Can I just say how much I love Anheuser-Busch? Yes, my husband drinks their beer, but that's not the reason. The reason? They are AWESOME supporters of our military! Military and their families can get into any of their parks for free once a year. We chose to go to Sea World on our trip to Florida because of this and because the kids are such a great age for this park. There's so much for them to see and do!
The very first thing we did was get into line to feed the dolphins. As long as I can remember, I have LOVED dolphins. They are beautiful, smart creatures that always look happy. I wish I could work as a trainer at Sea World just to work with the dolphins (of course, working with the other animals would be awesome too!!!). I knew the kids would love this activity, but really? This was for Mommy! LOL
We paid $7 per person (other than Aiden and Colten since they were young enough to enter for free) to have a tray of fish. A try is basically the little paper trays you see in the picture with about 4-5 fish in it. Kind of expensive, but completely worth it!
We took turns since I was taking pictures and Daddy was the only one who could help them. Austin was up first. I think he was a little apprehensive about something. It was either the yucky fish, or all those teeth in that dolphins mouth! ;-) He did enjoy it....I promise!
Then, it was Colten's turn. You can kind of see his smile in this one. He loved it!
Then it was Mommy's turn. Since most everyone else was done, the dolphins were kind of just hanging out and there was a trainer that had the attention of a lot of them down from us. I had all these fish and NO dolphin to feed them to! Trying to get the attention of a dolphin was a little hard, so I pulled the fish back up out of the water and just about got my hand taken off by a bird! Brian wasn't taking pictures yet, so you don't get the delight of seeing that! LOL
Finally, a dolphin swam over and realized that he (she?) was in luck! More goodies! I fed him the fish, then grabbed Aiden so he could see the dolphins closer. That's when Brian started taking pictures. This dolphin just stayed there and let me touch it for a long time. Then another dolphin came up and this picture was taken. Reminded us of Abby and Koa. So sweet!
After the dolphins, we met up with our friends from the day before and went to the Dolphin and Whale show.
Here's Austin making a funny face while we wait for the start of the show.
And here's Mommy, Aiden and Colten. Yay! A picture of me!
We loved this show. It was great to see all the tricks and at a coupe of points in the show, near the end, they let some macaws loose in the seating area and they soar right above your head. I mean, almost to where you can touch them! Aiden thought that was THE. BEST. THING on Earth. He went NUTS!
Here's a picture I liked from that show. I love the dolphin that looked way more excited than the others and just had to show off!
Here's Daddy and a tired Aiden walking to some other attraction. :-)
And yes, this picture is blurry, but I had to include it because I just love how it completely shows Colten's personality!
We spent a little more money to fed the sharks. I knew as soon as I heard the camera click that this was an awesome shot!
Happy with Daddy!!!
During our first trip to Disney as a family of 3, Austin sat on Brian's shoulders just like this. So glad we have 2 more boys Brian can do this with!
The sting ray area was another hit with the kids. It was a giant pool that had sting rays just swimming in circles. You could reach in and touch them as they went by. The kids really liked all this hands on stuff!
On our way to the alligators, we stopped by the underground Dolphin viewing area. It was fun to see them play and chase each other at this angle!
I forgot to mention that Aiden started a fascination with sharks when we fed them. He would point at them and say "shark shark shark!" It sounded more like "arh arh arh" but we figured it out pretty quickly what he was trying to say. After feeding them, we went to a shop and he got this rubber shark. He LOVED this thing!
Here he is cuddling with his new shark while waiting for the Shamu Show. Whoever said sharks weren't cute never saw this picture!
After the Shamu show, we went over to their area where there are some kid rides. Colten BEGGED to go on the roller coaster. Yay! A kid that might take after his parents' love of roller coasters! He rode this one TWICE and would have ridden more, but we there were more things he wanted to do too, so we moved on. Even his older brother wouldn't ride this! Of course, Colten begged to go on ALL the roller coasters we saw, so he was pretty sad when he couldn't go on anymore since he was too young/small. He had fun on this one! He laughed through the whole thing.
Here's Austin and Johnathon before a ride they did end up on. They also went on this HUGE rope ladder playground. Very cool!
By the end of the night, the kids had been worn down and the Bigs needed a ride, so the Daddys put them up on their shoulders. :-)
Again, we loved Sea World! It was a top notch park that had things for all ages! We didn't realize until dinner that they give FREE meals for those under 3. We could have been getting Colten and Aiden their own meals instead of them sharing! By the time we go again, we probably won't have a kid that young, but it's nice to know just in case!
Our first day was Hollywood Studios. My original plan was to get there before gates opened. Yes, I am that person. I want as much time there as possible, so that means getting there early! :-)
Well, those plans got changed when we decided to do an "owners breakfast" at our timeshare. HOURS later, we finally arrived at the park just in time for lunch.
Trying to figure out where to go first!
The boys...Mommy is taking the picture. ;-)
We walked through Pixar Place and then met our friends, the Azzone Family for lunch. They came to Disney World at the same time. They have son, Johnathon, that's a little older than Austin and a little girl, Izzy, that's a year older than Colten. Angie and Dan were awesome people to hang out with and I was glad I got to know them more! Brian spent the year in Iraq working with Dan, so it was nice for our families to hang out!
After lunch, we went to the Lights, Action, Motors! Extreme Stunt Show. If you have boys that like fast cars, this is the show for you! Austin has seen it 3 times and STILL loves it! It basically shows you how they do the car stunts and chase sequences in movies. This time, Lightening McQueen even made an appearance!
