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Ok, so the timing was a little crazy. We worked our tushes off on Sunday night, and had to be ready first thing Monday am to drive (with our two kids in tow) down to Sarasota, FL. But, thanks to the video in the car and our constant coffee stops, somehow we made it.

Although I was born in NY, Sarasota is one of my “happy places”. My parents’ house is one of the most comforting places that I know. Somehow, it all seems easy and I am 13 again when I am in that house. Next we headed to my other “happy place”, Siesta Key. I grew up on that beach. My grandparents had a condo there, my aunt and uncle still do, and it was our family gathering spot for many years when I was a kid. I remember going into the Gulf with my Grandpa Jack when I was 8, and now here I was in the same gorgeous crystal blue Gulf with my 8 year old. I loved walking the beach with my family, and now I was walking the beach as a mother of my own family.

Ric and I loved our vacation—boy did we need it!—and we got to do a little of everything…Red Sox game in Tampa (except that they lost), walking the beach, reading!, lots of Big Olaf’s ice cream, fireworks, sandscastles in sand that is like powdered sugar, sleeping late, family time, seafood, the best pizza ever at Napoli’s, and seeing rainbows and breathtaking sunsets.

Let me sum it up this way… on our first day walking onto the beach alone (my folks watched the kiddies)…I said out loud to no one in particular… “Calgon, thanks for listening…”

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