Sunday, June 24, 2018

beach, sting rays and alligators!

The next day we drove a short 3 hours to Ft. Lauderdale.
This girl was so excited to see these signs on our door when we checked into our hotel- the Hilton Ft. Lauderdale Marina.  This was the host hotel for the USTA Tumbling competition and a short walk to the venue.
We had an amazing view of the marina and yachts coming in and out all the time.  So awesome!
#thoselegs
After settling into our room, we decided to check out the hotel.  It had an awesome pool area!
There was a little trail with things set up- the kids liked this steering wheel
Next we drove down the beach and checked out the ocean!  We took this picture for Ga Ga!
So much fun exploring!
I think it's in the kids rule book that when you're in sand, you have to dig a hole.  Ha!
She had to practice her tumbling pass on the beach!
Collecting seashells
All of a sudden we heard Daddy yelling from down the beach and we ran to see what he wanted to show us! Andrew couldn't get there fast enough!
Yes, that would be an actual, very mean looking sting ray just hanging out along the shore! 
#yikes #nothankyou
I will say I was nervous because I had taken this picture just before that sighting!
We took a little walk along the beach and they posed by this huge ice cream cone!
That made us hungry so we found the neatest little place to eat dinner right across the marina from our hotel called 15th Street Fisheries.

It quickly became our favorite restaurant in Ft. Lauderdale
And guess what?  We all ate alligator!
This was a first for all of us!
We all gave it a thumbs up!
It tasted just like chicken!
So the best part was, the waitress quickly brought us boxes for our leftovers and told us to head outside if we wanted to feed them to the fish.
We were a little confused, but quickly caught onto this neat little tradition!
They would literally throw a tiny piece of food into the water and a million fish would jump at it and make the biggest splashes.  It was so entertaining and hilarious! 
We had an absolute blast doing this and could've stayed the whole night!
Best.restaurant.ever.  We WILL be back!
We headed back to the hotel for an evening swim! The weather was perfect!
You just can't top this excitement
#thosemuscles
We swam until dark and the pool was just gorgeous
We ran into several tumbling families and had fun visiting
Daddy took Kerigan back to the room to get ready for bed since she had a big day the next day!  My little man and I stayed and swam and had so much fun.  That's a little restaurant and bar behind him.
When we got back to the room, these two were crashed!  It was such a fun day and evening exploring Ft. Lauderdale!

Up next, Kerigan's big day!

Friday, June 22, 2018

leavin' on a jet plane {sea world}

Here we are in an airport shuttle in St. Louis, very excitedly ready to board a plane to Orlando!
This sweet girl is taking us to the USTA Tumbling nationals in Ft. Lauderdale!
These two were so excited!
They had this neat play area where the kids entertained themselves as we waited to board.
 
They even had a mini airplane that looked just like a real plane inside.
They got to be the pilot!

Having so much fun!
Pretending to put luggage on the conveyor belt!

Luckily this time our airport adventures went smoothly and we had no delays!
Ready for a smooth flight!
This is all you need.  Ha!
The kids and I played several rounds of Old Maid to pass the time.  The stewardess commented that she had never seen anyone play cards on a plane before... really?  I was surprised!  It was actually pretty fun and entertained the kids really well.
Looking out at the clouds...
Of course we had to entertain ourselves with snapchat once we were back on the ground and waiting to disembark.
We had a little debacle with the rental car we had rented online so we had to go back to the airport and go through a different company.  The kids were so good and waited patiently.  No trip can go completely smoothly, right?  Ha!
We grabbed a late dinner at IHOP near our hotel and the next morning woke up bright and early to head to...
Sea World!
We were so excited to meet up with my best childhood friend, Carrie, and her crew!
What is it about maps that is so fascinating?  They all wanted to get one and lead us around!
Andrew was most looking forward to seeing the manatees more than anything else.  So we headed there first.
They have a rehabilitation facility that rescues manatees that have been injured or sick, and nurses them back to health before they return to the wild.
Andrew was completely smitten with the manatees.  He loved them so much and could have stayed there all day.
As we were walking our detail oriented daughter looked down and noticed these rocks and shells in the sidewalk- so cool!  
Buddies!
Then they had an underwater viewing of the manatees which made them a little easier to see.
Like I said, this guy was in awe.  He's our big animal lover.
I just love this picture
The kids had fun touching the rays!
This picture is so cute of Andrew and Eric- you can just imagine what they're saying!
Then Daddy took Andrew on this freakishly scary roller coaster!  They're up there somewhere!
They gave it two thumbs up!
Then I got talked into this Journey of Atlantis ride, which is like a log ride, and I hate rides like this!  Andrew just likes me to come so he can hear me scream!  Ha!
We took a lunch break and Ethan and Kerigan found a snow mobile to hang out on!
Next were the penguins!
Watching them swim is so fascinating
The best part was going inside where it was nice and cool!
We watched the dolphin show, which was really good!
Then they had more underwater animal viewing so we escaped the heat and checked it out!
This girl loves dolphins- her current future job is a dolphin trainer. #goals

Showing sweet Emery the dolphins
Next we headed to the polar area and Craig took the big boys on a ride while Carrie and I took the littles around to see the exhibits
They had lots of fun play areas that were like playing on ice!
Going inside a cave!
Pretending to be polar bears!
Real ice!  Let me tell you we all pretty much wanted to glue ourselves to these ice walls... it was SO HOT!
Selfie with my sweet girl while waiting for the boys
Sweet friends!
She wanted her picture by this pretty artwork
It started to get cloudy and rainy for a short time.
So we had to hurry for some shelter and this guy loved pushing Emery around!
We hit the gift shop to spend our money from Ga Ga.  Andrew got a manatee, of course!  And Kerigan got a dolphin!
We didn't time things right to see Shamu, which was a little disappointing.  We ended up doing other things during the shows, and then when we went to view Shamu underwater, he was off to the side sleeping!  Ha!  So we never got a good view.  Luckily we had seen killer whales at Sea World when we were in San Diego last year.

We were so hot, sweaty and tired so we decided not to stay for the last Shamu show and head back to Carrie's for dinner and relaxing!
Andrew is so good with babies and he just adores Emery.  I love watching him with her!
We had a nice dinner and enjoyed chatting with Carrie and her husband Eric once the kids were all in bed!  We had to be up early the next morning to head to Ft. Lauderdale!

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