Monday, October 29, 2007

Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes

DAY ONE
We had an absolutely awesome time in Florida! The limo picked us up bright and early Thursday morning and took us to the airport. I haven't flown anywhere in years and didn't realize just how much security had changed! I didn't know you needed to take off your shoes. So, this is how the whole security run-down took place. Joe walked through carrying Brooklyn. Ta da.

Now, I'm there with the other five kids, trying to position two car seats up on the conveyor belt so they'll pass under the x-ray, attempting to fold up the big double stroller and lift it up so it'll fit in the x-ray thingy. Meanwhile I'm getting all the kids to take off their shoes, put their five backpacks, my tote bag, the diaper bag, my purse, and all our sweatshirts in little trays on the conveyor. A gentleman from security stops the machine and asks me if I have a DVD player in the bag.

Why yes, I do.
Can you take it out for me?
Oops. Sorry I didn't know it was supposed to be taken out.

OK, that's all fine. Then he stops it again and asks me what the round thing is in one of the kids' backpacks.
I have no clue what he's talking about.
He pulls the backpack out and Austin fishes around it and finds a baseball. Duh. What else would you take on a plane to Florida? You never know when the opportunity to play a little catch will arise.
In case anyone's wondering, it's OK to take a baseball on the plane.

After an hour and a half of regrouping and redressing, we caught up to my husband who innocently says, "What took you so long?" He not so convincingly told me that security made him walk through the metal detector and wouldn't let him come back to help us.

We flew Southwest Airlines which was fine, however I really don't like their boarding process. Parents traveling with little kids don't get to board first anymore. When it was our turn to board, we scrambled to find seats together for the eight of us and we held up the line while furiously trying to buckle in car seats and stow everyone's backpacks under the seat as if we were being timed. I don't know why they don't let families with little kids get on first to ensure they get seats together and to let them get situated before letting everyone else on.

Anyway, as we started to take off, Clay asked, "When is it going to start flapping?" He thought the wings of the plane moved like bird wings! After about three minutes in the air, he announced, "I want to go down now." I quickly grabbed out the portable DVD player I borrowed from my sister and bil and wouldn't you know - I either didn't charge it like I thought I did, or I inadvertently turned the power on after charging it and drained the battery. Anyway, it didn't work. The kids were all awesome on the plane despite the lack of movies. They hardly made a peep the whole ride and I needn't have worried anyway because there were several kids on the plane and even if mine had been loud, they would've blended in with the others.

We arrived in not-so-sunny Florida, got our nice 15 passenger van, and headed to the Marriott Grande Vista. Our hotel room was amazing! It was bigger than our house. Literally! It had three big bedrooms, three bathrooms, a kitchen, dining room, 2 sitting areas, 3 TVs, and 2 balconies overlooking some beautiful pools! On the dining room table was a "Welcome to Florida" note along with a gift basket full of goodies, snacks, bottles of water, candy, and a disposable camera. There were stuffed dolphins, whales, and Elmos for all 6 kids. There were Discovery Cove hats and Shamu backpacks for each of the kids as well. WOW!


(The view of the pools from our balconies)

The kids immediately changed into swimsuits and we went down to the pool where five of them swam. The sixth one spent most of his vacation looking for lizards which apparently run rampant in Florida.


(Jackson's new friend "Can we bring him home please?")

We met Angie, her husband and adorable little girls at the hotel and we all ate outside at the poolside bar and grill. The weather couldn't have been more perfect! I'm ready to move! That's where the toothless man with a beer in one hand, a bird in the other and poop down his back met us. :)


(Me and Angie from Mamaslike)


(The hotel bird-man)

DAY TWO
This is the day we went to Discovery Cove. From the pictures, I knew we would like this place, but I had no idea we'd love it so much. Of course, we were given the total VIP treatment, but looking around it was easy to see that all guests were really catered to and pampered. When we first got there, we met our guide June, a wonderful, sweet woman who hails from Georgia and has the quintessential genteel southern drawl. She escorted us to where the breakfast buffet was located and we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast outside in cloudy, but perfectly comfortable, warm weather.


(The gang with June, our guide extraordinaire)

After breakfast, we were fitted with wetsuits.

So June holds up this wetsuit that I think will fit my 6 year old perfectly. She tells me that it's for me. I eye the suit. I look at June. You have got to be kidding me.

It took me 45 minutes, but I squeezed into the wetsuit and walked outside to be laughed at by the world. June took one look and said, "I think that one is too big. Try this one."

Too big?!?!?! Well, I somehow managed to squish myself into the smaller size, walked outside and informed June that I would be definitely be needing the jaws of life to get out of the tight fitting garment.

After we were all outfitted in our snazzy wetsuits, we walked over to our private, secluded cabana which was surrounded by tropical foliage. It was filled with sand toys, lounge chairs, a table, canopy, plenty of towels, masks, snorkels, and a stocked refrigerator. WOW!


