Special Days

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It’s hard to believe the twins are 9-years-old! I can remember the day they were born as if it were yesterday! Cindy’s blood-pressure shot up the day before and it wouldn’t go down, so Dr. Christy scheduled the c-section for early the next morning. The procedure was quick and by early afternoon the boys were whisked off to the neonatal ICU (in a different hospital) as a precaution. Cindy only got to see them briefly before they were loaded in the ambulance for the trip across town. After about 24-hours both boys were thriving and we got to bring them home soon after. Then we didn’t sleep for a year! πŸ˜›

We sleep a lot better now, of course, and the boys are a lot of fun. Their birthday this year was a simple affair, with a few friends joining them yesterday afternoon at Rebounders, then coming to the house for pizza and cake…

Birthday Party

As usual, they each get a cake…

Birthday Party

This morning, they awoke to their presents, which featured a home-made toy train from “Poppy”…

Toy Train

and each was hauling 9 gold dollar coins…

Toy Train Toy Train
Toy Train Toy Train

And if that wasn’t enough, Mom and Dad got ’em brand new iPads…

iPads

All-in-all, not a bad birthday. I guess turning 9 is pretty great! When I turned 9, I think I got a toy Thompson sub-machine gun and a Partridge Family album. I shoulda put the Partridge Family on their iPads!

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So, this year we’re changing things up a bit and will enjoy our Thanksgiving dinner at my personal favorite Disney park: Disney Hollywood Studios!

Tram Ride DHS Statue

There was so much to do. We had our Fast Passes which made it pretty easy to get to the other activities we wanted to do…mainly just enjoying the Christmas music and awesome decorations,

Christmas Tree Christmas Tree

and…

SANTA!

Santa

Santa

Who also was seen doing a little breaking-and-entering…

Santa

Anyway, we scheduled an early dinner at Hollywood & Vine, where we got to mingle with the Disney characters…

to start, Goofy and I shot the breeze for a bit…

Dad and Goofy

then, we brought the family in…

Family and Goofy

And while we waited on Mickey and the gang, we helped ourselves to Thanksgiving dinner!

Thanksgiving Dinner Thanksgiving Dinner

And in-between going back for second helpings, we hung-out with some Disney VIPs…

Mickey Donald
Minnie Daisey

After dinner, it was just starting to get dark and the Christmas lights we all coming on. Mom and Alex toured the Pixar Studio area, while Adam and I made our way over to the Rockin’ Rollercoaster…and whoooosh!

Rocking Rollercoaster

And that about wrapped-up our day. We watched the light show on the Tower of Terror…

Lights

and stopped for one last picture…

Family

And best of all? NO DISHES TO WASH!!

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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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So, it’s the first total solar eclipse to be visible from the continental U.S. since 1979 and the first to cross the U.S. from coast to coast in 99 years. The next one that will be visible from the continental U.S. won’t be until April 8, 2024…

The total eclipse was viewable in the U.S. along a path from Oregon to Charleston, S.C. In North Florida, this is what we got…

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One of the benefits to being retired military is you still have access to all the bases in the country. Many of these bases are located on some pretty darn good real estate, like Key West’s Truman Annex,

Truman Annex

which is home to some prime beachfront…

Truman Annex

and we had it all to ourselves…

Truman Annex

Truman Annex

And with the campsite set-up, we’re ready to hit the water!

Truman Annex

Adjacent to the base beach is a state park, which is separated by a not-so-foreboding fence…

Truman Annex

which we walked around to rent some snorkeling equipment…

Truman Annex Truman Annex

and do some snorkeling…

Truman Annex

While walking on one of the trails in the State Park, we happened across this signpost. Good to know where we are in relation to other cities around the world, and it makes a nice postcard picture!

Truman Annex

We had a great time at the beach today. It was nice and quiet, which is amazing considering it’s the middle of summer! Ah, the perks of military service. It’s days like this that make all the family separations worthwhile!

Truman Annex

So, we packed-up and headed back to our hotel, where we took a dip in the pool and enjoyed a cocktail (Shirley Temples for the boys) before getting ready for dinner in town. What a way to end a great vacation! Tomorrow, we’ll be heading home.

