Spring Break for our girls was April 5-9. We left that Monday morning and drove down to Sun City Center, FL (near Tampa) where Jason's grandmother lives. She was celebrating her 90th birthday later that week and a lot of family were coming in to town to surprise her and have a little party. Our girls traveled really well - thank goodness for portable DVD players. :-) We arrived Monday evening and were able to spend a little time connecting with Jason's parents, sister and her little girl, and Aunt & Uncle.
Tuesday was a low key day with a morning in the pool. It was a little chilly, but Jason braved it with Emma and Heidi. I chose to stay dry with Rachel. That evening our family surprised Great Grandma at dinner. We all met at a restaurant on the beach. This was the FIRST time she had met Rachel. We had a wonderful dinner together and enjoyed the sunset out the window.
This was also the FIRST time any of our girls had seen the ocean (we think), as well as their FIRST time on a beach with sea shells. Emma and Heidi have been to lake beaches, but no ocean beaches. They did not get near the water, but enjoyed walking and playing in the sand.
Wednesday, our family - along with Kirsten, Becca and Grandma - went to the Florida Aquarium in Tampa. It's a very nice aquarium and we enjoyed our visit there.
While we enjoyed all the fish and wildlife, I think the best part was the water park set up they had outside. We spent the last hour of our time there outside while the girls played in the water.
Emma down the water slide - starting to get wet.Wet Emma.Drenched Emma. :-)
Wet HeidiThankfully I did have towels and a change of clothes in the car for both of them. They really had a good time though. Rachel just thought the whole day was exhausting!
Thursday morning we decided to go try to see some manatees. There is a manatee viewing center very close to Sun City Center that Jason and I have been to before. However, they didn't open until 10AM and we arrived there about 9:15. So, to kill some time, we found another beach to enjoy. Heidi really enjoyed picking up seashells and Emma enjoyed throwing them back into the water.After the short beach walk, we went back to the manatee viewing center. We walked around their museum and out on to their board walks to try to see manatees. All we saw were VERY large fish. (You can see them in the water behind Heidi - the dark lines are the fish.)As we were leaving, we talked to someone who works there and he told us it was the wrong time of year to be able to see manatees (the viewing center is actually only open November - April). See, the viewing center is set up right next to a power plant. The power plant warms the water right there. So when the ocean water is cold (Dec - Feb), the manatees come in to this area for the warmer water. However, in April, the ocean water is plenty warm enough for the manatees, so there is no need (or desire) for them to come in to this area. So, we came home with two stuffed animal manatees and that's the best we could do. We'll just have to try to go back sometime when it is colder.
After seeing no manatees, it was time to go get ready for Great Grandma's birthday party. It was a nice, small gathering in the building she lives in. Cake, punch, and lots of pictures to share. I think she really enjoyed it and I'm glad we could all be a part of it.Some more FIRST things for the week:
Rachel's FIRST time in a pool.Rachel's FIRST time on a beach.While we were away, Rachel's FIRST tooth came through.
It was a really fun week. A few more great family pictures...
Emma telling Grandma a really good story.Cousins (Rachel & Becca)!More Cousins (Emma, Rachel, Heidi, & Becca)!!!