We left Disney early in the morning after all the kids had chosen their souvenirs. We drove East to the Deseret Ranch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Beau-D and Kalani really love the ranching lifestyle they experienced in Wyoming so they wanted to see what the ranch looks like in Florida. The Church owns over 300,000 Acres (500 square miles) of land that they farm for profit. They raise cattle and other livestock and fruit orchards. It was really interesting to take the tours. Having grown up on a farm in Utah it was novel to see that one of the two problems they have on the ranch is alligators in the watering holes and wild boar tearing up the fields. So different from what we worried about. By the time we were down Beau-D decided that he wanted to sign up for a job.
We met Gramy and Grandpa there and as always it is good to see them. We went in a caravan of cars to the Gulf Coast where we stayed in Indian Shores. The Gulf was not as clear as Hawaii waters are, but that could be due to Debbie trying to level the homes and rearrange the shoreline. We had so much fun! Madre and Kell rented a stand-up paddle board that we all used—some easier than others. Lady Hiva seems to be a natural. They also rented a platoon boat that we took a ride up the channels off the Gulf. We were able to see several birds and dolphins. The cutest ones were the baby dolphins that were swimming with their mothers. I tried to take photos but is was hard to know where they were going to come up again for air.
Beau-D, Kalani, Lady Hiva, and I all rented jet skis for an hour. We took them out on the Gulf and had SO much fun. Beau-D and I constantly were trying to see how fast we could take them. Sadly, Lady got scared when I got up to about 45 so I had to slow down. I knew she was nervous when she said that if I did not slow down she was going to jump off and swim to shore, she does not like to swim so that was evidence she was serious about that threat. Ironically, when she was driving she went just as fast…when I asked her what the difference was she said that she feels safer when she is in control! HAHA
The rest of the time we spent building sand castles, swimming and laughing with each other. I was able to talk Lady Hiva, Beau-D and Kalani, Lightening, and Pickles all at separate times to swim out to the buoy 300 yards of shore. That was fun, although all of them started to talk about sharks half way out and I had to beg them to swim AROUND the buoy not just to it, as if there was some invisible barrier that they knew if they crossed they would be bitten right away! HAHA We even got in some Wii Dance Competitions. We all had a good laugh when Lightening informed his dad that he danced like “He had to go pee!” HAHA, but despite how it looked, Nate scored higher than any of us!
It was such a great time. We have loved being back in the U.S. and with our families. Leaving Florida and Hawaii we both felt like we could have used more time. It is the small things that you forget about and are in awe to experience again—like not having to calculate exchange rates at the restaurant or store (it was funny when we landed in Los Angeles I was at the sandwich shop and the sandwich was $10USD and out of habit I calculated it into Pesos and thought “Wow, that is almost 600PHP!” Wait!? Why am I calculating??? Or being able to see stars at night, or a wide open field full of green grass, or a road with us being the only car, or Taco Bell…..I can go on and on.