You all are very encouraging with me sharing personal family trips, so today I’m sharing our trip to Durant, FL where my mom grew up and where 2 of her brothers still live. The year is starting out with lots of family sharing. I’m not doing Fashion over 50 this week, it’s just one of those weeks where I can’t catch up, so I hope to be back next week with a fashion post.
In mom’s family, there are 4 siblings left of the original 7 and mom is the only girl left, with 3 brothers. It’s so hard watching them decline in health and her younger brother, Uncle Eugene is declining pretty fast with lung and heart problems. We decided that we better take mom to see him while we can and so we planned a last minute trip with just the girls and Renee and I drove mom down and Lauren and Parker flew in from New Orleans to meet us and we stayed 3 nights near them in Brandon, FL.
It was a fast, but good trip and we are glad we took the time to do it. I’m worn out, but life goes on and I’ll catch up with sleep later as well as get the rest of my Christmas decor down when I get around to it. Sometimes life gets in the way and we have to go with the flow. Family comes first no matter what and we are all glad we went.
Food is always a big part of our family outings and since we were going to pick Lauren up at the Tampa airport, we decided to stop by Brocato’s and get Cuban sandwiches and deviled crabs and bring them to my uncle’s house, so that’s what we did. I didn’t get a picture of the food, but it was delicious! Brocato’s is well known in Tampa and if you live down there, you probably know them.
On our second day there, one of my uncle’s best friends brought over fried speckled perch for us to eat and that was a treat. My cousin, Brenda, made the sides and we all enjoyed it so much. We grew up doing huge family fish fries over the years and it’s a well loved tradition that we all enjoy.
Mom with her two brothers and Aunt Evelyn, married to Uncle Roland, who is blind. I don’t know if I’ver ever shared them with you before, but Uncle Roland and Aunt Evelyn were missionaries for many years in Paraguay and they are dear people. Uncle Eugene was in good spirits in spite of health issues. We love him dearly and in fact, it was almost 4 years ago that we were there visiting his wife, Aunt Mary who passed away shortly after that of cancer. We miss her so much!
Parker was about 2 years old when she was here last and she has never forgotten riding horses at their little ranch. She loved it so much.
Here she is then with Cousin Dennis. She couldn’t wait to go back and ride those horses again.
She loves animals and especially horses and was not at all afraid of them. She rode the biggest horse they have, Maggie.
Maggie had a baby a year ago and this is the baby, Hailey.
She’s so cute. Luckily we had good weather one day, it was perfect and about 80º and sunny.
Dennis was so good with Parker and got the horses out and saddled them up. Parker thinks Dennis hung the moon.
She patiently waited while Maggie got saddled up.
That face says it all, doesn’t it? Her mama brought her a horse shirt to ride in.
She also loved watching the cows.
Nursing babies. They have a few cows on their 25 acres, with 4 horses I think.
It always feels comforting to visit and it looks almost exactly the same here on their property as when I was a kid coming here too. My grandaddy used to live in a house adjoining their property many years ago.
Parker was not afraid to ride by herself and she did great. She stayed on Maggie for well over an hour, walking in a loop around the small pasture. Dennis kept telling her not to let Maggie start trotting, but she was really wanting to do more than walk.
That’s one happy little girl!
Cousin Layna is a barrel racer, as well as her dad, Dennis and they both have been on horses since they were born. My uncle used to race quarter horses for many years. They both periodically win money barrel racing. Parker was on cloud nine that day!
We all enjoyed sitting outside and watching Parker ride that horse, mom included.
Lauren joined them on Dennis’s horse.
We all got a turn.
And I made one loop around the pasture and then it was time to put them up. Parker was loving it!
She only got to ride one day, as the next day it rained almost all day. She was so disappointed and really wanted to ride again, but we told her we’ll just have to go back again. She had fun riding with Layna on the golf cart and managed to get her boot stuck in the creek after the rain stopped. That little girl could totally be a cowgirl and love it!
So that was a recap of our visit. It was all about family and food, as usual for us. We ate at Brocato’s one day and also met up with my other cousin, Howard one night for dinner at Fred’s Market in Plant City. It’s a wonderful Southern cooking place with delicious buffet food. I’m mentioning all these places because you all like to know where we go and eat when traveling. Fred’s was really good, I had been there before.
The girls also went to Moreno Bakery in Brandon one morning for breakfast. I should have taken pics inside, but I did videos and shared on Instagram. That place was amazing, with a long row of pastries on one side and a hot food bar on the other side. It all looked delicious!
One more stop we made before heading home was the Strawberry Hut in Plant City. They have the best Cuban sandwiches and strawberry milkshakes and our entire family loves them. We always have way too many restaurants to try out and not enough time to eat at all of them. Our family loves food and eating out!
That’s a recap of our family week. It’s a tiring one, but I’ll rest up when I get back home from Hilton Head.