(Our private cabana - note the dune buggy stroller!)


(The view of the dolphin pools from our cabana)

In our cabana we met a two toed sloth named Lucky. No kidding he's lucky. He gets to live in paradise with his girlfriend sloth, he's fed lettuce and carrots every day, and he only needs to come down from the trees to poop once every two weeks! Imagine the time we could save if we only needed to use the bathroom once every two weeks!


(All of us with Lucky the sloth and a sweet girl from Discovery Cove)

Saying goodbye to the sloth, we headed over to watch a short video in preparation for our dolphin encounter. This part was amazing!


All of us (Jackson's behind Brooklyn) petting the dolphin


(Me kissing Natasha, the dolphin)


(Austin with the dolphin)


(Lexi kissing the dolphin)


(Joe and Jackson with the dolphin)


(Savannah swimming with Natasha)


(me swimming with the dolphin)

We also got to hand feed sting rays while wading in a pool with them. We snorkeled with tropical fish and rays in a coral reef, and we swam and floated in a lazy river of warm, freshwater. The river meandered through Discovery Cove. It ran through the aviary, home to tons of exotic birds. The river drifted by waterfalls, beautiful plants and trees and even through a cave. It was so relaxing that Brooklyn fell asleep while floating!


(Sleeping on the lazy river)

Here she is sleeping again. This time she fell asleep after Savannah fed her some chocolate cake.


(Note the puddle of chocolate drool)

Speaking of chocolate cake - the food was delicious there! I had yummy, yummy lobster salad on a buttery croissant and Joe is still talking about the salmon he had for lunch! The cool thing about Discovery Cove is that it's all-inclusive. Breakfast, lunch, snacks, and drinks including Anheuser Busch beverages, are included in your admission. You don't need to bring money for anything but souvenirs. And unlike many parks, there are not souvenirs stands and shops every five feet at Discovery Cove.

I really hadn't planned on writing tons about Discovery Cove, but I was honestly so impressed that I just had to share. The people there totally take care of you. I don't remember the numbers, but there's a really high staff to guest ratio so there is always a staff member nearby ready to help in any way they can. Every time I walked into the bathroom, there was an attendant sweeping the floors so they were dry and sand-free, or emptying bins of washcloths used to dry hands, or stocking more towels, or filling dispensers with Crabtree and Evelyn shampoo, conditioner, and shower gel. Every time I walked with one of my kids to the snack shop, a friendly person greeted us and offered drinks, hot pretzels, animal crackers for the baby, or other yummy snacks. The life guards stationed all around the water were attentive and friendly, offering to take pictures of us with our cameras. This place gets an A+ for service, atmosphere, food, and overall experience!

DAY THREE
We started the day bright and early at breakfast with Elmo and friends at Sea World.


(The gang with Bert and Ernie)


(Me and Cookie Monster, the character I can most relate to!)


(The gang with Elmo)


(Us with the Count)

After breakfast we went to a seal show where we got separated from Lexi. We found her just a minute later, but she very upset and cried for some time. :( We walked over to a ride called Journey to Atlantis after the seal show. I went on the ride with Austin, Savannah, Jax, and Lex. Lexi did not like it. At all. She started crying about halfway through the ride and didn't stop for the next half hour. Every time she even looked at the ride, she started crying again. Note to self - in the future, even though Lexi insists she wants to go on a ride, do NOT let her go!


(Journey to Atlantis ride)

We met Angie at Sea World and hung out for a bit while our little ones went on some kiddie rides in Shamu's Happy Harbor. This sign cracked me up. I know you can't read all of them, but do you see how many rules there are for going on this ride?


(I think there are 11 rules for going on this ride)


(this one especially cracked me up - "You must not ride if you are unable to understand safety procedures.")


OK all those rules and regulations were for THIS ride. It's a boat that rocks gently rocks back and forth .


(while I was watching the kiddos on some rides, Joe sat down with Brooklyn to try and get her to take a nap. Uh huh. WHO'S taking a nap?)


(Shamu up close and personal while we had dinner behind the scenes of the Shamu show, which by the way, has a really yummy bananas foster - the dinner, not the show)

Oh yeah - if you choose to sit in the "soak zone" at the Believe show with Shamu, you WILL get wet. Even if you're sitting at the very back of the "soak zone" twelve rows up! Trust me.

Oh and if you need medical help while at Sea World, just head over to Key West and the sting ray pool. First Aid is located right behind there. Skipping across a bridge that was slippery and wet from the rain, Clay fell and bit through his lip, bruising the gum around his tooth at the same time.


(this picture doesn't do it justice. It was nasty.)


(nighttime view from our room. We didn't want to leave.)

As I was taking a shower the night before we left, the kids came and started banging on the bathroom door. I ignored the banging and finished showering. When I got out, the kids ran to me and said, "Austin threw up!"

