There is nothing like a South Florida childhood

We have logged many hours at Fort Myers Beach and the beaches on Sanibel and Captiva Islands. Our new favorite beaches to hang out at, however, are the Causeway Islands on the way out to Sanibel. They are called the Causeway Islands because they are natural landing spots for the series of bridges that carry traffic out to the larger barrier islands.

Sanibel Island is famous for being one of the best places for shelling in the world. I have lived by the ocean for much of my life, here and in California, and I honestly have never seen anything like it before. You can pull absolutely enormous and intricate shells out of the water, and all you need to do is dive around in the shallows. Even very little kids can manage this with a snorkel. It is a magical experience for them.

The neat thing about the Causeway Islands is that the water is shallow, generally super calm, and crystal clear. It is a safe and peaceful place for kids to slosh about and get acquainted with sea creatures. Elise made some new friends there this morning, and they found a living starfish. They took turns letting it walk around and suck on their hands. These are the kinds of memories children will carry with them for a lifetime.

They also found a shell inhabited by this reluctantly social fellow. (Obviously, we returned these guys back to their rightful homes once we were finished observing them.)

My husband and I both have birthdays at the end of May, and part of our celebrations was purchasing some new saltwater fishing gear at Bass Pro Shop. Our big problem is waking up early enough on our free days to pick up bait and get out there, however.

Elise is very proud of this shell, which she found within two minutes of our finding a spot on the beach. It is not broken in any place, and will be quite the prize for her collection.

An ibis patrolling the bait shop. I love these birds so much. I often find them hanging out in my plumeria trees too.

Elise climbs palm trees like a monkey now. I snapped this picture as a thunderstorm was rolling in. There are no filters on this picture – the sky truly turned periwinkle. The rainy season has finally begun here, which is a tremendous relief for my gardens. I have planted thousands of bulbs this year (I’ll do a garden post detailing everything I have planted at some point), and it has been excruciating waiting for them to come up. Finally, they are.

Elise and our rough-coat Jack Russell terrier, Sherlock. These two basically behave like siblings now, with him following her on all of her adventures. She has even started calling him her “little brother.” Oh, the mischief these two have known.

We homeschool year-round. Some people don’t like the idea of year-round school, but we love it. Our daughter does not lose any knowledge over some long, arbitrary break, as is often the case with traditional schools. But the biggest difference is we can take short vacations and have spontaneous days off whenever we want. Once we decide on the boat we want to purchase, we will be doing a lot of cruising, so this flexibility will be even more important to us. We are very much looking forward to joining the worldschooling community.

The other day, I had some big projects to work on, so I told Elise to find a good book and spend the day reading. She decided to take her book up into the branches of our lychee tree, which was full of delicious fruit she could munch on. One has to admire the genius of this arrangement: she hauled up cushions from our outdoor furniture and set up a comfy “chair” in the tree. She then made a pulley with a bottle of water should she get thirsty up there. Around her neck are binoculars so she can watch the boats heading out to sea from the yacht basin, which is up the Caloosahatchee from us. This kiddo has it made.

One of the thunderstorms we had recently was rather serious, dropping five inches of rain within the span of something like an hour and a half. It temporarily flooded the courtyard of our house where the pool is. Elise decided to take her boogie board, get a running start in the living room, and “surf” across the patio all the way to the pool. She did not even bother to change clothes.

The Caloosahatchee River on a bright, clear day. This river drains the northern edge of the Everglades and flows into the Gulf of Mexico. Lots of wildlife, including manatees that love visiting with humans. It is miles wide at the delta.

I’m always shocked by the little things children notice that escape the attention of adults. Elise brought me this tiny lizard. This guy could fit on a nickel.

I wish we had moved to Florida sooner!

3 thoughts on “There is nothing like a South Florida childhood

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