Monday, May 21, 2012

.silver springs, family, and one long plane ride home.

I need to just dig in and finish up our Florida trip.  I've been preoccupied this morning with insurance and things which has really taken the wind out of my sales to get anything else done.  Insurance is the biggest pain for us since Finn and I are on our own.  Sometimes I think I should go back to work just to have insurance coverage, but then I remember how important it is that I'm home with little man.  Oh well, things will sort themselves out I guess.  In the mean time...back to Florida.

Wednesday we spent the whole day out with Robert and Dani.  We had originally wanted to go zip lining through central Fl.  Turns out it's a small fortune to do that, so we opted to go to Silver Springs.  Florida is dotted with beautiful crystal clear water springs, and Silver springs is a big one near Ocala.  They've turned it into a mini amusement park/zoo for people to come see.  One of the coolest things was the glass bottomed boat.  The spring was so clear you could see all the way to the bottom, which in some places was pretty far.  Finn and Uncle Robert were best buds during the boat ride.

Isn't that cool!

My favorite picture of Finn and Robert together.
They had all kinds of animals like bears, monkeys, exotic birds, of course gators, but I think our favorite was the giraffe.  Finn's first encounter with a giraffe...he didn't know quite what to think of it, but he was definitely curious.

He felt a lot better when he was being safely held.

He came out for a couple of Brits to feed him a handful of pellets (it seemed like a small amount for such a large animal).

Of course we had to see the giant gator, who seemed far to large to be able to move at all.  
Dani and Finn at the base of a giant Cypress tree.

It had been along day in the sun so naturally Finn fell asleep in the car on the way home.  So he was dropped off at home to finish his nap while Robert, Dani, Roy, and me drove out to Gator Joes to enjoy  some food you can't get in Utah.  I of course had the gator and frog legs, and I would recommend gator to tastes good (as does most anything fried).

Thursday we played outside in the little pool that grammy had bought Finn, but mostly Finn wanted to hang out with Oscar the dog.  He just LOVED that dog.  We BBQ'd that night and enjoyed all the time with family and friends. Dani was the master at getting Finn to sleep.  I loved watching how tender she was with him...melted my heart!

Friday we woke Finn up to make the hour drive to Orlando and make our flight.  I was hoping for a repeat of the first flight, but Finn decided otherwise.  He was incredibly fussy, and only wanted daddy, which made for a long flight for Roy.  Both flights were full so we didn't have the luxury of having an extra seat between us (one of the reasons the first flight went so well). Finally, Finn fell asleep for the last hour of the flight into SLC.

Needless to say we were happy to be done with flying for awhile.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

.the main event, a tractor, and the ocean.

Saturday was the main event of the week for us.  Roy's brother Robert was sealed to his wife Dani.  It was a simple gathering of us and a few close ward members.  But it was a beautiful and special sealing filled with a lot of emotion.  This made the whole trip worth it for me!  Lucky for us, Janelle (a friend of ours), offered to watch Finn at the temple so we didn't have to take an extra hour drive back to Ocala.

Dani and Robert outside the Orlando Temple after their sealing

Our brood.  You can't tell, but it was a million degrees that day... I exaggerate not!
After some Brazilian food for lunch and a long drive back to Ocala, we stopped in to see some friends of Roy's.  The P's have a sweet old tractor that Finn just couldn't get enough of.

Do you see the pure joy on that kids face?
It took a bit, but we finally managed to pull Finn away from the tractor for the night.
Sunday we had everyone over for a big dinner and got to see Roy's grandparents, which was really nice.
a blurry picture of Dani grandpa and me

the boys with their grandparents
We decided that Monday would be our beach day.  We chose a small beach on the Gulf side and drove out that morning with picnic and beach toys in hand.  Finn's first beach experience in Seattle was less then approving.  He didn't like the loud noise that the waves made, and the sand was a strange oddity that he didn't want touching him.  So you can imagine I was a bit nervous that our beach day would be a bust...boy was I wrong.  It took a few minutes for him to warm up to the idea, but after he saw dad running in the shallows, we couldn't keep him away from the water.
Roy and Becki coaxing Finn into the water

Roy and I harnessed our inner child and made a sand castle

and Finn destroyed it at the first chance

Finn was mesmerized by the sand and even tried a bit with his lunch

Grandma Hoffman watching from the shade of the beach

The Hoffman three walking the beach
The beach was perfect for us...small and crowd free, and the waves weren't big so they didn't scare or throw Finn around.  We loved the beach and will definitely want to go back next time we are in town.

Monday, May 14, 2012

.a plane ride, and then some.

Phew....I have a lot to get to so lets just get to it.  Florida, Roy's little piece of earth.  We decided to get ourselves on a plane while Finn still flew free to see Roy's fam, and to feel REAL heat.  I made lists and double checked websites for any advice for flying with toddlers so I felt ok about the flight, and for the most part Finn did really well even if he only slept 30 minutes.
The blue painters tape was something I read was a good toy to keep kids worked pretty good.
We splurged on our rental car and got the GPS.  All I can say about that is LIFESAVER!  It was nice to not stress about how to get around on the strange roads of Florida.
I was so tired after an early morning (4:30), and the long day of traveling that I just wanted to crash when we got to Roy's parents house.  We unloaded all of our luggage and prayed that Finn would be ok sleeping in a strange place.  Of course he really fought it that first night.  He didn't fall asleep until around 9:00, when it got dark, and woke with the sun at 5:30...ughhh.  Needless to say he slept nearly the whole car ride to St. Augustine.

I'm always joking with Roy that we never do anything touristy when we go to visit Fl.  So this time I made sure we got to see that side of Florida.  Roy suggested a day trip up to St. Augustine, which is the oldest European settlement in the United States (a good 55 years before the British settlement of Jamestown).  I can't pass up a good old historical sight, so off we went.

 Our first stop was the light house on the coast.  We had to take turns going up because we couldn't take Finn to the top
 Roy at the top in all his glory.
 From the top looking down on my boys.  I could hear Finn squawking from the top of the lighthouse.
 A view from the top
 With all those stairs, it was a good thing Finn wasn't allowed up.
 Finn and daddy explored the museum including the oil pans, and the cannon shot.

 Thought Finn's lighthouse sticker was cute.
 After the lighthouse we headed for some lunch, in which Finn enjoyed the balloon much more then the food...go figure.
We decided to take a good ol' nap at the hotel before we ventured back out for the day.  The hotel was our saving grace for the day.  The room was dark and quiet just the way he liked it, and he slept really well, to the delight of his parents who also enjoyed a nap.
Once well rested we headed out to the fort that the Spanish had built.  Finn and daddy enjoyed all the old cannons...especially this "Finn" sized one.

 But I think Finn enjoyed the pigeons most of all.  He kept calling them ducks...close enough I guess.  After the fort we just walked along the old streets and saw the old houses and shops.  We munched on some Popsicles from this fun organic shop.  That had all this interesting flavors including pineapple/cilantro which is what I had...SO GOOD!!!
That night we made a short trip up the coast to see one of Roy's good friends and his family.  The kids played at the park (Finn was more interested on chewing the rubber pieces on the ground really, while we enjoyed a good pizza and good company.
This is as good a place to stop for the night.  I'll get to more of our adventures in Florida tomorrow.