After the five hour drive out here, we stopped and stayed at the same hotel my parents and the kids were already at. We were hoping to get there before it was too late,since we hadn't seen Michael, Matthew and Cathryn in about 6 months. Luckily, it was only about 9pm, they all were still awake. It took the boys all of 2 minutes to feel completely comfortable and start hanging all over their older cousins.
This morning after we checked out, all 12 of us (Leigha and TJ, too) headed out to Costco to buy food for our rental house. Even though this was just a trip to Costco, it was so much fun to have all of us together. It definitely complicated matters, trying to figure out where every one went and see who had what food, but it was fun nonetheless.
Once our trip to Costco was complete, it was finally time to head out to the rental house. This place is great! Cozy, but enough room for everyone to have their own space. We quickly unpacked, ate lunch, and made our short drive up the road to Sea World!
It was about one o'clock by then and the boys were tired. Little Wyatt passed out on Nana's shoulder literally as we were walking into the park. He was soon passed over to Pops and slept through the dolphin show and half of the Shamu show, too. He woke up just as his brothers had their first taste of cotton candy. Luke was a bit wary of the cotton candy at first, but he watched Mike and Matthew eat it, then he saw Jax take a huge bite, and eventually decided to try it, too.
After the Shamu show we walked to the Shark tank, Penguin Encounter and then the Pet show. The pet show was fantastic, but Jax was less than thrilled about getting splashed with a bit of water. By then it was past 5 and all three boys were long over due for their naps. No nap was in sight though, because at 6, was time to "Dine with Shamu".
The boys were amazed sitting so close to the whales. The trainers had the whales do a few tricks while we sat patio side to a huge back tank. When they were not performing tricks, the whales would just swim by, occasionally popping their heads above water to keep us on our toes. The boys loved the whole experience. The food was good (it doesn't get any better than mac and cheese for those kids!) and they loved seeing and hearing the whales so close up.
I would live today over a hundred times. To have so many people in my family together -in the same places, for so much of the day- has just been wonderful. It is so seamless, the way everyone is getting along and just filling their place in the family. The boys being able to hang out with their cousins, as well as see my sister and dad for so much in one day is such a new experience for them, and they really soaked it up. There has been lots of laughter from all the kids. It has also been super nice for Don and I. I am embarrassed to admit how much we are enjoying the 7 extra sets of hands helping us with the boys.
I wish I could load the pictures we took today. Starting with first of the day when we asked a perfect stranger in the hotel parking lot to take one of the 12 of us. Pictures of Wyatt asleep on Pops shoulder, Michael, Matthew and Cathryn together, Nana sharing her blue slurpee with the four younger kids, or Shamu with a diver on his nose jumping into the air. And ending with the one of the three boys watching Shamu swim next to them only two feet away.
Tomorrow we are back to Sea World for breakfast with Elmo and the rest of the Sesame Street gang. Day two of vacation, here we come!