Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Hunting For Alligators with the Bitter Family

One thing I LOVE about where we live, is that we are right next to a major cruise port.  Therefore we get lots of fun visitors!
Midway through January the Bitter family, from our Bay Area ward, came for a quick visit before leaving on a two week cruise through the Panama canal.  I wish I could put into words how good it was to see them again.  I sure do miss living down the street from them, having our weekly girls Bachelor viewing parties, eating all of Aubrey's yummy treats, snuggling with their crazy kiddos, and simply laughing with them.  A lot of great memories were made with this crazy family throughout our five years in California.  We feel truly blessed to call them our friends!

I picked up Aubrey, Shawn, Greg, and Bryson from the airport and brought them back to our house.  We had a fun pizza party, stayed up super late talking and watching a movie, and then woke them up bright and early for our Florida adventure together.  We wanted to make sure that we made good use of what little time we had together, so the next morning we took off to explore the Everglades.  We knew that it would be a huge success with Greg and Bryson.  What little boy doesn't like alligators!

Getting some early morning snuggles in with my little buddies!

It wouldn't be the Bitter family without crazy facial expressions!
They were so sweet and got me the coolest attachments for my iPhone camera.  Greg and Bryson had fun goofing off while I used some of the different lenses.  The fish eye lens was my favorite.  I love how you can see Daxton in the bottom of the picture watching  Greg and Bryson's antics.

The Everglades Holiday Park is about 15 minutes from our house and opened at 9am, so it was perfect for a quick adventure and then dropping them off at their cruise boat.  While Dallas and Shawn were getting tickets we snapped a few pictures of our new friend.

The Bitter Family
(L to R) Shawn, Aubrey, Bryson, and Greg

Trying to get a crazy toddler to look at the camera can be quite difficult at times!

Looking out at our fan boat...

LOVE these pictures above and below.  
We had so much fun on our air boat ride!

The fan on the air boat can get VERY loud, but Daxton does well if daddy is there.  Dallas has a way of comforting him, that I'm very envious of.  Daxton will snuggle into Dallas's arm and either go to sleep or snack on goldfish, but if it's just me holding him, he tends to freak out a bit more by the sound.  Both Greg and Bryson did awesome on the air boat and weren't bothered by the sound.  All they did was cover their ears and they were fine.  I do love how fast the air boats go, though.

I am constantly in awe of the beauty of the Everglades.  It's crazy to think of how diverse this country is, just thinking about the different beauties of both California and Florida.  They are so beautiful and so unique in their own ways.

The boys had a blast watching all the different birds and looking for alligators.  The teacher in me definitely came out and loved telling them all about the different plants and animals they were seeing.  Which of course Dallas had a fun time teasing me about!

More of the beautiful Everglades...

The air boat ride lasts about an hour, sometimes a little more depending on how long it takes to find the alligators.  It's such a gorgeous tour and our tour guide was great as well.
We were able to see a few alligators before our tour was finished.  It was pretty cool, because one of the gators swam right next to the boat several times.  It must have been showing off for our guests!  The boys got a major kick out of it!
Close enough to touch!!

After the air boat ride, we went to the Alligator wrestling show put on by the Gator Boys from the famous TV show "Gator Boys."  It was super fun to see the people from the show, but even more so, to see them wrestle a gator.  I wish I could have captured the looks of astonishment from Greg and Bryson's face when they did some of the crazy gator tricks!

The show's about ready to start!

Daxton is totally obsessed with gators and loves watching the wrestling shows.

Tommy put on a great show.  The boys loved watching him jump on the gator and especially loved the "Face Off" trick.  I'm sure Aubrey and Shawn were just thankful there are no gators in California, because I could totally see Greg and Bryson wanting to try this at home!

After the show we were able to each hold a baby gator, which is Daxton's favorite part.  Both Greg and Bryson were super brave and had no hesitation about holding one on their own.  It helps that the gators mouth was taped shut!
So fun to see how excited they both were!

Aubrey and Shawn also took turns holding our new buddy...

You can see from Daxton's face below that he LOVES gators.  He always giggles when we hold baby gators.  His favorite are their toes and claws.  Daxton's really good about being soft as well, which I'm sure they appreciate.
One last family shot
It was so good to see the Bitter family.
I so wish we could have spent more time with them, but we will take whatever we can get!  Thanks so much for coming out to visit us!  We sure do love and miss you guys.

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