Florida February: February 24, 2020

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We started our morning off with breakfast at Whispering Canyon at Wilderness Lodge. Apparently, we didn't tell everyone about all of our plans because as we were trying to walk out the door this morning, Reagan was pouring herself some cereal and some of her "trip coffee" (Thanks, Shannon, for introducing her to good stuff-her habit is expensive, hence the name "trip coffee"-she's only getting it on trips and holidays.)

The breakfast was fun-it is actually more fun when you don't think about how much you are actually paying for the food. Pretty much all of us did clean our plates. I was living like I was on a cruise ship and got eggs benedict. That is my favorite cruise ship breakfast and something I never have at home. So having it today was a fun little treat.

After breakfast, the kids traded a few pins before we walked to the boat that took us to Magic Kingdom. Coming in on a resort boat is the way to go since you miss the Ticket and Transportation Center and you miss the super crazy bag lines. We had no waiting at all on our little bag checks and were soon taking pictures before going into the Magic Kingdom.

The crowds were crazy, crazy today. They didn't stop us too much, but we just didn't want big crowds today. I guess we have decided that there is never a time that crowds are light-possibly in the middle of summer or during a hurricane. We might try both during this upcoming year!

Our first stop this morning was the Hall of Presidents. Graham was super excited about this because the last time he fell sound asleep and missed the show. He was looking forward to watching the entire show today. I also fell asleep last time and must have fallen asleep the second the show started because I remembered not a bit of the show-it was all new to me except the very end when all of the presidents were there.

Next up was Small World-the line was pretty long. Actually, the regular line went fast than the Fast Pass line. It still didn't take that long and we were soon on a boat humming along to The Small World song. Next up was a cruise around the river on the Riverboat. The last time I remember doing this was in 2009 when Robby and Pops were on the Keys to the Kingdom tour. We had plenty of time to kill so we were able to enjoy the Riverboat. We just had Reagan, Anderson and baby Graham then.

Next up, we watched the Tiki Room show. The Tiki Room and the Riverboat were two things that we had not gotten to on my list so I was happy to mark them off. Then Robby and Grandpa went to grab up a table for lunch while the rest of us headed across the park to use our Fast Pass for the Tomorrowland Transit cars. 

Then it was back to Pecos Bills for lunch. Robby bought sides of chicken and cheese dip and we had plenty of food. We ate at least half of the 40 tortillas that we brought in though we didn't eat all of the chicken. We did bring it home though and some had it for supper tonight. The kids all still seem to really enjoy Pecos for lunch. Whitman likes it because he can get lettuce on his roll up since we never have it at home.

After lunch, we went across the park to ride the Buzz Lightyear ride. We have found one of the 100,000 point targets. Now we just have to find a few more so we can increase our scores a bit. I have looked it up one night and read a whole article about it, but it was so late that I didn't remember anything at all that I read. 

Next up was the Carousel of Progress-this is one of Whitman's favorite slow rides at Magic Kingdom. I am not sure why he loves it so much, but he certainly does. He was actually just looking over my shoulder reading what I was writing and made me add the word "slow" above. He sure doesn't want you to think that he doesn't love the fast rides-he does have a love for speedy rides.

Our final ride was the People Mover. It is one of our all time favorite. It think that it is pretty nice since you can take a break and cool off for a little bit. Keaton enjoys yelling at people walking below up trying to get people to wave back to her. 

We ended our day at the Magic Kingdom by watching the Flag Ceremony on Main Street. We had never seen it before and it was pretty neat saying the Pledge and singing God Bless America. We all had a pretty good day at Magic. I think that we were able to see and do quite a bit of things before heading back to the house.

Once at home, Campbell did a bit of swimming despite the weather being a bit chilly. After her swim, she kind of start acting sickly. I am sure that she is getting the same little cold that the boys have had. Reagan is also getting a bit sick and bless, Keaton has a pretty continuous cough. 

As I was tucking everyone else in bed, I did get Campbell out of bed to give her some Tylenol, a drink and a cracker. Hopefully the meds kick in and she can sleep well tonight. Plus I gave Keaton the breather and some Zyrtec while Anderson was up with his bloody nose, he also had some Zyrtec. I am incredibly thankful for healthy kids because having sick kids would be exhausting!

Tomorrow will start a bit later than usual, but will still be a pretty busy day!


Florida February: February 23, 2020

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Our silly alarms went off too early this morning. When I groggily walked through the living room heading for the bathroom, all of the grandparents were up, dressed and happily drinking their coffee. We didn't have a lot of extra time this morning, but Robby was able to make some eggs, biscuit and sausage for the kids.

We again went to First Baptist Orlando and made it in time for their traditional worship service. And we had church! It was a really good service. I can't say that I particularly miss hearing a pipe organ, but it does bring back some sweet memories of church long ago when I do hear it. And Whitman still can not get over how much it sounds like a baseball game.

We all squeezed back in the car and headed back to the house. I worked on lunch while Grannymom, Reagan, Graham, Campbell and Keaton took a walk. Grandpa and Pops eventually went on a drive to scope out the neighborhood. Robby listened to our church on the phone. 

Soon our chicken spaghetti, green beans and bread was ready. We all dove into it-Robby and I were a bit worried that we wouldn't have enough. I think that everyone had all that they wanted and we still had a ton left over. We finished our meal with Grannymom's cake from last night. Apparently, the too many cooks in the kitchen did not spoil the cake. It could have only been better if we had a mixer to mix it better. It was pretty delicious though!

We then had a bit of downtime-some kiddos swam and some adults slept! We all loaded up to head to the Art of Animation to go to their drawing class. But poop, if we didn't have the wrong time for the class and missed it by an hour. That was fine though because we took another ride or two or three on the Skyliner and ended up on the Boardwalk right by Ample Hills Creamery.

Everyone had a bit of ice cream to cool us off after our walk and rides. The weather today was pretty warm in the sun, but we found perfect spots to sit in the shade while Robby, Grannymom and Nonna waited in the ice cream line. 

From there, we found our way to the boat back to Hollywood. Then it was back on the Skyliner to go back to the car. It seems that our goal today was to ride every single mode of transportation available. We drove to the Port Orleans French Quarter.

We have stayed there before many, many years ago. It is such a pretty place. We all ate some supper there-pizza, pasta and a huge bowl of Jambalaya for Robby and me. After eating, we moseyed over to the Riverside part of the resort. It was a bit of a walk, but it was so beautiful and the weather was perfect.

We then took the little boat back to the French Quarter. Some of the kids had already walked back and were playing on the playground there. Whitman and Campbell played a bit longer and played with some kids from England-not too many places can you play on the playground with kids that are from another country.

I didn't let them stay too much extra, because Robby was inside the building buying some beignets. They were fun and messy. Even Whitman and Keaton tried them which is always surprising. After our snack, we then headed back to the house-it was nearly 9 and bedtime for the crew. For Robby and me, it was kind of an early night so we had some extra computer/tv time.

Florida February: February 22, 2020

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Even though our bedroom has a part of the window that doesn't have any blinds, we still slept perfectly well. Robby likes for bedrooms to be super dark and this one sure wasn't. It didn't change anything at all though. 

Well, I guess when Robby did get up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night last night, I did know that it wasn't actually the middle of the night and actually morning time. We still managed to sleep until 8 or even a bit afterwards.

We let the kids sleep in a little bit today and didn't leave on our adventure until 10:30. We parked at Epcot and rode the monorail to Ticket and Transportation Center. From there we walked to the Polynesian. 

Of course when we were at the Polynesian we needed some Dole Whip. Before the Dole Whip, we actually needed another little snack-we tried the BBQ nachos from there along with a pineapple pizza plus kid's chicken meal. We devoured all of that food-Robby and I have decided that we could come to Disney and just eat at every place. All of the resorts have such different food-we really haven't had anything bad yet. (Now we have had things we wouldn't necessarily order again-like the turkey leg.)

The weather was much warmer today than yesterday. It was still pretty chilly though. As we ate our first snack we were sitting in the sun, and it was almost warm. We changed spots for our second snack and the sun went behind some clouds so it wasn't as warm. That didn't matter though because we scarfed down 4 Dole Whips in seconds. 

I do believe that this stop was Pops' favorite stop of the day. We then rode the monorail around the loop before changing to get on the next monorail for  a ride back to Epcot. We then walked to our car and headed back to the house.

