We love having visitors.
I don't think this will ever change.
When we lived in California, we called our home Hotel California since we usually had people staying with us for over half of the year (and we loved every minute of it!) Now that we've moved to Florida, we still get visitors, but sadly it's not nearly as often since flying all the way across the country for our friends and family is a bit more money than simply flying across a couple states.
So when we do get visitors, we live it up!
Last March, my dear friend from Utah, Tracy, came out to visit for a long weekend. We became friends the last couple years while I lived in South Provo. She and I hung out at least every other day while I was engaged to Dallas. I loved spending time with her! We had many adventures, loved shopping and going to movies, playing rock band, hitting up parties, talking through all hours of the night... It was a lot of fun!
Dax and I were super excited to show her around south florida and some of the places we've come to love while living here. Tracy really wanted to see the Everglades, so we took her down to our favorite airboat tour, Everglades Alligator Farm, down in Homestead. Right as we pulled into the parking lot, we saw a local artist wood carving. He was really nice and let us ask all sorts of questions and watch him work for a few minutes.
I love this picture below!
There are so many moments throughout my day where I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude for this little boy. His sweet spirit, kindness, love, silly personality, those gorgeous curls...I find myself insanely blessed to be his mommy.
Goofing off on the wooden benches waiting for our show to start.
One of the reasons we love the Everglades alligator farm so much, is not only for their awesome airboat tour and alligator wrestling show, but they also have several animal enclosures to explore. We were able to see all sorts of reptiles and TONS of gators of all ages.
We were also able to see a florida panther, emus, fish, and several different types of tropical birds as we made our way over to the gator wrestling show. The alligator wrestling show is always a big hit. It's crazy to see the things they do with those gators!
After the show, we were all able to hold and get pictures with a baby gator. Luckily their mouths were tied shut, because even as babies, those suckers can bite!
After exploring all the animal enclosures and seeing the different shows, it was finally our time for the airboat tour! It's our favorite out of all the several we've tried in the area. It's one of the only places that give you noise canceling headphones to help with how extremely loud the fan boat is. It's also a tour out in the actual Everglades, not a canal or other waterway. So the water is super shallow and the boat at times in literally flying over sawgrass and mud instead of water. Because of this, little ones don't have to wear bulky life vests, which help a ton. The airboat also doesn't have a roof and the tour driver does several 360s which we haven't seen anywhere else. Basically, we love it!
For some odd reason, this was how Dax wanted to wear his headphones...
After our airboat tour, we drove up the road a couple miles to the awesome fruit stand, "Robert is Here." They sell the most yummy tropical fruits and shakes. We each got our own and also a bunch of fresh mangos to take home with us.
While Tracy was in town visiting, we also got to go to a couple of our favorite beaches. The first one we took her to was Lauderdale By the Sea. We love this one mostly for all the fun games next to the pier and the cute shops and streets that are lined next to the ocean front.
Daxton definitely belongs at the beach!
Before we even set up camp, this little cutie was running in and out of the waves and loving every minute of it!
We had so much fun looking for cool shells, playing in the waves and sand, walking up and down the beach, and exploring under the pier.
Tracy set up her hammock under the pier, which was quite the task due to the sharp barnacles attached to each of the pier legs, but the pics turned out pretty cool. I love the pics of Daxton's hair in the bottom right...so many beautiful curls!
After we were finished with the water, we found some fun palm trees to put Tracy's hammock back up. That was a much easier location and Daxton LOVED hanging out in her hammock.
Before we left, we made sure to give Dax some quality time with all the games. He loved the bean bags, life size legos and connect four. It's such a cute location!
The next day was Sunday, so after church Tracy and I drove over to the west coast of Florida while Dallas watched Daxton. It took about an 1.5 hour drive to get over to Naples and Lowdermilk beach. It was great to have the one on one time to catch up and chat. We found a great location under a thatched hut to set up our chairs.
We walked up and down the beach, talked for hours, and caught an absolutely STUNNING sunset. It was a great way to end the trip.
Watching the sun go down...absolutely breathtaking!
There were a few people off in the distance in this pic below so I "erased" them from the shot. Such a gorgeous picture! It was so great to spend the afternoon relaxing at my absolute favorite place to be (the beach) listening to the sounds of the ocean and watching the gorgeous sunset with such a dear friend.