Eating Well

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Well this morning, we started the second leg of our vacation, traveling down A1 to Key West…and in Florida, this is where the road ends.

Where the road ends

of course, it’s also where the road begins…

Where the road begins

We’re staying at Hilton’s Grand Tree Resort; it’s in a good location and pretty close to everything!

Grand Tree Resort

It was a pretty night in town and we couldn’t come to the Conch Republic without visiting Jimmy Buffet’s original “Margaritaville”…

Margaritaville

and after we enjoyed our Cheeseburgers in Paradise (and Margarita’s for mom and I)…

Cheeseburger in Paradise

we ventured down the street for a bit of sightseeing. This is where we encountered the nice man with a parrot…

Parrot Parrot

Parrot Parrot

Parrot Parrot

And how can one visit the southernmost tip of the United States without getting a picture in front of the marker?

Southernmost Tip of Florida

Tomorrow we’re looking forward to some more fun in the sun!

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What better way to round-out a perfect weekend than to take a boat to dinner…

Going to Clarke's Going to Clarke's

This is Clarke’s Fish Camp on Julington Creek. It’s one of our favorite places to go for seafood.

Going to Clarke's

And judging from the number of boats here already, we’re not the only one’s who enjoy this secluded hideaway…

Going to Clarke's

Inside the restaurant, there’s stuffed animals EVERYWHERE! Lions, Tigers, Bears, Zebras, Apes, and this Giraffe right over our table…

Going to Clarke's

As always, the dinner was great! Adam commented that he was “so heavy” because he ate so much (that kid can put away some shrimp!). So, now we leave Clarke’s and head back up Julington Creek…

Leaving Clarke's

It’s still early in the evening, we have a pretty good amount of daylight left and the boys aren’t quite ready to go home…

Leaving Clarke's

So, …

Leaving Clarke's

It just doesn’t get any better than this!

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It’s been a l-o-n-g week, so tonight we took a break and visited a great neighborhood restaurant…the Julington Creek Fish Camp. Where we enjoyed a nice quiet seafood dinner and the sunset on the marina.

Sunset on Julington Creek

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Well, the boys were up at 5:00 a.m. and a few minutes later they were at the side of the bed informing me that Santa had indeed visited them while they slept. This was a great relief for Adam because he was almost certain he was on the naughty list. Anyway, everyone else was still snoozing, so I started some coffee and the boys brought their stockings to the front of the tree…

Boys with their stockings

Fortunately, Santa had left the boys enough in their stockings to keep them occupied until the coffee was done and everyone was up. Then, we passed-out the presents and they went to town…

Opening presents

Opening presents

My favorite presents every year are the one’s the boys’ buy at their school’s Christmas shop…

Opening presents Opening presents

After the gifts were opened and the wrapping paper, boxes, and other packaging were cleared-out, we retired to the kitchen for breakfast, which included Cindy’s specialty, reindeer pancakes, for the boys…

Reindeer Pancakes

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Today’s the DAY! The boys are EIGHT-years-old and what better way to celebrate this momentous occasion than with a STAR WARS JEDI TRAINING PARTY?!? So, we invited about a bazillion of their closest friends…

Star Wars Invite

Of course, Mom and Dad still have A LOT to do to get ready for the party this afternoon, but before we get started, the boys’ enjoy the pre-party opening of presents…

Pre-Party

Cindy really went all-out with the decorations and the food! Which, of course, made much more work for ME! Not really, Cindy put almost all of this together herself!! All the food was Star Wars themed, like “Obi-Wan Kabobbies”, “Jedi Juice”, and “Edible Ewoks”.

