Monday, February 16, 2015

Adventures in Cozumel: Day One

Before the Marshall family came to visit us the beginning of October we had booked tickets to go visit them the beginning of November in Cozumel, Mexico.  It was pretty awesome to not only get to see them once but twice!
It was kind of a weird experience flying to Cozumel simply because the flight was only a little more than an hour.  It brought back the realization how far we really live from family since it takes over 6 hours flight to reach Washington state from south Florida!

Daxton was pretty great on the plane.  I can't even remember how many flights this little guy has taken in the past almost three years.  Too many, I'm sure!  He loved looking out the window, playing with daddy, sucking on suckers, and watching the iPad. 

The views were gorgeous!
Left: flying over part of the Florida keys
Right: flying over Playa Del Carmen, Mexico

After landing safely in Cozumel

Since we had just seen them a month earlier, it was so fun to see Daxton and Penelope fall right back into best buddies!  When they saw each other at the airport they immediately started squealing loudly and chasing each other in circles.  It was pretty hysterical and the perfect start to a super fun weekend visit!
We went back to Sean and Heidi's place to unload our bags, relax a bit, and plan out our trip.  They had a great home with a big pool in the back.  Within a few moments of us arriving, Daxton and Penelope had made their way to the pool and had started splashing each other while giggling loudly.  I loved watching them together!

Daxton and Penelope sharing paper for coloring

They were drenched within a couple seconds.

That night Sean and Heidi took us to one of their favorite places to eat.  It had some of the best food!  Not quite sure what I ordered, but everything tasted so yummy and Daxton loved it all too.  It was so fun to be lead around by locals, since Sean and Heidi had been living there for nearly two years, they knew the best places to visit without all the tourists.

After dinner we explored some of the local streets and made our way down to the marina.  I was so fascinated by all the different colors and textures found throughout the streets of Cozumel.  It had it's own unique beauty about it, although everyone else thought I was crazy for thinking a barred up window with sheets for curtains could be beautiful.  Daxton and Penelope continued to be little peas in a pod as they looked through windows, picked up rocks, and jumped over uneven sidewalks.

We made it to the waterfront right as the sun was setting.  The kids had fun playing in the fountain as we walked around and explored the area.

There were several fun restaurants and shops along our walk through the plaza.  The kids loved playing in all the sidewalk displays.  Penelope and Daxton even broke out their awesome dancing and music skills when they found a pile of maracas.  
We ended the evening with yummy ice cream.
It really was the perfect start to a fun weekend!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Disney World with McGlone Family

October was full of visitors and I LOVED every minute of it!
We had already spent a fun weekend with the Marshall family, a whirlwind fun-filled week with my New Zealand girls, and then Daxton and I drove up to Orlando to spend a few days with a dear college friend of mine, Stacy.  Stacy and her husband, Jeff, were both in one of my favorite college wards a few years back.  It had been several years since I had been able to see them and in that time we had both (through several years of trial) been able to add to our families!  It was so fun to introduce our little "miracle" babies together for a fun few days at disney while Jeff was at a work conference.

For our first day's adventures, Daxton and I drove up to Orlando in the morning and went straight to the hotel Stacy was staying.  We ended up swimming for most of the afternoon, watching our little boys play, and talked each other's ears off for hours.  It was SO good to see her again and catch up on life.  I love her so much and loved being able to spend such quality time together.  Daxton and her little boy played so well together, splashing in and out of the different pools.  It was so fun to see the craziness of such adorable little boys. 

So many hugs!

Daxton was being so silly and loved putting his face first into the water.  He thought it was so funny how his hair would drip water after he pulled his head up.  What kid likes water in their face!?

After spending the afternoon swimming, we got ready for the evening and met up with Jeff at Downtown Disney for dinner.  We ended up eating at the Rainforest Cafe and then exploring all the different stores.  Daxton LOVED playing in the Lego store, especially since Woody and Buzz were there.