Let me get this straight. Austin threw up, so you thought it would be a good idea to bang on the bathroom door while I was in the shower? Did you think I was going to run out in the middle of my shower, dripping wet, shampoo in my hair, to clean up his barf? Have you ever seen me clean up barf? Ever?

Actually, Austin got sick in the garbage can and Joe took care of it. He continued to get sick all night. Lexi was also up all night with a fever, crying that her ears hurt. Unfortunately her ear drum ruptured on the way home. I took her to the doctor to get some antibiotics and ear drops. I took Savannah to the doctor again because, despite the antibiotics she started the day before we left, her ears are still infected too. I think Austin's done throwing up and Clay's lip is less swollen today. I have to laugh at those things. It just wouldn't be a Meehan vacation if stuff like that didn't happen.

Oh and on the way home, while in line to pass through security, we realized we'd left the car seats sitting at the ticket counter. Joe offered to run back and get them. Guess who went through security with all the kids again. I'm beginning to think he may have left the seats behind on purpose. ;)

We had the most wonderful time! Everything was awesome! The kids were great the whole time. I was really proud of them. It's amazing what a change of scenery can do for a person. They didn't misbehave at all. Of course, they were on a vacation of a lifetime and they (WE ALL) enjoyed every minute of it. I only wish we'd had more time to spend there.

119 comments:

desirae said...

Your vacation looked beautiful, and sounded pretty relaxing, (well if you forget about the whole barfing thing.) I hope your kids start feeling better soon.

Lowa said...

Wow, this sounds amazing! You deserve it!

The things you deal with bring back memories for me. I only have four kids, but the puking, ear infections, husbands "accidentally" leaving things so us mothers have to deal with even more...Yeah. I can relate!

Emily said...

Sounds like an awesome trip for an awesome family! =)Glad you kids had fun! ;) Yeah, I'm talking about you and your husband as well. Life wouldn't be complete if you didn't let out your inner 6 year old every so often.
Awesome pictures, too! Loved the one of you guys and the dolphins!

Welcome home as well =) I hope everyone feels better! It's not fun to have one kid sick; I can only imagine 5!

Ironically, the one you were most worried about was safe and sound. =) Aw, little Brooklyn is adorable!

jodi said...

What a wonderful trip and so great for the kids...I'm happy for you all!
Great pictures too!

Bryce said...

What an awesome sounding holiday!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like your family had the most awesome holiday excluding the injuries and illnesses.

next time you go Im coming too.

Anonymous said...

My dream vacation just includes the sloth. I would give pretty much anything to hold a sloth!!!

Momma Mary said...

Sounds like you had a wonderful vacation! I too, am VERY VERY disappointed in the Southwest boarding policy. I have traveled quite a bit with my one-year-old son, this change has happened since August. I suggest that EVERY PARENT who travels Southwest write them, and get it changed back. When you think about it, it isn't selfish:
1)People traveling on Business DON'T get to CHOOSE to sit far away from families with small children anymore!
2)It's hard to control even the best behaved children while waiting in line to get onto the plane, and someone's bound to get hair pulled or sticky fingers touching their clothing.

I don't mean to hijack your comments, but I really think we should stand together and get it changed back, because I really like Southwest and want to continue to travel with them. :) Not to mention, it really sucks when you're traveling by yourself with an infant and have to carry YOUR carry-on, your infant's carry-on, the carseat and the stroller while waiting for everyone to dump their luggage. :)

roseys madhouse said...

Wow sounds like an awesome time. I love the photos also fantastic. Arent Dolphins truly amazing creatures? I hope all the kids are better now. I love the cautions on that ride what a joke lol.

Anonymous said...

Dawn,

It must feel so odd sharing your first family vacation (other than camping), with millions of your adoring fans.

It sounds like you had an awesome time. I am so happy for you and your family. You sure do deserve everything wonderful that is coming your way.

Hope the kids feel better soon.

l. king said...

I'm so happy that you had a great time. And I'm so glad that you're back!
Sorry to hear about the illnesses, that's how life goes though. When I took my oldest to California, she got sick at Disneyland, and we couldn't go to Seaworld because we were at the hospital!

Thehotrod5 said...

Looks like you all had a great time! I am sorry everyone got so sick though....It sounds like you are like us though...you just expect it LOL

Angela

Kim said...

That is so incredibly cool! I am so glad you guys got to go and had a great time. I have always wanted to swim with the dolphins. Glad you made it through security too. I hate to go through by myself let alone with 6 kids! Thanks for all the pics and your story.

Valarie said...

Ha! I left a comment on mamaslike about sitting in that darn Shamu soak zone. We sat in the VERY last row with our 4 month old after being told we would get "Sprinkled a little, but not much" by one of the people working there. I had to ring my clothes out when we stood up after the show!! It was so much fun though.
Glad you had a great tme!

Laura said...

