You guessed it -- we've been at the beach. We (the seven in our family) went yesterday to scope out Honeymoon Island -- a small island that has been saved as a state park and has lots of great wildlife; it's just west of Tampa. It was cooler yesterday (high of 63:), so we just spent time checking out the great sea shells around the north side of the island. Delaney was in shell heaven and we collected way too many.
Today we went back (all 16 of us -- yes, Karyn and John are here!) and had a memorable day in the fun and sun. There was hiking, shelling, much dolphin-sighting, warm sun but much too much wind to be perfectly content, wading in the cool ocean, meeting visitors from mostly states other than Florida, sand-castle building, burying each other in the sand, and, last but never least, the seagulls. When it was about time for our packed picnic lunch, I got out the pretzels and the kids starting eating. We noticed some seagulls creeping near and the kids wanted to feed them. I said -- casually -- "no, don't do that because then more will keep coming and want to be fed". Levi did not heed that warning and tossed one of them a pretzel. To say the least, BAD IDEA. A true flock descended and wanted more. As we started getting out sandwiches and the rest of the food, they basically turned into crazy-commando-seagulls. They flew about 4 feet overhead the whole time and kept swooping down. Finally, one of them literally came in and grabbed Izaak's (nephew) peanut butter and jam sandwich FROM HIS HANDS. It was insane! Angie gave him her sandwich and he started eating it, and another seagull took that one. I'm not kidding. We ended up having to hide the food and if you wanted to eat, you had to do it under a towel or blanket. Once we quit eating and got them to finally mostly go away, if anyone even opened the bag that had the covered food in it, they would start to gather again. I must say I will be surprised if the children do not have a few nightmares about swooping seagulls.
Other than that, we are entertaining ourselves by checking the weather in Ohio compared to here (it seems as though someone is doing this by the hour around here). : ) Hope everyone is staying warm, and merry Christmas Eve Eve.