Monday, June 5, 2017

Back to Florida....Ben Graduates!!!!

NY to Florida
May 17-May 20th

Ben's graduation was this weekend. We had planned to fly down and visit for a few days while also enjoying  this BIG day! We included; Me, Mark, Gavin and my Mother in law.
We left early Wednesday morning boarding the plan headed for JFK from Florida then on to Daytona airport, where we obtained a rental and drove on to the Palm Bay area where Ben lives.
Any fears of flying have been EXPOSED over the last few months...although I will admit I did cry when he landed in Daytona, but I am getting better. I really am.

Our first day consisted of traveling. Despite the use of air travel, the trip did seemed to be time consuming. A three hour layover and a 1 hour drive south from Daytona did delay one of our four day adventure, but we really had come only for Ben's Graduation anyways so...not much sight seeing.

Ahhh!!! Florida weather. Although I was told it was just as nice back home this week.

We stayed in a nice hotel in Melborne, and after meeting up with Ben spent the first evening catching up.
One of our traveling rules is we must eat in a restaurant we don't have at home so we found Long Dogger's and headed for our first Florida meal.

I had boneless chicken wings and fries. They were AMAZING!!!

 Mark had some crazy burger topped with a Hot Dog!!!
 While we waited for our meals we were entertained by this magician. This was quite fun!

 Bubbe was the featured performer.....

 Gavin will never admit it, but I think he enjoyed it too.

After the meal the boys (Mark, Ben and Gavin) went to see the movie Guardians of the Galaxy II. I would have loved to go too...but I was absolutely EXHAUSTED!!!!.

The following day I inquired with a local on things to do in the area. Melbourne really does not have lots to do....but they do have beaches!!!! I was also told about Historic downtown Melbourne, but when we went there it was much to early. The stores were not even open.

Instead of history we took a trip to the ocean shoreline.


It is so incredible just to drive up and hop out of your car walk a few feet and BAM!!! you see this....and people wonder why one might retire to Florida.

We found this guy sunning himself on the early morning shore. He was patient while I caught his photo, but when I got to close he jetted off lickty split. Man can these guys run. 

 I could have stayed all day......just dreaming out at that water.

  We headed along route 1 farther down the beach area to a place where the turtle gather. I was THRILLED and READY to see some baby turtles. The sign read March-April was the best time for the birthing.

No turtles....but I did spy this little guy. I asked a women who had been walking on the beach if she had seen any. She informed me that she has seen many, but it is unlikely that any will be seen during the day. They walk to the water at night.. and your not allowed to have lights on.
"OHHHH WE have to come back tonight!!!! when it is dark"  Hubby's response...."you freak on a plane, but will sit on the beach in the pitch dark with bugs and other critter, to possibly see a baby turtle....?"  Yeps!!!
We did not return later that night however.....bummer.

 We did however return to the beach later that day this time with the boys. Ben had graduation rehearsal in the morning and Gavin seems to sleep forever. Mid afternoon we headed for some fun in the sun.
 The SAND was HOT HOT HOT!!!! I have never in my life felt such heat under my feet. WOW!!!
I had my flop flops on, but the hot sand would flop,,,back in and burned my toes...It was really impressive just how hot that sand was and the temperature out was only in the 90's.

 Gavin was not pleased by any of this experience. He will openly admit he does not like the sun and especially the beach. There was no convincing he or Ben to jump though those impressive waves.
Mark on the other hand...He is like a big kids....He loved it. I had some fun too!

 Once back at the hotel...I rushed for the hotel pool. I had sand in cracks and areas of my bathing suit so deep I could have built a sand castle..WOW!!! I loved the beach...not the sand.  Yeah that really does not make sense does it....I guess the real statement is....I was not as prepared for the sand as I would have liked to be,
Next time I will wear a different bathing suite, (one with less areas to pocket sand) full fitting shoes (keep the hot sand out.) and find a beach side shower. (to leave some of the sand where it belongs.)

Aaahhh!!! I can enjoy a pool just as much as the sandy waves...
We pretty much had the pool to ourselves the whole vacation. NICE!!!

After we cleaned up for our pre-planed Graduation dinner with Ben's other family. Yes I can say it was awkward. Who does this? Dinner with the ex-wife and her family..... It was at Ben's request so we endured. I thought it actually went rather well.
Dinner was held at The Grills.It was a  NICE PLACE and Yummy food.
I had a chicken ceaser wrap. As with most places located right on the water there is plenty of fish foods to order. They were pushing the Lion fish which came looking very much like it did when it was swimming in the seas...Ah no thank you. I am not a fish eating gal. None the less I did try Ben's king crab legs. I simply do not get the hype.

After the meal Ben was presented with gifts.

The best gift he got was a new car. His mother and step father gave him the car he has been driving for the last several months.

I think he was very happy!

A walk along the dock helped with the after dinner digestion. 

I got a few pictures of the boys.
as well as the beautiful bay area.

I think this is a pelican, We watched as he dived into the water in search of an evening meal.

These not so little fish were tanked in the front of the restaurant. Oh how sad to be so close to the natural waters and here you guys are....Tanked!!!!

Well they sure were pretty.
We said our very awkward good byes to Ben's other family were presented tickets to the Graduation and headed off to Ben's place of employment. Sonic. Which also happens to be Mark's favorite place to eat, Shakes are 1/2 price after 8pm. We simply had to have one.

The following day was Graduation Day.
Knowing we had some time before the ceremony. Mark and I had discussed what we could do during the day. I had found an airboat adventure place, just down the street from our hotel!!! Yippi! Boats that "fly" fast and the pretty good chance I would see a gator too. I was thrilled. It took some convincing from Mark, but he was finally in  agreement. I called to reserve and GUESS WHAT???
The place was closed for maintenance and repair of the boats.  I wanted to cry...BUMMER!

So now what?  How about a little shopping?
We decided we must se a Bealls. Pronounced very much like our last name or....Bells. We preferred  sharing the name.

There was some cute stuff,,,,but we were not spending money. Oh well.
I tried to connect with Kelly's son Joseph, thinking he may be able to give us a tour of the Florida Institute of Technology. (Where Ben plans to go in the Fall and where Joseph is currently going.) he was working, so we decided to create our own tour of the campus.

It is a pretty campus.

Ben offered some information and where he thought most of his classes would be,
We found the bookstore and purchased some T-shirts and I found a FIT mom sticker for my car.

Mark got the DAD t-shirt. 

Ben headed home to prepare for the big evening while Mark, my mother and Law and I lounged by the pool before cleaning up for the evening ourselves. 

Before long it was Graduation time!!!!

I shot some videos.. They were not the best. But here you go.

Graduation went well. The graduating speaker offered some warm thoughts on the future and the guest speaker offered words of Wisdom.
Ben graduated with lots of extra tassels and pins. We are all so proud. As his principal reported in her speech "He BROUGHT it!!!!"

We are all so very proud!!!
Ben went home to celebrate with family and friends. We headed out for a late late dinner at Shake and Steak. (one of our Florida favorites,) Bubbe has never been, She loved it. Can you blame her....YUM!!!

Tomorrow blessed us with our last hours of sunshine. We packed up and headed to Daytona to end this wonderful journey, Some time was spent with Ben before our final goodbyes. We will not see him again until July.
The morning moved quickly and soon we were boarding yet another plane and heading back to NY.
Good Bye Florida until next time.