We left early on a Thursday morning and had a direct flight in to Orlando. Everything went perfectly smoothly, and Nora and I even had a whole row to ourselves. It probably didn't hurt that I was nursing her while people were boarding, so no one chose to sit by us. Tucking that strategy away for future flights....
We headed down the coast to Satellite Beach, where Luis and Dinorah live. They used to be Jason's parents' next door neighbors and are very good friends of Jason's sister and brother-in-law. We contacted them before the trip and asked if we could crash at their house that first night before we headed south to Jupiter. We are so glad we did - we had a great time with our hosts!!
When we got to their house, Jason ran to the grocery store and Dinorah and I took the kids on a walk to the beach (they are less than a mile away!!). I was thinking the boys might just get their feet wet, so I didn't worry about bathing suits or extra clothes or anything. But they are boys. And I know better. After a few minutes, they were rolling around in the water and were drenched and covered in sand, but having so much fun!! We had one little incident where Charlie got stuck in a wave and couldn't stand up, but a passerby and I both ran to him and got him upright quickly. A little scary for us all for a second there! After that Charlie started losing steam fast (a scary experience, itchy skin from the sand, wet clothes, no nap, long travel day...), so we called Jason to pick us up.
This video is quick, but you can see Jack and Charlie in the first row and Jason behind them. I was impressed the boys loved this ride - it was their first roller coaster ever...
We basically had a perfect day! The boys were the perfect ages for this theme park! After our long day, we piled in the van and drove about 2 hours to West Palm Beach to check into our hotel. On the way there we realized that I had booked the wrong hotel. I had decided on the Embassy Suites because there were two separate rooms, which I thought would accommodate the boys' early bedtimes and any middle of the night noise from Nora, and it also included free breakfast. I had somehow booked the Courtyard by Marriott instead, which was a normal hotel room and no free breakfast. Oh Annie. It turned out to be fine because our room had a little balcony where Jason and I hung out after the kids were in bed. It also had a pool (the Embassy Suites did not), which we ended up using on Sunday, so maybe it worked out for the better?? Maybe...
Saturday was our Spring Training game day. Luis and Dinorah came down from Satellite Beach to go with us, so that was fun! We got to the area early, but we had neglected to buy the batting practice tickets, so we couldn't go into the stadium as early as we'd hoped. When we did go in, there weren't a lot of players to be seen.
By the time they started trickling out to warm up, there were people lining the railing about 8 people deep, mostly older men. The boys were able to squeeze in almost up the front with their baseballs (the men were nice at least and recognized that the kids should get to the front), but no players came anywhere near them for autographs. They were disappointed. We saw a good game, though I have to say I didn't watch most of it. It was sunny and warm, so I kept Nora in the shade as much as I could, either down below by the concessions or in her stroller behind our seats.
At the end of the game, the boys stood at the railing hoping to meet some players until we were basically the only ones left in the stadium. An older gentlemen employed by the Cardinals noticed them, went into the dugout and returned with a game-used ball and batting glove for them. He made their day!!
After the game we searched yelp.com for a dinner spot and were pleasantly surprised with our pick: The Food Shack. It was in a strip mall, and ended up being what Jason called one of the best meals he's ever had. They had quite a wait, but they had bags to keep the boys (and Luis) entertained while we waited.
What a great day!!
Sunday we didn't have anything planned, so I ran to Wal-Mart to grab some water wings for Charlie (remember when I packed I didn't think our hotel had a pool - ha!) and we hit the heated outdoor pool for awhile. The boys had a fun time (for some reason I have zero pictures of Charlie swimming - oops!), Nora enjoyed herself and I even got to read my book for a few minutes. Relaxing morning!
We had our hotel reserved through Sunday night, but given that our flight was early Monday morning, we decided to head back up to Luis and Dinorah's house Sunday to cut our drive to the airport in 1/2 in the morning. The boys zonked out on the way there. Don't worry, Charlie is buckled; it's just zipped under his jacket so you can't see it...
I went up to check on Charlie at one point and he had apparently fallen out of bed (and stayed asleep!!)
Monday morning started off great until we were in the security line and I got an email that our flight had been cancelled. What?? I went to the gate and learned there was a mechanical issue so we needed to get booked on another flight. Our original flight was supposed to leave at 10:00am, and the next direct flight was at 3:00pm. Yikes! I tried to book us on that flight, but of course there were only 3 seats available. I had them put us on standby on the earlier flight that had a layover through Dallas, and long story short, we only got one seat on that flight. We debated if Nora and I should go or Jason and I decided I'd rather only have Nora on one flight instead of two, so the kids and I stayed at the airport while Jason boarded his plane at around 11:00...
Before Jason left we were at McDonald's in the food court. I was nursing Nora, sitting at the table with the boys while Jason was in line. Charlie tried to scoot his chair forward and it slid out from under him giving him a massive bloody nose. Talk about scary! We didn't know at first what was bleeding and of course I was virtually helpless because I was feeding Nora... A sweet nurse walking by stopped and helped us and got his bleeding under control before she went on her way.
We had been at the airport since about 8:45am and still had 4 more hours to kill after Jason left. All 3 kids were on their very best behavior. Any time the boys started to get wound up, we immediately started walking laps back and forth the length of the airport. We probably did that walk 6-8 times during our wait. We got ice cream, more McDonald's and basically anything they wanted!! I have to say, thank goodness for family restrooms too - we all headed in there quite a few times too..
We ended up landing in St. Louis about 15 minutes after Jason, which worked out perfectly because he gathered all of our luggage and was waiting for us at the curb.
We had a wonderful trip!! Everyone was so well behaved and we did so many fun things. We had lots of fun visiting with Luis and Dinorah and we are so grateful for their hospitality, not one but two nights! We will definitely be going back again!