Happy Birthday Banner

Food Food
Food Darth Vader Mister
Happy Birthday Banner The Force is Strong

And R2D2, C3PO, and Yoda came for the party, too…

R2D2 and C3PO Yoda

F-I-N-A-L-L-y it was time for the party, so the boys put on their Padawan garb and the kids arrived, then more kids came, then even more kids. We had several games planned that served as Jedi Training, like Balance-The-Balloon-On-The-Lightsaber, Death-Star-Hot-Potato, etc., so on. Each game had a little poem the Jedi Master Trainer would read to explain the rules of the game, like this one for the Emperors-Lightening-Bolt-Silly-String-Game…

With the dark side, the Emperor is strong
To defeat him, you’ll need a good jolt
You’ll show him with the Jedi you belong
If you can withstand his lightening bolt

So, the kids all had a can of silly string and like Adam…

Adam Silly String

There was also plenty of time for the kids to make-up their own games, like Alex and Westin…

Alex and Westin Alex and Westin

The highlight of the party was this huge Star Wars pinata! In fact, it was the only time we really got any semblance of organization from this rowdy group of Padawans…

Alex and the Pinata Adam and the Pinata

and when the Pinata finally busted open, it was a mad scramble to get the goodies!

Pinata Scramble

So, after a delicious dinner of “Hut” Dogs, the Boys’ were regaled with a chorus of the “Happy Birthday” song from their fellow Padawans…

Happy Birthday

And later that evening, after all of the Padawans had received their Jedi certificates and “goodie bags”, the boys started the day much like it began, with a post-party opening of presents…

After Party
After Party Alex After Party Adam

Yoda, who always seems to know just what to say, summed it up pretty well as he headed back to Dagobah: “A GREAT DAY IT WAS!”

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No work today! Just lounging by the pool, nibbling on cheese and fruit, and enjoying some liquid refreshment…

Labor Day Fun

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Mom is off to a R+F team-building weekend, so the boys and I decide to do a little team-building on the water…

Leaving the marina

We didn’t have anything really planned today, so we headed down past Green Cove Springs and found a quiet location to stop for lunch.

Lunch on the Water

Just beautiful…

Lunch on the Water

On the way back to the marina, we encounter a sunken sailboat. The boys thought that was pretty cool…it looked like Jack Sparrow’s boat. LOL

Sunken Sailboat

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It’s been a while since we’ve been to Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Of the four theme parks that make-up Walt Disney World, this is Cindy’s favorite. The first event of the day? Riding the Expedition Everest roller coaster!

Mt Everest Bridge

One of the shows can’t miss shows here is the Festival of the Lion King. We had Fast Passes for this and our seats were great! And for the show’s Grand Finale, Alex was asked to join-in!

Alex Lion King Alex Lion King

Too cool!

Alex Lion King

INTERLUDE: Something I never noticed before carved into the Tree of Life…it’s Cthulhu. Which, of course, no one appreciates, but me.

Tree of Life Cthulhu

Lunch today was at the Tusker House Restaurant. The food was great…probably the only place at Disney where you can get curry! And our Disney pals stopping by the table just enhance the experience…

Mickey Goofy
Daisy Donald

In the afternoon, we had a Fast Pass for the Kali River Rapids. The last time we rode this, Alex and I got soaked! This time, we change into our swim suits. Except me…I use a poncho!

Mom and Boys

After our trip down the rapids, during which I’m happy to say, we stayed pretty dry. We visited Baloo and Looie…and Louie’s antics were hilarious!

Baloo and Louie Baloo and Louie
Baloo and Louie Baloo and Louie
Baloo and Louie Baloo and Louie

On the way out of the park, after an exhaustingly FUN day, we stop for a final photo or two. And as is often the case with TWINS, no matter how many pictures you take, you can’t get the perfect pose from both of them in the same picture!

Boys x 4

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Cindy is off doing some scrap-booking, so me and the boys head up to Gators Dockside for dinner and to watch a little baseball. We sit outside, which is good, because the boys really got into the game!

Watching baseball with my buddies

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…and we’re visiting once again with the boys’ Godparents, Chris and Sherrie. They’re here from Virginia to enjoy the warm Florida Christmas and I can’t say I blame them. This afternoon, the boys enjoyed some time in the pool with their “Godbrother”, Chase, and this evening the grown-ups drank a little beer and grilled-out some steaks…

Big Rig

After dinner, we headed down the road to the St Augustine Beach Pier to enjoy the New Year’s Eve fireworks…

Fireworks Fireworks

Chris and Sherrie Me and the Boys

We had a great time, and on the way home there were a couple of very tired little boys that looked like this…

Adam Out

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