Mar 16, 2012

Beachy keen

We just returned from a little mini trip to sunny Florida! I had a conference there which was fantastic and then we spent a couple days seeing the sights. Normally this is the kind of trip we don't bring kids along on...like our recent Hawaii fun...but this time we decided it would be fun to have a mini tag-along. Elliott is 5 and will be starting school in the Fall so we thought it would be fun to let him have some uninterrupted Mom and Dad time and get to do something special.
The hope is that we'll be able to do this with each child when they're about to start school. So fingers crossed we can make that work.
Another big thanks to my mom for playing with the other 3 munchkins while we were away!

Here is our trip in pictures:

Elliott getting off the plane from his first flight. (that he remembers)
 Not a real shark...but it was a fun little area in our hotel near St Pete that was shark and pirate themed.
We took a paddle boat ride around our resort. The views were gorgeous with the ocean on one side, the hotel on the other and swans swimming next to us as we peddled.
Elliott seeing the ocean for the first time. I think he's a little addicted. This was St Pete Beach on the Gulf side.
On our way out of the St Pete/Tampa area we went over this cool bridge...which of course is something fun to see and learn about when you're married to a bridge designer. :)
The guys visited all of the Spring Training baseball stadiums in the area as well as the Major League one in Tampa. We all went to a Phillies/Orioles game and the guys got to see the Twins (of course)! Detroit was Elliott's favorite, though, because of these foam claws.
We spent a couple days in the Orlando area and the big decision was whether or not to go to DisneyWorld. We opted to spend extra time at the beach (on the Atlantic side) and take Elliott mini-golfing a couple times. He was more impressed with this Pirate-themed mini-golf course than he was with the idea of seeing Mickey. And hey, for the price of the three of us to spend a day at the Magic Kingdom...we could buy season passes for all 6 of us to our nearby amusement park and water park. Sorry, Mickey. Practicality won out on this one...but maybe we'll come visit you in a few years.
At Cocoa Beach Elliott built his first sand castle. And then chopped it down. He could have stayed in the ocean FOREVER. (Although mama couldn't because I got a crazy-terrible sunburn. Ouch! Elliott definitely got his dad's skin and this kid came back nice and brown.

We wanted to do something "we could only do in Florida." So we took a swamp tour on a fan-powered boat. It was incredible...and scary...to see how many alligators are all over the swampy areas and how close you can get to them. Here's one right next to our boat.
 And if you look closely in the water you'll see 3 alligators crossing right in front of us.
We got the closest to this one. It actually arched its back like a cat and started making weird sounds. We were definitely within striking distance and decided to move the boat before making it jump at us. Eeeeek.
Then we visited one more stadium. I sat in the car and watched some of the Nationals players leave after their game while the boys went in to see the field and found these fun statues.
Ready to go back home. Elliott loved the plane ride...especially the safety card. For some reason he was fascinated by the pictures!
 What did kids do on long plane rides before iPads? :)
Overall we had a great time...although we missed a few days of my favorite weather at home. I'll take a 70-75 degree day over 80 degrees every time! If only we had the ocean...

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