day in the life……

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One of the things that I’m thankful about regarding Sarah is that she is always willing to snuggle and have “couch time” with mom.  In order to have couch time you need:

  1. a blanket or two
  2. a cat
  3. a good tv show
  4. books
  5. ice cream
  6. hairbrushes

At the end of a busy day, this is bliss.

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She brushed my hair and made it pretty.  I brushed her hair and she, as usual, made complaints.  Her hair has gotten quite long and at 7 years old she’s not very good at taking care of it or keeping it brushed.  She ends up with tangles and this week, pine pitch.  I’m thinking about having it trimmed about five inches to make it more manageable.  In fact, this might be a nice outing for us on this cold rainy and snowy day.

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Good natured Seth, on a Costco trip.

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The black cats we adopted at Christmas time have bonded to yours truly.  They adore me, however, at the sound of footsteps, or doors opening, or unexpected movements, they bolt.  But their purrs are loud and one of them is faithful to curl up on the couch next to me each night.  Unfortunately I cannot tell them apart.  I usually have to ask the children, “Who is this?”

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Amanda came over yesterday with her son Weston and her friend’s daughter Julia.  Sarah had a girl to play with and they wasted no time in doing all they could in two hours.  It was absolutely adorable.

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We talked a mile a minute and made plans and went for a walk with the girlies.

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It’s been cold and I’ve been pouting in the house, having the children do chicken chores.  Two days passed, “no eggs mom” they say cheerfully.  So after Amanda left I trudged to the coop and found 2 dozen.  Hello?  I don’t get it.

They sure are pretty.  One of my favorite antique store purchases in the last year has been this old feed scoop.  It was the only thing I could grab to put the eggs in yesterday. . .

I made the children egg sandwiches for dinner last night and used up 7 of them.

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We had a fire all day and Seth made a hot dog before bed.  He only took one bite before giving it to David, who practically ate the whole thing in one bite.  (little brother/big brother).  Seth is suffering because he had an expander and habit breaker put in the roof of his mouth this week.  He can’t talk and can’t eat and secretly I want to take him right back and have it removed.  But they say it’s for the best and he will get used to it.

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Aren’t burning pinecones lovely?  Mom told me the Indians used them as fire starters so Sarah went down with a bag to gather them on a dry day (which is how she got pine pitch in her hair).

David felt dizzy during the day so I let him drink a Gatorade (reserved for sports practices and meets) and when he was done he threw that in the fire, too, causing me to lecture loudly.  Next thing I found was a metal pipe.  I saw it just as I threw another armful of logs on the fire and David was offended and said “My pipe!”.  “Get the pipe out of the house and stop throwing things on the fire!”  He amuses me and terrifies me.

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At the end of the day and just before couch time with Sarah, David and Seth and I put our feet up on the hearth and chatted and laughed about things together.

It’s been a lonely week without my husband, but having the children home on spring break has made it much better.  He comes home tonight and I found myself putting make up on at 8:00 this morning.

first violets & secret garden quote

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For all the February babies, including myself, my son and my friend ~Thia~

Mary did not ask any more questions. She looked at the red fire and listened to the wind “wutherin’.” It seemed to be “wutherin'” louder than ever.

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I wasn’t even looking for them yet.  We’ve had almost entirely cold cold spring temperatures.  These grew in a warmer spot, by the kitchen door.  Oh it was such an encouraging moment to see these first deeply rich purple wild flowers.  I bent right down in the rain to pick them, knowing that soon there will be hundreds and thousands of them.

At that moment a very good thing was happening to her. Four good things had happened to her, in fact, since she came to Misselthwaite Manor.

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She had felt as if she had understood a robin and that he had understood her;

she had run in the wind until her blood had grown warm;

she had been healthily hungry for the first time in her life;

and she had found out what it was to be sorry for some one.

~The Secret Garden

Sarah and I have been listening together and enjoying it very much.  A beautiful book.

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“I found them in a book last night, these withered violets.”

I ended up closing the first spring violets in-between pages of poetry given to me by my friend Marcia, years ago.

