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J family beach trip 2006
 
 
(Click on the images for a larger version.)
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Every year my folks take at least one vacation to the Florida or Alabama beaches, and we kids (especially Retse who lives in Florida) often tag along for part of the trip.

If you're not in my family,
 
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or you don't like cute kids,
 
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this might not be the most interesting album for you.
 
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Besides all the family stuff,
 
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and the beach stuff,
 
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we did squeeze in
 
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one trip
 
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to Tropicana Field
 
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where we watched the Tampa Bay Devil Rays take on the Atlanta Braves.

We assumed there'd be no line to buy tickets, and from the looks of this crowd you'd probably make the same assumption. But there was a line, and it was raining hard. So hard in fact
 
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that my dad was willing to stand in line with Ellie's (my 3 yr old niece) tiny pink umbrella over his head. The people that were staying out of the raining under a large awning got a good laugh out of watching my dad run back to his spot in line with a little pink umbrella over his head.
 
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Ellie did not find this funny. And put up a pretty good crying fit to let us know that she needed her pink umbrella to keep her company under the dry awning.
 
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It was my first inside baseball game. I decided I don't like inside baseball.

Feels unreal.
Feels like basketball.
Feels very small.
 
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But at least the roof gave our wet butts a respite from the rain. The Braves won and the guys on my 2006 fantasy team (Renteria and Giles) put in a strong effort.
 
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Back at the condo,
 
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Gray was learning to swim,
 
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and Ellie was honing her skills.
 
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Before we left, we took a bunch of family photos using Scott's 30th birthday present. To hurricane-proof them, I'm going to put some here on the web.

Here's me and my lady friend.

(In case you didn't notice this was when Italy was on it's way to winning the 2006 World Cup!)
 
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Here's everyone.
 
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Here's my sister's family (Retse, Ellie, Scott, Gray).
 
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Here's pawpaw and his grandson
 
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And here's root of the family tree on this trip, my folks.
 
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I'm not the biggest fan of beach trips (having taken so many as a kid).
 
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But on this trip, we all had a really good time, or at least that's how we come off in the pictures Scott and I (mostly Scott) took.
 
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Retse and Scott made the kids smile
 
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I made the cute gal smile
 
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Gran made Gray smile
 
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I made mom smile
 
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and pawpaw made Ellie smile.
 
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Don't get me wrong, this trip wasn't all fun and games. One of the things I like about the beach is that it's a good place to take a step back and think about where you're heading in life, since our everyday work schedules tend to turn us into robots that don't consider this kinda stuff enough.
 
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And it was good for Gray and Ellie to spend some time learning to work with sand, so they can one day dig giant holes like their uncle J used to do.
 
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And if you've listened to my story for this long,
 
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we'll it's time Gray chased you away
 
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so fly on to your next journey for today.