Mommy and Aiden waiting for the show to open.
3 boys entranced by the beginning of the show.
Daddy and Aiden. He was pretty tired at this point.
After the show, we headed towards Star Tours (a Star Wars themed ride/experience). Colten and Aiden were too short, so we watched a Jedi Training Show (with kids picked out of the audience) that was going on when we got there, then got seats for the Pixar Pals Parade.
The little boys watching for the parade. It was a cute parade with a lot of the characters dancing and walking by and some of the major characters (like Buzz and Woody) on floats. The others met up with us right after this parade.
We decided to wait the 40-50 minutes for the Toy Story Ride. It's completely worth it. So much fun! It's a 3D shooting game. They keep track of your points right in front of you and it's another Disney Success. :-) Love this ride!
Waiting in line...he didn't do so well with this line. He wanted down the whole time and when he was down, he was running. :-)
Colten being silly in line. He liked hanging on the chains.
Inside the building, the line loops through this room that has all sorts of larger-than-life toys and board games. Disney definitely does it right...even while you're waiting in line! The older boys in front of a prop.
Colten doing something he wasn't supposed to, but was pretty cute, so I took a picture. You're not supposed to go over the red bars, but he went under instead. :-) He really liked the card tent.
When you start to get near the ride, you pick up some 3D glasses. Aiden liked them!
So cool, boys! So cool!
After the Toy Story ride, the big boys went with the Daddys while the little boys and Izzy stayed with the Mommys to see Buzz and Woody. Colten was scared enough to want Mommy to hold him, but gave Buzz a high five and said hi to them. Aiden was absolutely terrified and had a death grip on my neck.
We met up with the guys and went to see Lightening McQueen and Mater for Colten. Those are his favorites! Aiden FINALLY fell asleep at that point. It was about 5:30pm. Nice. We were wondering how he'd sleep that night with such a late nap, but he did fine later that night.
Colten was a little apprehensive by himself, so Mommy had to take him up to McQueen. He liked it though...just not by himself. ;-)
This is when we found out that all the "reasonable" restaurants closed at 5pm. It was 5:45 and the only places that we could eat at (other than junk food like ice cream) was the places that cost more than $15 a person. Ummm, not in OUR budget! So, we left and ate at McDonald's. Dan and Angie took their kids back to the resort to eat and we made plans to meet up with them at Sea World the next day.
It was a nice day and I didn't even mind that we got there later than I planned. We didn't do as much as we have in the past, but the kids still had a blast and we made wonderful memories anyway! Isn't that the point of family vacations? I think so!
Today, I am posting a quick picture of the new 3 year old in our family!!! It doesn't really seem that long ago that I was in a warm hospital, snuggling my brand new baby while it iced the heck out of Northwest Arkansas! Poor big brother was stuck in the "cold house" when the power went out and Bobo and Yaya got to keep him warm and occupied! Yep, Colten's appearance is something we will never forget for several reasons!
Colten is a fearless, smart, caring, loving, active boy. Even at a young age he had places to go and people to see! He pulled up and started cruising before 6 months and walked at 8. This made for many bumps and bruises, but that's where fearlessness came in! He may not be as big as his older brother, but he will sure try to keep up with him!
For every ounce of energy, he has twice as much love. I have never seen a 19 month old be as careful with a baby as Colten was when Aiden was born. From the very beginning, he made sure to live up to being that new baby's big brother! He loves on Aiden and is his protector. He guides Aiden when he feels his little brother needs it. Sure, he is showing Aiden how to rumble, but he will make sure that only he and Austin can tackle him!!!
That love doesn't stop with Aiden. While he has gotten a little more leery of strangers than he used to be (thanks goodness!) he will still talk to people when I say it's ok and warms up to people very easily. He is still a Mama's boy, but he's happy to have his Daddy back to love on as well!
The last year, Colten has grown do much with his speech. He has worked really hard on it and while he may not be ip to age appropriate just yet, I am sure he will be soon! He definitely understands more than what he can verbalize right now! It's amazing what you can tell him to do and he'll go and do it.
Colten's 2s may have been a little easier than Austin's, but I think we will see a lot more testing come through in the next year. We have already gotten a taste of it for the past month and if that's any indication, we are in for a challenging year! It will also be fun and surely full of laughter just as the last year has been!
Happy Birthday, Colten! Daddy and Mommy and your brothers love you very much!!!
So, our fun and exhausting trip had me skipping some days (a week!!!) on my blogging, but I'm back and now ready to start back up again. I'll catch up on Disney pictures when I get done going through them.
For today, I am posting a picture of our weims, Abby and Koa. Abby is the one looking at me and the one begging for food from Aiden (who is out of the picture and throwing food) is Koa.
Abby was once our only baby. Now she's 4th in line! She's going to be 10 in August. Can't believe that! She has issues with weight gain, but looks really good right now!
Koa is our over-priced dog from Hawaii. His name means "warrior or soldier" and he'll be 4 in May. He's definitely not the brightest dog, but he loves us...sometimes a little too much!
They don't get much attention on here, but we do love them. Very much!
The first thing we did when getting to Sea World was get in line to feed the dolphins. It was an awesome experience and was something I am so glad I got on "film." I hope the kids look back on this and think it was really cool even when they are teenagers!
The shows were fantastic and I have a ton of pictures from those as well as other things we did! It was a GREAT day with great weather and some pretty great kids who were just great! :-) See a theme here?
Tomorrow, we go to Animal Kingdom. I know it will be equally great!