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pizza dough recipe

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By what magic does my mother make her fabulous pizza?  I’ve tried for years but curiously enough, it is only recently that I feel as though there is hope for me, her eldest daughter, to follow in her footsteps.

I texted her last week to tell her I was going to make it but it wouldn’t be as good as hers and she replied, “Maybe I’ll make it too” and I said, “Then we’ll be the same.” and she said, “In spirit” and I said, “What do you set your oven to?” and she replied, “475”…..”on the lower shelf so it gets crispy on the bottom.”

Hours later, I sent her a photo of the results.

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“That looks perfect,” she wrote.

The next day she sent me a photo of the bottom of her pizza crust and it looked exactly the same.54506716276__12E75B43-9D7E-4A62-A53D-E589479F86F1

This was the point of turning for me, from hesitant frustrated pizza maker, to confident and joyful.

I had given Seth, Sarah, and Michael each a lump of dough to make their own pizzas, too.  It was the first time Michael had made a pizza.  This was last week.  When he came over again yesterday I asked them all what they wanted for dinner and he requested pizza again.  In this way I knew it had been a good experience for him.  Unfortunately I had already made it the previous night.  Michael works at a boy’s home and is going to started cooking with the boys four times a month (on Saturdays).  He started writing up a meal plan and Pizza made with Actual Dough was on the list.

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Sarah bragged that she “Ate seven pieces”.

Seth said “My stomach’s extended.”

Sarah said, “My taste buds are out.”

David and Caleb were so jolly after a tummy full of pizza that they ran around the house trying to pull each other’s, and Seth’s, pants down.

I’ve tried several recipes for pizza dough but this is the one that makes my heart sing.

Shanda’s Pizza Dough Recipe

1 pkg. active dry yeast
1 T. white sugar
2 1/2 cups warm water
2 T. olive oil
1 T. salt
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
5 1/2 cups bread flour

Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water, let sit until creamy, about 10 minutes.  Stir in olive oil, whole wheat flour, salt, and 4 cups of bread flour into the yeast mixture.  Mix in the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring well after each addition.  When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes.  (I use a kitchen aid mixer).  Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil.  (I leave the dough in the kitchen aid mixer bowl).  Cover with a damp cloth and put in warm place to rise until doubled in volume; about 1 hour.

Deflate dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface  Divide the dough into 3 equal pieces and form into rounds.  Cover the rounds and let them rest for about 10 minutes.  Preheat oven to 475.  Use a rolling pin (or hands) to roll dough into the desired shape, cover it with your favorite toppings.  Place on bottom rack in oven until nicely browned, about 20 minutes.
recipe source:  allrecipes.com

 

full & good

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Things That Have Been Happening Around Here Lately:

  •  Rich has been away more than here. (business trips)
  • basketball with neighbor boys
  • Sarah had a brunch date with friends.
  • I bought a giraffe at an estate sale.
  • Someone gave me a gospel track — Rich said I must’ve looked in need of Salvation.
  • I yelled, “Get OFF the roof!”
  • I yelled, “WHAT are you DOING?”
  • One of our black cats ate a purple ribbon.
  • Sarah broke a rose fiesta bowl.
  • We had a warm weather day.
  • We had rain.
  • We had snow.
  • We had ice.
  • The boys had baseball practice.
  • We are listening to The Hobbit on audible to and from the fields.
  • Seth didn’t want to hold my hand on the sidewalk in town. (rite of passage)
  • This week is spring break.
  • David had an appointment this morning.
  • And is now back to bed.
  • I said, “If you ask me that one more time you are going to stand in the corner” to my 12 year old.

 

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’tis spring; come out
to ramble
the hilly brakes around,
For under thorn and bramble
About the hollow ground
The primroses are found.  a.e. houseman

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golden edges

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bluebird sighting at the suet

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One morning I could hear a bird singing and I sighed, “I wish I could identify birds by their sounds.”  The children got on the bus and a little while later I went to get in the car and was distracted by the bird that was making that same sound I had heard earlier!  So I learned what it was, a Red Headed Woodpecker!  I ran to get the camera……..

