It was Senpai's idea. My parents' birthdays are both at the end of January. Mom had called me earlier in the month to remind me that Dad was turning 60 this year. Uh oh, I thought, I gotta do something special, but what? Then Senpai asked me, "Why don't you go down to see them?" He has to spend a week in Texas sometime soonish for work training, and he wanted to offset that delightful week on my own with R by sending me on a fun trip to Florida to see my family. "That's great!" I said, "But I'm taking R with me." He had braced himself for the idea of spending the weekend alone with R, but I convinced him that the surprise visit would be more of a gift to my parents if they could see their grandbaby as well (they've seen enough of me in their lives, ha!). I called up my brother and asked if he could pick us up from the airport and lodge us for a couple of nights, and he agreed. It was set!
There was a minor setback when my brother told me that Mom and Dad were spending the entire weekend at Disney World. Um... R and I don't mind tagging along at Disney World; they'd take us, right?? Bro was under the impression that Mom was looking forward to spending the time alone with Dad, but I was hopeful that R and my unexpected arrival would spur a family day.
The flight out on Saturday morning went (thankfully) without a hitch. Bro and his wife, pregnant with twins, and their 17 month old daughter, C, met us at the airport and took us back to their house until the birthday dinner. The dinner was at a hibachi restaraunt in Orlando (Bro made the reservations). Mom texted him an hour before the dinner saying that they were there already. I was worried that she would find out how many people were on the reservation! When we got there, it turned out the restaurant hadn't even opened yet; other groups of people in addition to Mom and Dad were all waiting outside. Bro and C distracted them while R and I unloaded ourselves from the minivan (no quick task when there are carseats involved!). SIL held back to take pictures. I sidled up to Mom just as Bro said, "I hope you don't mind we invited a few other guests..."
She screamed at us.
"OH MY GOD!!! OH MY GOD!!!"
Ahahaha, oh man, I wish we had recorded it. SIL got pics, which I can't wait to see. I didn't see Dad's initial reaction, but when he came up to R and I his eyes were shining. ^_^
SIL, C, Bro, and R at the birthday dinner.
Oma, Grandad, and C at the birthday dinner.
We all went to the Magic Kingdom the next day.
R with Oma and Grandad at Toon Town.
R and C in Minnie's House.
Mommy and R with her new Winnie the Pooh doll.
R's favorite Disney character is Winnie the Pooh. She already had a Pooh doll at home that Grandma had given her for Christmas, but when R was fussing at Disney World and in need of a new toy, a Minnie plush would not do. Oh no, she had no love for Minnie, so then I held up that Pooh doll you see in the picture, and she smiled real big. Yeah, she has two Pooh's now. Oh, and I'm so sad! We had just rounded the corner to the Pooh attraction and there were the Pooh and Tigger characters, getting pictures taken with people! They had just finished with one group and I held on to R for dear life and made a beeline up to them, but then the Disney guards closed in and the characters started walking away as they waved cheerily. I was so heart broken. :-( It made no difference to R because she was looking the other way and didn't even see the characters. Oh well. Maybe she'll get her picture taken with Pooh next time.
Our time in Florida was extended due to the storm as I mentioned in a previous post. Mom and I went to Universal Studios on Monday while Dad watched R (Butterbeer is gooooood), and then R and I packed up to finish our stay at Mom and Dad's house. I got to watch Mom's play rehearsal (she's always in a play. It's hard to keep up sometimes with what character she's doing in what show, but she's a very good actress.), and then Dad took R and I to the local wildlife park to see the manatees and Florida's only hippo.
It was a very pleasant trip. I missed Senpai terribly by the end of it, but he was making good progress on R's room, so it was good that he stayed up in the snowy north. Mom and Dad enjoyed their birthday presents, Bro and family got to meet R and vice versa, and it was overall just a great idea. Thanks, Senpai.
Update: Mom ordered this pic from Disney. Group photo! (Just ignore Mickey kicking R in the head.)