...Just a Reminder...This story builds FROM THE BOTTOM UP...so if you're joining late, be sure to catch up by reading from the beginning...Thanks.

In case you're interested, we invite you to read Kyle's Story and Dylan's Story

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Sunday, July 3, 2011

Hi Again...More Catching Up...Florida Vacation

Hi there, C here again,

Happy Independence Day!

Before we get started, just a quick pic I took this week of Ashley enjoying a breakfast treat - DONUTS.
Chocolate frosted as you can plainly see!!

Firing up the computer after just coming off a trip tonight to Kiwi Yogurt. (It's a pull your own frozen yogurt place, pay be the ounce - or POUND, in Kyle's case!)  We had a nice visit and saw two other families with Chinese girls.  The last time we went there we also saw a family with a young Chinese daughter - she had just done a Dance Recital.  Anyway, we had a nice dinner at home and decided to go for a ride to kill off the rest of the day.

Ashley is doing really well and is attending the Goddard School Summer Camp, while our sons are attending the "Y" Camp at the "Y" near where I work.  She misses seeing them during the days but has fun dropping them off and picking them up in the afternoon.

Here is everyone on the first day of Camp.  They are proudly displaying the new backpacks and lunchboxes that Mom picked out for them.  Dylan got Transformers and Kyle got Lightning McQueen (KA-CHOW!)
The look on Ashley's face pretty much sums up her whole outlook on this new summer arrangement!

  This weekend has been busy already.  We went to see "Cars 2"on Saturday morning.  They boys really enjoyed it, while Ashley and I lasted about 40 minutes.  She was very displeased that we were forcing her to sit through the show, so we..
- Waited in the lobby...
-  Went back in & stood in the entry way...
-  Had to leave again for the lobby...
-  Got calmed down enough to try to re-take our seats...
-  Not so fast! - back to the lobby...
-  10 more minutes then try the entry way again - this time sitting on my lap near the door...
-  No more lobby for us - back out to the car!
-  Where we waited another 40 minutes for M,K&D (as expected Ashley fell asleep almost immediately after we got back to the car!

Nice relaxing time for me, too though - not an entirely bad thing!

After the movie, we returned home to THIS in our back yard!!!  A huge Bounce arena!

Our good friends and neighbors were having a graduation party for their son and they rented a bounce thing so the kids would have something to do.  Well, the whole gang bee-lined for this as soon as we got home from the movies (the fact that it was noon and the party did not start until 3PM was not important for our crew - Thanks to Dave & Sharon for letting the kids enjoy so much time bouncing!
The spent the better chunk of their party time bouncing - they ate some; drank more; and had an absolute blast.
(Just for the record, if you're keeping score at home,  they all slept 'til past 9AM!! - unheard of in our house.)

Back to catching up...

In the first week of May, we went on a week-long vacation in Florida.  This was really the first time we had been able to get away as a family since we returned from China (and had to put off our week of R&R in CA off to get Ashley back to Philly and right into CHOP - read all about it earlier in the story...).  Lisa did her usual excellent job of organizing our itinerary, flights and hotels - THANK YOU from all of us.

We spent the night before departure at the Airport Hotel and had a short shuttle ride to the terminal.  After dragging these same three little ones halfway around the world, the 2 hour flight to Tampa was a breeze. We got a nice car and were at our hotel within about two hours of touchdown.

One beef - Alamo car rental in Tampa made us carry all (3) kids car seats from the rental counter to our car - about a 150 yards - through what amounted to an obstacle course (around/through/over all of the other rental car customers who were lined up and waiting in their various lines - presumably so they could also drag THEIR car seats to THEIR cars).  But we made it - 3 kids, all our luggage, 3 car seats across a busy car rental pick-up parking lot.  We got to China and back - certainly we could do this!

We had a really nice week.  We shipped a set of "supplies" ahead in case we needed to "help" Ashley - but we never even had to do anything.  She ate well, got a ton of exercise, and got lots of good sleep - all important factors in keeping her on the low maintenance plan!  For this, we were all grateful.

We stayed in St. Pete Beach.  We went to the Tampa Zoo, WDW for a day, took a Pirate Ship Cruise in Clearwater Beach and all-in-all we had a really enjoyable week.  (Lisa was a bit disappointed with the accommodations, but the rest of us were good to go...she did put an awful lot of time into planning the trip, so I was sorry to see that the resort didn't meet her expectations.)

The Zoo ended up being a lot of fun, and we got to see the last day of a really cool DINOSAUR exhibit (on the very last day before it closed).

Here are some pictures...

Kyle bravely touching a ferocious sting-ray!

Cooling of in the sprinklers...

Mom feeding a parkeet in one of the exhibits. 

Every night that we could, we took an after-diner walk on the beach to watch the sunset. We took a lot

This is our new Facebook Profile Photo:

We also headed over to Disney World to visit the Magic Kingdom.  We had a great day - jam-packed with activities.  Lots of rides and shows and we capped the night off with a ride on the ferry across the lagoon just as the fireworks were starting - what a great view we had!
Kids slept all the way back to the hotel and Mom & I had some really nice quite time!

Just as we arrived...

 On Aladdin's Flying Carpets, thanks to Mom's photographic skills...

I'm pretty sure that there was nothing in the Disney Rental Stroller instruction book about how to arrange seating for THREE!!

We also went on a Pirate Cruise!  We drove up to Clearwater Beach one morning ( a very nice ride...) to catch a ride on a Pirate Ship.  The Boys loved it - Ashley not so much!  They had a lot of fun chasing that nefarious and notorious ne'er-do-well Pirate named PegLeg Pete.  She ended up crashing on my chest for about an hour during the second half of the trip.

Mom was very lucky to have had a moment to remove her stylish Pirate hat JUST before I snapped this!! (Ashly had just woken up and wasn't sure about Mom's new 'stache!)

Kyle showing his best "Pirattitude"

All in all we had a great week.  We ate at nice restaurants and the kids actually behaved really well, considering...

The rest of our days were spent pool hopping and at the beach.  The Kids had the chance to attend "Kids Klub" where they made some tie-dye shirts (which turned out really great - Ashley wore hers today as a matter of fact!), shark-tooth necklaces, and painted nightlights
Here's Mom helping to paint Ashley's night light...

We spent one morning at the pool, and Ashley was so tired, she fell asleep while riding around the pool ON MY BACK!!

Head down, eyes closed - she's outta here!!  I had Lisa scoop her out of the pool and she dropped her onto a pool lounge chair - she stayed down for another 25 minutes - not long enough.

Here's one of my favorite shots from the trip...this was as we were heading into dinner at Bob's Crab Shack

And this was inside Bob's...just after dinner - at the souvenir shop. 

We made lots of great memories and Kyle & Dylan still talk about some of the things we did.
I was very sorry (for them mostly) that we were unable to spend the week after China in southern California.  Mom had planned a very event-filled week there as well...
They said that they understood.  Mom & I said that we would get the chance to spend some time together to make up for it.  This was our try to do just that - hopefully they had a memorable time.
At least we have the pictures to jog their memories.

Getting late here in the East so I'm going to turn in.

Talk to you all soon.
Thanks for visiting.