I agree...Discovery Cove makes you feel like a rockstar! It is the best amusement park ever. Glad things went so well for you guys.

Anonymous said...

I am so happy for you! That sounds like a great vacation!

I have a picture of myself kissing a dolphin (at Dolphin Quest, in Bermuda)! Aren't they the most wonderful animals?

Sara (Michigan)

suburbancorrespondent said...

Oh, my goodness - how can you readjust to real life? Wouldn't it be great if every time you walked into your own bathroom, there would be someone there wiping up and handing you fresh towels?

And, yes, I wouldn't even have believed the whole account unless one kid (at least) got injured and another got sick.

Isn't it nice staying in a place that doesn't have all your stuff in it? Feels so relaxing. And nothing's broken and reminding you that you still haven't fixed it.

Erica said...

Glad you had such a good time! Maybe we'll end up down there around Christmas! You make it sound so wonderful!

By the way, I flew SouthWest just a few weeks ago, and they did in fact, board families with children first. Sometimes you just have to know where to go. They didn't announce it on two of my flights, but an attendant came and told me if I'd stand over to the side they'd pre-board me. After that I knew where to go and what to do, and Walla! I only had 1 child; an 8 month old, but I must say, pre-boarding is the way to go!!

Welcome home! :-)

Lucille said...

What a great trip! I just love the pictures of you and your family with the dolphins. It looks like you really got to do a lot in the short time you were there. Thank you for sharing. We all missed YOU! :)

melissa said...

I am so happy for you all! What an awesome vacation. I just requested information from Discovery Cove thanks to you, or I wouldn't have known about it. (and I have been to Fla. a dozen times!!) They need to send you to more places so you can give all of us the reviews :) Thanks for your blog which I enjoy greatly.

Lisa said...

Glad you had a great time! I am a Disney person myself, but Discovery Cove sounds fabulous! My step-daughter said to tell Lexi that she LOVED Journey to Atlantis, but I reminded her that she is older than Lexi is! :)

Welcome home!

Alora said...

I'm so glad you had a great time! Thank you for sharing! :)

Melissa Garrett said...

Seriously awesome trip! (minus the kids getting hurt/sick). I love the pictures of you all with the dolphin (which make me laugh - I have a sister named Natasha!).

plainprecious said...

Thank God you are home. I have been having withdrawls!!!!! Your trip looks awesome glad you had a great time. Elisabeth

Jaimie said...

Sounds like you all had an amazing time at an amazing place! You all deserved it :-)

Kerri said...

Wow! I think after reading about your awesome vacation, I am convinced we can take our 4 boys and have just as much fun! Besides, the excuse of 'waiting until their older' probably won't work since you could take half a dozen kids and come through it all with flying colors and tons of great memories!

Ladybug said...

WOW!!! I would LOVE to swim with the dolphins.

Rion said...

That's amazing, I'd love to go there some time :). I'm glad you had a good time, even though it sounds like you'll need another vacation just to recover from that one, lol.

Take it easy

Erika said...

awesome!! sounds like an great time (minis the puking, bruised lip, ear infections and what not)!!

it's wonderful that your family recieved the royal treatment!!! you deserve it!!

Anonymous said...

Dawn, how awesome. Great pics. I'm so glad you guys had a great time but also glad you are home. Missed reading your posts.
Margie

Kikilia said...

Sounds like a great vacation! Thanks for sharing the pics- it looks awesome.

Vivian M said...

Sounds like you all received the VIP treatment, not something the average park visitor gets to see and do. The dolphin interaction costs around $279 a person/child right now.
Sorry to hear that your little ones got sick, hopefully they will get well soon. I am very happy that you all enjoyed your trip and had a good time!

vickie2005 said...

Congratulations Dawn! I'm so happy you guys had a great time, and that you were unflappable the entire time.

You definitely make me want to go on the same vacation.

Kikilia said...

Forgot to ask- what hotel did you stay at?

Jennifer said...

That looks too cool. I so want to go to SeaWorld when we go in February, especially if they have breakfast with Elmo. Jimmy (and I) would love it. Glad you had a good time, its envitable someone will get sick. We dealt with constipation issues when we took Bri to Orlando and Jimmy got a cold in CA.

lil foots mommy said...

It looks like you and the family had a great trip. I am definitely going to have to check out Discovery Cove the next time we venture to Florida. That place looks awesome!!!

Melissa said...

I'm glad you guys had a great time. Looks like you had awesome places to visit.

And even though you had some bumps along the way, the good most definitely outweighed the bad.

Welcome home!

Cyn said...

What an amazing trip for you and your family; I'm so glad you were able to come to Florida and enjoy Discovery Cove and Sea World.

Janet said...

Welcome back! What a great time and a great description. Sorry about all the sickness and other trauma. Thanks for the info about Discovery Cove. My kids would love it. Now if only we could get someone to fly us down there . . . Actually, though I've been on Southwest and that was without kids. I'll pay extra to avoid that airline.

byrumnews said...

