Monday, December 29, 2014

Third Times a Charm

We went back for the THIRD day in a row, on Christmas Eve, and finally made it in to Vizcaya! Haha. Sterling laughed that we were twenty minutes early, but there was already a line and when we left there was a BIG line, so I'm glad we were early. 

On our way there we were meandering a bit through the old part of Coral Gables (my favorite part of Miami) and came across this old church. Is it not the prettiest sight?!?! It was completely stone-fenced in, and it looked just like some old abbey/monastery you would see from the 1700s. So pretty.

Waiting to get in to the museum.

The downside of this post is that they don't allow cameras inside the house. No pictures. There is absolutely no way you could even imagine the intricacy and immense opulence of that house. I could not get over it and I saw it in person. Every single room we walked into I just about died again. I have never seen anything like it. 

So this guy in the early 1900s, during the American Renaissance, wanted to build an estate for his summer home (winter home? can't remember now) and it was the biggest one in all of Florida. It is right on the ocean and it was acres and acres and it was all gardens and this one incredible house. So, in following with the American Renaissance, he imported all this hugely expensive and old stuff from Europe. Mostly everything is imported and all of it is dated back to the 1700s or so and thats about as rough of an idea as I can give you. The house was just unreal. Every single tiny centimeter was covered in filigree and gold and paintings and....just such detail! Maybe its a good thing they didn't allow pictures, this would be a REALLY long post! Haha.

You had to pay extra for an audio tour, which we didn't do, so we didn't know what we were getting into or where to go first, so we rounded this corner and suddenly it was glistening sun on water and I fell IN. LOVE. Gloriously beautiful. 

The ship behind me had a little pool inside of it once upon a time, but the water is higher now I guess.

Gorgeous, look at that sparkling water he walked right out of his house to enjoy!

So incredible!
Ok, so this pool looked way more cool in real life. See the steps underneath the openings going down into it? Right from his house.
He had a pretty neat orchidarium.

In the gift shop!
Ruth had to try out all the staircases.

Snack break. Not sure if food was allowed, technically.

This area was more overgrown. If nobody consistently cut away at Miami's intense jungle, it would all be overgrown within a week, I am convinced.

Asian sight-seeing photo bombers.

Even the outdoor archways had incredible ceilings.

Cool sea shell ceiling.

Crazy orange and cobalt blue lizard, too bad this picture doesn't show how incredibly bright it was!

I wasn't sure I would feel this way, after having to make THREE trips to get there, but it was MORE than worth it! I really wish I could show pictures of the inside, it was beyond amazing. We loved our trip! Also, Ruth did such a great job at walking and staying happy. We didn't have a stroller like we usually do and she was a trooper and just walked right along. She did get tired of the unending spiral staircases inside, and the fact that she couldn't touch ANYTHING inside the house, but I was so impressed with her. It was such a great day!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

No Vizcaya

Will loves to squish Molly. I love looking at her squished cheeks and lips---cutest!
Our library system here is awesome. I'm sure I've posted about story time that we go to every Wednesday--the kids *love* it. Ruth is currently downstairs watching Cinderella for the first time, while Will naps, courtesy of our library, and they have an incredible museum program! There are about 9 different museum/parks that you can get free passes to through the library. They go pretty quick and so you have to watch for one to come available, but luckily there were some there last time I asked. We got tickets for Vizcaya Museums and Garden, which is an $18 entrance fee per person, so we were really psyched to go! Monday morning we got up early and went running, had a beautiful big breakfast and headed out to the museum. Got there only to realize I had forgotten one carrier (no strollers allowed in certain areas so we needed a carrier for Molly and Will) and my camera. I was SO sad. Half hour drive for nothing. (Although, pretty much anywhere is a half hour drive in Miami.) We decided we still had the next day completely free, so we'd use that day for errands and stuff and come back with our camera the next day. 

We ran a lot of errands after that. It was miserable. No one should leave errands to the week of Christmas in a city that already has a massive traffic problem. We spent way too long in the car. Our kids did pretty great though, and we stopped at a park on the way to Walmart (that's how long it takes to get places here, you have to break like a road trip!) and they had a great time there. 

The next morning we got up bright and early, checked and double checked that we had everything for Vizcaya and headed out. Ruth was really excited for the "zoo-seum" since we had now been telling her we'd go for two days in a row. Drove thirty minutes there only to find it was closed. It was not a happy discovery. I did remember reading it on the website that it closed Tuesdays, but I hadn't even thought about it the day before when we'd forgotten the camera. Another hour of driving for naught. Sigh. 

We decided we needed to lighten the mood so on our way home we stopped at this little market we had noticed while driving. So cute, with a little sign that said "Home of the Famous Strawberry Shake" so naturally, we had to see if it was good!

Will with our shake.
 The shake WAS delicious! The entire thing was gone in about a minute flat, so I think that attests to the greatness of the shake. I love fresh strawberry shakes. They also had a lot of fresh little Cuban food things (I am blanking on the name right now) and Sterling and I really want to go back now and try it sometime.

The day before Sterling had been suckered into buying some gingerbread kits---they were worth every cent. The kids had a GRAND time and it kept the whole family occupied for well over an hour. Even Will did extremely well with putting tiny candies onto his bits of frosting. I was super impressed and I think this might need to go down as a Haws tradition forever. It was such a great time!

Even Molly loved it! Haahaa.

Another tradition was started when Sterling decided to pull out his guitar. Christmas carols! The kids danced around while Sterling started in on some new callouses:). It was awesome. 

We tuckered Molly right out. Poor girl started teething in earnest.

Giving mom kisses!
 He's finally learning more words! He can say 'bike!" "car!" "Beep!" 'train!' and instead of saying mama, he now yells MOM! I'll have to start keeping track, but his words are becoming more and more enunciated now and its so sweet and cute and sort of sad all at the same time.

Oh I love him!
So sweet. Those little round cheeks and lips and perfect eyelashes!
We waited until the last minute to decide on going to the Zoo Miami lights. It cost to get in (even though we have a membership) and we weren't sure it would be worth it. Luckily, it was cheaper online, so we decided to try it out. I think it ended up being 11 bucks for all of us.

3d glasses.
 Funny story. When we first got in and were handed the 3d glasses, Sterling turned and pointed and said "Do you see the giraffes?", so I put mine on and said "Hon, they're elephants." This discussion went on for a bit with both of us saying emphatically how we could not be seeing what the other person said they were seeing. Until Sterling said we should try each other's glasses. The glasses were different! Haahaa, oops! Some glasses made elephants and some made giraffes. It was a pretty neat effect, I must say. 
Pro daddy with two kids.

These palm trees were set to music--I LOVE that! The fact that it was transiberian orchestra was extra awesome!
Thank you, nice lady, for snapping our picture in front of the massive Christmas tree!
They had fake snow machines (bubbles) all around and Ruth was absolutely enchanted by them. She thought they were the greatest!
"Some falled on my nose!" 
 Ruth didn't like this giraffe at first, but it won her over because it was wearing a tutu!

Usually it's pretty expensive to ride the carousel, but it was actually cheaper for the Zoo lights! We saw the sign that said you had to have a parent for a child under 42 inches but they could ride free, so we thought we'd be paying for at least two tickets, but the nice lady waved the kids in and we only payed for Sterling to take them, so I am really glad we decided to let them ride! Ruth LOVED it! She was so proud to tell me she had ridden the Fla-MING-o!

And yes, we were looking at Christmas lights in 75 degree weather with shorts and t-shirts on, so crazy!