Tuesday, December 27, 2016

October Adventures at Disney World with buddies (2015)

Looking back over this past year (especially via my instagram feed) one would think that Dax and I lived at Disney World.  We had the amazing opportunity to get annual passes along with a few of our friends in south Florida.  It's only a three hour drive from our home in Fort Lauderdale and the cost of rental properties are extremely cheap (especially split among friends) within the Orlando area.  Not to mention Disney has really good deals for florida residents.  Another reason we frequented Orlando was due to Dallas's work.  He had several work trips for a client and conferences in the area, so in order for us to see daddy at nighttime, we found traveling with him was the best option.  Regardless, we spent a TON of time at Disney these past few years!

  One of our favorite seasons to visit would have to be during Halloween.  Disney always does such a great job transforming the park with holiday decorations and special holiday parties.
My good friends, Jeni and Monica, found a great deal on Air BnB, that allowed all of us to stay in the same condo comfortably.  We ended up spending three nights and went to three parks (including the AWESOME Disney Halloween party that I'll post about next.)
Here are just a few of the highlights from our magical trip...

First day was spent at Magic Kingdom!
Group shot in front of the entrance

Right as we walked down mainstreet, we heard music start and the crowds began to part.  We lucked out with getting front row seats for the fun "Move it, shake it" parade.  The kids loved watching their favorite characters dance by. 

We went on lots of fun rides this trip, especially since Dax finally hit the height requirements for several of the roller coasters.

Olive and Dax loved watching the Splash mountain log drop...although it did NOT make Dax want to ride.
The people mover and Cars were a big hit with Daxton.  We hit most of Tomorrowland while the girls were off meeting princesses.  Dax had zero interest in anything princess related.

He did, however, LOVE the chance to meet Woody and Jesse with his buddies.  He ran right into Woody's arms and refused to let go.

We also had a lot of fun meeting Gaston.
He played the part very well, which made Dax really want to show off his muscles.

Having fun in front of the castle...

Dax LOVED being able to finally drive a car on his own.  He turned out to be quite the crazy driver and found it very entertaining to let go of the wheel every few feet so we would hit the railings.  Us moms had a blast and ended the day with a refreshingly cool Dole Whip...
Not too bad for day 1.

Our second day we took really easy.  We knew we were going to have a long night with the Halloween party that evening, so we slept in and enjoyed a relaxing day exploring Downtown Disney.

Hanging in front of some of the gorgeous topiaries in between shops.

Checking out the lego store...

We finally ended up deciding on a place to eat directly across from the fountains...it was a perfect distraction from the heat and a great motivator to finish their lunch. 

After lunch and the splash pad, Jeni and Monica headed back to the condo.  Daxton and I decided to join our other friends, Whitney, Brooke, and Macey, whom happened to be up in Orlando at the same time.  The kids spent tons of time exploring the different shops before falling in love with the Lego store.  Whitney and I had a blast catching up while the kids played and created with all the hands on displays.
They were totally in the zone!  They were all so focused and had a blast playing with each other.
That night Jeni, Monica, and I went to the Mickey's Not So Scary party at Magic Kingdom which was AMAZING!  I'll cover that in the next post.

The following day, after an insanely LATE night at the halloween party, we checked out of our condo and headed to one last Disney park; Animal Kingdom.

In front of the Tree of Life

We found an amazingly camouflaged and beautiful "tree vine" that came to life and danced in front of us on stilts.  She startled Dax pretty well, but was so graceful to watch.

Daxton, Claire, and Olive loved getting to meet Mickey and Minnie.  Once again Daxton ran into their arms and kissed their noses.  This age is SO magical!

Some of their favorites from Animal Kingdom included...
Digging forever in the dino pit
Playing on all the drums and riding the dino spin

We finished the day with a safari ride and Lion King show.  The kids had a blast watching and identifying all the animals.  They especially loved all the giraffe.

