Florida February: February 29, 2020-Leap Day!

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We didn't have a ton of fun packing up the house on this Leap Day. We did do quite a lot of other fun things today, but packing was definitely not one of them. We slept as late as we could. It is funny to still hear the boys all get up at about the same time.  I have no idea whose children they really are because Robby, the girls and I could sleep for days!

After we were up and going, we started on our first round of packing. It is definitely kind of like moving-we have been here for over a month or 1/12th of a year. That is a lot of stuff that we brought plus a lot of stuff that we have accumulated here! 

Around 11, we loaded up for one last trip to Animal Kingdom. The kids had one last Wilderness Explorer badge to complete. They finished that without any problem and soon we were off. Some rode Everest in the single rider line. It was fairly long, so Reagan and Anderson opted to skip it, and Whitman isn't old enough to do the single rider by himself. So the rest of us went to the Boneyard playground for a bit.

Robby and I found a shaded and not too windy spot to sit while the kids played. When the riders made it back, they played a few rounds of tag as well. Then it was time to leave Animal Kingdom. We did run by Walmart on the way home to buy Mickey Mouse ice cream bars. We bought 6 for 6 dollars which was a bit cheaper than in the parks. 

The real packing then began. We even loaded the car this afternoon. Just as we were about to leave for tonight's adventure, Keaton asked to walk around the block. So Keaton, Whitman and I took a walk around the block. I walked, they ran-they would run to a certain spot, sit on the ground and wait for me and then run some more when I arrived.

Tonight took us to Hollywood Studios. The first thing that we did was watch the Muppet's Show. It had been closed for most of the time that we have been here. We wanted to go tonight to see if there was any difference-I probably could have spotted some difference if I had stayed awake!

Then we went to ride Tower of Terror-it is still my favorite ride! Then Rock N Roller coaster. Now, this ride I could never ride again. I don't mind the actual ride, but the part when it takes off is not my favorite at all. I so want to act silly for the picture, but all I can do is hang on for dear life and try to make my face look like I am not terrified!

Then we walked over to Star Wars land to see if there was a part for Anderson's droid that he wanted. We quickly found that and were on our way to ride Star Tours. At that store, Graham decided that he wanted to build a light saber, so he quickly put one together.

We then went to ride Toy Story Mania. While we were in line, Graham's light saber wouldn't go down, so he and I ran over to the store hoping that it wouldn't close before we arrived. It was already after park closing by this time. They were still opened and easily showed us how to work his saber. We knew we couldn't get back over to ride the ride with Robby and the others, so we mosied around the park for a little bit. 

They finally finished their ride, and just like that our Disney adventure was over. We did run by Taco Bell for supper-we have plenty of food here, but it is all packed up. Whitman was so tired during supper that he could hardly stay awake. As soon as everyone was finished, it was bedtime for all-well, Robby and I did have some ice cream to finish up from the fridge.

Florida February: February 28, 2020

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I was sleeping so peacefully last night when Anderson popped in our room around 5-he was sick! Ugh! He told me that he knew he was going to be sick, and thought about heading to the bathroom but didn't know if he could make it. I encouraged him to try next time! 

It was fine though because hard wood floors make clean up easy. He took a quick shower afterwards while I cleaned up. Then I tucked him back in bed-I did offer for him to sleep in our bed or on the couch, but he opted for his bed. 

I then went to sleep and slept until crazy late in the morning. It was so nice to look at the clock and see that it had been awhile since Anderson was sick so must be on the mend. He did later decide that the reason he had gotten sick was because he had indeed eaten one green pea in the rice last night. Hopefully, that is indeed what caused it! And I pray that everyone sleeps well tonight!

The kids had a tiny bit of school to do today. As soon as they finished what they were working on, I grabbed their books and started packing them up. They have completed a lot of paper work since we have been here so I know that load is lighter, but I can't really tell that. 

