Sunday, September 8, 2013

From the Sea to the Circus (October 2012)

In October, Bob and I decided to put our Sea World passes to good use.  We spent the night in a hotel next to the park and spent two days enjoying Shamu and his pals.
Since it was October, there were all kinds of fun Halloween things to do at the park.  James is getting his sea star coloring on.
The boys could spend all day between the manta ray touch tank and the sea lion show.  For months after we went, the boys would tell me about how the "mouse" (the river otter that looked so tiny from so high) would steal the map.
James in the shark's jaw.  We went through the shark tank a few times.  The boys loved looking at the sharks swimming overhead.  Hopefully it's the closest we'll ever come to a shark.
Perhaps the one of the things Bob tells me most often is that I am the smartest person he knows but that I do some very stupid things.  Here is an example of that disconnect between a good idea and a poor execution.  I decided that the boys needed a sword just like all the other kids in the dark Chinese acrobat show.  We spent most of the show trying to keep the kids from smacking everyone around us in the head with the swords.  They broke almost immediately, and I learned a valuable lesson - no more light up swords, no matter how tempting.
This is perhaps my favorite picture of Michael.  He was so grumpy and tired as we waited to see the polar bear and walrus. 
A little bit of entertainment from Daddy, and that frown disappeared.
Daddy and I braved the kids area together.  After a few frightening minutes trying to find Michael after he went into the giant climbing structure, and we never saw him escape to freedom, we learned to set a meeting place and let the fun begin.
Ryan rode the Shamu roller coaster all by himself.  Michael stood in line with us, but when we got to the front, he absolutely refused to climb on board.  The ride attendant rode with him, and when he got back, Ryan was so excited that he talked about the Shamu roller coaster for months and months.  All I remember is that he had pooped his pants by the time we got to the front of the line, and I let him ride.  I apologize to the next rider for the foul and disgusting ooze that was left in the seat.
Aunt Sue and Uncle JP came for a visit in October.  I'm not sure who was happier to see whom, but the boys were pretty excited to see them.
Uncle JP's main man.  Ryan and JP hanging out.  Uncle JP had just had heart surgery.  The boys learned that they had to be very gentle with him. 
Our first stop on Angela's tour of Jacksonville was the pier at Jacksonville Beach and Sunshine Park.  The boys ran like maniacs down the pier and at the end we met a fisher woman who let the boys hold her pole.  She showed us a picture of a baby shark that she had caught and released just an hour before we showed up.  It was pretty exciting stuff.
Mommy passes off swing duty to those who don't know how long they are going to have to perform the task.
Aunt Sue, much like her father, is a lover of all things beach related.  She had to be very careful in the sun because of the chemo she was on, but we managed to have a good if a bit windy and chilly time.  I had to include this picture because Grandma actually came with us to the beach.  I used to invite her every time we went to the beach, but now I just figure one day she might consent to go with us, and I'll pass out from the shock.
Aunt Sue & Uncle JP wanted to go to Sea World with the boys.  Bob and I had just been, so I tried to use the Newhouse (probably mostly Cain, but some Newhouse) system of getting your money's worth at amusement parks.  After Papa suggested with a recent heart patient, a woman undergoing chemo, and a Grandma with knee issues, we should probably slow the pace, we took a more leisurely tour of Sea World.
Uncle JP introduced the boys to the joy of buying food for the manta rays.  We spent a great deal of time touching and feeding the rays.
Manta ray madness!  It was pretty awesome how many of the rays would splash you and get really close because of the food.  I think Uncle JP spent thousands of dollars keeping those rays in food.
Ryan in the jaws of the shark
Inside the aquarium.  It was pretty exciting that you could climb inside Nemo's aquarium. 
At the Fort Worth Zoo, they have Boo at the Zoo, but in Jacksonville, there's a Spooktacular.  The boys had pretty much ruined their $10 costumes, so we picked up a couple more so that they could Spook in style.
My Halloween superheroes are super cute.
Cotton candy time along the yellow brick road.  The boys enjoyed the Spooktacular, but they were not impressed that all of the animals went to bed before we got there.
 Perhaps the coolest thing we've done in Jacksonville is watch the airshow at the beach.  It was a wonderful day.  Beautiful weather, fun playing in the sand, awesome taxpayer funded aeronautics, and an amazing view made for quite a day at the beach.  The boys, obsessed with sea turtles, spent a lot of time wallowing in the sand looking for the water.
 Ryan and I enjoying putting our toes in the sand.
 James sees "da plane, boss, da plane!"
 Michael could care less about the cool airplanes doing tricks in the air as long as he can dig through the sand and look for shells.
Ryan admires the Blue Angels.  I know that we have to reduce expenditures as a nation, but it saddens me that our boys will not be able to enjoy the air show this year.  We have had such a great time the last three years.  Maybe instead of bombing Syria, we could save the air show.
Those planes were loud!  It was so fun to watch them fly overhead and go behind the big condos and pop out again.  Every time we drive through Pensacola, we admire the Blue Angels.  I guess we'll have to be satisfied with the Blue Angels adorning the bridge rather than the real thing.
One of the ladies in our Jackpott group had tickets to the Shrine Circus that she couldn't use, so Bob and I asked for them and took the boys to the circus at UNF.
Apparently, even superheroes like to attend the circus.  The boys loved the tigers, the high wire, and the elephants. 
Grandma & Papa sprung for some cool light up toys (which subsequently broke before we'd made it out of the building). 
Grandma & Papa also spoiled our little men with an intermission pony ride.  We had to wait in a long line (which is hard for three year olds), and the girl in front of us tried to get on the black pony that James had been eying for the the entire wait.  I'm pretty sure Bob almost body checked her to get James on that pony.
Thor takes a ride on a pony.  Ryan really liked the pony ride.  He would wave every time the two of them came around the circle.  It was so cute.
Michael enjoyed his pony ride, but he sure did hold on tight.  He wanted to go again, but at $8 a rider, we decided that one turn around the ring was enough.
October can't be complete without a little pumpkin time.  Grandma & Papa signed the boys up for pumpkin time at their apartments.  All five of them enjoyed pumpkin painting.  Hopefully, we'll get to do it again this year.
Proud pumpkin decorators enjoying their gift bags.
I was glad the goodie bag didn't contain candy, but these teeth were so disgusting.  The boys loved them.
Michael displays the whole ensemble teeth and glasses.
My little monster James.  The boys really enjoyed their teeth and glasses.  I might feel a little bad about the fact that they have been gracing a landfill for several months now, but you just can't condone toys that collect slobber then float around on the floor for a while before you put it back in your mouth - yuck!
My "stormy troopers" on the hunt for robot dogs (AT-AT walkers for Star Wars nerds).  I remember that the gang had to blow up the death star before breakfast.  A boy's work is never done.

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