A while back my SIL told me they were going to FL and asked if I wanted to come along. So I checked out where she was staying and crunched the numbers and booked us for a trip. (note: DH was not able to attend as he is too busy at work.)
It turns out that all my brothers booked condos in the same building...I booked a condo across the street from where they were staying. I didn't need a place as big as where they were staying and I saved a lot of money by booking a smaller room that wasn't beach front. (note: my access to the beach was just to walk across the street...so it wasn't any trouble.)
Darly & I flew out on June 24th, which was two days before the rest of the family was coming. Flights were cheaper. So we enjoyed the beach and went to Universal Orlando to see the new Harry Potter thing on Friday.
Ummm someone forgot to remind me how very very very HOT it is in Florida this time of year. UGH! I was so miserable.
Universal was way too crowded. We should have never bothered going there. What a waste of our time, we would have had much more fun if we had stayed at the beach.
Saturday the brothers weren't going to show up until after 4pm so we spent the day with my Mom & Stepdad. I took them over to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium and we had a good time. When we got back we relaxed in the condo and waited for my brothers to show up. When I called them I found out that my SIL wanted to go to someplace really nice for dinner because she had a miserable flight and drive to the condo. So at first they were going to go to the Salt Rock Cafe...I had already looked this place up online and knew the prices were pretty high...but I figured that I could swing it by sharing a dish with Darly (which would mean something cheap anyway). But when they called to get a reservation for our very large party they found we couldn't get a seat until 9pm and no one wanted to eat that late. So they picked a place that they had coupons for... I looked the new place up online and found that the prices at this place had dropped to about $10 per plate...and I was questioning if my SIL would really let us eat there.
so we hopped into the car and sure enough about a block from the condo I get a call that no we weren't eating there. Turns out the brothers arrived there, took one look and gave the coupons to other patrons as they left. LOL! So I was told to "sit tight" as they hunted for other food options. Luckily there was an empty lot for sale that I could just sit in while we waited. After about 5 min or so I get the call...we're going to The Pub. This didn't sound promising, but it was their call. We arrived in just a few minutes and find that the place is surprisingly nice. and the 11 (Brother #1, SIL #1 & nephewA; Brother #2, SIL #2, & nephews R & H; Mom & Stepdad, Darly & me) of us had a good time.
Sunday was a beach day. Darly & I headed over. Brother #1 lives in Tampa so he was able to bring a lot of beach essentials...like a pop up canopy for SHADE! We saw dolphins fishing out past the swim line and a lot of different sea birds. Darly & I played with clams & sand fleas. We tried to find sand dollars but weren't successful at that. For dinner we had grilled bbq chicken, corn & asparagus. yum
Monday Darly & I headed over to Busch Gardens. We had a great time there, saw loads of cute animals and rode a few rides. I wish we had the entire day there because we missed out on some things we wanted to do. oh well. maybe next time.
For dinner we had a lot more people there with us as Brother #3, almost SIL#3, her dd; Cousin L & his wife arrived for their stays in the condos. Plus we had Aunt L, her 3 daughters and their families come out for a visit...bringing our numbers up to 27 (add in Brother #1's dd & her friend too) On our way back to the beach from Busch Gardens, I had Darly call SIL #2 because the original plan was to grill burgers & dogs and have everyone at my condo's back deck. Well we learned that the plan had changed and dinner was now going to be pizza & pasta at Brother #2's condo. unfortunately, SIL#2 doesn't know how to order food for children... they ordered two pizzas with everything, chicken alfredo, baked spaghetti & stuffed shells. Darly refused to eat any of it...luckily there was still chicken from the previous night that she did eat. She also had cereal when we got back to our room.
Tuesday my Mom & Stepdad came back out to the beach and we had fun there. Darly learned how to boogie board with her uncle. We learned that my grandmother & aunt were coming out for dinner so my Mom & Stepdad made a hasty retreat to get out of there as she hasn't spoken to her mother in over 10 years. Turns out that my brother #2 was trying to force a meeting there. ugh! when will he ever learn to leave well enough alone?
Wednesday was my check out day. Breakfast at the Friendly Fisherman meant that instead of checking out at 10am I needed to be ready to go by 9:15. When we went to put the last of our luggage in the car, I almost ran into my mom going for the elevator to see me one more time. LOL! She didn't know about the breakfast and had already ate, but came along anyway. We arrived at the restaurant at 9:30 only to learn that they didn't open until 10 and were serving brunch. So we waited on the boardwalk there and got treated to dolphins fishing again AND got to see manatees also(I wasn't fast enough to get a picture of them though).
After breakfast we learned that the two SIL's (#1 & #2) had booked themselves mani/pedi appts and needed to go get ready for that. I don't know why they weren't ready for that before breakfast and I am also perturbed that they booked it for the day I was leaving instead of for the day I went to Busch Gardens or after I left since I wasn't invited. sigh! So instead of enjoying some shopping at the boardwalk we got to go back to the condo and sit around because no one could come up with anything that they wanted to do...my brothers didn't want to do anything because they wanted their wives to be there. So I ended up just leaving for the air port early.
I was delayed about an hour leaving Tampa due to Tropical Storm Alex, but we made it home safely to a very happy DH. Poor guy had been working late every day that we were gone to try to make a dent in his overflowing inbox but of course it didn't help at all. I'll be so glad when his boss gets back.