Monday, March 30, 2009

Down Time

Calvin watching Dancing with the Stars. Doesn't he look fascinated?

Friday, March 27, 2009

Travel Quirks

Calvin developed some funny little habits while we were on the road. I'm sure I can't remember all of them, but here are some of my favorites.

He wanted to be in his stroller at all times. Even in the hotel room, he would climb up in it to watch tv.

He could open the doors of the hotel room, so he would constantly escape and run around the halls. When I tried to take a shower or take my eyes off of him for two seconds, this was a problem. We ended up barricading the door with chairs at all times.

The Pack-n-Play that the hotel left in the room was fitted with soft bedding and could have been his very own little haven. However, he flat out refused to sleep in it. He would scream and scream until we took him out and put him into bed with us rather than chance upsetting the neighbors.

Luckily we had a huge king sized bed, but rather than sleeping the way we put him, he would always turn horizontally in between us. I would always get his cute head on my shoulder or stomach, and Andy would always get two tiny feet kicking him in the head, ribs, or stomach.

Also, we let him have a bottle at nights so he would go straight to sleep, but no matter how far asleep he was when he finished the bottle, he would always get up and crawl to the end of the bed, tossing the empty bottle onto the floor before crawling back to the pillow and going to sleep.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Land of the Dragons

Andy had to work while we were in Tampa, so it wasn't like a REAL vacation, we just tagged along and had to find our own way to entertain ourselves while he was gone. Since Busch Gardens was 3 minutes away, we ended up spending our time there. In the park, there was a small area for young kids called Land of the Dragons. We spent the better part of four days there, but since it was just the two of us, I didn't get too many pictures. Here are some shots of the village:

Sea World

I have never been to Sea World and have always wanted to go, so Friday Andy got off work a bit early and we went. It was a bit different than I had expected, but overall it was really fun. The best part was that every time we saw a new animal, Calvin would say, "WOW" in the cutest little voice. He's never said it before, so it was funny that it came out when there were so many new and exciting things to see.


Dolphins are so cute. I want some badly as pets. They were playful and fun and Calvin adored them.


We bought some fish and fed the rays. You could put your hands down in and pet them, and they'd swim right up to you. We had a freak out moment when one sucked on Calvin's pudgy hand and C even pulled him out of the water he was latched on so hard. I didn't get any pictures because I was freaking out, but the boy took it all in stride.

Sea Dragons:
I just put this one because I have never heard of a Sea Dragon and it was the coolest thing ever. It was like a sea plant with a face. It was crazy. Apparently they're found in Australia. I can't wait to go back there - they have ALL the cool stuff!

Cute Gazing Pictures:

The Shamu show was this whole dramatic presentation where they start with all of the veterans in the audience standing up and we all clapped, and then they talked about how the people of the world are all connected, and then they have music and a movie screen, and despite knowing full well that they were trying to emotionally manipulate me, I caved and got a bit teary eyed. And then they had the little girl who wanted to be a soccer player and they let her touch the whales and told her she could be anything at all that she wanted to be. And then I got mad at my parents because they didn't tell me I could be a whale trainer or a marine biologist or anything fun and I only aspired to be a teacher. I felt bitter and like I had a wasted life when there was so much out there to do and be. Thanks a lot Shamu. Anyway. The show was good and the boy loved it. The best part was when they teach you this whale dance thing with your hands and you chant Shamu over and over and then the whale comes out and drenches the audience. Good times had by all.
And we were all happy. And warm. The End.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

USF Campus

Our hotel is located on the University of South Florida campus, which I thought was weird at first, but it's been really nice to have lots of campus grounds to let the boy run on instead of having a hotel in the middle of the city. At nights we've been taking long walks, and it's fun to enjoy the sultry heat of the south while Calvin runs around exploring. It's a beautiful area with mossy trees, lush grass, and lots of flowers. Here are a few pics from the other night.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Killing Time

After our day of family fun, sadly, Andy had to go to work. Yesterday the thought of spending an entire day alone with the boy in a hotel room trying to entertain him didn't appeal to me in the least, so we boarded the shuttle and went back to Busch Gardens. We had a really great time. It's amazing that there are so many different activities to keep us occupied, especially since he's so little and limited by what he's allowed to do. Mostly we visited animals and played in water. Here are some of the highlights:

C was fascinated by the flamingos. He spent probably ten minutes rooted to the same spot just watching them. Of course half way through I realized he was also enjoying sucking on the fence.

Apparently you have to hit the gorilla habitat at just the right time of day to catch a glimpse. Probably if I would have tried, I never would have seen him, but since we were clueless, there he was a few feet away from us. I was amazed at how huge he was and that a silverback gorilla really does have a silver back. He was gorgeous.

The boy has developed the habit of frantically pushing the red release button on his stroller tray when he wants to get down. Luckily he hasn't figured out how to open it, but he sure tries. Whenever I let him out, he'll run off for a while and then get tired and come back to the stroller. He would get very excited about everything around him and just want to explore. This was right before he tripped and skinned his knees.

