New Beginnings in Florida
Getting to know our new community!
Tip: click on any photo in this post to enlarge!
Picking up from my last post: En Route to Florida
I'm happy to report that all of our furniture and belongings made it through the long-distance move. B and I have very defined roles during our move-in process. Once the boxes are delivered, the furniture is assembled, and the moving team leaves, we immediately begin unpacking the boxes. B is responsible for getting everything out of the box (placing items on any counter or table surface) and breaking down/recycling the boxes. I'm responsible for putting our things away, which B joins in assisting when the boxes are cleared out. Mason and Harvey were awesome during the unpacking process, so that definitely helped!
Our cars were also delivered. I'll admit, I was a little nervous about driving again. As I've mentioned in a previous post, we haven't had a car in years. Fortunately, those nerves came and went, and I feel very comfortable driving my new car (Hyundai Tucson). Our first drive in my car was to the grocery store. This was Mason's first time ever in the seat of a shopping cart. At first, he cried, unaware of what was going on. He soon realized how fun it is to be pushed in a shopping cart. He laughed and babbled the entire time while "helping" (more-so tossing) us put groceries into the cart. We haven't done a total grocery haul in months because we would order everything online in NY. Our next couple of weeks were filled with Mason's first experiences, and it was wild to realize how much he hasn't seen due to the pandemic.
In regards to the pandemic, I feel it's important to be clear how we've made the transition from NY to FL: there weren't any major changes. We continue to do what is safe and comfortable for our family. B and I wear our masks each time we're indoors (Mason is still underage to wear a mask), and outdoors if/when we feel it is necessary.
Of course, we had a checklist of items to complete in Florida. We went to the DMV and got our Florida driver's licenses. We were shocked that this only took about 20 minutes at our local DMV. The last time we had to just renew our licenses in NY at a"DMV Express," it took each of us over 3.5 hours to complete; *shrugs shoulders*. We had our WiFi set-up in our new place and continued to organize our belongings. We also went on a quick tour of our new neighborhood on a golf cart - very new for all of us, and most of all, super fun for Mason! We then planned some activities to do as a family over the next week.
The first place we went: Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens. Our first family trip to the zoo. Ever. This zoo is beautifully designed, and naturally, outdoors. Being able to experience this with Mason was truly something else. He said Hi to the animals and smiled at other kids as they passed by. It was a lot of fun showing him the different animals, hearing their different sounds, and watching him just taking it all in. B loves animals and reptiles, so I know that this family trip will be happening again soon.
We took a drive to St. Augustine and took a leisurely stroll on the pier and through a part of the town with small shops and eateries. We stopped to grab some popsicles at a place called The Hyppo Gourmet Ice Pops, a little whimsical popsicle shop with every flavor imaginable. They even had kid-sized popsicles (perfect for the little one!).
Ah, my favorite place to bring Mason thus far is the beach. Up until this point, he had never seen or touched sand. He had never been in the ocean. This was a sensory overload of fun for Mason, and I was in such delight watching my son check out the new and unfamiliar terrain. Pre-pandemic, we had Mason in swim lessons and were able to get him into our community's pool last summer. B and I love the water, so we hope that Mason will, too. Understandably, the ocean can be an intimidating matter for people, and we expected some hesitance from Mason as we approached the sea. But the very opposite happened as he ran straight (and I mean this kid booked it) towards the ocean. While we were pleasantly surprised, we had to keep a sharp eye on him as he'd run away from the water and then try to run back in several times. He was not initially a fan of the sand in his hands (though a few days later, he was fine with it). He tried eating a shell. Eh, not the best, not the worst. *shrugs shoulders again*.
On another day, we took our first nature walk. There's a reserve near the beach; to be precise, it's called The Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve. There are a few different trails to walk (or ride bikes), so we took the simplest and most straightforward path that led to the ocean. On a personal note, though I appreciate nature, and its beauty, hiking is just not my forte. And so, I was more than happy to do the easier trail. Additionally, I did not want to hinder or create any fear in Mason of the reserve, so off we went! Unrelated to my internal struggle and this family walk, I had a good chuckle seeing all the natural fan palm leaves throughout our walk. These usually sell in bundles anywhere from $8-$35 online, and here they were, all along our walk, completely undisturbed. It was nice.
A note to YOU, the reader,
Thank you so much for taking the time to read and keep up with our move/new beginnings in Florida! I love sharing these moments with you and hope you're enjoying them, too. I appreciate your continuous support of thesomedayroom. Be sure to stay tuned for my new Florida happenings on my Instagram!