good things

“I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of your wonderful deeds.”

Tuesday morning

listening to music

staring out the window, the eaves are dripping, dripping, dripping (in time to the music)

lots of photos to share;

IMG_6722

((for the people I love))

 

IMG_6687

On Friday night we were watching the Incredibles 2

I was sitting weary but happy at my favorite spot at the table when Seth came by and said “I want to sit on you” and he sat on my lap.  I couldn’t see the movie very well after that but I put my nose in the back of his hair now and then and breathed in this boy of mine.  I gave that look across the room to Rich that he knows means, “Take a picture!”

IMG_1449

The very next morning, he was 10 and opening his big bag of gifts with some of his best friends watching curiously.

IMG_6694

He was given Dude Perfect things to play with, a new outfit, a stuffed animal dog that breathes thanks to a battery (he named it Oliver), and other little things.

I mixed up his requested birthday cake, which was Red Velvet, and then off we went to the wrestling tournament at our High School.  Rich is the head coach and hadn’t slept a wink the night before in all the excitement……

Richtourn

Here he is, opening up the day of wrestling.

DSC_0326

Meanwhile, the birthday boy had a good friend with him all day and they (along with other boys) had the greatest time in the gym and also in the wrestling room nearby, playing football and running around.  They came to me now and then, mostly to get money so Seth could buy himself stuff in the cafeteria.  Since it was his birthday I didn’t say things like, “Don’t get candy with this” like I normally would.

fullsizeoutput_602f

David with his friend Tristan.  Best boys in the world (the whole team is awesome)

There is so much sitting around and waiting at these tournaments.  David stayed bundled in his warm ups until it was time to wrestle.

I found myself a spot at the top of the bleachers so I could rest my back against the wall.  Sarah stayed nearby and we played cards and she also had a book and her DS.  I was able to chat with another wrestling mom which was fun, her name was Shannon.

IMG_6710

Dave after a win, going to the center to take off his ankle strap and get his hand raised.

IMG_6702

“Mom, can I have your phone?”

“Only if you sit over here and have your picture taken with me, birthday boy!”

DSC_0342

David getting set up to pin.

DSC_0347

DSC_0348

My wonderful son.

DSC_0352

Another wonderful son (Caleb)…..watching one of our guys wrestle.

IMG_6714

Later on that night (what a long day, also Dave got 4th place in his bracket), Seth blew out his birthday candles and we ate the cake.  I had been concerned that it wasn’t going to be perfect……..but it was.  (in all humility)

IMG_6718

Isn’t it just so pretty on a Shamrock fiesta plate?  By the way, the newest color is another shade of green and they named it “Meadow” and I cannot wait to get a piece of it!!!!

(((Walter pictures)))  This cat is adored!  He’s sitting on the floor staring at me as I type, too, it’s quite funny.

IMG_6745

Well, and then on Sunday we all know what day it was.  Superbowl number 53 and my team was in the game.  Every time my husband flies into L.A. he gets me merchandise so I was all set to wear Rams stuff from head to toe.

We cleaned and pushed furniture around, plowed the driveway, ordered pizza and wings, and prepared for a houseful of friends all day long!

I was tired out so around 4 I went to bed to rest.  I was highly amused by the frequent visitors I had……

IMG_6752

IMG_6756

Seth even stole my hat!

Isaac was the first to arrive and pretty much the first thing he said after taking off his coat and hugging me was “is that a red velvet cake?” and he ate 2 pieces.  🙂

I sat right in between my sis and my bro and it was a delight.  It was also a delight to see our girlies play and have fun.  Naomi braided Sarah’s hair and then they made batch after batch of slime upstairs.  They didn’t even make that big of a mess….I just had to vacuum the next morning what with all the glitter and foam beads everywhere.

fullsizeoutput_601b

This picture makes me so so so so happy!  Rich invited his wrestlers to come watch the game and we had some parents stay, too.  Our friends Chris and Carolyn came again this year (they have in the past as well) and it was great to see them and catch up.  We had TON of food to enjoy.  I’m just so thankful and happy to have good friends through our community.  Look at Seth and John standing on the bookshelf behind the couch.  And Sarah sitting with her Uncle Isaac.  And sweet Naomi sitting between me and her mama.  I really need to print this and put it on my fridge.  I’ll smile all day.