Reagan, Graham, Keaton, Robby and I went to the airport to collect Grannymom and Grandpa. They had two good flights and arrived a few minutes early. We were afraid that they were going to be looking for us. We did make it in time to meet them on the escalator. Graham was so excited to see them coming!

We found Robby who was circling and jumped in the van. They didn't have to get any luggage, because their luggage was already delivered to the house by Nonna and Pops. Everyone that was left here was in the front yard to welcome Grannymom and Grandpa to Florida. The house is full now of grandparents and all of the kids couldn't be happier.

Our first adventure with everyone was to the crazy Walmart. It did not disappoint-we lost Nonna at one point and briefly lost Grandpa. There were so many people at that Walmart that it is almost like a party. It is kind of an introductory stop before going to Disney.

Once we had our goods-bottled water, more Pop Tarts, orange juice, a cake mix and a few other things, we headed back to the house to unload the groceries and pick up Reagan, Anderson and Whitman who skipped the Walmart trip.

We ate supper at Panda Express. I enjoyed it more tonight than I did the last time that we ate there. I do believe that there is one at home, and we will probably frequent it more often now that we know how yummy it is. 

Tonight we parked at Hollywood and rode the Skyliners to Epcot. It takes 2 different Skyliners to get to Epcot so everyone switched up cars a few times. At least once I was on my Skyliner wondering if Whitman made it onto a car. He did-or at least he made it to Ecpot the same time that we did.

Originally, we had planned on walking some of the Boardwalk tonight, but the chilly weather prevented that. Instead we just hopped on the next Skyliners and headed back to Hollywood.  As we were on the Skyliners, we were able to see fireworks from Magic and Hollywood.

Back at the house, Grannymom made a dessert with the help of Keaton, Campbell, Graham and Pops for tomorrow's dessert. It is actually baking right now so hopefully there weren't too many cooks in the kitchen!

Florida February: February 21, 2020

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We had plans to go to Hollywood this morning, but after thinking about the crowds we just opted for a slow morning at the house. Maybe we are losing some of our spunk, but I do think that we made the right choice.

The kids did some school while Robby and I cleaned this place up. We swept, we scrubbed, we washed-the place looked pretty good when Nonna and Pops arrived later in the day. A bit before lunch, we had all the cleaning that we could take and headed out for an afternoon of fun. 

We went to Epcot for a quick little bit. We didn't have Fast Passes when we arrived, but Robby snagged us 3 pretty quickly. Our first stop was the popcorn stand. It has been on my list to eat popcorn from this one stand because they have 3 different types. We tried them all and here is the run down:

Cheddar Cheese-liked by all Dennies
Buffalo Blue Cheese-couldn't eat a whole container of it, but Robby and I liked it.
Sour Cream and Chive-liked by most Dennies

Overall, the kids still prefer the buttered popcorn, but these were the only ones that I like. Our 2 dollar refill of popcorn is gone in about 34 seconds. Seriously, it doesn't take us long at all to finish off a bucket.

We rode Figment and Living with the Land. One of the kids said that they were about done with The Land ride. I agree since you can only do that one so many times. Now, I have also decided that I would like to work in that area of Epcot-maybe I could learn to grow something. I would love to have an arch full of tomatoes like you see on that ride.

It was time for a snack so we split a cheesecake, cookie and a moose for Reagan. The cheesecake we split gave us the idea for tonight's supper-The Cheesecake Factory. After eating our snack, we rode Nemo before heading back to the car.

The weather is crazy here today-it is cold, cold and windy. Tomorrow should be 15 degrees warmer and sunny so hopefully it will be more tolerable. It was like being out in a snow storm-amazing how 50 can feel so cold. 

After our chilly walk back to the car, we headed to the house. We had a few more things to pick up. We watched Nonna and Pops get closer and closer until the kids could stay inside no longer. They all ran out to be the greeting committee.  

Everyone was so glad to see them. I think that my kiddos have missed all of their grandparents. They unloaded all of their things. They even had Grannymom and Grandpa's suitcases which had Disney Pins in them.

Most of the kids have run out of Disney pins to trade, so another shipment was sent to Grannymom's house. Robby couldn't ship them here since these houses don't get U.S. mail. The kids happily divided them up and are ready to trade the next opportunity that they get.

We drove to The Cheesecake Factory for supper. There was a super long line and since there were 10 of us, we knew that the wait would be long. So after checking in, we headed back to the Disney outlet. We found a few more things to buy-ears and a shirt for Campbell, ears and a Jacket for Keaton, an ugly monkey that Whitman fell in love with last time, Funko pops for Graham, a phone case for me, but nothing for Robby, Reagan and Anderson. Reagan doesn't like to spend money and Anderson can't find anything that he likes.

When we went back to the restaurant, we hoped that we were close, but nope! We waited another hour before our name was finally called...to sit outside! It was heated and covered and fairly warm. The heaters were going strong but the kids did have to rotate so the kids on the end didn't get too cold. It wasn't that bad, but since Graham didn't wear pants, he stayed a bit chilly. My top half stayed warm, but my bottom half below the table stayed a bit cool.

Our food was all delicious even though it was 10 when we were eating. Robby and I split a huge burrito and all the kids got what they wanted-Keaton, Whitman and Graham had cheese pizza, Anderson had a mac and cheese burger, Reagan had pasta and Campbell had a chicken breast. The food was all delicious, but not nearly as delicious as the cheesecake.

After eating, we went back to the house-it was nearly 11:30 when the kids finally went to bed. Tonight we all have new beds-Whitman is in the floor of his room with Anderson in Whitman's old bed. Whitman was thrilled with this-sleeping between beds is his favorite and to have both brothers back in the room to protect him made him super happy. Reagan is in Keaton's bed and Keaton is on the air mattress. Robby and I have moved rooms too-we had been in the huge king sized bed and now will be in a full. I wasn't crazy at all about the king bed-we will see if I like the full though. It might be a little too much closeness!




Florida February: February 20, 2020

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We took it easy this morning. Taking it easy did include a full day of school for everyone, dishes, laundry, a hair cut for Graham (don't worry-he is still growing it out, we just had it cleaned up by a professional) along with room swapping. It was a pretty busy morning. 

Today was actually our 13th day of school. Doesn't look like we will make that 20 days which was my goal, but 13 is super good. I was just looking at school for next year already-it is time to sign up for a co-op for Reagan along with buying some curriculum on line. It will get real next year-high school!

Since Graham has been growing his hair out, we knew that we needed to have a little trim to clean things up. Robby ran him down the road for a quick hair cut this morning. They also stopped to clean up the car along with a trip to Aldi-our new favorite grocery store.

Now I should have been a bit more productive this afternoon, but I took a nap. It was just about 20 minutes because there were resorts to explore. Our stops today included All Star Movies, Music and Sports. Even though these resorts are very themed, they would not be my first choice to stay at on Disney property.

However, we sure did greatly enjoy a dessert at one of these places. Robby bought us a cupcake that look like the Cinderella mouse named Gus, a ball of cookie dough and a strawberry cheesecake. They were delicious, and I might even stay at that resort just for the desserts. Robby and I are planning on visiting Disney without kids in May, and we can not wait to only have to split our desserts 2 ways and not 8 different ways.

When our resort exploring was over, we headed to Magic Kingdom. This is our favorite park, but it is our least favorite to get to. It just takes work to get over there-park, tram or walk, security and ferry or monorail before you even get to the gates. It is a lot of work but pretty worth it.

We were pretty surprised to see the huge crowds there tonight. Now, it is marathon weekend here so we have expected them, but just hoped that they hadn't arrived yet. The fast pass lines were crazy to get on the rides. We had one for Space and Buzz, but they were way too long...

...so we walked across the park to get ourselves a turkey leg. Well, the turkey leg was really just for Graham. He had been wanting one really bad so tonight was his night. Keaton also wanted a Mickey shaped pretzel so we had one of those too along with our Lunchables.

We did decide that the turkey leg was overrated. It was decent and was sure a lot of meat. Now the Mickey pretzel wasn't all that great either. Now, the cheese filled pretzel that Robby got the other day was definitely one that we will get again!

After our snacky supper, we went to ride Space Mountain. Again, I am done with that ride. I promise you that one day a car is going to go off of the tracks-and I will know exactly at what point it happened! Then we rode Buzz-we are learning where the big point targets are so our scores are slowly improving.

