Cheers & Jeers: Florida Edition

My dad's annual family reunion was in St. Augustine, Florida last weekend. We haven't been able to go on a reunion trip in eight years because I was having babies, or we already had vacation plans, or the dates didn't work out with work, or sadly, we had to get together for funerals. This time worked for us though! Our reunion is just one weekend, but since we were going all that way, we decided to make a vacation out of it and spend a few days in Orlando. Instead of a typical, boring vacation recap, I'm gonna break it down cheers & jeers style.

Cheers to humidity! Here in the PNW, we basically only have humid days when it's raining. Our skin is totally dry and gross in the fall and winter because we spend our days indoors with the heat on full blast. We constantly apply lotions and lip balms. I also have really dry eyes 100% of the time and typically can't wear my contacts longer than eight hours. In Florida, I wore them for 18 hours each day and they didn't bother me one bit! It was so nice having soft and moisturized skin and eyes the whole time! I could also breathe a little better and wonder if it was the humidity or salty sea air that had something to do with it.

Jeers to humidity. That being said, I cannot hang with heat + humidity! It was about 88 degrees and I felt damp the entire time. I had a shiny face, my makeup was sweating off, and couldn't stand my hair touching my neck so I wore it up and ugly the whole time. Our hotel on the beach desperately needs to invest in a dehumidifier, because I felt like I was lying on wet sheets and blankets. I could not get comfortable and didn't sleep much those two nights. Shudder.

Cheers to family! I hadn't seen most of my cousins in about ten years so it felt good to hang out again. My aunt rented a house, so we spent our days on our own exploring St. Augustine, the oldest city in America, and our nights back at the house hanging out in the backyard, drinking and eating and drinking and laughing and drinking. We like to drink. 

Jeers to not recycling. My sister and I were appalled that our family didn't recycle. I'm pretty sure my heart palpitated every time someone threw a bottle or can into the garbage. My sister said "Recycling's really easy in Washington. Our city gives us bins and we just put it out next to the garbage, no need to sort." Our cousins (from Kansas City, Atlanta, and various cities in Florida) replied, "Yeah, we have that too, but don't bother." Whhhyyyyyyy?!  Please recycle, people!!

(This doesn't seem like an appropriate picture, but I didn't take one of our garbage.
The Styrofoam cups pissed me off too.)

Cheers to fun! When we weren't with family, we stayed in Orlando. We spent two long, hot days at Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. The majority of our time was at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, eating and drinking all the treats from the books and doing magic with wands all over Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade. We also spent a lot of time at Jurassic Park. At Universal Studios Hollywood, there's only one ride. At Islands of Adventure, Jurassic Park is an entire "island" so there is a ton to see and do. Nolan was in heaven. We also spent a day at Kennedy Space center, though it wasn't nearly enough time. We had to keep pulling our kids away from exhibits to rush through the rest. 

Jeers to 4D. However, the rides at Universal are not that great. They are basically the same 4D dark ride with different graphics and they made us sick. The only one we really loved was Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon. It was a ton of fun and because it's brand new, I think it was a smoother ride than the rest of the 4Ds. As a fan of the show, I appreciated all the inside jokes, characters, and bits. It also had a really great waiting room. It was part museum, part interactive game zone. My kids love Jimmy now and keep quoting his character Sara by saying "Ew!" all the time.  

Cheers to Disney! My parents offered to babysit one night so Jacob and I could go on a date. We thought we'd just go out to dinner, but when we found out Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party was happening at Magic Kingdom, we couldn't resist! My sister came too and we had so much fun. We were able to do every ride in lines that were less than twenty minutes, eat dinner and special Halloween themed treats, and watch the Halloween parade and fireworks show. It was such a cool experience. I highly recommend it for all Disney fans!

Jeers to watching a man die on the beach. This actually happened and I'm still shaken up. On our last day in St. Augustine, about twenty of us woke up early to catch the sunrise. I was busy snapping pictures of the gorgeous pink and purple sky when a women ran over to us and asked me to call 911 because a man had just jogged by and collapsed on the beach. He was unresponsive. As I talked to the operator, another woman checked his pulse and breath. He was gasping about every 15 seconds, but not breathing otherwise. Jacob ran up to the hotel gazebo where most of my family was hanging out and grabbed my uncle and cousin (a police officer and nurse, respectively). The operator told me for a minute or so not to start CPR because he was breathing and had an irregular heartbeat, but my uncle started just as she was starting to go through the instructions with me. The medics arrived a few seconds later and, broke out their AED, and got to work. We stood around for another minute, but it didn't look like it was going to be a happy ending and I felt sad and uncomfortable, so Jacob and I walked away as the ambulance drove up the beach. We still don't know for sure, but I don't think he made it. My uncle told me later he thought the same thing. I still feel so terrible about it.

Cheers to my kids! They were troupers! We had long flights and long days with a three hour time difference. We walked all day, didn't sleep enough, and sure as hell didn't eat well, but they didn't whine or complain once. And yes, we were on vacation so they should have been grateful and happy, but they're kids. They get tired, they get hungry, they get bored standing in long lines. I was so impressed! They are getting older and more responsible and these adventures are getting easier and more fun. I know they appreciate the experiences too. I love them to pieces! Big shout out to Jacob too, for being my rock and for embracing my crazy, loud family. We had a blast.


SMD @ lifeaccordingtosteph said...

Ughhh I do not understand when people are provided with the tools to recycle but choose not to. WHY. Why.

So sad about the jogger, glad you guys could help even if it wasn't a good end result. But you never know, it could have saved him.

Audrey Louise said...

What a fun vacation (for the most part)! I don't get why people don't recycle. We absolutely do.
Amusement parks that are mostly empty are the BEST! I'm dying to go to Disney this time of year!!
I saw someone die once and it was terrible. I hate that you were in a similar situation. Good for your family for doing all you could <3

Marie said...

Sounds like it was a fun vacation!! I love when the lines at Disney aren't too long. I hate long lines. Sorry to hear about the jogger, so sad.

Misty said...

I'm really hoping to go to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in the next year or two. It was originally in the plans for this year, but then you know... major life changes. Ha!

Jo said...

Sounds like fun! (cept for the obvious bit... poor guy .. hopefully you were able to save him and even if you couldn't at least he had someone there trying and he wasn't on his own).

My kids have been to Disney Paris but didn't enjoy it much ... the queues are soooo long and it is just too crowded. They were far more interested in the hotel pool.

When I went to South Africa in December it killed me that they don't recycle!!! Why not???