IMG_6782

Well, alas, I was disappointed in how the game turned out.  My team lost to my son’s favorite team and Caleb has such a sweet heart that he felt bad and just stood next to me in silence as we watched the Patriots celebrate after the clock ticked down and the game was over.  “You can be happy, Caleb!” said Rich, but Caleb didn’t have it in him.  I had to go get groceries the next morning so I thought I would see if I could get Caleb a shirt to show him I was a good sport.  😉

IMG_6799

I took this photo at 6:20 this morning!!!!

By the way, when you have wrestlers in the house they’re gonna wrestle.  Caleb got a huge goose-egg on his forehead and another boy hurt his thumb (Rich even wonders if it’s broken).   That shadowy spot on Caleb’s head is The Bruise.

IMG_6786

I went for a nice walk yesterday again, the temps reached 60 which felt so nice after days and days of frigid temperatures.  I even saw a Robin taking a bath in a stream in the woods.  The birds were happy, too.

IMG_6789

IMG_6776

IMG_6794

(after a long day) we were texting Michael and the kids and laughing on the couch.

DSC_0369

Pictures from this morning.  (see Walter?)  Grace, David got the ink pot unstuck from the table finally.

DSC_0375

I sang him a song about a Handsome Handsome Cat.

DSC_0376

I praised the sunrise.

DSC_0379

And a few minutes later, the morning golden glow.

 

“Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for all mankind, for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.”

permitted

img_6457

We left at 8:15 this morning to drive through rush hour traffic to go to the DMV testing center.  The weather was astounding; pounding rain and in the 50’s after days when everything was frozen solid and not even 10 degrees.  We drove through it together, my hands on the steering wheel, his hands clutching the laptop on which the driver’s manual was displayed.

Neither one of us slept much last night for whatever reason.

When I tried to make conversation he said, eyes on the computer screen, “Shhhhh, stop” and so I just reached over and patted his shoulder with a laugh.  I’m glad he’s safe and comfortable enough with me to be true.

fullsizeoutput_6009

We arrived 15 minutes before the doors would be unlocked and Dave thought it was just way too long of a wait.  He was nervous.

Just as I knew he would, he passed easily.

img_6452

“That was incredibly nerve wracking.”

“My hands were shaking the whole time.”

“Okay now I gotta do my History homework.”

And that’s what he did.

We also got Dunkin Donuts coffees and listened to music.

Me and my buddy Dave.  How I love him.

I dropped him off at school and then got groceries…and very wet…..came home, and crashed on the couch.  I didn’t do a thing for the past 2 hours but watch TV and snooze with a cat on my lap.

When Caleb got home from school, he joined us.

img_6460

This is the view from here.

Happy Thursday, friends.

it was a month ago…..

fullsizeoutput_5de4
Ask her what she craved and
she’d get a little frantic
about things like books,
the woods, music.
Plants and the seasons.
Also freedom.
~Charles Frazier

Grace turned nineteen on November 4.

When she was home from college for Thanksgiving break she said, “You didn’t blog about me on my birthday”.   So here I am, better late than never, with my sincerest apologies to you, dear Grace!

Grace was born in the very early hours of the morning all those years ago, our first daughter after two sons.  Born at 38 weeks, but so tiny that everyone stopped to admire her and call her “Peanut”, I delighted in being her mother.  I found a white bib that had a small peanut embroidered on it and of course I had to buy it for her and I bet it that bib is still here in a box somewhere along with many other keepsakes from that precious time.

She’s all grown up now and in the middle of her second year of college and doing very well.  She has her own dorm room this year which has been nice for her, but she keeps so busy she’s rarely in it except to do homework and sleep.

She’s healthy and strong, with lots of dear and close friends.

She loves to read and write, sing and play piano.  She loves to be useful.

I hadn’t taken many photos of her lately so when she was home for Thanksgiving we got the camera out for a couple of “Now You’re Nineteen” photos.  We were downtown that day for “small town shopping”.

