Mar 13, 2013

Florida part 2

After our day at Disney, we headed to the Tampa/St Pete area where my conference was being held. We had some time before I had to be 'ready for work' and got to catch up with a good friend who happened to be visiting her family in Florida at the same time we were there. We took our time getting up in the morning and Emma even got her first Starbucks (hot chocolate).
Then we headed east to meet my friend. Michael went to a baseball game (of course) while my friend Sarah, Emma, and I went out for lunch. We went to a fun restaurant at the end of a pier on an island. One thing I learned about Emerald on this trip is that she does not get very excited about the prospect of trying new foods. She's perfectly happy with pasta or something familiar, rather than the 'weird' things we tried to get her to taste. 'Weird' things like local fish, or even a southern staple like grits. Poor girl, she doesn't know what she's missing. (although we did get her to take a bite of lamb and even a piece of filet mignon on this trip...she didn't like either)
A funny thing happened as we were walking along the pier after we ate...Emma got pooped on by a bird! She thought it was SO funny and told everyone about it for the next couple days. She called Elliott that night and was excited to tell him all about it too. Funny girl! I would not be nearly as happy if a bird had gotten me!
We got to chat with my friend and her family for a bit and then left for our hotel. Miss you Sarah!

Sadly, the cold weather continued on Friday so the swimming plans were a bust. Our conference hotel was right on the beach and also had heated pools, but it was too cold and windy to be outside at all. Thankfully, Saturday heated up and turned out to be really nice (hello 70 degrees) so all was not lost. Plus, my conference was great and I learned a ton!

While I was gone, Michael and Emma explored the hotel. It's the same place we stayed with Elliott last year so they took pictures at the same spots. Once my meetings were over we all got to hang out for an hour or so on St Pete Beach.
This was a fun game with a hook and a ring on a string. The object was to hook the ring by swinging it. Very hard, but fun. It would be an easy game to make for your own backyard.
We had fun watching a man in a crazy looking contraption 'jet-pack' out of the water! It was kind of like a long fire hose that would suck up enough water to push the man out of the water. He would twirl all around and then fall...get up...twirl around...fall. Pretty fun to watch!
 Emma got to build her first sand castle!
 The beach was a hit! So were the paddle boats.
We stayed in Orlando again our last night since we had a super-early flight on Sunday. (e.a.r.l.y. especially because of Daylight Savings Time - nothing like leaving your hotel at 3:30am!)
So on our way back to Orlando we stopped at a nuclear power plant. Isn't that where you like to go on every trip you take?
My friend had told us about a place on Apollo Beach where you can see dozens of manatees who are attracted to the nuclear power plant because of its warm waters. From a distance, they look like rocks in the water.
But up close you can see them popping up for air or flapping their humongous tails. Pretty interesting.
The power plant also had a beautiful estuary and a pier you could walk along to see all kinds of plants and animals. Very cool. We saw fish jumping out of the water all over, lots of barnacles, more manatees, and even a stingray.
Once we got to Orlando we checked into our fantastic hotel...the Gaylord Palms. I highly recommend this place if you are going near Disney. We got a great deal on it (way cheaper than the St Pete hotel), it had a water park, everglades area with crocodiles, gorgeous glassed-in area, great restaurants, shallow (but huge) heated kids pool with movie screens, and the DreamWorks characters (like Madagascar and Shrek) walk around to see the kids. I wish we would have been there longer. But at least we got some pool time and Emma got to wear the new tankini and swim cap I made for her as part of the collection I'm making.
After our early morning flight, we were home. My mom did a fabulous job with the kids, once again. We don't have any big trips planned in the near future, so she can enjoy a break. :)
Although, when you return to weather like the slushy mess we came home to, it's hard not to dream about the next warm place calling our names!

1 comment:

  1. That spot with the manatees looks cool. I will definitely message you for info on that next time we go to Orlando.
    And those beach pictures of Emma are so beautiful.


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