So here we are 3 weeks into summer break and what are we doing? Vacationing in Florida! And to get here we flew on a plane, which is something 2 of our children had never done before. This was a grand adventure that I enjoyed thoroughly. It entailed tears and laughter on my end. We had to get up at 4 a.m. to get ready and I can honestly say I don’t think I’ve ever seen the kids move so fast – eat breakfast, put on clothes, brush teeth, comb hair, get shoes on, get backpacks – this all happened in nearly a blink of the eye. Their excitement was overflowing. Everything was so new to them and they just took it all in with wide eyes and wonderment. The best part was taking off in that plane. I couldn’t count how many “Whoa!” I heard. Or “Look at that!” It was so much fun. Watching their little faces made me tear up. To be a part of that is something I will never forget. We of course had to take off and land 2 more times so it was quite the exciting day. Jackson was a traveling champ as usual. The kid is an old hand at traveling on the plane. My only regret is that I didn’t get him a frequent flyer number when he was born. Ten trips to Florida, one trip to Connecticut, and at least 5 trips to Denver could have added up to some good flyer points!
Last month the kids took swimming lessons in preparation for our trip to Florida. My husband’s parents have a swimming pool and I wanted them to have some experience in the pool before we came here. When we arrived at Grandma and Grandpa’s, at 10:30 at night, the requests to get in the pool began. A week later they are still going strong. They are barely awake and out of bed when they ask “Can we get in the pool?” Whenever the answer is no they get the most deflated look ever on their face. You would think I just took Christmas away. The great thing is that they are getting so confident in the water and learning to love being in the water. They both failed their swimming class because they weren’t confident. Progress is being made! Jackson on the other hand loves the pool so much and is a giggling mess whenever he gets in. He loves the water and he especially loves being around all the other kids in the pool. Lots of splashing, moving around and laughter is what you experience when you walk outside here in Vero Beach, Florida!
The next big adventure was watching the kids see the ocean for the first time. Another tearful moment for this mama. Their screams and laughter said it all. They love the ocean, sand and “treasures” (i.e. seashells). Endless fun abounds when we head to the beach. The beach and ocean just happen to be Jackson’s favorite place on earth so there are no complaints from him when we are there, only pure utter joy and the salty taste of the grand old ocean.
Most people who come to Florida come for one main attraction, Disney World. That was my destination on my first visit to Florida. I thought it would be awesome to surprise the kids and take them there one day. Sadly, Disney must feel their 2013 first quarter profit of $383 million is not enough so they have outrageous ticket prices. Ultimately making it unaffordable for regular folk like us. Just to get into the park would have cost us $454! That’s a bit much for one day of entertainment. Shame on you Disney! It definitely is not the happiest place on earth. Instead we surprised the kids by taking them to Lion Country Safari, an outdoor drive through safari in West Palm Beach. The kids loved it! Who doesn’t love seeing monkeys, giraffes, lions, zebras, hippos, camels and African deer. Since Sylvia loves animals she was in heaven. It was a great day and another first – exotic animals.
Oliver Wendell Holmes said “One's mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.” My kids have had their world opened up to them on this trip. I don’t think their minds will ever regain its original dimensions and I think that is awesome!