Thursday, April 19, 2012

Cypress Park

This Sunday Natalie had to go to a meeting for work in Miami. So I was left alone with Adriana. Being the smart guy that I am I knew it wouldn't be a good idea staying home with the kid. She would have terrorized me.

So I decided to take her to Cypress Park a little over a mile away. I had been working in the yard a lot over the weekend so I already had a sore back and I decided to walk to the park, without the stroller, and a 22 month old toddler. Bad idea. I already carried Adri most of the way to the park and after an hour of playing she was too tired to even give me breaks walking back. Every time I tried to put her down she would say "Yo quiero Papa". Needless to say I got home sore and tired.

Last night when I got home I decided that we should go to the park again. This time we brought the stroller. Adri is a crazy kid. She was climbing on everything. The kid has no fear. I don't know that it's a good thing. She got off the slide and out of no where just decided to do a somersault. Then she lifted herself up on the bars and started swinging like a monkey. She climbed up the playground where I thought she was unable. It's definitely a two person job watching this kid play since the playground doesn't have the safest design for small kids. She also had some fun when I played helicopter with her and she fell like a drunk.

On the way home we saw a parrot. I have never seen a parrot in Coral Springs, or Broward County. There are a lot of them in Key Biscayne but this is the first time I've seen one here.

Adri's Fish

Saturday we spent the day cleaning up the house, getting ready for guest this summer, and buying a new fridge. Since we got our guest room all cleaned up and we have an empty aquarium, actually three of them, the big one being in the guest room, we told Adri that we would fill it up and buy her some fish. So on our way back home we stopped at a pet store by my old apartment in Pembroke Pines. They have the biggest collection of fish and coral I've seen in a pet store.
We were going to get her a couple varieties but the guy tried to scare me telling me that the water needs to circulate for 8 weeks. I think that's a load of poo poo so I bought just six tetras to prove to Natalie that they will survive. In a couple weeks I'll go back and buy some more fish.

So anyways Saturday night I cleaned up the aquarium and filled it up. Sunday morning I put Adri's fish in it and brought her in to see. She loves her fish. She just stands there pointing and counting and talking to them like a crazy child. As you can see in the video she is quite a chatter box. And she loves feeding her fish. So now she has her first chore. She's learning responsibilty. Every day we take her in to feed her fish.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Wekiwa Springs

Sunday we went to Wekiwa Springs, not to be confused with the nearby city Wekvia Springs or the Wekvia river which have similiar spelling. I have to say that I was really surprised about the hills in this area. Florida's highest point, Mount Britton,  is only 345 feet above sea level making Florida the flattest state. In Broward county the highest point is something like 25 feet so there are no hills down south unless you're talking about Mt. Trashmore. But driving through Seminole and Volusia county we actually drove up and down some pretty decent hills and you get nice views of the rivers, lakes, and bluffs.  Around this spring there are hills probably close to 100 feet tall so you can look out over the river and the spring and a lot of people setup their day camps on the hill above the spring. I know it sounds crazy talking about these little hills but for anyone that has lived in Florida it's a real shocker. Not a big deal if you grew up in California where you have mountains and hills everywhere. Where you can walk a mile and gain more elevation than you would if you crossed the entire state of Florida.

The weather was a little better here than the previous day at DeLeon Springs but still not as good as the nearly 90 degree weather at home. It took a few seconds to adjust to getting in the water but once we were in it was quite refreshing. Adri didn't seem to mind at all.

This park has a nature center with a baby alligator and other animals, 13 miles of trails, bike rentals, canoe rentals, camping etc, so there's enough stuff there to keep you busy for a couple days. There is also epic Redneck/Cholo watching in all these springs. It's almost like going to the local Walmart. Almost everyone at this spring had a tattoo and I wish I would have taken pictures and started a website "tattoos of the Florida springs". Some of the most epic include the guy with Elmo tattooed on his boob, the guy with angel wings on his back, and the girl with two lines with who knows what going across both of her huge thighs. There was also a girl with hoop earings big enough for me to put my leg through. Yes people watching is quite fun at this park.

The first thing Adri said when she saw the water was "go swimming at the beach". I had to teach her to say spring instead of beach. We had to wait a little while before getting in the water and it wasn't easy to control this kid once she saw the water. I was able to distract her though by having her chase a broad headed skink we found.

Once she finally got in the water she had a blast. As you can see I put on her life jacket and was throwing her, one of her favorite games. I taught her to say "throw the baby 1,2,3". One of her other favorite games is telling me "eyes 1,2,3" and then pushing my head under the water (picture below). When I do come up for air I tried to come up as fast as I can and throw her up in the air.. It makes her laugh everytime. After a good swim we took Adri out and let her warm up in the sun. I decided to take her for one last swim before we left so I could wash all the dirt off her. By this time she was so tired she just put her head down on me.