The quotes are from Grace’s own personal collection of favorites.  (she has hundreds) ❤

DSC_0113
“Come, let us have some tea,
and continue to talk about happy things.”

fullsizeoutput_5de3
Don’t be so cool you can’t cry.
Don’t be so smart you can’t wonder.
Don’t be so set on your sunny days
That you can’t love the roll of the thunder.

He has made everything beautiful
in its time.   Ecclesiastes 3:11

 

 

a very special September 16th

fullsizeoutput_5a4c

new mama

fullsizeoutput_5a4e

first baby!!

fullsizeoutput_5a51

My brother Isaac and his wife Cassandra had their baby!!! and invited us over yesterday to meet her.  Rich and I left David in charge of Caleb, Seth, and Sarah at home, and spent about an hour and a half visiting our new little niece.

fullsizeoutput_5a71

fullsizeoutput_5a6e

fullsizeoutput_5a5d

It was wonderful to hold this beautiful baby girl.  She’s perfect.

DSC_1134

Rich had a turn holding her, too.  I think he was surprised that I would share.

DSC_1160

Isaac with his baby girl.

fullsizeoutput_5a61

fullsizeoutput_5a65

I took these portraits after she took a little nap and was relaxed, calm, and content in her Daddy’s arms.  Rich remarked to me after we left how sweet it was to see her obviously know and love her parents.

fullsizeoutput_5a69

fullsizeoutput_5a6b

fullsizeoutput_5a3a

Welcome to the word, sweet Elena!  You are loved beyond words.

*****

 

When it was time to leave, we went in the backyard and had Isaac take some photos of us, as it was our 23rd wedding anniversary.

It was a very special September 16th, and one we will always remember because it was the day we met baby Elena.

Praise the LORD!
Oh give thanks to the LORD,
for He is good;
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
Psalm 106:1

 

ready

Dearest Father in Heaven,
Bless this child and bless this day
Of new beginnings.
Smile upon this child
And surround this child, Lord,
With the soft mantle of your love.
Teach this child to follow in your footsteps,
And to live life in the ways of
Love, faith, hope and charity.
~Gaelic blessing

We had a full and fun summer with just enough boredom, chaos, and lack of schedule to make the first day of school somewhat of a relief.  Okay, maybe I’m speaking for myself.  I was wondering why I wasn’t sad in the least to have children get on the bus a few hours ago and I think it is because there were no major changes this year….no one is going into their senior year, no one is entering High School for the first time, no one is going off to college for the first time.  “Sigh” everything’s sort of the same as it was a year ago.

fullsizeoutput_5999

David saw me get the camera and said, “No”, but even as he said it he was getting up off the couch to go to the door…….he knew it had to be done and maybe I’m fooling myself but I think he was glad that I was still going to take photos just like all the years before.  He is in 10th grade now and will turn 16 in a month.  Caleb is 13 and in 8th grade.  My heart swells with pride and love when I look at them.  They’re just so great in typical teenager boy fashion.

fullsizeoutput_599a

Seth is in 4th grade this year and has the same teacher that his big brother Caleb did in 4th grade, and he’s excited that he has a man teacher for the first time.  We visited his classroom yesterday and he was thrilled to discover that he had several of his good friends in his class.  Seth took special care in putting together his first day of school outfit which I thought was adorable.  He grew a lot this summer, into a big solid boy.

fullsizeoutput_59a0

Sarah had an entire new outfit that I bought for her yesterday (she even picked it out herself with no help from me because I was busy chasing Seth around the store).  But at the last minute, she went with an old- but stain-free-, comfortable- but pretty-, shorts and shirt.  Then she grabbed the kitten and jumped.

Sarah is in 3rd grade and has the same teacher that both David and Caleb had in that grade!  She also has a male teacher for the first time and he’s just the nicest man, we see him and his family around town often.  It’s such fun to have repeat teachers, and really get to know them.

Jacob, Ethan, and Grace are all off to college and settled into their dorms.  The boys share a room which has no air conditioning so they sweat and swelter, and Grace has her very own room which I am sure is a relief to her after having to share with Sarah all summer.  I’ll do a better update about the college kids eventually.