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It slipped the tip of its beak under the edge of the lichen to get bugs; making its calling noise the whole time.

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No human has a naturally red head THIS red.

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And then, a cardinal appeared.

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And a goldfinch.  It was a lovely bird morning.  I took the photos from the porch.

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The children spent the entire day outside on Saturday.  In my opinion it was our first spring day. . . . .absolutely gorgeous weather, bare feet, fishing, turtles, basketball, baseball.

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Caleb ran to show me the turtle he and Jack found.

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And like his big brothers before him, he named it and put it back.

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And then they caught a nice fish.

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I repotted some plants I started for my friends and family.  It’s been fun collected different planters and pots on my thrifting adventures.  I’ll have to do a blog post soon to show them off.

life is full and good

//easter sunday in orlando//

(I heard this song at the dentist with my son Caleb yesterday and liked it so much).

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April 1, 2018

It was Easter Sunday and we decided to take a day of rest.  Rich read resurrection Scriptures to us in our hotel room that morning and then we slathered on sunscreen, put on our bathing suits, and headed for the pool.

Oh I forgot to mention that Caleb and Seth tried to play basketball first thing in the morning but came right back to the room because “There is an easter egg hunt going on, there are eggs everywhere even on the basketball court.”  I noticed Sarah (who was still in her pajamas and in bed) perk up at these words, so I asked Caleb to “hop like a bunny and go get Sarah an egg”.  We all laughed hysterically as he hopped out the door as only Caleb can, and then 10 minutes later, hop back inside the room with an egg and his front teeth sticking out of his lips just like the Easter bunny.  We affectionately call Caleb “Moose” for a reason, his bunny “hops” were more like heavy stomping earthquakes and he quickly hopped/launched himself off balance and into the wall as he tossed the egg to his sister.  “They were all gone so I told a man I needed one for my sister and asked if he would give me one of his.  There were kids with huge bags full of eggs.”  Sarah opened her egg to find a grape-flavored hard candy and was thrilled.

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Rich and I settled into pool chairs and very soon David was coming over to show me that he finally caught a lizard.  (the round scar on his stomach is from a spider bite, chronicled on this blog about 10 years ago).

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David was very curious about the wild life around the pool.  Now and then a duck or two would fly over to see if there were any crumbs to eat.  David tossed one a potato chip and we laughed to see it gobble it down only to bob his head up and down forcefully to bring it back up.  It landed on the pavement just as dry as it had gone into his beak.

David also saw a bird spear a fish over at the lake and came to report enthusiastlically.

My heart bursts with joy that he comes to share things with me so often.  I love to hear his stories and the way he tells them is always unique and interesting.  I am an eager listener.

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Sarah (in pink) quickly made a friend of a little girl just a year younger.  Eventually I met the little girl’s mother.  They had plans to go to a park that day but after seeing the girls swimming and getting along so well they ended up staying at the pool all day too.  They had traveled to Orlando all the way from Ireland and it was fun to visit with the mom and ask her questions about her country.

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We eventually made the girls get out of the pool to share a hot dog lunch together.  Sarah didn’t want to get out of the water and made sure to let me know that she “wasn’t done swimming yet.”  I was so glad to have gotten the children goggles before our trip because they had the greatest time throwing a little plastic card into the pool and diving for it.

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Behind the pool there was a lake and Caleb was so happy to go fishing.  He and Seth also played basketball for a while, too, and Seth was nicknamed “Seth Curry” by some other boys were were playing with them.

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After Sarah’s great reluctance to meet Disney characters at the park, I was truly intrigued to see that she got out of her beloved pool to approach the Easter bunny.  But on second thought, I decided that it had more to do with the eggs than the bunny.  It was the most adorable thing to see her and her friend get out of the water and hold hands as they walked over to the bunny for an egg.  All in all, Sarah managed to bring home about 7 or 8 plastic easter eggs.

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I spent the day in my chair with my book, journal (pictured above) and various nice coffee drinks.  The tallness of our hotel blocked the sun after a while so Rich moved to the other side but I stayed put.  I would rather not roast myself; it was perfect in the shade and Rich always gets annoyed because I still get tan so much better than he does even though he stays in the sun.

