Tuesday, May 9, 2017

we went to florida: gainesville edition

Toward the end of our trip, we spent a day in Gainesville.  Going back there after all these years was one of the strangest things I have experienced in a long time.  Not that Gainesville is weird; it felt so weird to be there.
We went by our old apartment.  This is where we lived 10 years ago!  We moved here when the twins were 5 months old, and Bart started PA school.  That was one of the most emotional years of my life. Not even just bad emotions, although there were plenty of those, but everything was emotional.  It was here that I learned how to live far away from my parents.  I went to college 15 minutes from home, so moving to Gainesville was the first time I lived away from them.  It was also the first time I had left the bubble of Utah county, which if you are familiar with what that means, you can understand how it would be a shock to me.  We took two (2!!!) five month old babies clear across the country, to a place where we knew no one.  Bart's first year of graduate school was really tough, and although he made every effort to be at home for dinner time, that was often the only time we saw him all day.  And guys, that was tough, I'm not going to lie.  Really tough.  But it was also here that those tiny babies learned to sleep through the night, talk, walk, play, and went from being so difficult to take care of, to being SO much fun!  It was here that I went from being an exhausted, stressed, unsure mother of twins, to being a mom who LOVED being a mom!  It was here that I learned I could do (just about) everything on my own.  I really learned a lot about myself here, and even though Bart was gone a lot, it was so great for our little family to have this time so far away from everyone we knew so that we could grow together. 

I think that because my emotions were so strong during this time, that my memories during this time are also so strong and vivid, and being there again brought back so many of them.  It was so neat to walk around and have these memories flood my mind.

The whole time we were on our trip, Krew desperately wanted to see an alligator.  He's heard all the stories of when his brothers used to live there and we saw them basically in our backyard all the time, as well as dozens of other places.  So of course, in the little pond on the University of Florida campus, right by the student union building, was a pretty big gator.

Krew was thrilled, and wanted his picture with the gator.  This was as good as we could get.

We went by the stadium, and had to get pictures of everyone with the gator statue.  

 Just because they were so adorable, here's some pictures of what Ky and Kade looked like next to the other gator statue when we lived there.  Aren't they adorable??!

Our family with the gator statue in 2008
Our family with the gator statue in 2017!

We also checked out the trophy room in the stadium. 
It was fun to see their National championship trophies,
and Tim Tebow's Heisman trophy.

A fun surprise while we were in the trophy room was seeing the head football coach, Jim McElwain walking down the stairs.  We were the only people in there at the time, and he was so nice to chat with us for a while, as we told him about living there 10 years ago, and raising our kids as die hard Gators fans.  The boys in the family were pretty excited about meeting him.

Then, it was the moment that Krew had been waiting for since we told him we were going to Florida: we went inside the Gators' stadium!  It's pretty awesome that it is always open.

Even though we had warned Krew that we wouldn't be allowed out on the field, he still was disappointed when we went inside and told him he wouldn't be running into the end zone.  It took a few minutes to cheer him back up, but then he was ready to have fun again.

Okay, isn't this shot so cute!  I love that she has a football because that's what you play with inside a football stadium, but she also has her baby because she always has her baby!

Oh shoot, here's photo evidence that he went on the field when he wasn't supposed to!  Bart literally lowered him down right here, we took this picture and he got back off.  I don't think he even touched any blades of grass other than the ones he was standing on in this picture, and by his excitement, you would think that we had let him run all over the field.  It's the little things with this guy, for sure!

As we were walking out of the stadium, we were approached by a group of students making a video to help the young man in this picture run for student body president.  They thought our kids were so cute all decked out in their gator gear that they wanted them in the video.  The kids felt like movie stars, and the young man later won the election!
Later, we took this awesome nature walk that is right on campus.  Bart and I remember walking here the first week we moved to Florida, seeing so many different species of wildlife, and wondering where on earth we had just moved to.  It was so fun to be back.

We ended our fun-filled day by swimming in the rental house's amazing resort-style neighborhood pool, then eating a delicious home-cooked meal made by my amazing mother.  What a perfect day!

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