After I waved the kids onto the bus, I got dressed, tidied up the house, gathered up laundry, and emptied the dishwasher.  I also let out the chickens, and had to shampoo Seth’s rug.  Now I’m done with chores I’m going to the garden center to spend my rewards cash before it expires in 2 days.  I guess it’s time to get some fall mums.

Thanks for stopping by, friends, it’s a beautiful day.

You are loved.

PS, kids I’ll be home and waiting with cookies when you get off the bus.

 

this is the sweet face of great relief

fullsizeoutput_5734

“I feel like a huge burden that I’ve had since I was a child was just lifted off of me.”  

 

Here are the memories she doesn’t want to forget about learning to drive:

That time when her Dad had her drive around and around and around an empty parking lot at school backwards, this way and that way until she cried, and then he had her do it more.

The time she and I were going to the plant store and I didn’t tell her how long it was going to take to get there and she drove for an hour.

When she first really drove it was with her older brother Jacob and it was raining but she didn’t know how to turn on the wipers and when she did turn them on they went so fast she got nervous and asked Jacob for help.

She went to the H.S. to practice backing into parking spots and no one was there so her Dad got out of the car and walked laps while she practiced parking which was exactly what she needed…to figure it out on her own.

She had two college friends (April and Ryan) and Caleb and Kylee praying for her before her test this morning.

She and Caleb talked on the phone and went over traffic rules the morning of her test.  And he reminded her to turn on her lights and put on the emergency brake which were the two things she did wrong on her practice test last weekend.

To help them with their nerves, they had a movie going in the waiting room for the students about to test, and a box of munchkins for them to snack on, but she didn’t want to eat anything or watch anything …. but she did eat a munchkin because she felt she would be rude if she didn’t.  The movie playing was “Sing” and she was annoyed because she wanted to concentrate on her test but with the movie playing she started getting interested and watched it.

The songs she sang to herself while she waited for her test driver were, “Give me Oil in my Lamp” and “I love You, Lord”.

The man riding along to test was very nice; an elderly grandfather type.

She didn’t think she would do well, she didn’t think she would pass.

She and her dear friend Kylee both took their test on the same day and passed.  And when she walked in to the office to hand her paper sheet to the lady for her paper license the lady said, “Look at you, you little show off,”  because she got nothing marked wrong.

fullsizeoutput_5731

She walked over to the garden center after her test to find me.

fullsizeoutput_5733

 

 

 

SaveSave

vanilla cake, vanilla frosting

Sarah birthday1

sarahbirthday2

sarahbirthday4

sarahbirthday5

sarahscake.jpg

What a special evening our youngest had with her brothers and sister.  They played games together, and big brother Jacob made the quick trip to the grocery store in town to buy some ice cream.  He came home with strawberry, peanut butter cup, cookies and cream, and party cake ice cream.  Rich and I sat contentedly in the living room with the sounds of a full house all around us; doors opening and shutting, chatter, laughter, basketball bouncing on the driveway, footsteps walking or running, upstairs, downstairs, drinks in the kitchen, on and on, so much energy!  Soon it was time for the birthday song and cake.  Sarah watched her Dad light the candles.  She watched so intently as her siblings continued to be silly all around her.  Her face as we sang was precious to see, all sparkling eyes and big smile.  The cake was amazing.  Even Ethan agreed, and he doesn’t typically like cake.  The birthday girl was offended when I bragged, “I made it myself.” because she helped make the frosting.

Cake:

1 cup whole milk, room temperature
6 large egg whites, room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
12 T. unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces and softened

Oven set to 350.  Grease 9 by 13 cake pan.  Whisk milk, egg whites, and vanilla in 4-cup liquid measuring cup.  Using stand mixer fitted with paddle, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt on low speed until combined.  Add butter, 1 piece at a time, and beat until only pea-sized pieces remain.  Add half of milk mixture, increase speed to medium-high, and beat until light and fluffy, about 1 minute.  Reduce speed to medium-low, add remaining milk mixture, and beat until incorporated, about 30 seconds.  Give batter final stir by hand.  Scrape batter into prepared pan and bak until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 20-25 minutes.  Cool completely.  recipe from Cook’s Country Cookbook  (it’s the cake part of the recipe for Lane cake).

