Friday, January 10

Family Florida Trip

Well I was a complete slacker during the two weeks of Christmas break, but honestly, having such a long break from technology was AMAZING. It was freeing. I should do it more often. I wouldn't have gone on the computer at all if Dalin hadn't shown me a few articles during our trip.

What trip you ask?

For those of you who didn't hear, Dalin, Tenley, and I flew to Florida to spend Christmas with my parents, brothers, and cousins from both sides of the family. It was probably the best trip Dalin and I have ever taken together in my opinion. I didn't even bring my laptop or Kindle because I just wanted to be able to focus completely on being with my family and taking in our experiences.

I have lots of fun photos to share, but there are so many I'll have to go through them and pick my favorites.

But about our trip:

December 23:
We flew to Orlando--which is the dumbest airport I've even been in as far as quality goes (it's super huge and really cool inside with its own hotel, indoor trees, Disney and SeaWorld stores, etc. inside) but they have serious crowd control and customer service issues. They lost Tenley's car seat and stroller (and tons of other people's luggage from our flight) which was ridiculous, but then it was going to be okay because they told us they replace lost ones, so we went through the process of acquiring new stuff when, almost two hours after we'd landed, they suddenly found them. Sheesh. But at least we got them back.

My parents picked us up in their car which they had driven down over the last 48 hours (it's a 24-hour drive, but they decided to break it up) and we met up with my brothers at the Hilton Orlando, which is a really cool hotel. My parents booked a hotel for a few nights just around Christmas because we didn't want to impose on our family for the holidays (though I know they wouldn't have minded). Our rooms were connected and the hotel had an amazing pool, water slide, lazy river, basketball and tennis courts, fire pits, etc. It had several other things too that we didn't even use. We went to Ihop for a late-night dinner then stayed up in the hotel room talking and catching up with my brothers.

Christmas Eve:
We went to SeaWorld (like two minutes from our hotel) and enjoyed the dolphins, rides, and particularly the new ride called Manta which is amongst our top favorite coasters now. We also went to a special Christmas-themed Shamu show which was especially awesome because they actually included Christ in the music and message. Afterward, the boys played on the basketball court while my mom, Tenley, and I roasted marshmallows and relaxed. Well, Tenley just relaxed ;)

Christmas Day:
We opened our stockings while listening to Christmas music in our hotel room, then we spent the majority of the day down by the pool. We "tanned" (ha ha, except I'm still snow white) and played in the lazy river, then played doubles on the tennis court. We ate some very good homemade pizzas at the hotel restaurant and had tropical drinks. It was definitely the most unique Christmas we'd ever had. We wouldn't trade the experience, but it was very weird having no snow, Christmas tree, or Nativity (we left all those at home). Still, I don't think anyone wanted to trade it.

The next several days were a blur a fun and tiring activities. We tried to fill every moment and truthfully over-planned a little. Or a lot. But it was awesome and I'm so glad we took advantage of every day! Here are some more highlights from our trip (December 26-January 3):

Payson taught Tenley to grab her feet which she now does frequently. She also loves sucking on her tiny toes. It's precious. (This is a milestone for babies so it's a big deal ;)
He also taught her to roll over but she can't get completely over by herself yet. She's so close though!
We also taught her to sign "I love you" back to us in ASL. I'll post a video if I ever catch it!
We went to Islands of Adventure and spent the majority of our time at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter which is amazing (but SO busy during Christmastime!)
We rode Dragon Challenge and the Forbidden Journey.
We ate authentic British food supposedly--delicious fish and chips (fries)--in the Three Broomsticks.
We also tried Butterbeer both in slush form and regular (I preferred the slush).
We visited Honeyduke's, Zonko's, Ollivander's, and Dervish and Banges (obviously we had to go in every Harry Potter store...)
We also rode the Hulk, Spiderman, Jurassic Park, and plenty of other rides at Islands of Adventure.
We took Tenley around Dr. Seuss world (too bad she won't remember it...)
Uncle Payson held Tenley like 50% of the trip. She just LOVED him.
We were fed numerous amazing and authentic Swedish dinners from my Swedish cousin, Arielle and my aunt Nina.
On Sunday, we went to Church with our Swedish cousins.
We visited with a lot of wonderful family members from each side of my parents' family.
We ate at the Black Hammock and Payson and I shared gator, catfish, and frog legs for dinner. 
We also held Max, a small gator.
After, we took flashlights and went gator hunting in the dark by the lake (so freaky when you see their eyes glowing in the distance).
We visited Blue Springs and watched wild manatees swimming down the clear blue and green river.
We drove to Tampa to Busch Gardens and rode the water rides and best of all, Shiekra. We also liked Cheetah Chase and the Sky Ride which took us right over the animals.
We got free Quick Queue passes at Sea World just because a worker saw my dad's Red Sox shirt!(meaning we got to skip the regular lines).
We caught dozens of joeys (that's our name for those little lizards that are everywhere)--especially while waiting in line for rides.
We rode Manta, Kraken, and Journey to Atlantis at Sea World.
We spent more quarters (and more money) squirting people on the water rides with my dad than probably anything else at every park we visited.
We ate way too many turkey legs.
We learned that Florida drinking water is awful no matter how many times you try it.
As a result, I drank more soda during the trip than I have since I married Dalin (who doesn't drink soda and it rubbed off on me).
We loved the Men in Black ride, Transformers, E.T., and the Mummy ride at Universal Studios.
We started collecting magnets from the places we'd been on this trip.
We roasted marshmallows on New Year's Eve, watched the ball drop, played Bananagrams, and cheered 2014 with Sparkling Grape Juice (no one in our family drinks alcohol).
We went to an awesome outlet mall and my mom bought Tenley some rad little Nikes.
We got a tour of the University of Central Florida from our cousin, Nathan, and checked out the Psychology building for Dalin.
We watched a Knight's game with family and ate the most delicious filet mignon you could ever imagine (courtesy of Uncle Brad ;).
We canoed/kayaked down a crystal clear and winding river through Florida's swampy woods at dusk (it felt like we were in the amazon or somewhere crazy and was one of the coolest parts of our trip).
We got rained and poured on (unusual for us when we've visited Florida).
We laughed so much with all of our family.
We dreaded leaving...
So we extended our trip another 24 hours and looked into extending it further (but all the flights were sold out).
We decided we should probably go back soon.

Prepare for a photo overload. Seriously, it was so hard to pick just a few.
My parents surprised us with these cute plates. #Favorite grandchild ;)

Christmas morning in pajamas!
The water slide leading into a very small part of the humongous pool at our hotel

Flaring her nostrils at me. Can't handle the cuteness!
Slightly excited to be at Harry Potter world
A joey.
Realistic reaction to getting mauled by a T-Rex.
Wild manatees (a mom and two babies!) at Blue Springs!
My brother, Donovan, holding Max the baby gator
Grandma Searle and our sweetheart, Tenley
This was so cute of Tenley and my brother, Payson, how could I NOT put it?!
Canoeing down the Amazon...jk, but it felt like it!
Looking much happier than I felt to be leaving Florida :(
What did you do for Christmas and New Years?
Have you ever been to Florida before?
What about Orlando? 
Is there something you love/would love to do there?

No comments:

Post a Comment

I absolutely love to hear from you & will reply if I can!