There were also several rhino that crossed our path, even a baby rhino!
We had such an incredible trip with friends visiting Walt Disney World.  What a blessing to live so close and have willing friends who want to share in all the fun adventures!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Naples Eco Tour (October 2015)

I love all the fun and new adventures we are able to find while living in this area.  It is such a different environment than both Dallas and I were raised and I constantly find myself amazed at the diverse plant and animal life that surrounds us daily.
On groupon we found a great deal for an Eco tour out of Naples, a city about 1.5 hours west of Fort Lauderdale and located on the gulf coast.  Dallas was such a sweetheart to indulge my nerdy education side in order to go on this fun adventure.  We drove over to Naples and took the 11am tour that lasted a couple hours.  We of course brought lots of snacks and our bathing suits for the adventure.

A few pictures before the tour left the docks (these pics were obviously PRE getting my hair colored that month!)

Naples harbor was very beautiful and reminded us of Fort Lauderdale on a much smaller scale.  Gorgeous homes lined the waterways with lots of different boats passing by.

Since our boat was slow moving, Dax was free to get up and walk around which he loved.  We made sure to constantly be on the look out for animals, especially dolphin and alligator.

Within a few minutes after getting into the mangrove islands, we found several dolphin!  It was so fun to watch them play and catch food.  

Goofing off with Daddy!
I wanted desperately to see manatee, but sadly all we saw were the warning signs...and LOTS of birds.  I thought this nest was pretty incredible.

In the middle of the Eco tour, they took us to an uninhabited island and gave us each little bags to collect shells if we wanted.  At first we were a bit unimpressed as they dropped us off on some rocks and told us to follow a path through the trees.  We walked about five minutes and were happily surprised when we came out of a clearing onto a gorgeous stretch of beach covered in beautiful seashells.

We immediately set up camp and jumped in the water!
The ocean was so warm and we had so much fun playing in the calm waves of the Gulf.

After playing in the water, Daddy and Daxton went on an adventure for sea shells.  Dax filled his entire bag with beautiful sea shells to bring home.  After their long walk along the beach, Dax came back and lined up each of his little sea shells for me to see.  He was so careful with them.

After an hour or so of relaxing at the uninhabited beach, they called us back to board the Eco tour.  We had a relaxing ride back through the mangrove islands and into Naples harbor.  Dax continued to look for marine life along the way.
It was such a fun adventure together as a family!
We LOVE any time that we get to spend with Daddy!!

Evening at Hollywood Beach with our Buddies (October 2015)

Florida Falls are pretty magical.
The ocean temps are in the 80s and the daylight is still stretched out giving lots of hours of sunlight.  One of those perfectly warm evenings, we decided to get a group of our friends together for a fun afternoon/evening at Hollywood Beach.  Jeni, Arianne, Monica and I met up a few hours before our hubbies were able to join.  We all swam, built sand castles, and enjoyed a perfectly relaxing afternoon at the beach.

Ocean Selfie!
Gotta love Daxton's melt down midway through pictures...
The kids (and mommies) loved playing in the warm calm waves!
It also happened to be little Max's birthday, so when Tom met up with us at the beach, he brought cupcakes for all the kids to enjoy.  Needless to say, it was a very fun and messy birthday party!  Good thing all they had to do was run into the ocean to wash off.
Best little buddies

Hollywood Beach is one of our favorite beaches for this reason...the splash pad!  It's the perfect way to clean off the kids after playing in the sand all afternoon.  We stripped the kids down and let them run back and forth through the fountains till all the sand was gone.  They had a blast playing in the water!

Of course, us mommies ran through the fountains as well :)

After cleaning off and changing the kids into dry clothes, we met up with our husbands and the Shumway family for dinner at our favorite Taco spot along Hollywood Beach Boardwalk, the Taco Spot.
We all had a blast eating yummy tacos and chatting the evening away.  After dinner, the kids had enough room for ice cream cones.  It was pretty cute to see these kids try to eat their cones before melting in the Florida heat.
Before leaving we let our little man play in the calm waves one more time as the sun was setting...we live in such a gorgeous place!!

One of my ultimate favorite pictures ever taken of these two :)
Nothing better than ice cream sticky kisses as the sun goes down at the beach!
Love these boys of mine with all of my heart!!

