Saturday, February 24, 2018

Florida Part 4

After the Alligator Attraction we did a little more shopping, got some FroYo for Ally and headed back to the resort.

Aunt Martha got changed and headed down to the pool. The 3 of us rested in the room. Well I did the blog posts parts 2 and 3 while Becky and Ally played Minecraft. Eventually we headed down to meet up with Aunt Martha and take out some paddle boats.
Aunt Martha and me are not a great paddle boat match.  Becky and Ally rocked it!

On the way to the boats Becky noticed we could see Tropicana Field (the meet venue) from our front balcony.

On to paddle boating:

It all started peacefully. But before we knew it I was in the bushes. Literally.

It was hard work for Aunt Martha and me.

Not so much work for Becky and Ally.

We did get a nice close up look at the swans:

After a quick swim it was back up to the room. Some rest, tv watching, Minecraft, dinner and a fun Family questions game and it was time for Ally to go to bed. We had to get up by 6am to leave at 7am for the meet.

Ally’s favorite dinner of turkey burgers, carrots, French fries and lemonade. She at everything but some of the fries.

In the morning it was hair time and dressed for the meet.

And just so you all know what her bun looks like here is the view from all sides:

Then it was time to leave!

Ally and her coach for the day, Sasha. 

Inside the arena it was huge!!! 

They had all the gymnasts names scrolling thru on the Jumbotron!!! 

But immediately after warm ups during the team introductions Ally and her coach ran from the arena. Ally was sick! She actually vomited on her way out. 
We were up in the stands worried and wondering what would happen. 
After a while we heard from her coach that Ally was throwing up. Eventually they came and found us.
Ally was so upset. She had to change out of her leotard because she had puked on it. Lots of tears and a pep talk and she changed into a different leotard and went off with her coach again.  Ally kept saying she felt too bad and wouldn’t be able to compete but to her credit she left with her coach. 
But a few minutes later we got another text that she was throwing up again. I went and found her in the bathroom and we agreed she didn’t have to do this and all she wanted was to go back to the hotel.  So we retrieved her backpack and left. 
It was an interesting car ride back, her coach came with us and we made small talk the whole way. Ally was silent. 

The second we walked in our room Ally cried. She was so disappointed not to compete and she felt so crummy. It’s hard to know how much of the sickness is nerves and anxiety and how much is a big of some sort. Probably some of both. It doesn’t really help knowing. It just feels awful all around. It was a very large venue and Ally was the only gymnast from her team competing. She seemed fine all morning. She told me later that she felt a little weird when she woke up but seemed ok until right before she threw up. 
She also proudly reported that it was the first time she actually threw up in a toilet! 2 of the 3 times she puked she did it in the toilet. We giggled at that. 
Previously she has thrown in the car and once in a bucket at home after her surgery from the anesthesia. One of life’s great rite of passages completed; puking into a toilet at a public place. Hopefully we don’t need to repeat that again.

After a couple hours of watching tv and calming down we met Aunt Martha at the pool and walked to the gift shop. Becky and Aunt Martha had worked all week earning stamps in the resort passport and earned free Pub Crawl t-shirts.

Then we decided to walk over to the “sister resort” a few hotels down the road.

You can tell Ally wasn’t feeling great. She refused lunch and anything to drink. She did eat a small roll and a few sips of water. 

The menus came on lighted tablets.

Aunt Martha’s drink came with a shrimp as garnish!

The restaurant had a huge 33,500 gallon fish tank!

Ally was feeling so crummy she and I took a break for a few minutes and walked around.

She humored me with pictures:

It’s hard to see your daughter so upset and disappointed. Ally and I have talked and Ally is disappointed and sad she didn’t compete. She’s a little bit mad she didn’t stay and try harder, but puking 3 times was pretty traumatic and she just wanted to get out of there and that place. Totally understandable, but the awful disappointment and resulting sadness is tough to shake. And physically she doesn’t feel that great. 

So we’re hanging out the hotel room this afternoon and maybe we can get a walk on the beach in this evening. 

Tomorrow Becky flies home and Monday Ally, Aunt Martha and I leave. 

Here’s hoping we can manage to end this vacation on a high note. 

Friday, February 23, 2018

Florida Part 3: Alligator Attraction!!!!

I read about a place where you could kiss an Alligator. Aunt Martha said she would do it. 
Once there she bought the package deal to feed, hold and kiss an alligator. The package also came with a souvenir T-shirt, bracelet and gator tooth. 

She was so brave.

First it was feeding the alligators. These were baby alligators. We learned how to feed them on land and water. Using turkey hot dog on a fishing pole.

She got one!!!

Then over to the water.

Ally saw me taking pictures and posed. I can’t believe how grown up she looks sometimes. 

The looks on Becky and Ally’s faces are priceless.

Aunt Martha let Ally use the last piece of food and try it. Again, the faces and expressions on Becky, Ally and Martha are my favorite part. 

The place is also a rescue for a variety of creatures, like this turtle named Rudolph. 

But eventually there was no putting it off any longer. It was time for the ultimate experience: holding and then kissing an alligator. As I said at the beginning Martha was very brave. She chose Chip the largest of the available gators, he was about 35 pounds.

She looked a little scared waiting to get her alligator.

There he is

She had to learn how to hold him, and was told he likes getting he belly rubbed.

There she is! It was awesome.

But then she had to kiss him. The handler said she should hold his hands like you would any person you would kiss.

She puckered up and leaned in.

And smacked one on Chip the alligator.

SHE DID IT!!!! Aunt Martha kissed an alligator. Actually she kissed it 3 times so I could get a good picture of it.