Sunshine and Happiness

Spring Break 2015

Short Version: 
Sunshine. Eat. Drink. Giggles. Sleep. Repeat. {All in a little glimpse of paradise}
In its simplest form, that sums up the week!

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Medium Version:
This year I was fortunate to be able to take a trip to Naples, Florida with my dear friend Noelle and her mom.  We stayed at Noelle’s grandparent’s condo, located smack on the warm, sandy beach.  We were in Florida for a little over a week, and had PERFECT weather!  I’m talking high 80’s everyday…perfect.

I loved this vacation because we had absolutely no itinerary, schedules, or restrictions.  The only thing on our To-Do list was simply: relax and enjoy!  Each day (after sleeping in, of course), we’d head down to the pool or take a walk along the shore.  After lying out under the sunny blue sky, we’d come in, check for tan lines, and then get ready for supper.  Each night our meals were exquisite…some of the best I’ve ever tasted!  Here is a quick run-down of our week:

Sunday: Went to The Counter for supper.  A BURGER LOVER’S DREAM!  It is completely build your own, from bun to condiments!  Then we met up with family friends for some drinks downtown.  The picture below was taken just before I got stuck…surprised?

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Monday: THE BACHELOR FINALE, DUH!  After a day of soaking up the sun with friends from home, we indulged in the fascinating finale of Prince Farming’s season.  Wine, chocolate, and popcorn were a must, as we all were way too intrigued.  I must say, I was a little surprised with his final choice of Whitney.  Going in, my bet was on her, but within the course of the two-hour episode, my guess changed about twice a minute (kind of like Chris’s).  But good for Whitney; I’m happy for her! It’s every girls dream to be proposed by the man of their dreams, just minutes after he kisses another woman he was “falling in love with” goodbye 😉

Tuesday:  Tuesday evening Noelle’s Oma and Opa took us out to eat.  I had fall-of-the-bone BBQ ribs and didn’t spill one drop on my white blazer, a proud moment indeed.  When we got back, we watched the final episode of “Married at First Sight.” Don’t judge it right away, it’s interesting, people! I’m planning on watching the premier to the new season tonight and hopefully will be able to keep up with it.…join the bandwagon!

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Wednesday: We woke up early, watched the sunrise, and did some serious shell-hunting for Miss Alaina.  We took a long walk to (what we thought was) a little shop that served breakfast!  However, once we got there, we learned it only served drinks.  So, Strawberry Daiquiri at 9:30AM?  Don’t mind if I do! Cheers to vacation!

At night we ate outside at a restaurant on the rooftop, which overlooked the bay.  It was picturesque!  I ventured out of my box and ordered fish for the first time: Crispy Mahi Mahi and Calamari.  WOW! It was good.

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Thursday:  Water-Aerobics!  You read that right.  We woke up and went straight to the pool.  The day before, a friendly old grandpa insisted that we try out the water aerobics that old people in the condo complex did each morning.  So we gave it a try!  And man, was it tougher than it appeared!  I was out of breath and had Jello-arms during some of the drills.  I’m tellin’ ya, the elderly know what they’re doing when it comes to pool exercises.  We made some nice friends who gave us chocolate and cookies afterwards.  Burn the calories and then eat them back up—I like the way they think!

In the afternoon we met up with Noelle’s family friends from home and went to lots of little shops…Downtown Naples is so cute!  Then we went out to eat at Chops and had some delish steak.  Shortly after, we were lounging around outside, raving about how good our meal was when…PLOP!  Something warm, wet, and weird splatted on my face. I looked up and saw it: a big ugly bird.  As the s#*! dripped down my hair and onto my forehead, I looked at Noelle. Thank God for a good friend! We all laughed our butts off and then proceeded to the bathroom to take care of the mess. After numerous towels, lots of scrubbing, and Noelle’s gagging, we had taken care of the disgusting mess that made its home on my face. Memory made, thanks bird.

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Friday: We began getting sentimental as we could foresee the end of our week. Noelle’s Oma and Opa took us out once again, and I tried more fish! Yum! We went to some more shops afterward and gawked at the high-end merchandise through all the windows.

Saturday: Our final full day, we soaked up the last bit of sun we could, took a long walk on the beach and went to Tommy Bahama at night. We went to bed sad as we knew we had to leave the next morning!

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All of the shopping, eating out, and sunshine were wonderful…But what truly made the trip special was the company of people I was with.  I loved being able to get to know the Hirsch’s family friends—Gina, Holly, and Krista.

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I was also able to learn so much about Noelle’s grandparents, who grew up in Europe during the World War II era. Their life story is such a testament to God’s faithfulness. It was such a blessing to be able to spend time with them and listen to their German-accented stories!

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Getting to know Mrs. Hirsch was wonderful as well. She is one of the sweetest women I know, and really does have a heart of gold!  Noelle always raves about what a great mom she has, and I can see why.

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And of course: Noelle. Any time spent with Noelle is a high-ole time, and this past week was no exception. We had lots of laugh-till-your-tummy-hurts moments, a few tears, and were able to enjoy each other’s company the whole trip long. It makes my heart happy to think about having a friend like her!

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Long Version: LOL just kidding, there is no long version. Let’s be honest, the medium version was long enough.


So HURRAY! for a restful, sunshiney, Spring Break with great people.  I am a happy girl!

  • Rachel Smits

    LOVED IT!!! I am glad you could have fun with Noelle’s family; they look like a fun bunch! 🙂 And it is never too early for Strawberry Daiquiris–that last part is from Jared too! 😉

  • Elizabeth Smits

    Sounds like so much fun Jo! I’m glad you’ve jumped on the fish bandwagon 🙂

  • Ruth De Bruyn

    Joeli, while reading this blog, I was remembering you telling me most of these stories in person and your excitement and laughter. It made me laugh all over again and my cheeks are actually hurting from smiling! haha Don’t overlook the fact that I’m sure YOU were a huge blessing to their entire family all week also. You bring sunshine and laughter no matter where you go. I’m sure Noelle knows she is also very blessed to have you as her good friend! (so am I) 🙂 Your tan is awesome!

    • Joeli Heuver

      Oh Ruth!…Thank you so much! You are so sweet! 🙂