I'm really antsy to write about the last day of our vacation because it's the one I remember the best but as I'm looking back we did a ton of fun stuff that I should mention.
After the 15 hour drive, cat drop off and trip to Lakeland we visited with my brother and his family for about an hour before collapsing into bed. I think we were both expecting to be able to just take it easy but as soon as we got up we found out that we were going to go to Orlando. Apparently our daughter that slept for 12 out of the 15 hours that we were traveling decided that we were going sightseeing. And since it was her graduation present we (mostly) happily obliged her.
Amanda's happiest memories are from her childhood in central FL and she's even considering moving back there. I really can't imagine her leaving us without a really good reason- college mabye- but she's still considering it; or Los Angeles. I bet you all can't wait until your kids grow up and think about moving other places. But back to the story. For most of the first 9 years of Amanda's life I was single and I took her *lots* of places but the place I took her most often was Downtown Disney. My parents took my brother and I there a lot as kids. I remember getting enormous lollipops that we'd try to eat and give up and stick it in the fridge where it would get all gooey until Mom threw them out. We always got one though- it was a Cezar thing. It was a quaint little village surrounding a lake. We called it Lake Buena Vista in the 70's and 80's. It became Disney Village after that and then Downtown Disney; it feels a whole lot more commercial now but it has fond memories for Amanda and me. And Amanda is very much wrapped up in nostalgia and happy memories so Downtown Disney it would be. Along with her *new* favorite place the Mall at Millennia.
We Found the Mall at Millennia last July when we stayed with my family in a rented house in Kissimmee. I wasn't all that excited about trudging all the way to a *mall* of all places after we'd driven all that way but when we pulled into the parking lot what did I see? Why, an Ikea of all things! Now, I don't know if you all know this about me but I'm a shopper, I like-no- I love to shop, if I have money. Anyway, so I was excited. *AND* they have a Crate and Barrel which I have loved for years but I've never been in an actual store. And their stuff was just as fabulous as I thought it would be. And they had a Pottery Barn bed and bath store. My poor husband was a really good sport about being dragged to those stores though. Ikea wasn't as exciting for me as it was completely overwhelming. Of course, anything that involves 14 people is usually overwhelming. They had some great deals on things I would have liked to have but I wasn't transporting anything home and I also wasn't spending vacation money on house stuff. It really was so big that I felt like I was wandering through a labrynth with a squirmy, cranky 3 year old and a husband that was becoming less of a good sport. Until we got to the kitchens....super awesome kitchens. Well, we only actually saw one because everybody was ready to go by then but it was still really cool. *Then* we headed to Disney village and took a lot of pictures. And the pictures of the sea serpent and t-rex are made out of Lego's. They have a huge Lego store there which isn't a big deal to me but Amanda loves it.
We didn't stay there for a real long time because we'd already been out and about forever so my brother's family + Chloe headed home and The Buttons and my parents and nephew Ashton headed out to find dinner. Which we did at Quiznos. A Quizno's you say? Yes. But it wasn't just *any* Quizno's- OK, yes it was- but it had an outdoor eating area with a beautiful fountain in front of it. So we sat outside in the late afternoon with an amazing breeze, palm trees, and the sound of a beautiful fountain and had a *great* time.
The next day was Memorial Day and my brother was up at 6am (all of the Cezar's except for me are early risers) to start smoking meat for a big cookout that day. I saw some friends that I knew as a kid that I hadn't seen in a really long time. The food was incredible and it was nice to see old friends. Then we got ready for the next day and our stay at Disney's Old Key West Resort....it was really nice.