Tuesday, December 4, 2012

"Just Around the River Bend!"

My gosh.
It cannot be December.
I won’t let it.

Despite my love of Christmas carols, Christmas trees, and Christmas lights, I will simply not allow it to be December. November’s supposed to be here for three more weeks, I swear. Thanksgiving was NOT a week and a half ago simply because I refuse to believe it.
“Honey, if I let you think that, I’d be allowing you to live in denial,” the hubs said.
“Well, I’m happy here.”
“Oh, good grief.”
Issues? I have them.

But, the truth is, YES, Thanksgiving has come and gone. I hope you all had lovely ones. If you don’t celebrate, then I hope you had a lovely third-Thursday-of-November.

Our married Thanksgivings are all lovely clones of each other--lunch with my relatives, dinner with his, all with too much food--Thanksgiving with my parents hasn’t changed at ALL since I was a little kid . . . well, except that one of my aunts has decided to dominate the holiday hostings for the past . . . five years? More? ANYWAYS.

The real adventure happened the next day.
And, no, I’m not talking about shopping.
It would take something masterfully desperate for me to shop Black Friday only because I hate shopping and crowds more than I love deals. The end.

Instead, the hubs and I went kayaking with my fam down Weeki Wachee Springs.

 When I was a kid, this place was famous for mermaids. They had a theme park where you could view these beautiful women with fish tails swimming and dancing. Oh, how desperately I wanted to come face-to-face with my idol, my ambition, as a small child. Mermaids! They do exist! “No, sweetheart, they have air-tubes hidden in their sea shell bras so they can breathe. They’re just ladies in suits, Sarah.”
Thanks, Mom.
Dreams? Shattered. Again.

While the mermaids might still be there, the REAL highlight is the journey down the river/springs. It doesn’t matter that my fairytale dreams no longer live there—this place is heaven. Crystal blue-green waters, shade beneath armies of cypress and oak, and all the swampy wildlife WITHOUT gators and snakes (YAY!). Best part? It's a hot spot for wild manatees. Plus, the weather was PERFECT—mid-seventies with a hint of a breeze. This is Florida at its finest, folks. It doesn’t get much better.
Well, for us, it didn’t.

While most of us were having a grand time, my mom and younger sister shared a kayak, which is often nicknamed "the divorce boat" . . . for reasons none of us understood until these two were teamed up . . . all in good fun, of course . . .
While the rest of us were newbies, Catherine had gone kayaking ONCE. This, naturally, made her a pro, she claimed.
Then she fell getting IN the kayak.
And I, the awkward klutz, did NOT.

No, there’s no healthy sibling rivalry going on here. Why do you ask?
Ok, FINE—Catherine and I, while great buddies, have always been in a bit of competition . . . Mostly because, when she was two, all the boys I had a crush on were already making over her. I am not even kidding.
 “Hi, Kyle!”
 “Huh? Oh, hey, Sarah. CATHERINE!!! What a pretty dress you have on! You’re just so cute! Want a piggy back ride? Who’s the prettiest little redhead, ever?!”
This isn’t an exaggeration. Not even a little. At age TWO, people.

 From that point on, a rivalry was born.

You must imagine my joy as I was dry in my kayak, and she sitting in her bum in the shallows. She clambers into her boat, soaking wet, and exclaims. “Let’s race! I’ll win!”

She didn’t. Not by a long shot.

She blames Mom . . . but all of us know better. For the first hour, you could hear them shouting at each other (not meanly, by any means . . . just the exclamations you might exchange while running into low-hanging branches filled with imaginary spiders). My brother, in the kayak beside ours, just kept chuckling, “Man, I am SO glad I’m not in that boat. SO. GLAD.”

Through the three hour trip, we saw four manatees—three adults and a baby (EEEEEE!!!)—and really had just the best time enjoying nature. Chris and I decided that, if ever we’re back in Florida during the cooler months, we’re renting a kayak and coming back to Weeki Wachee.

You should, too, if you’re ever in town.

My brother, Matt, and the fam's holiday homestay student, Myu.


My fearless navigator!

The gang beached for a snack :]
So, on the drive over, Chris and I stopped at an Albertsons or something to grab water and snacks, and Chris comes out with this pepperoni, cheese, and cracker box. "We can't eat that! we don't have a cooler!"
"It's cool enough outside. It will be fine."
Guess what the best fueling and most popular snack was? Chris's pepperoni, cheese, and cracker box. The man knows.

MANATEE!!!!! This was seriously the coolest. She was almost close enough for you to touch!

Mama and baby :] You can see just how huge they can be. They're not very fast and don't really seem afraid of anything . . . kind of like the watery elephants

1 comment:


    This looks like SOOO much fun! And the weather looks incredibly beautiful. And that crystal clear water?! Jealous jealous jealous. I love kyacking but I've only done it in the ocean. But we are big fans of white water rafting up here.

    Also yeah. How is it December. It was JUST last December a minute ago. A year cannot, SHOULD NOT be that fast.


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