Thursday, July 31, 2008

Day 7: Has it really been a week!

Wow - have we really been hanging out together for a whole week? Hard to imagine. What a hoot!

Today started out with a trip to the pool. The pool was fun, but everyone was hungry so we ordered some lunch from the Tiki bar and while we were waiting for it, it started to rain. After just beating the storm in from the beach yesterday we were taking no chances, so we high-tailed back to the tram to get back to the room. All of us except Kim that is ... we left her there waiting for the food. She showed up at the room 20 minutes later weighed down with chicken tenders and fries, wondering what had happened to us, because by then the sun was out and the pool was gorgeous.

Unfortunately the good weather was short lived and the rain settled in for the afternoon, so we decided to take our trip to Ron Jon's today. Since there are eight of us and the van seats 7 (sort of) we decided to just go in the van. This left Kim crammed into the back seat with Camryn and Breanna in their car seats ... and AJ in the trunk! I can only imagine what people were thinking when we pulled up right in front of Ron Jons and opened the trunk to let him out.

We went to Ron Jons where April, Riley and Megan waited in the car for about an hour while everyone else shopped. Then we went to Walmart where we all waited in the car while Kim and Kris shopped. Then we went to Walgreens, where April decided she was going to leave the vehicle!

After our exciting excursion we were back to the room for a pasta dinner and showers before the Animal Show, redux. We had to give up our awesome front row parking spot when we took the van, so on the way back it was looking like we would have to park far away. We unloaded the groceries (3 more gallons of milk!) in front of the building a good spot opened up out front, so Kim reparked the van closer, then another spot opened next to it, so she ran up to get my keys and moved my car too!

The second viewing of the show was not as exciting as the first. Everyone stayed for the Ally-gators (and Riley held one, of course). Kris lasted all of 30 seconds in the same room as the spiders, and Megan was not really interested, so off they went to the playroom. Riley held the spider, and then wanted to go to the playroom. The rest of us stayed long enough to hold a snake and then bugged out!

The playroom was fun, but everyone was a little tired by the end. Megan really didn't want to leave, so we will be returning to the playroom tomorrow so she can enjoy the slides some more!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Day 6: Dolphins and Boyfriends

As expected, a quiet day today to give everyone a chance to decompress!

Kris and Kim took everyone to the pool this morning so that April could catch up on some work. Very relaxing and enjoyable!

This afternoon we planned a trip to the beach, which was very fun because we planned on only staying for an hour so we didn't pack like we were embarking on a trek to the north pole!

While there, Megan and Riley played in the sand and the surf. AJ and April took Camryn and Breanna into the "deep" waters to try to catch some waves. We didn't catch many waves because the ocean was calm, but we did hear some amazing stories about their many boyfriends! We instituted a new rule, no dating until age 60 (at least!).

Some rolling thunder chased us back to the unit and we made it back before the torrential downpour hit. After the rain we looked out from our balcony to watch the dolphins swim right where we were early. We also saw some birds diving right into the ocean to catch fish. Totally cool!

April and AJ went off to Costa's for dinner and everyone was asleep by the time we got back. Here's hoping for a restful night so we can enjoy an action packed day tomorrow. Planning to see the animal show again. Will let you know how Kris gets along with the spiders!

Day 5: I Wuv Alligators!

After a morning at the beach, where the water was freezing cold, even at the ankle deep level, we decided to spend the afternoon at the pool.

The pool was amazing! All the kids had a great time, we played with the ball, played "I'm gonna get you" and "washing machine" with Megan and Riley. Played chicken with Camryn and Breanna (and some kid named Nick who joined in). Nick's sister "Yellow Bikini girl" was our faithful ball return girl (who seemed to have some interest in AJ, though he was oblivious). Everyone at the pool borrowed all the balls we took with us, but we were able to retrieve them all before heading back to the room.

We ordered dinner from the hotel restaurant (not a good choice, they got the order wrong and the food so-so), and AJ and I ran to the store for a mid-week stock up on essentials. By the time we got back, Megan was exhausted from all the excitement, but the rest of us decided to go to the "Hands On" animal show we had tickets for. Amazingly Riley wanted to go with us, even without mommy, so we all piled into the golf cart, Riley chatting the whole way about seeing the cats.

