Deep Thoughts from Magic Kingdom 2016

Magic Kingdom 2016

This was the best surprise I’ve ever pulled off. We are not typically adept at keeping exciting news to ourselves. We are the kind of people who announced we were pregnant the second we found out.

But this time we played it cool. We DID tell the boys we were headed to Disney World. However, we did NOT tell them that I copied my friend Amy’s Disney itinerary as closely as I could, so our Disney vacation would be shared with Xavier and Zoe. (Don’t worry. Xavier and Zoe’s parents were in on it. I wasn’t completely stalking them.)

So Alan and I rode down to Florida, enjoying our secret.

Magic Kingdom 2016

Believe it or not, JD was the MOST visibly excited one. “I’m just so excited to go to Disney World. Can I ride Dusty? I wanna ride Planes.”

Magic Kingdom 2016

Road trip discovery!!! Best coffee ever, y’all!! Raceway gas station Community Coffee. I gotta find a Raceway close to my house now. I am hooked.

Magic Kingdom 2016

scenes of happiness

Magic Kingdom 2016

By the time we arrived, JD was sound asleep.

Art of Animation Resort

Our resort was the bee’s knees, y’all. We stayed at the Art of Animation Resort at Disney World, which is actually a VALUE level resort. The family suites sleep 6 and have 2 full bathrooms. There is a cafeteria open until midnight, several swimming pools, and all the free drink refills you want, if you have the Disney Dining Plan.

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Art of Animation Cars Family Suite. This room was all themed out for Sally’s Cozy Cone Motel. That couch turns into a bed.

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The room has a fridge and a microwave. I don’t remember why Joshua was looking like that.

Magic Kingdom 2016

That Mater wall is a pull-down bed.

Magic Kingdom 2016

There was a life-size Lightning McQueen, Mater, Sheriff, Ramone, and many others. It really upped the excitement level of staying at Disney World.

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He was a little disappointed that he couldn’t get in and drive Lightning McQueen. Bless.


Magic Kingdom 2016

Caleb and me on the Magic Kingdom train

Magic Kingdom

Day 1 was off to a rocky start. First, we were later than we had hoped to be because….well because we are us and we have four children.

That’s 6 people to apply sunscreen to. Six people to feed. Six people to dress. Six people to brush teeth. 6 people to use the bathroom. Six people to get on each other’s nerves. 6 people to make jokes. 6 people to keep up with. 6 people to wake up. You get the idea.

So we finally made it to the pearly Magic Kingdom gates, through the bag check line, and to the bracelet scan ….and…..

whomp whomp whomp

“We need you to go to guest services.”

Denied entry. Now that is sad.

There was a line at guest services. I guess we weren’t the only ones. Turns out that we had to prove that we were military b/c we’d gotten a sweet military discount on those tickets. Now, if our resort peeps had known, they could have validated that for us, but we didn’t think to tell them, and they didn’t ask, so this had to be done at the gate. It was a good thing Alan had his ID with him.

Phew! Finally got through that. We made our way over to the train. Poor little John David tripped as he was climbing onto the train. He cried. It was loud. After a few minutes of that, a sweet lady from behind us passed him an entire package of Starbursts to cheer him up.

We needed that. I wish I knew her name. I’d shout it from the rooftops.

We are not familiar with the parks, and pretty much everything has changed since we went 8 years ago, so it took us a while to find It’s A Small World, where we were scheduled to meet our friends at 9:30.

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JD, with his consolation candy

Miraculously enough, we were only a couple minutes late when we spotted our friends! Xavier ran over to us, and Joshua…..looked confused. It was hilarious. Joshua was silent, but his face seemed to be saying, “Um, yes, hello, who are you?” to Xavier. Of course, after a few minutes, Joshua and Caleb figured out what was going on, and they were so happy. Joshua actually turned to Caleb and said, “Caleb, pinch me. I don’t think I’m awake. I must be dreaming.”

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Yes, it is indeed a small world after all.

We all rode 2 rides together, and then split up for the 3rd because not all of our Fastpasses were together.

We were nervous about JD’s ability to keep his Magic Band on his arm. See, the Magic Band is of great value at Disney. All your reservations are programmed in there. It can also identify a lost child. And as an adult, you can wire your credit card info on there so you don’t even have to carry around money. Magic bands open your hotel room, know your fast pass times, and contain your park admission ticket. They are a big deal.

