Sunday, December 5, 2010

Thanksgiving in Florida

I wrote our last post from our flight to the Atlanta airport on our way to Thomas' family in Florida. Although we've been back for a while, this is our first chance to tell you all about our fun trip!

Thomas' good friend Seth drove us to the airport.
A little mix-up at the SLC Airport...
 We were blessed with good weather for our flight southeast. We did get to see some pretty cloud formations, like this one, but we experienced no turbulence and had enough time to catch our connecting flight at the Atlanta airport.

We were pleasantly surprised to meet Thomas' dad Jeff on our flight to Pensacola -- he was traveling for work and was able to return earlier than originally planned, even getting a seat last minute on our plane.

From the plane
 I saw some new things in Florida, like this:

To me, that star means "Carl's Jr." - and this is also my first sight of a "Winn-Dixie" store - something I am only familiar with because of the book Because of Winn-Dixie :o)
 While doing some preparatory grocery shopping, we caught sight of this:

Thomas' Breakfast Center
On Tuesday morning, we had the privilege of joining Thomas' parents when their home teachers came by. They were kind Southern gentlemen and we appreciated the opportunity to meet them.

On Tuesday afternoon, Thomas and I went out together. We drove through the neighborhood where he used to live, and even got to see the house he lived in (which sustained a lot of damage during Hurricane Ivan in 2004).

We went to the beach and ate a picnic lunch. It was my first time seeing the Gulf of Mexico, and my first time on a warm beach!

We ate on the steps of the unoccupied lifeguard tower.
Pensacola Beach area, or nearby
Thomas was good at spotting these little bitty sand crabs!
We got to watch the sunset

It was very pleasant to walk along the beach, except that we had to watch very carefully where we walked because of these:

Portuguese Man-o-War, washed up on the beach
 We saw literally dozens of Portuguese Man-o-Wars along the beach. We learned that they are not actually Jellyfish, but each is actually (strangely enough) a colony of four different but dependent organisms. A sting from one of these suckers has the potential to be deadly.

Ah, how romantic :o)
 On Wednesday, Thomas' brother Robert and his family arrived early in the morning. In flying from Seattle, their flight was delayed and they missed their connecting flight. Rather than wait to fly in the morning, they decided to rent a car and drive through the night from Atlanta to the Bradshaw home. We are so glad they made it safely.

We enjoyed playing with Robert & Camille's adorable little girls. Everyone pitched in to help cook and decorate throughout the day.

Robert with the girls giving some love to Temperance the Guinea pig!
 Thursday, of course, was Thanksgiving! We had two tables to accommodate the 14 total eaters, and lots and lots of yummy food. I count it a success!

The table at which we were seated
Place settings. Cute napkin rings, eh?
Table 1
Table 2
After our feast, we had a celebration of Thomas' birthday (which is tomorrow). His mom made his traditional birthday cookie tree.

Icing the cookies
Top view of the put-together tree
 Before we disassembled the tree, though, Thomas got to open some gifts and talk to his sister Elizabeth via the computer. Elizabeth made each family a precious advent calendar for Christmas - pictures to come later. One of Elizabeth's nieces (I think?) Made the birthday sign you can see in the computer screen below:

"Happy Birthday" on Skype
A DQ t-shirt: "25 years of defying gravity"
2 crêpe pans from France!
Look at that smile. This is the finished cookie tree! Complete with "snow."
 On Friday before we flew back to Utah, we went to the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola.

The whole gang!
Ruby & Lydia had a great time at the museum!
Our return flight was a little bumpier than the first one, but we made it safely back and so did our luggage. We had a great time and we were so glad to be able to spend our holiday with family. And even though Florida isn't Thomas' favorite place, my skin sure loved the humid climate!



  1. Feeling homesick....glad you two are coming out soon... aren't the beaches amazing! West coast beaches are beautiful, but I just can't enjoy them the same after warm beaches... man o war-didn't realize they were there, scary!

    Glad you guys all had fun-that's a great smile Thomas!!!!

    those were some kids from the branch on skype-reminded me of days with the hoffmans! :)

  2. Great pictures!! :D ..Looks like you had a great time! :) makes me miss all of you!!! ;)