Monday, October 30, 2017

Epic Florida Vacation, Day 3 - Ocala

 All right friends, now we got to Florida late Sunday night.  It was late, it was dark, we couldn't see anything of where we were, so we really didn't get to enjoy it until Monday morning.  But we did enjoy it!  The boys slept in until 8. And we didn't have to pack up Anything.  That was worth it, right there, that made it ok that we drove so late the night before, and Jacob had pooped 1/2 hour before arrival. Ugh.  But it was a New Day! 

Grandma told me there was bread in the fridge and peanut butter in the cabinet, so the kids were perfectly content with Toast and Peanut Butter for breakfast. 

We were looking at all the various bug traps in the daylight.  The boys didn't believe that Grandma's house would have bugs.  But I had to explain, the bugs don't die here in Florida in the winter, they just get bigger.  Chris was shocked.  "What do you mean bugs don't die here?! There's no Winter in Florida?"  Yeah, imagine if he remembered how they light up the palm trees with Christmas lights.  They have no idea how good they have it! 

Sam and I took the table, while the other boys ate in the kitchen.
I had a leftover yogurt and Ningxia Red for all.  I packed it so no one would get sick on our trip. 
I really don't want anyone getting sick!

The one thing that we had on the docket was to meet my friend in Ocala at the Discovery Center at 1 pm.  It was about 2 hours away. But the decision the boys and I came to the night before, was that having a free place to stay, and NOT having to pack up was Worth driving the extra few hours.  So we did it.  And we did it again. 

It was worth it.  
As we drove out for the day, we caught this amazing view of Tampa Bay as we crossed it from Clearwater, to head back to the major highway.  The night before, all we saw was darkness.  
This was Gorgeous. 

The kids are hypnotized by the view of the water as we cross the Bay to Beach bridge.

We stopped for lunch at a Wendy's on the road.  Jacob had gotten a happy meal while we were on the road, but it didn't come with a toy.  He was sad, so we tried again.  This time, loved the Transformer toy Optimus Prime, and he played with it while we hit the road.  

Unfortunately, when as we were arriving in Ocala, I received a note from Melissa, the friend we were meeting.  The Discovery Center was Closed on Mondays!  Oh no!  
I had her hang tight until we arrived.  I hadn't seen much civilization on my way in, however, as we pulled in to the parking lot across from the Discovery Center, we parked next to a park/playground. 
So we set the kids loose to play, while we came up with a plan. 

It turns out letting the kids play in the 90 degree heat in mid-Florida was great.  
After two solid days in the car, the boys needed some free play.
It was hot, they played hard, and they kind of let us talk.   

We did manage to hold them still all together for a moment to get a picture. 

It's clear as they get above age 10 that boys and girls are Different. 
Alexis didn't really play with the boys for much longer than a few minutes. 
Talking to the grownups was more cool.  
But the boys played hard.

I loved looking around at this park. 
Check out this Spanish Moss!
Melissa was apologetic, in her mind, this wasn't anything exciting.  
She'd offered to go to a Jump-n-Play sort of place, or SkyZone. 
I was like Nope.  Chris can't hear in there, and tends to go into his own world, and it's hard to pull him out.  He ends up quick to anger.  I didn't want that today. 
I walked around and took a few pictures of the trees. 
They are so different than what we have in the midwest.  
I think Melissa forgets what it's like in Fall in Indiana.  They've lived down here for 4 1/2 years, they moved just after Jacob was born.

Spanish Moss is not a parasite, living off its host until eventually it kills them.  But it does stunt the tree's growth.  It just lives off nutrients in the air and rain. Cool.

Meanwhile, the kids were not cool. 
They were hot. 

We were all so hot, that when the Kona Ice truck showed up, I caved. 
I bought all the kids their own small Shaved Ice snack. 
This truck was cool, and the kids could build their own flavors. 
Red 40 wary Sam of course, chose the green flavor, which was a Lemon Lime.  He liked it ok, but not enough to finish it. Jacob chose two flavors, Tiger's Blood (which was kind of like Pina Colada) and Strawberry.  Lots of Red, and it was Yummy, because he didn't eat much. Chris ate Blue Raspberry, and held on to it, until it pretty much melted and he could just drink it. 

These two met when they were toddlers.  They were in Kindermusik together for probably about 4 years, and graduated that class together! 

I went to find a photo of the two of them together, but they weren't alone.  
Then I found this.  They both used to love to dance!

Next to the park was a creek/river, and I saw some strange birds nearby. 
I decided to go in for a closer look. 
They definitely were not like birds in Indiana. 

They look so strange, like some kind of African bird.  
I didn't know what it was.

Upon closer examination since I've been home, and a bit of Google, we find it was a Wood Stork. 

Three Wood Storks take off.
Only after I come chasing. 

So Neat watching him fly off. 

After much heat, we decide to leave the park and go to Chick Fil-A. 
It will be cool and have a Playplace for the littles. 
Alexis was too tall to play, but she gladly sat in our Oily Discussion. 

Melissa joined my Oily Team back in 2015 from a Facebook class I held, but this was my first opportunity to be able to share oils and knowledge with her in person.
I had brought Cindi's Zyto Scanner, and I went ahead and scanned them both. 
We discussed oils for pregnancy and discussion, and both of them scanned for Aroma Life, a calming blend good for your heart.  

Alexis took our picture together.  
Melissa has the cutest Baby Bump.  She's didn't think children were possible, then God laughed, and Surprise! 
 I gifted her with a bottle of Gentle Baby, a Perfect Oil blend since she's going to be having her own little sweetboy soon. Hooray for Miracles!

I cropped Alexis' photo of us, and it turned out very cute!

On our drive home, we hit one of those famous Floridian afternoon popups.  
But as we stopped for gas, we discovered this one left us with a Rainbow!

During these long drives, I figured it would be a great opportunity for the boys to share deep things that are on their hearts.   So I often turn off the screens, turn down the Hamilton, and ask them for their thoughts.  Chris asks me his deep thoughts, "Mommy, do you think the Flash drives when he goes on vacation, or does he just run carrying his luggage? Does he need to make more than one trip?" The things that occur to this kid, they never occur to me. 

The boys begged us to stop for Panera on the way home for dinner, so finding one (not as easy while on the road) delayed us.  Still, we made it through the city just as it starts to get dark.  
I've decided I don't much like driving at night anymore.

The sun sets as we cross the long bridge to get back home.