Quando, Quando, Quando
Michael Buble


Fabulous Florida Vacation
December 5, 2014

Welcome back! Are you freezing? Do you need a little warming up with warm sand and beautiful palm trees? Well then join us on our Florida vacation! Ma and Pa so kindly took the kids for 10 days (and they're still sane!), granting Melissa and I another "just us" vacation. It was so relaxing and refreshing, something I think every couple needs from time to time (even if it's just a dinner date). Meanwhile, on the trip Melissa and I got along pretty well, and only fought five or six times. I think I won every debate, with her conceding at the end that I loved her more. ;-)

Anyway, we'll start with a few regular pictures and then get on with it. Thanks for stopping by! And thanks to another "stalker" for coming out of the woodwork last month! Congratulations! :-)

Video Blog - November, 2014


And here we go ...

Each one's expression makes me laugh here, especially Marian's.

"Come Marian, let me help you cross the street." (just kidding)

We attended the beautiful wedding of Amanda Alger and Luis Singh. You look like a very proud father, Mr. Alger.

Pastor Sauder officiates, while I film the ceremony standing right behind Amanda's head (I promise!).

Mr. and Mrs. Singh! May you spending the rest of your life Singhing! (I came up with that myself.)

Meet the Goober Family. We try to dress nicely and our three children are slightly above average.

"So she dances ..."

Everyone grabs a handful, while Anna grabs the whole stinking bucket.

Make sure your car's not in reverse, otherwise your wedding getaway will turn into a wedding crime scene.

Hi Tull ladies! Melissa had the girls over for some Brain Typing and beading. Great combination.

Oh, and a birthday! Happy Birthday, Heather!

We continue the Thomas tradition of holding one's arms as they bite into their cake. It's really so stupid that it's actually really cool.

So the kids and I are sitting in the car waiting for Melissa to come out of Joan Fabrics (along with 20 other husbands in the parking lot), when a man with a beard walks out in regular clothes and I go, "Hey look, William, it's Santa. Hahah." William stares out the window as the guy drives away ... and then drives back and stops along next to us and goes, "Have you been a good boy this year? Take my card." William, in awe, takes his card. A few nights later he brings the phone to me with Santa's number typed in. Thankfully he hadn't hit the "Talk" button yet. :-)

Grandkids Christmas picture! Everyone appears to be enjoying themselves except Marian (and Philip a little too much).

Yes, they'll look back on these pictures and laugh.

We're in Oklahoma City, ready to fly out to Florida, and it's snowy and freezing! Please, let us get out of here!!! PLEASE LET US GET OUT!!!

They had to de-ice the plane, which made us over an hour late, but we still made our connection, praise the Lord!

BOOM! A fifty degree rise and a little change in scenery! I'm liking it!

Let's back up a bit. This is on the evening we flew in, and we had an awesome meal at ... I can't remember the name. Here's my spouse enjoying some sweet potato fries (which are becoming increasingly popular).

My favorite kind of Christmas trees.

Good morning, Bonita Springs!

I was born in a pool.

No seriously, I was born in a pool.

Now this girl wasn't, but boy does she know how to descend a water slide in style!

The resort had three pools. I complained that they didn't have four.

Ok, this pool's not heated, and it's stinking freezing, but I want to get a picture!

That water fell from like almost twenty feet, and it actually hurt when you got right under it.

My amphibious underwater ally.

Classic Florida boardwalk. The resort had its own private beach, which you have to take a ferry to get to.

Has anyone seen the Heratio Hornblower episode, "Mutiny?" Remember the captain (James Sawyer) who loses his mind? The captain of our ferry SOOO reminded us of him. I was ready to start a mutiny myself if anything went wrong.

Seriously. Like, seriously?

We get to our beach. Umm ... I'll take the one seventh from the right.

I take a dip. The water must have been low 70s. Not warm by Niednagel standards.

I act like I don't know my picture's being taken.

Back at the resort, and Melissa is in her reflective Audrey Hepburn mood.

Night falls.

So we went over to Five Guys to get some burgers. Brought them back, and watched a thunderstorm from underneath this gigantic gazebo thing. It was just beautiful. There we some loud booms!

Ever eaten at "The Melting Pot?" Man this place is weird! They're known for their fondue, which was really good.

You can pick three different meats, and then cook it yourself in boiling water in front of you. From top to bottom I chose goose, platypus, and meerkat.

Waitress takes our picture. I was joking about the types of meats, by the way.

We had two cooler days after the thunderstorm came through (mid 60s), so the jacuzzi became our best friend.

As did the fire pit.

Melissa and I visit a Naples history museum. The car matches my shirt. They still didn't let me take it for a ride.

