As promised, today is all about Christmas in Florida with Julie, Matt, Jordan and Matthew. It’s so wonderful that they have moved so much closer – our trip to their home only took four hours – instead of 13!
Ormond Beach is on the Atlanta Coast of Florida – south of St. Augustine and just north of Daytona, home of the Daytona 500 Nascar race. Unlike most of the Gulf Coast, building on the beach side of the highway is now prohibited, so you can drive for miles along the beach highway with an unobstructed view of the sand dunes and the ocean.
After bypassing Jacksonville on 295 and crossing the St. Johns River, we headed straight south on I-95.
For as long as we can remember, we've traditionally given Jordan and Matthew a pair of flannel pajamas as one of their Christmas gifts. Julie said Matthew had already commented (after seeing how warm it was in Florida in December), "Oh no! BeeBe can't give us flannel pj's this Christmas!" He got t-shirts instead.
Jordan got a Cake Pop recipe book (which she requested) and a couple of other items. Jordan can already out-cook her BeeBe.
We couldn't wait to eat at Snack Jack's - our favorite restaurant from when Julie and Matt lived in Ormond Beach several years ago. Great seafood!
The next morning I had great fun riding the electric scooter Santa had brought for Matthew. When I asked him if I could ride it, he said - dead serious - "Do you weigh over 250 lbs, BeeBe?" After I choked, I told him, "Not quite."
We rode to the beach both afternoons we were in Florida and walked the hard-packed sand. Having spent most of my beach time on the Gulf Coast around Panama City and Destin, I’m used to the snow-white beaches of that area, where the sparkling sand pours through your fingers as it does through the proverbial hourglass. The sand was darker and wetter on the Atlantic side, but the waves were much bigger than on the Gulf. Surfers were out both afternoons, and Jordan told me “most of the boys in my school are surfers”. Oh dear.
Yep - those are tire marks.
Cars are allowed on Ormond Beach, just like they are on the beaches in Daytona, but the sands of Ormond Beach are much less crowded. Bicyling is also possible on the hard-packed beaches.
There were several shrimp boats working the waters far offshore.
Matthew chased seagulls . . .
. . . while Ted and Jordan clocked some quality time together.
Yes - they are the best grandchildren in the whole world!
One of the surfer-dudes.
There were a lot of seagulls on the beach . . .
. . . including this one who seemed to be viewing the world from a slightly different angle.
One of the great things we’ll be able to enjoy since the kids are closer is going to Matthew’s football games and Jordan’s dance recitals. Ted lost no time getting Matthew out in the street for a little “ex-football coach” coaching.
First they practiced passing.
That Matthew has quite an arm! Did you find the ball he just hurled?
Then it was fake hand-offs . . .
. . . Matthew runs right past and goes out for the pass. (I hope you all know I had to ask Ted what the heck they were doing to write this description.)
Our last night we rode through the Tomoka State Park to a new favorite restaurant – the River Grille – which sits right on the Tomoka River.
We sat outside on the top deck and enjoyed appetizers before going inside for dinner - more fresh from the ocean seafood.
Jordan, a budding photographer, enjoyed snapping photos with her mom's new camera.
Julie and Matt.
Matthew climbed up to the first branch of a Live Oak tree to get a better view of the bridge.
A great photo by Jordan!
It seems we’ve done a lot of traveling already since we’ve been home, and in a little over a week we’ll be leaving for Colorado. Can’t wait to share that trip with ya’ll!
Come on back Monday for a story about my annual New Year’s resolution and what I’m doing to try and keep it this year (emphasis on the word “try”). Have a great weekend. God bless.