Dressed for Success

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ALL ABOARD! With gold tickets in hand and the boys dressed in their pajamas, we boarded The Polar Express in Tavares, Florida, for our trip to the North Pole…

Polar Express Tickets

Today’s experience was our Christmas gift from the boys’ Godparents, Chris and Sherrie, and is based on the more-than-30-year-old Christmas classic, The Polar Express, by Chris Van Allsberg, and the 2004 animated movie directed by Robert Zemeckis.

Prairie Dogs

Each car in the train had it’s own steward (ours was named “Hannah”), who directed all of the show’s activities, including the conductor visit, the hobo, the reading of the story by the author, singing Christmas carols, and the hot chocolate song complete with dancing waiters in the isle. She also punched the tickets, of course…

Steward Hannah Tickets Punched

When we reached the North Pole, Santa joined us and presented all the kids on the train with “the first gift of Christmas,” a silver bell…

Santa

The whole experience lasted just over an hour and was well worth the two-hour drive to Tavares! Although Adam questioned: 1) why the trip to the North Pole only took 30-minutes (“because the movie was two-hours”); 2) why, upon reaching the North Pole, there was no snow; 3) why Santa’s gray mustache wasn’t white like his beard; and 4) why he couldn’t have more hot chocolate.

( sigh )

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We’re a little late getting our Christmas pictures done (what else is new, right? ;-P ). Anyway, here’s what we’re going with this year…

Christmas Tree

Just the boys and their dog…

Boys and their dog

And something to embarrass them when they’re older and dating…

Boys and their dog

Moo-ha-ha.

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So, how do you top a great Thanksgiving dinner at Disney? How about snow tubbing and ice sculptures in sunny Florida? This afternoon we visited the Gaylord Palms Resort for ICE! Featuring Christmas from Around the World. It was a great afternoon, but first, we had to pick-up some caps and gloves for the boys…

Christmas Tree

Naturally, I was wearing shorts, which in the end was really short-sighted…

Christmas Tree

Then, we were outfitted with parkas for what was to be an 9°F winter wonderland experience (and underneath the parka, I was still wearing shorts!)

ICE!

It was fun at first…

ICE!

but, it got colder…

ICE!

and colder…

ICE!

and we didn’t even WORK there!

ICE!

Still, it was pretty amazing and the ice sculptures were beautiful…

ICE! ICE!

especially, the Nativity scene!

ICE!

After the ICE! display, we took a minute or two to warm-up, then visited the Ginger Bread Room…

ICE!

where we built a ginger bread house…

ICE! ICE!
ICE! ICE!

TA-DA! (although I’m not quite sure how much candy went on the house and how much went into Adam’s mouth!)

ICE!

And to cap-off the afternoon, there was snow balls…

ICE!

and some ice sledding!

ICE!

What a blast! (an icy blast, but still a blast!)

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It’s here…it’s finally here! The boys have been going on about Halloween for a couple of weeks now and counting down the days. Soon their coffers will be filled with CANDY!

This year, Adam was a S.W.A.T. officer, and Alex was the Red Power Ranger. Long gone are the days they would dress in similar costumes, as each year they become more and more diverse in their interests. But hey, they’re both crime fighters this year, right?

SWAT and Power Ranger

This year Charlie even got into the act, as a Rocker with his jean jacket and guitar…

Charlie Rocker

Meanwhile, in Alabama, grandkids Oliver and Carter John look AWESOME as Woody and Buzz…

Woody and Buzz

and Kameran was Barb from Stranger Things. I think she did a great job!

Kam and Barb

As expected, the boys cleaned-up on Candy…enough to last them into December. And Charlie absolutely loved the walk (and the attention).

Happy Halloween

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There’s no rain today and Adam’s ready to PLAY BALL!

Batter Up

It was a great game and Adam got his first hit on his first time at bat in “kid pitch” baseball. He also stole his first base and was quite pleased with himself. 🙂

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It’s the first day of school. Wow. The summer just flew by! The boys don’t look too upset, though.

2d Grade

Let’s make it a GREAT YEAR!

2d Grade

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So, we slept-in a little this morning, then went downstairs for some breakfast. It was a bright and sunny day and we were all looking forward to spending the day in the water. It was probably about 10:00 a.m., when we walked out on the resort’s private beach. The concession folks already had our loungers and umbrellas up, so we set-up camp and got busy r-e-l-a-x-i-n-g…

Set-up

We had a magnificent view…

View

and the water felt great!

Cindy and the Boys

We lounged on the beach and swam until the late afternoon…

Alex Adam

when we packed-up and headed to the pool for drinks and a bite to eat…and more swimming! Of course, we have to pause for a family picture…

Family on the Boardwalk

The pool area is very nice…

Resort Pool

and I’m soon in need of another drink!

I need another drink

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The Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp is the new name for the Marlins’ AA baseball team formerly known as the Jacksonville Suns. I grew-up with the Suns, so am not too keen on the new name, but Adam and Alex are on board! I guess the silly naming convention used in the minor leagues really does appeal to the kids. Still, I miss my Suns.

JS Sign

Anyway, today was “free hat” day at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville, so the boys and I tried our luck at being one of the first 1,000 through the gates to get a hat. Alas, we weren’t, so I just bought hats at the “Shrimp Shop”.

So, wearing our new Jumbo Shrimp hats, and with hot dogs, pretzels, and peanuts in hard, we made our way to our seats along the first base line.

Adam Alex

I was surprised at the crowd here today…

Crowd

The game was great! The Shrimp were playing the Mississippi Braves. The Braves were up 2-1 until the bottom of the 6th when Cal Towey hit a 2-run double putting the Shrimp in the lead for the first time. The Braves came back and tied it up 3-3 in the top of the 9th, but then, the Shrimp’s John Norwood hit a walk-off homer to give Jax the game!

John Norwood

It was a great game and the boys and I had a LOT of fun!! Of course, the highlight of the game for Alex was meeting Jacksonville’s new mascot, “Scampi”…

Alex and Scampi

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Well, our first year in the scouts is coming to an end. Adam and Alex, and the rest of the Den 1 boys, have been working hard to earn their Tiger rank, completing “adventures” and earning belt loops…

Belt Loops

and tonight they successfully advanced. The ceremony was held at the Pack Meeting with a ceremonial bridge crossing that symbolized their transition from Tiger Scout to Wolf. I stood at the entrance to the bridge and removed their orange Tiger neckerchief, while Cindy, our Den Leader, met them on the other side to put on their new yellow Wolf neckerchief.

Alex crosses the bridge…

Alex Crosses Alex Neckerchief

then Adam crosses…

Adam Crosses Adam Neckerchief

Nice work, boys! We’re very proud of you.

Tiger Rank

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Today was the Second Annual Mom and Son Nerf War. One of Cindy’s friends first put this together last year after her son commented that his sister got to go to the Daddy-Daughter dance, but there was nothing for him to do. And the rest is history!

As the event gets underway, Alex is packed and ready to go with his Nerf vest full of ‘bullets’ and Adam is talking strategy with his crew…

Alex is ready Adam is ready

They had a great time this afternoon, although Cindy says she feels a little sore after all the running around. Adam naturally says the kids won the war, but it really doesn’t matter. After all, the great memory of this day will overshadow any perceived victory.

Mom and the Boys

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