Cute pose with the gorilla statue.

He loved the carousel. It was definitely his favorite ride. (It was hard to get a good picture of him while one hand was holding him onto the horse and we were twirling around.)

He loved this statue. I had a hard time getting him away from it.

It was a bit chilly outside because of the clouds blocking the sun, but he saw this little water park and went crazy. I bought a swim diaper for $5 at the gift shop, stripped him down and let him play. There were no other people in the entire village, so it was a fun little treat we had all to ourselves.

So excited to be there, he's clapping.

Chasing the dancing water.

It's hard to tell from the pics, but he thought the erratic water was hilarious. He just stood there laughing, his shoulders were shaking with delight and his eyes were tearing up as he laughed deep and hard for the longest time. He thought that the one spigot that shot high and then low was so funny.

And then his pants were wet, so he ran around as the weird pantless child for the rest of the day.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Busch Gardens

We love Embassy Suites when we travel because they have a fridge for milk so our little calf never goes hungry, they have two rooms so we can put previously mentioned calf to bed while mommy and daddy watch tv or otherwise unwind without waking him, and because they usually have really good breakfasts - much better than the standard continental fare. Today the breakfast was terrible, but we still have the other reasons to hang onto. Plus, this one is less than five minutes from Busch Gardens and has a shuttle back and forth all day. You can just call them when you're done playing, and lickety split, they're there to pick you up. We took advantage by going first thing in the morning and then when the boy had had enough, we took him back for a nap, and then returned to the park to play again when he was well rested.

We spent a lot of time in "Land of the Dragons", but I'll post about that tomorrow. Andy went on a few of the adult rides by himself while we played, and then we did a bunch of stuff together. Here are some of my favorite pictures of the day:

Cute boys ready for a day of fun

This gives you a view of the halls that C runs around and around. He also loves the elevators. Going down he gets a bit nervous, but up he finds better than any theme park ride.

If you look at the boy's mouth, you can see that he is growling at the lions. They are by far his favorite animal at the moment. He could watch Lion King all day every day.

Petting the stone hippo. (I had a friend from Kenya who said that growing up they weren't allowed to swim in the rivers because the hippos would bite children in half. They look so harmless, or at least too lazy to go biting anyone. I'm glad Calvin is just content to play with the fake ones.)
Favorite Ride of the Day - The Shiekra:
Both Calvin and Andy agree that this ride was the most entertaining today. Andy loved riding it, while Calvin literally spent hours just watching it with fascination, and living in anticipation of the coaster running through the water at the bottom where he was waiting to be thoroughly splashed.
The boys standing at the bottom watching the fast, spinning, ride.

Boys being splashed by the fast, spinning ride.

I brought my crappy laptop instead of my awesome one, so I have no photoshop with which to make this picture interesting. BUT if you could zoom in you would see that Andy is the third rider on the left on the front row, ready to plummet straight down. I love that he wore an orange shirt today. It makes him very easy to pick out.

The Serengeti Express:

BG has a cute train that drives you around the park, and they actually have an amazing selection of wildlife to enjoy on your "safari" adventure.

Ready to ride. Not sure how I managed to get the boy looking so serious. He had a great time.

Some of the animals:

It was really amazing how they came right up to the train. Even the rhinos were right there within touching distance. The tour guide (who told us several times that she was brand new) had this panicky voice, telling everyone to keep their arms and legs away from the sides and place any small children in the center of the seats while they were near. Drama.

The Log Ride:

Okay, so we cheated a bit on this one. I've felt guilty most of the day for being an irresponsible parent, but C kept ogling all of the fast rides, and we couldn't keep him away from the water, so when we saw THIS:

we knew it was the perfect combination to make him truly happy. I think he enjoyed it (complete with the hardcore lesbian makeout session going on in the log in front of us), but true happiness seemed to elude us as his nails dug into my legs and our park photo came back with his face contorted in fear.
This scan is another result of bad equipment. Andy has a cheap scanner to copy his receipts for work, but when we used it to scan this photo, it came out quite stretched. While I do NOT look this wide, Andy insists that his shoulders do in fact look this broad.


Calvin played archaeologist while his dad rode a big scary ride twice in a row.

Climbing on a cat.

The boy was very proud of himself when he uncovered this sphinx.

A rare two-headed pharoah.

I guess he liked posing on this, because as soon as Andy would bring him down, he kept running back up the stairs.

All clean and content after a long day of playing. Growing up Andy always got a stuffed toy when they went on vacation to a theme park, so he insisted that Calvin have one to take home. The boy picked this one up out of dozens of jungle animals and immediately started growling at it, so we knew it was the one.

(I'm not sure why the two laptops are different, but this one does really weird things with my formatting. When I get home, I'll re-add pictures so you can click on them to enlarge.)