Friday, May 31, 2013

Aquarium Visit For Memorial Day

Since we've been traveling a lot lately, we wanted to spend the long weekend relaxing together as a family. Steve and I knew Bella would love the Georgia Aquarium, so we planned to take the girls on Monday. We had so much fun!
The tickets for the aquarium included the new exhibit called Dolphin Tales; Bella was pretty pumped to see dolphins! It was incredible! Part Broadway-part Sea World; there was music, special effects, and lots of dolphins flipping and spinning in the air!

This little human makes such great expressions! This face was after she got to touch the sea urchins!

Daddy and Bella in front of the coral reef.

About to see the penguins!

Bella wanted to look at and touch everything! She could have stayed for hours if we'd let her!

Jellyfish! I like it when she squeals, "Just like on Nemo!!!" 

We somehow managed to walk into one of the rooms and be completely alone. Bella got to run back and forth, following all of the little fish darting around.

Bella and Evelyn in front of the huge wall of water. I didn't get many pictures of Evelyn since she was in the stroller, but we tried to get her close to the exhibits, and she would point her finger and follow the fish that swam close to her. It's fun to see her figuring things out and learning how to do more.

The whale sharks in the big tank. Bella kept switching the name and calling them "shark whales".
It was a great family outing! We splurged and stopped at the Café for lunch. It was a little rough pulling Bella out of there to finally head home, but we survived!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Airboats And Babies Don't Mix

We ended up leaving Florida on Wednesday instead of Saturday, because Steve's bank assignment finished early, but our final adventure was an airboat tour that travels on Myakka Lake and lets you look at alligators and wildlife.
The only airboats we've seen recently were the ones on the TV show, Swamp People, and those are 2-person boats that seem to fly across the water! I knew our boats would be a little bigger, but I still expected them to be fast! Steve and I figured that, even if the girls got a little restless, the speed and sounds would distract them.
Ummm. Not quite what we expected. The boat sat about 50 people and only went a top speed of 6 MPH. Yep, 6. It was a hot, humid Florida morning, Evelyn hadn't had a nap yet, and you weren't allowed to walk around on the boat once the tour started. About ten minutes into the HOUR-LONG TOUR, Evelyn had decided that she'd had enough. It was like being stuck on a plane with a crying baby - you're miserable, the baby is miserable, you know that everyone around you is miserable, and there's absolutely nothing you can do about it.
The tour itself would have been fine if we hadn't had a hot, cranky baby with us. Except for a quick sidenote...what is it about Park Rangers that they seem to take themselves WAY too seriously? Our tour boat driver, "Captain Bob", narrated the entire tour and was definitely a little annoyed that Evelyn was struggling to cooperate. It's not like she screamed the entire time, but she definitely had her moments. I wanted to look at him and say, "Sir, relax. The alligators on this side of the lake are the exact same as the ones on the other side of the lake."

Our ride. Luckily, Bella's too young to be annoyed by things like humidity, and she loved it!

Captain Bob's spot

Waiting to get on...

Keeping cool with tea and iced coffee. Bella decided she liked Papa's coffee drinks this week!

On the front row and ready to roll! Look at those faces, so happy and naïve! 
The alligators got up close and personal!  
Despite less than ideal conditions for kids, it really was a beautiful day! We got some great pictures of all of the wonderful creation around us!

Aaaand this was the moment when I was just praying that the boat would accidentally run aground so that we could magically end the tour early!

It's a good thing the little human loves alligators, because she got to see a ton of them!

Pink ibises. We learned that these are the only birds that are natural to Florida. 

As soon as we got Evelyn into her seat, she crashed. She was so limp that Mimi took pity on her and held her head up.

In Bella's mind, the only way to top alligators and water is with fries and Coke! I think mom and dad might try and go on the tour again without crying babies so they actually get to enjoy it and focus on the nature around them. Good luck!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Evelyn's Words

With everything going on with the girls' birthdays and now being down in Florida, I've forgotten to post some updates on Evelyn's milestones that I want to remember...

She's saying words! Not many, but it's really cute! 
(I tend to be freakishly biased about the cuteness of my own children.)

Evelyn can say "mama" and "daddy", but my most favorite word is "hi". Whenever I would go into her room to get her after naps or first thing in the morning, I would smile and say, "Hii-iiiii".

Now she says it in this adorable little cooing sort of a way; she sounds like a little bird. We love it!

And speaking of being biased about the cuteness level of your own children, Evelyn is rocking a serious mullet and a fantastic uni-brow right now. Steve and I are discussing how badly it would scar her little psyche if we waxed it. We're pretty confident that we could do it quickly and practically pain-free, but my mother was slightly horrified at our talk, so...

I keep trying to make a ponytail out of her mullet, but I think it makes her look like Paul Revere, and I always want to yell out, "The British are coming! The British are coming!" 

(If you had been raised in my family, you'd be laughing hysterically right now.)

Still no standing by herself or taking steps...

Evelyn's about a week shy of being 13 months old, and Bella didn't walk until she was 14 months, so we'll see. I was expecting Evelyn to walk a little earlier just so she could keep up with Bella, but I guess she figured she has a pretty sweet deal going with us carrying her everywhere.

That's all for now!

Monday, May 20, 2013

We Have Water Babies!

My mom and dad filled in their pool recently, but luckily, the house next door has one! The owners don't live there - they rent it out and mom and dad have the freedom to use the pool whenever they want. It's a good deal!

We've spent a lot of time over there with the girls and they are loving it! Bella has gotten much more brave and is constantly asking, "Mama, teach me how to swim!" We're going to sign her up for swim lessons when we get home, so I'm glad she's excited about it.

Even Evelyn likes the water! She is great at floating in the little raft that I bought for Bella this year, and loves it when Steve tosses her up and down in the water!


We tried to soak up as much playtime as we could this weekend while Steve was home! He left early this morning to go back to Tampa, but his job may finish early, so we may be heading back to Georgia on Wednesday or Thursday. The girls and I are going to stuff as much beach and pool time in as we can these next few days!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Swinging And Seeing Alligators

I'm discovering that no matter where you are, it can be difficult to keep two small children occupied all of the time! This morning, we decided to take the girls to try out a new park, since mom and dad were home all day. It didn't have a huge playground, but it did have swings and a large, fenced-in pond. We had fun taking turns on the swing, and as we started to walk around the pond, we saw signs that said, "WARNING: ALLIGATOR HABITAT". Bella was thrilled! After that, she kept her eyes peeled in hopes of seeing an alligator peek his eyes up out of the water. 

And we actually saw one! I haven't seen an alligator close-up in years, and it was fun to watch him swim around! Bella spotted him first (I'm telling you, she's got crazy hawk vision) and she yelled out, "I see one!!!"


It was beautiful weather this morning, and it was fun to get out of the house and play! On the way home, we drove past a little park that had a play area with water - it squirted water up out of the ground that little kids can run through. I'm pretty sure we will be checking that out tomorrow!

Can't wait to meet Steve tomorrow night for dinner in Tampa and spend the night with him while the girls stay with Papa and Mimi!