Monday, August 18, 2014

FL vacation: Part 1, Orlando

The day prior to our early morning departure, I was still in denial that I had to pack up 4 people for a long vacation and thus, had not packed, nay, not even staged, anything prior to getting the girls into bed. It was a long night and yet, here we were, waiting to board for our flight out. "Everyone, cross your left leg over your right prior to boarding."
I decided that for this trip, we would forgo the things people traditionally go to FL to see like Disney, Sea World, etc. in favor of Old Florida, those things that Len and I experienced as children growing up there. The other benefit? Our kids are still little so showing them the big, glitzy things right off the bat means you can never go back. You can't put Mickey or Shamu back in the box and drag out a small pool of sting rays or a natural spring. So this is the Old Florida tour.

First stop was Orlando and our long-time friend's house, Kelly and Tony. To say it kicked our vacation off on the right note is an understatement. It has everything a kid could want: other kids, a pool, several dogs and cats, fish, birds, a horse in a stable nearby and doting adults.

Kate was a little unsure about having a bird perched anywhere on her body.

Lucy, however, couldn't get enough.

Kate decided the piano was a safer way to spend her time so Lucy got the bird all to herself.
We were fortunate to get in a visit with some childhood friends of Len's (his guy's weekend crew) at Mack and Kris's house for an afternoon.

Getting ready for a boat ride around the lake. Lucy took refuge on Elizabeth's lap.
Kris relaxing.
 Mack and his son Riley manning the controls.
Then a storm seemed to blow in from nowhere so we headed back in.

Looks pretty ominous....
but it skirting completely around leaving us with an afternoon of swimming.

I always forget how much my eyes miss seeing old, grand trees like this covered in Spanish moss. What an amazing tree to greet you at your front door every morning!

Hot, fresh Krispy Kreme's are a tradition in the Kelly and Tony household. They buy one donut for each year they've been married. Even though it was not their anniversary, we took a trip to see the donuts being made and eat them hot off the line. There are no words to describe the melting goodness of hot sugar in your mouth.

Kate was not feeling very well so really was not very excited about the glazed goodness of it all.
Ummm, not so with Lucy!

Kelly and Tony still celebrating!
Since we were in Winter Park, we got some picnic food and visited the park where Len proposed to me.  It was in the rose garden on Park Ave.
This is the very bench where he got down on one knee and committed to a life of crazy with me.
 The girls were way more interested in force-feeding a squirrel.

Their daughter Kellen gifted us with a night out by playing with Kate and Lucy and then putting them to bed.

Tony's brother, Greg, stopped by after a run.
Another stop on Memory Lane: Wekiwa Springs, the sight of one of our first dates. I remember that this was the first time Len and I talked about having children (jumping the gun a bit since it was still early in our relationship!).

The spring stays at an even 72 degrees year round which, in summer, feels incredibly cold! It was hard to get in!

It was raining when we got there and I just could not resist asking these ladies if I could snap their picture. They were huddled under a palm, sitting it out while their kids played in the water.
 Meghan, Kelly and Karlie, huddled on a log trying to stay warm!
Kellen and  Brigid goofing around.

 Kate kept diving to the bottom to search for treasures.
 Rocks and sand.

A turtle encounter.

 The raccoon who kept trying to steal our lunch.
Two exhausted girls on the ride home.
Since the girls were sleeping, we decided to drive over to UCF, one of our alma maters. Lake Claire used to be an obscure park on the outskirts of the campus. It is where Len and I had our first kiss.
Now it is surrounded by Greek dorms and has been formally made into a recreation area.
Although most of the area has changed dramatically, I was surprised to see that the very first place I lived at college was still standing.
Next up was visiting Karlie's horse.
The girls are used to ponies so they were a little skittish at first at the size of Santana.
Feeding her apples. (this was too gross an activity for Kate!)

Kate's enthusiasm waned pretty quickly but we couldn't get Lucy away from her. She brushed as much as she could reach.
Kate was more interested in exploring the barn.

All too soon, our week was over and it was time to head to our next destination.

Thanks Kelly and Tony, Karlie and Kellen for a great visit! We had a fabulous time!

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