Well, while I was at the bus stop.
I completely spaced on it being school break time (duh, that’s why Owen was able to go!) and the aquarium was a nightmare. I have never seen that many people there…and we skipped about 70% of the stuff because we didn’t want to wait or push through the hordes to get to the displays. Ugh. We’ve been super spoiled the past few times we’ve gone and it was (for all purposes) empty.
On the escalator to another level.
The frog displays were very busy. I didn’t get many pics.
Trying for a desktop wallpaper.
And one my favorites…jellyfish!
More attempts at computer wallpaper!
We had planned on having lunch beforehand at our favorite, Capital Grille, except we were there too early and they weren’t open…so we planned to do it after. But…as we were walking through the last part of the aquarium, we looked out across the water and saw Family Meal, a Bryan Voltaggio (Top Chef contestant) restaurant. I actually remembered I had a coupon for there, so we decided to try it.
We started with chicken pot pie fritters (delish!), Tom ordered biscuits and gravy (I might have been tempted except it came with over easy eggs on it which didn’t sound good to me), Rob got meatloaf, and I ordered fried chicken and this is the dish it came in. It was yummy but a little expensive for what it was…but I’m glad we went.
And then this happened on the way home.
Another nice day, another trip to the playground. But we also went down to the water today because she heard another kid talking about the pond and she wanted to go, too!
Throwing rocks and twigs in—a favorite activity.
And then as we were standing there, a bunch of Canadian geese flew in and landed in front of us!
Be sure to listen for this in the last section:
Mom, they’re so cute! Maybe I could be a mermaid and go in the water with them!
And then a few artsy pictures of the boats.
This hasn’t been her best response yet but of course I didn’t have the video running on those.
Now that Katie was older and would hopefully enjoy it more and maybe even remember it, we wanted to go to the zoo like we did last year. Gramma Jean and Grandpa David had gone earlier with Doug, Marie, Gabrielle, and Robert, so we took Grannie Lin and Papa!
Shortly after she started pulling the wagon…she fell…
And scraped both knees in the process. Thankfully it was over quickly and she was back to herself.
She loved the bunnies in the house!
Last year’s jump picture:
And last year’s family picture in front of the same sign (I almost wore that same outfit again accidentally!):
Upon walking up and seeing ALL the birds, Owen says: That looks like a big bird party.
Grannie: What are they talking about?
The kids were SO excited to ride on the train. Unfortunately, the train before us ran off the tracks so they were trying to get it fixed and we ended up having to wait almost another hour. We had debated getting our money back, but the kids would have been devastated…so we did our shopping first.
Last year’s mask:
Probably the cutest Katie picture of the whole trip:
Aaaand, zonked out within minutes of getting in the car.
Level 8 of the parking garage across from the aquarium. Owen was pretending to swim like a turtle when I snapped this!
On the drive here, I saw that there was a Capital Grille very close by—a restaurant we both miss from Troy—so we decided to eat lunch there! We stopped at Panera first to get the kids a bagel, and then it was a few doors down for our fancy lunch!
The kids enjoyed the bread basket, Tom had a lobster and crab burger with truffle fries (which Katie ate most of), and I had scallops with wild mushroom risotto and a side of lobster bisque (and the obligatory food porn shot with the single lobster piece for mom):
And then on to the aquarium! (We actually bought a family membership because tickets for today alone would have been about $100 and if we want to go again within the next year—which we will!—it would be even more because Katie will be over the “free” admission age—and we got a discounted membership for $155. It also gives us discounts on parking and gift shop purchases.)
The kids spent the whole time running from exhibit to exhibit like crazy people. Pretty much all Owen said the entire time was “COME HERE! LOOK AT THIS! OH WOW! MOM! DAD! COME HERE! DID YOU SEE THAT? LOOK AT THIS! COME HERE! COME HERE! OH MY GOSH! LOOK AT THIS! COME HERE!” Katie was a little less vocal but enjoyed everything but LOVED all the turtles and the penguins and puffers.
The octopus actually looked fake but was definitely real!
Super cool looking star fish! I just want to squish him!
This was the view from about the third story. That turtle was HUGE—probably 6-7′ long. The guide told us she was only 16 years old!
Heading up into the Amazon Rainforest: “It’s raining! It’s raining!” (They had misters at the very top of the escalator so it did feel like it was raining!”)
Owen loved all the escalators!