So you can imagine my dismay when after ride #2 of day #1, I look down and realize that I have lost MY Magic Band. Well, of course I did, really. I’ve always had trouble with bracelets. Grooooaaaaan.

The boys headed off to use their Fast Pass with Alan. I headed back to the Haunted Mansion. If a cast member (Disney employee) finds a Magic Band, it’s kept at that ride for an hour. So I figured I had one hour to get that band back. I had it when I got on the Haunted Mansion ride, and it was gone afterwards, so that had to be it.

ugh. We had walked a long way. It was sunny. I was sweating. I missed turns, I turned back, but I eventually found my way back to Haunted Mansion, using my handy-dandy Disney app.

I asked each cast member I passed, “Have you seen a pink Magic Band?”


I went all the way through the suddenly very long Haunted Mansion line. No band.

I was annoyed to have to ride the ride again, by myself, but I did it.

It wasn’t scary, but creepy skulls and ghosts aren’t my thing. “Why this ride, Lord?” I thought.

Call me crazy, but he answered me. I thought about my tendency to gloss over everything bad and pretend like the gross, evil, and unfortunate things in life don’t exist. That’s apathy, really. But these things do exist, and they must be faced.

I prayed for God to just please give me my band back and get me out of there.

At the very end of the ride, as I went through the exit corridor, I asked a young lady, and she said, “Hold on.”

Then she was gone all of two minutes and came back holding my magic band.

Thank you, Lord!

I’m happy to tell you that bad things come in threes, so that’s the last one. The rest of it went well:

Magic Kingdom 2016

Jungle Cruise

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So excited to find this!

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I sat with my 2 middle children, who made it spin as fast as possible. I could have hurled.

Oh, the tea cups. What adult likes this ride? This was the only ride that made JD cry. IMG_3154 IMG_3156


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Happy People

By lunch, JD reached full melt-down level. But Caleb and Dan were dying to ride these cars, so we split up here and met back at the restaurant. Lunch made all the difference too. When in doubt, feed the children!IMG_4644

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I thought Zoe’s ears were adorable.

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riding the People Mover

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Country Bear Jamboree

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One of the best things that happened: It rained almost every day, just enough to cool things off. The heat was not nearly as bad as I feared it would be.

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Dinner at Tony’s Town Square. JD slept through almost every single evening meal in his stroller.

Magic Kingdom 2016

Alan bought these ponchos for $1 a piece at Target from the camping section. We were thankful to have these!!

In your distress you called and I rescued you, I answered you out of a thundercloud; I tested you at the waters of Meribah.

Amy is the real deal New England Patriots fan. She’s even from New England.

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Granted, we got off to a rough start, but by lunch I feel like we had things turned around in our favor.

It struck me during our vacation what a positive difference it made, sharing this trip with good friends. Our kids were braver about trying new things, and I think it helped Alan and me to be more relaxed and fun. People often say that Alan and I are laid back, which is a real head scratcher for me because the truth is we are tired, uptight people. We do like to have fun. It’s just that we’ve been so busy changing diapers, enforcing vegetable consumption, teaching reading skills, coaching memory work, cleaning up, and taming boys over the past 10 years that sometimes it feels like fun is a relative concept. 

Our friends, Amy and Sean, are in the parenting trenches just as we are, so they’re understanding. Plus, we have shared history. They’ve already accepted us for who we are. I’d like to put my finger on what it is that makes me like these friends so much. Because I do. I love their whole family, and Amy is one of my few closest friends. They are upbeat, and they are real at the same time. Amy is the kind of friend I can be myself with, and they are good about keeping in touch.

There is a certain quality you find in just a few friends in life, a quality that cannot be aptly described with words. All I know is to call them “kindred spirits” as Anne of Green Gables did, but it’s more than that. There are some people who can’t help but be the main characters in your life. It is a matter of both mutual respect, shared interests, and plain old convenience and timing.

But I think God’s hand is in it too. Sometimes, once I realize a friend is definitely more than a passing acquaintance, I stop and wonder, “What is it, God? What should I learn from them? What do they need that I might offer?” It’s usually both. It’s that whole iron-sharpening iron thing.

It was a refreshing visit, especially as we enter another phase of meeting new people and being “the new kids” yet again.  My heart starts to get tired of putting my best foot forward, and that is why I drag my family out on all these vacations. I have this need to remind myself where we’ve been, where we’re going, and who we are before we plunge in to building a new community for ourselves.

