Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Welcome to the Sunshine State

I really take living in this beautiful State for granted.Well no, let me rephrase that. When I hear friends facebook posts about the mounds of snow in front of their living room window, or how they shoveled their driveway for 2 hours this morning, or how it's -45 degrees with the wind chill factor, or how the freezing rain-turned to ice knocked out power for 48+ hours.....I DO NOT take living in Florida for granted!!! I thank a higher power for dragging me down here 11 years ago.

But there is so much to see and do here in this beautiful State that we don't take advantage of because we do live here and think...oh it's always going to be there, we can go visit later. Take Busch Gardens. I decided yesterday to take my kids to Busch Gardens for the afternoon. This park is about a 25 minute drive from my house, yet my children have never been there. Well Brooklyn did go on a field trip there last year, but time was limited and the students weren't allowed on the rides. I wanted to go for 2 reasons. A: being that we are Florida residents, we can buy an annual pass for the same price as a 1 day pass. HELLO....who would pass that offer up. I wanted to go early in the year to take full advantage of the many free returns. B: Madden is 2 years old and idolizes Elmo and the Sesame Street characters. His birthday party last year was Sesame Street themed and every toy he gets is either Elmo, Cookie Monster or Grover. So I wanted him to experience seeing these characters and interacting with them now...while he loves them. Not in 2-3 years when the phase is over.

So we packed a backpack and took off for the day. It was beautiful weather outside, not too cold, not too hot and the park was deserted. Seriously, nobody was there. We would ride the Flying Grover rollercoaster...get off and get right back on without waiting 30 seconds! Needless to say we rode that ride about 15 times! When Madden saw the Characters his whole face lit up and he went running over to them for hugs and high fives. That right there...made my whole day worth it! During the show where the characters perform and sing...Madden kept hollering.."Hey Elmo, over here!" and waving to get Elmos attention!! My older two even enjoyed the whole Sesame Street experience. Especially the 3-D movie.

In 2 weeks we are taking the kids over to Orlando to visit Mickey Mouse and friends at Magic Kingdom. This will be Brooklyns 5th time, Dallas' 2nd and Maddens 1st. I'm excited to see how much he loves Mickey, Pluto, Donald, etc. Since his birthday is this month, I decided to not throw him a birthday party and instead we are going to dine with the Characters. I'll order a cake and we'll get to eat with Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy and Pluto. Seriously, how cool is that? Tops any birthday party I've ever been to.

But these parks are here...less than 2 hours driving time, for unforgettable memories. Now I do know the reason we don't take advantage of them as much as we because you have to re-mortgage your home in order to go to these places. The cost is sky high to get in and once inside you then have to start selling body parts for a tub of popcorn or sell your first born for a bottle of water. It is so ridiculously over priced. Thats why folks you carry a backpack or a big ol' purse like me, stop off at Walgreens and fill that sucker up with treats!!! ps....also works for the Zoo, Movie theaters and Childrens Museums!!!

I'm sure there are some FREE wonderful places to go in Florida. Take for example the beach! We do have some of the most breathtaking coastline and sandy beaches...and those are free (well except for the parking meters). Last year I took the kids to the opposite coast and we watched the Shuttle blast off from Kennedy Space Center. That was free (well except for the gas I had to put in my gas guzzling van). I would like to take advantage of some of the other beautiful places Florida has to offer....St. Augustine, Daytona Beach, Cocoa Beach and visit them all one day.

 But until I can afford that, I'll stay here in my beautiful neck of the woods and try to pay off the small loan I had to borrow from the bank so that I could buy ice cream for my kids at Busch Gardens yesterday.

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