1. Our neighborhood. Our community is gated, so we have very little traffic. I am totally comfortable with letting the kids ride their bikes out front, even when I am not outside. There are sidewalks on both sides of the street, and we are at the very back of the community. There are only 100 houses inside the gates, which adds to the quiet. Our neighbors are really nice. We have already been invited to swim at two homes. Another family shows a family-friendly movie on their garage door every other week. They invited us to come the next time they do that. The 15-year-old boy across the street came over and edged our lawn for us, and fixed our leaf blower. Every evening, lots of people walk their dogs. Everyone seems to stop and visit with each other, and when we are outside, everyone who walks by says hi and smiles. On school days, there are a few dads who walk all the neighborhood kids down to school. Matt will be joining that group on Monday when school starts. There is such a great feeling of community, and I am loving it!
2. Our friends. Some friends of ours from Little Rock--Mike and his son Jake--came and helped us move in. They were here all day unloading the truck and setting up furniture. That same day, another family showed up at our front door with dinner. They are friends of our landlord, and they came to welcome us. The next day they brought us another meal. The day following that, they had the kids and me over to swim. As if that wasn't generous enough, the fourth day they came over and spent 5 hours helping me unpack and move furniture. Their kids are 14, 11, 10, and 8. They are all very sweet and helpful, a delight to have around. Snapper and Pepper love them, too. We went to church with them on Sunday, and to their small group both Tuesdays we have been here. It is so nice to have friends.
3. Our community. Everything we need is within 10 minutes of our house. YMCA, Super Target, Super Walmart, Publix, Winn Dixie, a produce market, library, numerous parks, Panera, Starbucks, Walgreens, even 3 urgent care facilities! Convenience is a very nice thing, I must say! Oh, and there is a wonderful Thai restaurant as well. Drooling here just thinking about it!
4. The beach! It is only 30 miles to Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral! We went there on Wednesday to celebrate our arrival in Florida. The water was warm, the waves large, but gentle. Matt taught Snapper how to navigate the waves, and she took to the water fearlessly, even diving through the breakers. Pepper had to do what Snapper and Daddy were doing, so we took him out in the waves, too. Unlike the California beaches, there were no rip currents to worry about, and the waves took much longer to break. Because the water was so warm, Pepper loved being out in the waves. His goggles protected his eyes from the salt water, and he was happy as a clam to be out in it. After 3 hours, we had to leave because we were getting too warm in the mid-day sun. The downside to this part of the country is that there are no cool sea breezes to cut the heat. As usual, I took my camera.
How amazing is this! We saw the dolphins' dorsal fins poking out of the water, doing their arching, gliding thing, so I got out the camera. I had it to my eye and pointed at where I had last seen the fins when this happened! Two dolphins jumping out of the water! I am still totally tickled that I got this shot! It was a sweet gift from God for me, I believe.
Now entering my office are two children, all freshened up and ready to go. We need to go buy Pepper's school supplies, and get first day gifts for their teachers. They are hanging on me and pestering me to go. They were angels yesterday through, even through 3 hours at the DMV and 1 1/2 hours at the insurance office. I feel I ought not to keep them waiting today. I think maybe ice cream or a slurpie is in order, too. TTFN!