We've had a BUSY week, and I was all set to include a bunch of pictures in this post, but for some reason my computer isn't "seeing" my phone/camera, so if I'm bored in the car tomorrow I'll e-mail them to myself & add them in later).
Meanwhile . . . Since I wrote last week's post a day early, we'll start with last Sabbath:
My Dad's cousin & family had been vacationing about an hour from where we were in Tampa, and were heading home that day, so we were able to spend a few minutes visiting with Dad's cousin & his wife at our hotel before we left it, and then a few minutes visiting with his daughter (my second cousin, for those who keep track of such things) and her family, at the beach that afternoon. It was great to see them again! I don't think we'd seen them since the big girls were babies or toddlers.
Little Bit got her first beach experience and the big girls hadn't been to a beach since they were 3 or 4, so all were excited. When we first got there Little Bit wanted NOTHING to do with it. She didn't want to touch teh sand or water, but after sitting on Daddy's lap for a few minutes watching big sisters & I play in the shallow water, she got over it and then had a BLAST running down teh sand and into the water then back up the sand. She also ventured out to where her sisters were in the water several times, which meant she was walking out into chest-high (on her) water. Being knocked down by the waves didn't seem to phase her, silly kid.
I teased A1 that she was turning into a mermaid, she spent the whole time we were there (more or less) in waist to chest deep water, just splashing and swimming around. A2 wasn't quite so thrilled, she was happily gathering shells until she picked one up and something (I'm guessing a hermit crab) stuck it's head out at her, she dropped it too fast for us to know FOR SURE what it was LOL. And then a few minutes later she claimed that a crab pinched her, but that might have been her imagination (and a sharp shell tumbling by in the tide). She was much more "brave" than when she was 3, and was terrified to even get near the water LOL).
After our fun at the beach we headed to Orlando and the time share we rented for the week.
I think it's easier to summarize by park, rather than by day (we spent 2 days at each park):
Acquatica (Busch Garden's water park in Orlando). On Sunday it wasn't at ALL crowded (I was nervous about it being busy on a weekend) and was great weather for it. The girls LOVED the wave pool, they wore life jackets and spent as long as we'd let them out in the 5 ft water just floating & paddling around. Little Bit nursed to sleep so I sat on a beach chair under an umbrella and held her and read a Kindle book on my phone while Mom & Rodney (Dad had a cold, so opted to stay home that day) took the girls on various water slides & such. After Little Bit woke up we took her to a wading pool & she found a slide that was her size. She LOVED it!! Then the girls really wanted me to go with them on a rapids ride they'd been on while Little Bit had been sleeping. We read the "rules" and it didn't say we couldn't take Little Bit, and Rodney said he thought it would be fine, so we took her. Basically it was a "lazy river" type ride, with the water flowing around a circular "river" but instead of riding inner tubes you just swim/float/walk straight in the water, and the "current" is stronger than most river rides. Kids have to wear life jackets, adult can (we all did). Little Bit LOVED LOVED LOVED it! As soon as we got out in that moving water she got this big grin on her face and kept it there until we got out (except, for some reason, she would NOT let my mom or Rodney hold her, only me, which is weird, because out of the water she generally prefers my mom to me unless she wants to nurse), so the few times I tried to give her to one of them, she cried, and when we got out she wasn't too happy.
When we went back to Acquatica on Thursday, it was rainy, BUT we figured if you're wet, who cares about rain & was supposed to be cooler temperatures on Friday. It was great, NOBODY was there! The water was heated so teh cool breeze that came with the rain wasn't a problem & while it rained off & on, it never POURED and never stormed. As soon as we got there & started to walk past the Rapids ride, Little Bit recognized it & started pointing to it & making her "grunts" that mean "I want that", so we did that first thing, she loved it just as much as the first day LOL. Then she nursed to sleep while Mom & Dad did stuff with the big girls (Rodney flew home on Thursday, that pesky thing called work . . .). That afternoon we got the girls on some of the bigger slides, including one where you lay on your back (in the water, no tube or mat) and slide through a "tube", looked claustrophobic to me, but they loved it. Then just before closing time, they saw one that you lay head first on your stomach on a mat and go down though a tube for awhile & then down a STEEP slide at the end & wanted to try it, they LOVED it! I told them they officially were NOT allowed to say any of the water rides at Sesame Place are "too scary" (so far they have never been willing to try a couple of the water slides there) because nothing there is ANYTHING like that one, so we'll see what happens next time we're there.
Sea World - was crowded both days we were there, but since it's mostly shows, that's not too horrible, especially since our Sesame Place passes gave us "Premier Seating" at some of the shows.. The girls had been looking forward to the "Shamu roller coaster" (kids roller coaster) but after one time on it declared it "boring". The first day we went, Mom's ribs were bothering her so she decided she better go to a doctor, so she & Dad spent most of their day doing that instead of coming with us (the diagnosis was muscle pain & the "cure" was not to lift Little Bit so much LOL), I wanted to go on the log flume type ride (I've wanted to every year but the other times the girls have been afraid to go, now that they'd rode the log flumes at Busch Gardens, that wasn't an issue anymore). So Rodney was going to stay with Little Bit while I took them, but then we realized that the seating was 2 people per seat & A2 wasn't willing to sit with A1 (and me in teh seat behind them), and A1 wasn't willing to risk sitting with a "stranger", so A2 opted to stay with Daddy & Little Bit instead. A1 & I had a BLAST! And they seemed to be letting single riders sit alone, so A1 said if we went again, with A2, she'd ride alone, but something happened and whereas we'd pretty much walked right one when A1 & I went, by the time we went and found the rest of them and the 3 of us went back there was a 40 min wait, so we didn't take time to go again.
