Most people who read our blog already know that our family is enjoying a New Year's vacation in Florida! We've been so busy having fun that I haven't gotten on the laptop to blog about our activities, but I wanted to try to update this a little so that when I get home I won't feel so overwhelmed and procrastinate another month! I won't be able to post any pictures until we get home, but I'll add them in afterwards.
We spent a lazy afternoon last Sunday at the beach. Ted and I didn't put swimsuits on, but we did let the kids don theirs, not certain that they would actually want to get in the water. It's a good thing they had their suits on, though, because we couldn't tear them AWAY from the water! That is, until they noticed a flock of sea gulls standing near the shore a ways down from where we were. The rest of the afternoon, Tobin ran back and forth across the beach, scaring the birds into flight! Even Charis, who is typically more sensitive of other creatures and their feelings, had no qualms about running as fast as she could to stir things up a bit after the birds had settled back down. It was quite amusing to watch. Arden took the whole experience in stride, though he did look a bit alarmed as the first waves washed up on his legs...I think he felt the pull of the water and wasn't sure what, if anything, he should be doing!
On New Year's Day we drove our little rental car to the Shades of Green resort at Walt Disney World. Ted's cousin gave us the tip to stay here...it's for military families, and we got a great deal on our room compared with the actual Disney resorts. It's a beautiful place, and we had access to the WDW transportation, extra Magic Hours (not that we had the energy to use them), etc. We had decided that 2 days in the Magic Kingdom would be all we could handle (and afford!) this trip, so we enjoyed a leisurely day on Monday, checking in, unpacking, and then heading to the downtown Disney Village area, where we were promptly overwhelmed by the massive marketing pull. Ted noted that he thinks Las Vegas is the only other place he's been in that is as successful at separating people from their money as WDW is!
We did browse the stores a bit...the kids had some spending money, but we talked with them beforehand about looking around and making wise choices, and thankfully Charis didn't beg to buy anything in particular in most of the stores we were in. (Apparently the boys wanted to buy EVERYTHING--Ted and I split up for awhile to allow the kids to see different things.) Charis quickly learned the value of her dollars, asking me the price for various trinkets that caught her eye, only to reply, "Too much" no matter what the amount was that I told her!
The Lego store was very cool, and the kids loved seeing the huge Lego statues inside and outside the store. They didn't seem as interested in actually playing with the Legos, though there was a play area there...but the fact that dinner time was approaching probably had something to do with that. We stopped into Mickey's Mart (everything is under $10, and Charis was all over that) and found Charis's first purchase, "Mars Mud." It's kind of a gooey, putty-like substance. Grandma J had given each of the boys a jar of brown Mars Mud for Christmas, and Charis decided she wanted her own. She picked green, though. :-) We were given a plethora of Mickey Mouse stickers at the checkout, so all in all, it was $4 well spent.
Then we went to the Rainforest Cafe to eat, where we decided to take the hosts up on the offer for immediate seating if we were willing to take a table outdoors. We figured the sooner the kids could eat, the better...but quickly found that the cool night air was going to make for a very whiny Tobin, who does not deal well with discomfort. Ah, well...we enjoyed our meal as quickly as we could, then headed back to the hotel.
We had promised the kids we would take them swimming, and as the pool was heated, we wanted to keep that promise to them. So, we donned our suits and headed for the pool, much to the kids' delight. The big pool is shaped like a Mickey head, and there is a shallow kids' area as well. The "heated" pool wasn't particularly warm, but that didn't stop the kids from having a grand time! We called it quits around 8 p.m. and got ready for bed as quickly as we could. Thankfully the kids all settled down really well, which was good because we had a big day ahead of us--Day 1 of our visit to the Magic Kingdom!