Yes you read right. Part 1. Part 1 of 3 in fact. I really want to share our trip with you but it would be annoyingly long as just one post. So. I decided to break it up into a trilogy.
I'm not even sure where to begin. Our trip to Florida was absolutely wonderful. It felt like a sweet dream but like all dreams, it was really hard to wake up. We came home last Tuesday and the rest of the week was spent just coming off of our vacation high. I wish I could tell you that all the suitcases are unpacked and the laundry is done but that is simply not the case. I think part of me doesn't want to finish unpacking because it just puts more distance between us and our amazing trip.
So without further ado. Here is Florida Part 1.
The plane ride was pretty smooth. We had some movies downloaded onto the iPad for the boys and Aria spent a lot of time sleeping and looking out the window. I'll be posting my tips for traveling with babies/toddlers soon.
We stopped for a bite to eat at the Atlanta airport because we were arriving into Fort Meyers really late. Even though by Tucson time it wasn't so bad.
The next day we were up and headed to Ave Maria to meet Thomas and Marisa for daily Mass.
After Mass, Marisa gave us a tour of the stunning campus.
All about those fountains.... James was making sure Andrew didn't fall in.
Ave Maria is such a gorgeous little community. Everything is centered around the college. The whole town is super family friendly and kids can walk around and ride bikes with little worry. The Catholic culture that surrounds the campus is simply amazing. As Andrew and I walked around we began to scheme up ways to move the family to Ave.
The boys LOVED all the space to run and play.
This is my brother John Paul sitting under a picture of his patron saint. This isn't a staged photo. He was running the halls in the academic building and sat down to catch his breath. Then I snapped the picture because the moment made my Catholic heart skip a beat.
Liliana decided to give a lecture but it didn't go so well.
After spending a day on campus we were exhausted. Thankfully the next day we were able to sleep in and take our time getting ready for the baccalaureate Mass.
Peter snapped some pictures as we watched Thomas walk in!
The Mass was beautiful. It was just so surreal to think that my baby brother was graduating!
After the Mass we attended the President's dinner. The dinner is an Ave Maria tradition that honors all the graduating seniors and specifically the five that have been nominated for the "President's Award". My brother was honored to be one of the nominees. Even though he didn't receive the award, President Towey said some very wonderful things about my brother. We are all so proud of Thomas and the things he accomplished during his time at Ave Maria University.
The next day was the big graduation. We got to campus early, grabbed some coffee, and then made our way to the field house. My family had reserved seats upfront but we opted to keep the boys towards the back. This turned out to be a very wise decision considering James was crying almost the entire time and Peter tried to make a break for it on more than one occasion. It helped that my cousin Kate and her husband Adam were there too. They have two adorable little girls themselves so it great having them in the back with us. I really wish I had gotten a picture of our area after the graduation was over. Chairs were pushed every which way, raisins and goldfish covered the floor, and there were Frozen stickers all over the programs.
Once the ceremony was over we went outside for pictures and decided it was a good idea to take them directly facing the sun. *face palm*
And with that lovely photo ^^^ I'll wrap this post up. Part 2 coming soon!
Hope you are having a great day friends!