4-H Fun For January

We are having fun in the archery program. Dad is the coach and he does a good job with all the kids. I have taken a break from my compound bow this season and am shooting with Mom’s recurve. I am trying to build up my confidence a little bit more. We ducked out to go to Disney and enjoy some rides in the middle of the week. We were all exhausted and headed home to finish up some school. More 4-H on a chilly day. We learned about a lot of different types of fish, how to clean a pole and about where the best places to look for fish are. This pier on this day was NOT one of those good places to find fish. We all game up quickly and hope our next meeting is a bit luckier! Off to Gainesville again for another 4-hprogram. This weekend was archery in Newberry. We stayed at Oleno State Park in High Springs. It was a beautiful campground along the Santa Fe river. During the hurricanes in 2011 the water covered this swimming bridge! We stopped off at the Santa Fe Teaching Zoo to see the animals. The peacocks were still as snotty as before. The gibbons has been in back enclosures while their pens were fixed up and this was their first day out in a few weeks. They were noisy and hilarious! The archery tournament started out cold. We staked our claim in the field and awaited the start. I went off by myself and Mom went with Emmerson. We saw each other a few times when the lanes got close. E got 1st in his group. So did I! I beat all the people standing next to me! Opps! I was the only one in my bow class. odd!

One more night in Barcelona.

We got off the ship pretty early and headed for the hotel at the airport.

We dropped our stuff in the rooms and then all headed to the Barcelona Aquarium.
I really enjoyed the Aquarium a LOT.

Mommy and I almost got eaten alive by a shark!!
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They had a neat indoor walkway lined with near tropical plants. It was very soothing.
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I played in a submarine.
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I pressed EVERY button.
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Mommy nearly lost her head!
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I crawled through a tunnel and looked a fish.
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Then I went up top and tried to POKE the fish. I got in trouble. Sorry!
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I found buttons that if you push they made crazy animal sounds and made all sorts of other weird things happen. I couldn’t get enough of it! 🙂
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I found MORE buttons to push. Hehe…. I like pushing buttons… Especially Mommy’s buttons after a long day! 🙂
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We finished up and walked around the mall for a bit. We saw a lot of shoplifters. Strange. The mall was very tight security but people were just brazen. Oh well! Maybe that is why the dollar to euro is pretty bad!

We walked around outside until we found the taxi stand and got a ride to the hotel and crashed for the night.
(Outside the mall waiting for the taxi)
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Tomorrow is good-bye Barcelona. I can’t wait to get home! 🙂

Day 10- Villefranche (Eze,Nice…)

Up early as usual. I felt a TON better today and am back to my chipper self. Daddy got breakfast and brought it to the room. I actually ate breakfast for the first time in three days!

We all got cleaned up and met up with G’ma/G’pa at 9 am to get our tender tickets. Pretty flawless… because I was in the stroller they made us wait in the top of the theatre (where we picked up the tickets) and we got on the next tender to shore. The tender was a quick 10-15 min ride and we were in the city of Villefranche.

We got directions and travel tips to get to Eze and Nice and headed for the bus station. Daddy (and Mommy) were huffing and puffing pushing me up to the top of the hill and negotiating the hundreds of steps to get to the bus terminal.

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I think it started Daddy out in a grumpy mood — he was certainly sweating by the time we got to the bus station. I really shouldn’t call it a “station” — it’s an alcove between buildings — think standard bus stop. Anyway, we found the cute little park across from the bus stop — very pretty. It’s bus #100 to Nice and then bus #82 or #112 to Eze and then taxi home or reverse route… but some of the busses are TINY and the line for them was LONG. By the way, there are maps in the little “port building” you walk through when you get off the tender — they are at the desk that has English speaking guides (tourist info people) to help you figure things out. Busses to Nice are 1.30e each way (but I don’t know if I needed a ticket or not — or whether the drivers would make change).

We gave up after 20 minutes of waiting and opted to walk around town for a bit and find a taxi. It didn’t help that another cruise ship (Celebrity Cruises Millennium) was in port and a lot of people were on foot. So we went up and down hills and streets. Very pretty town. Plenty of places to eat and shop. The town is NOT stroller friendly.

Think a town built on a steep hill (cliff face almost) with super narrow streets that fit one car wide with no room for strollers or thousands upon thousands of steps at *exactly* the wrong depth to make going up and down on a stroller easy.