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Eventually it was time for dinner so we got all cleaned up and headed to a steakhouse for a good meal.

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“Yeah but mom look, I’m not even in the picture.”

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What is it with boys trying to look cool and thereby not smiling?

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Handsome Caleb after a day in the sunshine.

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Someone take away that soda!

The boys had steak dinners.  I had crab legs and Sarah had spaghetti.

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Even though we truly didn’t NEED dessert, the next thing we did was drive to a soft serve place for cones.

It was the kind of heavy cream soft serve that makes you feel full and sick after eating only half of it.

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It was a good ending to a relaxing day.

*********

What a God we have!  And how fortunate we are to have him, this Father of our Master Jesus!  Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we’ve been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven–and the future starts now!  God is keeping careful watch over us and the future.  

The Day is coming when you’ll have it all–life heal and whole.  ~ 1 Peter 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

a long & fascinating Epcot account

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We went to Epcot on March 31st, Rich’s birthday.   He had been looking forward to his Disney birthday for months.

For a breakfast treat, he wanted to get a coffee from Starbucks more than anything but had mistakingly passed by the one on our way to the park.  Imagine his joy when, as soon as we got through the main entrance, there it was!  A Starbucks right in Epcot.  We had the children sit outside while we stood in line to get our special coffees.

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Next stop was the “Club Cool” building for CocaCola, which has been a highlight since we first visited Epcot years ago.  If you lean in you can see the children walking in under the sign.  (I was standing outside Starbucks when I took the photo).

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They had free samples of their slushy sodas.  And then, the children taste tested all the soda “flavors from around the world”.  I tasted a couple of them, too.  Rich refused.  He was content with his coffee.

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Caleb

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Seth

Nothing like the feeling of lots of sugar first thing in the morning!

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Sarah and I were happy to split from the boys and go our own way.

There were flowers in bloom everywhere we looked.

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We bought jewelry made by this nice lady, which she crafted from things in nature.  For example, the red in my necklace is naturally dyed orange peel!  Sarah picked out earrings.  The interesting thing was the lady was originally from Connecticut and knew our hometown.  While we were there, we also bought a map (Sarah is holding it in the photo) with Easter Egg stickers to put on each spot after we found them in the park.  It became a fun highlight of our day.

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Here is the first one we found!  Do you see it?

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And then Mary Poppins walked right by us!

By the way, Sarah had no desire whatsoever to meet any of the Disney characters who walked about in Epcot or any other park.  She especially disliked the costumed animals like Chip n’ Dale, or Goofy, etc.  I would have liked to take her photo with a princess but “No” she shook her head and planted her feet into the ground.  I could understand so didn’t press it.

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I took a photo of the beautiful leather purses in “London”.

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On our way to “France” with the Eiffel tower behind us.

I was so heart-happy to have Sarah’s hand in mine on this day, always thankful that God gave us a second daughter.  I told her so, too.  It put a sweet smile on her face.

All of my children are a blessing and a joy.

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Each country had a lovely Topiary that I always pointed out thoughtfully to Sarah, who never seemed to be as impressed as I was.   She was too busy looking for the egg.

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There it is!

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flowers in France

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thought of Joanna……with the teapots….

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“Take a picture, mom!” said Sarah.  I called birds like these “Parasitic Birds” because they were just hanging around trying to steal food.

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Sarah was also given a fan to carry to each country for a stamp and a picture.  It was a nice little “time out” throughout the day as she stopped to color.

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This is the table in “Germany”, the girl is coloring on Sarah’s flag.  I had to take a photo because an old copy of Grimm’s Fairy Tales was on the table and I’ve been reading it to Sarah.

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We ate in Germany and watched the little girl next to us throw chips to yet another “Parasitic bird” (a duck this time).

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Norway!  My favorite section of the park!

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It briefly rained.  Good thing I had ponchos in my purse (#1 Mom).   While standing in this line we made friends with the English family next to us.

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I met a Viking!

