October 1, 2015-The Long Way to Disney (Day 2)

Hello Mr. Giraffe!
(click here for today's pictures)
Robby and I went to bed about an hour and half earlier last night than we did the night before since we were busy packing that night.  When Robby stirred at 2, I felt like we had been asleep for most of the night.  Anderson makes some kind of throat clearing noise when he is sleeping sometime and he was really making it last night.  I moved him around and put his head back on his pillow and he stopped that racket for awhile.

The next thing that I knew was that my alarm clock was ringing.  We hit snooze a few times and then Campbell jumped up and climbed in bed with us.  When Robby and I climbed out of bed we started repacking everything.  Since our big road trip wasn’t that long ago, we were still in the repack quickly mindset and were soon all ready and loaded up for breakfast.

The highlight of vacations for Dennie kids and really for the Dennie grownups is hotel breakfasts.  Today was a nice one-Holiday Inn Express cinnamon rolls were the highlight!  While Robby, Campbell and Anderson were loading the car up the rest of us started on breakfast.

When we were finished, we started out for Folsom LA which was about 20 minutes away.  We have stopped here before in 2010-Reagan was just 5, Anderson 3, Graham 2 and Campbell was a baby.  Here is a link to that post if you want to look back and see their adorable pictures.  And then click here to look at the pictures of that day and see my tiny little babies.  It was hot that day, crowded and the giraffes never came to our car….

Today was none of that.  As we stood and waited to board our ride while Robby went over with the kids about how important it was to arrive at places early or when they open.  Our car contained us and 2 other people and the weather was absolutely perfect.

Once on the car, they workers passed out our pre-purchased food.  Now the last time we were here, I was the one who ran in and bought the tickets and the food. When they brought us our food last time Robby laughed and laughed at the huge bucket of food they gave us.  He kidded me saying “do you think that you bought enough?”  He was only quietened when he saw the huge 50 pound bags that other people had purchased. 

Fast forward 5 years and guess who is the one buying the 50 pound bag of animal feed for our safari.  Yep, Robby!  That was food was certainly all needed (though a pound or two did end up on the floor of the car)  Within the first 10 minutes of the safari, almost half of our food was used. 

Let’s first talk about the animals that were there-pretty much every type of grass eating animal that you can think of: deer, llamas, zebras, cattle, ducks, giraffes, and a zillion other ones.  When the tour jeep pulls into the fence, the animals begin flocking to the cars. We have been talking about Noah’s ark at church and in our nightly Bible study and seriously, that is how Noah must have felt. Animals were everywhere following us. 

They were on both sides of the trams, they were under the trams, they were over the trams.  And that brings us to the giraffes.  If you were outside at the time, you probably could have heard my kids squealing and laughing.  Those giraffes were all over our car.  Reagan was feeding them as fast as she could-and even kissed one.  Anderson was working hard at feeding them but would not get close and Graham stayed even further back than Anderson.  Campbell finally got into the giraffe feeding but Keaton would burst out crying occasionally-I probably would have too if I was 3 feet tall and an 18 foot animal stuck his head beside me.  Now Whitman would look right at those giraffes and holler at them.  Once a giraffe’s neck pinned Whitman down to the seat as the giraffe leaned over him to eat from someone else’s food cup. 

The giraffes were the highlight of the safari and we will certainly never forget about all of that.  We had plenty of food as we left the giraffes and started feeding the rest of the animals.  You couldn’t feed the zebras from the cups so you had to pour the food into their nasty little mouths but other animals would eat right from those cups and even try to pull the cups from your hands. 

After the tour, we pottied and hopped back in the car.  Keaton helped me divvy up some of her Halloween candy that she received for her birthday and later I passed out another snack as we moved down the road towards Florida.  Graham has been worried about this day since we will be in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.  He just didn’t see how we can drive through all of those states in one day. 

We pulled over at Mississippi welcome center and had our lunch.  They had a nice picnic area and the kids were able to throw the footballs around a bit after lunch.  And yes, I did say footballs-Anderson had packed one in his box the other day but I took it out saying that I had packed one and we only needed one football.  Then when I opened the back door yesterday, I noticed that Robby had stuck an extra football in the back!

After a bit of football and eating half a jar of nutella, lunch was over and we jumped back in the car. The time ticked by pretty quickly and soon we were passing through Mississippi and Alabama.  The kids watched movies and played their kindles-the bonus today was that Keaton and Whitman took a nap which led to a bit of quiet time in the car.  At one point, I started wondering what Robby and I would listen to on the radio when the kids were gone and we were traveling in the car alone. 

I was the driver this afternoon and Robby spent some time working and some time going through our pictures from this morning.  I might possibly have taken well over 200 pictures during the safari so that took a while for him to go through.  We did get one blurry picture that you can see the giraffe leaning over and squishing our Whitman! 

When we entered Florida, we saw a sign for the visitor’s center advertising free orange juice.  Well that is enough to convince the Dennies to pull over and stop.  It was a nice rest stop but more importantly there was orange juice!  We all gladly drank our little glass and then headed on our way. 
The next destination was the National Museum of Naval Aviation in Pensacola.  It was a little bit off of our path but worth the stop.  We knew that we would only have about 45 minutes inside so as soon as we entered the kids and us started hauling through that place.

Of course the main event there was everyone setting in the cockpits of the Blue Angels planes.  Then we made it to the little play area and even though the museum was empty, my kids made enough noise for people to think that it was a full museum of people.  For all we had talked about getting places early with the kids when we were at the safari this morning,we also reviewed how sometime being places at closing time also had its advantages-like an empty museum.

We had time to potty at the museum and Robby went in the restroom with Whitman and they never seemed to come out.  I started to wonder and then they emerged.  Whitman ran up to me telling me something but Robby had to interpret: he (Whitman, not Robby) poo-pooed in the potty.  That is great and all but I have plenty of diapers and that potty training business doesn’t start until after Christmas. 

When the museum was only opened for 5 more minutes, we exited.  If we would have stayed any longer, Keaton and Campbell would have panicked.  They have always been a bit antsy about getting locked in some place.  Once outside the kids ran off to climb on and take a mandatory picture on the anchor before climbing back in the car to meet up with Nonna and Pops in Tallahassee (3 hours away).

We drove through Arbys for supper.  My people all love roast beef sandwiches so that gave us a few minutes of quiet.  And then back to watching a few more Laura and Mary episodes.  After a bit we did have to stop for gas and a much needed potty stop before we finally made it to our destination.

Nonna and Pops were waiting for us when we pulled into the hotel.  Unloading went better today so we walked in with Nonna and Pops while Robby checked in.  After I unpacked, we all watched the pictures from today and then we let the girls spend the night in Nonna's room.  We quickly showered the boys and put them all in bed.

It was a tight squeeze tonight getting Whitman and his pack n play in the bathroom.  I asked Robby if it was going to fit and he said that where there was a will there was a way.  The poor guy's bed probably has one leg on the potty, another in the shower and one on the sink.  That silly pack n play has been in lots of hotels-some I have had to climb through the shower to get to the potty in the middle of the night and at one hotel, I had to crawl onto the sink and crawl across it to make it to the potty.  I guess it won't be long until we do not need the pack n play anymore and probably not too much longer until we have to have 2 hotel rooms (eek!)

It was a really, really good day and hopefully tomorrow will be just as exciting!

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