And I have to take a little time. I wish that it were everyday, but sometimes it isn’t. But never forget to take a little time to read God’s Word, the Holy Bible, and get down on your face, and pray for the courage and strength to tackle the next thing. It would  be beautiful for life to be like the ENDINGS of your favorite movies, full of pot-luck dinners, and breezy sun-lit paths. But instead, it’s more like an obstacle course, where your relay team keeps changing. God is the only constant.

Today I found this verse:

In your distress you called and I rescued you, I answered you out of a thundercloud; I tested you at the waters of Meribah.  Psalm 81:7

In your distress, you called and I rescued you.

Yes!!  That was exactly it. This year and many times before!

It rang so strong and true with me that I wrote it down in 4 different places, one of which was where I copied the verse on my wrist in red ink pen. Alan said it looked disturbing. Sigh. I just wanted a place I could see it that wouldn’t wash off when I washed my hands. Being disturbing was not my intention.

But y’all!!! Sometimes life IS disturbing!!!

That is why we NEED friends! And vacations! And PRAYER!! And a little silence and rest. And upbeat people.



Moving Update: The Ulcer, Giant Dusty, and Daniel’s Quest


We’ve been living in our new house for a solid week now.

Many interesting things have happened.



First, there was a fresh new medical problem…oh, the joys of mortal life…

I spent the plane ride out here in intense physical pain. I’m no stranger to pain, but this took over my entire abdomen and made for a miserable day. I was afraid to eat anything, for fear of making it worse. About all I ate that day was coffee and a Kind bar.

Well, I’ve had pain before. It’ll go away on it’s own. Everything will be fine.

Only it wasn’t. I stayed in pain.

Then one week later, I drank the first can of Coca-Cola that I’d had in a few weeks. After that I felt like I was going to die. It felt like labor, and I’m not even exaggerating. I should know. I’ve had four babies. I went back to being afraid to eat anything.

That night I finally began to suspect something was wrong. I went straight to Urgent Care.

Remember the nice NP who gave me a steroid shot for my hip after my Christmas flight? I saw that same NP, and he ran a blood test and told me that I have h. pylori ulcers. Heh? They gave me 6 pills to take twice a day.

So at least it was fixable. I’m on day 11 now, and I already feel 90% better.

Oh, and apparently not eating is bad when you have an ulcer b/c it increases acid. And coffee is bad, as are nuts and tomatoes, and BBQ. But Coke will kill you (not literally). Why do any of us drink that stuff? Sigh. Because it tastes so delicious!

So there you go, a free 101 on ulcers.



We polished up our new floors, unloaded a ton of boxes, and got on with life.



Thirsty Floors


Supplies! I learned the importance of owning a thousand Bed, Bath, & Beyond coupons.


Working hard on the floors 


The “After” photo. It’s not actually this shiny in person. I have photogenic floors.


We unpacked 15,000 pounds of goods in TWO days. This was made possible by having HELP. DaddyO kept Dan and JD, and Nonna helped unpack.



John David 

On just day 3, an afternoon thunderstorm came up and JD and Daniel learned all about thunder, lightning, and storm-induced power outages.

JD was convinced that all of this was caused by Lightning McQueen.

He also thought the fireworks on the 4th of July were actually fires until he saw them. He still seems to be bothered by Grandaddy and Nana’s house burning down, and he talks about it quite a bit.

By the way, Dirt Boy has become Pool Boy. It’s too hot to play outside in the deep South unless water is involved, so that’s what he does. He has spent hours in his little wading pool outside.


Daniel has become obsessed with walky-talkies. He knows how to use them too, and he ends each time with “over.” It’s so cute.

We were in the store, and Daniel was carrying around his walky-talky, and he said, “Mom! Mom! Someone’s talking to me on my walky-talky!” He was picking up the employee frequency, and he was excited.

Daniel’s Quest

Daniel has been on a serious quest to make friends. Only he doesn’t realize that we seem to have moved into an unofficial retirement community. I should’ve known from all the perfect lawns and pretty flowers.

Every day, Daniel wakes up and proclaims, “Today I AM going to find some friends!”

We felt badly for him. We tried to help him. We even took the two little boys with us to the neighborhood pool on Saturday morning. Saturday! And guess how many people were there? None. Sigh.

Don’t despair quite yet. Wait ’til you hear about Sunday morning.