It is incredibly sad to be packing up. This trip has been super long but feels like it has been just a few days. I could stay for a few more days-or maybe a bit longer. I think that Graham would be happy to stay longer but Whitman really wants to go home so he can have better internet (the internet is the same!)

Robby burnt some pizza for lunch. When we dipped it in ranch, it was pretty delicious still. After picking up a few things and packing a few more things, it was time to leave for the day. We did decide to run by the outlet store again. Seriously, we must stop going there. We did buy 2 more pairs of ears for Keaton and Campbell to share. Reagan bought a pair of Donald Duck ears while Graham found himself a shirt.

Afterwards, we were so, so close to the Cheesecake Factory that we just had to run in. Well, Robby ran in to pick up two slices of cheese cake-one cookie dough and one Hersheys. They were both delicious. Robby, I and our cheesecake eaters (Reagan and Graham) ate them up as we drove to Epcot.

At Epcot we traded pins first, of course. We rode the Figment ride before watching the short films. Then we walked around the World Showcase for a bit. We rode the boat to Morocco and then found a funnel cake in the US. The funnel cake had been on Campbell's list so she was able to mark that off.

We tried to find a snack in Italy, but their pizza by the slice was closed. We also tried to get a hot dog or pretzel in Germany, but their lines were crazy long. We will have to save having a snack in those to countries for the next trip.

Soon we were back to the front. Most everyone rode the ball again while Keaton and I walked to the car. At the car, we put a few things up and grabbed jackets for everyone along with hats and gloves for a few. We met up with them and rode the monorail and eventually arrived at Magic Kingdom.

We rode the Buzz ride. We have been reading about how to increase our score, and everyone did do a lot better. Whitman even manged to get over 200,000. The goal is 999,999 yet our highest is just 400K.

Next we had a Space Mountain fastpass. It wasn't working so we could choose what to use the fastpass on. We grabbed some fries and a hot dog to share as we ate our snacky supper from our bag. Reagan, Keaton and Campbell went to ride Winnie the Pooh. They were in line when it broke down, so they also received a fastpass.

We all went to Splash Mountain to use some of our passes. Then everyone rode Thunder. Afterwards, a few folks were able to ride it again. By this time, it was park closing time so we wandered around the gift shop for a little bit. Whitman and Graham even share a bucket full of popcorn.

Then it was back to the monorail to get back to Epcot. Keaton did get two of her monorail cards that she needed tonight, so she was super happy. I even found a lucky penny on the walk back to the car so our evening ended much better than last nights!

The kids were all exhausted by the time everyone put on their pjs and climbed into bed-they should have been exhausted though because it was nearly midnight.

Florida February: February 27, 2020

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We didn't rush anywhere this morning. The kids all had half a day of school this morning. Of course Graham was finished with his by the time that I woke up. Campbell and Keaton came out of their room this morning completely dressed while holding their completed school work.

Reagan was the last to wake up. I actually let her sleep until I was started to worry about her. She felt about yesterday, but she must have felt much better today. Hopefully her cold passes quickly and she even feels better tomorrow.  

We had lunch at the house today and since I am working on cleaning out the fridge, I cooked some chicken and made quesadillas for the crew. At home, we use 2 quesadilla makers, but we just brought one on the trip (bringing 2 would have been a bit excessive.)  Of course, I still had leftover chicken so I still added things to the fridge.

Sometime this afternoon, we left to visit our last resort-Old Key West. It was a very pretty, yet spread out resort. We did enjoy playing outside-Anderson and I played chess, Whitman and I played Connect 4 and most everyone played on the hammocks. The weather was sunny so the coolish weather was perfect. Now, it was a bit cool tonight but not unbearable.

The kids spent a lot of time today trading pins. They really racked up. I think that Anderson traded for 9 new pins today. They continue to find pins to complete their sets or they find unique pins. I do believe that this was one of their best trading days. Anderson only has 1 pin left to trade so he is on pins and needles worried about it! I have a spare or two tucked away that he can have if necessary.