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We met back up with the boys after going on the Frozen ride.    Rich had gotten himself a birthday jacket from Norway and looked very handsome in it, too.  We headed to the Norwegian bakery for some treats.  I was told the Schoolhouse buns were the best so I bought one and enjoyed every single bite.  In fact, I want more than anything to find a recipe and make them myself here at home.

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Sarah’s Elsa cupcake was amazing.  It was so big she couldn’t finish it so I had to take a bite.  The cake was fluffy and homemade, there was chocolate filling and frosting, both wonderfully tasty.  Seth and David finished it up.

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Orchids, the way they should look.

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Another pretty flower.

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We went to go ride on the Nemo ride and visited the aquariums where David made friends with the fish.

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And people started to get silly.

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David now and David then.  Same exact spot in Epcot!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I can’t stand it.

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Golden Hour in Epcot.

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David in his “nerd store” (his words) he loves anime and greatly enjoyed the Mitsukoshi Department Store in” Japan.”

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Sarah and I picked out some candy.  David got a shirt and a tea cup.  The shirt is a long story.  Months ago, I found him carefully cutting out a graphic and coloring it from a page he printed online.  He wanted to transfer it to a t-shirt but had to stop when he realized regular paper wouldn’t work, he needed transfer paper.  But then in Epcot he found the very shirt he had wanted to make.  Sadly, as soon as we got home, he was wearing it when he picked up his half-wild cat who got scared and scratched his way out of David’s arms, cutting a hole in his new shirt with his very sharp razor- like claws.  David said, “What about my arm?”  it was scratched and bleeding.  “Your arm will heal, but I’m the one who will have to mend your shirt, you’re special shirt you just bought in Disney!”  Thus, David has a unique shirt from Disney, already ripped and mended by yours truly (and I did the best I could but it wasn’t a mending that could be hidden very easily).

We liked all the candy but for the green tea KitKats and the bean paste gummy candy. (ew)

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After the fireworks show we headed out.  The park was closing so we were in a big crowd as we tried to keep up with Rich, who walks very purposefully with his long legs.

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I yelled for him to stop walking for a photo.  Thanks, Birthday boy!  It was the best day!

According to my step calculator on my phone I had walked 9.7 miles.

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David’s “after a long day at Epcot” greasy cheesy hamburger at 11pm!

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In fact, Seth started falling asleep right at the table.  Rich and I felt proud that we had finally made our most active child tired.

 

 

 

 

 

 

magic kingdom

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I had flown down to Orlando the day before to meet Rich who was already in town for business.  He looked so handsome leaning against a pillar in the airport at the end of the escalator to greet us.  We spent the rest of that day hugging, settling in the hotel, swimming, and exploring.

The next morning we drove from our hotel to Magic Kingdom.  Rich and I were looking forward to finishing up our parenting goal of making sure all seven of our children got to Disney in their childhoods.  Sarah was the only one who hadn’t been; we had David, Caleb, and Seth with us too, and the older three were in college but we had taken them when they were little.  In fact, it’s all on the blog.  The only trip that I didn’t blog about was when David was a baby and that’s only because I didn’t have a blog back then (15 years ago).

We took the Ferry over to the park.

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A nice thing about the boys having already experienced Disney was that they could knowledgeably “inform” Sarah about all the things she would see and do.  These types of conversations had been going on for weeks and she was very excited.

She and Seth kept their eyes on the castle all the way across the water.

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It’s always a lovely sight.

Okay—–honestly, Rich and I, now that we are back home, have already decided that never again if we can help it, will we go to Disney during Spring Break season.  The crowds were next to impossible.  There were some good things, however, as having so many excited people added to our own excitement.  (It also added to the length of time standing in lines.)   It was fun to hear different languages being spoken all around us and observing families from all over the world enjoying this famous destination.  But it was a very vast sea of humanity. . . . .