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Narrow streets…ugh!
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Mommy not having fun pushing me all around.
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We stopped to rest our legs and everyone but Mommy and I got a coffee.

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Anyway, after exploring for a while we got back to the port and waited a while for a cab (call the phone # posted to get a cab quicker… no special prefix or anything with T-mobile, just dial the number as shown on the taxi stand sign — it turns out a lot of people hired out the taxis for the entire day or went rather far so the town’s supply was limited). 35e for the 5 (4 adults and me…Lumpy too!) to get from the Villefranche port building to the Eze village. Motion sickness is included for free. Talk about windy roads and narrow switch-backs leading from town up to the main thoroughfare. Do make sure to negotiate the price before getting in the cab — the cab to Eze was 35e but the driver for the return tried to charged 55e and we told him “NO, 35e” He agreed. They speak English well enough to haggle!

Eze was also stroller challenging, but we enjoyed it. We went to the “old village”. G’ma picked up some extra maps of the old village from the tourist center located where most tour busses and taxis will drop you off. Well worth asking the driver where the building is and where to get a return taxi before getting out and/or paying him! Think bohemian arts — lots of little shops with glass, paintings, hand-made crafts, etc. All expensive (generally) — but cute. Stroller tip: keep to the middle of the walkways on the red pavers — just keep going along like you’re not going to swerve and others will get out of your way. It’s far smoother than getting a wheel or two onto the cobbles. Talk about bouncy! I think I’m still talking kind of like kermit the frog from all the vibrations of the stroller!

The view from the top was amazing. You could see the Magic (Mickey Ship) WAY down in the water.

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We enjoyed a wonderful lunch at Chateau Eza. E-mail before you leave the states if you can find their web site and make a reservation. We were extremely lucky to get a table. Absolutely spectacular view.

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It’s truly on a cliff face looking out to the ocean and over toward the port. The only thing higher than the Chateau Eza was the Exotic Gardens (Jardin Exotique). The meal was pricey, but for a “one great meal” type experience it’s worth it. There were two fixed price menus (35e and 45e for 3 or 4 courses) along with ala carte choices if preferred but I opted for peanut butter and cheese crackers (and fell asleep in the middle of eating one!) Mommy had a salad with truffles — yes actual black truffles (thinly sliced) on it — she ate light because she’s feeling off the past few days. Daddy and G’ma/G’pa had the 35e menu — it started with a red tuna tartare served with well aged balsamic vinegar and a zucchini round with egg yolk, followed by a chicken breast stuffed with an olive paste served with asparagus and some type of mashed (and seasoned) potato formed into “thick” fries. Not “french fries” but similar look. Fantastic taste. Dessert (included) was a creme brulee and a small pot of chocolate. Tres bien! The only warning: The bottles of Evian (50cL) are 5e each, and the glasses of champagne they offer when you are seated is 20e (but G’ma and G’pa said it’s excellent). The salad Mommy had was around 12e. So, it’s not cheap but worth every “e”, especially if you go easy on the water and skip the champagne. Daddy just reminded me it’s a 1 star Michellan restaurant so it’s relatively well rated. I’ve heard that Chateau de la Chevre d’Or is also splendid but even more expensive.

After lunch we wandered into the old church and looked around a bit more.

I liked walking on the pebble covered ground.
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But had to check out all the rocks.
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Grandma and Grandpa enjoyed the view below.
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I took time to smell some flowers.
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Grandpa Howie took a few pictures.
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Oh, I got a QUICK public diaper change… Grandma was the lookout!
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Much better!
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More stairs?
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But what a VIEW!
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Simply amazing! What a way to wrap the the vacation.
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We finally decided to head back to Villefranche and eventually caught a cab (expect to wait at least 20 minutes for a cab — even if you call). When we got back to port, we had a glace at a place across the street from the port building but it was 3.50e for a medium (one and a half small scoops) and terrible! (Think cheap, foamy ice cream). Ick!

We got back to the ship and Mommy dropped me at the nursery where I stayed for a bit until I had an inconsolable melt down and she had to come retrieve me. I’m so glad Flounder’s nursery gives out pagers. Mommy and Daddy aren’t, but I am 🙂 Mommy got to the nursery and I had tears streaming down my face and was nearly hyperventilating. I calmed down nearly instantly when I saw Mommy. So all is well, I just don’t like to be away from Mommy or Daddy.

