This was the first time that the Hatch family shared the same Spring Break week. In the past Doug was teaching at a university and I was teaching in a local school system with different Spring Breaks. When the children began school they attend a private school and Doug and I were teaching at the same university, again both systems had different Spring Breaks.
When we first moved to IL; Mimi, Doug and I share the same Spring Break and the boys who attended school in our local school district had a different Spring Break. The boys Spring Break coincided with my mom's FL school's Spring Break and my mom came up to our house for several years during Spring Break. We were fortunate to have her help with boys during that week each year. Spring Break 2005 at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago with Grandma.
When T-man was admitted to my school, then four of the five of us shared the same Spring Break. Dugger was the only one with a different break schedule. This year with Dugger in college our Spring Breaks coincided. Thoughts of a warm Spring Break vacation began to formulate in our minds. We decided to head to Florida to fill our hearts and bodies with the warmth of the sun and family.
We checked the weather in the days leading up to our trip. We would encounter unseasonable cooler temperatures in the the South. We were hopeful that the temperatures would still be warmer that IL.
Out trip started off well enough, with T-man, Mimi, and I leaving a day early from school. The other two guys didn't have class or work obligations that Friday. We headed down the road Thursday after school. Our trip down was very smooth (if you don't count the teen driving) and uneventful. Doug reminded us of our Lenten eating habits and with just one minor goof we managed to keep our religious obligations as we traveled.
As we crossed into Florida on Friday morning, the first allergy symptoms arose with T-man sneezing and sniffing. The box of Kleenex were passed to the back of the van. We forgot that the lush tropical foliage is in full swing in the spring with the Oak trees shedding leaves. By mid-morning we were passing out Chlor-trimetons. About this time my oldest ask if Aunt Cathy, who lives in GA, was going to be at my parents house. I hadn't even thought to ask her to come. Luckily my mom had that covered and she was going to arrive Saturday.
We arrived at my parents house on Friday and got to see some cousins, aunts, and uncles as their school and work day ended.
Saturday we spent the day in Tampa, stocking up on USF gear, checking out the new sites on USF's campus, and going to the last men's home basketball game. The game for us was bittersweet. As we entered the Sun Dome, Doug immediately began to look for our friends the Pfosts and Linders. Then remembering that Phil Pfost had died in October. For us it's impossible to think of a Bulls basketball game without Phil. He use to joke of one day having the nursing home orderlies bring him to the games on a stretcher.
Sunday started with church for the entire Gonzalez, Hatch, and VanDycke family. We enjoyed an afternoon trip to the Big Bend Manatee Observation Center. With the cooler than average winter temperatures the manatees were still there. I have never seen so many manatees, there were easily a hundred.
We wrapped up the day with a meal at my brother's house and the girls decided to toast marshmallows.
Some of Mimi's dance friends had competed in FL right about the time we were arriving in FL. One of the girls stayed a few extra days to visit her grandparents. On Monday we met up with her and her mom at an outlet mall in Bradenton.
At the close of the day we squeezed in a shot of all the grandkids. It's hard to capture a picture perfect moment with this motley crew.
As the week progressed Dugger and three of the cousins came down with the stomach flu and were sick for 24 hours and wiped out after that. He didn't feel well enough to go to Lettuce Lake Park but later in the week he went with us to MOSI (Museum of Science and Industry). This was one of our favorite places to go when the boys were little. All the kids at some point during our life in GA had the chance to attend summer classes at MOSI. Our visit this time included a planetarium show, general playing around with exhibits, and seeing the DaVinci exhibit. This was particularly fascinating. They had replicas of his inventions, copies of his drawing and notes, some of his artwork, and section featuring the Mona Lisa and the modern day analysis of this particular piece of work.
Towards the end of the week the kids were feeling better but my mom was now sick. Dad supervised us as we raked up the Oak leaves from the front yard. Dugger got a lesson in running the mower and emptying the basket on the mower.
Right as we were leaving we ended up taking my mom to the emergency room. My sister-in-law and brother-in-law took charge of the situation affording us the needed time to head home. With the hospital care my mom was back home in a few days and feeling better than she had when we thought she was sick with the same bug the kids had.
Illnesses aside, we had a good vacation. We had a great time visiting our favorite places and spending time with our Georgia and Florida family.