Day 2: Partying with Mickey Mouse and Pals at Epcot

DAY 2: EPCOT CENTER

Day 2: Partying with Mickey at Epcot

This was at that big Epcot ball that is the symbol of the resort. It’s a ride that takes you through the ages of technology.

Day 2: Partying with Mickey at Epcot

I don’t know what it is, but meeting characters is exciting. Even as an adult, I love it! We waited in a 20 min. line just to do this. Ha! And we don’t regret it.

JD was a little disappointed. He had it in his head that he was going to get to “put his stuff on him.” Translation: JD wanted to dress Bay Max in his red armor, but they told him to please not touch anything. Ha!

For most people, Epcot is all about touring the different countries, but for us it was all about 2 things. #1. Hanging out with our friends and #2. Disney characters!!!!

The best way to meet Disney characters is to schedule a meal with them. You can splurge while you’re there, or you can buy a meal plan in advance, and then it feels like these expensive meals are free because you’ve already paid for them. (It’s called the Disney Dining plan, and I am all about it.)

In case you’ve never been to Disney World, let me caution you here that if you want to do a “character meal” at one of the restaurants that have characters walking from table to table, you should make reservations. This is very easy to do. Simply download the *My Disney Experience* app. You can make reservations about 6 months prior all the way up until the day before. I made ours 1 or 2 weeks out, and many time slots were already booked up.

At Epcot, we met Pluto, Mickey Mouse, and Chip and Dale at the Garden Grill. This was the most fun!! Each of these four classic characters were talented entertainers, and they posed with us, played with us, and cracked us up. Characters are not always this awesome.

Day 2: Partying with Mickey at Epcot

Pluto took pics and also pretended to drink out of Joshua’s water.

Day 2: Partying with Mickey at Epcot

He gave me a kiss on the head. I felt special.

Day 2: Partying with Mickey at Epcot

JD wasn’t so sure about Pluto, so he settled for a high-five.

Day 2: Partying with Mickey at Epcot

Mickey Mouse. He was my favorite. Disney must only let the sweetest “cast members” be Mickey. (He “kissed” me too. It was a happy day.)

Day 2: Partying with Mickey at Epcot

I can’t remember if this was Chip or Dale. They were both a hoot. Daniel must’ve really thought this place was magic. They danced with him and goofed around. Dan just laughed and laughed. We all did.

Now you know we love us some shenanigans!

Day 2: Partying with Mickey at Epcot Day 2: Partying with Mickey at Epcot

Day 2: Partying with Mickey at Epcot

Pluto, getting a sip of Caleb’s drink. (Don’t worry. Not really.)

Day 2: Partying with Mickey at Epcot

Daniel also danced with Pluto. It was so cute.

Day 2: Partying with Mickey at Epcot

Daniel hammed it up.

Day 2: Partying with Mickey at Epcot

Mickey!

These next pictures tell a heart-warming story. See, JD was a touch scared of the characters. But when he saw Mickey Mouse, and this seemed to be the REAL Mickey, he started to feel brave. JD said, “I want to see him!!”

Day 2: Partying with Mickey at Epcot

So Mickey gestured to JD for a hug.

Day 2: Partying with Mickey at Epcot

And JD happily accepted.

Day 2: Partying with Mickey at Epcot

So Mickey suggested that I take a photo of him with JD.

Day 2: Partying with Mickey at Epcot

And so we did.

Day 2: Partying with Mickey at Epcot

It rained everyday, but that was a BLESSING. This kept the temperatures down to a manageable level.

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2 tough dudes, ready to get wet

 

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I think I’d like to be Daniel. What a fun life he has.

Day 2: Partying with Mickey at Epcot

JD’s favorite exhibit

Our other favorite thing about Epcot was all the Nemo stuff. Or at least, it was certainly JD’s favorite. While we were waiting our turn for “Turtle Talk with Crush,” he wanted his picture made in this shark mouth so badly that we waited in a slow line behind it, and then we had to drag him out of the thing after the photo was made.

After all the shows, Lightning McQueen, character meetings, swimming, and all that were finished, and we were driving back home, I asked JD, “JD, what was your favorite thing we did at Disney World?”

“Fish. Seeing fish tanks.”

Ha! Well, we could’ve done that at Pet Smart!

Amy said that I should get that poor boy a fish tank.

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We hate to give up good fun to go back to the room for naps, so we just let JD take all of his naps in the stroller. Selfish? Maybe, but he seemed perfectly happy.

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Longest faces of the day. The boys did NOT like the ride “Soarin.'” It’s probably the best ride at Epcot, but our crew thought it felt a little too much like flying into a mountain. (It’s a simulator, and the special effects are good! Too good, if you don’t like heights, I guess.)

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I wanted to meet Joy and Sadness from Inside Out. I thoroughly enjoyed that movie, but their line was always 40 minutes long, and very few things in life are worth that. This was as close as I got.

