The first day of our vacation, we checked into the Rosen Center Hotel in Orlando. The pool was HUGE and not the least bit crowded, so we spent much of that first day lounging poolside. My son had a blast "lizard hunting" (remember, we're from Michigan--the only type of lizards we have are the ones you buy in the pet store). When he finally managed to catch one, he brought it over (by the tail) to show me. Unfortunately, my son scared its tail off--literally. Yes, the lizard dropped to the ground, and we were left gawking at the squirming, body-less tail. (Ewww!)
Day 2 Disney World here we come!
The next day we headed off to the "Happiest Place on Earth" *trying to suppress laughter*. Obviously, whomever coined this expression has never visited with my children in tow. Sure it was hot, the lines were long at times, and I paid $100 for four souvenir t-shirts; but none of this compares to the wrath of a six-year-old going through the "diva" phase. Every time (and I mean EVERY time) we got in a line for a ride, she'd cross her arms, stick out her hip, and say "I'm not staying here! I'm leaving!" After numerous dirty looks and threats uttered between clenched teeth, from yours truly, she'd get on the ride. Of course afterwards she'd say, "That was fun! Let's do it again!"
Day 3 Cruisin' Time!
On day three, we headed on over to Port Canaveral and boarded the Royal Caribbean's Monarch of the Seas for a 4-day Bahama Cruise. Let me start by saying, I love cruises. This was my third one. I went on my first in college, and then my husband (boyfriend, at the time) and I went on one about eleven years ago. I love everything about cruising--the food, the shows, the atmosphere, the scenery, even the teeny-tiny cabins. BUT, come to find out, I DO NOT like cruising with children. My kids refused to participate in the children's program, so they were with my husband and I 24/7 (in all their whining and arguing glory).
Day 4 Beach time in Coco Cay!
On day four, we stopped at Coco Cay (R.C.'s own private island). Hubby and the kids had a blast playing in the sea, and even had the experience of a sting ray swimming right by them. Even though we were told not to take shells/coral from the water, my daughter kept coming up to my lounge chair with handfuls of shells and tiny pieces of coral. I let her keep her favorite three, and we threw the rest back into the sea.
One more thing to add. At dinner that night, my son (the pickiest eater known to man) had escargot for dinner . . . AND HE LIKED IT! We all tried it (and liked it), but the fact that my son ordered and ate it still amazes me.
Day 5 Welcome to Nassau!
Okay, so I'm pretty sure the house in the photo to the right belongs to some celebrity, but I have no idea who. The "tour guide" on our glass-bottom-boat excursion was rambling off celebrity names and vague house descriptions left and right (i.e. "the house with the black roof belongs to Nicholas Cage" ugh . . . yeah, that narrows it down), so I can't be sure which house belongs to which celebrity.
While in Nassau, we visited the "straw market" which was an experience in and of itself. Basically, you have a gigantic tent full of Bahamian women, all selling the exact same stuff (purse knock-offs, beaded necklaces, and everything you can imagine made out of straw). The crazy part is, they attack you like a flock of hungry vultures. After making it down one claustrophobic "aisle" in 90 something-degree heat, I had had enough.
Day 6 Day at sea
I'd love to say the picture to the right was taken while reading a good book and sipping on a frozen, fruity cocktail, but I would be lying. We were actually on our way up to the pizzeria (for the umpteenth time) when I demanded we go out onto the deck for a moment. I quickly snapped the picture so that my fighting children wouldn't disrupt the people who were reading a book and enjoying a fruity drink ;o)
Day 7 Time to head home.
No more being waited on hand and foot, and no more cute towel animals like the one to the right. As usual, the vacation went by too fast. Sure my kids drove me nuts about 75% of the time, but the other 25% was spent listening to them giggle or watching their eyes get wide in amazement. And that was worth every bit of aggravation.