The boys have kept busy:

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Where in the world are Joshua and Caleb?

Grandparent camp. I feel like I’ve hardly seen those two at all this summer, but I’m hoping to get them back tomorrow. They are having a ball visiting my parents and helping them get settled into their new rental house. The fire house was demolished this week, and they got to see a little of the aftermath of that too.

Meeting People

We’ve met a few people. I fully appreciated our neighbor John.

“I figured you’ve got some kids and a pool back here. I heard ’em out playing yesterday.”

“Oh, yeah, sorry about that.”

“No, no! I like hearing it!”

God bless this man.

I’ve been here a week and haven’t had any mosquito bites. Turns out that John sprays the woods behind our house for mosquitos because he wants his grandson to be able to play outside without getting bitten. AWESOME!


Giant Dusty and Lunch with New Friends

Today we were finally able to provide Daniel with young fry for him to play with. We visited a new church. Actually, it is THE church that operates the school that we’re sending Joshua, and possibly Caleb (still deciding), to this coming year.

When they opened the door to the 3-year-old class, JD took off into that room like a rocket. I’m telling you! See, there was the biggest toy Dusty we’ve ever seen right in the middle of the room. (Dusty is the main airplane from the movie Planes.) He was still playing with Dusty when we picked him up an hour and a half later.

When we picked up Daniel, Alan asked him right away if he’d made any friends. After all, that is Daniel’s quest. Daniel pointed to a boy playing in the floor and said, “Yep. Him right there!”

Hurray!!! 2 happy kids. We are on a roll.

This was Alan’s second visit to this church and the first for the rest of us. We were pleasantly surprised when our Sunday school teacher invited us out to lunch with their family and another family.

We had such a good time. Daniel and JD got to sit at a table with two little girls. At first, I thought that was going to be a battle.

Daniel pointed to his seat and said, “No, no Eminee, Mommy, I don’t like Eminee.” The embarrassment. He’d just met these girls. How could he not like them? And JD wouldn’t sit because Dan wasn’t sitting, and he is Dan’s follower.

I took Daniel to the bathroom to talk to him about the rudeness of not sitting with those girls. “Why don’t you want to sit with them? What has Emily done to you?”

“No, Mom, it’s just that I don’t like to drink eminAA.”

And it clicked. Lemonade! He meant lemonade!

“If I go change your drink, will you sit down?”

“Yes!” he nodded emphatically.

Daniel and JD ended up having quite the little party over there with those girls.

I’d call today a pretty great success.


Oh yeah!!!  And we bought a (new to me) mini-van! I’ve said for years that I like Alan’s grandaddy’s van, so Granddaddy found me one exactly like his! Right down to the DVD player and heated seats, a first for me. Heated seats are a big deal when you have an achy hip. Exciting times!!

What have you all been doing this summer?? Don’t forget to keep in touch!

Disney World’s Animal Kingdom with Toddlers



Day 2, January 2009

Animal Kingdom was the most important park of all to Joshua, who was still in his obsessed-with-animals phase.


We loved the Disney parades.


Total bliss for Joshua!


sharing his popcorn with the ducks: No, I do not know if it’s safe for ducks.

Our trip was a lot about the ducks and the water. You just can’t pick your kids’ interests. Some boys are fascinated with trains or tractors. Joshua LOVES animals and the water. We think he may be a Navy captain one day.


sweetly sharing popcorn bros

Day 2: The Animal Kingdom

The Animal kingdom was obviously highly anticipated by Joshua. This boy was so excited he RAN from the bus to the park entrance, and all day he said, “I want to see animals. Where’s the elephants? How about some lions?” He was so HAPPY. (and so COLD. This was the coldest day. We started out a little later to miss the 20 degree weather, but it was still literally freezing.)


Alan and 1-year-old Caleb

The first thing we did was stroll through some trails so Joshua could check out all the water and the birds. This was his first time to see flamingos. Then we went on a safari ride. It actually wasn’t quite as good as the one we went on with Nonna at Pine Mountain. But we still enjoyed it. Caleb was so cold he wasn’t even moving that day. ( I know. So sad!) He fell asleep on the safari. I think it was Joshua’s favorite thing of the day.

We had lunch at Tusker House, which has a very African flair. Then (on my insistence b/c I was tired of being cold and worried about Caleb!) we went to see the Lion King show. It was great, and the boys loved it! Joshua’s been making wart-hog noises ever since, and that’s a pretty annoying sound.