Dinner was yummy… macaroni for me again and everyone else had French onion soup and lobster. Mommy still has a seafood aversion… UGH!

I had a quick bath and said goodbye to the Mediterranean.
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Then I caught a few more Disney cartoons before bed.
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Early bed for all of us as we are TOTALLY exhausted today. I was down at 8:50 and Mommy and Daddy a few mintues later.

Tomorrow is at sea day. Time to pack the bags and finish the last minute stuff up.

Mommy HATES packing.
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The journey has had it’s ups and downs but we enjoyed ourselves. We just want to go home! I want my own bed back that doesn’t move so much and confine me so much. I miss my other Lumpys and toys.

Day 9- Marselle

It’s my birthday!!!! I am 2 today!!!!! YEAH!!!!!

I got up early 6:30 and rolled around in my crib for a bit. Around 7:15 I coughed and coughed and coughed and spit up again. Mommy said that was that and she bathed me and dressed me and down to the health center we went. I have a minor upper respiratory issue and low and behold an ear infection! Go figure! I am used to them so they gave me good antibiotics and a clearance to return to activity just take it easy today. I got to have some pedialyte popcicles and I feel much better. The coughing is letting up and I am back to my jolly goofy self.

We missed out excursion today but were able to get a refund since I went to the on ship health center. Not a bad bill at the health center. $203 and $80 of that was the medicine. I have pricey antibiotics since it takes a good course to knock things out of my system. Daddy was very pleased that they shore excursion got credited for us.

Once I was feeling better we took the shuttle to Marselle and wandered around town for a while.

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Up and down streets…

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Mommy wanted a French crepe but we never found any that looked good. Oh well! We can make them at home anyway! 🙂 I got a neat necklace for my birthday from Daddy.

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It is a nice tough rope so it should hold up to my abuse! 🙂 It was only 5e at a shop in town. Neato! I saw a live Octopus on a table and thought that was nearly the highligt of my day.
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Marselle is a beautiful port and the ships in the area are fantastic. I got to see a man feeding a flock of pigeons.

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Really fun for me. He threw food close to me so all the pigeons came flying over to me. I really enjoyed that many birds.
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We headed back to the ship for some lunch (they had a chocolate fountain at Topsiders today… YUMMY!).

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Mommy said between the pedialyte (which is basically pure sugar water) and all the marshmallows and cookies I ate, that I am going to be a MAJOR hyper kid today. Hey, it is my birthday! Plus all the food I ate yesterday suddenly doesn’t count! 🙂 hehe

Tonight is Pirates night so I will dress my Mickey Pirate best! 🙂 Tomorrow we are in Villefranche and do not have any excursions booked. We are all going to take a taxi to Eze and wander the city. I can’t wait to spend the day with G’ma and G’pa again. I have missed them the last few days.

Oh yeah, I got a few b-day gifts from DISers! 🙂 THANKS! Sam, thanks for the Mickey Mouse. I love him already! 🙂

I am going to try to take a nap for a while… if I can. I had taken a short nap in the stroller which probably ruined any more chance of a nap for me, but I will try.

Never did take a good nap. We opted to RUN the decks of the nearly empty ship.

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I played some ping-pong. I am the CHAMP!

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I showed Mommy & Daddy how everything on the ship worked.

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I explored the trashcan.
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I found a place to sit and enjoy the view.
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Then we watched some Finding Nemo pool-side again. FUN! 🙂

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I was a pill at dinner but got better towards the end. The pirate thing was pretty neat for me. I got to dance with Mommy & Grandma Jo all around the room with everyone in the dining area. Yo-ho Yo-ho a pirates life for me! 🙂 After dinner Mommy didn’t feel well (bad morning sickness day and new seafood aversion..icky!) so we retired to the room where I had a nice bath and watched Lilo & Stitch on the room TV. Daddy went with G’ma/G’pa to the show (sort of Cirque D’Solei meets Mickey’s Dreams) and enjoyed it a lot. Daddy came back to the room after the show and was exhausted. I crashed about 9 pm after Mommy said I was too tired to be awake. After a long day and the sickness I feel a lot better than I did yesterday and this morning. Antibiotics are my friend!

Oh yeah, the room steward gave me a little model of the ship for my birthday! 🙂 I got a cake at dinner (wasn’t that yummy… I like gelato better).

