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One of the things that never ceases to amaze me about living in Northern Florida is the variety of green/historical places we get to enjoy. Recently, we’ve been going on hikes at the Timucuan Ecological & Historic Preserve. Through some miracle we found a trail that was just right for all of us – Foos included. She likes to run ahead of all of us, and I like to worry about said running ahead, even though by now I’m sure she knows the trail by heart.  I like to linger behind my family, mostly staring down at the roots with the misfortune of being in the middle of the trail, looking up once in a while to make sure everyone is still accounted for.  The trail ends in a breezy lookout we usually monopolize, annoying the shit out of other hikers by taking up the benches, audibly snacking, and singing Moana songs into the marsh. I love my family.

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We visited a Fort Clinch this weekend, where Seth snapped these dreamy photos of our spawn. Her, um, shall we say, leadership skills, were put to good use this trip as she told us which way to go, climb, and breathe.  She almost peed off the side of the fort, almost tripped over a cannon, and made me eat the visible mango bits in her ice cream because god forbid her mango flavored pop actually had mango bits in it.  Don’t let my kvetching deceive you, it was actually a really fun trip. Watching her delight in her father and really get into exploring the many tunnels and rooms was a real treat.

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We spent the Thanksgiving holiday visiting Seth’s family, making too much noise, eating too much food, and avoiding talking politics as if our lives depended on it. He Who Must Not Be Named was not named, our host was terrific, my thanksgiving hair do was on point, and the dog didn’t puke in the car.  Success!

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We launched a rocket.  Foos wanted it for her birthday, Seth did all of the work – the whole endeavor was filled with daddy-daughter magic.  But the magic, like most magic, was short lived. Immediately after the launch Foos was bitten by an angry ant, broke out in hives. She spent the rest of her evening reclined on our bed, crying, and fighting the urge to scratch.  At least we will always have this photo.

 

 

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Fun fact number one: I made this shirt.  It is the most comfortable linen sack ever, which means I may never take it off this summer.  Fun fact number two: National Park Week began yesterday!  From the 16th to the 24th you can get into any national park for free, so avail yourselves, my friends, of the natural wonders your tax dollars help protect and maintain.  We did just that today and paid a visit to the Timucuan Ecological & Historic Preservation.  It was a fun little hike with the kids and we were rewarded by a beautiful marsh and a lookout at the end (I’m under the lookout in the above photos).  It was windy, clear, and pretty damn near perfect. Next time we will definitely bring Banjo, too.  Hope you all had a great weekend!

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This weekend we piled everyone in the car, including the dog, and drove south to Sarasota, to see Grandma, Pepaw, and the gulf.  Seth and I snuck away for a date to the Selby Botanical Gardens, which were excellent and merit a second visit. The kids spent most of the time at the pool, where any trace of Foos’ paternal wasp roots were overcome by a conspiracy between the sun and her mother’s caribbean melanin. I loved it.  We took a backwoods way back home, which made me nervous.  For reasons I cannot explain, I feel ill at ease in America’s open spaces.  The barns and depressed towns don’t conjure up any feeling of nostalgia or even beauty, only of  mild panic and fear. Seeing a Trump sign for the first time displayed proudly on somebody’s lawn, didn’t make it any better. It may as well have said “I hate gays, women, and people of color.”  But we made it back to our nest safely, and I’m sure the only memories which will remain of the visit are of family and love.

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Photos: Seth