We were last in Florida about a year ago. It was very soon after we had moved to NC, too soon maybe, and although we enjoyed seeing our friends and family, Lakeland still had some sad memories and annoyances for us.
This trip was different. A year is a long time and a lot can change. A lot has changed in Lakeland; new roads, buildings, restaurants and a lot has changed for us; Jason got a promotion at work and we have settled into living life in NC as well as having a new little one on the way. All of this added up to a lovely trip to Florida. Enough time had passed to heal old wounds and for us to truly feel that we were visiting instead of returning to an old life.
We got in around dinnertime and took our friends Barb, David, Nathan and Jackie out to dinner. We went to TGI Fridays and had a blast catching up and introducing them to Pot Stickers.
Our first full day (there would be only two) was spent seeing old clients and friends of Jason’s in Winter Haven and Auburndale. We first went to Black & Brew (a favorite lunch place of mine) and walked around Downtown and through Barnett Park. We reminisced about getting married at the Terrace and our weekly walks around Munn Park when we were dating. Good memories!
It was very cold, but nothing compared to what we have in NC right now. The positive thing was we were practically the only ones at the park and wandering around Lake Mirror.
We then headed out to Auburndale for Jason to check out his Wireless system at International Market World and again, to say hi to old friends. We ended up walking around the market and finding a few treasures. We also grabbed some Hot-boiled peanuts. YUM!
We met up later that evening with my good friend, Nicole and her family at Stevi B’s, a pizza buffet with a game room for the kids. It was crazy fun with 6 kids between us from 18 months to 7 years and it was good to see them before their trip to Disney that weekend.
We started having some issues with the radiator in the truck that evening and determined that it would have to be changed out before returning home. I am very thankful that Jason is so handy. He went up to Discount, bought a new one and changed it out in the parking lot. His mechanical services were solicited during the change-over, but thankfully he has learned to say no. ;o)
We finally made it to my aunt’s house around lunchtime. She took us to Burger21 at Lakeside Village (a quick stop at Baskin Robbins for ice cream after) and then on to Common Ground park with the kiddos. There were SO MANY kids there! I should not have been surprised, it is a very popular park. It got warmer and warmer while we were there, but the kids had a blast. After a quick wardrobe change at my aunt’s for her and I, we went to Lake Morton to feed the ducks. That lake is so special. I fed the ducks there as a child and enjoyed sharing the experience with the girls. You have to work hard to find some actual ducks to feed, but we did and had a great time.
This was Lorelei’s first time feeding the ducks and the ducks had a blast getting whole pieces of bread from her!
We went home after that and planned to meet up later for a game night at Barb’s. I was happy that Jason’s friend (and mine now too) Carrie and her husband could come over to play. The game we decided on was Dominoes, Mexican Train specifically, and with eight of us playing it was interesting to say the least. I can definitely say that Dominoes is not my game, but we had fun regardless.
Sunday morning we decided to visit our old church, Church in the Meadows. We haven’t found a church here and missed it and our old friends there. We loved seeing everyone and enjoyed singing favorite hymns and hearing the message Tim the pastor had prepared. After we stopped at Lake Miriam Publix for lunch (wow, biggest changes of all) we headed home.
We had such a good time in Florida and plan to visit again next Christmas and possibly make this a yearly event.