Then it was a ride on the Tomorrowland Transit-the kids love riding those cars around the track. Whitman thinks he is something else driving as he bounces from side of side of the track. Tonight during our drive, we were also able to enjoy the fireworks show. Pretty neat driving the cars at that time!

Then we hurried across the park for the last ride of the night on Big Thunder. It is one of my favorites at Magic-we spend a lot of time in Tomorroland so I enjoy the walk to Big Thunder. After it was over, we went and hung out in front of the castle for a few minutes.

I had been hearing about the "kiss goodnight" and wanted to see it. About 30 minutes after the park closes, the castle twinkles and the announcer thanks you for coming. It is a neat little 2 minute show to see and is just pretty magical.

We rode the buses back to the parking lot. It didn't take us long to get to our car-but it still takes about 45 minutes to get from the castle back to the house. The kids had some snacks before heading to bed. Anderson and Whitman are getting over colds and Graham is getting one, so I did quite a bit of medicine passing out before it was actually bedtime!

Florida February: February 19, 2020

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I am getting a bit depressed down in Florida. We have had loads of fun and still have a good little bit left, but the clock on our adventure is ticking away. Robby even said that maybe we should pack up a few things which just makes me super sad.

I'll be okay though since returning to a normal schedule won't be all that bad. I do love the spontaneity of this living down here, but a schedule is nice. And I do plan on getting rid of a few hundred things at the house-wouldn't it be nice to be able to live like you are always on vacation. I am not sure exactly what the entails, but it is a nice idea.

Anyway, back to today. Graham was the first one awake and had finished his school and was just waiting on my when I stumbled out of bed. Anderson was also awake and started on his school fairly soon.

Whitman came out of his room and asked to work with me first. I jumped on that and said certainly. He usually acts as if he has never heard of the idea of doing school in the morning and heads straight to his ipad. Later, he even asked if we could work together twice so he wouldn't have to do it tomorrow. I did the obvious and felt his forehead. He didn't have fever so I don't know what got into the boy. He was even finished with his school at the same time as Keaton.

By 11:30, everyone was finished and we were able to do our reading. I baked some taquitos for our lunch-most folks had those, but they also worked on cleaning out the fridge by eating a few things from there. About 1, I headed outside with Keaton, Campbell, Graham and Whitman for a walk.

Near the pool, this neighborhood has a nature trail. We took off headed that way not knowing anything about this trail at all. Keaton and Campbell were dead set on pushing the stroller that was here at the house. Whitman didn't complain and rode most of the time. I did make it clear that I was not going to push it at all-though I did use it to store some water bottles.

It was pretty warm today so as we walked down there, I wondered if I was going to need to have Robby come and pick us up. I knew that he was on a phone call, so then I debated if Reagan would be able to come and get us in the van. Surely, Anderson could help her navigate.

Thankfully, the walk wasn't that bad, and we explored every branch of the little trail. We did take advantage of each bench to rest and drink our water or even eat a few Skittles. Now, the highlight for the kids was climbing up a low tree branch for a picture. I sure didn't think I was going to get them all up there. First, Graham crawled on the stroller and then stepped in my clasped hands. I was able to hoist Whitman and Keaton up. By the time they were all up there, Campbell just had one little spot to shimmy up into. Once they were all up there, I did snap a few pictures!

Back at the house, they were all happy to be able to jump in the pool. I guess that water wasn't too hot today because they stayed in the pool until we made everyone get out to leave. Graham did say that he would happily move to Florida if we could have a pool. Now, I would never want a pool at home, but the ones here are so small that I could even imagine having one....I wouldn't probably ever use it, but it would still be nice to have.

Today's adventure took us to Animal Kingdom first. There are 31 Wilderness Explorer badges-little stickers that you earn after stopping at a station and learning about something for a bit. The kids now have only 5 more to earn to complete their books.

We were able to earn around 10 or even a few more today. We walked through some animal trails and saw some different animals. Robby and I always notice the theme-ing of the parks-it is so intricate. After we had completed our badges for the day, we stopped to see the Lion King show one more time.

Honestly, this was the first time that I have ever stayed awake through the entire show. I usually have a kid in my lap and can rest my head and eyes during the show. Today, even though Whitman was in my lap, I stayed awake. I do think that I am more awake during the evening time so that helped quite a bit.

After the show, we hightailed it out of Animal Kingdom and hurried to Hollywood Studios. We didn't have a ton of time there, but the Toy Story ride was just 20 minutes so we went there for a quick spin. Then we headed towards Fantasmic. This had been on our list for a while since we had not seen the show in many, many years.

The kids were all in awe of the massive amount of people that were seated in the theater. It was pretty amazing and the crowds were pretty happy doing the wave while waiting on the show. Once the show was started, I was quickly reminded of how impressive the show is.

What was also impressive was the walk out of the theater-we just kept walking and walking and walking and ended up pretty much where we started. How Disney can move thousands of people is so amazing to me. It didn't take us long at all to get to our car.

We drove straight home so everyone could have showers before bed. Whitman is sleeping in Keaton's bed right now-Robby said that when he went to tuck everyone in, Reagan was also in that bed. Crazy kids!



Florida February: February 18, 2020

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The original pan had been to wake up early this morning and go to Hollywood Studios at 7:30. Around 7, people started coming to our room asking if we were indeed leaving. We had pretty much decided to stay home the night before when we came home and both big boys were sound asleep.

Since everyone but Reagan was awake already, we did decide that we might as well go to Hollywood for a little bit. We knew that we wouldn’t be there in time to ride a rope drop ride, but we would still be able to use our Fast Pass. 

Robby gave people the option of stay home-well, everyone but Whitman. We didn’t let him choose since he would always pick staying home. Anderson said that he might go, and Reagan said no. However, when it was time to leave everyone, even Reagan, climbed in the car. I’m glad that my people still enjoy a quick outing the parks.

We had a Fast Pass for my favorite ride, Tower of Terror. We were shocked as we entered the park at the crowds. We didn’t have bags so I didn’t really notice the security lines. However, I had never seen so many people in line for tickets. The lines for the gates were crazy long though we can navigate those pretty quickly. Also the lines for coffee and doughnuts were insane. We would never be able to say that there aren’t many folks at Disney in February. It seems to be a pretty full month.

After we rode Tower of Terror, we went over to watch a short clip of the new cartoon Onward. Before the clip, Whitman wasn’t sure if he wanted to watch that movie or Scooby Doo. By the end, he knew that he wanted to watch Scooby and not Onward. Keaton, on the other hand, wants to use her movie gift card to watch Onward.

We then left the parks, and even had trouble finding our van in the parking lot. This was the first time that we had done this. As we even walked a way from our spot earlier, Robby had said that he didn’t take a picture. Maybe we will be a bit more vigilant with that from now on. We were just two or three rows off and found it without a problem.

Back at the house, there was school to be done along with laundry and lots of sweeping. There just isn’t that much downtime here in Florida. We are busy all of the time it seems. Today there wasn’t even time for swimming or the nature walk that I want to go on nearby our house. 

Around 3, we put on our red and headed to cheer on the Hogs. It was about a 2 hour drive with only one stop for a bathroom. I drove most of the way eating my peanut butter m&ms-they are my driving candy now. Robby had his box of lemonheads ready but didn’t get into them.

So the part of tonight that we will always remember was supper. We went into Steak n Shake to grab a bite of food. Robby forgot and thought that we ordered at the counter and was surprised when they sat us down to order. This would have  been fine, but we were a bit short on time. After waiting a few minutes and not getting our waters, and then when the lady said that they couldn’t substitute shake flavors, Robby decided that we better just skip supper. So we all traipsed out of the restaurant. The kids all understood that we just didn’t think we had enough time-well, everyone but Whitman who just kept asking, “so we aren’t going to eat?” and Campbell who desperately wanted a shake.

Arbys was right across the street so we ordered food from there. It didn’t take anytime at all, and we gobbled down our food on the way to the basketball game. We searched a bit of parking and eventually had to pay. That was fine though since 20 bucks is better than a ticket.

We then walked to the stadium and found our seats. We were a bit higher than I expected, but a bit lower than we have always been in Fayetteville. The light show at the beginning of the game was pretty amazing-like the lights shining on the castle. There weren’t many Hog fans there-maybe 20 and that is counting the 8 of us.

