Miami-bound: The Final Leg

My computer is still not hooked up, but I really shouldn’t procrastinate any longer on finishing up this blog series. So I’ve hijacked my husband’s computer (while he’s out of town) so that I can journal. Unfortunately, it means I still can’t include photos yet.

We left Liberty, TN on Wednesday and headed to Marietta, GA to visit my college friend Carrie and her family. Spence and Saphira enjoyed playing with Dom and Izzy while Carrie and I caught up. I don’t get to see Carrie very often, so it was a real treat to have a few hours together. We had originally planned to spend the night, but I decided the kids were too tired from the long trip to date and we’d be better off driving through the night so that the kids could sleep the whole 8-hr trip. Since we couldn’t get into our Orlando hotel until Thursday afternoon, I changed the plan a bit further and directed us toward Tampa instead. We’d get a hotel upon arrival and the next morning we could go to Dinosaur World in Plant City before finishing the trek to Orlando.

Probably the most important thing I learned on this journey: my kids do not sleep through the night in a car. Spencer was awake for at least half the drive, probably more. He was a good sport. He just cuddled his blanket and stuffed animal without complaint. Saphira, on the other hand, was not so easy-going. She slept the first few hours, after which she woke up every hour and cried for 15 minutes. Luckily I had driven the first shift because the first time she woke up and Lynette tried to soothe her, she threw a fit. Once Lynette was driving, I was able to reach back and caress Saphira’s foot and leg. It wasn’t much, but it was enough to console her until she could fall back asleep. The only true downside was that I was unable to sleep as a result. I probably napped about 45 minutes and was awake for the rest of the trip. Note to self: never make a long trip with the kids overnight unless there are at least 2 adults in the vehicle.

We arrived at a hotel around 4 am and managed to get some sleep. The plan had been to let the kids watch TV so we could sleep in, but we were all up and moving around by 9-ish, so we headed for Dinosaur World. Short on sleep, the kids were a bit grumpy and not in the mood for photos, but Lynette managed to snap a few here and there. It was extremely hot, so when we had to be back toward the entrance for the fossil hunt a mere 90 minutes after starting our tour, we were fine with it. The kids had fun digging for fossils and we picked up a few items in the gift shop before heading to our Orlando hotel.

The best surprise ever was that the pool at the Fairmont Sea World had a zero-depth pool. I didn’t have to stress over watching both the kids in the pool in deep water. They had a blast splashing and playing until dinner time. The next morning brought the “grand finale” of our road trip: Sea World. I’m not sure who was more excited: me or the kids. When renting a double stroller, I got suckered into a packaged deal that included 4 bottles of water and 2 stuffed orcas. I was a bit unsure of my decision, but at the first signs of tired, whiny kids, I handed them their stuffed animals. They snuggled with them and calmed down. I definitely made the right choice!

The kids area was virtually empty, giving the false sensation of the park being dead. We didn’t have to wait in line for any of the rides. Other than being hot, it was a fabulous morning. We found the crowd when we attended the Shamu show at noon. And unfortunately everyone had the same idea as us: eat immediately after the show. We muddled through it, though, choosing to spend a bit more on a buffet lunch so that we could enjoy the air conditioned dining area.

After lunch we meandered toward the other half of the park. I was quite surprised when Spencer said he wanted to ride the Atlantis boat plunge. Lynette took him and I fretted the entire time worrying he would fall out during the plunge. Instead he came running out asking if I’d take  him up a second time. I discovered the ride included a mini-roller coaster section of the track as well. As we finished Spence said that part was “a bit too fast” for him, yet he wanted to go a third time. I reminded him that Saphira wasn’t able to ride and that it wasn’t fair to make her sit there a 3rd time. He acquiesced and we headed for the dolphins.

We hadn’t planned to watch the dolphin show, but I’m so glad we caught it! We missed the first 5-10 minutes, but the remainder of the show was absolutely amazing. There were acrobats flying through the air and divers doing incredible flips and dives, and live birds flying through the audience and onto the stage. The dolphins were fun, too, of course!

Overall it was a fabulous and fun way to celebrate our arrival in Florida. The final highlight was that on the way to Sea World Spencer said he wanted jammies as a souvenir. I told him I didn’t think they’d have jammies, but that we’d look. I was wrong. in the same shop where we rented the stroller, the first thing he found were blue and pink pajamas with orcas. The kids wore them 3 nights in a row before I finally confiscated them to wash them. They’re definitely the favorite pajamas right now. Oh – and they both sleep with their stuffed orcas!

The next morning we took Aunt Pooh to the airport and then headed for Miami. It was the one time during the entire trip that I let the kids watch a movie in the van. The trip went smoothly and we arrived at our new home at 4 pm. The kids were thrilled to see their daddy again and they were excited to see their beds set up in their respective rooms. Although both of the kids have mentioned missing their friends, so far the adjustment hasn’t been too difficult. I think the pool is a huge help in that respect, but that’s a future post…

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