We waited a little while in line (very patiently, all things considered) and got excellent seats. As the woman who was selling the Space Center as an excursion got started, Riley decided to move things along by announcing to one and all "Where are the cats? I wuv cats!"

The first animal out was a baby alligator. When the lady told us that we would all get to hold and touch an alligator, Riley was thrilled, and immediately announced "I want to hold an ally-gator! I wuv alligators!" The lady brought the alligator around and we all got to hold it, especially Riley who did not want to give it back! We also got to hold a tarantula (we got some great pictures of Riley holding the spider for mommy!), Riley held the spider twice! And we all touched a snake.

At this point the lady brought out an oppossum and that wasn't cat-like enough for Riley so she fell sound asleep. Totally out like a light for the next hour. She missed seeing the skunk and the tortoise and holding the snake (which she really wanted to do too!) so we will go back to the show again on Thurs, hopefully with Megan and Kris.

After her nap Riley was wide awake, so we did not have a very restful night. Looks like we will be taking it easy on Wed.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Day 4: The day AJ changed his name

Miss Megan set the tone this morning when AJ woke up. She welcomed him into the living by announcing "Good Morning, Dave." Needless to say, he was "Dave" for the rest of the day, rest of the week, possibly the rest of his life!

Other than that it, it was a fairly quiet and uneventful day, which we needed. Pool, playground, beach. Very relaxing. April got her computer working too - yea!

After dinner the older kids, Kim and April snuck out onto the beach. Kris got the twins down to bed early (which they needed as they were overtired from all the excitement). We discovered no shells on the beach, but had fun with frisbee anyway. After the evening beach walk, we just hung out and watched movies untli bed time.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Day 3: First day in FL

In addition to spending the day at the beach and pool, today we got to meet the Ron Jon's maintenance man. Turns out the garbage disposal did not accept potato peels, and we realized it shortly after dinner. The maintenance guy arrived almost instantly, and was greeted at the front door by two naked girls! Lucky guy! Luckily for us he also has a two year old so the idea of having two undressed toddlers running around did not phase him in the least.

While he worked on the drain, Kim, Kris and AJ took the kids to the ocean for one last swim with their new boogie boards. I searched for room keys while the guy worked and then managed to get to the beach just in time to help everyone get in before the evening storms hit.

After the beach and baths we kids (April, AJ, Camryn, Breanna, and Riley) settled on the couch with our freeze pops and ice cream to watch the season finale of Design Star while Kim and Kris took showers. At one point Kim disappeared and we couldn't figure out went. We feared the worst, that she ran away from vacation! but she was just outside talking to brother Bob to hear the wonderful details about the birth of the newest member of our family, Ryan and Megan's son, Jack.

Meghan went to bed early and Kris was in the shower when Riley decided to brush her teeth ... with Kim's toothbrush ... this after Kim mentioned that Breanna told her before the trip when she bothers to brush her teeth at all, she borrows Kim's toothbrush. We all decided we'd just use Kim's toothbrush from now on to simplify packing in the future!

Who knows what tomorrow will bring ....

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Day 2: SC to Florida

After a thrilling evening in Dillon SC, where we swam in a pool the size of postage stamp (which the kids loved!), and ate too much Pizza Hut pizza, we hit the road by 7 a.m. to head to Florida. Kim and Kris decided that the best course of action is to drive straight thru and only let the kids out of the minivan if absolutely necessary. Thus, with a few pit stops and meals at two different McDonalds, we arrived at Ron Jon at around 4 p.m.

The room wasn't quite ready when we arrived so we went to the building and unloaded the cars (which took 2+ luggage carts). Of course, by the time we got to the building they called to say the room was ready so I had to take the shuttle back to the main building to pick them up. The shuttle took about 5-10 minutes. I got the key in 2 minutes, but the shuttle left before I got back out to it. I figured, no problem, I'll wait another 10 minutes and it will be back. 20-25 minutes later it showed up, with the driver complaining about too many cars blocking the tram route at the Ocean Front building. I thought - oh no!, please don't let that be us - of course it was!!! The good news is that AJ, Kim and Kris had gotten all the stuff and all the kids up to the third floor so we only needed to dump everything in the condo. We moved the cars right quick!

