Neat Stuff

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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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The boys had a great week in Vacation Bible School and today they closed things out with an outdoor party complete with a cool water slide…

Water Slide Water Slide

What a blast!

Water Slide

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This afternoon, the twins, Alex and Adam, went to see the twins, Felonious and Dru! The movie was Despicable Me 3, where Felonious (known simply his last name, “Gru”) discovers his long-lost twin brother, Dru. The fact that they were twins was not lost on Alex and Adam, either! They thought it was pretty cool to have something in common with the Gru twins.

Despicable

Of course, they had to get pictures with Gru in his cool villain car…

Villain

Villain

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This weekend, Cindy took the boys to visit big sister Jessica in Alabama. They’ve been wanting to see “Baby Oliver” and Carter John and their new puppy, Cooper! Today the took a trip to Birmingham to visit the McWane Science Center and Cindy got a picture of all the boys. How she got them to sit still to do it, I’ll never know!

McWane Science Center

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Storms are in the forecast today, so we make a short day of our visit to the Experimental Prototype City of Tomorrow, otherwise known as EPCOT. The nice thing about having annual passes to Disney is you don’t feel like you have to get in as much “fun” as you can while you’re here. After all with a day pass, once the day is over, so is your fun. We’ll often visit one of the parks for just a few hours, then spend the rest of the day at the pool or doing some other activity. We love the flexibility it brings.

Anyway, we slept in a bit this morning, but the weather was pretty nice, so here we are…

Adam at EPCOT Alex at EPCOT

There’s a new “Frozen Ever After” ride in Norway in the world showcase we wanted to experience. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get FastPassed, so I waited in line while Cindy took the boys on something else. The wait was almost an hour, and Cindy and the boys arrived just in time to get on the ancient Norwegian boat for the ride through Arendelle (which essentially was a Fast Pass for them, right–Dad, the physical Fast Pass).

The ride was interesting (and fun) and wasn’t your typical Disney animatronics…

Anna and Elsa

Alex at EPCOT

When the ride was over, the boys wanted to go again, but I wasn’t up to waiting another hour in line (Dad-as-Fast-Pass duty gets old pretty quickly). So, we had lunch in China (next to Norway, of course) and then toured the World Showcase for a bit. It was clouding up by this time and the thunder was rumbling. We decided to make our way to the exit before the storm made it to the park.

We spent the rest of the afternoon playing games in the hotel room. This evening, we had a great dinner at Delmonico’s, where the inside of the men’s bathroom door says, “Women”, which momentarily threw me for a loop!

Delmonico's

HA!

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So, it’s Day 2 of our long Disney weekend and today we took in one of the water parks: Typhoon Lagoon…

Typhoon Lagoon Entrance

We’ve never taken advantage of Disney’s water parks before, so this year I included them in our annual passes. I’m glad I did because we had a blast! That was, of course, after we were through taking pictures…

Entering Typhoon Lagoon Entering Typhoon Lagoon

and a couple more…

Typhoon Lagoon Entrance

One with a frame…

Typhoon Lagoon Entrance

And finally, the FISH HEAD…

Typhoon Lagoon Entrance

So, we F-I-N-A-L-L-Y get to the beach and set-up our chairs…

Chairs

then we hit the pool…and not just ANY pool, it’s one of the world’s largest outdoor wave pools! It actually knocked me down and carried me several feet! We LOVED it!

Boys at Typhoon Lagoon Typhoon Lagoon

Mom and Alex

Dad and the boys

There were also several waterslides, one was family sized and we all road in it together. Alex was especially fond of this one…he liked it so much we had to ride it twice!

Big Raft

We actually closed-down the water park!

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Another reason for the family trip to SW Florida was so we could present this shadowbox to my father-in-law for his birthday. He served 20-years in the US Air Force, but he didn’t have ANY reminders of his service, they being lost to the passage of time. All he had were some papers in a briefcase he kept in his closet. Fortunately, one of those papers was his DD214, which contained most of the of the information needed to construct the shadowbox, and short conversation provided the rest.

Happy Birthday, “Poppy”…and thanks for your service!

Shadowbox

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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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…is the soundtrack to the new Guardians of the Galaxy movie. And, believe it or not, Mom wanted to see this movie on Mother’s Day. Cindy normally doesn’t care for SciFi movies, but Guardians is different. It’s incredibly funny and the music is, well, Awesome! And the way director, James Gunn, wove the tracks into the film is brilliant. I mean who would’ve thought “Come A Little Bit Closer” by Jay and the Americans or ELO’s “Mr. Blue Sky,” would work as the backdrop to the ultra-violence playing-out on the screen? How could ANYONE not LOVE this movie??

Anyway, we watched the movie in HD in these cool plush reclining chairs…

Guardians Movie

Naturally, after the movie, we had to pause for some pics with the Guardians of the Galaxy…

Guardians Movie

…and all Alex wanted was a picture with Rocket Raccoon…

Guardians Movie

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