He also loved playing with all the different toys throughout the Disney stores, especially the Mr. Potato heads.  It was a really fun way to spend our first day at Disney with Stacy and her family.

The next day Daxton and I met up with Stacy and her little guy at Animal Kingdom.  Jeff was at meetings all day so we figured it would be a fun park for the kiddos to try out first.  Daxton is a huge fan of Animal Kingdom, but I'm pretty sure he loves the tram best!

Stacy and I with our little guys at the entrance of Animal Kingdom.

We had such a fund day together!
To be honest, I think one of the reasons I loved this day so much was because we weren't rushing around from spot to spot.  It felt like we were simply having a play date at a really cool park.  I guess that's one of the joys of being an annual pass holder, you never feel stressed to go on all the rides or watch all the different shows.  We had a blast taking our time, talking for hours, and letting our little ones run around like the crazy boys they are!

Love this girl so much!

One of their favorite spots were all the drums.  The boys stayed there pounding on all the different congas for almost 30 minutes.  You can tell from their expressions how much fun they were having!

We were also able to see several different animals.  Daxton's favorite were the tigers.  One came super close to the window and was stretching out on a rock in the sun for awhile.

We also all got fast passes to meet Mickey and Minnie.
I wish the pictures did the experience justice, but it just doesn't translate the magic of what it's like seeing Daxton meet the Disney characters.  His whole face lights up, he runs into their arms, and proceeds to give them the longest hugs.  It's such an amazing thing watching your child feel such magic.
Oh how I love Disney!

I means seriously!?
He's so stinking cute and was so excited to give Mickey and Minnie big hugs!

After meeting Mickey and Minnie, we decided to grab some food at the lake side restaurant.  The boys did so well and even let us chat for awhile after we were done eating.

Some other fun highlights from the day...
Meeting Daisy
Yes, he even kissed her on the cheek!

Chasing each other in circles around the park.

Dancing in the street with the African drummers and more conga drumming for the little boys.

Daxton also LOVED playing in Dinoland where he explored the Boneyard play area and had a blast digging for fossils.

At the end of the day he even had enough patience to wait in line to meet Goofy and Pluto, no small task for an energetic 2.5yr old!

As you can see, he was pretty excited to give them both hugs.

We ended our awesome day at Animal Kingdom with a super fun dance party in the street with different Disney characters.  He was a bit excited to see Chip and Dale though and rushed into the dance floor for a quick (semi quick) hug.  I LOVE this little boy's excitement for life!

The next day we spent at Magic Kingdom.
Jeff was able to spend the day with his family, so in order to give them some quality family time together, Daxton and I explored the park on our own for the morning.  I have to admit I was a little nervous doing a Disney day all on my own, but it turned out amazing!  Daxton was in a heavenly mood which greatly helped.

My little buddy and I at the entrance of Magic Kingdom.

We had fast passes for Buzz Lightyear, but there were no lines, so we ended up riding a couple times just for fun.  Daxton was super funny and really got into shooting the different targets and spinning the car (I got pretty dizzy!)

For some funny reason one of his favorite spots in the park is the Sword in the Stone directly in front of the carousel and Cinderella's castle.  He climbed all over the stone trying different angles to pull out that sword.  I loved how serious he was while pulling.

In the morning there were hardly any crowds so we had a blast wandering all over the park letting Daxton climb on anything and everything he saw.

We also had a lot of fun meeting Donald and Goofy in Circus Circus.  The characters do so well at interactions.  They played with Daxton, gave him big hugs, let him play with their nose or beak.  Once again it was magical seeing him light up when he got to meet them.

I'm pretty sure Daxton hugged every single stuffed animal in the gift shops throughout disney!

Nothing compares to Cinderella's Castle!

The all time highlight of Daxton's day was meeting Woody and Jesse from Toy Story for the first time.  He was so silly with them!  They danced with him, gave him big hugs and high fives, and made him feel so special.  It was the best watching him get so excited.