The Lion King show was a life-saver: entertaining and indoors!!

Then we took a zoo-like walk where the tigers and birds are. We tried to take in an outdoor bird show, but Caleb was having none of that. And I don’t blame him. Too cold. In the afternoon we got the boys popcorn and watched the parade. Then we went to the room for a few moments of rest and headed back to The Magic Kingdom for supper with Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore, and Piglet.



That was our only restaurant experience that ended with me heading out early while Alan picked up the tab b/c the boys were just too exhausted. But we did leave at exactly the right time to sit in the warmth of the bus to watch the fireworks! The boys loved that. Oh! And did I mention Joshua made it through all 5 days without using his pull-up once!!! So proud!! Of course there was a bush watering incident, but that’ll make a funny story one day!


I’m pretty sure that’s the only night that we stayed late enough to see fireworks. This was me in front of the lit-up castle.



The first night the boys were having a party in the room. The other nights they passed out the second their heads hit the pillow. Caleb actually slept in a playpen. We stayed at one of the value resorts, can’t remember which one, and were fully satisfied. However, the rooms are so small, we upgraded to TWO adjoining hotel rooms, and that was back when we were only a family of four. But that worked out splendidly. We even had two bathrooms that way!hotelparty


The 2009 Disney Trip with 2 Toddlers: Magic Kingdom



We are going to Disney World!!!!

I am so excited!!!

I dug back into the Xanga archives and found these photos from our first and only Disney World vacation. Well, first and only for Joshua, Caleb, and me anyway. Even though we may have appeared to be off our rockers to take two children that small to Disney, it wasn’t crazy at all. It was every bit as magical as they say.

And cold.

It was so cold the waterfall on the safari at the Animal Kingdom froze in place. So did our 1-year-old’s snot. I am not exaggerating!!  We kept buying Disney sweatshirts just to keep warm, and that’s a big deal for us!

So without further yack-yack, Disney World with a 3 year-old and a 1-year-old (who looks like a 3-year-old..ha!)

Disney with 2 Preschoolers

January, 2009

This is Day One of our Walt Disney World trip, and in these first photos we are on The Magic Kingdom train that goes around that park. We, of course, are headed for Toon Town. The boys cannot imagine the journey that awaits them!

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Playing on the structures and staring at all the little ponds and lakes was big at this age. Caleb is on the left, wearing the teddy-bear pack, and Joshua is on the right. They’ve looked like twins almost since the beginning.


Buzz is the first character they met. But they didn’t really want to meet him. Oh well. At least they’re smart enough to know something was not right with this! 🙂

(We will never be the folks spending time in line with an autograph book, which is delightfully freeing! Thank you, boys!)

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Day One, The Magic Kingdom.

Day one, we knew it was supposed to be cold,but we’re thinking Florida, Disney World! It probably will get warmer later in the day. So we dressed warmly, but not warmly enough, and we FROZE.

But other than that, it was good. We made it to about 3pm before calling it a day and heading back to the hotel room. Caleb was in awe at first. He just sat wide-eyed on the train ride, taking in his surroundings and probably also wondering why we’d brought him out to freeze….He and I were also in the depths of our cold virus, so I was pretty miserable. But nothing is worth missing Disney for, so we blew our noses on Disney napkins and kept truckin’! (Dear public, I am so sorry.) Caleb actually seemed to enjoy it more than Joshua, who seemed a bit overstimulated as he threw a fit every time we left an attraction…… We met one character that day, Buzz Lightyear, but the boys weren’t so sure about him.

They LOVED the little playground across from Mickey’s house and they also loved any opportunity to look at ducks in the many ponds, etc. They were just little sponges soaking it all in. I wasn’t even disappointed that Joshua didn’t want to ride Dumbo or the teacups that first day b/c it was so cold we were always looking for heated indoor attractions like “It’s a Small World”. I love that song! All total, it seems like all we did was walk all day and wait for buses, but really we did manage to get in quite a few attractions: It’s a Small world, Pooh’s Corner (which Joshua found a little scary since it’s dark in there), the Monsters Inc Laugh floor, and Buzz Lightyear space ranger ride. We also changed hotel rooms so we could get an extra adjoining room to spread out a little more. We ordered pizza in that night, and we were thoroughly exhausted.


I love this family photo!!


We did this a LOT.


Everywhere we go, we climb things. We can’t help it. It’s what we do.

