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I’ve been thinking about buying a boat for some time now, but really wasn’t sure I wanted to take on the responsibilities of owning one. After all, there’s the expense, which in addition to the purchase price of the boat, there’s gas, maintenance and repairs, docking and storage, cleaning, equipment, such as life jackets and a trailer, and registration and insurance. Whew! Then, what kind of boat do I want: A deck boat? bowrider? fishing boat? Finally, the time it takes for cleaning, maintenance, and launch and recovery. So, with all this in mind, it’s no wonder I was dragging my feet. I’d have probably dropped it altogether if the boys didn’t remind me every time we drove past a marina.

Well, I recently discovered an alternative to boat ownership: The Freedom Boat Club. This is a private member’s only boat club that provides all the perks of boat ownership without all the hassles. For a nominal membership fee and monthly dues (which are actually cheaper than the amount I’d pay for a berth at the marina), I have access to a fleet of boats. And since FBC is nationwide, I have access to boats in more than 75 locations throughout the US. After my monthly dues, my only expense is the fuel I use. Sounds like a great deal, right? So, where do I sign?

Wait! Before I put pen-to-paper, the deal had to pass the Alex test! It’s like “Mikey” in that old Life cereal commercial…if Mikey likes it, it must be good! I was concerned that Alex would not like being out on the water, so me and the boys took a boat for a test drive. Both Adam and Alex were excited when I told them we were going out on the boat today, but as we walked to the dock, Alex began to have second thoughts. And when I put on his life jacket, he became even more skittish. Finally, by the time we got ready to board, he was in complete, “I want to go home” mode. Well, thank heavens for Lamby!

I thought we might need Alex’s “little buddy,” so I brought him along. I pulled Lamby out of my backpack and let him get on the boat first. Once Lamby made the jump, Alex was able to step onto the deck. And although Alex was whimpering a little bit as we pulled away from the dock, it didn’t take long for his Lamby-infused courage to take hold!

And they had a BLAST!

Lamby and Alex on the boat

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Meet the newest member of the family: Molly, a 3-month old miniature beagle. Earlier this week, Cindy took the boys to look at puppies and while Alex was a little stand-offish, Adam fell in love with this one…

Molly and Adam at the store

So, today, while the boys were in school, Cindy and I went back and got her! Alex is still a little skidish, but he’s really warming-up to her, and Adam loves her to death!

Molly and Adam at the pool

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Back at Disney! Seems like we were just here! Anyway, here we are, ready for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, that is, naturally, SOLD OUT!

Ready for Disney Sold Out

So, I’m thinking that the park was gonna be EXTREMELY crowded, but it turned out to be no so bad! The ride over on the ferry was pleasant, although Alex wasn’t too fond of the crossing at first. The sun was just going down and painted the sky…

Sunset at Disney

Exiting the ferry, we rented a stroller-cart-rickshaw and started-up main street to secure our place on the street for the parade. Did I say the crowd wasn’t too bad??


We found the perfect location for the parade: Right at the corner of the turn they make onto mainstreet! Since we had about 1-1/2 hours before the parade started, I held our position while Cindy took the boys on a ride or two. Unfortunately, Cindy adn the boys missed the castle lighting. I saw it of course, as I had been standing with our stroller-rickshaw thing and waving people off our position…

Castle Lighting Castle Lighting

Castle Lighting Castle Lighting

Castle Lighting

After what seemed like FOREVER and almost coming to blows with a couple of would-be usurpers, the parade began. And just as we thought, we had the best seat in the house!

Disney Christmas Parade Disney Christmas Parade Disney Christmas Parade Disney Christmas Parade Disney Christmas Parade Disney Christmas Parade

After the parade was over, we hit the rides…

Peter Pan, the People Mover (Alex loves this!), Buzz Lightyear, the Teacups…


Whoa! I’m dizzy just watching! and the Grand Prix Raceway…

Grand Prix Raceway Grand Prix Raceway

On the way out of the park, we stopped for a picture with the Dwarves…

Seven Dwarves

The boys had a BLAST! Dad didn’t mind it too much, either…


Tomorrow, we’re off to Disney Hollywood Studios for the boys Birthday Celebration!

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This morning the boys and I let Mom sleep in and took-off to the park for a little early morning playtime.

