Sunday, December 8, 2013

NZ Girls Visit Day One: Fort Lauderdale cruise

The only thing that stopped me from falling into a massive depression once my parents flew home was the knowledge that my New Zealand girls were flying in for a quick visit the very next day.  I've been blessed with the most amazing friends throughout my life, several of which originated from my experience teaching in New Zealand, I call them my NZ girls.  Last year several of us got together in the Bay area for a few fun-filled days of adventures.  When Dallas and I were debating whether to move to Florida or not, I joked about how one of my deciding factors was going to be if my NZ girls would be able to still come visit.  Without fail, I heard from Katy and Heather that their tickets were booked and they would be in Fort Lauderdale the second week of October.  It was our sixth year getting together and one of my most favorite yearly traditions.

Both Katy and Heather are currently teaching full time, so in order to maximize their vacation time, they decided to take a red eye flight into Fort Lauderdale arriving around 10am.  I asked them before they arrived if they would need recuperation time or if they wanted to jump into the fun right away, I bet you can guess what they chose!

Katy also brought along her 10 month old, Mafa Jo, for our adventurous girls trip.  Daxton and Mafa immediately hit it off.  Daxton loved having someone his size around the house and a new friend to play with. 

I thought it would be fun to first see a bit of Fort Lauderdale.  When Dallas and I had visited Florida last June to finalize housing details, we took a beautiful boat cruise around the canals of Fort Lauderdale.  We quickly understood why it was called the "Venice of America."  I figured a riverboat cruise with the girls would be the perfect way to start our fun.

We met our yacht at the riverwalk area and were pleasantly surprised that they had an inside area with air conditioning and wall to wall windows to escape the heat and humidity.  Daxton and Mafa were best buddies sharing broccoli and pasta noodles for the majority of the cruise.

Waiting for the tour to begin.

I quickly realized that I would not be taking many pictures of the tour while trying to wrangle a VERY active toddler.  Most of the pictures this day were taken by Heather.  She was a saint to relieve Katy or I when I our little ones became too exhausting.  Daxton is quite independent and defiant, so he was not pleased that I wouldn't let him leap over the side to swim.

Squeezing Mafa Jo while Daxton got squished by Mafa Jo.

Just a few of the gorgeous homes and boats along the waterways in Fort Lauderdale.

There were technical difficulties with the intercom on the tour, so there wasn't an accompanying narration.  To be honest, us girls were so excited to see each other again that we ended up talking through the entire cruise.

We decided to go into the air conditioning once the heat got unbearable.  The kids found decorative straw balls and thought it was hilarious to throw them across the boat.  I'm sure the staff thought it was just as funny...or not.

After our cruise, we walked along the riverwalk to the Briny restaurant for a late lunch.  We couldn't pass up the opportunity to pose with the larger-than-life great white shark on display outside the entrance!

Mafa slept through most of lunch while Daxton guzzled down two large raspberry lemonades.  I have never seen him drink like that!  By the end of lunch he had not only peed through his diaper and clothes, but also down the high chair!  He was totally content and I had no clue until we went to leave and I picked him up in my arms...oh the joys of motherhood!

That night we got home and immediately threw the little ones in a nice warm bath.  The had so much fun splashing and playing with their bath toys.  Nothing cuter than little naked babies splashing in a bathtub.

With jetlag, exhaustion from our adventures, heat, and humidity, we were all ready to go to bed pretty early that night.  Not too bad for our first day together!

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