Monthly Archives: February 2013

Industrious Boys

And a lazy lazy mama.


Leaving the Village

This morning was our last at the village. We went to breakfast later than usual, because Paul and I were madly trying to pack up all of our stuff (plus a metric ton of toys and games that the boys were given during our stay; we really need another bag), and the boys were industriously unpacking it all as soon as we turned away for a second. We finally made it, though, and were happy to find our friends there, helping with breakfast.



After we ate, the boys gave lots of hugs to the girls and said goodbye (to their teacher, too, though we didn’t get a picture of her, sadly). I don’t know all the details of their school service trip, but it seems like a wonderful program. Even though J and M above were special, we interacted with quite a few of the girls on the trip, and they were all just great. Their parents and their teachers are clearly doing something right.

We had to check out of our condo, but were able to stay around a bit in the village itself, so we took a look through the chapel and the Gallery of Hope (more on those later), and took a stroll through the Castle of Miracles again. I don’t think I shared a picture of the pillow tree yet.


The little “mushroom” stools there will light up when you sit on them, and the pillow owl helps each child (not just the wish child) make a special pillow to remember their time at Give Kids the World.

We were sad to leave the village, but it was made easier (for me at least) by knowing where we were going. We took the opportunity to extend our trip on our own, and we’ll be at the beach for a few days. I-4 across Florida was a little crazy (which won’t be news to anyone who’s ever traveled it), but we made it safely to the Atlantic coast, and schlepped everything into the “new house” (as Levi calls it). When you step out the front door, this is the view.


If you take about 20 steps, you get this:



I’m pretty thrilled. I love being near the ocean. I don’t need to go in it. If I can see it and hear it, I’m happy.

Good thing, too. It’s 55 degrees here today (Fahrenheit, of course, if you’re reading from Canada). Only crazy surfers in full wetsuits are in the ocean, and only a couple of those. Levi is ticked because I wouldn’t let him go swimming in the pool. It’s heated, but at 55 degrees, I’m not sure how much that matters.

Happily, it’ll be warming up significantly and should be around 70 tomorrow, and 80 on Wednesday. We have some ideas for fun activities for the boys in addition to swimming and sand castles, and I’m looking forward to revisiting a favorite restaurant. (Paul and I spent three months in this area nine years ago.)

That’s enough typing for now. I have an ocean to go look at!

A Different Sort of Day

We did make it to see Shamu last night, and he was all geared up in this pirate duds. This is a pretty bad picture – Shamu kept jumping up and down, and I’m not much of a photographer, so I couldn’t compensate.


Today was a different sort of day again – Levi wasn’t feeling so well. It was different from whatever hit me – he felt pretty good most of the day, but just couldn’t keep anything down. Paul stayed home with him and gave him lots of love and baths and let him play Angry Birds. We decided that it wasn’t necessary for all of us to stay, though, and Paul had no interest at all in something I very much wanted to do, so Elias got a whole day alone with his mama. He had a fantastic day hanging on to my finger and  chugging along after me. Just about every time I looked down, I saw this:


The two of us went to Universal Islands of Adventure, and he continued his shameless flirting tour by utterly charming the parking attendant before we even got into the park. We passed through Seuss Landing


and arrived at my desired destination – Harry Potterville. It did not disappoint (as someone told me it would not). The Hogwarts Express is sitting right there as you walk in, and you can visit all of the shops from the novels, as well as tour Hogwarts castle. I didn’t do any of the rides (Elias is far too little for any of them), but I did do the walking castle tour. The talking portraits are everything I could have hoped for, and the Fat Lady guarding the Gryffindor common room is a hoot. I grabbed a frozen butterbeer on the way out, and Elias shared it with me. (Non-Potterites, calm down. Butterbeer is non-alcoholic. Think root beer.)


We had a great day together, and I think his very favorite thing might have been the moving sidewalks between the parking and the park entrance at Universal. There were several going each way, and he laughed like a loon every time he stepped onto one.

The Splash Bash party at the village (normally held poolside) was moved indoors because temps are in the 50s tonight, so we toddled on over to the Safari Theater, and right inside the door we found the boys’ new girlfriends. :)


We even tried to Facetime with Gigi and Auntie Lou right then, but the boys couldn’t tear themselves away. Men are fickle.

Back At It

The boys saw their special friends again at breakfast this morning. I asked, and the girls are here through Sunday, just like we are. Such lucky boys!

Everyone slept late this morning, so we had a later start, but it was chilly and overcast, and the Disney parks weren’t too crazy yet.

We got to see the Lion King show (Levi LOVED the acrobatic monkeys), and got to meet Chip and Dale, Mickey and Minnie, and Donald. Oh my.

We topped off the day with a safari ride, which was really great – the boys loved seeing all the animals, and I thought it was pretty cool myself. Elias fell asleep on my lap on the way back to the car, and we are all taking a little rest before supper and the pirate party. Apparently Shamu will be there meeting kids. Can’t miss that!

A Spot of Bother, and Christmas

We had planned to hang around the Village today and let the boys decompress from all the chaos at the theme parks. Turns out this was a very good thing. I woke up in the wee hours, sick. Whew. I was down for the count most of the day. Instead of running around with both of us all day, the boys ran around with Paul. I was either in bed or on the couch most of the day. I couldn’t face any supper except some saltines and Sprite, but I did make it down to the Christmas celebration afterward.

While I was worshipping at the altar of the porcelain god, the boys went to the pool and met some special friends. There is a group of girls here on a school service trip from New Jersey. Two of them fell in love with the boys, and entertained them for a long time. When we made it to the Christmas celebration, there they were, dressed as candy canes. Here is the joyous reunion, with the boys showing off their new presents.



I don’t know if I’m going to be able to make it to a theme park tomorrow or not. I am much better, but definitely not running on all eight cylinders yet. Hoping for a good night’s sleep tonight, and that my sickness definitely was food poisoning, and that it won’t be transfered to anyone else.


It looked like today was shaping up to be the hottest day of our trip, so we decided to head to Sea World. We got to pet sting rays and see dolphins play, and then we went to see a show with Shamu.


This is not really Shamu.

I took a picture of this instead of the real thing because Levi’s Give Kids the World button got us reserved seating, front row center. I feared for my phone (which I’m using as my point and shoot on this trip) so I put it in a waterproof case during the show.

We didn’t get nearly as wet as the people in the sections to either side of us, but in a way I’m glad I had put it away anyway. It’d be nice to have the pictures of three killer whales right in our faces. But this way I got to experience every bit of it instead of trying to capture it, which I wouldn’t do that well anyway.

What fun! This was our favorite thing outside the village so far.

We’re all tired, so we are headed back to the village to get lunch delivered to our door.

I’m never coming home.

ETA: Paul chastised me for not telling the blogosphere about Levi’s little snit. We got splashed last of all, and he kept saying, “WHY are they not SPLASHING us?!? Mama, WHY?!?”  What a goober.

Not All Fun and Games

A day and a half of this treatment has produced a certain amount of entitlement in two small boys. Paul snapped this picture of me addressing the problem at the entrance to Disney.


I look awfully stern. I wonder why it doesn’t work better …