Frosting:

1 stick butter
4 T.  milk
1 tsp vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar

Cream butter, milk, and vanilla.  Add powdered sugar one cup at a time, beating until light and fluffy.  Makes enough frosting for one 9 by 13 cake.

great

fullsizeoutput_5654

1.  Sarah Joy is our youngest child and was born on this date, 8 years ago.  She was named after her Great-Grandmother and the joy in our hearts when we knew she was coming into our family.

fullsizeoutput_565a

2.  The last photo I took before having Sarah was of the beautiful blooming peonies in my flower beds.  This morning Sarah stood next to them, but spring was late coming this year and they are still only buds.  A hope and a promise.

fullsizeoutput_565c

3.  Sarah is in 2nd grade and has very nice handwriting (her teacher said so).  She loves to read.  The last book she read was titled Waiting for the Magic and she liked it very much.  “The dogs talk.”

fullsizeoutput_5662

4.  Her favorite food is macaroni and cheese.

fullsizeoutput_5665

5.  She ordered light-up gloves with her birthday gift card from Uncle Dave.

fullsizeoutput_5659

6.  She has requested a vanilla birthday cake with what kind of frosting?  “Vanilla”.

DSC_1096

7.  She used to be seven but now she’s eight.

DSC_1109

8.  Eight is Great.

 

a long & fascinating Epcot account

fullsizeoutput_5348

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.

fullsizeoutput_534f

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).

fullsizeoutput_5350

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.

fullsizeoutput_5351

Caleb

fullsizeoutput_5359

Seth

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

fullsizeoutput_535b

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

There were flowers in bloom everywhere we looked.

fullsizeoutput_5360

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.

fullsizeoutput_5363

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

fullsizeoutput_5369

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.

fullsizeoutput_536f

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

fullsizeoutput_5370

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.

fullsizeoutput_5379

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.

fullsizeoutput_537b

There it is!

fullsizeoutput_537a

flowers in France

fullsizeoutput_537c

thought of Joanna……with the teapots….

fullsizeoutput_537e

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

fullsizeoutput_537f

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.

fullsizeoutput_538b

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.

uDkVhq+ISuee6ciq3lHX2w

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

fullsizeoutput_5381

Norway!  My favorite section of the park!

fullsizeoutput_5383

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.

IMG_4281

I met a Viking!

pSKC%P2tTpKuvS5vfhW0RA

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.

IMG_0072

IMG_0077

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.

fullsizeoutput_5388

Orchids, the way they should look.

+gvqsMlaTI6hlkxnd7Triw

Another pretty flower.

fullsizeoutput_538a

%aWrHGhaQniUCSDxvM434g

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

GOm8ZPxjQQKkfIFxjlkbXg

And people started to get silly.

IMG_4308IMG_4309

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

sTWam7B6QK+uNMAFoTw

Golden Hour in Epcot.

IMG_4315

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

fullsizeoutput_538c

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)

G4aHTIA6QTKTV3M381nHXg

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.

BTpmP4XJQ%mFQImQcBlngA

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.

3hwOJy5pSqOouyqCrTxgIQ

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

C8jZhLM1Rk69OMizDLjNJg

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

fullsizeoutput_532c

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.

x0LaCSlPQPWsKaveJP9K8Q

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.

M9HIzXPmT+qG5+rAlZoy9g

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.

88iNlav4SOyo9cMuqQzneg

Main Street Parade

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

IMG_4155

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.

dZF4XoTnQsyIxCvxW3o1zw

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.

IMG_4170

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.

15C9ho9KTWWCSI3%Wjacvw

The Buzz Lightyear ride is a favorite.

ROQXuEneSSuv+3mH9CGfuA

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.

fullsizeoutput_533f

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.

gnk79E+pTAaAXAN4%hQ

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

fullsizeoutput_532e

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.

IMG_4201

Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse; be still my heart.

pkwmwtMcTd67FVniIQ+qpQ

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

fullsizeoutput_52fd

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.”)

IMG_4224

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.