Day 2: Partying with Mickey at Epcot

We loved it when our bus rides back to our room were practically empty.

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And that’s all, folks! After Epcot, we had dinner with our friends at the Grand Floridian, which was beautiful. The boys LOVED the water slide at their pool, but my camera was dead, so I have no photos of that evening. It sure was fun, though.

What are you all doing for fun this summer? How much longer before your kiddos go back? We are only a week out now. I can’t believe it!

 

Currently #35!! Thank you so much!

 

Like reading about Disney World? Read more here:

Disney Day 1: Deep Thoughts from the Magic Kingdom 2016

Animal Kingdom with Toddlers

Disney World 2009 with 2 Toddlers

Let the Summer Shenanigans Begin! (With a Sneak Peek at Our New House)

Let the Shenanigans begin

Dan and his best friend, Carter

There’s a word we hear a lot around here: “best friend.”

JD says that Daniel is his best friend. That is mostly because I drill that into all of my children’s heads from the moment they are born.

“Oh, look, he is being so sweet to you. He is your best friend.”

“Your brother will always be your best friend.”

Positive reinforcement style of brain washing is a good thing to do. Trust me.

JD often asks, “Where my best fwiend?”

And now that Daniel has been gone for over a week, poor little JD has started to look elsewhere for a new “best friend.” There aren’t many other small folk around lately. The person he sees most is me, but I’m his mom, so I don’t count. So he has found our neighbor Mr. Tom. After all, Mr. Tom always talks to him and jokes with him. He’s the natural choice.

We were headed out to dinner the other night, and JD asked, “Is Mr. Tom going to be there? He’s my other best fwiend.”

Not to worry. Mr. Tom was there. You know we are too lazy to make friends with people who do not live next door to us. Hanging out with neighbors just makes good sense. Thankfully, our neighbors happen to be awesome people.

moving shenanigans

Remember Emma?

Since Emma’s husband is out of state for military training, I got to go up and stand with Emma and Matthias for the baby dedication. Don’t you think I look a lot like Richard?? Okay, well, maybe not, but I was there for support anyway.

We got to see Emma this past weekend. That’s right. She is back from Malaysia. Her parents are traveling with her now, and they are all doing just swell. It was so fun to visit with them again!

Moving Shenanigans

This is our current Chief of Shenanigans

Sometimes, when I go to bed, I find surprises on my pillow. I don’t know why he doesn’t call me his best friend. Clearly, I am it. But he has informed me that Daddy is my best friend, and that sounds correct.

Moving Shenanigans

Daniel, at his class bike-a-thon

Moving Shenanigans

He likes to make faces for the photos.

He’s been at camp for a week, and the camp is always posting photos of the kids at camp, and they never ever never never post more than the back of Caleb’s head. Maybe this is why.

moving shenanigans

Daniel and his “favyite giryull in my cwass.”

Moving Shenanigans

Joshua’s team’s last huddle. Caleb occasionally got to play with this older league as well, as sometimes they were short players.

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Joshua and his coach

Okay now this next one truly is shenanigans. There’s really no other word for it. We put the little kids in our pitiful little backyard while the adults stood around and talked outside the fence. When Alan went in to check on the kids. He found this:

Moving Shenanigans

Yes, that’s JD. Those are his shorts on his head.

Moving Shenanigans

Yep.

Moving Shenanigans

Alan took Joshua and Caleb to work with him one day to tour the robotics department.

Moving Shenanigans

Aqua robots

Moving Shenanigans

My boys actually went to a graduate course with Alan and sat and listened to Alan’s classmates make their thesis presentations.

Believe it or not, Alan said they were perfect gentlemen.

Summer Shenanigans

Caleb enjoyed going to class with his dad so much, he asked to go again the next week. Joshua looked a little…..less…interested.

I know. Alan is the man. He also took ALL FOUR boys on a bike ride by the bay:

Summer Shenanigans Summer Shenanigans

 

And another week he took the oldest three to a minor league baseball game, the San Jose Giants.

 

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Then Alan and Daniel headed down South for the funeral.

Summer Shenanigans

I think he was pretty happy to take a trip with Dad.

Summer Shenanigans

Super excited about all the ice cream

Summer Shenanigans

But eventually even Daniel hit his limit.

And now I’ve saved my favorite part for last. Here’s a little preview of the new house I’m so excited about! We are downsizing by around 300 square feet, which also means going from 5 bedrooms to 3, buuuuuuuuuuut that’s okay because everything else about this place is fabulousness! Hard floors! Big backyard! Closer to family! Big living room! Nice kitchen! And the outside is pretty too. Okay. Remember our old backyard looked like this:

Summer Shenanigans

See how tiny?

And this is our new backyard:

Summer Shenanigans

just a little peek into the backyard

Summer Shenanigans

More backyard! Covered patio! Nice slip and slide hill…Just so long as they don’t um…slide right into the house…

And the front!!!

