Thursday, May 29, 2014

A Look Back at 2013 - MAY - Our Honeymoon (May 9th) - Kelly Park / Daytona Beach

DAY 4 - Kelly Park and Daytona Beach

When we were planning the trip I wanted to see more of Florida other than just the theme parks.  I found this amazing natural spring at Kelly Park near Apopka, Florida.  We rented inner tubes down the road from the park and for less than $10 we had a blast tubing for half of the day.  It was about 3/4 of a mile down the creek and we had to get out before we hit the place the alligators like to hang out!  I guess there was one sunning itself after the final lifeguard chair down the creek!  The water felt wonderful and was crystal clear.  We will definitely take the kids there the next time we go.  We met a wonderful LDS family that was on a family reunion from all over.  A couple from the group was from North Carolina and I told her we had thought about moving there so we chatted about the area a bit.  It was the perfect day to go and we even got a sign from Oliver in the sky!
The sign near the beginning of the spring.

We parked the car and walked down a trail to the start of the spring which came out of a cave (bottom center picture).  It was about 3/4 of a mile away.  I couldn't get over how green everything was and how clear the water was.  It was just beautiful.

We saw this bright green lizard right as we pulled into the park.  Again, I just couldn't get over how beautiful it was.  I would love to have someplace like this to go back home.  I also loved the trees with the moss cascading off the branches.

So, Ed and I decided to take a walk on the nature trail through the woods.  I had to pee really bad and so Ed held my hands and I just did the ol' girl scout squat alongside the trail.  Classy... I know.  I got done and we walked a few steps and I was busy looking at the trees and nearly stepped on a freaking SNAKE!  It was the first time I'd ever seen anything other than a garter snake.  Ed and I shrieked and ran and then I was going to turn around a snap a picture!!  Ed was like... "You know they can coil and jump a few feet, right?!"  So... I decided again pursuing a photograph.  It turned out to be an eastern diamondback rattlesnake.  It ALMOST scared the pee outta me, but good thing I just emptied the tank.  Again... classy.  *wink,wink*


After we went to Kelly Park for a few hours we drove to Daytona Beach.  This was only the second time we've been to the Atlantic Ocean and it's so beautiful and calming.  I would love to live by the ocean. 

Sunsets are one of my favorite things to photograph.  I love sunsets and long walks on the beach.  Well... I love sunsets and Ed likes long walks on the beach.  I just wanted to sit and enjoy the waves.

One of my favorite pics of me and "Eddie Spaghetti with the meatball eyes".  I love him so much!  I also love how my eyes close when I smile.  Rad.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A Look Back at 2013 - MAY - Our Honeymoon (May 8th) - Islands of Adventure

DAY 3 - Islands of Adventure

This is the third time we've been here and we STILL haven't seen everything!  This is by far my favorite theme park!  I believe it is Ed's favorite as well.  I've always loved art and color and so being here was so awesome because of the colors, plants, structures and attention to detail.  It is a whimsy and magical place.  I'm so excited to bring Finn and Thor here in the future! 

These photos were taken near the entrance of the park.  Ed and I have still never eaten at Margaritaville, but the face cutouts were fun.  This duck reminded me of something that Oliver would love.  The last time we were here with him, one of the things he loved the most was just sitting and watching the animals, the ducks, the birds, the rabbits and squirrels.  We laughed that the bird was just chilling out on one leg.  I could just hear Oliver's laugh in my head as well.  He will always be with us when we vacation here because of all the sweet memories we got to make together.

This is the whimsy I was talking about.  The colors and the fun decor just make me think of all the Dr. Seuss books I've read to my kids in the past.   

We've never really spent much time in this 'island', but the views and colors were amazing as always.

This is my favorite island of all of them.  I will always have a special place in my heart for these books and movies as Oliver loved them just as much as I did!  Sadly, I only got to the middle of book 5 when Oliver passed away.  Our whole family loves to have movie marathons together and make food from the movies.  Oliver got me the Harry Potter cookbook for Christmas one year.  Several months before Oliver passed we dressed up for Halloween, had a Harry Potter New Year's party and we even incorporated Ollie's love of Harry Potter on his headstone.


Halloween 2011 - Moaning Myrtle, Hagrid, Hernione, Ron, Draco, Harry
New Year's Eve 2011 - Oliver as Professor Trelawny
We had to have a Harry Potter reference on his headstone!  Can you see it?!

