the cheapest price, $2/each. There’s five of us and anything cheap is good, right?
This center houses sea turtles that need medical help and that’s neat. They are in tanks and you can see them as they are being treated. There’s also birds and exotic fish.
I’m a chocolate lover, which is partially why I’m a bit chunky. I found a chocolate factory that gives free tours so we went for a bit of adventure.
I think the boys enjoyed the serpentarium the best. It was okay but then I’m not a fan. We watched snake handlers extract serum in order to make anti serum. I’m pretty sure I’ll never, ever want to make this part of my career. They also got to hold a couple of very calm snakes. I cringed and took pics.
The funnier part is that the main guy said that he had been bitten 11 times, the last time being in 2006. He listed the snakes that bit him like it was nothing and I was like, “nope”. I’ll spare you the extraction pics. It was a bit wild.
Cameron saying hi to an iguana
There were many fun moments and a few sibling fights. I’d say it was a great trip. I’m glad to be back. If you get a chance to go to Daytona Beach, I highly recommend it. There’s a lot to do- or maybe not do.
All pics are my own.