Hugging Jesse

I was a little afraid that Daxton wouldn't let go of Woody!

That is one happy little boy!

While everyone else was watching the parade, we snuck away for a yummy cold treat.  The perfect way to cool off.

The McGlone family
So fun to see them!

Daxton and I had such a great time spending a few days with the McGlone family at Disney.  It was so fun to reconnect with them after so many years and hope that we get to see them again soon!
Love you guys!
Thanks for squeezing us in on your family vacation!  We loved seeing you guys and catching up!

NZ Reunion 2014 Days 4, 5, 6

I was super excited that, after an incredible weekend with my New Zealand girls in October, Ashley was able to extend her stay for a few extra days.  She had recently returned from a year abroad in France, so I loved being able to spend extra time with her.  Daxton, of course, loved the added attention and I loved hearing all her fun stories.  
For our first adventure we decided to take Ashley to the Lion Country Safari.  It's one of Daxton and mine favorite spots to visit since moving here to south Florida.  There is a massive drive-through safari park and then a fun zoo/park to explore by foot afterwards.  Daxton's favorite part was being able to drive the car and play around in the back seat without the confines of his carseat.  He also loved seeing all the different animals, especially since they were so close to our car.

Just a few of the animals we were able to see...
Ostriches, water buffalo, and lions

several Rhinos

This cute and crazy boy loved jumping around in the back seat.

So many zebra!

Giraffe crossing the road

After the drive-through safari, we explored the park.  We had a lot of fun at the Lorikeet interaction where Daxton was even brave enough to feed the birds.  He held the fruit cup but didn't want the birds landing on him, so I helped a bit.  It was so cute to see his face light up as he noticed little details of the Lorikeet's colorful wings. 

Ashley feeding the Lorikeets
(On a side note...oh how I wish I looked as adorable as her in the hot Florida sun!)

After feeding the Lorikeets we walked to the Giraffe Encounter.  Daxton loves feeding Giraffe and we've had several opportunities to do so throughout southern Florida.  He was very excited to show Ashley how to hold the lettuce and loved watching the giraffe's long tongue.  I love Ashley's facial expression in the bottom right picture!

Daxton feeding the giraffe.

We finished off the fun day by exploring the rest of the park, playing on bongo drums, and running through any water spray showers we could find.

The next day Ashley wanted to see a bit of Miami, but sadly it turned out to be a very wet and gloomy day.  We ended up driving down to Key Biscayne, an island off the coast of Miami, but unfortunately the weather didn't allow for us to do much else.  I tried to show her views of the city and how gorgeous the water was, but with the gray clouds and rain, we weren't able to see much.  On Key Biscayne we got out to stretch our legs and let Daxton throw rocks into the ocean.

Looking back at Miami

I love those cute flip flopped toes!

Since it was such a rainy day, we decided to head back home early and stop at our new favorite, the New River Grove fruit market.  We got yummy smoothies, more pie (yes, more pie), and yummy treats.  Although the weather didn't allow us to do much, we still ended up having a great day.

Our last day together was spent at the beach!
The rain clouds from the previous day had not cleared yet, but it was perfect since it helped keep the temperatures more comfortable.  We spent the morning/afternoon playing in the sand and waves.  Daxton had a blast running in and out of the ocean, especially since there were hardly any waves.  

Nothing beats relaxing at the beach!

I LOVE how much this kid loves the water!

Picture perfect beach bum!

Relaxing at the beach was the absolute perfect way to end an incredible week together!
I truly count myself extremely lucky to have been blessed with such amazing friends throughout the years.  I love how months can go without talking to them and we can still pick right back up where we left off, as if no time has passed.  They've been so loving and supportive throughout the years and they've been a big deal in molding me into the person I am today.
I can honestly say that I am a better person with them in my life.
I love them each dearly.
I had so much fun with them visiting and can't wait for our adventures in the future!

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