Back from the break

We officially arrived back from Spring Break on Easter Sunday night.  It was a fun and interesting trip this year. 

We had a great time in Florida.  The weather was beautiful with temperatures in the mid to upper 80’s every day.  We arrived on the Saturday night before Palm Sunday and got settled.  We went to Palm Sunday Mass the next morning and then after brunch, spent the rest of the day in the pool and playing cards with DH’s parents.

Monday saw us off on the first of our many adventures.  We went to the Museum of Science & Industry (MOSI) in Tampa.  It was a nice museum, but we missed the PA system used by our science museum.  MOSI doesn’t announce show & demonstration times so you have to pay close attention to the printed schedule they hand you.  We saw the Flying Monsters IMAX movie (or at least DH & the kids did-I was there but had my eyes closed for most of it as IMAX movies make me sick to my stomach with all the swooping motion).  We also did their SkyTrails ropes course.  BooBoo & I didn’t get very far on the course since both of us have an intense fear of heights.  Ditty went around the first, second and third levels.  DH went around on all four levels, though mostly just the top two.  He said one of the workers made ape noises after he crossed a particular line without using his hands and said “Right on! Now that’s how the real monkeys do it.”.  Guess he’s Tarzan and I’m just that Jane from the first movie, the one who screams every time she’s flung over Tarzan’s shoulder and swung through the trees.  Oh well.

On Tuesday, we went to Legoland.  It was very nice.  We went on a couple of rides.  I was fine on Island in the Sky, maybe because you sit back from the edge and it turns slowly.  Got some nice pictures from up there.  Lake Eloise is large and very pretty.  We took BooBoo with us on Coastersaurus.  Man, that boy can scream but he had fun on it too.  I don’t completely understand how I can like roller coasters and thoroughly despise ferris wheels.  I think it has something to do with the fact that once you’re at the top of the first hill on a coaster there’s nothing to stop you, whereas on a ferris wheel you are at the mercy of the ride operator and they can stop you at any point on the ride and leave you there for whatever length of time they want.  And I despise when the roller coaster operators stop the coaster I’m riding in on its way up the first hill because they mistimed the speed of the coaster in front of me.  While we were at Legoland, we went to a couple of shows as well and toured the old gardens of Cypress Gardens (yes, they kept those, including the old banyan tree).  The gardens provided a bit of peace and quiet during the hottest part of the day.  We stayed until just about closing time-the lines definitely get shorter after 3pm so it’s worth it to stick it out rather than leave early.  We didn’t go to the carillon concert at Bok Tower that night though-we were too wiped out for that.

On Wednesday we spent the day in Vero Beach.  We found a lovely public beach called Round Island Oceanfront Park and it was actually free to park there & use the beach.  Rare in FL as public beaches usually have some sort of fee.  And no, all the beaches in Florida aren’t open to the public so you do have to watch the signs.  This beach was very nice, clean, quiet and crowd-free.  There were a few families and some older couples there that day but not enough to be shoulder to shoulder.  And the beach had a life guard  (which is why I was surprised that we didn’t have a fee of any kind), this was nice as the surf was booming.  The flag was yellow though so we went out into the ocean.  Yes, me too even though I’m not fond of swimming.  I basically stayed close to BooBoo since he’s not a strong swimmer yet, just to make sure he didn’t get pulled out farther than he could handle.  This, of course, just made him braver and he went out farther than he has in the past-the little stinker.  But it was all fun and no sunburn.  We even saw three dolphins frolicking farther out from the beach.  DH came up and said he thought he saw a shark and did I think it was a shark.  Well, I’m sure there are sharks in the ocean, but to find one that close to shore I wasn’t so sure.  So we both scanned the water and when they came up again, we realized it was a dolphin, then not just one but two no three of them.  Really cool since we’ve never seen one outside of an aquarium before. Other families thanked us for pointing out the dolphins for them too. We left the beach for about 45 minutes to have lunch under one of the picnic shelters in the park.  Then back to the ocean for a last bit of swimming.

On Thursday, we made our way to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.  Yes, they’re the ones made famous by the movie “Dolphin Tale” even though we haven’t seen the movie yet.  I found them online and became entranced by their offer of a Sealife Safari Cruise on the Gulf of Mexico.  That was the main reason we went.  I booked our cruise for Thursday at 5pm on Sunday(which was the only time we could get in the whole week) and we explored the rest of the museum while we waited.  We saw two of the dolphin shows and a river otter show.  We also checked out the trolley ride and Winter’s Dolphin Tale Adventure (another museum with artifacts and still scenes from the movie).  We had lunch at a nearby pizza place-Leo’s Pizza & Bar.  If you like New York style pizza, thin crust & foldable, and real sausage, sliced not little balls, you’d like this place.  Even though my kids like thick crust pizza (poofy crust they call it), they ate this pizza with gusto.  Leo’s is a tiny little place so if you’re going, get there early-like by 11:30am. We had a nice time and the cruise was great.  Well, why wouldn’t it be?  A one and one-half hour boat ride on a beautiful day.  It wasn’t precisely the Gulf of Mexico, actually just a bay by the Gulf but one and one-half hours on a boat beats fighting your way through crowds any day.  When we got back, Ditty declared that we had not been out for an hour and a half and we had been shortchanged.  It took both DH & I to assure her, with back-up via the clocks on our cell phones & wristwatches that yes indeed we had been on the water for the full hour and a half.  Glad she enjoyed it so much that the time flew by for my 13 year old.

On Friday, DH & his dad went off for a round of golf while his mother, the kids & I went to Bok Gardens and a lunch at the little cafe on the grounds.  It was pretty in the gardens and the volunteers were hard at work getting things ready for the ecumenical early bird Easter Service scheduled for 6 am Easter Sunday.  When we got back to the house, the guys were back from golf and we decided to go to the Circle B Bar Reserve.  I’ll get photos posted soon as we saw sand hill cranes up close & personal (the cranes basically escorted us away from “their” area-nice & politely, no chasing), two male osprey eating, the osprey nests as well and a rather large alligator on the opposite side of the ditch while walking Gator Alley (only needed the zoom lens at half extension for that photo).

We attended Easter Sunday Mass in an unfamiliar church and it was, well, interesting.  Seemed like they had a parish wide ban on lipstick-I was one of only 2 women wearing any (glad I chose the CG Outlast that morning so it wouldn’t come off on the chalice).

Wish we would have made time for the Triduum Masses.  I missed that very much.  All in all though, we had a wonderful vacation and we were totally wiped out by the time we got back home Easter Sunday night.  Even DH didn’t insist on unpacking everything from the van-just the essentials.

And the best part – I lost 3 pounds while on vacation so my total weight loss so far is 20 pounds.

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