Thursday, June 28, 2012

Florida Road Trip: Family Party, Body Slammin' Dolphins, Killer Prairie Dogs, and Flower Girls

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Even with the crowds, Lolo and I couldn't resist spending one morning on the beach while the girls were in camp. So, we picked up some cheap beach chairs and some way-too-expensive suntan lotion, and enjoyed an hour of just sitting on the beach, with no interruptions.  It was heaven.


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Later that evening, Lolo hosted a party at her house for all our St. Pete area family...

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...there was iPad app fun,

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yummy food,

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reminiscing about the good old days with cousins,

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and making new memories with cousins,

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and enjoying a new puppy in the family... Hi Luffy!

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and lots more fun in the yard.  We all had a great evening.

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The next day was the girls' last day at camp, so we arrived early so they could walk around the aquarium and see the things they didn't have time to see during camp.

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Like the hurricane simulator.

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And the gift shop, of course. :)

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And we watched the dolphins get a shower, which they loved.

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We also went to the underwater viewing area to watch Panama and baby Hope play together.

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Grumpy :)

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Back up on top to watch more dolphin fun.

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This little girl was getting her picture made with Winter.  But Panama didn't like being left out of the shot.

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We noticed that Panama loved to flop herself up on this platform, even when there were no trainers around.  We wondered why...

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...but then, after watching baby Hope body slam poor old Panama a few times,

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...it started to make more sense.  Annoying little kid.


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Here's CMA's CEO announcing some new residents at CMA...

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It's Rufus from Dolphin Tale!

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She seemed to enjoy all the attention.

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Rufus was actually played by two pelicans, Lucy and Ricky, and they will be permanent residents now at CMA.

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Rufus was one of the kids' favorite characters from the movie, so they were thrilled to come out of camp that day and see that he (they) had arrived.

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After camp, Lolo took us by a local petshop on the way home to show us these prairie dogs for sale that she had been fascinated with watching.

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Before we walked in, I made it clear that we were not leaving the store with any prairie dogs, and we were just here to look.

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So of course, the girls went right for the free hamsters,

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and the bunnies,

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and the snakes, and begged for those instead.

Not happening.

So they went back to watching the prairie dogs...

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Even I had to admit, they were awfully cute and extremely fun to watch...

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But then the real fun started when Grumpy leaned over and said, if you want one, it can stay at my house (he lives part time across the street from us on the farm), and the kids can come over and take care of it. He liked watching the prairie dogs, too.

Of course, the kids didn't have to think twice about that idea - yes!!  The prairie dogs were very sweet, and let us pet them and hold them...

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...that is, until we picked one out to take home.

That's when they began plotting their defense.
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I do have pictures of the some of the violence that ensued, but as this is a G-rated blog, I think I won't subject you to them.  But it ended with blood literally gushing from the fingers of three different people - the pet store clerk, who first tried to take the chosen one out of the display case, and then Grumpy and BeachPea, who tried to catch the little demon critter when she escaped from the take-home cage and took off through the pet store.  These innocent little creatures have teeth like vice grips and don't let go once they chomp on.  No kidding, there was finger blood all over the store.

The perpetrator was finally caught and put back in the take home cage, but on the way out the door to take BeachPea to get cleaned up at the nextdoor CVS (pet store wouldn't let us use their bathroom), I asked Grumpy not to make any purchases until I could further investigate the damage.

Upon washing off the blood, we could see the damage was definitely bad enough for both me and a tearful BeachPea to say with no regrets that a prairie dog was not the pet for us.  We cleaned up and returned to announce our decision.  I found CarriBear curled up in a ball and wide eyed on the floor by the snake cages.  I thought my little animal lover was upset that we had decided not to bring one home, and started to explain, when she burst out with I am NOT getting in the car with that thing!  I assured her that we were not bringing the vampire prairie dog home, upon which she smiled with relief and asked one more time for a pet snake.

Needless to say, we left the pet store with no pets, and a greater appreciation for leaving wild animals out in the wild.

(Now all this being said, some people do say prairie dogs make wonderful and loving pets.  And the prairie dog babies that are in pet stores are probably ones that would have been put to death after being captured in the wild (due to overpopulation), so at least they are getting a second chance at life, albeit a domestic one.  But we have enough to deal with at this point in life without worrying about bloody fingers during the adjustment period, so we decided to pass for now.  Maybe when things quiet down a little later in life, we'll feel differently.  Maybe.)

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After the prairie dog drama, we changed pace a little and took the girls shopping to look for flower girl dresses for my cousin's upcoming wedding (which is on our favorite beach!  Eee, I can't wait!!)

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Awww, my sweet angels.

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Of course, Butterfly's favorite part was checking out the accessories :)

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Back at Lolo's, after a long and eventful day, we took one last shot of the girls with their camp tees and CMA souvenirs.
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We had a wonderful two week road trip in Florida, and felt so blessed to have such generous and amazing family to share it with.  Now it's home to sleep for the next two weeks :)

Thanks for coming along with me!

(and thanks to Lolo for sharing some of these pictures with me!)

3 comments:

  1. Ok, I have only met you briefly once at a football game, but I follow your blog weekly! So I am not sure why the picture of the girls in their dresses looking in the mirror made me tear up, maybe because I see how fast all of our kids are growing up! Glad you guys had fun! Lisa

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  2. Is it hot by you? In the 100s this weekend by me.
    Your girls are, as always, cute as ever in those dresses.

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  3. Oh my goodness....crazy prairie dogs! Kansas has so many they do try to keep their numbers down, but they are cute. Now I'm glad though, that I've never come across one in a dark alley. lol Those body-slamming dolphins are crazy too! Looks like y'all have been having a marvelous summer!

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