Disney - so funny what a couple years does . . . the girls now declared the mine train "too slow". So Rodney & I took them on Space Mtn. Even it was "slow in spots" according to them, silly girls. They also decided it wasn't worth wasting time waiting in line to get pictures with characters (something we spent a LOT of time doing last time we were down here). When we got off Space Mtn. they saw the race cars (where you drive the car) and wanted to do that. When I asked A2 (who I rode with) if she was going to keep from jerking around she was very confident . . . "I've seen you drive LOTS of times Mommy, it's EASY" once we were in the car, she conceded that "it's not as easy as it looks" LOL.
Before we even came on this trip, A1 had decided she wanted to collect pins from our travels, so each of the girls got one at Busch Gardens, Acquatica, and Sea World. Then at Disney, we went to a pin shop and I explained about the whole "trading pins" thing that Disney encourages & they were very excited about that. When they chose their initial pins, we got a couple "trading pins" as well, and they were able to trade those for Ariel & Belle pins, which they were excited about. Then when we were at Epcot (our second Disney day), we were going to go on the Mexico ride, but it was temporarily closed, so the girls decided to ask the lady who was standing there telling people the ride was closed, if they could see her pins, to possibly trade (A2 had one that she was still wanting to trade), and lo & behold, she had a PURPLE ARMADILLO pin!!! A2 was SOO excited!!! Later, I was in a shop & noticed that the purple armadillo pin is part of a set of Toy Story pins. Since the girls have never seen Toy Story, the rest of the pins in that set wouldn't have meant anything to them, so trading was the only way A2 would have been able to get the purple armadilllo (unless we bought the whole set just for that one pin & traded the rest away). It made her day LOL. In general, Epcot was a hit with the girls.
And that was our week in Orlando. Yesterday (Sabbath) on our way out of town, we went to the Holy Land Experience (the girls had seen it advertised on TBN and thought it looked interesting). It was VERY interesting, and the big girls enjoyed it, however, the map gives NO information about any of the shows/attractions, and most of them were not only not interesting to toddlers (that was to be expected), but were designed such that toddlers couldn't be a part of things at all! There's a "museum" sort of that has lots of artifacts of the "'Bible" (starting with clay fragments from thousands of years ago) through the ages, it's pretty cool because you "move through history" and each room has a recording that tells about the stuff in that room, BUT there's no leaving or joining in the middle, so when Little Bit needed to go potty part way through, I had to find my way through a maze of rooms (and I suspect, I messed up the recording for a couple other groups along the route, but what else could I do? There wasn't anyone to ask how to best get out & I was pretty sure they didn't want her leaving a "puddle" in their museum (she was wearing training pants but had just woken up from a nap & training pants don't hold a full post-nap pee).
So anyway, VERY cool park! Highly recommend it for older kids & adults, however, if your group includes anyone under 5, I'd recommend an adult just stay at the hotel with them, it's not worth the adult's admission price to have ot try to keep them entertained in the park IMO.
And now we're working our way home. . .
In other news, Little Bit is "growing" by leaps & bounds right now. She's finally started talking. Has probably added 20 words to her vocabulary on this trip! The moving water of the rapids ride &/or the life jacket she had to wear for that ride, at Acquatica apparently "taught" her to balance in the water, because when I took her to the pool at the time share on Thurs evening, she was able to stay afloat with just the arm floaties (at the hotel in Tampa she still "tipped over" when we tried just the arm floaties, though I'd gotten a "swim ring" on end of season clearance & that PLUS the arm floaties worked to give her abit more "freedom" since she doesn't like being held in the water.), and was SOO excited about that.
AND the potty training continues . . . she had some misses when shows & ride lines meant I was pushing my luck, and for some reason, one day after her nap I asked her if she wanted to go potty & she said no and proceeded, no more than 2 minutes later, to pee all over the ground (again, training pants don't hold a full post-nap pee . . .). But overall she did well. . . she DID hold it long enough for me to wend my way out of the maze of a museum I mentioned above, and THEN when we got out & I tracked down the nearest bathroom there was a LINE!! only 2-3 people waiting but I figured it would REALLY be pushing my luck (and I really didn't want to get peed on) to stand in the line, so I tried holding her over the sink, but we haven't done that since she was pretty young and she loves to wash her hands, so she didn't pee, just asked to wash her hands, so we did, and by then the line was gone (thankfully) so I took her in the stall and she peed on the potty, woo-hoo!!!
Today, even with driving all day she stayed dry!! I had no hope of THAT, but we stopped once mid-late morning at a rest area and she peed there, then again at our lunch stop and then fell asleep and napped until we stopped for gas, so I took her to potty there, and then not again until the hotel (granted, we only drove about 5 hrs today, but still . . .) not holding my breath that it will happen consistently on driving days, but I'll take it LOL).
And that was our week . . . now I better get some sleep while Little Bit's sleeping since her sleep has been pretty hit or miss on this trip . . . I think all the "strange beds" give her fits, instead of waking up enough to ask to nurse, she wakes up, sits up, looks around . . . and by then she's AWAKE so it takes forever for her to nurse back to sleep, sigh . . .