//easter sunday in orlando//

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


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.


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).


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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


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


Handsome Caleb after a day in the sunshine.


Someone take away that soda!

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


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.



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


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.


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).


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.





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


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

There were flowers in bloom everywhere we looked.


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.


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


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.


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


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.


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.


There it is!


flowers in France


thought of Joanna……with the teapots….


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


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.


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.


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


Norway!  My favorite section of the park!


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.


I met a Viking!


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.



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.


Orchids, the way they should look.


Another pretty flower.



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


And people started to get silly.


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


Golden Hour in Epcot.


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


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)


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.


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.


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


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.







hershey park


After we left Grace at college, we drove a couple of hours to Hershey, PA.  Rich and I had both visited the park when we were kids and Rich especially was excited to go back to the place of such fabulous childhood memories.  We went two days in a row so we could do everything.  The weather was gorgeous and there were crowds and crowds of people, but the park was big enough that it didn’t seem too bad.  It was fun to people-watch.  It was fun to eat chocolate.


I thought the flowers behind Rich and Caleb were so pretty.  (I took all the photos with my iPhone.)

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(P.S.  Our anniversary is on Saturday.  )

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We went on rides all morning and then went to the water park.  I changed into my suit, but stayed on the side lines in a chair and read a book, which was really the only thing I wanted to do at that point.  The kids were able to stay together as there was only one entrance and one exit out of this section of the water park.  Rich took a nap next to me (he can sleep anywhere) and then he took the boys on the bigger water rides.


This was when then came to the fence to complain about something.  LOL

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The water was so cold.  Seth had trouble staying warm, but Sarah was like a fish and stayed in the water the entire time….over 3 hours of swimming and enjoying all the neat fountains, slides, and so on.  She LOVED it.

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I was glad she had a bright bathing suit on….she was easy to spot.


There is a magic to amusement parks, don’t you think?


Cotton candy was on their bucket-list.


That night we went to a pizza place, it was much later than we usually eat (around 9pm). The kids were good and hungry and a little sunburned.  I was absolutely enthralled with the very old man I could see working.  This pizza shop was obviously a family affair.  So I slyly took his picture and felt like a sneak doing so, but I wanted to remember that someday when I’m 90-something years old, I can still work.  🙂

(He was busy putting new sodas in the cooler).


Never did a pizza taste THIS GOOD.  We ordered two and left with only one piece left.  It was thin crust, cheesy, hot, and perfect.


The next day at the park, we began our visit at the chocolate tour.



My mom has a little cookbook with this picture on the cover.  I used to love looking through it when I was little, just like a picture book for children, I would study each photo and recipe.  Years later, when I was a grown up, I was happy to find a copy of my own at a garage sale.

Of course I texted her this picture, too.


“eight wholesome roasted almonds”


chocolate, chocolate, everywhere


chocolate of all sizes



KISSES !!!!!


And then, back into the park for another day of riding on all the rides.  One of which was such a scary roller coaster that Rich went on it alone.  I let the kids get their face painted as we waited.


It was a huge mistake for Seth, because by the end of the day nothing was left of his Panda-face but the black around his eyes.  He looked like a zombie.


I think the zoo was one of our family-favorite parts.  We studied every single animal…snakes, owls, everything.  We thoroughly enjoyed it.


On a train ride together while the boys rode “the claw”.


She was soooooooo cute!  She had no fear whatsoever.  The kids were good sports.  It truly was a wonderful experience for us.


Merry-Go-Round with my girlie.


She was full of encouragement for this one last ride of the night; the Scrambler.  (I get nauseous on the spinning rides).

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That night we ate at a diner next door to the hotel.  And I finally got a good picture of my darling handsome Seth.  He really is a mama’s boy and the adoration is mutual.


Tasted so good after a day in the park, especially the juicy fruit.


Caleb’s burger.


We went back for breakfast the next day and this is how they served my raspberry muffin–queen style.


so handsome.


On the highway we found ourselves behind a tractor trailer which was shedding feathers…white feathers…we were curious so Rich sped up.  It was FULL of chickens.


When we got home, David wanted a pizza right away.  I think he missed me pizza.

dave gets hugged


This is another blog post dedicated to our vacation to Jekyll Island, Georgia.

These photos were all taken with my phone.

I had bought Crackerbarrel gift cards for Christmas presents for last Christmas…but never gave them out…so we used them ourselves for a nice breakfast.  I do feel kind of bad about that.

