Florida Vacation – Scenic Boat Tour and the Lake House

Thursday morning I got to meet my Aunt Becky for breakfast. She is one of the most amazing people on the planet, and spending time with her is certainly a great way to start the day.IMG_1505

Later that morning Ryan and I went on the Winter Park Scenic Boat Tour with Aaron and Tracy. It was something we’ve thought about doing for a few years, but this year we figured there was no better time. Our captain taught us all about the houses in Winter Park and historical information about Rollins College and famous people who were students there or lived on the lakes. Did you know when Mister Rogers was a student at Rollins he lived in a gorgeous mansion off campus? Well, that’s the type of interesting information you learn on the Winter Park Scenic Boat Tour.IMG_1511

For lunch we enjoyed some brisket at 4 Rivers Smokehouse. If you’re anywhere near Central Florida you need to eat at 4Rivers. As is typical for someone nearing the end of their 3rd trimester, my meal consisted of a side of mac-n-cheese, some fried pickles, and fried oreos for dessert.

IMG_1512Later that day we spent time at Tracy’s parents lake house. I’ve never been swimming in a Florida lake before… but this one is lovely and we checked to make sure there weren’t any alligators before we jumped off the dock. We picked up some floats at WalMart and enjoyed a relaxing afternoon floating around until a storm rolled in. We played euchre on the patio until the rain stopped and the sun came out again.IMG_1513

It was a great day!

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Caribbean Cove

Last weekend was random and hilarious. We decided to meet up with our friends Bryan and Michelle and their boys Elliot and Bennett. They were coming from Chicago and we discovered that Indianapolis was a 3 hour drive from both Columbus and Chicago. PERFECT! The destination had been decided.

So what should we do in Indy with 4 kids under 4? An indoor water park at a hotel was the obvious choice. After some googling, Michelle and I decided that we didn’t love the hotel where the water park was, so we checked into a hotel down the street and drove over to Caribbean Cove on Saturday morning after a delicious hotel breakfast. Elliot and Ruby were fascinated by the fountain in the hotel lobby. I’m still amazed no one fell in.IMG_1299

Clara was fascinated by the phone in our room. She’d never seen one with a cord before.IMG_1297

From the outside, Caribbean Cove looks mighty bootleg, but once we were inside, it was pretty great and the kids had an amazing time splashing around and climbing on the pirate ship playground. I tried to get some pics, but the elements were against me. My lens was foggy, there were only windows on one side of the room, so the kids had to be facing exactly the right direction for a good pic and so much water was splashing and sloshing on my camera that I’m not even sure how it survived the day.IMG_3742 IMG_3732

Ruby and Elliot weren’t tall enough for the water slides, and pregnant people aren’t allowed either… but Ryan and Bryan took to the slides and were pleasantly surprised by how intense they were. Apparently they were pitch black inside and took so many twists, sudden turns and drops that both guys claimed they screamed like little girls. IMG_3748 IMG_3745

In addition to tickets into the park, our family pass included lunch and money for the arcade. We took a pizza and breadsticks break for lunch and to my delight it was a classic; Noble Romans! People from Indiana know about Noble Romans, but apparently no one else does.IMG_1300

After lunch we let the kiddos play in the arcade while their food digested. Ruby and Elliot played ski-ball and whack-a-mole. Clara just wanted to drive the car the whole time. Ryan and Bryan played air hockey and Bryan and Elliot played Big Buck Hunter.IMG_1311 IMG_1325 IMG_1335

Saturday from 4-6 our hotel hosted a “Manager’s Reception” in the lobby with snacks and drinks, so of course, we hit that up before heading out to dinner. The kids loved eating popcorn, chips and dip – and (based on how much she ate) Clara seems to like spicy salsa.IMG_1342

After pretty much filling up at the Manager’s Reception, we enjoyed a delicious dinner out at Granite City followed by lots of laughs and storytelling over a game of Euchre back at the hotel.IMG_1356

Also, we ordered room-service (ice cream shooters). Ryan and Bryan went to pick up our treats and the guy downstairs said, “That’s a lot of shooters!” which turned into an ongoing joke throughout the rest of our time together. We couldn’t finish them – it truly was a lot of shooters.IMG_1357

And of course, Ryan and Bryan had a daily coffee routine at the hotel just like they had when we lived in the same house in Chicago. IMG_1359

Such a fun weekend. We love having friends who will do silly stuff like randomly meet at a hotel water park in Indy. Hooray for friendships that last throughout the years in different states! We love Bryan and Michelle!

Thanksmas 2012

We got to spend Thanksgiving Break with the Beeson Family this year. The older I get, the more I appreciate the relationships we have as family. I’m truly thankful – more this year than ever.

Ryan and I arrived with the girls on Wednesday night. Thursday was gorgeous, so we spent time walking around my parents woods, playing in the meadow, and Ruby was loving all the piles of leaves Uncle Aaron had created with the leaf blower. “Look mom! I can’t see my boots!”

Ruby loves her cousin Lydia so much. They had non-stop fun together. This picture my dad took in the meadow is too cute. Speaking of pictures, all the Instagram pics are mine (if you don’t have an iPhone you can see all my Instagrams in real-time HERE), all the good pics are from my dad’s awesome camera.

Ryan, Tracy, Aaron and I played a few rounds of Euchre – it was an epic battle. I won’t say who won.

And of course, what would a Beeson Family get-together be if shooting guns wasn’t involved? Here’s Tracy shooting the glock, the guys shooting the 44 Magnum and my dad shooting pictures with his camera.  🙂

We also took a trip to Granger Commons to pay at the Early Learning Center Natural Playground. It was really awesome and the girls had a blast exploring, climbing, jumping, and having Grammy pull them around in the wagon.

A couple of evenings, after all the children were sleeping, we played a game called “Salad Bowl” that was absolutely hilarious. It’s a mixture of taboo, charades, and password… so funny. My favorite part was when Ryan had to act out the word “FOSSIL” and he acted like an elephant then fell on the floor. I was crying laughing. It was awesome.

My dad took the “Grand Daughters in their Christmas Dresses” picture – which I’ll save for a Christmas post. Clara thought it was more fun to stand right by her Papa’s camera than over by the tree. Here’s last year’s pics… I can’t believe how much they’ve grown in one year!

It really was a wonderful time together. So thankful for family! In closing, here’s Ryan and his beard after a morning hunting with my dad, Aaron and John. His girls were happy to have him home again.