I guess you can count all 8 of us. At one point, Whitman did cover his shirt and start shouting “Go Gators” with the rest of the crowd. The game wasn’t that great for us Hog fans. It actually got quite ugly at a point. Then we moved closer and almost came back a few times. The game was still a fun, new adventure, but the shakes that Robby promised us at the end did make for a sweet ending.

We went to another Shake N Steak on the way back to the house. Keaton was pretty concerned that we were at the same one as before. I guess she didn’t want them to remember us as the people that walked out. We used the restroom and left with shakes and waters for everyone. 

The shakes made the drive home seem shorter. Robby and I quickly drank ours-then finished Reagan’s when she passed hers up, then Campbell’s, then Anderson’s and finally Graham’s shake. I am not sure what is wrong with these kids not being able to drink all of their shakes. We didn’t even buy them big ones. Keaton and Whitman opted for a can of coke instead of a shake so they were able to finish theirs no problem.

There was hardly anyone at all on the road so we sailed on back to the house. We made it in by 11:30, and the kids were shortly in bed. I pulled out school for tomorrow and will crawl in bed soon!

Florida February: February 17, 2020

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Our day began and ended with things flying through the sky-this morning it was a rocket and this evening it was Tinkerbelle. We had to all start stirring around 6:15 this morning. We had hoped to leave before 7, but left a few minutes afterwards.

We had planned on going to Kennedy Space Center today for a few days now. I had even called to get the homeschool rate saving us $195. Now, if we saved that much, just know that I fully expected one of my kids to be on the rocket for what we did pay. Seriously, the savings made it completely worth it today.

This weekend, we heard that the rocket that was to be launched was delayed for today. We were pretty excited about this possibility, but didn't want to get too excited. It took us about an hour to get there and arrived around 8:10 though we weren't the first folks there at all. They had opened early due to the launch.  

We picked up our tickets and followed the crowd. At Disney, we laugh all the time at people who have no idea what they are doing or where they are going-that was us today. Before we knew it, we were on a bus headed to the rocket launch viewing site. That was all that we knew. We did later figure out that this was part of the bus tour-often the line for the busses is an hour but today they had them streaming in picking up people.

We must have been one of the last busses to the viewing site. They had at least 5 sets of bleachers set up and most were full. We opted to walk through the building there while we waited almost an hour for the Space X Falcon 9 to launch. They are sending up batches of sattellites into space all for high speed interner. 

We sat down in time for the final countdown. We heard the rumble and quickly realized that what we were looking at (we didn't really know where to look since we were still 10 miles away) was behind some trees. We slid over and were able to see the rocket launch. Overall, it was impressive-just a huge ball of fire blazing across the sky. 

I had expected the sound to be much louder. We did learn that if you are within 800 feet of the blast, you would die due to the loud noise. Also we had been watching a alligator in the water. Right after the blast, he stuck his head straight out of the water. Later we learned that animals in the water hear those vibrations and get a bit upset as well.

As soon as that rocket launched, we hightailed it to the video in that building. We watched it and bussed back to the main visitor center. You could compare the place to Disney-music, lots of lines, lots of gift shops, lots of food places. We did really enjoy it. 

Our first stop there was waiting in a pretty long line for an imax. The Imax was good-though practically every movie and film we saw didn't have chairs to sit in. Seriously, a few benches would go a long way. Then we walked through the astronaut hall of fame. 

By this time, it was nearing lunch so we sat down to eat our Lunachables. Last minute, we thought to look and make sure that we could bring food in. We could and that saved us a budle of money and time-the lines were super long.

The next building was all about Atlantis and the space shuttles. There was a few films-all extremely high quality. This was probably Whitman's favorite-they had tunnels to crawl through along with a pretty steep slide. And at the end of the buildng, there was a spack shuttle simulator. At the beginning of the simulator, they had the best film ever explaining exactly what would happen when a shuttle launched. 

My Graham and Anderson soak all of this information in. They were definitely the most interested today in everything. We hated that the imax was closed for renovations today, but the play area was a favorite for the littles. They played while I shopped. I was hoping to buy some space ice cream. but they only had freeze dried strawberries and apples-who wants to eat fruit?

It was nearing 3 and we had had finished the Kennedy Space Center. So we left and headed for Scoops ice cream which was nearby. For 23 dollars, Robby bought 22 scoops of ice cream. Everyone was able to get exactly what they wanted and most everyone had leftovers that Robby, Graham and I finished up. Now if we had bought those scoops of ice cream at Disney, it would have cost at least 75 dollars. 

We had to fight a bit of 5'o'clock traffic to get back to the house. Robby let those who wanted to stay at the house. Reagan, Anderson, Graham and Whitman all opted to stay. They folded laundry and made their suppe while we were gone. Campbell and Keaton don't pass up a party, and I think they enjoyed tonight. I sure did.

Magic Kingdom was pretty crazy especially since they were having an after hours party. Our first stop was the Barnstormer roller coaster followed by a snack. The snack had been on my list-a waffle and chicken sandwich. It was delicious, and I marked it off this list and put it back on the May list. 

After we ate, we were right be the perfect spot to stand and watch the fireworks. We were to the side of the castle but could see really well. What I was waiting for was to see Tinkerbelle, and we were able to see her fly down tonight. That was super fun.

Then we all rode the Magic Carpets. The girls rode it twice before we walked to Buzz to use our last Fast Pass of the day. When we finsihed the ride, the park was closed for us, but we didn't have any plans of leaving. We made the loop and then hung out at the train station platform watching people walk down Main Street. We waited for a long while gazing at the people leaving.

When we finally did decide to leave, we opted to take a bus back to the Transportation and Ticket Center. The monorail line was crazy, the boat line was full and the busses were empty. It was just us and about 5 other folks on the bus. We were soon back and walking to our car. 

Back at the house, Anderson and Graham were already sound asleep. Whitman looked like he should have been asleep when we put him in bed. I am afraid that he is getting another cold! Reagan was still going strong, but everyone quickly went to bed. 

Florida February: February 16, 2020

(click here for today's pictures)


We had made it 20 days with going to one of the parks each day. Today, however, was our first day to not even make it to a park. We were still incredibly busy and super close to the parks, but never did scan in. This is how our day played out:

We did wake up early to eat our leftover donuts, and more importantly get ourselves to church. The kids said today that if they knew we were going to go to church each Sunday, they would have brought more church clothes. I agreed, but today I was able to find another Sunday shirt that I had packed. 

We normally don't go to church while we are out of town, so we had no way to no that we would go every Sunday. I guess we were just a bit surprised at how much we would like the church down here. Now today, they did have a special guests quartet so that meant no choir and the fog machine was back. Hopefully, next week things will be back to normal during their early, old folk service.

After church, we came back to the house. Robby took the little 3 swimming while I folded laundry, pulled out school for the next day we do school (not sure when that might be), and browned 3 pounds of hamburger meat. When the swimmers came home, we started to work on our lunch-tacos. We had intended to make hamburger helper but didn't have any milk.

When lunch was over, Robby went to work on making some rice krispy treats while I cleaned up the kitchen. Keaton helped him-she usually makes sure that she gets to help with the rice krispy treat making. Then it was time for our Sunday afternoon nap-I am not sure why people think they must do athletic activity in the house only during times that I am laying down or why everyone comes to me or texts me to ask for a snack when I close my eyes, but it always happens.

We did however get a pretty good nap and by 3:30 we were leaving for the evening. Tomorrow is a super early morning so our plan was to ge back home and to bed early-that didn't really happen. Our first stop was Coranado Springs Resort. We drove there and then walked around the hotel. It was a neat place to see and incredibly huge.

From there, we parked at Hollywood Studios since we intended to come back and close it up. We never made it back to the park though. Our original plan was to walk to the Swan and Dolphin to see them. Robby suggested that we just hop on the first bus that pulled in-I agreed since that sounded like a fun adventure. I am not too sure if we would have really done this or not, but since the first bus was the Saratoga Springs which we wanted to see, we did. 

Soon we were walking around that resort. Each of these resorts are themed incredibly and each one is so different from the next. There quick service section had pizzas so we bought 2 little ones to split as a mini supper. It was a good stop while we tried to figure out what the weather was going to do. It was spitting rain, but not raining hard.

From Saratoga, we decided to take the boat to Disney Springs. We had toyed with walking, but the rain scared us. As we were going there, the boat man said that a lightening storm was coming so this would be the last boat service for a while. He probably thought that we were crazy when we said that was fine, we were just out playing. 

