S: Joanna's 70th Birthday Trip
BC: Thumbs Up on the Trip!
FC: Tranquility Bay ~ Marathon, Florida February 2012 | Celebrating the Birthday of the Greatest Mom, Mom-in-Law, and Grandma EVER! EVER!
1: Joanna gave us all this fabulous Florida trip as a Christmas gift! Thank you!! Joanna, Julie, Jorrun, Christer, Mark and I flew down ahead of Bill, who was staying back to teach. (We forgave him.) We landed in Miami, and Mark masterfully conquered Hwy. 1, heading south to Marathon Key. Seeing the blue-blue ocean (even from the car!) was a thrill! We stopped half-way and ate at Mrs. Mac's Kitchen, a famous local establishment in Key Largo (didn't see Bogie or Bacall). Everyone enjoyed the conch fritters--especially Jorrun.
2: We were thrilled (to say the very least) to reach our destination: Tranquility Bay in Marathon Key. Our beautiful home-away-from-home for the Birthday Celebration Extravaganza! | US! | POOL! | Joanna & Jorrun's Room, where we often found Joanna on the phone, calling "a friend." | Welcome to Tranquility!
3: After checking in, it took us 6.2 seconds to get in the pool and swim. (Or get BY the pool and lounge... I mean, SOMEONE has to take the pictures!) Do you think the Birthday Girl looks happy? | The view of the pool from our deck ~ Hello! | The beginning of many frolics in the pool with Uncle Mark. | My toes love the view.
4: We had a slightly longer walk to the Tiki Bar, about 10 seconds or so (15 coming back after a couple of Pina Coladas). What's the Tiki Bar? I'm so glad you asked! The Tiki Bar is quite possibly the most perfect place on earth that has ever or will ever exist. Ever. The End. | US! | TIKI BAR!
5: Mark sat down in this chair the first night and never left. | Mark and I spent most of our time here (the kids always knew where to find us!) Soaking up the sun, the shade, the pina coladas, the shrimp tacos, and the view-- oh, the view. Ah... relax indeed!
6: Our first morning we enjoyed a small breakfast at the Stuffed Pig restaurant... well, some enjoyed small breakfasts, others enjoyed the "Pig's Breakfast." (You can imagine.) It's a hole-in-the-wall-wonderful-greasy-spoon kind of place. Joanna got her first birthday present (some sporty shades for the Florida sun) and we all started to soak in our slow-paced slice of vacation. Ah ~ Afterwards, we went to the Seven Mile Bridge and walked about 1/2 mile. The view was gorgeous, but didn't exactly change too much from mile to mile. And! It was time to get back to that Tiki Bar, I mean, pool!
8: Throughout the trip, Joanna was feted from afar by dear friends and family. A lovely (and delicious--souffle!) cake from the Florida "Princesses" and a gorgeous flower arrangement from John and Jane Stevenson, two people I am particularly fond of! Calls and cards and well-wishes from so many came to celebrate the joy that is Joanna! | She wanted us to join her in the picture with the cake as she felt she wasn't quite looking her best. I think we added quite a bit, don't you?
9: Our townhouse had a lovely deck on which we ate breakfast, read a book or two, watched the world pass by--or, in this instance, enjoyed a can (or two) of Vienna sausages in honor of my dad. Actually, after popping open the first can, Mark was so overjoyed, he shared the remaining can with our pet iguana. He was thrilled! | We named him "Fred." | Joan and her cheese.
10: Baby, we were born to lounge! Especially if you've got a sun shirt, loads of SPF 50 sunscreen and one giant umbrella!
11: Quelf! A great way to spend an evening watching your family make fools of themselves!
12: Yeah! Daddy Bill is here! Bill arrived in the middle of the night after landing in Miami at midnight. He worked hard for his vacation! Everyone was thrilled to see him because we love him, and because now it was time for BEACH DAY! | The condo officially slept six, we were seven, so lucky Bill got these sleeping options... he didn't seem to mind! | The resort had jet skis, canoes, paddle-boards and more to rent for fun on the ocean. Taking a jet ski out deep into the ocean is an experience... water, water, everywhere! Beautiful! | Mark signing us up for some jet-skis! (Lean into this picture, Katie, it'll be great.)
13: Some quiet time on the beach is always fun, too.
14: The Sunset Cruise on the Sirius! Most definitely the highlight of the entire trip!
15: Happy Grandma & Grandkids! | Captain Dale and his first mate were first rate! (Also pictured is another cruise-guest who was very friendly and LOVED movie trivia!) | A sunset teaser...
17: When asked his favorite night, Christer enthusiastically replied: Sunset Grille! Great food (especially Bill's paella!), fun atmosphere and the beautiful sunset lingered in our minds and hearts! The Sunset Grille was an apropos place to dine! Happy Birthday, Joanna!
18: This trainer was adorable, getting her "girls" to do tricks for us, including laughing at, er, with the crowd! | The Dolphin Research Center! We learned so much and had fun watching the dolphins play!
19: These lucky people paid $600 to swim with the friendly dolphins. We got ice cream. We win!
20: Key West! I highly suspect we would have had a different experience had we been sans children and had visited at night. Just a hunch. | The line to take a shot in FRONT of the "Southernmost Point of the USA" marker was significantly longer than the one in BACK of the marker. Guess which one we chose. | Good ol' crap stores.
21: A flier from a local, ah, establishment that was thrown to CHRISTER on the Trolley Tour. Bareback riding at its finest, or worst.
22: The Big Birthday Dinner! Delicious food at the Butterfly Cafe and a festive waitress (who spoke Spanish with Christer) rounded out a delightful celebration. | The dessert had a rum sauce! Jo was in heaven! | The Beautiful Butterfly Cafe
23: We all read our "70 Reasons We Love Joanna" to her. The reasons pretty much all centered on her being the best person/mom/mom-in-law/grandma in the entire world ever. That, and her Swedish pancakes. | Best Ahi Tuna appetizer! Guacamole, crunchy deal and fresh tuna=Deeelish! | Ambiance Shot for Davers | Reading his list from an iPhone. So 21st!
24: Our final day. Bill and Julie enjoyed a final fruity drink by the pool. Mark contemplated the meaning of life. Jorrun and Christer tried to hide so they wouldn't have to go home. I was less subtle and just plain refused to leave the beach. Joanna? She decided to pose by the beautiful flowers. So Jo. | This lady ain't afraid of no 70!
25: We Love You!