Sunday, January 3, 2016

Christmas in Orlando

We decided to spend a week of Christmas break in Orlando.  It was such a wonderful break.  I think we all needed a break together.  We rented a house instead of motel rooms and it worked great for our family.  Our house even had a private pool in the backyard that we really enjoyed.  We tried to not plan too much to do and just have time to hang out together.  The boys went to the neighborhood basketball court and played one afternoon.  The kids enjoyed being together in the pool and playing pool at the house.

We stopped at the beach in Crescent City.  It was a beautiful beach and we even saw a little turtle there.  We didn't stay to long, but we did enjoy the Atlantic Ocean again.  It was the first time that Rebecca had been to the Atlantic Ocean.  Lydia loved playing in the sand.  We tried to not get too wet because we still had a few hours to drive to Orlando.

We stopped by and saw the Orlando temple.  It was beautiful! I wish we would have had time to go in, but we just didn't.

We also had the opportunity to take the boys to a college basketball game.  Dan Ryan, one of Neil's missionary companions works for a college in Daytona Beach.  They were playing a team in Orlando so he got us tickets.  It was fun to see him after the game.  He was the best man at our wedding.  We hadn't seen him since 1991.  It was fun to catch up.  It was really interesting when we came out of the game it was 80 degrees, but it looked like it was snowing.  The college had set up and ice skating rink and a sledding hill and they had bubbles blowing in the air that looked like snow.  It was warm, but it looked like winter.
Elder Waite and Elder Ryan together after at least 25 years

You can't see it in the picture but there bubble in the air that looked like snow. It was 80 degrees

The outdoor ice skating rink set up on campus

Wednesday morning we went on an airboat ride out to see the alligators. We  saw one small one resting in the sun and one large one swimming in the lake.  We also saw lots of birds and a few cows.  It was pretty cool to see alligators in the wild, but I was glad we weren't in our canoe.

We took the kids out to Golden Corral for dinner on Wednesday. It was a fun family activity and we all ate plenty.

We spent  December 24th at Universal Studios Islands of Adventure park.  We were all tired by the end of the day, but it was a great day! Josh and Lydia loved Dr. Seuss Land.  We took them to watch the Grinchmas show. It was really fun.  Matthew, David and Dallin went on rides together and had a good time.  Rebecca, Julia, Emma and MaryAnne went together and had fun.  We all met up and stayed together for most of the afternoon.  We took Joshua to walk through the Hogwarts Castle even though he was too small for the ride.  He enjoyed the castle.  Matthew took Lydia back to Dr. Seuss land while we were at the Castle.  Everyone except Lydia rode the water rapid ride.  It soaked you!  We spent the rest of the day a little wet.  It was a good day!! We went home in time to do some traditional Christmas Eve activities.  It was a good Christmas Eve.

We all enjoyed being together on Christmas. We slept in until 8:00 instead of 7:00 because we were tired from playing so hard the day before. We had eggs, biscuits, sausage, and danish for breakfast. The kids didn't get as much this year because we are giving them experiences instead of things.  They were all happy with what they received.  Rebecca gave Julia a signed photo of Sean Astin that was a big hit.  Bethany had  a blanket made for Emma with a picture of Kodi on it.  She loved it!  We enjoyed Christmas day together.  We had an adventure taking Rebecca and Emma to fly to Utah.  We didn't count on the long lines to get through security so they missed their flight.  Frontier was very kind and rescheduled them for the next day and didn't even charge us any extra.  Neil missed skyping with Bethany because he had gone back to get the girls.  

It was wonderful to skype with Bethany.  We had some technical issues and she had to call a couple of times to get the sound to work right.  She is doing great! She likes her companion and they are working hard together.  They had a baptism scheduled for 2 days after Christmas. It was wonderful to hear how happy she is. 
 In the evening we played Reverse Charades together and had a great time.  It was loads of fun and I was glad Rebecca and Emma were still there.

We drove all 820 miles home on Saturday. It was a long day of driving.  The traffic was much worse heading south so we were glad to be going north.  

Here is a slideshow of our pictures in Orlando.  Merry Christmas, everyone!

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