December 2013

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…were the guardians of peace and justice in the Old Republic.

Jedi Battles

Before the Dark Times; before the Empire; before lightsabers were commercially available to Everyone.

Alas.

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Mary and Jesus

15 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, β€œLet us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. 17 Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. 18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. Luke 2:15-19 (NKJV)

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

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2013 Christmas Card

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Last night we took the boys to the Avenues Mall to visit Santa. Now one could certainly argue the sanity in attempting this 2-days before Christmas, but being the parents of twins, sanity is relative.

As expected, the line was pretty long and I held our place, while Cindy took the boys and did a little shopping. The wait was about an hour and the family returned just before it was our turn with the “Jolly Old Elf.”

Like some people have a fear of clowns, Alex in past years was absolutely terrified of Santa Claus! We didn’t know quite what to expect this year, but are always ready for ANYTHING. Alex was a little skittish at first, but with a little assistance from Daddy, could endure being next to this strange bearded fellow. That was all it took! Alex was good-to-go after that! They boys told Santa what they wanted for Christmas and asked if he saw “Chippy” every day (Chippy is their Elf on the Shelf).

It was well worth the wait!

Santa, Daddy, and the Boys Santa and the Boys
Santa and Adam Santa and Alex

Ya know, I guess when you think about it, this guy is a little creepy! πŸ™‚

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Each year, kids from the local high school that are taking American Sign Language as a foreign language come to the boys elementary school to work with the kids and teach them sign language. Their work culminates in an annual Christmas show where the elementary school kids sing and sign Christmas songs.

Alex and Adam were very excited to participate in the show. Alex’s class sang “We Wish You A Merry Christmas”…

Alex Signs

While Adam’s class sang, “All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth”, of course, Adam’s signing was interspersed with waves to mom and dad…

Adam Waves

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The boys pose for a picture in front of the makeshift Rudolph that adorns the front yard this Holiday season…

Boys with Lights

And here’s the house…

Christmas Lights

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Today is the boys 5th birthday! They woke up early to discover what goodies had come their way!

Birthday Boys

Of course, we have the traditional two-cakes-in-the-shape-of-their-age because we can’t have just ONE! Actually, this year we really DID have to have two, as Cindy was taking them to the school for the boys’ classes to enjoy. So, one for each class!

Birthday Cakes

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This morning we got an early start with a 8:30 reservation at the Crystal Palace on Main Street USA. We caught the first monorail over, none the worst for wear after two whirlwind days at the Magic Kingdom…

Joe and Cin

It’s great to get into the park before it opens to the general public. A great time for a family photo…

The Fam

The Crystal Palace is a great place for kids. The boys love the Winnie-the-Pooh characters that make the rounds there. Notice that Alex is not in the picture with Eeyore…he wanted to meet all of the characters EXCEPT him. I guess he didn’t want the droopy donkey’s “Oh, Bother” to bring him down…

Pooh Tigger Eeyore

After breakfast we headed for the Haunted Mansion to avoid what was going to be a long line as the day progressed. The boys were a little skittish at first, but had a great time with the ghosts and ghouls by the time it was over!

Haunted Mansion

We actually got a lot of rides in today, and the lines weren’t nearly as long as I thought they were going to be. We even rode the Peter Pan ride twice, as Alex simply LOVED it!

I suppose the big milestone for the boys today was their first ride on a roller coaster! They saw the “Big Thunder Mountain Railroad” and wanted to give it a whirl, so we checked their height against the little chart at the gate and they made the cut. When the ride was over, they were so excited and wanted to go again, so we got a FastPass and arranged to return in a couple of hours. This time, Cindy hung behind to take a pic or two…

Rollercoaster Rollercoaster

I even got Alex to hold his arms in the air as we went around the track! Adam raised his arms are we rode up the lift, but clung to the rail as we went over the top!

Rollercoaster

With the success of Big Thunder Mountain, I checked-out Space Mountain, but alas, they boys were just a couple of inches too short! Maybe next year!

Taking a break to get something to drink, I caught this sweet picture of the boys together with Alex resting his head in his brother’s lap. Sweet, of course, until you look a little closer and see Adam annoying his brother by sticking his finger in his ear!

Stroller Stroller

And no day at Disney would be complete without some Photopass extortion, but hey, it’s for the kids, right? πŸ˜‰ Seriously, though, it’s like their meeting their favorite actors!

Stitch Buzz Donald Duck
Goofy Hugs for Jessie

The unanswered question: How could Mickey be over there taking pictures and over here dancing on the stage? I guess that’s why they call it the MAGIC Kingdom!

Castle Performance

As the day wound down, we stopped for a ride on the carousel that we’d had walked past 4 or 5 times throughout the day!