After swimming we decided to get food and I took Adri in the nature center. They have a small Florida black bear and Adri was kissing the glass. You can see by the size of this thing why Florida has never had a bear attack. These bears are tiny compared to the bears up north or back west.

I don't know which spring I liked better, DeLeon or Wekiwa. They both have a lot of activities to offer. I think my favorite though is still Blue Spring, just a few miles away from DeLeon Springs.

After a 3 hour drive home I went out back and found that Adri's butterflies had come out of their cocoons. We opened up the cage and let 8 of them go. I thought we recorded it but Natalie is still learning how to use the video camera so we found out later it didn't get recorded.

There were a lot of these Broad-headed Skinks in the park.

Monday, April 2, 2012

DeLeon Springs

This weekend I decided I needed to get away. I'm always working on something and I just needed a break. Yeah I go out on the weekends and we take Adri to the beach or the parks, but every Saturday I get up at the butt crack of dawn and spend 4-5 hours on the yard. I wanted a weekend where I can just sit back and not have to worry about my jungle for a couple days.

Natalie brought up camping so I tried to find a camp ground. The only problem is this time of year you have to get a reservation far in advance. It was just too late to get a spot. So instead I decided we could go to the springs and stay at hotel. I have a lot of Hilton points so I could get a free night. So the plan was to go up to DeLeon Springs Saturday morning, stay at a hotel that night, and go to Wekiwa Springs on Sunday. I haven't been to either of these springs, just the nearby Blue Spring.

So Saturday we got up early and hit the road. We had to leave really early because the springs get really crowded this time of year and they close them, only letting cars in as others leave. So the plan was to get there by noon. We managed to get out of the house by 8 and got to Orlando in just under 2.5 hours. Not bad considering its 199 miles. After a stop at a horrible Mexican restuarant that makes taco bell look good we managed to get there just before noon. Although the restuarant sucked they did have good salsa and Adri was putting lots of salsa on her chips and eating them. Everyone there was looking at our crazy little kid eating her salsa and sucking on a lemon.

It was forecasted to be upper 80's this weekend but it didn't quite get there. I think it topped out around 83-84 and it was cloudy off and on. The water is 72 degrees year round. So it was a little on the chilly side for us to swim. So when we first got there we decided to walk around and do some boating while it warmed up a little more. Adri had refused to take a nap until after lunch and she got woken up 15 minutes later so she was a little cranky off and on throughout the day. She had fun but she also had her little tantrums.

One example was on our boat ride. Adri was throwing tantrums for no reason. She wanted to stand in the middle of the boat and she wanted to steer. Every time I touched the handle to steer the boat she threw a fit. She was being a crazy baby. Laughing and pointing at stuff one minute, tantrum the second I touch the steering handle. Eventually we decided we had enough of the rain so we gave up on the paddle boats and I took Adri swimming. Natalie was afraid to get in the water.

After swimming we took Adri to the playground and then took her on a nature hike. She had a lot of fun. We met this guy on the trail who had two little boys so Adri spent an hour playing with them and looking for caterpillars on the trail. After that we bought her some ice cream and decided it was time to get some dinner.

Where to eat? Sonnys. Of course Adri now completely worn out crashed out in the car and got woken up again for dinner. I completely destroyed my diet for a night. Had some corn nuggets, baby back ribs, and peach cobbler with ice cream on top. After a dinner like that I crashed out in front of the tv and didn't wake up until almost 9 the next morning. Adri finally let us sleep in.

Here's some pictures and videos below from the park. The park has an old sugar mill built sometime between 1570's-1800's (small time frame eh?). It had been destroyed a couple times and they have now turned it into a restuarant. Other activities there are paddle boats, canoes, guided boat tours, swimming and scuba diving, nature hikes, etc. They have a slavery museum as well. There's enough stuff to do there to keep you occupied for a couple days.

No I am not humping the tree. I was trying to hold Adri up for a picture. The live oaks at this park have to be at least 200 years old. They are huge.

This park had a lot of Spanish Moss.

The waterwheel at the sugar mill. It's 100 foot undershoot waterwheel and they used the springs 16-18 million gallons of water a day to run it.

Under the spring. The spring flows into Spring Garden Lake which then flows into Lake Woodruff, which flows into several other lakes which eventually flow into the St. John's river.

About1/4-1/2 a mile out looking at the spring.