Monday, March 23, 2015

Florida

We had so much fun spending a week in Florida with my parents, sister, and her husband!  We are so grateful to my parents generosity in renting a house and inviting us to join them!  Here is a compilation of pictures/videos from all of my family members.  It was an awesome trip that went way too fast!

We arrived at the airport at 5:15am on Saturday morning.  The kids did an awesome job of pulling their own luggage around the airport (See this video of Colton)!
Uncle Eric and Summer both had pink suitcases!
Larkyn did really well on the flight and waiting in the airport.
 Once we arrived in Florida, we waited at the airport while Grandpa went and picked up our rental car.  Uncle Eric and the kids played on a luggage cart.


My parents rented an 11 passenger van so we could all drive around together.

Eric and Kristin rode in the back, with the kids in front of them.  Paul, Larkyn and I rode in the second row with Grandma and Grandpa in the front.

My parents rented a cute yellow house that was only a short walk from the ocean.

The kids favorite part of the house was the bunk beds!

We all loved the pool!

Larkyn loved watching the ceiling fan with Daddy and they enjoyed cuddling and watching it together every day (seriously!)  Larkyn and Daddy had a lot of special moments including slow dancing together (see video).

I loved having Paul with us (not at work) for a WHOLE WEEK and eating lots of delicious food without having to cook was a bonus!

Grandma and Larkyn :)

One of my favorite parts of growing up was listening to stories my dad would make up and tell us.  He has continued the tradition with my kids, and the kids got to have many "storytime with Grandpa" sessions!

On Monday we went to the turtle hospital, a place where sea turtles go to be rehabed from various tumors and injuries caused by boats, trash, and pollution in the ocean.

It was very interesting and the kids got to be up close with over 40 turtles.

They even have ambulances!

The group at the turtle hospital

One of my favorite meals - SHRIMP!

Larkyn was so flexible, sleeping wherever she could, on days when it didn't work to be at the house for a nap!

After lunch we all loved watching the exuberant pelicans eat up the fish remains from the fisherman while he fillet -ed his fish.

Plastic flamingo!

We had quite the experience waiting 3+ hours to be seen at a clinic for a persistent cough of Colton's and a strange eye virus of Summer's.  After several trips to a pharmacy for medicine (they filled the prescription wrong twice!) we finally were on the road to health for the rest of the trip.  It was quite the day and full of, uh, interesting memories!

Cute sisters!

The kids had fun playing in the sand Monday evening

And burying mom's feet kept them both entertained for quite a while!

Trying on Uncle Eric's shades!

Summer's turn!


On Tuesday morning my parents watched the kids while Kristin, Eric, Paul and I went fly boarding.

Paul went first.  After getting suited up with life jacket and helmet...

He put on boots, which clip onto a board, which is connected to a large hose, which is connected to a jetski.  The water comes out of the jetski and propels the board.

After starting by zooming in "superman position" through the water, you stand up and let the water lift you into the air.  It is a little tricky to balance, but after a while we all got the hang of it.

The rest of us got to watch each other from a pontoon boat.
Here is a video of Paul learning...

 

 Here is a video of Paul learning how to correct his balance when he started to tip....




Here it is my turn.  You can see our guide in the foreground.  He controls the volume of the water which determines how high you rise above the water.  He also coaches us through a walky talky that comes out through our helmet so he can teach us.
It was so tricky to stay balanced but it was so fun!

If you lose your balance it is hard to get it back!  I love this picture of Kristin falling because it looks like she is doing a cool stunt!  Kristin's cheerleading flyer days helped her pick up the balancing very quickly!
Eric did the best of all of us and was able to get up to almost 30 feet off the water!

Afterwards, we met up at a cute lunch place, Robbies, where we got to eat outside by the ocean.

Daddy/Summer


Right by the restaurant was a place you could feed fish that literally jumped out of the water to get the food.  Pretty fun to watch.  See this video.

kiddos.

Summer got some special Grandma and Grandpa time while her little sibs napped.

She loved the one-on-one time, as well as the kayaking!

Cute pic!
Big girl.


She also got special pool time with her Aunt and Uncle while her little sibs napped.  Its fun being a big kid!  See this video.

Auntie Kristin, Uncle Eric, and Summer.

Random cute pic of Larkyn

On Wednesday morning, the girls and the kids spent the morning at the pool (while the guys went fishing). 

Both kids loved playing with the landscaping rocks!  Our adventure for the morning was losing Summer's earring in the pool...and then finding it again!

The guys had a great time fishing.  Here is my stud with one of his fish :)

The best story from the morning was that Uncle Eric caught a shark!

Sweet girls.

Bananas!

On Wednesday afternoon, Paul and I got out for a mini kayak date.

LOVE this guy.
On Thursday we all spent a relaxing day at the pool.

 Here is a cute video of Larkyn splashing in the pool.



Larkyn and I cuddled while Paul pushed us around the pool...rough, I know :-)

On Thursday after naps we went mini golfing.   Here was Summer's first time!

Colton got the hang of it by the end (and lots of Grandpa and Daddy help!)

On Friday we went to the Theater of the Sea - an outdoor aquarium of sorts with many live animal shows.

Gorgeous grounds.

Beautiful flowers!

Sweet Larkyn

The dolphin show was incredible, with the trainers dancing with the dolphins
 Here are a few videos (seriously awesome!):








Dolphin jumping through a hoop
The sea lion show was probably my favorite. 
Summer with the dolphin trainers

Colton with the dolphin trainers.

Summer with one of the birds from the bird show.

Larkyn caught a cat nap with Grandpa before the open bottom boat ride.  Super cool up close with the dolphins (see this video)

Summer and Grandma
Grandma and Grandpa let each kid pick out a souvenir from the gift shop...Summer picked a Mermaid

Colton picked an alligator truck



Larkyn got a little dolphin book :)


Our last dinner was at a beautiful open air restaurant.  I couldn't help snapping this picture of Summer as I looked across the table at my big girl, breeze blowing through her hair.  When did she get so old?! :)

On Saturday morning, we flew home.  The kids loved watching the airplanes out the window as we waited for our flight.

As a thank you to Grandma and Grandpa Kirkwood, our family made a "thank you" book, writing and illustrating our favorite parts of our trip.  Each kid signed the pages of the pictures they drew.  (Although I helped Colton with the "C" and the "N" in his name).  I thought the kids' drawings turned out really cute, so I will end our trip blog post with their rendition of our trip below.  The kids thought it was pretty fun that Daddy included a picture, too, and spent 20 minutes watching him draw every detail and commentating on his drawing, lol!


















 Thank you, Grandma and Grandpa, for such a wonderful trip!