Hugs for Jessie

Time to head home…

Castle Sunset

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Day 2 of our latest Disney adventure started off with a visit to the Shades of Green for breakfast and to pick up our 4-day park-hoppers (not that we plan on spending 4 days park-hopping, but the passes are good for a year, and we’ll be back). Anyway, today is the boys “birthday celebration” at Hollywood Studio. As we prepared to go, the boys were very excited to see that “Chippy”, our Elf on the Shelf, had made himself a little bed out of Alex’s hat, and was chillin’ in the back of the van! They were surprised and amazed that he was able to find them at Disney World! I guess that Christmas magic gives him a certain amount of clairvoyance, so they better be good πŸ˜‰

Chippy

Upon our arrival at the park, we immediately visited the Jedi Training Academy to sign the boys up for a course of instruction that would ultimately earn them the title of “Padawan” or “Jedi in training”. In my day, they’d simply be known as “grasshopper” (and yesterday’s pebbles have been replaced by lightsabers!).

Jedi Training Academy

Having successfully enrolled the boys in the 7:00 p.m. class, we raced to “Star Tours”. Adam was so excited, we could hardly keep-up with him!

Star Tours Adam at Star Tours Adam at Star Tours

Everywhere we went, the park staff were wishing A2 “HAPPY BIRTHDAY” (due to the little pins they wore informing everyone that it was their birthday). They even got some free ice cream from one of the vendors…

Free Ice Cream

As is always the case, we can’t walk down the street without stopping for photo-ops with popular Disney characters, like Wreck It Ralph and Penelope von Sweets

Wreck It Ralph

The kids really get a kick out of meeting the characters, although dad really fails to see the point in and gets very impatient having to wait in line for a photo that we rarely enjoy both boys smiling at the same time and the the park is going to charge a bizillion dollars for via Photopass. I’m telling you, “IT’S A SCAM!” Cindy just says, “Quit your bitchin'” ( sigh )

We had a late lunch-early supper at Hollywood and Vine where the boys got to meet some of their favorite Disney Jr. characters, like Jake of the “Neverland Pirates” fame. No Photopass cameraman in sight, so I’m okay with it. Of course, the meal cost a bizillion dollars, so who needs the Photopass, right? The food WAS very good, though!

The boys and Jake

In recognition of their special day, the boys enjoy a big, fat birthday cupcake!

Alex birthday cupcake Adam birthday cupcake

After an afternoon of walking and riding and walking and standing in line to meet Disney characters and walking, the moment of truth had arrived! It’s was 7:00 p.m. and time for the boys to attend the Jedi academy! They presented their credentials (i.e. the ticket they had received earlier) and were each given their Padawan robe…

Jedi Jedi

The younglings lined up with other apprentices and went through a grueling series of Star Wars trivia questions to which Adam or Alex responded to every one. Next, they lined-up and exited to the Jedi training area where they were going to receive instruction and be tested. Somewhere along the route, Alex decided this wasn’t for him and like Luke Skywalker’s Uncle Owen, said “phooey” to this Jedi training stuff. Adam, on the other hand, much like Luke himself, endured the training and got the opportunity to fight Darth Vader…

Padawan Adam meets Darth Vader

And much like Uncle Owen, who if you’ll remember from Star Wars Episode IV, ultimately came to regret his lack of interest in learning Jedi, Alex had a change of heart and wanted to do the Padawan thing! Alas, he’ll have to wait until our next visit…or maybe, Christmas! πŸ˜‰

We finished the evening enjoying the beautiful light show ala the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights on the Streets of America

Christmas Lights

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Back at Disney! Seems like we were just here! Anyway, here we are, ready for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, that is, naturally, SOLD OUT!

Ready for Disney Sold Out

So, I’m thinking that the park was gonna be EXTREMELY crowded, but it turned out to be no so bad! The ride over on the ferry was pleasant, although Alex wasn’t too fond of the crossing at first. The sun was just going down and painted the sky…

Sunset at Disney

Exiting the ferry, we rented a stroller-cart-rickshaw and started-up main street to secure our place on the street for the parade. Did I say the crowd wasn’t too bad??

Mainstreet

We found the perfect location for the parade: Right at the corner of the turn they make onto mainstreet! Since we had about 1-1/2 hours before the parade started, I held our position while Cindy took the boys on a ride or two. Unfortunately, Cindy adn the boys missed the castle lighting. I saw it of course, as I had been standing with our stroller-rickshaw thing and waving people off our position…

Castle Lighting Castle Lighting

Castle Lighting Castle Lighting

Castle Lighting

After what seemed like FOREVER and almost coming to blows with a couple of would-be usurpers, the parade began. And just as we thought, we had the best seat in the house!

Disney Christmas Parade Disney Christmas Parade Disney Christmas Parade Disney Christmas Parade Disney Christmas Parade Disney Christmas Parade

After the parade was over, we hit the rides…

Peter Pan, the People Mover (Alex loves this!), Buzz Lightyear, the Teacups…

Teacups

Whoa! I’m dizzy just watching! and the Grand Prix Raceway…

Grand Prix Raceway Grand Prix Raceway

On the way out of the park, we stopped for a picture with the Dwarves…

Seven Dwarves

The boys had a BLAST! Dad didn’t mind it too much, either…

Memories

Tomorrow, we’re off to Disney Hollywood Studios for the boys Birthday Celebration!

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