If one were to ask the family with whom we stayed how the trip went, one would hear an entirely different story.
For example, Cuckoo would say we had a great afternoon at the beach, jumping waves and playing in the sand and collecting shells.
Host Family might say it was a ridiculous day to go to the beach, seeing as how it was the coldest day of the year.
Cuckoo would say he had so much fun, he wanted to stay at their house forever.
Host 10 year old might say, "I thought they were supposed to stay in a hotel for two nights, but then I had to sleep on the cold, hard floor for FOUR nights!"
And another example...
Cuckoo would say the fort we explored (next to the beach) was lots of fun, made only more fun by the super-strong winds that were blowing. (He's skipping, because "I have to skip so I don't forget how to do it.")
Just to give you an idea of how strong the wind was, palm trees usually have palms on both sides of the trunk...
Host Baby: Her hat says, "I'm an Ingall." Her face says...who knows? No one saw it the whole time we were at the fort.
Host 4 year old: Her cowering says, "This isn't any fun, so I'll make sure we leave earlier than they'd like". A short time later, she vomited all over the inside of the fort. And many, many more times before the night was over.
And yet another example...
Cuckoo would say it was an uneventful but pretty one hour drive to the beach.
Host Mom would say it was a disaster that ruined her family's car trips forever.
I would have to give a rebuttal and say, "If you have a 16-year family tradition of lying to your kids about what an "Exit Only" sign means in order to delay stops for trips to the bathroom, you darn well better let the adults in the van with you know of such things." Aaaaand that fiasco doesn't take away from the views we had driving to the beach.
Last example, I promise...
Cuckoo would say he had a blast trick-or-treating three different times in the first two days of the trip.
Host Mom might say, "What am I supposed to do with all of this candy?!?!?!!?"
She has three kids who collected the same amount of candy as Cuckoo...
In truth, I'm pretty sure Jen and her family had fun while we were there. Or at least didn't mind us too much. They were nothing but gracious and welcoming, which is a huge feat when you consider we had never met in person before.
Jen and I stayed up way too late each night talking and laughing and getting to know each other in real life. Her kids were polite and funny and helpful and everything you want in your own children. They even spoke to me, having real conversations and all! And that baby...oh she is a sweet one. She barely cried the whole time I was there. The 4 year old (She'll turn 5 on our shared birthday later this month.) and Cuckoo got along beautifully, and the 3rd grader was a great leader of the fun for the two little kids.
We spent some time at one of the best playgrounds I've ever seen.
We saw alligators and TONS of gigantic birds at an alligator reserve.
|I didn't take my real camera, so the photos of the animals are terrible. Just know that 1 is a crane, I think, under the bridge. 2 is a baby alligator, and 3 is a group of kids happy to be standing on top of a crane. (I think.)
|Taken from the pier while looking for alligators. Those trees are filled with birds.
From the very beginning it felt like we had known each other our whole lives. We have similar ways of raising children, and we had no problem at all falling right in with the organizing and corralling of everyone. It was remarkable really.
But, as I've heard it told, house guests are like fish. After three days they start to go bad. On Sunday Cuckoo and I ventured out on our own while our friends had a normal day at home.
When I heard about Legoland, I thought it was a gigantic museum-type thing with Lego structures and lots of places for kids to build things. When I looked it up, I was shocked to find out it is an amusement park for kids 12 and under. Of course that was immediately added to Cuckoo's list of things to do.
While there was a gigantic area in which several replicas of US cities were made from Legos,
|We spent a lot of time in this area, since each city had lots of buttons to push, making different parts of the structures move.
there were plenty of rides and fun things for kid to do.
|At the end of his first of two roller coaster rides that day.
|"Driver's School" turned into Nascar when Cuckoo took the wheel. Every time the boy in the red car tried to pass him, Cuckoo swerved to prevent it from happening.
The morning of the day we were to leave, the Host 4-year old was still not feeling well, so Cuckoo and I said our goodbyes and went to Sea World before our flight.
There were sea animals, of course.
While Cuckoo thoroughly enjoyed the Shamu show, his favorite thing in the park was the gigantic play structure. I told him that I couldn't go in it with him, seeing as how my knee isn't completely healed yet. He had no trouble getting right on up there on his own.
|That's him. He's about 35 feet in the air.
I should have.
From Sea World we headed straight for the airport, where he once again had the people around us giggling. The boy gets really excited, and he talks loudly when he's excited. His questions, including"Are we in the air yet?" when we hadn't even left the terminal, and his panicked requests for gum because, "My ears aren't working!" carried to the passengers all around us.
By the number of stories Cuckoo has shared with his siblings and dad, I'm going to have to say it was a successful first "special trip". I have to agree, and I can't wait to see Jen and her family again.
Now, which blog friend will I get to meet next...
Have a lovely day!