We decided to give Disney World a try. This is the only picture we have from the entire day. It was HOT. The kids are still a little young to truly appreciate it and I was feeling yucky from being pregnant so it wasn't our favorite day. It was much better after dark when it cooled down and people started going home. We were able to walk straight through the lines to go on rides.
Busch Gardens was a much better experience for all of us. There was an entire section geared toward ZoZo and MB's age. There weren't a lot of people there and we discovered a water park (too bad we weren't prepared with bathing suits).
Look at those pink cheeks. It was SO toasty in Florida.
I couldn't believe how shy they were around Big Bird.
Mr. Boy and Zo love playing "Tigers" so it was neat for them to be able to see real tigers up close.
They got souvenirs in the gift shop and named their tigers "Snowflake" and "Mister." The tigers have become favorite toys.
We rented a condo for 7 days and it was right on Sarasota Beach. When we woke up in the morning we walked out to the ocean and played until lunch time and headed back in for naps. Then when it cooled off a little outside, we would walk out to the ocean and play until dark.
Rise and shine.
Zo wanted to try out what her daddy had on his face.
The sand doesn't get hot and the texture is smooth like flour. Zo never got bored of playing in it.
Mr. Boy is buried in the sand.
Mr. Boy was in his element. He crashed fearlessly in the waves over and over again. He loved being in the water and we had to drag him out.
Look how happy he is.
We played and played until the sun went down.
I love these little fish!
We rented a kayak and went out on our own.
The kids weren't sure what to think of being in the kayak and going through the mangrove tree.
We parked the kayak at this little island and played in the water for hours. The kids were in heaven.
The sun and water tuckered everyone out.
We went back to my favorite Italian Restaurant and I must admit we were terrified about taking the kids. They exhibited less than desirable behavior at the previous places we had eaten out at. I decided it worth the risk since I really wanted my Eggplant Parmesan dish. To our great surprise, they did well. Zo even decided to show off her dance moves when the musician started playing the saxaphone. She provided free entertainment for all the patrons.
What is a vacation without ice cream?!
We stayed in Orlando for 2 nights before flying out. It was my kind of hotel- nice sheets and an awesome shower. We went to Sea World. The boys had so much fun that they decided to go back the next day. Mr. Boy got to feed the dolphins. Zo and I hung out at the beautiful pool and then went back to our room for naps. It was a great day for the boys at Sea World and a relaxing day for the girls.
Vacationing with small children is not easy and we learned a few lessons:
* Never give Zo Benadryl if you want her to sleep. A 6 hour plane ride just might be one of the most miserable experiences of your life.
* When at restaurants and your kids start acting up, it's ok to pretend that they don't belong to you.
* Check to make sure the spray sunscreen works at the store before buying it and heading out on a kayak trip.
* While kids are little and still need naps, money may be better spent on something rather than amusement parks.
On a more serious note, we had a couple of experiences that taught me the importance of trying to help instead of sit back and judge & complain.
While on our plane ride home, Zo had an extremely rough time. She was miserable and made sure she had company in her misery. There were some passengers on the plane who gave dirty looks and we could hear them complaining. We felt awful about it but we tried all of our tricks and were out of ideas. There were two families with small kids sitting near us who came to the rescue. They loaned us books and even a DVD player. This helped calm her down until she finally fell asleep.
Another kind act...Since we were on vacation, we ate out a lot which would seem like a wonderful thing but it was actually very stressful. Our sweet little kids aren't always so sweet, especially when it comes to sitting for long periods of time. We went to an Italian Restaurant near our condo and tried eating outside so we wouldn't disturb anyone. It was so HOT while we were waiting for our food so we decided to go inside. The owner, who was also a grandfather, was in tune with the situation. He came over and talked to the kids and brought them free orange drinks, shredded Mozarella cheese, and olives. He knew just what they would like and took the time to share his calm demeanor. It made our night so much better and I felt like hugging this complete stranger.
It's so much easier to sit back and judge people for their parenting or lack thereof. Thankfully, there are some who know that it's not easy and are willing to help out or even send an understanding smile our way.