We rode the train at Animal Kingdom and completed 4 more Wildlife Explorer badges. We still have one more to do-urgh! I wanted to finish that task today, but I just guess we will have to go back to Animal Kingdom one more time. 

We were able to do the drawing class there. We drew the crocodile from some Disney movie-I had to ask Robby what the name of it was-Peter Pan. Whitman did better drawing today probably because there was a poor little girl behind us who cried the entire time because she was so frustrated. He heard her so upset, so he didn't get upset himself. It is pretty amazing how well you can draw something when you have someone telling you the exact lines to make.

After this, we grabbed some popcorn and ate some of our snacky suppers. Then we watched the Tough to Be a Bug show. Then it was rice from Yak and Yeti. It was delicious and most of the kids devoured it. Anderson enjoyed his but worked really hard at picking out the tiny peas and carrots. 

We then played on the playground for a little bit. All of the kids ran around playing tag except for Reagan who stood in the corner freezing with me. Once we got out of the wind, we weren't too chilly. The next event was a ride on Everest. That continues to be one of the Dennie favorite rides. Everyone enjoys it!

Right at 8 we jumped in the Flight of Passage line just as the park was closing. We were a bit worried because the line was all the way to the beginning of the queue. Plus seeing the 150 minute time on the board did kind of scare us. We debated bailing on the ride but stuck it out since the line was moving pretty swiftly. Within an hour we were boarding the ride....

Maybe we should have expected something to go wrong since we had some issues last night at the close of our Disney day. I am not sure I wrote about it in the blog, but we were walking happily along when the lady in a scooter beside me yells at Whitman, "You shouldn't run in front of me or you will get hit." 

I was taken aback and was about to say something when Robby did. Don't worry, he was nice...mostly. If anyone is going to yell at a Dennie kid it will be me, thank you very much. I had not heard, but the lady had been mouthing for a good while about kids running in front of her. Whitman, who was oblivious, probably had walked in front of her a few times. Anderson had just fallen so we were walking super slow as well.

Afterwards, Whitman walked so close to Graham for the rest of the evening. He even said that if he had ear plug he would put them in right now. We discussed being aware of other people, but also not worrying about what mean people say. Gracious, that was an uncomfortable experience, but not nearly as uncomfortable as tonight...

So tonight, Campbell was sitting between me and Robby during the ride. Robby and I had been talking during the ride so we were aware of what Campbell was doing. Suddenly, the ride froze and the screens went down. We sat there and sat there locked in and waiting.

A lady came up to us and asked how many were in our group. We replied 8 and then she asked, "How do you want to do this?" We just stared at her as she continued that they had to stop the ride because Campbell was scared and trying to get out of her seat. Um, nope. Robby was quick to tell her that we have been on the ride many times, Campbell was not scared and we were watching her since we had been talking. What in the world?

Then she walked off and it seemed like we were going to ride the ride again, but we waited and waited with nothing happening. Eventually, we were moved back to the line. There the same lady came to take my information to fill out an incident report. The lady was a bit kinder this time and did say that the sensors went off like she was trying to stand up. I again made it clear that she couldn't stand up nor did she stand up (On this ride, you are buckled so in that you can barely take a breath.) 

Bless it though. Campbell handled it fine, but out of all of the kids why would it have to be Campbell? She seemed a bit bothered by the whole thing. (Campbell was fine at bedtime so maybe the whole ride fiasco bothered us more than her.) When we did finally get back in chairs to do the ride again, after seeing another whole preshow, most of the joy was sucked out of the ride for us! So that is 2 nights in a row with nutty things happening to us, maybe we should stay home tomorrow night. 

After the ride, it was pretty late and the park was closed so we hustled to our car. We were surprised to see exactly how far away we did park. The parking lot area near our car was almost empty, but way, way far away was our Dennie van! It was almost like we had indeed closed down the park.