Then it was time for the 4D Spongebob movie ($5 extra per person of course!). We couldn’t take pictures during it, but it was AWESOME. I hadn’t been to a 4D movie since Honey I Shrunk the Kids at Disney probably 20 years ago! This production had bubbles, rumbling, lightning, wind, snow, and jellyfish tickling our legs! OWEN LOVED IT…but was confused when it was over so soon because he only knows movies to be LONG.
And then my favorite exhibit—jellyfish!
Owen had a bit of a meltdown after our trip through the gift shop because everything he wanted was either too expensive or stuff we just didn’t want to get (he just didn’t need MORE cars or stuffed animals or a $30 T-shirt or cheap plastic toys). We offered a handful of different items (books, a Lego-ish type shark to build, etc.) that he could get but he didn’t want any of them and was just in a total snit about it. We explained he didn’t need to get a surprise every time we went anywhere and we did have limits on what he could get, and if we was going to act this way after a big day full of special things, then we just wouldn’t do stuff like this anymore. By the time we walked back to the car he apologized.
Katie was out before we exited the parking garage:
On the way home we both decided we didn’t want to cook dinner, so we were going out to eat. The place we wanted to try at the mall had an 1:30 wait—NO THANKS!—so we went to a 4-star Yelp sushi place across the street where we were the only patrons! The kids made do with rice but balked at the shrimp and veggie tempura we got them (who doesn’t like deep fried anything?!). Owen made a puppet out of the bag from the chocolate we bought earlier:
And then after a whirlwind day…we finally headed home.
It was a gorgeous morning—about 70°, sunny, and breezy—so we went for our first long walk together! (Normally Katie and I just go up and down our street or to the golf course. I never get to walk with just Owen anymore.)
I tried to get a picture but Katie wasn’t cooperating.
Katie took a tumble while trying to run down the hill like big brother, but she was no worse for the wear.
At the top of the hill on the golf course (Owen used to play a lot here back in the day). He kept warning Katie not torun down the hill and to stay out of the golfers’ way.
Off we go!
Anyone want to go swimming in the community pool? I can’t imagine using the same water that’s been sitting in it since last summer and is now dark brown…? I know there are chemicals and stuff…but still. Barf.
Finally! Some wildlife! (Yes I know it’s not a duck but that’s what she calls it.)
Waving hello to the duck/goose.
She wanted to sit at the picnic table.
Owen collected sticks to make an art picture.
I saw this going on so I had to try and get a good sibling picture.
At least I ended up with a decent one!
And then the ham:
And then someone was throwing sand and got warned so we had to go.
Stopping to roll down the hill.
Today we all went to the Gulf Breeze Zoo — it was Katie’s first zoo experience!
Stole the cup right out of his hand!
Owen can jump as far as a tree frog!
Who can jump farther?
Hugging the stuffed animals!
Owen picked a bat mask at the gift shop!
The pressure washer knocked on the door to let me know he rustled a small bat out of a [box on the side of our house—a vent? filter?] and it was currently laying in the grass, stunned. Cool! So I took Owen out to see it (Katie was napping).
I should have put something in the pic for scale, but I was more concerned with getting a picture before he woke up and flew off (he’d already been out about 10-15 minutes). His body was about the size of a child’s fist.
I tried to flip him over (with our pooper scooper) which woke him up and he started hissing (?) at us. Owen said “GE HAS TEEFERS!” Yes, he did!
Then I got him flipped over…
And a minute or so later he flew off. Owen was sad he didn’t get to say goodbye.
Since the temps really dropped today (with it being overcast and off-and-on rainy) I thought it would be a good time to go feed the ducks!
Me: Owen, do you want to go feed the ducks?
Me: Why not?
Owen: Papa isn’t here.
Me: That’s okay. We can still go feed the ducks.
Owen: No! I told you we only go with Papa!
Me: Well Papa isn’t going to be here for a long time, so if you want to go now, we can go. Then when Papa comes down, you can go with him.
So off we went, with Katie in the stroller (I didn’t have the patience to have her walk and try to contain her by the ponds).
Then there was a female duck that Owen called a baby duckie because it was so much smaller than these other birds. I hope you can hear him in the video—it was windy and he was pointed away from me.
And see…Katie really was with us!
Then Owen told me we had to go to the other water to look for ducks, so we trekked across the course. No ducks. But he wanted to roll down the hill! I convinced him to wait and roll down the big hill that WASN’T covered in duck poop.
A good time was had by all.
Tom and Grandma Marsha took Owen to the fish hatchery—and he seemed to enjoy it a little more than he did last year.