We walked around Disney Springs. Reagan has thought about getting a sweatshirt but can't seem to find one that she wants. Graham found a snack that he wanted so even though it was raining, Campbell and he waited in line for his pretzel bites. The rest of us tried to stay dry in a store. 

By the time he had his snack, the rain had stopped, and we went to catch a bus back towards our car. We decided to board the bus for the Swan and Dolphin hotel. We did get on that bus after a bit of waiting-we got on that bus with probably 50 other folks. This was just a good reminder that I always want to have my car at Disney, or anywhere for that matter.

It took us a while to make it the the Dolphin or maybe it just seemed like a while-it was standing room only and I was struggling to keep myself from bumping into someone and hold on to Whitman who wasn't holding on. We finally made it there and enjoyed seeing the Dolphin.

It is just a big hotel, but it is still something to see. It was just a short walk to the Swan so we also explored that one as well. From there, we were able to walk back to Hollywood Studios to get to the car. We certainly made a day of it. We have 5 different resorts to see in the next few days and will have made it to all the Disney resorts. My total list is just 31 items left-I think we can accoplish it!

When we made it home, the kids had a snack and then it was bedtime for the crew. The plan right now is to leave this place before 6 in the morning-yikes!

Florida February: February 15, 2020

(click here for today's pictures)


I guess that we needed a vacation from our vacation because that is sure what we did today! My girls did all pretty much jump up at 6:50 this morning to walk out on the beach. They grabbed their blankets while I brushed my teeth before we headed out.

We could tell as soon as we opened the door that there would be no sunrise. It as cloudy, misty and windy. We still walked towards the beach. If I thought that I could have convinced Campbell to turn around and go back to bed, I would have tried. I knew though she was dead set on this so I decided to just grin and bear it.

The wind was crazy, but it wasn't that cold out there. I do wish that we could have seen a pretty sunrise, but Campbell and Keaton were able to collect quite a few shells this morning. After we walked a little bit each way, we did go back to the room. 

The girls worked on washing their shells while Reagan and I climbed back in our beds. Soon Keaton joined me in my bed while Campbell laid on the other side of us. Reagan and Keaton were soon sound asleep. I was able to rest and Campbell was so anxious to get back to the beach that she could hardly sit still.

It was almost 9:30 when we finally did go to the pool. I thought that it might be warmer there. Graham joined us for a little bit but Campbell and Keaton did most of the swimming. They sat in the hot tub for a long while first and then spent at least 30 minutes swimming. I spent my time covered in a blanket in a lounge chair up next to the building trying to avoid the wind. 

Whitman and Robby came out as we were heading to the beach. The four of the kids had a blast playing in the sand and the waves. The red flags were our so they didn't get in past their knees. Of course Graham and Campbell so wanted to go deeper, but that wasn't going to happen today. Robby walked a ways on the beach while sat huddled under the blanket sitting on a towel.

A man had given the girls two beach buckets since they were about to fly out. They used these to make sculptures, carry water and collect more seashells. They had lots of fun on this beach day even though the weather was less than ideal.

By 11:30, the beach goers had all showered, and we were loading up the car. It didn't take long to load up and is nice that we can do it without a cart. Graham found the Donut King on my phone and put it on the maps trying to convince us to go there. He had no idea that we were actually heading to the Donut King.

Around Disney World, they have Joffery's Donuts. The donuts are big and are everywhere here. They are made by a local donut place called Donut King. So of course we had to visit it. And visit it we did! 6 glazed, 12 specialty, 2 twists, 1 cinnamon roll, 50 doughnut holes and 6 castle mini burgers. We may have gone a bit overboard, but we made some memories for sure.

The place was tiny and we filled it to the brim. While Robby was waiting on the doughnuts, the rest of us just went to the car. When we were back on the road, we passed those doughnuts out. Now, the regular doughnuts aren't as big as the ones at Disney, but the specialty ones that we bought (twists and cinnamon roll) are huge. We have plenty to eat tomorrow for breakfast.

This stop was about 30 minutes out of our way, so it took us some time to get back home. When we did we throw clothes in the wash and unloaded the car. Soon we were all back in the car headed to the Animal Kingdom Lodge. Everyday at 4:15 they have a tour of the Boma and Jinko restaurants. 

First we toured Jinko-the person was from Zimbabwe and explained things in the restaurant and told how it tied to his home country. It was all very interesting. The kids really did great listening because both leaders were a bit difficult to understand with their accents.

We had heard that you were given samples of some bread so that was going to be fun. However, at the end of the Jinko tour, they had 3 trays each full of a type of flat bread, crispy tortilla, olives, hummus and some other spread. There was only us and 4 other people on the tour with us. 

Next we walked around the Boma restaurant (where we are eating next week). This tour ended with a sample of carrot soup which I thought was corn. Robby and I hurriedly licked our bowls clean. Then we were all given a sample of the zebra dome cake that the restaurant is known for. They had one extra so the lady gave it to Graham. This made his day!

We then walked around the Animal Kingdom Lodge for a bit before running back to the house to drop the boys off. The girls were the only ones who wanted to come with us tonight. Our adventure tonight took us to Epcot. We parked at Hollywood and rode the Skyliner.

As we were walking to the Skyliner, I wondered aloud if the lines ever got long waiting for it. On our next stop, we got out and quickly saw that yes indeed the lines to get long, very long. This leg of the Skyliner was running very slowly so we took off walking. We walked through one resort to get to the next boarding area. There was a line there, but it was moving quicker.

We were soon in Epcot walking to the United Kingdom area. We needed some supper and fish and chips sounded like a super great idea. We ordered two, sat on the curb under a street lamp and ate our yummies. Then we walked all the way around the countries-this will be Robby and my exercise when we are old and retired at Disney World. 

We did explore the Italy pavilion for a little bit and went into the Mexican pavilion. It was fairly crowded there. I will say that quite a few people seemed to have taken the challenge to drink around the world-have an alcoholic drink in each of the Epcot countries. It was a lively place!

When we made it back to the Sky Liners, there was no line at all. And we got on just as the fireworks started going off. We were able to see most of them from the sky. It was perfect timing. We had a perfect evening and the fireworks just topped it off.

We were soon home ushering everyone to their beds. Whitman has already run in here-he legitamatly seems to be scared. Graham tries to convince him that he is fine and even walked him to our room. I did lay him back down and let him have my blanket so he thinks he has something special.

Florida February: February 14, 2020-Happy Valentine's Day!

(click here for today's pictures)


We started our Valentine's morning around 8 this morning. Keaton, Whitman and Campbell had already finished their school work. Those girls helped Whitman do his math so they were all just waiting on me to work with them. 

Within in an hour, I was finisihed with everyone else, and we were scurrying around cleaning and packing up the house! Before we left, Keaton and Campbell had made everyone Valentine's cards at home and bought candy at Walmart for everyone a few days before. They had worked really hard on their Valentines. 

On the other side of the spectrum is Robby and me-on our quick trip to Walmart last night, we grabbed some candy for our 6 little Valentines. Now, Robby also did some planning ahead. Each year he gets me a picture calendar for Valentines. He has made these calendars for me for at least a decade. My old calendar ends in February each year so I was extremely happy to have a new one. Now, I can't start on adding things now-I have to decide if I want to color coordinate all of our activites this year.

By 10, we were about to load the car when we quickly discovered that it was raining! Not just sprinkling, but it was raining a lot! We waited for a few minutes for the rain to stop before loading up.

We were soon on our way to the Yacht Club to eat Beaches and Cream. The rain had cleared so we first walked all around the Yacht Club then we explored the Beach Club before finding our restaurant. The Beaches and Cream restaurant was pretty neat.

We had a good meal of burgers, chicken sandwiches and fries. That wasn't the most exciting part of the meal. For desssert, we ordered the Kitchen Sink. It was a huge kitchen sink completely filled with ice cream. There were 8 scoops, every topping that they have plus a whole can of whipped cream. It was absolutely crazy and was so much fun! The crazy part was that we couldn't even finish it all. Robby and Campbell did give it a valiant effort but just couldn't do it.

Afterwards, we needed to walk off our lunch before getting in the car so we headed over to Epcot. We were over there for about 10 minutes before turning around and walking back towards the car. We then drove about an hour and a half to Melbourne, Florida. 