There was a tiny baby at the Crackerbarrel sitting at the next table over.  She was so little I wondered how she was going to sit with out falling forward and bumping the table.  But she was strong and did great and was sooooooo cute.  I watched her as she kept her eyes on the spoon her Dad was feeding her with.  I ended up holding my own very big baby on my lap by the end of breakfast.


This is Caleb doing artwork and eating oreos during the trip.


Taking naps during the trip.


We finally arrived!  Sarah was just so thrilled to be “in Georgia”.


This is me and my sister, with our girls Abbie and Grace.


Food at the Pier was amazing.  It’s my favorite place to eat on Jekyll.  I had the boiled shrimp and this is the plate of seafood that Jacob and David shared.


One morning I left the Sans Souci with just my little Seth (6 years old).  We were the only ones awake out of my family.  We snuck outdoors, holding hands, and went over to the main Jekyll Clubhouse to get my complimentary cup of coffee.  On the way back we met Isaac and Cassandra about to go on a bike ride.


While all the men in our family went golfing, I took Caleb, Seth, and Sarah to the little shops by the Clubhouse.  Seth quickly chose this dog puppet.  He named it Jekyll.  At the next shop, I had him sit on the bench outside and play my phone so I didn’t have to keep track of three small kids.  Later I discovered that he had taken this picture of his new friend.


If you bought a soda you got free refills with your cup all day long.  The kids all LOVED the Shirly Temples.  We got them over and over.  There is nothing like an ice cold soda on a hot day.


Amanda took this one of my mom and me walking with Cassandra and Maria.


Rich took Caleb, Seth, and Sarah biking.


Mom took Ethan and me to Brunswick to do a little shopping at some antique stores.



I took this picture for my son David because he collects Coke bottles.  This purple one was purple, heavy and cost 40 dollars.


In Brunswick there was a park square every few blocks.  Each one was named and had nice places to sit and relax next to flowers and fountains.


I took Grace to the shops.  This is one of my favorite pictures.  We were missing our own cats back at home and were happy to find and make friends with this nice big one outside of the bookstore.


My favorite stationary….curly girl design.



Grace lost her necklace on vacation.  It was her favorite one, too.  (she’s wearing it in the picture).

I lost my new kindle fire.  (!!!!!!!!!!!) makes me ill.


On Friday night we played beach volleyball.





It’s amazing to have a family big enough to have a game, and it was so much fun.

When we hit it out of bounds someone would say “Look out for the alligators!” or, “Look out for the rattle snakes!”


I was supposed to be playing my position but still managed to get some good photos!


Sunset making the road look like it was on fire…….


On Saturday morning it was time to say our goodbyes and travel back home.  I love this sister-pic of Maria, Cassandra, Melissa, Amanda, and Shanda (yours truly).  I love how all our names end in “a”, the “uh” sound.  I especially loved visiting with Maria and Melissa because I don’t get to see them as much as I would like.  I’m so blessed to have the best sisters.


Aunt Amanda, Uncle Jason, Grandma, and Grandpa leaned into the van to say goodbye to the children.

But one was missing!

It was Dave.

He had ran over to the pool to try to find his flip-flops (another thing lost..ugh)

So Rich and I hopped in the van, ready to leave, and watched as the family gave Dave lots of hugs.  And he’s the type that gets shy with too much public attention!  It was the best little moment……





He’s in there!  Surrounded by his adoring family.


Look at that face!


goodbye, goodbye!

God be with you ’til we meet again.

“You can kiss your family and friends goodbye and put miles between you, but at the same time you carry them with you in your heart, your mind, your stomach, because you do not just live in a world but a world lives in you.”  Frederick Buechner

lunch at the club


































Another full day has come and gone.  At this very moment, I am sitting on a wooden balcony of the big beautiful Sans Souci Cottage in a rocking chair with my tanned bare feet up on a small white table.  The evening sky is a multitude of blues, marbled with gray clouds and one small streak of orange sunset.  Amazingly loud cicadas are filling the air with their sounds.  Mom and Dad walked by on the paved sidewalk underneath me and we said hello, then Amanda and her family, then Rich and the children.  They are all returning from an evening swim at the pool which I was too tired to participate in.  As I sit and look at the photos we took today, my heart is filled with gratitude for this State, this Island, the land of our vacation of dreams.

Most importantly, the family–my family–is continuing to grow and bond through loving hearts, words, play, laughter, food, prayers, small gifts, and joy — making memories underneath a big Georgia sky.


greetings from jekyll island

I changed the theme to the blog in order to post vacation photos nice and big!