How's that for a Christmas card? Let's be thankful our Christmas cards likely won't resemble that!

Just remember, when we go on vacation, we take lots of pictures of ourselves. I apologize.

Again, I apologize.

I'm so sorry.

Mansion site-seeing. I'll take this one! These people must be so happy and joyful and must not have any problems because they're so rich!!! Must be!!!

Cute little historic part of town.

That was some arctic blast while we were gone. Hah! Hah!

Meanwhile, Jordan sings opera while going down the water slide!

lol, we're just thankful for this warm respite. Like really thankful.

Sure wish we hadn't eaten that forbidden fruit. Could enjoy this life 24/7.

We say goodbye to our resort, as we head off to Marco Island to spend the rest of our trip there.

Hello. We stop by a nice beach on the way there.

I do some laps to work off all the fish and chips I've been scarfing down.

We cross the bridge. Hello, Marco!

Our accommodations. You know, credit card points really pay off. Most of our nights were completely free.

We got there in the evening at sunset, and we just couldn't believe how gorgeous everything was. Lord, you are amazing.

That ... is ... a ... nice ... pool.

So these newly weds ask me to take their picture, and like, dude, I still don't have a fancy phone. I still use a flip phone, for crying in the mud, so I'm not sure what to press. Thankfully, I've taken a couple pictures with my dad's phone, and there's that circle at the bottom you press. Actually, you can press just anywhere on the screen, right? I'm so stuck in the 90s.

The Marriott Resort. Thankfully no one tripped over my camera on the sidewalk.

Again, I apologize.

So like every restaurant had these fire things. I've seen heating lamps before, but none like these. It's a long flame encapsulated in a glass sphere. Rad.

I think we watched like 5 weddings at our resort. This guy was literally like Michael Buble.

Another morning dawns.

Hmmm ... pool or ocean?

Let's do pool.

I talk with William on the phone. He's so fascinated with temperature. "It's 45 degrees here, Dad. How many degrees is it there in Florida?" - "Oh, it's about 80 degrees." - "That's warm! I wish I was in Florida with you!" Enough to break your heart.

I contemplate my naval. (grandfather used to say that)

On this day, seven years ago, I proposed to my wife. I will never, ever, ever forget that day.

Melissa pulls a Yablo seagull-chasing impersonation.

Dinner on the beach. Hard to do a selfie with a big Nikon camera.

Sometimes I just wonder what goes through an atheist's mind when they watch a sunset.

A kiss to remember,

Did I mention there were lots of weddings? This was a Jewish one. Loved it! They lifted them up in chairs.

To make a long story short, I knew Brian Ritz (third from right) when I was a kid. He lived at our house for several months in California, and we developed a great friendship during that time. Hadn't seen him in years! So anyway, he and his family are now living in Naples, so Mr. and Mrs. Ritz (his parents) kindly coordinated a get-together for lunch. Thank you! So great seeing you all again!

Mr. and Mrs. Ritz then treated Melissa and I to an LPGA golf tournament that afternoon. It was so fun!

From their camera. That's Michelle Wie (ENFP) in the background.

Later that night we watched some of the tournament on TV. It went to a 4-hold playoff between three gals! See that red circle? That's where we're sitting! I know, I had an embarrassing pimple on my forehead.

Did I mention there were lots of weddings?

Lingering fog in the distance.

We need one more dip in the ocean to last us for the winter.

Even Meliss went in! Good job, hon! Good thing I didn't mention seeing that shark fin!

If only Missouri had an ocean ...

I don't wanna get out! You can't make me!!!

Dinner by the beach. One of those perfect-lighting shots.

I think I'm pretty fish and chipped out.

This guy was good. He used to perform in jeans and flannel shirt until ...

We always find the closest health food store for our daily sustenance.

FB picture!

Beautiful moon, and dinner on our final night.

Merry Christmas. We ended up having a good conversation with the guy who offered to take this picture. He was an aspiring movie-maker, so I mentioned how I used to do a little work in Christian filming. He apologized for cussing so much, and Melissa and I were able to share some of the gospel with him, though he wasn't too keen on it. Very nice guy, though. Keep reminding myself that I always need to be ready to have answer for those who ask about the hope that is within me.

We're dressed and ready for the airport! It was much cooler that morning. But you know how it is ... always want the weather to be terrible on the day leave so you don't feel bad leaving.

Here's a free traveling tip from Jordan and Melissa! If you want to fly without all the crowds, go on Thanksgiving day! There's nobody dumb enough to do the same thing!

And that's it! Thanks for stopping by, commentators and stalkers! Lord bless you all!