Speaking of crowds, we only lost children twice.  In fact, the first thing we did was lose children.  And by “lose” I mean, it was all their own fault (a miscommunication of sorts).  What happened was this:  In the midst of a thousand other people, Caleb had to use the bathroom so badly that as soon as we got across the water and departed from the ferry boat we located restrooms.  He and Seth ran just a little bit ahead of us into the men’s room, we were right behind them.  Sarah and I went into the ladies room and Rich and Dave went in just after the other boys, who never saw them.  Rich and Dave were still in the stalls when Caleb and Seth got done, so when they came outside and didn’t see us, they headed straight for the main entrance (just to the right of the lines) without any of us seeing them, either.  So THEN, the rest of us finished up and waited outside the bathrooms.  No Caleb, no Seth.  Before we even knew they were “missing” my phone rang.  They had immediately called me from a Security officer’s phone and found us.  In a nutshell, they thought we had went to the ticket counter to wait for them to go to the bathroom.

The second time was similar.  We were standing in line (a Very Long Line) waiting to go on a roller coaster.  We could see the restrooms from where we were standing so Seth ran out of line to go to the bathroom and then got confused trying to find us again.  Rich went to look for him just as my phone rang.  Seth had asked the first couple he saw to use their phone.  He was so close to us that I saw him talking to me on the phone.  So I just yelled, “SETH over here!” gave the couple a smile and a friendly wave, and called Rich to tell him Seth was safe and sound.

So right away we knew that the children would be able to find us again if they ended up lost in the multitudes of people.  Truly it was somewhat of a miracle that we didn’t lose them around every corner, it was THAT crowded.

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Main Street Parade

(we just caught the very end of it on our way to a ride).

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Thunder Mountain.

It was so cute to listen to Sarah make plans with Caleb to sit together; and to actually have Caleb agree to do it was adorable.  When we got home after our vacation was over, she had me print this very photo so she could take it to school.

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My beautiful travelers.

After a long winter, the sunshine we enjoyed in Orlando was such a treat.  We just made sure to use lots of sunscreen.

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We bought this photo from our next ride (Splash Mountain; Rich’s #1 favorite) to add to our collection.  We bought the frame to go with it and it was nice that they could send our purchase to the front of the park for us to pick up at the end of the day.  It’s now hanging on the wall next to a photo from Hershey Park, and one from Six Flags.

BD967BE0-EC96-4426-9855-52912599E529“Before (sobs) and After (smiles)”

Sarah got the #1 Overcomer of the Day award for riding Splash Mountain even though she was terrified.  The combination of water and a drop down was almost too much for her.  That’s why you see me holding her like that in the photo.

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The Buzz Lightyear ride is a favorite.

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We didn’t buy this one but I thought it was the cutest ever with Rich’s big muscles and Seth closing one eye to aim and shoot.

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Waiting for the Presidents show, we enjoyed the displays of memorabilia.  I took this photo of Projectile Points for Mom and brother Dave, only we call them Arrowheads.

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And of course the boys intently studied Teddy Roosevelt’s sword and asked me to take a photo.

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I did take my big camera with me to Disney.  I took a handful of photos with it on this day, including this nice one of handsome Caleb with Rich in the background (in his own car) but after Magic Kingdom I left it in the hotel.  I’m not saying I’ll never use it again, but I think when I have a bunch of other travel-mates with me and it’s a busy park it’s just easier to use the phone camera.  It was more of a time to take candids for my family then to think about thoughtful photography.  But I do love this photo of Caleb.

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Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse; be still my heart.

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Standing in line for the Enchanted Tiki Room; “vintage” Disney at it’s very best.

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Fireworks to make all the sentimental grown ups cry.  And I did, too.  (We waited for them to begin next to another family.  The dad was complaining almost in a desperate way because they had gone straight to the park from the airport and hadn’t even checked into the hotel.  They were exhausted.  He was wondering if the show would be worth it and almost didn’t want to wait.  He wanted to leave to escape the crowds.  But they stayed and later on during the show I could hear him singing along to the songs with his son up on his shoulders and I thought, “yes, it’s worth it.”)

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Seth took this as we waited for Rich to get our photo; it was the last picture taken of our visit to Magic Kingdom.  We had walked a total of 5.8 miles that day and went to bed at midnight after pancakes at Ihop.

Tomorrow I will share photos from Epcot.