Early park visit Alex climbs

Then, we took off for Krispy Kreme! 🙂

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Today’s our last day in Alabama and Kameran is “bored already”…

Bored already

So, we pack-up the kids and take a trip to Pratt Park, where Kameran takes the boys on a hike…

Walking to the secret place

to her “secret place” near the creek…

The secret place

All that hiking-through-the-woods-to-the-secret-place makes one awfully thirsty! Fortunately there’s a water fountain at the end of the trail, much like there was in pioneer days. Here, Kameran drinks her fill, while Alex contemplates the water fountain…

Alex and Kam at the water fountain

And with that, Kam is no longer bored, as evidenced by the best smile EVER…

Best smile

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Well, I guess autumn is finally here! Not because there’s a chill in the air or because leaves are turning, nope, we know autumn is here because Cindy is dragging me to the first pumpkin patch of the season! Not just ANY pumpkin patch, mind you, this one comes with a “Fun Zone”…

Fun Zone Sign

And what is a “Fun Zone” without a humongous slide, which is, of course, the boys favorite thing! Pumpkins? What pumpkins??

Slide Slide Slide

With the sliding done, we’re done right? Wrong! There’s a petting zoo (of sorts)…

Adam feeds the animals Alex pets the animals

Alex was a little cautions about feeding the animals, but Mommy helped ease him into it…

Alex feeds the animals Alex feeds the animals

So with the slide done, and the petting zoo done, we’re finished, right? Wrong! There’s a hayride! Where I got to listen to the guy driving the tractor disparage the Gators. Well, what do you expect from a guy that wears two different colored socks? Yep.

Hayride Hayride

Let’s see…

Slide: CHECK
Petting Zoo: CHECK
Hayride: CHECK

We’re done now…well, not quite. There’s was this tube thing, and Alex really seemed to like it…a lot!

Alex in the tube Alex in the tube Alex in the tube

And some monkey bars…

Adam on the monkey bars Alex on the monkey bars

And a train…

Adam and Alex on the train

What’s left besides buying a $25 pumpkin on the way out? Nothing? Whoo-hoo! All-in-all is wasn’t THAT bad…and the boys had a good time. I guess the sign on the little house below says it all…

Enter if you dare

Bring on the next pumpkin patch!

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Well who’da thought the boys would be snow-sledding in Florida? Here we are at the Durbin Creek Winter Festival and the event highlight is a slide covered in snow! Of course, it’s man-made snow, but as long as the temps are in the 60s, I’m perfectly okay with that!

The boys were anxious to get on the slide…well, I guess I should say, “boy”…Adam took to it right away, but Alex required a little contemplation before he was comfortable with the whole idea. But once he was ready, there was no stopping either of them!

Adam and Alex Climb Getting ready

They’d climb the stairs and zip down the slide, pick-up their sled, and run back up the stairs. There was one boy that was taking his sweet time getting up the stairs, so A^2 would bypass him each-and-every-time (to the chagrin of the kid’s parents and my secret enjoyment :-))

Adam Slides Alex Slides

It was a piece of cake!

Piece of cake!

Eventually, they boys grew tired of the snow slide, as evidenced by the boredom on Alex’s face…

Alex is Bored

So, we transitioned to the Hamster balls. The boys thought this was the coolest thing and were very excited to ride! Adam jumped right in and took off across the field!

Adam in the Ball Adam in the Ball

Alex, on the other hand, jettisoned himself from the ball no sooner than he had climbed in! He wanted nothing else to do with it, and no amount of coaxing was going to change his mind!

Alex Exits the Ball

We wrapped up the day with a relaxing train ride around the field.

The boys ride the train

What a day!

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The boys have shown a real interest in gymnastics, especially Alex. So, Cindy took them to a gymnastics center to see how they’d do.

Adam learns the intricacies of the forward roll, while Alex asks, “What’s taking you so long??”





When Batman was a boy, he would go swimming in the Batpool and dry-off with his Battowel…

Batman by the pool

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The boys visited their Aunt GiGi today and got to play with their cousin Conner’s drums! Here they’re channeling Tripp and Black…

Tripp and Black

Listen to the drum track on “Toads of the Short Forest” on Zappa’s Weasels Ripped My Flesh album to get a feel for the photo.

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