The last two weeks of vacation in Florida flew by. We finally went to Disney World, but we skipped Magic Kingdom in favor of Animal Kingdom. We went on a bus safari and saw lions and elephants and a baby giraffe. We played in fountains, rode on flying dinosaurs, and played in a dino-themed playground. I even won a stuffed turtle for our son at the retro carnival section, and I haven’t won anything at one of those since I got a goldfish at a county fair in Jr. High.

We were even able to cap it all off with family character photos with Goofy, Pluto, Mickey and Minnie. It was a lot of fun (even though A missed his nap and was a monster that evening), and I was really impressed by the amount of detail they put into the décor. But that’s one of the reasons I always liked the country pavilions at Epcot Center. They were so realistic.

Safari vehicle at Animal Kingdom.

Safari vehicle at Animal Kingdom.

Baby giraffe and family.

Baby giraffe and family.

Elephant and tree.

Elephant and tree.

Wall detail in the Asian deer enclosure.

Wall detail in the Asian deer enclosure.

We also spent a few hours at Old Town in Kissimmee. My hubby went on both the Vomitron and the largest sling shot in the world (over 200 feet high). I, on the other hand, got motion sick on the teacups and had to get off the ride.

We met up with my awesome previously-mentioned girlfriend and wandered around the little shops, including the candy store where we had chocolate-covered bacon (yes, it was nasty), rootbeer floats and cotton candy…all of them firsts for our son. I was very sad to say good-bye to her at the end of the day. I hadn’t seen her since 2005, and I really hope it won’t be another seven years before we see her again. I’d almost forgotten how wonderful and what a great friend she was. I miss her already!

Chocolate-covered bacon...blech.

Chocolate-covered bacon…blech.

We also managed to get to the beach one more time and follow that up with Kennedy Space Center. I was super excited to see the shuttle Atlantis on display. Our son, on the other hand, is currently obsessed with Angry Birds and only had eyes for Angry Birds Space. But we still got some great photos.

Kennedy Space Center.

Kennedy Space Center.

Throwing birds in Angry Birds Space!

Throwing birds in Angry Birds Space!

Future astronaut.

Future astronaut.

Shuttle Atlantis!

Shuttle Atlantis!

Our departure from Orlando was fairly painless. I dropped my hubby off at the curb in front of the check-in counters with 500 bags and the cat and drove around to drop off the rental car with our son. We’d given ourselves two and a half hours so that we wouldn’t panic at any point, and it really came in handy…especially when the cat crapped in her carrier in the security line.

But the flight to DC was short, and my hubby’s parents and sister picked us up at the airport and drove us to our temporary accommodation at Oakwood. Unfortunately, they still didn’t have any two-bedrooms (we’d been on a waiting list for a few months), so our son is sleeping in a crib in the living room. I was going to put him on a trundle bed since he’s almost three and has been sleeping in a big-boy bed since January. But we didn’t want him roaming the living room/dining room/kitchen area at night by himself. And he didn’t fight the crib, so there it is.

And I do love being at FSI, you meet the most interesting people. The instructor of my current OMS class was in the Air Force for 22 years and was a flight attendant on Air Force One. How amazing is that? I’ve also run into two girls from a previous class and one person from our embassy in Belize. The Foreign Service really is such a small world.

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