Friday, May 20, 2016

Last day

Our last morning we sent Chris off to the Kennedy Space Center early to get ready for the teams first official run.  And since it was slated to be stormy all day we decided to head to the beach first thing to soak up the partially clear sky while we could. We didn't bring any chairs or toys or anything.  We just basically walked along the beach looking for shells and the kids waded. The waves are just so fun and the water was warm. 

The weather was still holding up so we went swimming in the pool again. Everyone keeping their shirts on for fear of getting sunburned again. We had a lot of fun with the hotel's floating air mattress and we found the ideal floating combination for Freddy. He likes to be in his life jacket in a ring. He likes to rest his chin on the edge and kick his feet to move him wherever he wants to go.

We went up to the hotel to shower and get dressed and have naps/TV/quiet time and then went shopping at the Ron John's Surf Shop that we had seen lots of signs on the freeway advertising.  It was pretty cool. I don't think I've ever seen so many swim suits. I let the kids pick out one thing to buy and Mom treated us to an extra frisbee and headband and a tshirt for Chris. Meanwhile I've been texting Chris and found out that State's first official run went poorly due to some mechanical failure.  The big storm still hadn't really hit yet so we decided to meet Chris at one of the putt putt golf places nearby. Pretty fun. Towards the middle it started to thunder and lightening nearby so we hurried the through to 18. 

The putt putt place also advertised feeding or holding alligators. I totally wasn't up for letting the kids do it mostly because I was just tired of the whining and not wanting to give the kids anything extra but Grandma splurged and purchased (for not very much money anyway) a few cups of alligator feed  - hot dogs. They had fishing poles to hang the hot dog on and then you could have fun dangling it and choosing which alligator to try and feed. It was really fun. I'm so glad Mom suggested it. It was a highlight memory for me. 

Then back to the hotel to eat another crockpot meal and put the kids to bed. Once they were asleep, Mom stayed in our hotel room so Chris and I could have a little date.  We thought maybe we'd go out to eat dessert somewhere but I was tired and full from dinner still and so we just drove around a bit and got gas. It was dark and the lightning storm was crazy just south of us. We decided last minute just to try and walk along the beach for a bit. I'm so glad we did. We sat in the sand and watched the lightening storm in the so pretty and peaceful.  I couldn't last more than a 10 minutes or so because I really was exhausted and I went to bed and Chris went off to try and help get the robot ready for the final run the next day.

Then Thursday Chris helped get the car packed and Mom and I started the 13 hour drive back home to Starkville.  I didn't have any meals prepared but we had enough snacks to basically last us until an early dinner. Mom did a lot of the driving this time around, and we just talked the whole time and let the kids watch lots of movies. Fastest 13 hour drive I can ever remember. :)  Chris texted and explained that the robots final run was a half bust because half-way through one of the wheels got a little stuck and the motor got disconnected and basically couldn't move. Bummer. He's trying to talk the team into planning even further ahead for next year (with more concrete deadlines) and they've got plans to work on it over this summer.  

I'm not positive we'll go again next year, but it was fun to experience Florida's East Coast for the first time and see the context of the robotic mining competition.  I am SO GLAD my mom could come out and explore with us. She is such a great traveling companion, conversationalist, likes to spoil the kids in moderation, enjoys being in new places and is always happy to help however she is needed.

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