I am sitting here on a tiny table in the Nickelodeon hotel, the kids all settled in and chilling, after our first real day of our surprise vacation.
I have to say, I cant tell if I am impressed or disturbed by how well we were able to pull this whole thing off. sunday afternoon, after surreptitiously packing the van without notice, we told the boys to grab a few essential things for the car to keep them busy because we had a lot of errands to run and we'd be in the car for a long time. No questions were asked (except for occasional pondering out loud on why mom was insisting on bringing the DS chargers). We popped in the car, J & I trying not to giggle too often, kids oblivious, and off we went.
sometimes a DS is a parents BFF
2 hours into the trip we stopped at our first rest stop on the border of SC. Kids still oblivious aside from curious looks from Xavier. While the kids were in the restroom with J I popped out our secret weapon: goody bags filled with fun stuff to keep the boys occupied for hours. I placed them on their seats and joined the fam as we got back in the car. The boys were excited for new things to play with and inside xaviers bag was a card that asked him to read it out loud. The card said instead of toys this year we were going on a christmas adventure and to sit back and enjoy the ride. amazingly enough, after a few questions on our destination, the boys graciously took our answer of "It's an adventure, just enjoy it!" And they did.
We took stops every 2 hours to stretch, once for dinner (Applebees and the waitress sucked), and by 10 we were in Jacksonville, FL, where we found a hotel for the night. We never told Xavier where we were and made him guess by using his eyes to look for clues. he really got confused when he realized we were in jacksonville. My mom lives in jacksonville NC and he couldnt wrap his head we weren't there.
After a fantastic nights rest ( we were all so exhausted we passed out cold until 8 AM in one room) we jumped in the car again, the boys clueless to our destination. and we headed for.....
The Kennedy Space Center
Our adventure began the moment we started crossing the ocean to the centers island. As we waited for a boat to pass through the drawbridge, I noticed dolphins swimming in the water below us. Lots of them! It was so cool!!!! and then as we crossed over there was a museum with a giant rocket ship out front. the moment xavier laid eyes on it he started singing Hallelujah. At that point, I knew that our decision to stop here was a good choice.
The boys were enraptured the entire time. Xavier was in love with the Hubble telescope, they both adored racing around Rocket garden despite the frigid (yes frigid) temps and insane wind. Ashe went to his first IMAX 3D show. Soren and I had to cut out early with my cough and his whining, but Ashe was in looooove with the 3D aspect, and kept trying to catch the stars in his hands.
|Xavier & Ashe looking at images from the Hubble|
We checked out the robot scouts that go to different planets, got to walk in a space shuttle, and saw people dressed up as astronauts wandering around. the boys were thrilled, and despite the frigid temps (yes frigid) we had a ball.
After spending the entire day there, we popped back into the car and headed for our hotel, still a secret to the boys. we booked a 5 day stay at the Nickelodean Hotel. we have a kids room with bunk beds, a living room/kitchenette and king size bedroom for us grownups. Our room faces the pool (photo below) and we're right next door to the mall area, filled with food and fun.
Photo courtesy of nickhotel.com
When we pulled up to the hotel Xaviers face just started beaming and Soren went into a frenzy of excitement spotting Spongebob Squarepants and Dora everywhere. we already have a character breakfast reserved for Wed morning.
And that is the basics of Day 1 of our vacation. The boys still have no clue what else is on the itinerary for the week. they're pretty ok with knowing it's an adventure and roll with that. It's supposed to be cold again tomorrow so J & I are debating on hitting Disney Studios or holding off one day and hitting Downtown Disney instead. we'll see how the morning plays out. and now, I think I'll finish my cup of coffee before it gets cold, throw my feet up, and pass out with a smile on my face.