We are in a Crowne Plaza that has recently been redone. It is nice and our room is just feet away from the pool. After arriving, we unloaded our stuff and went out to explore. There really wasn't much to explore since our room is right next to pool and the beach is right nearby as well. We were soon back in our room with the kids changing into bathing suits.

We went to the beach for everyone to play. The waves were pretty high so they didn't get it in too deep. It was also chilly and windy today. The last few days have been in the 80s but today it was just around 75. And the wind! I was cuddled up in my jacket and a towel wrapped around me.

Campbell is our water loving child and could have stayed at the beach forever. Whitman loves it just about as much. Anderson and Graham played football for quite a while. Reagan huddled under a towel. Keaton also enjoyed it quite a bit but was soon ready to go to the pool after finding some shells.

We then moved our party to the pool area. Everyone swam except for Reagan. She did put her feet in the hot tub as did I. The hot tub was magnificent-enough so that Robby even put his suit on to get in it. Soon everyone did start trickling in our rooms to take showers. It was nice since the rooms were right there. They could go in and we could stay and watch the last few swimmers. Whitman was the last one in the pool-I know that I have said it before, but he can swim but it is not pretty at all.

After eveyone had showered, we went to our rooms for a little bit. Since the hot natured boys are not in our room, I have the air off and it is nice and cozy. The girls played on their ipads for a little bit while I tried to work on the blog. I didn't get very far on the blog-I think I was distracted with listening to the band playing by the pool. I expect that we will hear them for a little while tonight-some people may not like that, but I think it is pretty neat.

Since we were still full from our big lunch, we didn't need much for supper. We did drive around town looking for some place to eat. We tried a pizza place, but since we didn't have reservations we were turned away. It wasn't even that fancy of a place. We also drove by a fun looking hot dog/ice cream joint. If we had not already had our fill of ice cream, we would have definitely stopped there to eat-it looked like so much fun.

We did find a quaint little place that had a familiar menu. It also wasn't too crowded at all. Yep, McDonalds! Robby did laugh because our whole meal for 8 for supper cost less than one hamburger earlier today cost. Our meal was warm and filled us up, so I sure can't complain at all.

I do have the snack bag in my room so I might just get myself a snack in a little bit. After supper, we headed back to the hotel to do a little bit of crab hunting. Unfortunately, we didn't see any crabs-probably because they were preparing for a hurricane that is coming. The wind is blowing like crazy outside! 

We didn't make it very far because we were chilled to the bone. I know it is in the 30s at home, but we have acclimated for Florida weather and 70 is chilly to me now. Soon we were headed back to our rooms. It is almost 9, the girls have had showers, the blog is written and my people are starting to brush their teeth. 

My girls have big plans to make it to the beach tomorrow for sunrise. Reagan even said that she is going to go with us. We will see who all wakes up! 


Florida February: February 13, 2020

(click here for today's pictures)


When the alarm went off at 6:30 this morning, I wasn't quite sure that we made the right decision to get such an early start. After getting ready, I quietly went into Keaton and Campbell's room to wake them up. Whitman was also sleeping in that room with Keaton again-Graham was not too happy about Whitman not sleeping in his room with him. I think that he was a little bit lonely without his room buddy.

We not to quietly left the house this morning at 7:15. It was a big step day-almost 24 thousand steps and over 11 miles. Robby said that if we would eat better, we could lose some weight while we are done here. That doesn't sound like fun at all though-my current snack of choice is an ice cream cone smeared with cookie butter. The kids like neither the ice cream cones or cookie butter, so I can have it all to myself.

I got a bit off topic there. Whitman, Keaton and Campbell were excited about our adventure this morning. The first stop was Hollywood Studios. We arrived at about the same time as we did the other day, but the crowds were less. We hightailed it into the park just like everyone else. The only difference was that we didn't go towards Toy Story Land or the Star Wars area-we headed to the Jedi Training Academy.

Campbell and Whitman decided that they wanted to train to be Jedis so we signed them up for the last show of the night. We also got a boarding group for Rise of the Resistance. Ours ended up being group 72 and the last group called tonight was 70 so we didn't make that.

After signing them up for the Jedi bit, we booked it on out of the park back to the car. We then drove to Magic Kingdom. We almost would have made it for their opening as well, but the ferry boat took a little bit of time. 

Our first stop at Magic Kingdom was Space Mountain. I have had enough of this ride and am starting to feel that it is an old rickety roller coaster. I must have said that a few too many times because Whitman did not really want to go on it. I convinced him that we were all doing it, and he was fine on it. Though I am not really fine on it-there is one bump that I am convinced the car has come off of the track.

After Space, we went to ride the Little Mermaid ride which was on the big list. Then we found ourselves a cinnamon roll to hold us over until lunch time. Then it was a quick spin on the carousel. I had been waiting to go to the Enchanted Tales with Belle for a while. It has been forever since we went before, and today it was absolutely perfect.

Campbell was Mrs. Potts, Keaton was a dancing plate, and Whitman was the Beast. Oh, my. The whole little play was so cute. But it was not nearly as adorable as Whitman dancing with Belle at the end of the play. The pictures are just amazing-it was so precious.

From there, we went to meet Ariel. That didn't take us any time at all, so we went to play on the Dumbo playground. This had been on Whitman's list for a while now so he was tickled with this. When our number was called, we had planned on just leaving and not riding, but who can not ride Dumbo?

We did Dumbo, and then ended our Magic Kingdom morning with a pepperjack filled pretzel which was on Robby's list. It was pretty yummy for sure. Though there is a cream cheese filled pretzel that I want to try as well.

We then headed back to the house. The big 3 had done all of their school work and were busy on their devices. The boys were playing with Cash most of the day on their xbox. We made our lunches since it was nearly 1 when we came home.

I also emptied the dishwasher, threw some potatoes in the oven and folded laundry before starting on checking school work. The kids just had to do half today so it didn't take too long to check nor did it take too long for anyone to do their work. 

Now, after we finished school stuff, it was time for everyone to pack their bags. Not home quite yet, but we are going to the beach tomorrow so we will be in a hotel. Of course leaving here for one night does require lots of packing-though packing for one night is exceptionally easier than packing for over a month.

The potatoes took forever to cook. I am not too sure that the oven here is hot-mine at home doesn't quite get to the temperature here, but at least I can cook potatoes fairly easily. My potatoes today were tiny yet it took 3 hours. That was fine though because we had plenty of time before supper.

The kids didn't swim today since I was washing their bathing suits. They did spend a lot of time outside by the pool and running up and down the street. After supper, we even picked up half of them at the stop sign down the road. 

Tonight we went straight to Hollywood. Well, we did stop at a Walmart gas station to get icees for most people. Then we headed to Starbucks for Reagan a drink. Robby put in the wrong Starbucks though so we were able to see a bit of Celebration, Florida. It was a city built by Disney, and it is really neat to see. It also has quite an interesting history that I might read up on tonight before bed-if I can keep my eyes open.

Then it was on to Hollywood. We had Tower of Terror Fast Passes that ended at 6:15 and made it just before then. We rode that ride-my all time favorite. When it was over, Campbell, Whitman and I hustled, and I mean hustled, to the other side of the park to show up for the Jedi training. 

Of course on this brisk walk, they both said that they had to go to the bathroom. I didn't want for their spot to be given away so we checked in first and then headed to the bathroom. They made it in plenty of time and were given their cloaks.

The Jedi Training was really cute. We have walked past it a few times, but have never stopped because it has been too hot to stand in the sun and watch other people's kids. Tonight though it was already dark and pleasant out so we could stand and watch our kids. 

Whitman was all into this. They were able to fight Darth Vadar. Campbell enjoyed it too, but clearly told us to not take any pictures of her. That was fine though because the photographer was taking plenty of pictures. I haven't looked at them yet, but hopefully they have some good ones. The show was neat and Whitman left wanting a light saber. Graham even decided that he wanted one too. 

We walked through Star Wars land-Anderson is looking for one accessory for his Droid but they are out of stock. Then it was off to ride Alien Swirling Saucers followed by Slinky Dog when the park closed. It took us a bit longer tonight to get on Slinky Dog, but the line still moved.

On the way out of the park, Whitman was talking about his tooth. He told me that it was really wiggly. I told him that it would come out when it was ready. He said that he didn't think that it was ready, and I thought that was the end of that for the day. I was wrong. A few steps later, he proclaimed, "Well, there's my tooth." And there indeed it was-it had come out and the boy was so excited. 

