Ava got a new puzzle that she brought with her and she was so excited to open it up and I think everyone got a chance to help her put it together.
Both Ava and Leah were pretty happy to be there and getting so much attention. They played with their princess dolls constantly. Ava painted and colored so many pictures for them that the fridge was almost filled by the time we left.
One day, Scott came over with Emma and Katie to swim for the afternoon. Ava loved playing with her cousins. It was so nice to spend some time with them. Katie and Eric have a little special bond and it was funny to watch her attach herself to him the whole time. Scott and Eric were good at entertaining the girls in the pool with tosses, jumps, trains and volleyball games.
I love this picture of four of the great granddaughters with the great grandmas, especially Leah's silly face. She likes to make funny faces when the camera comes out.
The next day we went to Weeki Wachi which is a natural spring in Spring Hill. The water is crystal clear and cool. They do a live version of The Little Mermaid show which Ava loved. There were turtles and fish swimming around during the show. While we were waiting for it to start, Eric couldn't help but peeking and we saw an interesting video by Supergrass with clips of the mermaid show and backstage.
After the mermaids we watched a reptile show and learned about Florida native frogs, snakes and alligators. Ava even got to touch a couple of them.
We took a boat ride tour down a river of the spring. You could see everything in the clear water and we learned a lot about the wild life that lives there. The scenery was so gorgeous.
On the way out we found all sorts of fun statues and good photo ops.
Another day we went down to Treasure Island (near St Petersburg) and rented a speed boat. My dad was the captain but let Ava have the wheel for a little while too. We went through Tampa Bay and then out onto the Gulf of Mexico. Ava and Leah look super happy in all of our pictures but Leah was miserable in her life jacket. It was swallowing her and if we weren't going fast she was pretty upset with it.
There was a McDonalds out there that you can dock your boat at. It was fun to see the bridges going up to let the big boats through. There were beautiful coastal homes and huge and small boats out on the water.
When we got out into the Gulf we started seeing a ton of dolphins swimming and splashing near our boat. It was so amazing to see so many. They were every where. When they would swim away we'd move locations and more would show up. Both girls were loving watching them.
After we saw the dolphins we sat out in the boat and ate lunch and Eric decided to jump into the water and right back out. The Gulf water was so warm, around 87 degrees.
The next day we went down to Scott's new house and Ava had a blast playing with the girls and all of their fun toys. She had fun dressing up and everyone enjoyed wearing the Hannah Montana wig.
We were a little annoying because we were in the middle of refinancing our house and we had to sign all of the documents with a notary while we were at Scott's house. It was long, kind of obnoxious, and right in the middle of dinner.
We went to Siesta Key Beach which is down by Sarasota. It is one of the best beaches I have ever been to. We loved it. We drove right up and parked in the lot, for free. The water was so warm, the waves were decent size but gentle, the sand was white and fine...it was nearly perfect. Everyone got out into the water and waves.
One day we headed to a great sale at the Disney Store (Ava's dream store) and stopped for ice cream on the way home.
On our last day we all went to The Florida Aquarium with Scott, Holly, and the girls. We saw a lot of interesting fish, birds, and alligators. I especially liked the jelly fish and penguin show.
The Aquarium had a great splash pad outside and the girls had so much fun cooling off and going down the slide.
The flight home was long but we made it. Leah still had a hard time on the plane. Teething and the air pressure were taking a toll on our little one but we made it and we're all happy to be home in our "green house". Hopefully it won't be too long until we can see everyone again!
Thanks for such a fun trip, Novaks!