Thursday, April 24, 2014

Spring Break 2014

Because I've got to start somewhere, right?  Just for you mom.

After going back and forth, researching places, checking availability...we finally settled on Orlando, sans Disney, for our Spring Break destination once again this year.  It's central location just made sense for the way we roll.

And after one of the longest winters on the books,  April finally arrived.

Well, that crazy busy week before leaving...when all things needed to be wrapped up at work for Tim, laundry, packing, sneaking out to tan, wrapping up projects for me....Sydney got sick.  And my heart sank in the anticipation of what this would mean for our family of 7 and our loooong awaited venture.

Throughout the course of the week, Tim, Stella, and Ellery fell to the fever, coughing, and misery.  I was on edge, popping my Emergen-C, and tossing them to the boys as often as I could. Tim and I were crazy cycle-ish from the stress/weariness of the week, that by the time Thursday night rolled around, all vacation zeal was lost.

We hit the road at 6:00pm Friday night determined to move forward, change our attitudes, forgive, get well, have a wonderful time together, and make some memories.

Backing out of the starting blocks, some genuine smiles already...

The drive went well!  
We were back to our fun-loving selves, with genuine conversation before we hit the state line.  We took turns driving throughout the night... I made it thru Louisville without seeing any red and blue...and we rolled into the parking lot of our Macon, GA Denny's just in time for breakfast.

It's always fraction time.

After breakfast we continued on, and made it to the Florida welcome center to load up on free orange juice and pamphlets shortly before noon.

We arrived at our resort right at 3 pm check-in time.  The kids were eager to check out the pool, and all of the resorts amenities.  We were eager to crash.

We swam, ate dinner, ran to Walgreens for more drugs, searched a few souvenier shops for a net, as Dylan was already frantically chasing and terrorizing the lizards, played basketball, and finally collapsed into bed at 9:00pm, exhausted.

Sunday morning we all slept in, hoping to recover from the lack of sleep and sickness.  Before noon, we packed a picnic and headed out to Cocoa Beach.

Still happy...

We played on the beach all afternoon, and then went to explore The Manatee Sanctuary Park that the kids spotted on the way into town. 

We started back and realized we still had the fishing poles in the back of the van, so we pulled off the side of the highway to fish. 
 It was so great!  We enjoyed watching the dolphins swim close by, and we even got to see a manatee after all! 

We made it back to our condo eventually, and headed to Applebees for dinner, played a little basketball, and called it a day.

Monday morning we were up and at 'em heading to Sea World for the day.

Petting the creepy

It was a good day. 
 By evening the park cleared out, so the kids were able to have their fill of the rides.

Tuesday rain was looming, so we headed to Downtown Disney.  
And it poured.  
So we ran from store to store, along with every other person on Spring Break in the greater Orlando area.

We left there early afternoon, and grabbed lunch at Pizza Hut. Ellery was beside herself,  screaming about her ears and just plain miserable, so we made another stop at Walgreens to replenish our drug supply, and headed back to our condo so she could sleep.  We hung out at the resort in the evening and played some mini golf, basketball and tennis.

Wednesday we were on the road early, headed to Port Canaveral for a day of charter boat fishing.
We so badly wanted to try a private charter this time...but unfortunately every boat going out of the east side of the state is licensed for 6, and would not budge when I offered to keep Ellery in my purse.

Dramamine worked like a charm!
None of us were sick, but sadly we caught no fish this year. Probably the biggest let down of our vacation.
Thursday we once again enjoyed our Sizzler breakfast buffet, bought some paddle boards, and headed out to Jetty Park in Port Canaveral, a delightful park that we discovered while returning from charter fishing. We spent the afteroon on the beach, and even saw a rocket launch out of Kennedy Space Center!

We walked the board walk, grabbed our poles and did some fishing out of the port. It was fun to watch the sea turtles, dolphins, pelicans, and cruise ships go by.

Tim, doing what he does best :)

Friday we were up and at 'em, destination LegoLand.  Tim and I were pleasantly surprised, as we weren't expecting much of the park.  We wound up staying an hour after the park closed, and could have stayed a bit longer.  Once the kids find rides they like...they are in repeat mode.

"That was awwwwesome"... Dylan turned a corner to liking roller coasters.

We took a stroll through Cypress Gardens...

We found the Banyan Tree...

We all cracked up watching Ellery drive and get herself stuck every 2 feet. She never did complete a lap :) 
 I could watch that all day!

Sat. morning we all worked together to get packed up and checked out.
We hit the pool on the way out, changed, and were on the road by 11:30.

The drive home went pretty well.  We made it out of Florida no problem, but hit a lot of traffic in GA.  That is one long state to take by the hypotenuse in crawling traffic!  By the time we crossed over into Chattanooga, Ellery was puking...all ideas of possibly pulling over to sleep were gone. This van was getting home!

We traded off driving again and drove straight thru. We pulled into our driveway at 8:15am Sunday morning and promptly went to bed.

All in all, it was a great trip.  It was not DisneyWorld as we kept reminding the kids, but a pretty fantastic time together.