Sunday, January 22, 2012

Christmas Vacation

We had a super-fun Christmas break. We took a road trip to Florida for a week of animal adventure!

We left the Thursday before Christmas. Ben got the car all packed, I got food ready, we loaded up the kids, and both kids were crying by the time we reached the mail boxes. I think one wanted a movie and one wanted fruit snacks or something. That day was a long day, but we survived and stayed in a lovely little hotel in Daphne, Alabama. We got in at 11:00, thinking the kids would drift of to sleep peacefully. Instead they both got hyper, jumped on the beds, had a raucous bath time and then Lucas went to sleep. Evan on the other hand, wanted to stay awake until 1:00.

We headed out the next morning by 9:30 for Tampa. We drove and drove, got an oil change and lunch in Tallahassee, had a few fits, and made it to Tampa at 7:00. We met up with my parents, Carrie and Maddie at the Embassy Suites, where we would be spending the next three nights. It was lovely. We had connecting rooms, which was fun.

On Saturday we headed to my favorite amusement park ever, Busch Gardens! Why is Busch Gardens so awesome, you ask? Because not only does it have awesome roller coasters, but awesome animals, too! After getting in, getting the kids tagged (after I wrote Evan's contact info on his back), and finding our bearings, the boys watched the cheetahs and the girls went and rode roller coasters. We finally hooked up around 2:00 for lunch... then I took the kids so Ben could ride coasters with Carrie and Maddie. It was a lot of fun. Also, somewhere in there Lucas asked what the date was and I told him it was Dec 21st...

That night we headed back to the hotel and ate junk at the hotel happy hour. Evan sported a plate on his head the whole time and we nibbled on food before putting our exhausted kids to bed and some of us in the hot tub.

The next day we were up and at it again at Busch Gardens. It was great, once again. Carrie, Maddie, and I got stuck on the sky ride at one point for a few minutes, but had a good plan to jump to a passing safari truck if we didn't start moving. Luckily we didn't have use our backup plan..

The boys spent a long portion of the day in the Sesame Street Forest of Fun. It was AMAZING there. You should go.

My dad left early to go rest his sore hip, and by the end of the day we were exhausted. Ben and I rode the River Rapids and got soaked. Thank goodness Lucas refused to ride or he would have froze. We took our last sky ride across the park and found our shuttle to the airport, where Evan dined with a plate on his head while we enjoyed happy hour goodies and ordered a pizza. It was a good day.

Monday morning we checked out of the hotel and Mom and Dad headed to the farm, while the rest of us took a detour to Clearwater Beach. Lucas and Evan had a great time running and playing on the beach. The water was chilly, but they didn't mind. Then they played at a cool playscape, too.

We ate a yummy lunch and then headed to the farm, a two-hour drive.

When I was little we spent a lot of time at my grandparents' farm each summer. To this day its still one of our favorites places to be. We have such happy memories there. My grandma passed away in November, but we decided to go anyways. It was still nice to be there and make more memories.

At the farm we got to pet lots of cute cows (we were lucky enough to have three new calves born), we ate yummy food, and had a great Christmas, celebrated Carrie's birthday, had a silly string fight, played games, and went on lots of walks. My aunt, Carolyn, even came! It was lots of fun.

One morning Ben and Lucas went on a walk in the pastures and found a brand new calf all alone in the grass. The closest cows were 200 yards away, so they actually went up and got to pet him for about 10 minutes. Then Ben wanted to make sure he was ok, so he helped him stand up. Then the little guy called his mom and she came over. The boys moved out of the way and they got back together. I guess the cows leave their babies alone sometimes thinking they will draw less attention if they're not with the herd. I'm just glad they didn't get trampled by an angry mom. But, seriously, little calves are so stinking cute.

Lucas and Evan were seriously spoiled for Christmas. The Harmans and my mom both went home with new Kindle Fires, which we've enjoyed, and there was lots of other fun stuff too.

We started our drive back to Austin on New Year's Eve. We stopped in Pensacola, FL, to play at another beach. We did this two years ago and Lucas had a blast. He still had a blast this time, but it was colder, foggy, and we were at a different beach in a residential area. Some really nice people let us use their outdoor shower to rinse Lucas off, which was really nice. We had dinner at a fun restaurant on the beach, complete with a playground in the sand.

That night we stopped in Gulfport, Mississippi and stayed at Quality Inn. QUALITY OUT, more like it. It was so disgusting. Our room smelled like smoke, The shower was too short for Ben and he hit his head so many times on the ceiling over the sink, that he was bloody. (Needless to say this wasn't our first hotel choice, but a lot of places were sold out). We survived the night, leaving with sore throats, a smokers cough and maybe a disease or two. We drove pasts the beach on our way out.

We made it into Austin by about 7:30. The kids were great on the way home. I think they had finally accepted the fact that they weren't getting out of the car. The DVD player was the best thing ever, as were yummy car snacks. Ben bought some of that disgusting cheese in a can and we played cheese Pictionary. It was fun.

We had such a great trip and had so much fun with the fam. Thanks Mom, Dad, Carrie and Maddie for the fun time!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Happy 2nd Birthday, Evan!

From this...

to this...

The past two years have just flown by. I'm so thankful for sweet little Evan.
Happy Birthday, buddy.