Special Days

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For the past few years we’ve had annual passes for Disney, but we changed things up a bit this year and went with an annual pass to Universal Studios instead. And to kick things off, Cindy took the boys to Orlando this weekend to try ’em out.

Universal Studios Entrance
Entrance to Universal Studios

What the boys were most interested in doing today was visiting Diagon Alley in Harry Potter World, but on the way, they take a ride with the Minions…and hand around for a photo afterward.

With the Minions

At last, it’s time to visit the cobbled wizzarding alley and shopping area behind the Leaky Cauldron in London, England. Among this secret collection of restaurants, shops, and other sights, they boys will pick-up all the items on their Hogwarts supply list.

Of course, the one thing every wizard absolutely needs is a wand. And the selection was quite impressive inside the famous Ollivander’s Wand Shop. After the boys had selected their wands, they moved around Diagon Alley casting spells. There were several areas where you waved the wand in a specific manner to make something happen, like rain from an umbrella or lights turning on, or writing on a scroll…

And what better way to decompress after a hard day of wizzarding than with a refreshing glass of “butter beer”, at the “Fountain of Fair Fortune”. Butter beer is a creamy buttery caramel and butterscotch concoction. Adam loved it, but Alex, not so much…

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Happy New Year

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I’m up early, as usual, and everyone else is still asleep. I stepped outside with Charlie and sipping coffee, am watching the Sunrise on the mountain.

Sunrise Sunrise

I enjoy these quiet moments.

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Despite the busy day they had yesterday and the evening at Pa’s, the boys still got up early! I heard them get out of bed about 5:30, but I didn’t get up until 6:00. They were playing on their iPads and patiently waiting for everyone to get up (although they had already catalogued every present under the tree by its recipient. Anyway, I let them go into their stockings, which, if you know Cindy, is crammed full of treasures–toys, candy, games, and more candy…

Christmas Day

After the boys finished with their stockings, I put some coffee on and we waited for the rest of the family to get up. And at 7:00, which seemed like an eternity, the unwrapping began!

Christmas Day Christmas Day

Let’s see, there were Harry Potter wands, which they thought were pretty cool. Alex got the actual Harry Potter wand, while Adam was pleased to have the wand used by Lord Voldemort…

Christmas Day Christmas Day

Naturally, a fast-handed wand battle ensued…

Christmas Day

One of the neatest presents they received was a retro electronic football game from the 70s. I loved this game when I was a teenager, but the boys weren’t too impressed! LOL.

Christmas Day

Nope, what they were really excited about was the official 2018 FIFA World Cup Soccer Ball…

Christmas Day

and the gear that went with it…the uniforms of their favorite players: Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Brazil’s Neymar da Silva Santos Junior (aka Neymar Jr.)…

Christmas Day

There was a lot more, of course, but these were the highlights. I enjoy watching the boys on Christmas morning and remember the excitement I felt as a child while ripping the wrapping paper off the presents left for me under the tree. It’s nice to relive those moments through their eyes.

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angels

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:

14 “Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

(Matthew 2:10-11, NKJV)

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Well, it’s Christmas Eve and although Pa is gone, the family still gathered in his old country home. Pa’s children, and many of his grandchildren, great, great-great, and great-great-great grandchildren, and their families were here. There was a lot of food, and a lot of talking and laughing.

Christmas Eve

And presents for all the kids…

Christmas Eve

Afterward, Alex put on a disguise from the “Prank Kit” he received. You can’t even tell it’s him, can you? :-))

Christmas Eve

I don’t know how long this tradition will continue in this way, but tonight, Pa would’ve been pleased.

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It’s such a beautiful day, so of course Mom wants to take some pictures. The boys and Charlie change into their flannel and are ready to go.

Photo Op

The pictures came out good, but as you know, getting twin boys and their dog into position for a decent picture can be an extreme challenge…at times. Today, however, wasn’t too bad.

Photo Op

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It’s Christmas Eve Day and Pop is taking the boys (and Charlie) out for a hike in the woods. He’s looking for dying or fallen trees to cut-up for firewood and showing the boys what to look for.

Hiking in the Woods Hiking in the Woods

There’s a lot of room out here.

Hiking in the Woods

Charlie is having a good time and has twice stolen Adam’s “walking stick”. He’s a character and everyone gets a kick out of watching him run, jump, and roll-around in the leaves.

Hiking in the Woods Hiking in the Woods

These are priceless moments.

Hiking in the Woods

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The boys are 10-years-old today and Adam has already noted that he’s “a decade now.” Where has the time gone? Only a moment ago we were figuring-out the logistics of feeding two babies at the same time! It hasn’t always been easy, but we certainly have created some nice memories.

This year, they needed new bikes. Not only are they outgrowing their current rides, but like most boys, they’re pretty hard on those bikes, as evidenced by the dents, scratches, cracks, and tears decorating them. Each one tells a story, and like most boys, they love their bikes…

Birthday Birthday

Naturally, Mom is all over the “10-years” thing!

Birthday

And this also marks the first year they boys had a regular cake. As you’ll recall, in previous years, they had a “cake of cupcakes” in the shape of their age, as seen here.

Birthday

Happy 10-years, Boys!

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Halloween. What other time would you see Paul Bunyan pulling gummy worms out of a pudding cup? The boys’ were invited to dress-up as a folktale character for school today. Alex, naturally, was all about it. Adam, on the other hands, well, if there’s no candy in it, then what’s the point.

Paul Bunyan

Halloween. A time for ghoulies and ghosties and long-legged beasties to roam free along neighborhood streets in search of sweeties. This year we have an eclectic combination in a giant inflatable T-Rex and the Stay Puft Marshmellow Man!

The boys’ costumes were pretty cool, actually, with little fans built-in to inflate the suit. And although Alex couldn’t see too well out of his Stay Puft head, Adam had a bit of a challenge walking (or should I say waddling?) from door-to-door.

Halloween Halloween

Their costumes were a hit with the neighbors garnering lots of laughs and comments like, “how do you walk in that thing”? Oh, and candy…lots of candy. “Trick-or-Treat”!

Halloween Halloween

And Adam even ran into a cousin among the clowns, superheroes, ninjas, and princesses weaving in-and-out of each other up and down and around the block…

Halloween

Another fun evening! 🙂

Halloween

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