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Sanibel Island, FL

We had a week full of sunshine, quality family time and plenty of ocean beach fun. Our first big family trip is one we'll always remember. "Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory." We are thankful for the memories we made on this incredible trip.

Madeleine had her first airplane ride. She did absolutely amazing! The people at Southwest went above and beyond to make her first flight memorable.

We stayed in a great condo right on the beach. We could see the ocean from our windows and had the perfect little trail to a private beach. It was so nice having close proximity to so many things, including a private pool, beach toys and shuffle board.

Fun in the sun. We had perfect weather the entire time we were in Florida. Our condo was footsteps from the beach. Theo loved playing in the waves with grandpa and his cousins.

Theo loved playing in the ocean. He called the ocean "Theo Smashers". He loved riding the waves with Dad, building sand castles and collecting shells for friends.

We had fun walking to the Farmer's Market. Perfect weather for a stroll and convincing the kids to be on the lookout for alligators. We explored great foods and picked up fresh produce to enjoy back at the condo!

One of the best part of vacation is sitting back and doing nothing! Madeleine is still at the age where we do a lot of "hanging around". Lots of baby cuddles and nap time. Madeleine ended up getting a croupy cough (stupid airplane) the second night we were on vacation so after a quick visit to the doctors and a steroid shot, we were on the mend.

Every night, we enjoyed walking on the beach at sunset. Beautiful views. The ocean waves. One of my favorite things about vacation!

Fishing with PePa! One of the things my dad really wanted to do with Theo was take him fishing. The boys had a great time catching fish off a pier and even got a few nibbles! After fishing we met the guys at a bar to watch the Iowa Bowl Game.

Do not stand at my grave and weep;

I am not there. I do not sleep.

I am a thousand winds that blow.

I am the diamond glints on snow.

I am the sunlight on ripened grain.

I am the gentle autumn rain.

When you awaken in the morning's hush

I am the swift uplifting rush

Of quiet birds in circled fight.

I am the soft stars that shine at night.

Do not stand at my grave and cry;

I am not there. I did not die.

We sprinkled Pat's ashes in the ocean. We went around and each shared a favorite memory. I'm thankful we could do this as a family. Now, every time we're at the ocean, Pat will be there with us.

This was a great family vacation. I loved our first trip away - all of us together. I wish Pat could have been with us in person, but we celebrated and remembered her the entire time. She also gave us some beautiful sunsets to enjoy together.

The last day of vacation was all about enjoying the beach and beautiful 80 degree days. I can't believe how lucky we were with the weather on this trip (than you Pat!). We had warm, sunshine temperatures every single day.

A great vacation with some of my favorite people! Until our next adventure, XO.

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