Sunday, January 2, 2022

Hanging out at the Florida House with family - 2021/12/17-23

It's Christmastime and this year instead of going to someone's house, all of Theresa's family is coming down to Florida! Normally we'd all get together in Florida over Spring Break, but this year Covid messed everything up. The house we're renting together was only available for the first 6 days, so we're getting hotel rooms together after that. And I was hoping this would be somewhat relaxing, but as you'll see, it got hectic. 

Theresa and I have been enjoying our stay at Lake Magic, but it's time to move on. The house has an occupancy limit of 14 people, and with everyone who is coming, we'll be over that. We're parking the RV at the Tropical Palms RV resort, and some people will be leaving the house each night and sleeping there. 

And since we are already here in Florida, we can bring all of our kitchen stuff to outfit the house instead of having to buy it all. I hate having to buy condiments and spices when we've got everything already. Theresa and I were joking that we were packing up half of everything we have with us to take to the house. 

And here's the house! It's inside the Windsor Hills community which is a really convenient spot near lots of attractions in Orlando. 

And the owners have even decorated it for Christmas! I brought Christmas decorations from the RV just in case, but it looks like I'm all good!

Theresa and I were the first to arrive, and because of that, we did a lot of the shopping duties. Even though we're only here for 6 days, with this many people we're going to go through a lot of groceries. 

I also made sure there was toffee available for anyone who needed it. 

A short time later, everyone started arriving. So good to see everyone! We love getting together with family. 

The house is set up with lots of things to do. The garage is a game room with a pool table. 

And even an arcade cabinet. The kids had fun on this, plus the boys brought Fortnight and hooked it up to the TV. Ian got pretty good at hiding out in Fortnight and avoiding other players until the very end. Then he'd call Ethan to take over if there were any fights against other players. 

The house also has a private pool in the back yard. Now that the kids know how to swim, they had so much fun out there with everyone. 

I'm sure they were in it every day. 

Loving hanging out with cousins. 

Bahama Bucks shaved ice was a favorite stop of the kids. 

In just 6 days, they went 3 different times!

Not gonna lie, it was a little annoying to go back and forth to the RV. Instead of just going to bed, it was a 20 minute drive at night and 20 minute drive in the morning. At least the kids got to stay at the house. 
On one late night, I encountered a herd of deer just wandering their way through the RVs. 

Tropical Palms seemed like a nice enough resort that we'll have to explore more on a future visit. On this trip, we really just slept there. 

Even though we're here just 6 days, some people aren't staying the whole time. Once the occupancy of the house was below 14, we put the RV into storage for the rest of the visit. It had rained heavily the night before, and the place we're parking it is just a grass field. Beast had to go into 4 wheel drive mode, and Theresa was ready with leveling blocks whenever the ground got too soft. Thankfully we didn't get stuck while trying to get Beauty parked. 

When I was celebrating Christmas with my Colorado family over Thanksgiving, we got through a whole bunch of puzzles. I know Tyler likes doing puzzles together. We made sure to buy a few puzzles for the house. 

The state license plate seems to be a popular theme for the puzzle. This is a 3rd variation of the same idea that we've done this year. I like the odd border too. 

Thanks to everyone who helped put this one together. For the longest time we thought two edge pieces were missing, plus there were some others that no one could find. In the end though, all the pieces turned up and the puzzle was completed!

Ooh! A taco puzzle! Who doesn't like tacos? 

Us, that's who! This 1000 piece taco puzzle was the worst! There were so many colors throughout the middle. And then the dark areas were so non-descript I had to start piecing things together by shape. After 24 hours with multiple people working it, this was the progress we made. Everyone agreed that this puzzle should be suspended and another one started. 

I had found another box that had 12 different puzzles in it, ranging from 150 to 500 pieces. After that taco puzzle everyone was looking forward to something a little bit easier. 

Who cares if they are Easter themed. 

At nights, it was easy enough to sit down at the table and work out a puzzle. 

These puzzles were so much easier. 

A couple days before Christmas everyone loaded into their different cars and we drove to the Gaylord Palms hotel. In their giant atrium there is a Christmas light show as well as a Christmas village. It's free, but parking costs $30 per car. Still it'll be something fun we can get out to do. And joining us is Payton's family! 

The Shine light show has thousands of beautiful lights, all synchronized to music. 

The large curtains of programmable lights are pretty awesome. 

They can be programmed to look like fireworks going off indoors. 

And the Christmas tree in the center is pretty amazing too. Each light can be programmed to something different. That would be a cool mechanical design and programming project. 

Along with the Christmas lights in the atrium, they have turned their massive convention area into a Christmas Village. Here you can shop for Christmas decor, meet Mrs Claus, Build a Bear, help Buddy the Elf save Christmas, have a snowball fight, and more. 

There's fun photo opportunities. 

There's even sledding! The kids were interested, but it was a little crazy. For $23 you get unlimited rides, but look at that line! Only 5 people can go at a time and it takes a minute to get everyone cleared. You're looking at 30+ minutes between each slide. 

And of course there's treats! Warm cinnamon rolls with gooey frosting is delicious!

Back at the house, the kids gave out all their presents they made. The pictures they drew and objects they made took a few minutes each, but Alli said the bags to put them in took 30 minutes each to make. They were very thoughtful with the presents they made everyone. A picture of them swimming with Uncle Don, a guitar (made from a bowl and rubber bands) for Carson, a heart wallet to keep money in for Rita, and more. 

Since he's getting so big, Ian got a new swimsuit and rash guard. He loves Minecraft!

A pink outfit for Alli? That's a big hit. 

Disney Springs is very close by. 

Lots of love for all the cousins. 

They've been doing this for a long time. 

And these guys have grown up a lot too. 

Unfortunately things didn't exactly go smoothly the whole time we were there. A couple days into our stay, Theresa got a phone call that her amazing neighbor from when she was growing up in Colorado passed away. She worked out plane tickets for her to fly back to Colorado for a quick overnight stay, which was especially crazy because it's the holidays. It was really good that she was able to get out there for the funeral. 
And no sooner did I get home from dropping Theresa off at the airport than I was right back in the car driving Richard and Chi to the airport. Richard's mom, Ian and Alli's great grandma, is 96 years old and took a quick turn for the worst. Rich and Chi were able to get on a flight the same day they heard and were able to make it to her just 90 minutes before she died. 
That means that we're going to cut this Florida vacation a little short and heading to Missouri. 

1 comment:

  1. A sobering ending to the Florida Christmas festivities...sorry to hear of everyone's deep losses...hope the family and loved ones are holding up well under the sad circumstances...may God's peace and comfort be upon everyone. Thankful that in the midst of these sad events the large family gathering still shared some special memories together. Beautiful opening photo of the large gathering of friends and family; and a special capture of just the cousins, too. Endearing to see the photos of Alli w/ Aubrey & Abby kissing each of her cheeks through the years and also the photos of Ian w/ Austin &, how everyone has grown so quickly! EOM