Wow, it sounds like you had so much fun. My family has been talking about going down there. So in your opinion would it have been worth the money if you had to pay it? Is there alot to do? I only have a 6 & 7 year old and we live close enought to drive, but with hotel and theme park entrance, I am a little bit sceptical of the cost. Any help you could give would be appreciated.
btw: love the chocolate drool...too funny.

Melinda said...

Wow! What a great trip! I think my fave part of this post was the toothless bird man with poop down his back, though.

Steph said...

Wow looks like a great great time! we are headed to Orlando the Sunday after Thanksgiving and we are hoping for better weather we are Disney and Sea world bound I am hoping that Sea world will be worth it for my 2 little ones (3 and 5) since the price is right (free for military) Glad you had such a great time! You deserve it.

Liz said...

Whew...I got tired just reading all of the activities you did every day!! Sounds like you had a fantabulous time though!! Glad the sick bugs held off until the last night you were there so the kids didn't have to miss anything. Hope everyone's feeling better, and Savannah's ear infection heals up. Luv the pics...you all look great! Thanks for sharing!!

~Liz
http://4guysn1liz.blogspot.com

Sarah R said...

So glad you're back! It sounds wonderful. I live a few hours from the Orlando area, so I'm thinking of Discovery Cove for our next vacation, thanks to your review. I'm happy you got some fun and relaxation in.

Hollie said...

A lot of airlines don't let you pre-board anymore. I just don't get why. We only have two kids (so far) and the last time we flew we had the same problem with American. It's soooooo inconvenient--for us AND everyone else on the plane! Glad you had a good time though--sounds wonderful!

Jessica said...

I love the photo of you with Cookie Monster! He is my favorite of all time!!!!!

Brenda said...

What a fabulous vacation. Your kids are going to have such great memories. I bet you hear about this for many years to come. I'm glad you are home safe and sound.

Waitingonyou2 said...

Dawn and family,

I am so glad you got to have a family vacation that was both memorable and enjoyable!

This is something they will NEVER forget.

Discovery cove deserves the kudos you gave them.

~Erica

Jennifer said...

Glad you were able to take such an awesome vacation! I don't think any big family ever gets to take a vacation where no one gets sick or hurt! At least that is how it worked in my family when I was growing up!

Alison said...

you're getting me all excited about going to florida!

Rae said...

I am so glad to hear you had fun! I enjoy your blog so much and I can only imagine how my mom took care of all 5 of us without ever having a vacation!

Anonymous said...

Congrats!I'm glad that you had a nice trip.

AZMom said...

Wow Dawn! What a trip! I am so jealous! Discovery Cove looks like a trip of a lifetime. I would LOVE to swim with the dolphins. They have been my favorite animal since I was a kid! So glad you had a great trip but I do hope everyone is feeling much better now!

Cyndy said...

WOW! I just started reading your blog and I love it and I completely admire you for getting through security with 5..6?kids and your sanity still in tact. I think your husband knew what he was up against and ditched! Just kidding! God bless you all, it sounds like you had a great vacation.

Wendy said...

I must have missed it, but how did you come upon this vacation? And how long of a trip was it? What a fantastic time! I am envious! Thanks for your recap. Memories that will last a lifetime! :)

Andrea said...

WOW what a vacation!! What hotel did you stay in? It sounds fabulous!! And your private cabana, wow, that was great!! I want to go on a Sea World Vacation!! Glad you all had fun and the gang is now getting good medical attention!! Hope they all feel better soon!!! Why do kids always get sick on vacations??

Daniel, Anna, Emma, Kylie, and Duncan said...

Sounds like ya'll had a wonderful time! I'll have to keep it in mind for future family vacations :)

Loved the pictures!

ashley nicole said...

yays for having fun!!! Discovery Cove looks awesome...

Have a great day!!

Anonymous said...

I am so jealous! I wanted to go on that trip!It sounds like you had a wonderful time.(next time you can take me with you,I'll be your oldest child:)

Earthmama said...

Wow, that just sounds so amazing..other than the ruptured eardrums and throw up of course. What wonderful memories the kids will have!!!

Joan of Ark said...

Cool vacation your kids will remember fondling forever. Unlike my memories as the oldest of 7 being traipsed around Disneyland in dorky matching vests. Long story, unhappy ending.

You're right about hubby's being absent as needed. My youngest tripped during church and shoved a colored pencil through her cheek. GROSS! and it was the one Sunday my hubby was working.
Joan of Ark
www.secrets-of-the-butchers-wife.com

Karen said...

What an awesome vacation! I'm so glad that you were able to enjoy a few days before the bad things happened. With kids, it's only what you come to expect.

Yes, airline security is a total nightmare. I flew again for the first time in years and was surprised at what all went on. But we were sans kids. More power to you!

