Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Family Vacation at Indian Shores, Florida

Bear with me for this long blog post. Sometimes, my blog is going to read a little more like a diary. I want to get some memories down on paper - I mean computer - before I forget. It will give me something to look at and enjoy when I am an old lady, and have forgotten the little details!

On Saturday April 23rd, Noah, Dan and I flew down to Tampa, Florida. My mother and father, who had already been there for a week, rented a big condo to fit us, them, and my sister and her family.
Noah was (thankfully) extremely well-behaved for the trip. It doesn't hurt that there were T.V.'s on the back of the seats. He was pleased to enjoy The Wiggles and the Backyardigans on his own personal television. I had also packed a backpack for him with sticker books that were completely new to him. He had been on 4 airplane trips already - St. Maarten, Kelowna, Chicago and Paris - but this is the first time that he really was aware of exactly what was happening, so that was pretty exciting!
He is so good at staying close to us and listening to instructions. Also, his patience is more like that of an adult's than a 2-year-old's (most times!). He must be an old soul! In any case, he is pretty easy to travel with.
As soon as we got to what he referred to for the rest of the trip as "Oma's condo", he immediately went with Daddy to dip his feet in the ocean. It was love at first splash.
The Easter Bunny left treats for him in Florida. His cousins helped him collect plastic eggs with chocolates inside, which were scattered all over Oma's condo. He also got some toys, and a new pair of pyjamas.
On Easter Sunday we went to the bird sanctuary, located right beside the condo, where they care for injured birds.
Noah loved the ocean, and playing in the sand. I think the adults had even more fun, digging holes and building sand castles.
He entertained the family with his original musical hit, "Ready to bum" (which is really 'ready to come', but Noah currently has trouble pronouncing the 'c' sound), and his second hit "N is for Nonah" (sic). He also created a new song about my dad, titled "Opa B". (Why the B? We have no idea. But half the rock songs I hear don't make sense either, so it works.)
He also performed in the pool, poolside, at the Dali Museum, at the splash pad at Busch Gardens, and at various restaurants. 
It suddenly started to pour after dinner one night, so Noah and his cousins Kacey and Mackenzie rushed outside to play in it. I was very tempted to play too, but we soon heard thunder, and quickly ushered them back inside!
I took this picture at "Ruby Tuesday's", where we celebrated my mother's birthday. While in Florida, Noah replaced his previous favourite restaurant meal (grilled cheese with French fries) with a new love: chicken fingers and French fries. And, as with our Paris vacation, I don't think Noah had one single vegetable or fruit the whole time we were there. (Okay, with the exception of potatoes.) But vacations are short, and Noah is now back to a healthier I don't have to feel too guilty!
Last year at this time, Noah was afraid of rides; even the merry-go-round. However, it was evident on our trip to Busch Gardens that he is now more of a risk-taker. 
He was a little more hesitant with the gigantic Sesame Street characters. He had been talking excitedly the night before about seeing Elmo at Busch Gardens. And during our initial hours at Busch Gardens, he would briefly look at things we tried to show him (animals, rides, exhibits), and then look ahead and say, "I wan see Elmo". Sometimes he would add a "now". He was getting quite impatient with us, so it was a relief to him when he saw Big Bird in the distance, walking around. I asked him if he wanted to go see Big Bird, and he excitedly agreed, quickening his pace. That is, until he was maybe 5 feet away, at which point he came to a sudden halt, and slowly started to back away. He was able to sit through the Sesame Street show, but tensed up anytime the characters came down the isles. Now, when he recalls that day, he says, with a look of deep thought, "I a little bit scared Elmo". He's doing better than me. At 4 years old I apparently hid behind a bush, terrified that I had to go on a roller coaster!
He pulled through that day with a 2 minute nap on the train ride. He was beginning to look slightly comatose from the heat though, so he thoroughly enjoyed cooling off in one of the splash pads. He came to life again, singing and dancing. In the upper right photo, he is performing his favourite part of the Muppets "Mahnahmahna" song (from his beloved Muppets video): the part where the Muppet is far away, runs right to the camera and says "Mahnahmahna!"
Since my mom had bought the family a 2-day pass to Busch Gardens, most of us came back for round 2. I wanted to go on all of the roller coasters (yes, I too am past my fear of rides), and I also wanted to give Noah a chance to go on more of the kiddie rides. The cutest thing for me was seeing his little self on this ride, all alone on a seat that fits 3. We watched him go around and around with a smile on his face. Then it started to fade. As the ride was slowing down, we heard him say in a worried voice "All done Mommy". When the ride finally stopped, all the other seats were down, but Noah's was still up in the air. We couldn't see Noah at this point, just the back of the seat. I thought the ride operator would quickly bring his seat down at the flick of a switch. Apparently, it was up to Noah to push the bar out. (Honestly, what are they thinking relying on a 2-year-old to get himself down?) The ride operator encouraged Noah to push the bar, and we all breathed a sigh of relief when we saw his chair lower to the ground. (That's my smart boy!) I like to believe they would have had some way to eventually lower that chair if Noah hadn't pushed the bar, but it would have been agonizing to wait, knowing he was alone and scared.
That experience didn't deter him from going on more rides. Still, what he enjoyed most that day, and still talks about now, was the show "Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy". He enjoyed it even more than "Sesame Street 4D" and "Critter Castaways". 
Dan, Noah and I spent one morning at Clearwater Beach. After lunch, we joined the family again and went on a boat ride, hoping to see some dolphins in the wild. It was incredibly windy, but Noah didn't mind, and although we couldn't find the dolphins at first, we finally got quite a show from them!
Before our trip, my sister came up with the idea for us all to do an informal photo shoot, with white tops and denim bottoms. The pictures turned out great (and saved us all a lot of money)!

It was a fantastic break for me. I feel so refreshed. I realize now that whether you're a home daycare provider or a stay-at-home mom, it is crucial to get away from the homestead and give yourself a change of scenery every once in a while!


  1. Sounds and looks wonderful, Charla! What a great vacation! Opa B cracked me up :)

  2. Thanks, Maria. It was short but sweet. I have lots of great memories to hold on to!