Friday, May 28, 2010

Weekend Family Trips

Blue Beach BagFamily Bonding is Always an Adventure!

Family trips are a fun adventure that bring family members close together and open up a whole new experience with memories worthy of retelling for the rest of your life. Our first family trip of this year took place around Tampa Bay’s beautiful Florida Gulf coast.

Keeping it simple
One weekend in May, my family and I, including our German Shepherd, spent the weekend 3 ½ hours away in Tampa, Florida. We spent a day at the beach using our Playa Convertible Cooler by Picnic Plus and a Cooladio Cooler on Wheels to keep our drinks and cold deli meats and cheeses cold, while listening to some music. We set up our spread under a covered picnic table and got busy having fun-in-the-sun until we were ready to wolf down our cold sandwiches and fresh cut strawberries and pineapple. Cold sodas and water cooled our insides while we scampered back out to wade in the water and lay in the sun listening to music.

Memories at the Park
A stroll along the water or in the canopy of the trees will lift spirits and free minds quicker than therapy. For our family, we’ll never forget taking our 7-year old German Shepherd to the doggie park at Fort Desoto at the very end of Saint Pete Beach. Being the protector, she always liked to bark ferociously at other 4-legged creatures. With age comes maturity, because she was able to walk off-leash next to us while playing with other dogs – for the first time! My mom, sister and I picked up sea shells to show my dad and brother, while our dog scampered along the shore, playing in the surf with other dogs. Our family will always hold that place and that special memory in our hearts forever because she finally learned to relax and have fun with other dogs!

Fishing for Crabs
We’re hearty fishermen who enjoy the relaxation of trying to catch whatever will bite. Our fishing experience at a small isolated park on the ocean was one never to be repeated. My brother and I used cast nets to catch bait in the shallows, and wound up catching more than a dozen perfectly sized small live crabs to use for bait! Using these exquisite pieces of bait, we caught two large blue crab; but not a single fish. My family spent a wonderfully sunny afternoon waist deep in the cool ocean, coming out to sun on the grass, or grab a bite to eat under the picnic pavilion. We even had Frosties from Wendy’s kept frozen with a small bag of ice in our Avalanche Picnic Cooler on wheels. Ice cream never tasted as good as it did on that hot beautiful day of catching crabs and no fish!

Tampa Bay ThunderstormFishing in a Thunderstorm
Our last evening in Tampa was ripe with rolling thunderstorms created by the ocean breezes of the day. We drove down the Courtney Campbell Causeway (SR 60) and parked near the middle of Tampa Bay and watched as lighting lit up the backdrop of downtown Tampa across the water. The rain showers were refreshing after the long day we’d spent in the sun, but did nothing to stop us from getting our fishing lines in the water. With our sports chairs set out underneath the bridge, we again brought our Avalanche Picnic Cooler, which we used as a foot rest when we weren’t digging in it for an ice cold beer. The horseshoe crabs were busy finding love on the shallow beach next to us while the pelicans and seagulls dived beneath the waves for baitfish. We spent hours telling stories and having amazing conversations while watching the lightning in the distance illuminate the pink blue sky above the low hanging misty clouds. We didn’t catch a thing, but that wasn’t the point of this adventure.

Family Importance
Spending time together as a family and having meaningful conversations seems to be a lost art these days. iPods tune out the rest of the world, while TV shows and video games waste hours of brain inactivity. Stimulate conversations by taking your family somewhere and doing something that involves interacting with each other. Conversations can go a long way in healing, building, and really getting to know someone. Your family will always be there for you, they are your foundation. So, get to know more about the people you call HOME. Love them for who they are, and understand that they love you too.


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