Sunday, July 27, 2014

"Knee Deep"

 "...Knee deep in the water somewhere, Got the blue sky breeze and it don't seem fair. Only worry in the world is the tide gonna reach my chair. Sunrise there's a fire in the sky, Never been so happy, Never felt so high, And I think I might have found me my own kind of paradise..."
     We had an amazing time at the beach this past week. Despite the fact that it rained the first couple days, The weather was great, and with almost all of the family together, how could we not have a blast?! The drive from Orlando to Panama City Beach is approximately 7 hours, and since we were already going through Clearwater, FL, we thought that we would stop by and meet Winter, the Dolphin. Winter stars in the movie "Dolphin Tale", the inspiring true story of Winter's fight to live, and the upcoming sequel "Dolphin Tale 2", a continuation of Winter's story. Winter, a bottlenose dolphin, lives at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. For those of you who have not seen the movie and are not familiar with Winter's story, she has no tail. Winter lost her tail after getting it caught in a crab trap, and by the time she was found, it was to late to save her tail. Amazingly, after much extensive research, they were able to create a prosthetic tail, that allows Winter to exercise muscles that are no longer used since her accident.

Winter and her best friend Hope
 (another rescued bottle nose dolphin).

We were lucky enough to be able to see these two adorable girls together. Hope will be joining Winter as a star of the upcoming movie "Dolphin Tale 2".
After saying goodbye to Winter and Hope, we continued out drive until we reached our "house", aka, the two room hut that rests on the edge of one of the many Bayou's in the area. The family had "creatively" named it "The Place". ;P
One of the beautiful sunsets at "The Place"

We stayed there for two days, visiting (and eating) with friends and learning how to cast a net.
Yes, that is a fried fish tail, and yes, I am eating it... ;P
"Mmmm... Its crunchy!" ;P

My dad learning how to cast a net

We left "The Place" on Saturday and headed to our condo on the beach. Almost immediately after un-packing, we were out playing in the waves.

Sadly, a storm came in, and we had to go in. But, by the time sunset came around, the rain had stopped, and the view was well worth it...

The next day, we headed out to the beach again, and while it was still cloudy, we were able to swim for a bit before we had to go inside.  Now, just because we couldn't go to the beach doesn't mean we weren't having fun. Three families all jammed into the same "house" guarantees excitement.
But seriously, we had a blast, for the next 2 days, the beach was off limits due to "extreme waves and strong currents", so we had to improvise, which meant finding cool stuff to do near the beach that wasn't on the beach. We went miniature golfing, Go-cart racing, and did a bunch of other awesome stuff... and, of course, we can't forget... Shopping!!! ;P I love all of the little shops that line the streets near the beach, you can always find something interesting ;P. A few days later and the red flags were lowered, the waves were calm and the shores and covered in hundreds of tourists covered in sun-tan lotion and sea-weed. The sun had finally come out, and no one was going to miss it! Despite the crowds, it was still pretty relaxing, and I really enjoyed taking a moment to just slow down and relax.

So, we spent the next few days relaxing on the beach and spending time with family. It was great, but we all agreed that we needed to do something really exciting, so, we decided on...

I know, crazy right? But it was awesome!!! We had such a great time :)

More Photos:
Photo of me... at the beach ;P
Photo taken by Christina Stephens 

My oldest brother, Brian, and part of his family. 

Photo of Christina and I getting attacked by a wave ;P

Because of the storm, a ton of sea-weed
and algae was washing up on the beach...
Nasty -_- ...
Sunset + Random boogie board dude = Pretty cool shot ;P

A pelican at "The Place"

Proposal at the beach!!! :D

Thursday, July 24, 2014

"When You Wish Upon A Star"

Well, I've spent the lat week with my brother and his family, and I have to say that I had a blast! Whether it was going to Disneyland, or just chilling at home, it was always so enjoyable.
Now, the day after we got there, we were all pretty tired, so we decided to push the theme parks back a day, and do something that would be less strenuous. So, we all decided that it would be fun to go on an airboat ride! ;P

There's a gator in this picture, can you spot it?
Does this need any explanation? ;P

After that, we headed back home, where we rested for the day. The next day though, we made our way to Epcot; aka, Disney's futuristic educational theme park. We had a tone of fun, and it was amazing to see what Disney does for the world of science.
The exterior of "The American Adventure" Theatre
The Interior of "The American Adventure" Theatre

The next day, we headed over to the "Magic Kingdom". There, we started our day with "Enchanted Tales With Belle", where Lumière and "Madame de la Grande Bouche" (The Wardrobe), help the children to "surprise" Belle by "re-enacting" part of the "Beauty and the Beast" story, specifically, when Belle and the Beast fell in love :). For those of you who don't know, "Beauty and the Beast" is my all-time favorite Disney movie. After saying goodbye to Belle and the gang, we headed over to the classic "Peter Pan's Flight", where we soared over London in a flying pirate ship, and then we made our way to "Space Mountain". After that, we headed over to the "Be Our Guest Restaurant" for lunch, where one of my childhood dreams cam true. We were able to not only see, but eat in the gorgeous ballroom from "Beauty and the Beast", where Belle and Beast share there iconic "First Dance".

