Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Summertime and the Living's Easy

Emmalee and I have really managed to start our summer off with a bang.  We’ve been running ourselves ragged for the past couple of weeks.  I honestly feel more exhausted when I finally crawl into bed at night now than I did while I was working.  Though, admittedly, I’m having quite a bit more fun.  Due to either the busy schedule or possibly just a summertime haze that has invaded my brain, I’m finding it impossible to write a decent blog.  So forgive me for the subpar quality that follows.
I have been literally dragging my poor little toddler all over town in the 90+ degree Florida heat because I hate just sitting at home with her (despite the thousands of dollars worth of toys we have to entertain ourselves).  Here is a brief recap of where we’ve been, what we thought (okay, maybe just what I’ve thought), and whether or not we’d do it again.

Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon/Blizzard Beach
I have mentioned these water parks previously in my spring break blog, but since we’ve been frequenting them so much this summer I thought I’d mention them again.  I was initially unsure about how Emmalee would do at a place like this, but it turns out that she seems to enjoy herself.  I have an annual pass and Emma gets in free, so this is a fun place to spend a couple of hours.  Sometimes we go with others and sometimes it’s just me and Emma.  Either way we have fun splashing around in the kid area, sliding down the kid friendly water slides and relaxing in the lazy river.  I’ve found its best to get there when the park opens at 9 and then head home by about 12:30 or 1 to avoid Emma’s Oscar worthy meltdowns.  She is usually sound asleep before we’ve even left the parking lot.  We bring lunch and Emma has a blast running in and out of the water and keeping the pool clean by finding any leaf, pebble or trash floating in the water and yelling “No!” while picking up and then handing the intruding debris to me so that it can be disposed of properly.  (Or dropped back into the water once she turns her back.  Whatever.) 

Leu Gardens
I was really excited to bring Emmalee to the butterfly garden here.  I envisioned an enclosed space filled with hundreds of butterflies and beautiful flowers where the photo ops would be numerous and exquisite.  Instead I found a so-so garden, a handful of butterflies that were gone before you could really get a good look, and a stifling, breezeless heat that made for a pretty miserable time.  Emma did get to see some turtles and a frog, but I do not feel that we got our admission fee’s worth.  I will not go back.

Chuck E. Cheese’s
We went here with some friends as soon as the place opened on a weekday, so it was pretty deserted.  The nice thing about bringing a fifteen month old to Chuck E. Cheese’s is that there is no need to purchase tokens.  Emmalee is happy enough just to sit in the vehicles, push the buttons and watch the blinking lights.  She doesn’t need for anything to be moving and she doesn’t realize the games aren’t actually functioning.  We were able to spend some time entertained in an air-conditioned environment for free, so I’d say the trip was successful. 

Monkey Joe’s
This is a place filled with a variety of inflated bounce houses and slides.  There are some toddler areas for children three and under, but I still ended up feeling like Emmalee is a little young for this.  She loves to bounce and flop all over my bed at home, so I had high hopes for Moneky Joe’s.  But Emmalee was more amused by the colored carpet squares and bright blue plastic chairs than she was with trying to navigate the unstable, bouncy surfaces.  I was also surprised that all children pay the same admission fee regardless of age.  If there was a lesser fee for children two and under, I might be a little more eager to return.  Though Emma did have fun, I kind of feel like we didn’t really get our money’s worth.  This is a place that I think Emmalee will love next summer, but this summer she just isn’t quite ready.

The Peabody Hotel’s Duck March
While Googling for things to do with Emma over the summer, I discovered that the Peabody Hotel has a twice daily event in which ducks are marched down a red carpet to a fountain where they are fed.  Emmalee loves ducks.  Specifically, she loves to quack loudly at them.  I was really excited to take her to this and she ended up loving it.  While waiting for the march to begin I had a very difficult time keeping Emma off of the red carpet.  But once those ducks made their appearance she was transfixed.  At first she just seemed to be in awe that real live and actual ducks were before her.  After watching for a few moments though, she began quacking away.  The whole event only takes about twenty minutes, but it was definitely fun and something that we would do again. 

Toys R Us/Target
Toys R Us might not seem like a summer destination, but it really is.  Emma and I go and spend an hour or two walking around the entire store.  We browse, we read books, we play with the Thomas train table.  Emma visits the stuffed animals and pushes the buttons on the electronic toys that light up and make noise.  It’s another air-conditioned place to kill some time.  Admittedly, I usually end up purchasing something, so I cannot say that it’s free.  At Target we have a similar tradition.  Emma also thinks it’s funny to scream “No!” and run in the opposite direction from me when we’re shopping.  I set a great example by then chasing after her and grabbing her with an exuberant “Gotcha!”  She laughs so hard at this that she gets hiccups.  The employees and normal people in the store probably don’t appreciate us treating these retail havens as our own personal playground, and I’ll probably regret engaging in this behavior with her someday too, but for now I’m enjoying the moment.

This ended up being really long, so if you’ve actually read the whole thing then go you!  A gold star is in order.  Emmalee and I have been busy but we’ve still got a lot of summer to go.  I’ll be sure to share again in another epically long, poorly written ramble for your reading enjoyment.

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