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One of the great advantages to being a member of the Freedom Boat Club is you have access to boats all over the country. There just happens to be a boat club affiliate here! I arranged a boat to take the family off-shore prior to our arrival, so the folks had the boat rready and waiting when we arrived…

Boat Waiting

and in just a few minutes we were ready to cast-off!

The Sea EO

And we’re off…

The Sea EO

Heading across the bay…

Boat going out

Into the inlet and out to sea! As you can see, Adam like’s to sit next to the Captain πŸ™‚

The inlet

Destination? Anywhere!

Out to sea

We spent the afternoon on the open water. I’d open the throttle and we’d jump the waves at about 50-mph The boys had a blast! Every now and then, I’d slow to idle and we’d just sit on the water rocking back and forth with the rhythm of the ocean. It was wonderful!

Alex would lounge…

Alex lounge

Adam would pace (LOL)…

Adam paces

Cindy would pose…

Cindy poses

Me and Cindy

Beautiful and sooo peaceful!

Pano of Palm Beach Shores

one the way back to the marina, we decided to stop and visit Peanut Island, which is situated in the middle of Palm Beach Shore Harbor…

The boys on Peanut Island

It’s a great place to swim and snorkel, but very rocky!

Cindy and the boys on Peanut Island

This is the life!

Me and the boys on Peanut Island

We had a good time swimming and exploring the island, but alas, the day was drawing to a close, so we reluctantly packed-up the boat…

Loading the boat

and motored-off toward the marina. This time Alex sat next to the Captain…

Me and Alex

What a great day! And did I mention, it was my birthday? πŸ˜‰

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Happy Father’s Day to me. Today I received the great hand-made cards from the boys. Evidently, they made them in school before school let out for the summer. They’re pretty cool and the boys have printed words on the tie that describe me. There are funny words like, “hairy” and “goofy,” πŸ™‚ and serious words like, “caring” and “honest,” and, interestingly enough, they both seem to agree that I’m “nice” and “amazing”. Pretty cool. It’s great being a Dad!

Father's Day Card

I also got a Amazon Echo (a.k.a. An NSA Listening Device). It’s a neat little gadget and can do all kinds of things, like control your smart tech devices (television, thermostat, phone), research questions on the Internet, make lists, tell you the news, read audiobooks, and play music from several services, like Pandora, iHeart Radio, and Sirius/XM. I also now have access to Amazon’s entire music library, so can play entire albums.

Amazon Echo

The boys enjoy asking “Alexa” to play songs…not so much to listen to the songs, I’ve discovered, but just to see if Alexa can play it.

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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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Summer is in full-swing, so that means (at least) a couple of trips to one of our favorite place on Earth: Disney World. So, we arrived at our Hilton Grand Vacations resort about 3:00 this afternoon, unpacked, and hopped back in the family truckster to head over to the Magic Kingdom.

Given that we were arriving late in the day, there wasn’t the huge crowd of people entering the park, which made for a smooth and rapid entry to Main Street!

Family at Magic Kingdom

The boys even got to meet on of the famous Disney celebrities on the way in, and Adam, as usual, isn’t thrilled about having to stop for pictures…

The Boys and Tink

We had a couple of Fast Passes this evening…the first one is split between Space Mountain for me and Adam and the Buzz Lightyear ride for mom and Alex (since mom and Alex don’t really care for Space Mountain)…

Next to the People Mover, this is probably Alex’s favorite!

Buzz Ride

While Adam is the roller coaster king (and his dad is the jester :-))

Space Mountain

We also had a passes to The Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train, which lately have been hard to get! The last couple of times we’ve visited the Magic Kingdom, we were unable to get Fast Passes for this ride. Alex was very disappointed during our last visit because we couldn’t ride, you’d think he’d have been thrilled this time! Well, he was until we got ready to board, then he had second thoughts. He still went, but he wasn’t too happy…

The Mine Train

The fireworks started just as we got on the Mine Train and it was really cool watching them from that vantage point! After it was over, Adam naturally wanted to go on again, while Alex said he’d had enough! So, we just sat back and watched the fireworks over Beast’s castle…

Fireworks Fireworks Fireworks

It was a GREAT show!

Fireworks

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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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