the keys {take one}

so we have just returned from our family vacation 827 miles form home, in the florida keysmy favorite place. my husband likes it, god bless that man for pulling a boat that far with minimal complaining! my kids love it and anticipate our return for months. i love-love it and today i started looking forward to the next time. it’s my secluded oasis that allows my mind to reset and feel a sense of total relaxation. maybe it is because we are so far removed from reality or the fact that all of our time is spent slow, inefficient, lazy, and relaxed. 

we all agree the concept of time morphs for us in the florida keys. it completely changes. we left true believers in that thing called island time. the idea of “i’ll be ready in a few minutes” can mean several different things. it can even mean tomorrow. i’m very schedule orientated and two weeks not being a slave to the clock is a wondrous thing. 

 we have also been minus television, had limited internet and diets of whatever we want. especially our week with kelly, no one frowned on pie for breakfast or cereal for dinner. we discovered a publix only a few miles away. this led to daily trips for ice cream and their homemade key lime pie (really the best in the keys and at $6.99 a pie, we almost always had one in the fridge.) key lime anything was the food of choice. we ate key lime  ice cream and key lime pie pops. we had a lime tree in our yard, so we made lime-aide and our own fresh lime cheesecake... but my pie loving fun halted when the little bit of graham cracker crust was noticed by my stomach. this small amount of gluten triggered my worst attack in a year. delirium had me promising to convert to a life of veganism if only the pain would subside... empty promise :)

my mom and stepdad joined us for week two and we ate like royalty. my kids loooove it when honey cooks! lots and lots of honey and papa gene stories. my mom landed in the keys and went into shock. she may try to deny this... but it's true. she had a shell shocked look on her face for a full 24 hours. i'm guessing my mom was  imagining a 'fancy caribbean resort' kind of place. when it's  really a jimmy buffet, shabby, middle of the ocean kind of place. stories to come. :)

last year, a few weeks after our trip, i regretted taking so few pictures. this year... no regrets! i took over 3000 pictures... kelly took 18. i promise not to bore you with them all :) plus it may take a while to swim through them. 

 i wanted to start with our first week. 
so here's a few highlights from our week with kelly. 
that girl is as much fun as a carload of circus clowns. 
i might be sharing kelly stories for quite some time.
 i love the memories we make with the craynes.

kelly's traditional 'florida turnpike' shirt was brought out of storage.
anna katherine won the who wore it best :)
 the looks from the attendants make the kids double over!

kelly  had only one child in tow.
hunter and robbie were on a school trip to washington and missed all the fun.
joe singlehanded can still keep us in stitches. 
notice his 'sharpie' drawn abs.
can we get a quarter for every time we referenced this?
bobbie mcgee... our adventure tradition.
he is deserving of his own post to come.
my kids make bucket lists for kelly time.
she has a lot to live up to and never fails to disappoint!
i loved seeing them  on the fridge.

we sat in the weathered adirondack chairs with lime-aide in hand and watch the kids swim in the canal... forever.
 maybe we also forgot sunscreen every now and then.
the clouds were so deceiving.

we unknowingly broke some rules.
like feeding wildlife in the state parks... opps!

we met up with her sweet friends from jacksonville... in key largo.
i wish i had gotten more pictures, because they were so fun to talk to.

i intoduced kelly to instagram.
she is now a junkie, too.

we explored high scary places and found  stinky, yucky things.
we mary claire and kelly  fed the tiny endangered deer on deer key.
the rain didn't matter.
this little guy is full grown and they are everywhere!
and the coconuts... good grief, our kids were like moths to a flame.

we took our kids to this famous pub.
this spot has a story.
it 'was' child friendly... we made sure.

 the pub is plastered from top to bottom in one dollar bills...
an estimated $75,000 worth of scribbled on bills!
we goofed around...

we released lanterns over the gulf of mexico.
extremely tricky when 
battling tropical storm winds...

kelly has the ability to make others travel outside of their comfort zones.
she really doesn't give you a choice!
including me...  
finally taking a dive with the manatee.

 we watched this
it was just plain silly.
not really funny, but for some reason, it was never not funny.
the kids (and jeff) watched... and copied... and talked like this... nonstop.

kelly is the keeper of unique sealife knowledge
we explored the ocean by foot and boat.
jeff loves her company as much as me.
but we sure missed robbie and hunter!
kelly taught my kids the art of "photo bombing."
i would love to be a fly on the wall when some families take a closer look at their family photos.

we had a chance to watch this couple react!
mary claire... mimics art!
our day in key west and her grand entrance and her new diet plan... were epic kelly. 
those will have to wait until i can gather my thoughts and figure out a way to tell a couple stories in cursive... she even brought amy into her evil plans.

so as we unpack, recover from the 16 hour drive, and attempt to find our land legs,
we are so grateful for our relaxed time together.
a FABULOUS time would be an understatement!
Living Life in the Lowcountry said...

Sounds and looks like you had a great time! And your friend sounds like a total trip! :)

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