Monday, February 28, 2011

Cross Country Skiing during Christmas break

 Justin bought himself a complete set of cross country skis so we went out as a family (minus Allison who was at Grace's) to Coon Rapid Dam and rented skis.  It's always some type of drama getting the family in the car, with snow pants etc, then finding the right sized boots, skis poles, out the door....but not to mention getting the boots on the skis.  I was having a rainbow of curse words going through my head trying to get Ammon and I clipped in.  I haven't gone skiing since college, maybe 15 years ago.  This was also different because there are groomed trails that I've never tried before.
 Ammon was awesome for sure.  The only time he whined was when he was hungry which a quick Snickers bar remedied.

After we'd gone about 45 minutes, the rest of the crew turned around while Isaac and I ventured on around the loop.  Justin looked at the map and said it's about the distance we'd already gone, so not too much more....uh so not true.  Isaac and I started off merrily skating along for a long, long time.  Through beautiful woods.  We found a trail that many other people had skied on and adventured out on that.  I fell in the snow and it was deep!  Like I mean deep!  I had a hard time standing up.  Isaac fell too, but he was wearing snow pants.  I hadn't planned that Ammon would actually ski, so wore regular clothes.
A sweat started in.  We kept pounding out the trail.  Took a break to share a package of Smarties.  Finally the trail took a turn, then went straight again.  Then finally it did turn.  We got to go over a bridge which is always fun.  Took a few minute break to sit on an icy cold to the buns rock bench and enjoyed the beauty around us.  The Mississippi river was in front of us, untouched drifts of snow, birds flying.  
We did eventually finish and were glad we were able to accomplish it, but it was long.  Found out later it was two miles.  And I must say I did pull several muscles, but it was fun to have some alone time with Isaac.  He is a cheerful child.  Easy to laugh.  

Other pictures...

I love this hairy man.

Last day ++

 This one awesome machine.  It has 100 flavors to mix and choose from.  We were told we could try samples until we found one we wanted.  You could pick one flavor and it was immediately ready to dispense with no lingering flavors from the last one.  Justin chose a Peach Fanta.  mmmmmmm
 Bit of a rest outside the parks. 
 Jurasic Park had an awesome kids area.  5 stars.
This was the best weather day of all.  We found a quiet spot in the afternoon and lazed around in the sunshine.  We also had bought a Meal Deal at the Lands of Adventure park which meant we could basically eat until we puked.  We got our moneys worth.  
mmmm french fries.  
It wasn't long enough of a trip and didn't fulfill all of my vacation desires, but we've had some super fantastic ones in the past.  I'm super glad we did this and loved spending time with my honey.  
We found out that night that Grandma needed to get home to take care of a medical issue so we changed out flight to a 6am one.  This had us getting home at 11:15 ish.  Kent and Genie picked us up at the airport, drove around to the ticketing and we dropped them off.  Not much of a visit.
Justin and I made it home with 15 minutes to spare before Ammon got off the bus.
It was nice/sad to see Ammon cry because his grandparents were gone.  Makes me know he was well taken care of.
Thanks to Grandma and Grandpa for all they did.  It was THE BEST to come home to a clean house!  One of my most requested gifts for my birthday :)

US day two

 Up bright and early again with a quick donut stick and juice breakfast.
 Surprisingly annoying simulator ride for me.  My neck muscles killed from all the coasters yesterday!  But my favorite line when Homer was going down a coaster was "my boobs are hitting me in the face!" 
Jaws ride was way lame ride but needed to be done.
 JoAnne in front of car #3.  Delorian from Back to the Future.  Yes you do see a fanny pack.  It pains me to see it but there were many times each day we were praising its value.
We bought tickets to see Blue Man Group and it didn't let us down.  What a fun show!  I highly recommend it.   One problem I had was the I forgot my contact so luckily had my emergency set in my overnight bag to use, but the prescription seemed off and made it hard to see distances.  So I wore my glasses that night, which meant I STILL couldn't see distances very well and missed out on reading some of the funny things they had going on.
No problem sleeping at night.

Universal Day One

  Up Bright and early. 
 We headed straight to Hogwarts and weren't disappointed.  Notice the crooked chimneys.  The detail was A. Maze. Ing.

 We shared one cup of Butter Beer.  It was too chilly to try the frozen kind.  It was too sweet for me, but fun to try none the less.
 Heading into the Lost Continent
 Justin's favorite ride, my second favorite.  This is the bomb of a roller coaster.  He has been looking forward to this ride for months.
We didn't get a picture of my favorite: Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit.  Best Coaster Ever.  You could choose your tunes to rock out on to boot.
 JoAnne in front of car #1.  Justin loves the eyebrows (not mine!)
 Got my picture taken with Wolverine.  I don't think Hugh Jackman is under that mask.
 We ate lunch at the famous Mythos restaurant.  It was a great atmosphere and didn't cost us anything more than the fast food fare in the rest of the park.  Justin ordered fish tacos.
 Me, a cheese sandwich kids meal with FRENCH FRIES, my staple.  Notice the Mr. Pibb for keeping a headache at bay.  We did too many rides at once.  I thought it was great being able to get straight on all these rides with no wait time, but our tummies are too old for coaster after coaster.
 Content Justin.
 Amazing architecture.
 JoAnne in front of car #3.  Run!!!
Fun tiring day.  I should not have worn my sandals but it was fun to have my new pedicure be seen for one day.

Sunday, February 6, 2011


This place is so stinking noisy with a freeway right out our window but something nice is a huge and I mean huge McDonalds in our parking lot.  It's boasts it's the largest entertainment McDonald's or something like that.  Imagine a glorified two story Chuckee Cheese.  Intense.  I sure to like the Cinnamelts though. 
Mid-morning we headed out on our adventure to the Atlantic coast.  We laughed at the roadside stands that sell Alligator jerky. 
The first place we stopped was a one way road through a wilderness sanctuary with so many awesome birds and things to see.  What a change from Minnesota.  I loved the mangrove trees.
We took a short one mile-ish hike and got eaten by mosquitoes which were about the size of birds themselves.  We were searching high and low for an alligator but none to be seen.  Justin did spy a gorgeous bright pink bird which we also saw later (pictured) called Roseate Spoonbills.  Truly beautiful birds.

We moved on to the Canaveral National Seashore for some beach time and were not disappointed.  What a beautiful area.

Guess what we saw.....
Yep.  Our trip has been fulfilled.  An American Alligator.
Justin was a good samaritin and threw a jelly fish back into the ocean that seemed to have some life left in it (not the huge one pictured).
There was a shuttle on the Kennedy launch pad.
We hiked around the Oak and Palm canopies. So fun!  It smelled perfect.  I love to be outdoors and this place fit my hiking needs perfectly. 
We even found orange trees.  I did an excited jump of joy, but should have held off.  Boy were they sour!  I mean the most sour bitter fruit ever.  Think grapefruit, then multiply it by a hundred.
I peeled one for us to eat, then I touched my tongue to it and instant tears in the eyes.  Justin ate almost a whole orange.  After each bite he'd make all these painful moaning sounds, then say that was good!  
We ate at a fun little local taco restaurant on the way home where Justin special ordered some fish tacos.  
I need to add that we took a quick dip in the pool.  If you notice our clothing from the pictures, it has been a chilly day.  
I'm excited for our day tomorrow!!!