Day to Day in October (2015)

Some of our highlights from October (2015) included...

Starting off the month with General Conference!
We love the opportunity to listen to the leaders of our church.  We spent the weekend in the comfort of our home listening to the Prophet and Apostles teach of Christ and ways we can better serve our Heavenly Father.
Daxton was such a sweetheart and let mommy and daddy listen with very few interruptions.  He loved his new reusable sticker set which occupied at least an hour of his time.

The rest of the weekend looked like this...
wrestling with daddy, making pancakes with daddy, and going to a matinee with daddy...we LOVE Daddy time!

The next day we had friends over to watch the Sunday sessions of General Conference.  Daxton was so excited to have friends to play with and us parents were excited those french doors kept the kids noises away from General Conference :)
In between sessions we grilled up yummy food, ate lots of treats, and hung out with our Floridian family.  It was the perfect weekend for sure!

Adam and Dallas on the grill

My Floridian Sisters :)
Emily and Tiffany

The rest of October was filled with LOTS of play groups and we loved every minute of it!  Dax fully realizes now that play groups are mostly for mommy to catch up with her friends :)

We loved visiting Flamingo Nursery with friends to see all their fall decorations and activities.  Dax loves his buddy Dean.  They always have so much fun together and are so kind to each other.

We had a blast drinking yummy fresh fruit smoothies, picking out little pumpkins, and snacking on cookies.

Dax and Dean especially had fun making a massive pile of all the small pumpkins in the middle of the pumpkin patch.

Dax also got his very first light saber in October!  He could not have been more excited and immediately started working on his jedi moves...pantless jedi moves.

We had so much fun at Flamingo Nursery that we decided to visit again with more buddies. Olive and Dax loved playing with all the small pumpkins and building a fort in the middle of the pumpkin patch.

They also loved exploring all the different plants and eating yummy cookies.

Going through the mazes at Flamingo Nursery.

We also took a fun hayride pulled by a local farmer and his tractor.  The kids had a blast looking at all the decorations and the farmer even let Dax pretend he was driving for a quick picture.

Fun on the hayride!
October was also the month of Daxton's good buddy, Levi's birthday.  Kimberly threw the CUTEST Paw Patrol themed birthday party in honor of Levi turning 4.  Right as we parked the car we noticed cute paw prints on their sidewalk leading us to their house.
The snack spread was SO adorable, all following the Paw Patrol theme and some even being served out of doggie bowls.

Kimberly led the kids in a fun Paw Patrol game...
And then we all went outside for the big adventure!
The kids were each given a job in order to help solve the case.
The kids had to use team work to help pull in Derek to safety from the canal.  Daxton's job somehow led him into falling into the shallow water getting him drenched up to his waist.  It was quite funny how he always manages to find the water!
Look at all these cute kiddos.
Everyone had SO much fun!!

We knew we were heading to Disney World's Halloween party and wanted the kids to coordinate.  I wanted Daxton to go as a Star Wars character, so we started the process of introducing him to all things Star Wars.  Since the real movies were a bit too violent for him still, we started by introducing him to the Lego Star Wars cartoons.  It took him one show to be totally hooked!  Within a few days he knew all the characters and has only talked Star Wars since.
He chose to go as Luke Skywalker and when his costume came in the mail he was beyond excited to try it on and start showing off his master jedi moves :)

October also brought a brand new hair color at the most amazing salon on Las Olas in Fort Lauderdale...after paying the bill though, I decided no matter how much I loved my experience, I couldn't afford going there every other month!

More play dates with buddies...
Plantation Heritage Park with Dean and Olive

They spent almost the whole time running up the slides and then wrestling at the bottom.  We loved listening to their squeals and giggles!
I love Arianne's and Olive's expressions in these pics below!

Daxton also finished another round of swim lessons with his buddy Jack.  He loved being able to swim with Jack each week and thoroughly enjoyed giving their coach a run for his money.  Trying to keep these two focused was quite the challenge!
We sure love our little fish!

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