Next time, we’ll look back at Animal Kingdom! 🙂

Cross-Country Road Trip 2016: Cali to Bama in a Pick-Up Truck

cross country road trip: Cali to Bama in a Pick-up Truck
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One last basketball game with friends

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The movers came and boxed us up.

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Day 1: I promise our children do not normally consume sodas and play video games all day. Remember this was a manly trip…which really just means that I was not there, so don’t blame me. ;)

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California: Do you see the train going into the tunnel? Look closely.

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Arriving in Vegas. Don’t worry. I promise they didn’t see the shows, play the slots, or um…look around…

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hangin’ with friends

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What kids do in Vegas

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There was an Avengers thing-a-majig going on there,.

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And Caleb’s turn

Next Stop: North Rim of the Grand Canyon!!

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You will see them shading their eyes constantly in these photos. Our eyes have very little pigmentation. It’s hard! Plus, we couldn’t find their sunglasses.

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Were they not too sure about this at first?

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We gotta frame this.

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Before the trip they thought the Grand Canyon was worth skipping. Ha! They get it now.

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And on the road again…

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I love these window landscape shots. The Southwest is uniquely beautiful.

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This one made me laugh. Bless their hearts. Buy them some sunglasses!!

Once you finish chuckling over their eye covers, check out the FOUR CORNERS behind them: You can be in Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, and Colorado all at the same time.

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I’m thinking this is probably Colorado. I wasn’t there, and Alan’s outside building a trampoline, so I can’t ask him. Poor Alan. So glad I’m not the one with the big muscles that builds things.

Mesa Verde National Park

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As I mentioned before, we learned about these Anasazi cliff-dwellers in school this year, so what a perfectly timed field trip.


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When do I get to go see this because I want to too!


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This part would have been my favorite!

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On the road again, just can’t wait to get back on the road again….



Next Stop: Oklahoma City


It just might’ve been his best birthday ever. And no, we’ve never been Braves fans, but I thought it went along with the whole becoming Southern thing. He approved. He also loved his bat bag and baseball cards.

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They went to an OKC Dodgers (minor league baseball) game. Caleb is crazy for baseball this year.


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It was a double-header, so Alan even got them a hotel where they could watch the game from their hotel room. Nice!

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Yes, they loved this pool.

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What’s better than a day at the ballpark?

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Well, iHop is a close second. Mmmm

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happy happy happy

Oh yeah, and Alan also took them to Pops, a soda pop factory/store. (Thanks for all the ideas, Greg!) They brought back a cooler full of sodas too. I might as well go ahead and schedule their dental appointments. No, it hasn’t been a full 6 months, but there was this trip.

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Do you think it will make him hyper?

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Yes. Apparently.



On to Arkansas…


By this point, Alan was speeding the trip along, so they just whipped right through Arkansas, and on to Tennessee:

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We were all intrigued to see what this giant pyramid was, and it turned out to be a BASS PRO SHOPS!! Haha!

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And no trip to Bammer is complete without a visit to Bryant-Denny. (That’s the University of Alabama football stadium, for all you non-southerners or non football fans.)

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They had to shield their eyes from the glitter of all those national championship trophies. hehe Roll Tide!

And finally, they arrived and reunited with Mom and little brothers!

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As far as I can tell, having three brothers is extremely fun.

We enjoyed being together for a couple of days, all of us as a family in our new house. But our work is not done. Alan, Joshua, and Caleb are over at my parents’ house, helping them move, and Joshua and Caleb are going to stay for the rest of the week. They are super excited because the Wii died in the fire, so Grandaddy has promised to buy an x-box for their house.

Happy Summer, y’all!!

Our Old House in America

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John David enjoyed looking out the airplane windows. What a fun experience to have as a child!

So the move has been highly successful, though it was…a hectic nail-biter. You don’t move a family of six across the country without a boogoodles of planning and elbow grease.

old house in America

nom nom nom

Tonight is the most special part. After 2 weeks of being all split up, we are finally all sleeping under one roof! We are in our new house, and everyone is in their own bed. It feels so good to be together as a family again, even if the two little boys do have insomnia tonight. Oy.

old house in America

building with Lincoln Logs at the grandparents’ house

DaddyO (their grandfather) kept the boys overnight, by himself, so that Nonna could come help us unpack boxes. He told a funny story:

Daniel asked to take a shower. DaddyO asked him, “Do you know how to take a shower?”