At home, everyone had a snack and put up their new pins before heading to bed. We just have a few days and still lots of plans!

Florida February: February 26, 2020

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I am not sure why, but the the last few nights I have had the craziest dreams. Not scary or anything, just nuts. I am sure last night's crazy dreams were due to eating supper late. And probably since I just had a huge bowl of ice cream tonight I can expect more crazy dreams tonight. However, I did have to eat the ice cream since we are working hard on emptying out the fridge and freezer.

We didn't leave the house until 9:30 this morning. The grands were all up in plenty of time to drink their coffee. All of my people were feeling much better this morning except for Reagan. She perked up enough this morning to go with us, but other than that she mainly stayed in her bed or on the couch all day long. 

We went to Disney Springs this morning to walk around a little bit. We hadn't yet taken the grands there, and it is something to see. Nonna and Pops did buy a little something for Jason along with a box of chocolate. It was one price for all you could fit in the box. The sign said that 25 was average-it was a bit crazy so I wasn't able to get an exact count, but I do believe that I was able to stuff at least 40 in the box. It's the little things in life that make me happy!

Anderson has been unable to see anything that he likes or wants to buy on this trip...until today. At the Lego store this morning, he bought a Lego brick head. Then tonight at Epcot, he saw a pin trading book and bought it with his gift card that he has been saving. I am almost positive that he will be able to easily fill two of those books, so he will probably get another for Christmas. I was super glad that he finally found something that he wanted.

Back to this morning, after we wandered around Disney Springs, we headed back to the cars. That is where half the crew said goodbye to Grannymom and Grandpa while the other half said bye to Nonna and Pops. Robby took Grannymom and Grandpa to the airport while I headed back to the house to help Nonna and Pops load up. They had been planning on leaving tomorrow but decided to leave earlier. 

When Nonna and Pops left, I straightened the house some and soon the others were back. It was a very slow and quiet afternoon without all of the grandparents around. It was almost like we didn't know what to do.

We finally did get it together and left around 4. Reagan did stay back, but the rest of us headed out. After getting Slurpies (Campbell's request), it started to rain and rain hard! We drove on to Epcot and sat in the car for a good bit trying to decide if we really wanted to get out or not.

We finally decided that we did want to brave the weather. I climbed to the back and started passing out raincoats. Everyone had a raincoat except for Whitman and Keaton who had ponchos. Whitman decided that he looked like "a human kite" in his poncho.

We were about to trade some pins when we realized that we left my bag containing the pins in the car (on purpose since we didn't want for it to be soaked). So Anderson and I walked back to the car to get the pins while the others rode Spaceship Earth one more time.

Then we were able to do the pin trading before riding Mission Space. That ride has two levels-green and orange. The green level was enough for me so I have had no desire to do the orange. And after hearing Reagan say that she was never going on the orange level again, I certainly have no desire to do that. 

However, Robby hadn't been on the ride at all or at least hasn't been on it in many years. So we all did the green with him. Then he lost his ever loving mind and decided to do the orange level. He didn't have quite as many takers with him-just Graham, Keaton and Whitman. We waited inside while they rode, and they seemed to enjoy it-though Robby did want some fresh air afterwards and soon after that ate a few crackers.

Our next stop was Test Track. They just opened it after a little refurbishment though we really couldn't tell any difference. The time said a 40 minute wait, but it didn't take that long at all. Then we marched on over to the Mexico pavilion for a snacky supper. 

Robby bought nachos, empanadas, rice and beans. It was all delicious or maybe we were just really hungry. We have gotten something to eat at each country except for two so far. After eating, we went to look at the Frozen ride, but the line was still long so we headed on to the car. 

By this time, it was starting to rain again. That must have made the ground a bit slick because Anderson fell and scraped/sliced his knee pretty good. I didn't have my bag with wipes and bandaids so we had to walk a ways before getting to a bathroom to get towels. He held it together well, but it really hurt him. Once at home, we did doctor it up super well.

