This was the first year that we have taken an actual "spring break" trip with our family. At Lacy's urging we started looking at things to do and decided to head south to see family and have some fun.
We left Monday and spent a rainy day at my sister's house in Orlando. The kids had a great time, and I learned that Masters of the Universe (available on Hulu) has not aged very well. Our niece Nicole planned a delicious dinner, which included some fantastic cookies that are definitely not a part of my normal diet. I had 3 (they were pancake-sized and worth it).
The next day we went to Disney World, taking advantage of my brother's employment there to get a sweet deal. The kids had a lot of fun, and I've included some pictures below. Due to the crowd, we left the Magic Kingdom for Epcot at about 4pm, which was an excellent choice. We had a pretty tasty meal at the new restaurant in Mexico, as our first choice (the German Biergarten) was not available. We don't drink beer, but the buffet there is fantastic.
We will not be doing Disney during Spring Break again. Far too many people. But still a fun day.
The next day we drove to Miami, where we visited Vizcaya, an impressive estate (now a county park) with some beautiful grounds and a fantastic location. The house was built in the 1910's, and it must have been a fascinating time to be in Miami. We then enjoyed a visit with my aunt Elena and several of my cousins and their children.
The next day was spent at Zoo Miami (formerly the Miami Metrozoo). This has always been one of my favorite parts of Miami, though we hadn't been there in over 7 years. The vegetation now seems fully recovered from 1992's Hurricane Andrew, and the kids really enjoyed seeing the animals. Next time we will rent a quad bicycle to get around the very large zoo.
We visited my great-aunt Elsita, who we had not seen since the death of my abuelita in August of 2009. It was great to show her the kids and enjoy some of her delicious natilla (comparable recipe found here). We took a quick swim in the pool, and then I took Joseph and Millie to dinner with my Uncle Ari and Aunt Kelly. We also got to meet our new little cousin Star, born to my cousin Stacci and her husband JR. The name is a combo of Sta from Stacci and R from JR. Millie is pretty jealous of that name, and has asked me several times since why her name can't be star. Dinner at La Rosa was delicious. We also had a good meal at Havana Harry's (Tres Vacas Fritas & Churrasco), but La Rosa gets the edge for its equivalent meat and FAR superior black beans. La Rosa also serves the traditional toasted and buttered Cuban bread. Joseph ate palomilla twice.
Friday was a lazy morning packing our things and a drive back to Gainesville. We stopped in Orlando at Downtown Disney to enjoy dinner with our friends the Eichelberger's at T-Rex. We ate in the Ice Room, which was a trippy place to be. Periodically the light would change color and we are convinced that it made the kids a little crazy. After that we hit Ghiradelli's and cruised home.
It was a great little vacation. We've spent the last two days listening to our Church's semiannual General Conference and enjoying some "quiet" time around the house and some good food with friends.
Tomorrow? Back to the gym, to work, and to reality. Here are some photos, somewhat out of order, and a video of Millie showing off her rhythm.