Florida trip, take two…

Current mood: happy

Sunday morning we slept in, ate some yogurt and granola bars at the dorms, then headed to church. We attended the Coral Springs Ward. The bishop was really nice, and being from Santa Monica, laughed when we said we were from LA. He said “La Verne is NOT LA!” The most interesting part of sacrament meeting was a black convert to the church, who had just returned from serving a mission in Africa. He gave a really short talk, and then had the whole congregation sing all 5 verses of his favorite hymn a’cappella.

We had lunch at a place by the FXE called Moe’s, which is basically a Café Rio/Baja Fresh clone. I had a DELICIOUS veggie quesadilla. The day was very rainy, so we decided that the everglades boat ride was out of the question. We went to Sawgrass Mills, a gigantic mall in Sunrise, to take Rosie to Wannado City. This place is a theme park for kids, where they learn about careers they’ll “wanna do” when they grow up. The admission wasn’t terrible because parents are included in the kids admission. You are assigned a security bracelet with a tracking device. If you get separated from your party, there are kiosks all over the City that you can scan your device and see where everyone in your group is at. There were so many different careers that Rosie tried out….nurse, dentist, pilot, jeweler, model, environmentalist, dance club DJ, and talent for a Cartoon Network tv show. She was in heaven! Until now, she had said that she wants to be an artist and a model when she grows up. Now she says she wants to be a nurse that takes care of newborn babies.

We had dinner at Bennigans, an Irish bar and grill. Taylor and I split the SW sampler and a steak fajita salad. It was really yummy, and the restaurant had a nice, laidback atmosphere. The dessert menus looked soooo good…but we refrained from ordering. We went back to the dorms and spent some time as a family before heading to bed.

On Monday, Taylor had to go back to class. He was lucky enough to get a few days away from class for studying for a test. So when he had spent the whole time playing with us for the weekend, he was sure that he’d bomb the test. To his surprise…the test was cancelled! The subject matter was really out of context with what had been taught to date, so that specific test will be given in a few weeks. While Taylor was in class, Rosie and I went over to 24 Hour Fitness so I could do water aerobics. This teacher was a control freak! When I asked for the hand buoys before she was ready she barked at me. She was an intense teacher, but it felt great to be challenged more than usual.

After 24Aqua, Rosie and I headed out to the Everglades, which was about a 30 minute drive. We went on a flat-bottomed airboat ride. The day was pretty chilly, especially with the windchill of the boat on the water. We sped through the Sawgrass and learned about the history of south Florida and the Everglades. When we got back to land, they had an endangered species park with alligators, tortoises, mountain lion, jaguar, birds, and other species. Rosie and I got to hold a baby alligator! We took lots of pictures there.

After the Everglades, we went a few miles south to Flamingo Gardens, a wildlife sanctuary. We saw a live show with some rehabilitated animals (king snake, alligator, vulture, opossum, etc) and then toured the park. Rosie was in heaven with all of the birds eating out of her hand. Peacocks were roaming free, and we caught a few with their tail fronds fully extended. The flamingos were gorgeous, and Rosie was excited to finally see a real flamingo. We had lunch, then met back up with Taylor after class. We went back to Ft. Lauderdale beach, but it was high tide, and there was a big storm rolling in. We played in the water a little bit, but it wasn’t as fun as Friday because the undertoe was so strong. I got sucked in a few times and tumbled in the waves. We only stayed for about 45 minutes. We left to find a place for dinner. We were in the mood for some pizza, so we stopped at a PIZZA place called Shucks. When we were ready to order, they told us that they don’t serve pizza on Mondays. We shared a wrap and some really delicious 3-cheese chicken pasta. Monday night was spent cleaning out the car, doing laundry, getting packed up, and savoring every minute we had together.

Tuesday morning Taylor came into the room early to cuddle and talk for a while. The reality of how long it would be until we saw each other set in, and was really sad. Taylor left for class, Rosie and I packed and had some breakfast. Rob Zender, our old neighbor from Utah took us to the airport. His wife Heidi and their baby Elizabeth flew in that morning, so we picked them up from the airport, dropped off our bags with the Skycap, and went out to lunch in the Las Olas area. We ate at a little Paris bistro that was what I’d imagine a real café in Paris would be like. I got a chicken salad plate, Rosie got a croissant with brie and turkey. And Zenders treated us to Bananas Foster for dessert. We drove back to the airport, bought a few souvenirs, and boarded the plane.

The two hour flight to Atlanta was a snap. Snacks, good tv shows on the plane to watch, and Rosie was in good spirits. The Atlanta airport was HUGE. We had a three hour layover that we thought would drag by so long. But we took the tram around to different terminals, did some window shopping, grabbed some dinner, and it was almost time to board the plane. The in-flight movie was “The Holiday” which I liked pretty well. Rosie was a bit bored on the 4.5 hour flight, and complained more on this flight than any other point of the trip. But she listened to music and colored, and we eventually made it home. Gary picked us up from the airport, and we went home. As nice as the vacation was, it sure was nice to sleep in my own bed!

Currently listening :
Music and Lyrics
By Hugh Grant
Release date: 13 February, 2007
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