I wish I could attend Hogwarts myself...
Me and Ed in front of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
The village of Hogsmeade

We never got our picture taken in front of the Hogwarts Express before.  I wish we had one of Oliver in front of it.  I'll take a cutout picture of him next time!  I loved the crooked rooftops and chimneys in the village.  Butterbeer... of course and the Hog's Head tavern.

We ate dinner at The Three Broomsticks for the first time!  Ed ordered the fish and chips and I ordered cornish pasties which were really quite tasty.  We had to get some delicious butterbeer to drink of course!  While we were eating we were sitting next to a couple who were talking and I heard what I thought was an English accent so of course I asked if they were visiting from England and they were.  They were on their honeymoon as they just got married and wanted to see all of the Florida theme parks.  We talked for a long time and saw them like three more times that day!  We sat and chatted on a bench by a misting fan for about 45 minutes!  They were so much fun and now we are facebook friends, so if I ever get to go on my dream trip to England I'm going to look them up!  I was sad to have forgotten to snap a picture of them!  Clark and Tracey, it was so fun chatting with you and learning about 'beasties' and other fun English terms! 
Honeydukes sweet shop
Gladrags Wizardwear, Ollivander's Wands, Spintwitches Sporting Needs, Zonkos Joke Shop
The Owl Post

When we went on the ride "Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey" the last time, we took a different way through because of Ollie's wheelchair.  We waited in line this time and got to see all of the different rooms and holograms of the various characters.  The sorting hat was the last thing that spoke to you as you got on the ride.  I have motion sickness, but the ride was worth feeling woozy for a bit!!

We don't usually spend much time in 'Jurassic Park' either, but I had to stop and take some photos of the gorgeous flowers!  I love my handsome husband in the top picture as well!  I don't know what kind of turtle that is below, but I dub it the nipplenose turtle.  Oliver would have gotten a kick out of his nose!

Seussland from across the lake.

The Lost Continent from across the lake.  I'd never noticed the man standing under the rock before!

The Hulk roller coaster that goes from like 0-60 right off the bat!  I love the spray from the water as the coaster went through it!

Toon Lagoon was fun and so colorful!  The flower petals on the flower below reminded me of Oliver as they were shaped like hearts!  This time we went on the Bilge Barges ride and got SOAKED!  I had to buy some flip flops as my shoes and socks were so wet!
Toon Lagoon

Me and Ed look like total nerds with Captain America!  Two thumbs up!  I love Ed's face checking out Iron man's undercarriage!  This was the first time I'd seen the new bikes the superheroes rode in on.  They used to have 4 wheelers, but these are way cooler!  They really need to hire someone to play Thor!!

After the park closed, we went to Universal's City Walk and ate at the Latin Quarter.  It was really good!  We had a cheese fondue with chorizo in it.  It was the first time I'd ever tasted it!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

A Look Back at 2013 MAY - Our Honeymoon (May 7th) - Magic Kingdom

 May 6, 2013 - Magic Kingdom

Originally, Ed and I weren't going to go to Disney World, but I was excited to see the NEW Fantasyland so Ed caved and we decided to spend our first day here!

Cinderella's castle
A lovely English couple took our photo in front of Belle's castle after we had a long talk about Downton Abbey!
In front of Belle's castle.  There is a restaurant at the end of this walkway, but the waiting list was redonkulous!
Close up Belle's castle at night.

Finn loves watching 'Dumbo' so I had to get a photo!
Ed looking thoroughly excited!
The Haunted Mansion.  We had never taken the interactive line so we did since the line was so short!
Rapunzel's tower and the town from 'Tangled'.
The Little Mermaid ride which we didn't go on because there was too much to do.  I loved the buildings and decor!
Eating chocolate croissants and drinking some kind of marshmallow mango concoction at Gaston's Tavern.
Of course we had to take a bride and groom pic!
Towers and castles at night.  SO PRETTY!
"Celebrate the Magic" show at night.  This was AMAZING!  With music, the castle turns into a living piece of artwork as many different Disney films are featured.  It was so cool!  (Lion King, Alice in Wonderland, Wreck It Ralph, The Princess and the Frog, Brave, Pirates of the Caribbean, Tangled, Beauty and the Beast, Up)
The awesome fireworks show!
I loved the single "Ollie heart" on the castle!
After the fireworks.
The lights of the Magic Kingdom from the ferry boat.