I'd love to hear more about where you live...do you sail?
We live in Florida, in Fort Myers, which is south of Tampa and Sarasota, and north of Naples, on the Gulf coast.
I've lived here for about 14 years, having moved here from Tampa. Jason has been here about 12 years or so having moved here from Illinois.
Most people think it's really hot here and we have hurricanes all the time.
Not true. Well, not exactly. Yes, it's hot. The other day it was in the mid 90's. In the summer it'll get up to around 100. We've got humidity too, and when it rains in the summer (which we desperately need it to do) it actually gets hotter instead of the rain cooling anything ... kind of like adding water to the coals of a sauna. BUT in December, January, February, March when there's snow on the ground up north it's incredibly wonderful here ... 70's-80's, sunny ... perfect beach weather. And I've been in Chicago in the summer ... it's no hotter or more humid here!
We are in an area prone to hurricanes but in all the years we've been here we've only been really affected by one, and that was Charley. We have prepared for others but have been so lucky to have them miss us. We've just come to accept the possibility and not dwell on it. One thing we decided after Rita is that we'll leave the area if one is expected to hit us. There's no reason to stay when we can hang out with family in Atlanta or Jacksonville.
This is this the very first flower ever for this tree. Isn't it a beauty? One of the boys noticed it today and we all went out to take a look. It looks like there are a bunch more to come!
We really like it here. We love that the kids are barefoot year round, we love the laid-back atmosphere, we love the water, we love not bundling up to leave the house, we love the native plants and trees. The overgrowth of development is hard to stomach, we are much fonder of trees and greenery than of concrete. We are close to the everglades so it's easy to get away from people, it's just sad to see the trees disappearing. Also, my kids know very little about changing seasons and snow ... they'd love to spend a few good snow days up north somewhere (everytime we go we miss the snow).
Do I sail? Ha. Good question. I've always said I'd sail when the youngest child takes a class, because until them I've got to supervise them. I guess I'll be waiting a few more years to learn! Jason is more or less self-taught, C., I., and M. have learned and become very involved in it. A. will learn this summer, and K. in a few years.
Jason dreams of living on a sailboat and traveling the world. I'm not convinced it's feasible or practical but I'd love to have a boat we could do short trips in ... to local islands and such. I get motion sickness so I've told Jason no matter what we think of doing we need to do some trial runs to see if I can avoid being completely miserable. Our sailing center will "loan" us a boat and I'm hoping we can get some time in on one after the morning sickness ends and before the baby is born. I do not like taking infants on any kind of boat ... just because they really don't enjoy being stuffed into a life jacket that pretty much imobilizes them, so once the babe arrives it'll be a year or so before he and I board a boat again.
We are not committed to staying in this area. As much as we love it here we have found so many other towns that look like neat places to live and raise kids.