Remember my Waiting for Something Awesome to Happen post from back in February? If you missed it or want to read it again you can find it here. Then come back and read the end of the story.
On July 11th we piled in the van and started our 12 hour venture to see the ocean. We’ve never driven more than 5 hours with Mikayla & Hope. I was excited about going to Florida but I wasn’t excited about 12 hours in the van. The first half of the trip went well. The last half didn’t. We arrived at our cottage on Okaloosa Island at 10:00 p.m. As Brett was parking the van Mikayla said “Wanna see the dolphins. Need a flashlight.” We ended our long road trip with a van full of laughter.
The next morning we enjoyed our first peek at the ocean from our window. Then we put on our swimsuits and we headed to the beach. None of us had ever seen the ocean It was a memorable family moment as we all saw the ocean for the first time. Taylor and Brynna were smiling from ear to ear as they put their feet in the ocean. Taylor hugged me and thanked us for giving her this trip for her graduation. Suddenly all the chaos that happened in the van on the way was worth it.
So we’re sitting on the beach admiring the view and one of the little turtles asks “Go to the swimming pool?” Really? We drove 12 hours to see the ocean and you want to go play in the swimming pool? We can go to a swimming pool at home. We’re going to stay at the beach. “Go to the swimming pool?” No. We’re staying here at the beach.
“Go to the swimming pool!” It was no longer a question. It suddenly turned into a demand. And then both of the little sweethearts were insisting that they were going to the swimming pool. For 15 minutes we heard “Go to the swimming pool.” They weren’t going to let it go. So Brett took them to the swimming pool. We spent the first morning of vacation with half of us at the beach and half of us at the swimming pool. Not really the way that I had pictured it. But if there is one thing that I’ve learned in the last 10 years it’s that sometimes things aren’t going to look like I pictured it. Just smile and move on.
In the afternoon we suggested that it might be fun to go to Wild Willy’s Adventure Zone. They have a putt-putt golf course with animatronic dinosaurs. Mikayla & Hope enjoy golf and they love dinosaurs. So it was on our list of things to do. Hope didn’t want to golf. She wanted to go to the swimming pool. We told her that dinosaur golf would be a lot of fun. She wanted to go to the swimming pool. We battled for around 30 minutes trying to convince her that dinosaur golf would be fun. And she spent those 30 minutes trying to convince us that the swimming pool would be more fun. I was standing there looking at her and thinking this is going to be a really long week. But then it was like a rainbow appeared after a storm. Hope looked at us and she said “Go to dinosaur golf.” Oh, Hopey. What a great idea! Let’s go play dinosaur golf! She smiled and we loaded up and headed to Wild Willy’s.
After 3 holes of golf we started to hear thunder and see lightning in the distance. This is what it looks like when your girl has sensory processing disorder and she doesn’t like the sound of thunder.
Hope didn’t want to golf anymore. It’s hard to hold your ears and your golf club at the same time.
This is the gal that talked us into this trip.
It’s best to pick the yellow golf club. It doesn’t matter if it’s the right size. It just needs to be yellow.
Our sweet Brynna
The next day we went to the Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park. For months the girls have been saying “Need to see a dolphin.” Brett and I wanted to make sure that their dream came true. Dolphins were the very first thing that we saw when we entered the building. The girls were excited.
We went to the dolphin show. Hope was listening when the lady was talking about dolphins. After we left she kept saying “Dolphins aren’t fish. They’re mammals”. This was a huge success. She heard it, she processed it, and she repeated it. She’s still repeating it a zillion times a day. And it makes me happy each and every time I hear her say it.
We were at the Gulfarium for three hours and we only had one minor behavioral issue. It was truly a miracle. Hope took her last look at the dolphins and Mikayla took her last picture of the fish. And then we were off to the gift shop. I wasn’t surprised when they very quickly latched onto stuffed dolphins. We left with three dolphins named Winter, Olaf, and Olaf’s baby named Dave.
Stay tuned for another upcoming post to find out if any more awesome things happened on our vacation.