Back at the house, we all sat around and watched the Hogs game on the tv. They did much better tonight than they did when we were watching them!

Florida February: February 25, 2020-Happy Birthday Grannymom!

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We were able to sleep in a little bit this morning. My sickly girls welcomed the sleeping in and all woke up feeling better. They still have some lingering coughs and head colds, but for the most part my people are feeling better for which I am very glad. 

Pops did some cooking this morning-he was working hard on helping me clean out my fridge. He made eggs with taco meat for breakfast this morning. He had a few takers, but I opted for buttered banana bread.

After we had eaten and dressed, we shuffled out of the house at 10 this morning. Today's adventure took us to Epcot which is Robby and my favorite park. The countries opened at 11, so we arrived right before that. 

The kids traded pins in the windiest spot at Disney-under the ball is so incredibly windy. We were headed to start the countries when Graham heard the roar of Test Track. It wasn't scheduled to be open for a few more days but must have had a soft opening.  The single rider line was short so everyone, even the grands, headed thru it to take a spin. Well, except Whitman and Robby. Whitman doesn't turn 7 until April so no single rider line for him.  But Robby said he could have his own bucket of popcorn, so that made Whitman very happy.

Then we walked to the Epcot Experience. We hung out there for a bit before walking to Mexico. We rode the little boat ride there before heading to Norway. Of course by that time, we were ready for a snack. Some tried the school bread while Campbell, Keaton and I met Elsa and Anna.

Next up was China and their film. Pops couldn't stay because the 360 degree film made him dizzy. I believe that we walked past Germany and Italy without really stopping. The weather was pretty perfect today. It would occasionally get a bit warm, but then the clouds would come out, and the weather would be nice again.

The snack had worn off by the time we made it to the US. Robby jumped in line at the new BBQ place and ordered up 3 platters which we licked clean. We found perfect spots outside and enjoyed our meals there. My favorite were the onion rings. 

Since we were in the US pavilion, we stayed for the American Experience show. We just missed hearing the Voices of Liberty sing which is on my very short things left to do list! The next stop was Japan for a walk through their gardens. They were beautiful, but I am used to the expansive hedge garden maze in the UK, so the Japanese gardens were not that impressive.

We walked into Morocco to look around-it is a neat little country. In France, we sang along to the Beauty and Beast Singalong. Pops toyed with the idea of getting an eclair, but since supper was soon, he decided to wait.

The kids played in the UK gardens for a little bit before we walked past Canada only stopping to get some maple popcorn and Starbucks. Then it was the Nemo ride followed by Living with the Land and Soarin. Grannymom really enjoys the Soarin ride so that was a perfect ride for her birthday.

After Soarin, we hustled over to the ball to ride it-it is about to undergo a 2 year refurbishment so I was glad to be able to ride it especially since Nonna and Grannymom's old jobs were represents on the ball ride. When the ride was over, Robby ran to get the car.

He arrived to pick up us just moments before it started to pour down rain. It was pretty perfect timing! We then headed straight to Animal Kingdom Lodge to eat at Boma for Grannymom's birthday. 

It was a buffet with regular food but also food with an African twist. I will say that Keaton made a meal on grapes while Whitman made a meal on strawberries. There was plenty of other food that they ate, but that was definitely their favorites. The mac and cheese was a big hit with all of the family. My favorite was the corn chowder along with some type of stew. It was delicious. 

Our waiter brought Grannymom a birthday cupcake. We sang Happy Birthday to her as well! When the meal was over, we were stuffed. We headed home for one last night with all of the family here. All of the grands are leaving tomorrow but first we head to Disney Springs early in the morning.

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

(click here for today's pictures)

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

(click here for today's pictures)

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

(click here for today's pictures)

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

(click here for today's pictures)

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

(click here for today's pictures)

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!