At the Beach #2

Tuesday morning, Brad, Natalie, and I went to Clearwater Beach on our own for a few hours. It was way less crowded than our previous Saturday trip. It's such a pretty beach, and we had lots of fun!

Here's a picture of our little setup.
Natalie took off on her own to play with sand toys. ;)
I think her favorite thing about this visit was the birds. She loved to chase after them, then when she got close enough, she would stand across from them and wiggle her fingers toward them, saying "giggle, giggle, giggle" which is how she says "tickle." She usually uses this method to "call" Casey. It doesn't work with Casey or with the birds, but she doesn't give up!
Walking along the beach with Daddy.
Having a little lunch. She loves her food!
More bird chasing with Mommy.
Getting a little tired . . .
Just kidding!
Probably her second favorite thing was having one of us twirl her around in the water. This brought out the giggles for sure!
About halfway through our beach time, Natalie started telling us that she had to go potty, which she has started referring to as "hoo hoo." We have absolutely NO idea where she got this word (previously it was "poo poo," no matter what she thought she had to do). So she just keeps repeating "hoo hoo" over and over. Brad walked over to the rental stand to ask where the nearest public restroom was. They pointed WAY over in the distance. He came back over to tell me where they were headed, and Natalie's poor little eyes could hardly stay open, she was getting SO tired. She still kept repeating "hoo hoo" over and over, eyes 3/4 closed. So they were off on their little trek. When they reached their destination, Brad set her on the potty, and she kind of slumped to the side, basically asleep. She was totally right about her need for the potty though - let's just say she had a big potty success - about 1/2 asleep. She fell totally asleep on his shoulder during their walk back to our umbrella. He laid her out on a chair, and she stayed asleep. She opened her eyes just a tiny bit, saw me, and started to giggle. It was so funny that I started laughing too. This got her a little riled up, but we decided to take a walk along the water, and she fell asleep in Brad's arms again very quickly. When we got back, we laid her out again, and she slept while we relaxed in the shade.

After the beach, we ate at Frenchy's on the beach with Mark and Carter. We had SUPER yummy "She Crab Soup" and their famous Grouper sandwich. Sooooo good!


At the Zoo

Monday, we went to Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo with Mark, Becky, & Carter. It's a really nice zoo, and luckily, I checked it out and it's part of the "Zoo Friends" network and we got in for 50% off because of our OKC Zoo pass. Our pass only cost me $35 and we saved $20 at the Tampa Zoo alone, so it's already more than paid for itself. Yay! Anyway, it's a cool zoo with lots of interactive things. We got there a little later than we'd anticipated and were too worn out to go to the special children's area, but the kids really enjoyed the rest of the zoo, and I don't think that Natalie could have made it one more minute without totally crashing!

Watching the baby Orangutan. He was sooooooo adorable! Natalie kept saying, "Hi Baby!" to him.
They have a place where you can feed the Lorikeets, and they will perch on you! Natalie did NOT know what to think about them, but Carter had a blast with it.
Telling the penguins "hi" - and notice the water (mah-neh) bottle she was totally attached too. ;)
They also have a place where you can feed the giraffes. Natalie wasn't too thrilled about being SO close to them - they are HUGE! Carter fed him some crackers though. Their tongues are sooo long!
Just playing around. In third picture here, she's actually attempting to climb in with . . . skunks. Although I don't even think she saw the skunks, it just looked like a great opportunity to climb.
Watching the big fish in the aquarium with Daddy.
Another interactive thing - you could buy fish and feed the stingrays or just touch them. Carter fed some, and they got really excited. Natalie did touch one, but that was it for her. Every time Brad tried to lean her closer to them after that, she backed WAY off. It was really neat to see them, but they almost moved too fast for me to catch them well on camera since it was shady where they were.
Cooling off in the shade at the end of the day with her "mah-neh."

At the Beach #1

We are now home from Florida! I have tons and tons of pictures, and I'm working on going through them and posting some a little (or a lot) at a time! Here's the first big batch.

Saturday while the guys watched the NFL Draft, Becky and I took the kids to Clearwater Beach. It was hot and breezy, and finding parking was insane. We were a sight to see once we did find parking - trying to get 2 kiddos, a cooler, and a few beach bags onto the beach. We had to use our double stroller to get to the beach, but then we had to carry it the rest of the way to the little cabana umbrella thingie that we rented, because pushing a stroller on sand doesn't work too well!

Natalie really enjoyed sitting at the edge of the water and getting wet that way. She also liked standing in it and calling the waves to her. It was really cute, but I wasn't able to get any pictures of that.

She also got great enjoyment out of drinking from a big water bottle all by herself. In fact, that may have been the highlight of her day. Go figure! We noticed the evening that we got in that she now has her own word for "water" and it sounds like "mah-neh." We heard that word A LOT during our vacation, and she definitely made the connection between ocean water, drinking water, pond water, rain water, etc. "Mah-neh" was a common topic with Nat. :)