On a side note, I mailed your package late last week and it should be arriving soon.

Beth said...

I am totally going to Discovery cove - that sounds awesome! What, no comments or laughs about the irony of eating lobster and salmon at Discovery cove?

Heather said...

What an awesome vacation!! I hate your kids got sick/hurt, but glad it wasn't too serious. Looks like you had a great time. I love your blog, by the way. :)

Susania said...

I almost teared up reading about your vacation - how often in our lives do we get that kind of special treatment?! I know people refer to Disney as some sort of manipulative, monolithic coporation, but when it comes to children, everyone there at the parks really seems to have an affection and fondness for kids. You should hear my sister rave about how they treat the kids and families on a Disney cruise!

rachel said...

I'm so sorry your kids were so sick. Flying with sick kids is worse than being stuck at home with sick kids! I'm glad you enjoyed the trip in spite of the sickness!

rachel
langanland.blogspot.com

Stacie said...

sounds like a great vacation...hope everyone is on the mend and feeling better!

Jenny in Ca said...

wow, what a great trip, and a great post, I really enjoyed reading it, my kids were ohhing and awwing over the dolphin photos.

I have only taken two of my kids thru security at the airport...the thought of herding all 4 thru makes me twitch. I have a brother in law who almost everytime he goes thru an airport ends up on the ground with the swat team pointing firearms at his head. I told him I will never walk thru and airport with him...

thanks for sharing the adventure with us, great, great photos!

Burgh Baby's Mom said...

You aren't kidding that airline security is a nightmare unlike any other. They tried to make me drink from a bottle of breast milk during the whole "no liquids" phase. I'm still angry.

Kandy Seaton Smith said...

wow, sounds like an absolutely amazing vacation! Glad ya'll had fun, sorry for the sickies at the end...

Tanya in Florida said...

I have never posted before, but I have been reading your blog since the auction. I figured I would let the comments die down before I added to your reading list. I am glad you had a nice time down here in not so sunny Florida, lol. Just FYI, yes, we are rampent with lizards...and many many many other creepy crawlies...that my kids try to keep as pets as well. :p Be GLAD you only ran into lizards, lol. I thought about warning you about the splash zone at Sea World but I didnt get around to actually doing it, sorry! (its not the wet that I mind, its how cold the water is!) Anyhow, glad the trip went well overall and hope the kiddos are better soon!

onthegomom said...

What a wonderful vacation for your entire family! For the most part (other than the standard: fever, barf and a few bruises) it sounded like a trip of a lifetime. Much deserved :)

Thanks for sharing with all of us.

http://momoftheyear-not.blogspot.com/

ComedyChef said...

So happy you and family had a great vacation. Your children are beautiful. Hope you will still have time to make us laugh with your blog while doing all the laundry that has to be done after a vacation.

Keeley said...

What a wonderful holiday! So glad you all had a good time.

I do hope your children are feeling better. Ear infections and bit lips and vomiting just aren't too much fun at all. The ruptured eardrum sounds so painful! =(

Bren said...

What an awesome vacation! I've now put Discovery Cove on my list of vacation spots.

Sorry about the barf, bruises, and other problems. I hope everyone is recovering well.

Jessica said...

I love the pic with the baby in a wet suit. It was so big! How sweet!

Anonymous said...

You're lucky you only saw lots of anoles (small lizards), and none of the other crawly things we have hear - Boca Grande has 100s of iguanas and someone "liberated" their pet monitor lizards in Cape Coral some time ago, and they are rampant now. Monitor lizards can eat small pets. Count your blessings - sounds like your family had lots of fun. That's what it's all about.

Becky said...

So glad you all had such a great time, and that you're all back safe and sound. Loved that your son managed to find a lizard there, too. Was that the same son that was holding the squirrel, lol? (Sounds like a future veternarian!

You guys are such a beautiful family!

KATE said...

I'm SO glad you all had tons of fun! We love Florida, my in-laws live there & we go as often as possible. It's beautiful!
Yay on your dream vacation!

Matchbox Mom said...

I'm SO GLAD that you had a good time...but most of all...I'M SO GLAD that you are back!!
I'm sorry that your little ones got sick, but i'm glad that you have a good attitude about it...what else can you do? Be mad? I'm glad you got to go on the vacation of a lifetime!!!Welcome home!!!

Tami

Nalventures said...

I am totally planning our next family vacation there. It looked and sounded like so much fun. Glad that you had a good time and hope the kids are feeling better. Mine always get sick when they travel too.

Shellie said...

I'm so glad you had fun and nice weather and that at least you didn't have to clean up the barf. Bummer flying has gone so downhill. My kids would love the dolphins and the lizards. I'm sure now you are playing catch-up but when you get the chance, you can see where the gutted knife (from my Family Heirlooms post) went next on my new post titled Blast From the Past April 6, 2005. A cautionary tale for all those who make their money on a home computer. It's at http://little-but-loud.blogspot.com.
Have a great week to you and all the club here!