And he does. When you have 2 bigger brothers, and you’re a go-getter like Daniel, you know how to do all sorts of things by age 5.

So DaddyO asked him, “Oh. Where did you learn how to take a shower?”

“At my old house, in America.”

“In America!?”

“Yes, we lived in America,” Dan explained.

“Oh, in America? Do you mean in California?”

“Yes, in America, California.”

“You mean in Monterey, California?”

“Yes, Monterey, America, California.”

That cracked us up.


I promise to have a comprehensive photo blog of Alan and the boys’ big road trip on the next post!

Roll Tide, y’all!


Cross Country Road Trip 2016: The Man Show

cross country road trip

This beautiful lone cypress (a trademark of Carmel/Monterey area) painting was a thank you gift to Alan for being a basketball and baseball and tee-ball coach. It was painted by a grandfather of boys on those teams. This artist was at almost every single game. Thank you so much, sweet friends!!

It’s purely a man show this time, y’all. Last time it was just Alan and me. This time it’s Alan, Joshua, and Caleb.They are crossing the country mostly on I-40 riding in a full cab pick-up truck with a camper-cover. Is that what you call those things? I don’t know.  It’s a truck with a hut built on it to keep your luggage dry.

If you follow Alan on Facebook, then I have no news for you because Alan used up his text message plan and I took these pics from Facebook. Don’t you think it’s time for him to upgrade to unlimited texts?

Day 1, Friday:

Morning–hung out with friends and cleared out of old house. This military housing office was very easy to work with. Highly recommend!

Afternoon–Drove to Las Vegas

Evening–stayed at Treasure Island Resort


breakfast in Vegas with friends

Day 2, Saturday:

Morning–Hung out with the same friends they hung out with on Friday. If you’ve been to our house in California this past year, then I’m sure you met Tom and Amy and family. We love these people.

Afternoon–Drove to the Grand Canyon, North Rim (because we saw the South Rim last time)


dinner at sunset, overlooking the North Rim of the Grand Canyon

Evening–Go to bed early because boys are desperately sleep deprived after having so much fun with their friends and 2 sleepovers prior to the trip. (See, Alan could have made them sleep in the truck, but he is kind.)

Caleb has tried over and over again to get out of this road trip. He begged to fly with me and JD, but we insisted. There is no experience like seeing the American Southwest for yourself. We wanted him to experience seeing America, appreciate the great distances, and see the Grand Canyon.

I think it’s going quite well.

Last night Alan said this in an email:

And, April, please know that we actually are having fun. I may point out a bad thing or two that’s happened but it’s mostly “really cool”, “really awesome road trip”, “thanks, Dad”, …with an occasional “No, I meant, you and Josh fly with me to Georgia and then come back and get the truck!?!” Yea, he asked for that during a lull today…BUT, it’s not much at all of the trip.

Future Plans:

Last night Alan said, “We’re staying the night in Jacob Lake, AZ and tomorrow is 4 corners, Anasazi Cliff Dwellers in Mesa Verde and then…who knows!”

I’m so excited that they get to see the Anasazi Villages!!  That one was mine and Caleb’s request!!  Remember, I’m only not there because my hip went rogue this year and won’t let me sit for long periods. I am the kind of person that would LOVE to be on a cross-country road trip. In fact, I went last time, and I blogged about it.

Have you seen the Anasazi Villages? We learned about them in the Classical Conversations curriculum this year. We even memorized this song:

“The Anasazi of the Southwestern United Stated built adobe villages on the sides of the cliffs from 500 BC to 1200 AD.”

Want to see what they look like? Here’s a short YouTube video:

When I talked to them on the phone a few minutes ago, they’d already left Four Corners. Apparently, the line was an hour and a half long, so they just took photos and left. We are not line people. I also skipped the Liberty Bell a few years ago because eh, history is interesting and all, but waiting in line? How many things are really worth that?

Meanwhile, Dan, JD, and I are relaxing at my parents’ temporary house. Tomorrow I’m going to go polish my floors.

Wait. Did I say “my floors”?? That’s right! We take occupancy tomorrow!  We don’t have furniture until at least next weekend, but I’m just pleased as punch to not have to put my stuff in storage or live homeless like I did last time we moved!!

Yep. We are happy, happy, happy!

Want to read more Road Trip posts? See this list from last time!

Cross Country Road Trip: Days 2 &3




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