We had to text everyone to tell them along with take pictures. He was so, so happy. I wrapped it up carefully so we could get it home. On the way home this time, we did have to stop by Walmart for a few things-few is an understatement. There was also some Valentine candy thrown into the mix!

Once at home, the kids helped us unload and then had a few minutes of downtime before it was bedtime. Tomorrow will be a busy day so we need some extra rest!

Florida February: February 12, 2020

(click here for today's pictures)


As you probably guessed, we didn't make it to Magic Kingdom for opening this morning. We quickly realized that it would be difficult getting oursleves and the sleeping kids awake. I do think that Campbell was the most bummed about not going. We might do some speed park things in the morning so that will probably make up for it.

Since we didn't get up and go, I had to pull out the rest of school for everyone. Today was finished our 10th day of school since we have been here. Now, I know that doesn't sound like a lot of real schooler people, but since we just did 12 days in January, I am feeling pretty good about accomplishing 10. My super de-duper goal would be 20, but since that won't happen, 15 will thrill me! 

Graham didn't start off immediately on his school. That was fine with me. I worked with Whitman first. Then on to Keaton, Graham, Anderson, Reagan and finally Campbell. We were all finished in time for us to work together-that I have been lacking on.

Next up was swimming by Graham, Campbell, Keaton and Whitman. Whitman was the one who wanted to go first and was even determined to swim if no one else did. I sat our there some, but quickly found out that the water was icy cold. Even though it was hot outside, I would still shiver when I was splashed.

Around 12:30, Robby heated up bagel bites which we ate before packing our suppers for tonight. Then it was off for the day. We parked our car at Hollywood and jumped on the Skyliner. We rode to the first stop to walk around the Carribbean Beach resort. We have stayed there before, but it has been years.

We had forgotten how huge that place is. Also, we did take a break from walking in the heat to buy a child's plate of jerk chicken. It was delicious rice and some of the best chicken ever. It was also topped with tomatoes and some other green veggie. Of course I am the only one who eats these so I had myself more food than anyone else. And in case you are wondering, we do pretty good at splitting a child's portion 8 ways.

Then we walked on to the Riviera Resort. It was new and swanky, but I wasn't too impressed with the lobby. Some of these lobby's are massive and just neat to see while others are average hotel lobbys. I know you don't spend anytime in a hotel lobby, but I do tend to like the large ones like Animal Kingdom Lodge or the Grand Floridian.

We then rode on the Skyliner back to Hollywood. Our first stop was the Beauty and the Beast show. It was our first time to see it in many years. It was really good-Whitman told me that he loves plays. Then we walked right into the Lightening McQueen show. Keaton and Campbell had already seen this with the Crafts, but I think they enjoyed it again. Robby did ask them if Lightening won the race in the show that they watched!

Graham, Campbell, Reagan and Keaton decided to ride Tower of Terror. Whitman, Anderson, Robby and I headed to see the Frozen show. First we sat down for some popcorn. Anderson did say that he was probably ready to build his droid so off with went. 

When we had walked over there the other day, the line was crazy-out the door and down the path. I had looked to make a reservation that night, but they wanted a credit card so I decided I would wait. Tonight, Anderson and Robby were able to walk right on up.

The droid pieces go by you on a conveyor belt so they waited until the found exactly what Anderson wanted. Then they had to assemble it which I think was pretty neat. Whitman and I watched from behind a rail since we couldn't go back into the assembly area with them. 

Anderson drove his droid around for a bit before we boxed him up and headed to eat our supper. After eating our lunchables, we went straight for Rock N Roller coaster. The original plan was for Anderson to hold the droid box on the coaster, but his car had a large front area so we switched my bag for his droid as we were loading.

That left me on the ride that I dislike trying to hold on to that droid with one hand and trying to hold on for dear life with the other hand. My thighs were even sore when we stopped because I was squeezing that box for dear life. 

I survived the ride and so did the droid. I am pretty sure that everyone loves that ride except for me. Put me on Tower of Terror any day of the week, but not that ride. I told Whitman that I would ride one more time on this trip, and than I would be done with it.

It was 7:50 by now so we hurried over to Slinky Dog and jumped into that line. The line said 40 minutes, but by 8:15, we were off the ride and walking towards the exit of the park. It was a pretty productive day. Here are the things that were marked off of the list:

-Explore Caribbean Beach Resort
-Explore Rivieria Resort
-Watch Beauty and the Beast
-Watch Lightening McQueen show
-Build Anderson's Christmas Droid

That isn't too shabby at all. Now, I still have 64 more things to mark off of my lists. I guess I will have to content with not accomplishng it all!

Florida February: February 11, 2020

(click here for today's pictures)


Once again it is late, and I really can't remember when or how the day started. After sitting here for a bit, I do remember that our alarms went off at 8. I was up first because school had to be done. Graham was already finished with his so by the time I was ready and started the laundry, I worked with him. It must be nice to be finished with school by 8:30.

I wasn't quite finished with my school though. I did soon work with Keaton and then Whitman. Sometimes I just want to strangle him-he is so distractible. Of course at this house, there is always something interesting happening-today they were emptying the pool behind us, men come and clean our pool, they mow the lawn and even take our garbage cans to the street. So there is always something going on.

By 11, everyone was finished, and we were working together. I had a shower and then called NASA to make reservations for next week. For what I paid for us to go (even with a decent homeschool discount), I believe that one of the children will actually get to go into space. 

Soon we were all eating our lunch, grabbing snacks and heading out the door. Today we went to Animal Kingdom. We managed to stop at a few Wilderness Explorer stops-I think just 3 (we still have like 15 more to go). Then it was time to ride Dinosaur followed by a short break for some water, email sending (by Robby) and snacks.

The weather here today was warm. It was pleasant in the shade but hot in the sun. This was the first day that I think that we were actually sweaty while in the parks. Now tonight, I was still wearing my shorts but did have to put on my light jacket.

We then rode Everest, and some even rode it one more time in the single rider line. We bought Whitman some popcorn so he wasn't disappinted at all about missing that ride. He will be 7 when we come back so he will be able to ride in the single rider lines by then-it will be super nice!

We had a Fast Pass to see Minnie and Mickey, but since the line was not moving at all, we decided to head back to the house. Now, we did mark off a few stops for their Wilderness Explorer badges, but I still didn't get anything marked off of my list. Urgh!

Back at the house, we unloaded, I pulled out school for tomorrow and grabbed ourselves a snack. Then Robby, Anderson and I were off for the evening. Robby had seen a movie preview ad pop up on his Facebook. He signed us up-you had to be 13 or older and from the questions he could tell that it would be an action film so we knew Anderson would like it.

They said that we were the first theater to see the new movie. I would tell you the name, but since I did sign that million dollar confidentiality agreement, I better not say anything. I was hoping that it would have been Star Wars for Anderson. Some one even thought it might be Black Widow. Those would have been great for a nap for me. However, this ended up being a movie that even I enjoyed watching.

It was super fun-and watching the people was so entertaining. We thought we were near the front of the line, but we were just near the front of the outside line even thought we arrived over an hour early. Then we waited in massive lines to have pictures with our ids, fill our paperwork, be metal detected and finally go into the theater. We left our phones in the car (as instructed), but they even took up phones. It was so very interesting-security even watched the audience during the movie. 

After the movie, we headed to the Lego store to look around. I would have loved for Anderson to have seen something that he wanted, but he did not want to spend his money. I guess I love that trail even better. Then it was the the chocolate store for a sample followed by some BBQ at the Polite Pig. And since it had been such a good evening, we did top it off with some cookie dough from a food truck on the way to the car.

It was nearly 11 when we made it home. The others ate leftovers for their supper, had snacks, took showers (without even being asked) and most were almost asleep when we made it back home. Graham was sound asleep, while Campbell, Keaton and Whitman had just laid down but were pretty tired. Whitman was snuggled up in Keaton's bed tonight. Reagan was wide awake though and gave us a rundown of the evening.

Now, the plan had been to go to Magic in the morning for rope drop. However, since it is midnight right now, I am not too sure that will happen. Our 3 littles were wanting to go, and we can't go tomorrow or Friday so maybe we still might. But I do know that I better find a Tums (BBQ at 10:30) and get myself into bed!

