Golden Birthday

We celebrated Joe’s 17th birthday on the 17th. We don’t have much space for purchased items, and we’ve learned that we don’t NEED to buy things just because it’s a celebration, so we decided to take Joe on a little mini vacation.

Before we left, Ethan’s grandmother decided to take care of Joe and Ethan’s birthday at the same time this year. Ethan wanted a hydroponic pepper growing kit, so she delivered a package that Ethan has been over the moon about. He planted and labeled his seeds. Stay tuned for progress on those little things.

We went on another hike to take in the fall, the boys were so hyper and loud I didn’t have to worry about sneaking up on any wildlife, so that was a perk.

Because Joe has a strong passion for history, we decided to visit the oldest city in the US, St. Augustine, FL.

We got up in the dark for our 7 hour drive to the Ponce St. Augustine, our hotel home for the weekend. Once we arrived, we stretched out on our beds and marked our bed territory. After spending most of our latest showers in an RV sized shower stall, the double-headed shower this room housed was nirvana.

After we freshened up, we headed out to dinner at Scarlett O’Hara’s, less than a 15 minute walk away.

I was introduced to Cuban coffee when visiting my friends in Miami a couple years ago and haven’t had it since. I was on a mission to get some of it, so we set off to a Cuban restaurant for brunch.

Although delicious, the coffee wasn’t exactly the same, but the food was delicious. The tres leches cake we decided to eat for dessert was the best tres leches I’ve ever tasted. If you’re ever in the area, make sure to visit La Harencia Cafe and try it. Even Eric said it was possibly the best dessert he’s ever had.

The kids had a bit of school to work on, so we dropped them off at the hotel and decided to take the afternoon as a date. We rented a two person three-wheeled scooter and scooted around the narrow brick streets we couldn’t reach via car.

Joe needed more time to do his schoolwork and wanted to stay behind, so Ethan, Eric and I decided to find a beach and then grab something quick for dinner to bring back to Joe.

While we waited for our table, we brought Ethan to the shore so he could experience how nice and warm the ocean water is. He had a great time, and although he initially was just going to dip his toes in, once he realized how warm and wonderful the water felt, he couldn’t resist taking waves to the face, drenching his entire body.

The margaritas were so good I had to have two. We spent the evening barefoot, dining at a picnic table in the sand and enjoying each other’s company.

The next day, we got to celebrate Joe turning 17. We started off the day with an adorable little mini piñata filled with chocolate candies and a few gifts. The loofa was mine…he just got to use it to beat the pulp out of his piñata if he so desired.

Then we went to an old military memorabilia store. The owner beamed with passion about how he found the items in his shop, who owned them, the stories the items held and how much he loved what he did every day. He was enjoying telling us about the items as much as the boys were enjoying listening to his stories and tales about them.

We decided to try Peace Pie, the pie filling ice cream sandwich place next to the Cuban restaurant, for a fun and different treat. In part, they were good, but they were also REALLY hard if they were pre-made, so it took away from the flavor. It was hot, so ice cream felt nice any way we could have it.

Ethan’s was one of the VERY frozen sandwiches, so it was difficult to eat. It was either a brick or a melty mess. Eric decided to do a little pie ice cream sandwich face smash and had Ethan giggling ice cream bubbles.

We spent the rest of the afternoon walking around the little downtown portion of St. Augustine. One of the buildings, the Lightner Museum, has a building that once housed the largest indoor swimming pool in the world. When we visited, though, it wasn’t full of water. It was filled with pirates eating and announcing their pirate club plans.

We then went to a restaurant that overlooked the ocean, called The Reef. If was absolutely fabulous food and the server was top notch in every way. We highly recommend it if you’re ever in the area.

After dinner we made a quick trip down to the little beach outside the restaurant. We’d hoped to do some fishing (neither Joe, Ethan nor Tiffany have ever fished in the ocean) but the winds were too strong for any decent fishing, even from the pier.

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