Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Florida Wildlife Preserve

One morning we drove around a little wildlife preserve that had lots of birds and butterflies. We even saw some manatees. I didn't take too many photos but here's a taste:
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Can you spot the many birds in the water?

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It was so serene, all these white wings fluttering about.

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Even in a nature preserve, you gotta hustle.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Airboating

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We went to the everglades! 

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Not THE Everglades, as in the National Park, but the everglades of central Florida. 

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We toured in on an airboat, which has a giant fan on the back, letting us hop along the water.

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We got to wear some cool gear. The fan was so loud and the headphones really toned it down. But we could still talk amongst ourselves with the microphones. You couldn't hear a bit of wind through the microphone, I was really surprised. Sean told me when he did his piloting experience a few years ago, they had the same sort of thing but the audio was not nearly as good. Seems like a place you'd need to be able to hear each other...

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Grey got some smaller headphones without all the audio stuff. Worked fine for him. He was a little hesitant about the whole situation for a bit but eventually seeing all the animals won out for him.

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I didn't find out until after the fact but the boat captain could turn off individual microphones, an ability which he exercised on Liam and Dash. While I didn't mind hearing "Gator! Right there! I see it!" on infinite repeat, perhaps the captain and other customers may not have. I wonder what the twins thought when suddenly they couldn't hear themselves.

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There was quite a lot of cattle roaming around. The captain said the alligators leave them alone since other prey is so prevalent.

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There were a lot of birds.

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See?

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And another.

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I love the legs of water fowl. So long and delicate.

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White on green.

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Time to fly.

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Time to catch some fish.

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Oh hello national bird of the US of A.

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Bye guys!

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How very southern looking.

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Taking a break, looking very wind-blown.

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But still smiling!

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Anxious to see some more!

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So lets talk gators! They were everywhere, sunning on the mud, taking a swim, going for a little walk.

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I must say, I was happy to have a nice boat separating me and those jaws.

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My favorite alligator was Chompers, who has a major case of under-bite.

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At the end, we could hold a baby gator. Just a moment later, this feller got antsy and gave Sean three scratch-like blood blisters with his claws. Yikes!

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Oh, and there's a pig in the store. Sure, why not?

Friday, April 17, 2015

Orlando Trip Spring 2015

We went to Orlando!

A) Sean stayed for five days, the rest of us for nine. So good to have free time with Sean. And so nice to not have to think about making dinner.
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B) Grey had the worst sleep ever ever ever ever. He came out of bed crying every night, usually multiple times (and once my mom found him apparently sleepwalking). Half way through the trip I let him stay in bed with me because I got more sleep that way. Which meant poor sleep for me because he's kicking my belly and elbowing my face and I wake myself up worrying about him falling off the side of the tall bed, but it was better than the alternative. The final night I threw in the towel and just put him to sleep in my bed. He only napped half the time and only then because I stayed in the room with him until he fell asleep. It was a mess.
C) Sean and I had two dates! First we had a triple date with my parents and sister and bro-in-law to go see an improv comedy show. Funny stuff! Then Sean and I went to an Escape the Room adventure (yep, like those computer games) where we had to find clues and solve puzzles with a bunch of strangers to try to escape. It was awesome. Sean and I were both clutch. (Find one in a city near you!)
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D) My boys kind of went crazy around their cousins. You could tell, they would watch them with such admiration, just waiting for the next cool and amazing thing they would do. The number of squeals and giggles was just out of this world.
E) I got my mom to try sushi for the first time. It was one piece of grocery store Philly roll but it counts.
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F) Any time we were at my parents house, the kids just wanted to be out by the pool. It wasn't always warm enough to swim so they'd play poolside. Pool toys constantly being thrown in. Only once did a fully dressed boy fall in the pool and even then, he just sort of slipped in, hanging on to the wall the whole time. I always had my phone out of my pocket in case I had to jump in for a fast rescue.
G) The car seats were split between two sedans. It was weird and interesting to have not-everyone in the car together. Easy to have conversations. Surprisingly, there were no fights over who goes where. In fact, Liam told me his favorite part of the trip was driving with Grandpa.
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H) Grey started doing this funny thing with his breathing. After calming down after a cry, he'd breath heavy with a slight sound to it while periodically stopping the sound in his throat. Some sort of weird soothing?
I) My parents received their mission call! They're staying in Orlando, working in the local mission office. This was all already planned, they just got the official call. They were originally supposed to go to the MTC in July but with baby girl being due that month, they were able to change it to June and then they'll start their mission office work after they get back from helping me when baby's born.
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J) Dash got to go with Sean and I to Target. We had parked next to a car with a Batman symbol, so while Sean was off doing something, Dash and I searched the store for Batman. He was totally into it. We think he scaled onto the roof as we were leaving.
K) Mom made a little chart for the kids to rank all the parks they visited. The winner was the one with the splash pad, surprise!
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L) Liam got pretty sad at the end of the trip, driving to the airport. He was trying to keep a brave face on but could see him holding in the tears. He kept saying how he was going to miss Grandma and Grandpa.
M) Since Sean had to go home early to work, that meant it was just me and the kids flying home (with a layover). Amazingly, the flights went wonderfully. Even when I realized the iPad hadn't charged the night before. Snacks saved the day. Now, our time in the airports was another story. Mostly because Grey wanted to go crazy with the stroller. After we got into MN, we had to wait for Sean to pick us up after work (ended up being three hours, oy). Grey hadn't napped at all so he pretty much went insane for half the time, then finally sunk into a stupor of tiredness. But we had some nice space to frolic in the baggage claim area and the boys all loved watching the luggage come down the conveyor belts. We saw a looot of flights come in. And then it started snowing. What a lovely welcome home.
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More posts about more fun activities to come!