SeaWorld in October

We won a trip to stay in a rental home courtesy of Global Resort Homes. As part of the prize package, we also won tickets for 4 to SeaWorld courtesy of Kissimmee Guest Services.

The last time I visited SeaWorld, I was 8. Cameron was 12 the last time he went with his family. Needless to say, it has been a while and quite a bit has changed. My boys have never been and we were very excited to share this experience with them.

Navigating and deciding what to do first...

Gavin was very interested in the maps and looking at all the things we could do in the park. We let him choose where to go first.


As we were walking along, a flock of flamingos were out on their morning stroll. Gavin wanted to pet one so badly. Thankfully, they stayed out of range.

I see you

Our first ride was Journey to Atlantis. It was a rollercoaster ride with a stroll through an aquarium at the end. It was neat checking out the eel and the jellyfish.

Jellyfish lit up

After that we tried to ride the signature ride: the Manta. Unfortunately Riley was 2 inches too short, so we will have to go back after his next growth spurt.

The Manta

The Manta wound through a large portion of the park and could be seen easily. I kind of wondered how many people lost items from their pockets after riding it – as you can see in the photo above, they dangle and go upside down.

Clyde & SeymourNext up was the sea lion and walrus show with Clyde & Seymour. It was cute and a nice respite from the sun.

Brrrr.... it was cold!

We went to Antarctica and checked on the penguins. They were doing fine, but we were freezing!


We also went through a part of the penguin exhibit that was decidedly warmer to watch the penguins swim. What I failed to photograph was the nice marine biologist that chatted with Cameron and Riley for 20+ minutes about penguin eggs, penguins and Antarctica in general. The staff at SeaWorld is VERY knowledgeable about marine life. I’m sure working there is somewhat of a dream job if you love water and animals.

Manta Rays

Riley and Gavin touched a few Manta Rays. Riley was disappointed that we wouldn’t spring for food, but they looked VERY well fed.


This photo was taken in the baby dolphin area. They were so cute and mischievous. We made it in time to see the feeding and watch them do a bunch of tricks. One of the tricks involved dousing the crowd with water! Thankfully, I took many photos with my iPhone in my life proof case.

Payphones still exist?

Our parting shot – Gavin checking out the payphones! With so many cellular phones around, I was surprised to see a bank of payphones. They worked and Gavin was FASCINATED by them.

We had a blast with the boys exploring SeaWorld and learning about marine life. Riley and Cameron also had a 30 minute conversation with a marine biologist named Stephanie who told Riley all about a day in the life of a SeaWorld dolphin, the conservation efforts and rescues of much of the sea life by SeaWorld. It was super engaging and educational – so much that Riley even wrote a paper on it for school!

Many thanks to Global Resort Homes and Kissimmee Guest Services for this experience!

Boggy Creek Airboat Rides

IMG_2638During a recent trip to Orlando, we were fortunate enough to go on a group airboat ride. We had my parents and Cam’s parents with us and it really was an amazing time. Boggy Creek Airboat Rides took us out on tour. Cam, the kids, and I won our tickets as part of a Global Resort Homes prize pack, but our parents did purchase their tickets.


Cam and Gavin checked out a gator skin in the check-in area. They also had a baby gator in a tank to view.

Gator Forecast


The daily gator forecast was pretty amusing.


Me and the guys prior to the trip. We were all really windblown after!


Dick and Diana (Cam’s parents) pre trip.


My mom and dad with the boys. For the record, there were a gazillion shots I threw out before using this one. Gavin has a new habit of jumping and yelling cheese when you try to take his photo. It’s cute until it isn’t. (You moms out there know what I mean.)


Baby gator holding pen. I think it’s where they throw in the non-paying customers and whiny kids.


Airboat holding area. I imagine that this is the only cool spot in mid-August, if there is a breeze. Even in early October it was a little warm.



The boys fed the gators in the holding area to bide our time until our ride. (It’s a live nature show kids!)


Preparing to go out. Everyone got a lovely set of ear protection for the loud noises of the airboat engine. Gavin is under 5, so he also got to wear a life jacket. He found this very constricting and I’m not going to lie – it ticked him off. Thankfully, once the boat got moving, he got over it.


Mom and Dad preparing to get windblown. Dad’s hair isn’t back yet from chemo, so he didn’t have to worry about it getting messed up. (See? Always look on the bright side!)


See Gavin sulking? It’s the life jacket. Beats being gator bait little man!


Riley was looking back at our tour guide piloting the boat. It’s got to be a fun job.


See? Almost over it! Almost.


Wind! Gators! Swamp land!


Another view of our excellent surroundings.

We really had a blast and would happily do it again. It was fun to see the natural side of central Florida and the freshwater that makes up so much of that area. This was an activity that three generations enjoyed immensely. Can’t wait to go back!

Guacamole – Rowe style

Several years ago my sister in-law Laura, went Paleo. I think she has since reverted a little, but she taught me how easy and simple guacamole really is. When I see store bought mixes filled with powders to add to fresh avocados, I shudder. One does not need anything but basic ingredients for this mashed goodness filled with healthy unsaturated fats to feed your brain.

Step 1
-Go to the store and buy 2 avocados. Not sure if its ripe enough? Gently squeeze. If there is a little give, then they are good to go. If they are super firm, they are super unripe. If you have time, you can get those and stash them in a paper bag over night to use tomorrow. Or the next day. But I digress.

-Get a lemon or lime. This is total personal preference and I will usually alternate depending on my mood.

-A tomato.

-Diced garlic. I cheat here an get the pre-diced stuff. A good friend of mine thinks that is heresy, but I don’t like the smell of garlic on my hands for the rest of the night. Call me picky if you must.

-Cilantro if that’s how you roll. I don’t really like it in my guacamole, but you might. If I make you guac, it will be without this tasty herb.

Step 2.
Slice your ripe but not over-ripe alligator pears (aka avocados) in 1/2. Twist and separate. Grab your knife firmly and thwack it into the seed. Twist and remove the seed. Scoop out the avocados into a decent sized bowl.

20130928-145648.jpg Here is Riley learning the fine art of avocados. (We’ve learned the best way to get him to try new foods is to have him make them.)

Once you’ve scooped out both avocados, slice your lemon/lime in 1/2 and squeeze the juice on top of the avocado. I usually do this through a strainer, but I also dislike seeds and pulp in my dip. Your choice. Now take a fork and smash it all together until its as creamy or chunky as you like. I usually add in the diced garlic here and it is purely by taste – usually about 1/2 a tablespoon.
Next up chop up your tomato and throw it in. Stir and taste. Got enough garlic? Tomato? Lemon/lime juice? Good. Grab your favorite chips, pita bread or whatever and eat.

We were out of tomatoes when we made guacamole last time. But that is the great thing about it. You can customize it to your hearts desire. The main thing is good avocado and some citrus juice to keep it from browning. No more store bought stuff with preservatives, MSG, and who knows what else, ok?


23 and me versus Forty-six & 2.

This came in the mail yesterday. Apparently it is now all the rage to get your genes tested to find out what illnesses you need to watch out for. I admit I am curious about it. They stated in the letter that two years ago testing was $499 and last year it dropped to $299. Now it is the low low price of $99. At this rate, I can wait two years and pay only $25.

When I first opened this letter, this video below started playing in my head. It’s been on constant rotation ever since. The two are related…. Sort of.

forty six and 2

Would you get genetic testing? Why?