Florida February: February 10, 2020

(click here for today's pictures)


Anderson and Graham were awake early this morning. Graham went right to work on his school while Anderson waited as long as he could to get started. When I finally did go to wake up Campbell and Keaton, they were actually already awake in their beds working on their school. 

Whitman and Reagan were a bit more difficult to wake up. We didn't rush through school today-I was able to fold laundry and sweep the floor of the house while we worked. I tell you the broom in this house is horrible. However, that doesn't change all of the stuff we have on the floors here. I guess our carpet at home hides the filth in our house. I sure don't like our carpet at home, but I sure don't like seeing stuff on this floor all of the time.

We even did our work together today which has kind of fallen by the wayside. Around noonish we all had a bite of lunch. Then a bit later, Graham, Campbell, Keaton and I went to the basketball court while Robby ran to Chilis. Robby had a coupon expiring and wanted to use it. While we waited on him to return with our snack, we played a few rounds of basketball. Actually, we played some basketball but did a lot of sweating-it was warm today!

Robby picked up cheese dip, salsa, a cookie along with some nachos. It was delicious, and we devoured all of that at the basketball court picnic area. The others opted to stay back at the house so they missed out on that round of goodies.

I did lay down for a few minutes today. Then around 3:30, we loaded up for the evening. Tonight's adventure started at the Contemporary. We parked and rode the monorail there. Keaton has been collecting Transportation cards, but there are also Safety cards to collect. Those are given out by the police men. However, Keaton is a bit intimidated by them and rarely asks. Actually she is losing her nerve and is asking few people lately.

The Contemporary was neat. We looked at the murals, watched the monorails go by, and even ate a cupcake (two actually) from the bakery. The cupcake was delicious-the cake part was just okay, but the ton of icing on the top was what was really fun.

After exploring for a while, we walked to the Magic Kingdom. It wouldn't be a bad walk, but all of the construction happening caused it to a be a bit longer than usual. Once we got to Main Street, the little 3 all wanted their picture in front of the castle. I am glad that they still enjoy coming!

We did the Tomorrowland Transit cars once tonight. Then we rode Space Mountain. After Space, we stopped and ate what we had packed for supper-sandwiches, crackers and cheese. Then it was to Buzz for a spin. The fireworks were happening when we left that ride, so the lines were less. Everoyne but Robby, Reagan, Whitman and I went to the speedway cars again. We chose Winnie the Pooh. 

Then the kids all rode the Speedway cars again. They really wanted to do it one more time tonight, but seriously, we have to save something for another day. We did walk all the way across the park for Thunder Mountain. And finally, we ended the night and closed the park at Haunted Mansion.

My goal is to stay super late one night and have to be kicked out of the park. That wasn't tonight since they were having an afterhours party. We walked through one gift shop on the way out tonight, but were soon on the monorail back to our car.

The kids all had to have showers tonight so it was after 11 when everyone finally did go to bed. We are sleeping until 8 around here so they still should get plenty of sleep!

Florida February: February 9, 2020

(click here for today's pictures)


The alarms seemed to go off pretty early last night. Not nearly as early as last Sunday though. The kids all woke up pretty good. Surprisingly, not everyone ate the leftover donuts for breakfast. I am pretty sure that there are a few left in the box even right now. 

Today we went back to First Baptist Orlando, but we tried their modern worship service. It is indeed modern. I think that anytime a smoke machine is used in a worship service, then modern would be an adequate word to describe it. 

The preaching, however, was very good. It was actually a very clear salvation message. We did sit in a less distracting spot today so I was able to concentrate better. I did, however, keep my eye on that countdown clock. I have heard that we need on at our church too!

On the way home, we made a stop at the craziest outlet mall ever. The mall wasn't that crazy, but the parking lot was. We almost gave up, but finally found a parking spot and had to squeeze our not so little car into it. It was dicey there for a few minutes. 

We went to a Disney Outlet store. It is things that they are no longer selling in the parks. For example, when we were at the parks in December, there was a Christmas bag that I really wanted. You had to spend 50 dollars then and could buy the bag for 19.99. However, there were stacks of them today for 10 dollars. You better believe that I got myself one!

I also bought a 12 days of Socks box for 10 dollars. It has 12 pairs of Disney socks in it. Yep, those babies will show up in some stockings. And Whitman found a shirt that he wanted so we also bought it. They even had some Mickey ears, but Robby couldn't get the girls interested in buying another pair. They all said, "we already have a pair." I am glad that think that way, but these ears were 1/3 the price of in the park. It was a fun stop, and we will definitely stop there again.

Robby and I had baked a frozen meal last night so it would be partially ready today when we came home for lunch. By the time everyone changed, Robby had our baked ziti heated up along with a loaf of bread. We ate on it-it didn't go super far. Reagan decided that she needed to finish it off and licked the pan clean.

We had a short rest this afternoon and then got started on tonight's adventure. I went to bed last night a bit concerned about my fairly massive list of things to do while we are on our little trip. I had no idea that today I would be able to mark off nine different things from the list. I probably should have kept a copy of the list before I started marking things off. Here is what we accomplished today.

-Disney Outlet Store
-Explore Pop Century Resort
-Explore Art of Animation
-Animation Class at Art of Animation
-Boardwalk at Sunset
-Explore Boardwalk Resort
-The Flight at Ample Hills Creamery
-Canada Film
-Canada Kidcot Card

This afternoon we left and parked at Hollywood. We took the Skyliner to the first stop and changed to ride towards the Pop Century Resort. We walked around that resort-it is massive. The kids enjoyed seeing all of the things there. Graham is convinced that he wants to come back and stay onsite so we can have the meal plan. 

We then walked across the bridge to the Art of Animation Resort. As we swifly walked, the kids ran ahead to slide down a Little Mermaid themed slide. Inside that resort, we looked around, traded pins, window shopped their food choices and did another drawing class.

The kids did really well as we drew Tigger. I have a pile of papers from all of the art classes that we have been to. I think that we might even go to another one since they all do seem to like it. From there, we had intended to continue on the Skyliner and ride it to Epcot.

However, that line was down so our options were bussing it to Epcot or riding back to Hollywood. We chose riding back to Hollywood. That worked our well because by this time, it was a bit chilly, and we needed our jackets.

Robby went back the car with Graham to get the jackets while Keaton, Whitman and I hunted for transportation and safety cards. We didn't do too good in our search today, but I do think that she found a few new cards.

We then walked towards Epcot on the mile-ish pathway. The weather was absolutely perfect for us on our little walk. Now in November, Robby and Graham made that walk in pouring rain so our weather was much better.

We stopped to explore the Boardwalk Resort. It was sunsettish so the walk was beautiful. Also on my list in that area was to eat The Flight from Ample HIlls Creamery. And since we walked right by there, we thought that we had better stop.

The Flight is just 6 smallish scoops of ice cream. We bought ourselves two-all different flavors of ice cream. We did quickly scoop Whitman's vanilla in a cup so he could have it to himself since that is all that he eats. Keaton isn't an ice cream fan either so she herself a few bites before digging into the goldfish.

We then continued our walk to Epcot. We went towards Canada to watch the new movie. It was in a 360 degree theater. After the movie, the kids received their final Kidcot card. They have collected cards from each country so they were given a postcard that reads "I traveled the world at Epcot."

Our next plan was to buy some flavored popcorn on the way to Soarin. However, the popcorn place was closed. The kids just want butter popcorn, but this spot had 3 different flavors-don't worry, it is still on my list.

We did go to Sunshine Seasons to sit for a bit and eat a few cookies from the bag. Then it was time to ride Soarin. Whitman banged his funny bone on the chair as soon as the ride started, so he was teary eyed throughout the show. He did recover and enjoyed some of the ride.

Now after Soarin, we could have walked back towards the Skyliner, but we didn't know if it was open or not so we headed to the busses. A new adventure is always fun. On the way, we did ride the Nemo ride. It is nice to just walk on ride without a line.

Then it was to the busses. We all enjoyed watching the busses turn the corner and trying to figure out if they were stopping for us or not. We didn't have to wait long and were soon back at Hollywood walking to our car. Robby had moved it much closer when he ran back to get the jackets so it was a super short walk.

Back at the hosue, the kids all found some type of snack to eat before bed-they had apples, sandwiches and other odd things. I probably don't need any more ice cream tonight so I guess I will skip my tonight's snack. Tomorrow the current plan is a full day of school, then to explore the Contemporary and back to Magic Kingdom.