Summer Shenanigans

Ah. So pretty. And notice the front yard crepe myrtle tree by the driveway. Love those.  OH!!  And look. Green grass.

So we have the ball rolling on buying this new house. Meanwhile, we’re cleaning up and packing out of this beloved old house. It’s just been the three of us this week, Alan, JD, and me. The other night we ate out on the wharf, and there was an otter that hung out by our window, eating and diving, and eating and diving. It was heavenly.

Alan has let JD tag along with him on his many, many errands:

Summer Shenanigans

Is that JD playing with some sort of missile??? i have no idea, really.

Summer Shenanigans

Bye-bye, big California trees! (That was a Band-aid on his chin.There was a nasty fall on some concrete steps.)

And Friday, Alan graduated. He now officially has a master’s degree in Systems Engineering. We’re proud of you, honey. Now, let the shenanigans begin. Well, as you can see, they sort of already have.

summer shenanigans

JD said, “I was sad in that picture. I wanted to go eat cake.”

12 I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; 13 also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God’s gift to man.  Ecclesiastes 3:12-13

 

 

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What I Learned from Our Time in Monterey

9th move

The boys will miss the California drought side-yard of this house.

There are 3 things everyone should do the week they are moving:

  1. Throw away as much junk as possible.
  2. Sell and giveaway as much junk as possible.
  3. Cry and hug people.

So that’s what we’ve been doing.

We’re officially under contract on a house I’m excited about too. Wahooo!!!  It has ZERO carpet in the living and dining areas. The master bathtub is gigantic, and so is the fenced backyard, so let me tell ya. I am happy.

Am I sad to leave? Nope! There ARE lots of people I loved here, and I will miss you all. I’ve been feeling melancholy about that for sure. I LOVED my friends at CC and my neighbors and our sweet, sweet church family. I will miss all of you.

The thing is that I will unfortunately always associate Monterey with 2 things:

What I Learned from Monterey

1. Homeschooling and how I felt like such a failure at it

and

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2. The ocean and the delightful whales, otters, and seals that I loved so much

Well, okay, also #3…

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3. My little health crisis (psoriatic arthritis-ugh!), which was mostly due to the stress of #1 and not visiting #2 as much as I should have.

There are so many if-onlys. But the positive is that we persevered. The past cannot be changed, but the future certainly can.

And so that is my best take-away from this little detour we called grad school:

Do not neglect fun. Do what you enjoy.

Having fun is far more important than I ever realized. The life that I am setting up for myself at our new house will look much different than what I was doing here.

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Don’t I look goofy celebrating over the end of home-school? Let’s never speak of this teaching and trying to do too many things at once experiment again. I am not a teacher.

Next year the boys are going to go to school, where they will be taught by people who (hopefully) enjoy teaching. Our house will be so close to Dan and Caleb’s school that we can walk there. And I am going to make more time for being out in nature with the boys because that is what I love to do. I will also have more time to write because that is my calling.

God created this big, beautiful world. It is a healing thing to take time to enjoy it. Our creator also bestowed us each with different gifts and talents, perspectives, and leanings. He does not wish for us to be idle, but he doesn’t want us to spend all our time fulfilling other people’s callings. We each have our own calling. We all have work we are capable of enjoying.

We are most happy when we are doing what we enjoy and teaching our children to do the same.

But we should not work ALL the time. I’ve always been good about taking vacations, but the past two years it was very rare for me to do anything fun DURING the week. I was not a “fun mom.” I was so busy trying to wear all my hats. I forgot the importance of ever just having fun.

That was a mistake. From now on, I am making more time for fun, even begging, borrowing, and stealing time for fun. This summer you won’t see posts on lesson planning or self-improvement. You are going to see posts on Disney World, baking, getting my Southern accent back, and shenanigans, shenanigans, shenanigans.

And as for those people who may be disappointed in me for not home-schooling anymore? Oh well. I only hope that they know that there is more than one way to skin a cat, and our family needs to skin our cat in a way that doesn’t make me feel like poking my own eye-balls out.

All I know is it’s time for our family to start having a little more fun again. Wait. That’s not quite right. The boys have been having fun all along.

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It’s time for me to start having fun again.

“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.”  Psalm 30:5

 

9th move

Daniel at Caleb’s last baseball game

 

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While I was learning to lighten up, the boys were learning the value of hard work. Those are hard-earned medals and trophies, not at all like the participation sports medals. All three boys received book awards, for finishing their entire books, a big accomplishment. Joshua even earned TNT Clubber of the Year! So proud!

 

Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. Do not neglect your gift.   1 Timothy 4:13-14

From now on I’m going to focus more on the gifts I do possess and forget about the ones I’m lacking. Those things will be stealing my joy no longer.

Let’s all have a little more fun!!

 

Be still and know that I am God

“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10

 

 

 

 

 

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