Last summer hurrah at Adventure Island

August 19, 2012 at 7:16 pm

Last week the boys and our besties, the Z’s, hit up our favorite local water theme park, Busch Gardens Adventure Island, for one final blast of summer fun before school starts.

20120816-100_0155

Last summer we had season passes and went several times, but this summer it just seemed to never work out until now.

20120816-100_0159

As soon as we got there the kids scattered.

AI map

This is one of the things we love about this park. It is not so huge that we are afraid to let the kids go off on their own, especially now that they are older and they are all good swimmers.

20120816-100_0160

Val and I hung out under our chiki hut until we couldn’t stand the heat any more,

chiki huts

then we floated around the lazy river a couple times.

20120816-100_0162

We had decided ahead of time that the lazy river would be the extent of our getting wet today.

20120816-100_0163

All of the pictures I took at the park were either with my waterproof camera (awesome for a water park) or with my phone.

20120816-100_0164

The lazy river (they call it the Rambling Bayou) winds through much of the park, so you get good views of many of the water slides.

20120816-100_0166

20120816-100_0167

20120816-100_0168

20120816-100_0176

20120816-100_0169

20120816-100_0174

20120816-100_0171

We have always set up camp near the chiki huts behind Mango Joe’s on the south end of the park.

20120816-100_0177

This time we splurged a little bit and rented a chiki hut so we were a bit closer and didn’t have to set up umbrellas.

20120816-100_0178

Aren’t Jillian and her boyfriend Joey the cutest?

jillian and joey

The kids had to check in periodically, and they usually showed up at the chiki hut when they were hungry.

20120816-100_0179

mackapple

The next time that Val and I got too hot to stand it any longer, we hit up the lazy river with the boys. I can’t believe I managed to get all five of us in the same shot!

20120816-100_0181

You can float in an inner-tube, or you can just walk with the current.

20120816-100_0182

20120816-100_0183

20120816-100_0184

The boys prefer the walking/swimming/floating without a float method.

20120816-100_0185

20120816-100_0189

20120816-100_0190

20120816-100_0191

20120816-100_0193

20120816-100_0194

We also walked over to the wave pool with the boys…

20120816-100_0195

but it ended up thundering so they had to shut down all the attractions for a little while. This always happens in the late afternoon. We ended up huddling under the shelter at Mango Joe’s until we decided it was time to leave.

20120816-100_0196

As always, we had a fun day at Adventure Island and agreed that we are sad to see summer vacation come to an end. See you next summer Adventure Island!

Mini-Vacation wrap up

July 18, 2012 at 4:54 pm

I last blogged (or just threw a bunch of photos up on a web page) about our awesome day at Gatorland. Speaking of that post, Chad would like me to make sure and point out that these…

20120715-DSC_0234

are alligator nuggets! He really thought that needed clarification. We ate these at Gatorland.

Anyway, now it’s Wednesday and we’re back in St. Pete, trying to get back to regular life. It’s so hard after vacation! Before I can blog about today, I want to finish up vacation. Gatorland was on Sunday. On Monday morning I did my workout in the hotel room with an audience.

20120715-DSC_0009

They decided to do pigeon pose with me.

20120715-DSC_0012

Then they refueled with chocolate covered Entenmann’s doughnuts.

20120715-DSC_0014

We spent the morning at the pool, but I didn’t take any more pictures there. I figured I had taken enough pictures of the pool. But here’s a one minute video that I took of the mass sliming at the Lagoon Pool.

 

After swimming the cousins got in some quality bonding time in our hotel room…

20120715-DSC_0001-2

then we all headed to Downtown Disney.

20120715-DSC_0011

20120715-DSC_0017

20120715-DSC_0023

Lunch at Earl of Sandwich (awesome).

20120716-DSC_0035

The girls love the Disney trading pins. Grace says that she has at least 10 lanyards!

20120716-DSC_0039

The boys could care less about trading pins, but they love remote controlled cars.

20120716-DSC_0048

The girls love to have their faces painted.

20120716-DSC_0054

The boys didn’t care about face painting. They just wanted to go to the Lego store!

20120716-DSC_0049

20120716-DSC_0050

Everybody got what they wanted at Downtown Disney. Even the big boy.

20120716-DSC_0055

20120716-IMAG1225

After we got back from Downtown Disney, Hope and I hung out in the hotel room while all the boys and Grace went to see some more of the “4D Experience” movies (they had a pass to see them all). When they got back from the movies we all went to Panda Express for dinner.

20120716-IMG_7101

20120716-IMG_7097

20120716-IMG_7095

Once back at the hotel we went to “the mall” to see a show. We also happened to see the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

20120716-DSC_0059

Our show:

20120716-DSC_0060

20120716-DSC_0063

20120716-DSC_0073

20120716-DSC_0075

20120716-DSC_0078

Cal got called up on stage for the pre-show warm up.

20120716-DSC_0082

We had seen the same show format a few years ago when at the Nick Hotel. It was a take on the old “Double Dare” game show on Nick. Two families had to battle it out with trivia questions and physical challenges. The losing (or winning?) team got slimed at the end. It was fun to watch.

After the show we let the kids blow some money in the arcade.

20120716-DSC_0084

20120716-DSC_0092

20120716-DSC_0090

Then we all went back to the hotel rooms and crashed.

Yesterday (Tuesday) morning we had early reservations for the character breakfast at the Nicktoons Café.

20120716-DSC_0096

All the characters that Hope had been wanting to see all week were there!

20120716-DSC_0098

20120716-DSC_0101

20120716-DSC_0107

20120716-DSC_0123

20120716-DSC_0128

20120716-DSC_0131

In addition to characters and a little mini-show, there was an awesome buffet.

breakfast-1

I tried to stick to low-carb, except for the oatmeal (which is fine) and that serving of corned-beef hash (which is not fine). That has potatoes in it, right? It was all so good. Yesterday (Tuesday) ended up being an unscheduled total rest day for me, and I have to admit that I also ended up totally blowing my “ModelFit” diet and eating everything under the sun all day. Anyway, back to characters…

UsandSquidward-1

20120716-DSC_0139

20120716-DSC_0149

20120716-DSC_0152

After the character breakfast we loaded up the cars, but didn’t quite say, “Goodbye,” yet. We all hit up one more outlet mall on our way out of Orlando, and we said our goodbyes there. I was sad to say goodbye to the girls. It was fun to have some girly kid time! All of the cousins really got along well and seemed to have a blast all weekend. We miss them already!

I did have a major score at that outlet mall, though. I bought a bunch of clothes for my nephew Cody who I am going to see next weekend, and I also bought a bunch of things for myself at the Loft Outlet (best store ever).

20120717-IMG_7118

Which dresses/outfits do you think I bought?

outfits1-2

outfits2-2

Once back in St. Pete we stopped at Arby’s for lunch. At this point, I wasn’t totally off the grid on my diet. I got the Arby’s Farmhouse salad, but I got the crispy chicken instead of the grilled chicken (the crispy chicken was foreshadowing for the rest of my food choices yesterday).

20120717-IMAG1245

It was good, of course. The rest of the day was chilling out and “recovering” from our vacation. I snacked all afternoon. Chad made Mexican pizza for dinner, and I ate it…white flour crust and all.

20120717-IMG_7119

Except for the white flour crust, it was pretty healthy, though. He made the taco meat with ground turkey.

Well, that is officially IT for our mini-vacation to Orlando. It was fast and furious and fun. Today it was back to the grind.