Everyone was a little punchy after being in the cars all day, but we still needed a grocery store run for essentials. We put together a list while AJ guarded the balcony to make sure no one climbed overboard! Kim and Kris offered to go, but that wouldn't work. Then Kim and I were going to go, but AJ was having none of that! (Imagine a 14 year old boy volunteering to go to the grocery store with his mother!).

Finally, due to the importance of being back into the room by 8 p.m. for the Hannah Montana movie, we decided that I would go to the store by myself (as the only one who knew where it was), and everyone else would go to the beach. Off I went with a list of essentials (only 2 pages long!). $200 later I was back with the essentials and some KFC for dinner for the kids and I. We now have enough food to feed a small army. I hope it lasts thru Wednesday!

This evening we all settled in quite nicely. the kids and I relaxed and played. AJ watched a movie. Kim and Kris got the stuff all organized. Looking forward to a nice day tomorrow. We will explore the resort. Pool, playground and beach - awesome!!!!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Day 1: Pennsylvania to Dillon SC

We were told by the vacation director (i.e. my sister Kris) that we would be leaving by 5 a.m. this morning. AJ (my 14 year old son) and I (April) showed up at her house last night, packed the car, chatted a bit and tried to get some sleep. She woke us up by 4:30. My sister Kim arrived around 5:10. We finally hit the road at 5:24 and 2 whole minutes later made our first stop. At a convenience store. The twins (age 2 and a half) needed milk, and AJ needed food!

Finally got on the highway. First stop 60 minutes later was a simple bathroom break. We were late and I was worried about traffic around Harrisburg. I hustled everyone who needed to go into the bathroom, they all got their coffee and/or soda and we hit the road again.

Did I mention that I was just SURE that 81 and 83 merged in Harrisburg and that there would be prominent signs for 15 south. Thus I felt compelled to ignore the careful directions Mapquest had thoughtfully provided. Several frantic phone calls and lane changes around Harrisburg (in rush hour traffic) later, we found ourselves on Route 15 South heading out of state yea!!!

We promptly hit rush hour in DC, but not the horrid kind where you sit for hours. The horrifying kind where you are on a four lane race track with the slowest car (us) going 75 mph! Try to keep two cars together in the correct lanes thru that adventure.

After the DC Nascar race, we decided to stop for lunch and give the kids a break to run off some energy. Lunch was at 9:45. No one seemed to find this odd. I organized running races and my sister, Kim, regaled us with the minivan adventures. apparently "find the red car" and "find the flag" figured prominently. It turns out in 2 year old speak, the response to "find the flag", is "there a fag". People decided to keep their distance from us at the rest area.

At a gas stop an hour after lunch, Kim and Kris decided to switch drivers (possibly prompted by the fact that Kris had to fight two drivers for a space at the pump). We were leaving the gas station parking lot when the minivan stopped and Kim and Kris switched seats. Turns out Meghan (one of the twins) was upset because Kim was in "Mommy's seat" and Riley (the other twin) was upset because Meghan was sad!

A couple of hours later I called to request a stop for a bathroom break. Kim replied, over the sound of 4 crying girls, "what's that, you need me to drive your car for you?" I suggest that AJ and I meet them in Florida, but no dice.

After the bathroom break, Kim and Kris successfully switched drivers and the girls settled down for the entire state of NC! Hooray!


This whole adventure started when I offered the use of our timeshare week in Florida to my sisters and their families. It turned out that their husbands could not take an extra week off work, so I decided to go with my sisters and their children. We asked our grandmother (age 94) if she wanted to go, but she declined (proving that with age, comes wisdom!). Although I loved the idea of traveling to FL with a group of 8 women, ages 2 thru 94, we ended up settling for 3 women, 4 girls under the age of 8 and one fourteen year old boy!

We planned the trip for months. Well actually, my sisters planned the trip for months and I politely ignored them as much as possible. Wars have been waged with less forethought. Considering this fact, it was amazing how quickly the whole plan disintegrated!

Did I mention we decided to drive. I love my sisters and nieces, but told them I would not be traveling in the same car as all of them. Thus, we are traveling in a 2-car caravan, one minivan followed by a chevy cavalier ... let the adventure begin!