It was great of my parents to take care of Gordon while I worked, and wonderful of both my parents & Debbie to open their houses to us - and Debbie even got us in to see Epcot & Disney again.
It was surreal working in Florida - I even went past the house where I grew up, so much has changed, and although there are some nice things down there, I know I never want to live or work down there again! At one point I was driving on Highway 50 when I was suddenly surrounded by police cars with sirens wailing - they came at me from all directions - as did the red pick up truck they were chasing. Maybe he thought I was undercover since I was also in a white Chevy Malibu like all of the cars surrounding us, he was grinning like an idiot as he crossed the grassy median and circled me 3 times before he took off again - the helicopter was hovering overhead too - it all happened so fast and was quite scary. I had a mini meltdown - I was afraid someone would start shooting or crash into me, there was no place I could pull off the road because people had gathered all along it to watch the spectacle. The news said he had been wanted for drug related charges, he was eventually stopped and arrested. Stupid man.
Anyway, the rest of the trip was great!
You'll see several pictures of birds in here...I had fun playing with the zoom on the camera - they were all taken from quite a ways away and it was hard to focus on them, but fun anyway.
And lots of moss pictures...nothing says deep south more than moss draped on live oaks! We were walking at a park near my parents house one evening before sunset when I took these. A boy scouts hiking website says about this park: This rise of land was an Indian mound with a large live oak tree growing on it. It was called Live Oak Hill until a hurricane blew down the tree in 1911, and thereafter was called Oak Hill (as opposed to DEAD Oak Hill...) Shortly after 1900, Lord & Lady Hatton Turner built a 14 room home here. It was later bought by W.K. Snyder, and the land was renamed Snyder Hill. In 1911, the home known as Seminole Rest was built here.
This guy was pretty far away and I had a hard time getting him centered and focused - mom's shoulder didn't make a very good tripod, something about breathing...whatever...
Some close ups of the amazing cypress
This one is for Gordon..."the mooooon is not sleeping!"
Showing Grandpa how to play with trains...specifically how to put them to bed in their "shed" for the night... Grandma gets in on the train fun too.
Much is said about the beauty of Florida's beaches, many beautiful photos have been taken of beach scenes, this is not one of them.
That was a picture taken from the walking deck at Smyrna Dunes Park - just across from Ponce Inlet and the lighthouse...as you'll see - it looks like a desert with nothing but a lone palm growing for as far as you can see. And to make sure you see it all there is a big platform to climb for a better view.
My child decided he was tired of carrying the beach bucket and decided to put it on his head with the strap under his chin.
It was sort of windy, kind of cool, but the sun was intense too so when you were not in the wind you warmed up fast, and I got sunburned.
Finally sandy beaches & waves! AND SHELLS! Gordon loved finding shells - every single shell he found he shouted to Grandma and Grandpa "look I found a shell!"
A very nice lady even gave him a beautiful unblemished sand dollar.
Here's the Ponce Inlet lighthouse I zoomed in on across the water. You can see how far away it was in this picture.
Freezing our northern toes off!
Grandpa isn't too proud to hold his grandson's beach bucket.
He's with me!
Unable to stop looking for shells - and discovering the fun of digging in the sand
It was a beautiful day at the beach - look at that sky!
Look Grandma, look what I found!!
What I love about this photo, besides the birds, is that the light house from so far away is reflected in the water.
At the point of the inlet the water fills the dunes and when the tide goes out it warms it up nicely - although that sand is deceptive looking, it is like walking on rippled concrete it is so hard.
Gordon loved wading in the little tide pools
But Mommy was too engrossed in taking pictures...and not watching out for her toddler. Gordon took off running towards Grandma and decided to splash through a tidal pool, that was a lot deeper than he realized it would be - I just happened to click the picture just as he fell in.
I pulled him up sopping wet and all he did was grin and say "I went swimming!" He dried off quickly enough, by the time we got back to the car after our long walk.
Back at Mom & Dad's place. At Disney Friday night before Valentines Day
Catching a quick dinner after our Jungle Boat cruise. Gordon didn't know what to think of those "pretend" animals. I had my hands too full to take pictures. It was soooooo crowded too.
Shannon took a lot of pictures of the castle - here's just one, right before "Tinkerbelle" went flying overhead from her perch up at the top to kick off the fireworks.
Gordon loved the show & fireworks - unfortunately Shannon hadn't mastered the camera yet so these are not great pictures...and Gordon had fun "shaping" my hair while he was up there - so it normally doesn't look that messed up!
He loved the fireworks at the castle - and they ended the grand finale with fireworks that formed red hearts in the sky for valentines day - sweet!
The next day we hit Epcot - boy did we look like tourists or what??! While I got a stroller (Thanks again Deb!!) Shannon & Gordon went to a place where you could meet all of the characters - so mom wasn't there to oversee the picture taking, and just look what we have to remember them by:
Yes. That is the one and only picture we have of Gordon and Mickey. One to frame huh?
At least he's looking in the right direction with Pluto:
At least he's looking in the right direction with Pluto:
He looks a bit concerned about Minnie, maybe he's wondering if Mickey will be upset that he kissed Minnie (although we don't have a picture of it of course!) Really, he was happy, we weren't torturing him - it just looks that way. He was really excited. And Goofy is his favorite. What? You can't tell by the look on his face?
We thought at least we'd get some good pictures from the ones the Disney photographers took - we got home and logged in to see them and lets just say, these were no worse, no better, but no worse either. We didn't order any. Sigh. Maybe next time I'll get that keeper with Gordon smiling and looking happy with his Disney buddies.
Look at those white legged tourists in Hawaiian shirts!
Gordon loved the aquariums in the Finding Nemo exhibit. He didn't want to leave. We found Nemo, and his friends
Disney can make cabbage look amazing.
Shannon thought it was important to capture a picture for all time of this viking from the Norway pavillion...hmm...ok...
And that brings us to the end of our day at Epcot. We timed it perfect - the end of the day we were at the far side of the pavilions, in Mexico. We got a seat right on the water at the Cantina and got Mexican food to eat while we waited for the fireworks & laser show. It started, in moments were were running for the exit with our screaming & crying son. He loved the fireworks at the castle the night before, but apparently they were too loud and too "firey" at Epcot - he was so scared, I felt terrible. He recovered quickly and proceeded to tell the parking tram employee how scary the fireworks were and all about the firey torches & booms. Poor kid.
Our last day we drove back to my parents and went for a drive around the area to show Shannon the "real" Florida. These were taken near Port Canaveral while looking for alligators...it was too cold I think, but we found one sunning himself along the road but Shannon missed seeing it...but he did get to see 3 armadillos before we flew home! Whoo hooo...