Special Days

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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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…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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Today is not just any Sunday. It’s Mother’s Day! The boys have been especially good this weekend (“good” being relative 🙂 ). Still, they were very sweet with all the little gifts they made for Mom this week. Cindy was elated when she received these giant Mother’s Day cards…

Mother's Day Cards

Yep, Mother’s Day. The one day we celebrate all the hugs, kisses, love, joy, tears, worries, and fears that come with motherhood. We also appreciate all the band-aids, groceries, meals, laundry, vacuuming, dusting, minivan rides, homework help, school volunteering, and most of all, patience with Dad while he sits in the recliner watching baseball or some old movie on Turner Classics (and when she fetches me a beer, it’s always cold and it never arrives unopened!).

Yeah, I’m stereotyping BIG TIME! (well, sorta, because there’s truth in all of this).

Cindy is also an entrepreneur and has her own R+F business, which is growing. We so often overlook the fact that Moms aren’t always just moms. They don’t just run a household, they very well may run a business, too. So, today, we also celebrate the “momtrepreneur” who balances the demands of all the work at home with, well, just work.

Moms Rule

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!

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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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This weekend, while I enjoyed (??) a Leadership Conference in Phoenix, Cindy and the boys met Jess and her family in Orlando for a mini-vacation. Today, they started with a Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious breakfast at Disney’s Grand Floridian, then will be moving on to Animal Kingdom.

Here’s the gang with The Mad Hatter…

Mad Hatter

And Kameran and Kalie don’t seem to mind the rather creepy looking Mary Poppins, but Cater John is a bit leery…

Mary Poppins Mary Poppins

Oliver was thrilled to meet Pooh, and A2 always enjoy hanging-out with Tigger…

Pooh Tigger

So, how do you top this breakfast adventure? How about a day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom?

Animal Kingdom

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Happy

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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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and the family is gathering at the home of my 97-year-old grandfather, affectionately known as “Pa”. In about an hour, this old turn-of-the-20th-century house will be filled to the brim with people, all family…

Pa's House

Something like this…and this isn’t everyone! Six generations are represented here tonight.

Crowd

Of course, the highlight of the evening is the kids sitting at Pa’s feet and opening their presents . When I was a kid (and the family was quite a bit smaller) we all used to draw names and each would buy a present for the person he or she chose. Now, it’s become a bit unwieldy, so parents bring modest presents for their kids and Pa presents his gifts, and everyone brings something for Pa. This year, Pa’s gifts included a Florida Gator hat (I wonder who got him that 😉 )

Kids opening presents Pa with his Gator hat

After the Christmas Eve activities at Pa’s, we returned to Mom and Dad’s cabin on the hill to get ready for Santa’s visit. So, after a couple quick photo’s with the selfie-stick…

Family Selfie Cindy Selfie

the stockings were hung by the chimney with care…

Stockings

in hopes that Saint Nicholas soon would be there…

Santa

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