Rick said...

Let me get this straight... all this because one of your children snuck some Pokemon cards into your shopping cart? Ain't this a great country!?!

It looks like it was a great vacation - remember your "cousin" the next time you go.

http://organizeddoodles.blogspot.com/

JoAnne in CT said...

Strange, I left a comment 1st thing this morning & it's not here.

Sounds like a wonderful trip, all things considered. What great memories for you & the kids! SeaWorld sure has changed & Discovery Cove wasn't even there the last time I went to Fla.

Can you share how you won this fabuloso trip?? You sure deserve it, whatever you did, Dawn!

Welcome home!

Anonymous said...

Aw, poor baby rupturing an eardrum and having to fly. That must have been awful! Your vacation sounds amazing!! It is too bad you didn't have more time, but I am glad you enjoyed it because you certainly deserve it!!!

tAnYeTTa said...

i love the vacation photos!

p.s. daddy holding baby to nap, LOL :)

Amber said...

Dawn, I've been a fan of your blog ever since I received a forward with the link for your Pokemon Ebay Auction from a coworker.
It must be thrilling to get a vacation like that! Who knew that the internet could lead to things like that, huh?
I just wanted to point out. (Not maliciously! Just a "hey,take a closer look" kind of pointing out) In your title... "Lattitudes"... Shouldn't that be "latitudes"?
Looking forward to your next blog :)

Anonymous said...

Dawn,
Great pictures! Your family is beautiful. Welcome home.
Sandy, HE,IL

Johane said...

Looks like you had a blast in Florida... Except for maybe the lip-biting incident. I know exactly how bad it was... My eldest did that a few years ago... Fell on the curling ice and bit straight through the lip! It was still bleeding a bit 30 minutes later when I saw her - her father was with her... Don't ask... Anyhow, it was scary for mom! She wanted to go back to curling! No! I want to take care of my baby!

It took her a couple of weeks to heal, and now she has just a small bump where she bit clear through the lip. Usually I don't see it, but when she pouts I can. Almost as if she were saying "See? I got hurt. I should be able to eat all the halloween candy tonight!"

Dawn said...

To answer your questions -
1. We stayed at the Marriott Grande Vista in Orlando. It was gorgeous and it was located right across the street from Sea World and Discovery Cove.
2. Yes, I definitely think that Discovery Cove is worth the money. There isn't a TON to do, but there's plenty to fill your day. It makes for a nice, relaxing day where you're not constantly standing in line and running from one thing to the next. If your kids like to swim, this place is wonderful!
3. I think people should send us to different vacation spots so I could review them too! ;) I really do love to travel and see new places.
4. This vacation came about when the folks at Discovery Cove, after reading the Pokemon auction, decided we could use a vacation. They sent us there and really gave us the royal treatment!

Dawn said...

Oh yes - thank you Amber! I totally misspelled "latitudes"! Oops! Thank you for pointing it out to me.

carrie & troy keiser said...

Thanks for letting us go with you! the pictures are great. Someday......

All moments remembered said...

You soooooo need another kid!!! ADOPT ME!!! PLEASE!!! What a trip of a lifetime! Amazing!! Discovery Cove is wonderful for treating your family to that. WOW!! Love all the pics! I am so happy you were all able to enjoy the trip!! Hope the lip is all healed up!!
Stacey

Heidi said...

What a sweet vacation! It looked just gorgeous. And that stroller looked awesome (did they tell you where those are sold??).

I'm sorry to hear about the illnesses--may they all heal and recover soon!

Anonymous said...

When I was a little girl, my family often vacationed outside of Charleston, South Carolina. It was a beautiful beach house but I spent most of my time obsessed with the rampant lizards that were everywhere (tomboy, huh?). I was living in Washington DC at this time last year, 8 months pregnant with our son, when my husband presented me with a choice: should he take the transfer to Indianapolis or the transfer to Tampa, Florida?

The fact that I never caught one of the lizards and wanted my son to have that kind of fun played a small but significant part of my decision.

Esther said...

I thought I loved reading your blog before, but I love your family more each week. You all seem so happy and concerned about eachother. Your husband looks like such a sweet guy. I'm happy for you. I will never be able to afford a vacation like that, so I apprecaite you letting me live it vicariously through you.

SueSue said...

I love how a pokemon card auction led to us knowing what an amazing writer you are! I wish you the very best - and glad to see you're already enjoying some benefits of your gift -like this awesome vacation!!! I'm in Florida (Miami, actually) and grew up catching lizards. One really cool lizard we have around here is the basilisk - also known as the "jesus lizard" because it can run on water! I have them in my yard - along with frequent visitors such as iguanas, raccoons, opossums, owls, black racer snakes, macaws, hummingbirds, an occasional fox, alligators in the canal, etc. Love Florida - and glad you enjoyed it too!
(Hope the little ones are all better soon :)

MBKimmy said...

