We made the most of our visit and filled our days with family time, beach time, some swimming for those willing to brave chilly water and hours and hours of lizard hunting. Whenever we visit Jacksonville, we stay with my parents but my sister and her family live within 5 minutes of them, so we spend a lot of time at their place, too.
Leslie and Ross’ neighborhood is packed with brown and green anole lizards and to say our boys are obsessed with lizard hunting is a huge understatement.
Chase would truly hunt for lizards for hours on end. Most mornings, we hung out at Leslie’s house while the kids played outside and the babies napped and Chase would hunt for lizards for 3+ hours. Ryder also managed to nab two of the feisty little guys himself!
Chase caught dozens of the anole lizards with his net and even his hands and though we always let them go within a couple of hours, he loved naming them (his favorite was “Rainbow Change” because it changed from brown to green) and creating little habitats for them. My mom even took Chase to PetSmart to buy lizard food – dried flies!
Oh and another epic find by Creature Man was a huge katydid! It was bigger than most of the lizards he found!
Pretty cool, huh? I have no idea how he spotted that thing because it perfectly camouflages into the Florida foliage and looks like bright green leaf.
During our spring break, we also went on a lot of walks and spent plenty of time in or near water, whether it be at the beach, the pool or even in Leslie’s front yard with sprinkler splash pads and beach toys.
(Romper: Aerie — linking this year’s version since I bought mine last year and I actually the updated version better! / Sandals: Francesca’s (sold out but these are similar)/ Bralette: Free People / Cropped white tank: Beyond Yoga)
Ryder was clearly pumped to borrow some of Callie’s toys! And in case you’re wondering what he’s holding in his hands in the above pic, that would be a worm of course.
I love the above picture so much because it captures our time in Florida so well. It’s like an I Spy of family springtime fun: A lizard in a creature cage, a dog-obsessed baby, a lab dying for another round of fetch, a 5-year-old creating a homemade water slide and two toddlers playing with a ride-on toy and random cups.
Though the ocean was way too cold for our crew to swim during our visit, the water warmed up enough in the tide pools for the boys to splash around.
They filled their catch-and-release beach aquarium with coquinas, a crab and little shrimp they found in the tide pools during our beach days and absolutely loved that thing!
(Chase’s hat linked here — my code JULIE15 will get you 15% off! Both Chase and Ryder wear the toddler size and I love that it lasts for years, stays on their heads and floats if it gets in the water.)
Rhett was more into eating sand than anything and wanted to go back for seconds and thirds of fistfuls of the good, gritty stuff. Bleh!
In addition to plenty of time outside in the Florida sun, playtime and snuggles with my nieces, Callie and Colette, was a huge highlight for me during this trip.
I hate not seeing them on a regular basis but we had a decent amount of built-in downtime on this trip because of baby + toddler naps which allowed us to focus on the kiddos who were awake at any given time.
I often feel like I don’t get to fully immerse myself in my nieces like I’d like to because I always have my own kids to care for during our time together, but letting the boys run around outside during Rhett’s nap gave me a decent amount of the Callie and Colette time I was craving which was so wonderful.
Colette + Rhett! The littlest members of our crew!
A few more highlights — celebrating my brother-in-law’s birthday poolside on Friday night and visiting with my Aunt Laurie and Uncle Drew who passed through Jacksonville on their way to Sanibel Island from Raleigh!
After so much time away from family over the course of the past year, our spring break truly felt like the biggest blessing and I left Florida with a very full, very grateful heart!
I hope you all had a great weekend and, as always, thanks for making my blog a part of your day!