So Adorable!!! :D

Now, if that wasn't enough to have me freaking out, they even had the "West Wing". For those of you who are not familiar with the movie, the "West Wing" was the only part of the Castle that Belle was forbidden to enter. It was destroyed by the Beast when he was first transformed, and is also the place where he keeps the "Enchanted Rose". (Am I geeking out to much? ;P)

"The Enchanted Rose" and Mirror.

"Once upon a time, in a faraway land, a young prince lived in a shining castle. Although he had everything his heart desired, the prince was spoiled, selfish, and unkind. But then, one winter's night, an old beggar woman came to the castle and offered him a single rose in return for shelter from the bitter cold. Repulsed by her haggard appearance, the prince sneered at the gift and turned the old woman away. But she warned him not to be deceived by appearances, for beauty is found within. And when he dismissed her again, the old woman's ugliness melted away to reveal a beautiful enchantress. The prince tried to apologize, but it was too late, for she had seen that there was no love in his heart. And as punishment, she transformed him into a hideous beast and placed a powerful spell on the castle and all who lived there. Ashamed of his monstrous form, the beast concealed himself inside his castle, with a magic mirror as his only window to the outside world. The rose she had offered was truly an enchanted rose, which would bloom until his 21st year. If he could learn to love another, and earn her love in return by the time the last petal fell, then the spell would be broken. If not, he would be doomed to remain a beast for all time. As the years passed, he fell into despair and lost all hope. For who could ever learn to love a beast?"

After Lunch, we headed to "Thunder Mountain", where we rode the "Wildest ride in the wilderness!!", and then, it was off to Splash Mountain. After our little adventure with Br'er Rabbit and Br'er Fox, we headed home. Overall, Id say that we had a zipadeedoodah day, and I think I found my laughing place :). Two days later, we left Orlando in search of some white sand. We had a great week, and I'm excited to tell y'all about our time at the beach. 

More Photos:
"The American Adventure" is one of Disney's most spectacular shows. It tells the story of America, and the people who helped to create it. It is also one of the most technologically advanced shows at Disney. You may wonder why. You see, there is not a single live actor in the whole show. All of the performers are Disney's signature "Audio-Animatronics". Each of the 35 animatronics actors are extremely lifelike, and perfectly programed to mimic human actions. The "Guides" on this adventure are none other than Benjamin Franklin and Mark Twain, and there comedic back-and-forth bantering keeps you amused throughout the show. It was amazing to see how much each character helped to bring the story to life.

"Try the grey stuff, it delicious. Don't believe me?
Ask the dishes!"

"Tale as old as time, song as old as rhyme,
Beauty and the Beast"

My crazy brother and I

Monday, July 14, 2014

"Smoky Mountain Memories"

Sorry about the lack of updates for the past week. I have been unable to get my paws on a computer until now, so expect a wave of posts ;P
So, on July 5th, I got to spend 1 extra day in Dollywood, and I once again was able to enjoy being in what I call "The happiest place on Earth" ;P.

On the 6th, we had to leave the beautiful Smoky Mountains, and we headed to Savannah, GA, where we would spend the night. The drive there was relatively un-eventful, but once we got there, things grew more exciting.

We toured around the "river walk", and after eating a lovely dinner in what used to be an old cotton trading house, we headed on a "Ghost Tour". Savannah is supposedly one of the most haunted cities in the U.S., and although we didn't see any "ghosts", we did hear a few chilling stories. Our tour guide was amazing, and gave us an extra hour and a half of stories, meaning the tour didn't end until midnight! So, groggy, we headed back to the hotel where we slept (without nightmares ;P). The next morning we awoke, and headed off to St. Augustine, FL. Once we arrived, we had just enough time to eat dinner at Cap's, a beautiful restaurant that sits right on the water.

After dinner, we headed to our hotel (which was right on the beach), and we were able to take "an evening stroll" across the sand before we headed off to bed.

The next morning, we toured Saint Augustine and many of its historical sights.
Locked up

One of two of the only Jolly Roger flags left on the earth

An exhibit on Florida's native people

Look, its Mr.Ed!!!!

Gator Bob's "A traditional Florida cracker shop"

"The Fountain of Youth"

A beautiful peacock 

After spending most of the day in Saint Augustine, we headed over to Orlando, where we met up with my brother and his family. Ill include my week in orlando in the next post.