Love it - I love that someone good is getting something good in life! Life is hard and i often feel that thoseof us who try so hard to be honest, caring, loving and real never benefit from it - missed your blog while you were gone - glad youa re home and I hope everyone starts feeling better real soon!

Mich said...

What an awesome AWESOME vacation! You are making me rethink Disneyland! Seriously!

papersunshine said...

You and your family truly deserved every minute of this vacation (well except the illnesses!) and I am so happy for you that you not only got to go but got the VIP treatment!!!! Thanks for the wonderful synopsis :) I hope we can do that trip some day!

Karla said...

Thanks for sharing your vacation with us. I'm feeling much better just looking at the pictures. Just when I thought I was going to get to go on another family vacation, I got pregnant! Now that Baby Ian is 7 months old, maybe I'll get a chance to go somewhere. Discovery Cove looks so awesome! Hope your kiddos are feeling better. :0)

Donna - NE Indiana said...

Dawn......I never miss your daily blog. I have never gotten so into one til I saw yours from the Pokeman .....
You are an awesome writer and very entertaining. Love it all.
Your trip sounds wonderful....oh the memories and pictures you now have..Truly awesome and priceless!
Keep them coming.

Manic Mom said...

OK, this is really weird cuz my blogger friend Kim Stagliano recently went to DIsney/Orlando and she posted a photo from HER balcony too. I SWEAR you all stayed in the same suite!!!

Deena's Coffee Paper Journal said...

Sounds like you guys had a great time. I am going to have to look into going.
You have a wonderful family!!

Anonymous said...

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


@ W E L C O M E H O M E @
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| D A W N & F A M I L Y |


WE MISSED YOU ALL!!!


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Sincerely,

Nancy Binky

Big Pumpkin said...

That was an interestingly detailed post about Florida. Thank you for sharing.

And ouch to Clay....here's a hug for him *smile*

Anonymous said...

I want to win something, oh yeah your vacation looks great! :0)

Kristin said...

It sounds like you had a blast! For what it's worth, none of the airlines (well, maybe some do, but not American, Continental, or US Airways, in any event) have pre-boarding for families anymore - just for first class. The first time I flew with my twins (they were about 9 months old), I was totally psyched that I'd get to board early and get settled. Turned out we had to deal with the stop and go traffic of general boarding.

Sorry about the lip. One of my kids had a similar accident, except his front tooth got crammed all the way up into his gums, came back down (yes, they do come back down!) crooked, and had to be pulled. At 18 months.

Anyway, you look like you had a great time with the dolphins. Best wishes for speedy recoveries for your kids.

BrigittevT said...

OMG give me a minute to try and NOT envy you LOL ...... Oke, I'm done ! Must have been a gorgeous trip and you really deserve it ! So glad you all enjoyed the trip (well apart from some minor problems, but hey, that's normal when traveling with kids) and you shared some amazing photos ! Would love to get my hands on those dolphin photos and scrap with them, they are sooo wonderful ;-)
Thanks for taking me on the trip with you !

Anonymous said...

Glad your home safe and for the most part, sound.

Great photos, great read, great sharing!

Korkie

Anonymous said...

The vacation sounds wonderful - it looks like Discovery Cove's advertising campaign paid off. For those of us who would have to pay for the vacation, can you give the total cost of everything.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you had a WONDERFUL time!

Thank you for the vacation idea!

Bald Headed Geek said...

That looks like one awesome vacation. Makes me want to go somewhere tropical NOW.

Sigh...........

BHG

Anonymous said...

Wow, what an amazing trip! So why the free trip and VIP treatment? Oh, wait...is it because they know lots of people read your blog and would hear about how awesome Discovery Cove is and want to go there? I know I want to go some day now! I'm glad you and your family had a great time and a well-deserved vacation together! Sorry about all the illness. I hope everyone's doing better.

Anonymous said...

P.S. Going through airport security is the WORST! I've done it by myself with just 2 kids and it's awful. And getting a car seat strapped into an airplane seat is awful, too. I ended up with my hand bleeding once after attempting it. I can't believe Southwest doesn't let families w/ young kids pre-board anymore! I traveled with them less than a year ago and we pre-boarded then. Anyway, great post!

LadyRachelLynn said...

I just wanted to comment on how much your girls Lexi and Savannah look like you. You are all so gorgeous!

That Discovery Cove looks awesome. We will have to check to it out if we ever make it to FL again! Thanks for the great post!

Anonymous said...

Glad to hear that you had such a great time. We missed you while you were gone.

Tiffiny said...

Sounds like a great holiday. Sorry to hear about the bitten lip. Been through that too. Not so nice eh?

s.j.simon said...

lol. did you know that chocolate was banned in switzerland for many years. read this

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