Day 8- La Spezia

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We had a tender today to get to shore. Port isn’t big enough for the large ships. The weather looked a bit on the chilly side and a bit overcast. Today we had the Lerici’s Castle and Dinosaurs tour booked. We met our excursion group and took the tender to shore to wait for our bus. We were boarding group 23. Bus 19, 20, 21, 22, 24, 25, 26, 27 & 28 where all waiting. No bus 23??? Huh! We waited a while and then were told that there was an error and we have to tender to our excursion. Everyone groaned.

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We had to go back to the dock and thank goodness they brought the tender to the dock and didn’t make us go back to the ship and try again.

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We were finally underway…storm clouds were building and it was getting a bit chillier.

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We got to the “correct” place and waited for the guide to take us to the castle. It is hike up either “steep steps” or “long windy steps”. She led us through the long windy steps (NOT STROLLER FRIENDLY, DADDY HAD TO CARRY ME!!). We got to the castle and the doors were locked. HUH?? A few minutes later they opened the castle. Even with all our delays we were still there before it opened? It wasn’t all that spectacular. The dinosaurs pictures in the advertisement were pretty much all that was there.

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The castle was rather small. It was interesting but just small.
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I was the youngest kid on the tour and I suggest that you be at least 4 or a VERY well behaved 3.5 years old. There is a LOT of waiting and sitting.
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We did a bit more tour of the castle and then all piled into a classroom of sorts for a lesson on how to make “plaster molds of fossils”. It was VERY drawn out and I got restles so Mommy kept leaving the room with me. Now mind you, the entire time it is rainy and COLD outside.

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I had a jacket but it was getting wet. The stroller was wet too. Finally they poured the molds and then gave all of the kids ones that were already dry. It was neat to learn how the molds were made with positives and negatives but it just took SOOOO long for the guide to explain. Even the bigger kids were getting restless. I know a lot of the parents were! I got my cast and didn’t want to stay to paint it with the big kids so Daddy asked when we meet the boat and we took off on our own (so did many others). Apparently we missed a nice light snack but we found our own snacks.
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The rain got worse and I started to cough really bad. Mommy wrapped me in her jacket and tried to keep me dry and warm. I was MISERABLE! I finally fell asleep and slept for a good 30 minutes.

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Mommy & Daddy were not impressed with the tour at all. The weather was icky and it just wasn’t to what their expectations were. Can we go back to Gallura???? Daddy bought an umbrella to keep us a bit more dry and then a few animals for me to play with later on the ship. We went to the dock to get out of the rain (then it got windy). One of the tenders coming in (not ours) missed its slip and ran right into a little boat, rather entertaining! Our tender finally came and they took us straight back to the ship. I changed into warm clothing, as did Mommy. Daddy went off with G’ma/G’pa to explore the port for a while. Honestly you can get to most of the places pretty easy here. The port is very nice and there are a lot of nice places to eat and get snacks and shops. They had a “flea market” of-sorts set up today (Saturday) that was closing down for the 1-4 siesta! Charming little place and probably way more enjoyable when it isn’t raining and cold.

Mommy and I got some snacks at the pool-side and checked in at Flounders for later. My cough isn’t too bad but it will keep me from the nursery tonight. Mommy said that is okay, tonight was the family night at Palo. She will just stay behind with me if my cough doesn’t improve. Maybe if I take a nap I will feel better. Mommy did buy me some cough medicine at Guest Services (Health center was closed and so were the gift shops since we are in port). I took the medicine and did NOT like the flavor and gagged and spit up. Ugh! Mommy just wants me to take another nap, PLEASE!

Since I was coughing really bad so Mommy couldn’t let me go to the nursery. Daddy/G’ma/G’pa went to Palo for dinner and were totally stuff with food again.
Mommy and I strolled the decks after my bath an that is where my night turned bad. We grabbed a snack and came to sit in the room and relax. I started coughing really bad and couldn’t stop…my body just said…I AM DONE… and I threw up all over the stateroom. Mommy tossed me in the tub and got the room steward to help out (since everyone else was at Palo). Our LOVELy room steward cleaned the floors and changed the sheets and towels. Mommy got me all cleaned up. Shortly Daddy came in to bring Mommy some “to-go” from Palo (he ran down in the middle of the meal!!). Mommy sent Daddy away and said we were all under control but Grandma Jo came shortly after. We snuggled on the bed until I fell asleep at 8:15 watching my animal movie on Mommy’s laptop. I got a good nights rest.

Tomorrow I turn two, hopefully I feel better! 🙂