We had a long drive from Connecticut to Georgia.  This picture was taken at one of our many rest stops along the way.


Grace picked me some wild flowers.



I rode up front with Rich but switched seats with Jacob now and then so Seth could be with me.  He lost his first tooth!



We ate at a frozen yogurt place.



And then we all made it to the Island.  We arrived on Sunday afternoon…my parents, my siblings, and all their families.  The pool has been the main attraction so far.  It’s so special to see all the cousins together.



Ethan showed his Grandma (my mom) a picture of the girl he likes.




The kids all loved hanging off Uncle Nate.


Yesterday evening we had a fantastic dinner at the restaurant at the pier.



My brother Nate.



My sister Amanda.


We have rooms at the San Souci, a big beautiful old building.


The beach was stunning last night.


My son Ethan.


Me and Sarah



Caleb had his light sabers taken away shortly after this photo because Seth was hit very hard in the mouth with one.   Thankfully he was fine and today he just has a slightly swollen upper lip.  But it was a bad moment and we left soon afterwards because it was starting to get dark.  Seth had taken his jersey off, when I asked him where it was he said he had buried it!  After wandering for a while Rich found it.




brother Dave



push ups!


This morning we went to some of the little shops in the historical section of the island.


“the day was quite warm and we walked along leisurely……”

We went through the museum and watched a video about the Island.


They were playing with an old telephone.


Seth, my Dad, my Mom, and Caleb



Seth and Gregory in one of the gift shops.



Caleb with his Grandma


My brother Isaac and brother in law Jason coincidentally wore the same clothes today.


We met a little dog named Lady at the shopping center.


Grace read books in the Jekyll Island lending library.


David was determined to catch one!  When he caught it, it was brown, then it turned green in his hand.


We were all hanging out at the pool and I caught this sweet moment when David came back over to join us he went straight to his brother and patted him on the head.


We are currently on the balcony off my sister’s room.  Mom french braided Naomi’s hair, and then Makayla’s.


And the little ones played a game with their little toes.

We are talking about what to do for dinner.  I had fried shrimp and sweet potato fries for lunch and am not very hungry, but all the boys need some food.

magical kingdom


PERHAPS adventuring gives us a deeper appreciation for the ordinary days.

NO ONE in their right mind would complain about taking their precious children to DISNEYWORLD and I am not about to do so, HOWEVER, I am currently sitting on my own worn out couch, legs under a flannel quilt that I made myself, with a nice cat at my feet, quiet house all around me, a sleeping daughter in her bed upstairs, and the anticipation of children getting home from school soon and I say, isn’t TODAY, the now, the messy beautiful JUST AS precious as a day in the magical kingdom?

Today is NOT an ordinary day, truly, no day is ordinary, it’s a gift.  Last night I had a little one sleep with me because my husband was away.  At 10 pm I was silently taking pictures of her restful, sleeping face.  All night long I was getting kicked and moving sleepily flung arms back to her side of the bed.

Then, just when I was about to sit and blog hours and hours ago, after the children got on the bus at 7:45, I suddenly remembered that GRACIE had a doctor’s appointment and I had to leave in fifteen minutes to go to school, pick her up, and drive to the Doctor’s.  It was a yearly check up and I thank God with all my heart for a healthy, beautiful teenage daughter.  She gets migraines and sometimes her eyes blank out/she gets dizzy/when she stands up too quick, but she’s talked to the Doctor and has all kinds of encouraging and helpful remedies to cope with those things.

When we got back home, Sarah and I went to the coop to visit the hens.  I sat in the grass and read a book while she became motherly with them, filling all the little cups and bowls (just a handful, really) with food, and walking slowly back from the pond with a saucer of water.  A hen laid an egg.  Sarah sang out, “thank yooooou, chickennnnnnn!”  We carried the egg home, she fried it herself with me by her side, she ate it for lunch.


I LOVE blogging about the little things in each day, it’s harder for me to go back in time to blog about something from last month, but it would be a shame not to document our day at Magic Kingdom.



Caleb and Seth are four years apart.  Rich and I took them with us on the trip to Disney because we have already taken the older four.  We needed some time with just these boys, it was so fun!  Rich had to go to Orlando on a business trip, but he took us along and extended his trip for a personal vacation weekend.  We were at Magic Kingdom on a Saturday.



I love them.  This picture of the three of them makes me stop and gaze.  ^^^  those eyes.


Seth was tall enough to ride every ride we wanted to go on, including Thunder Mountain.  The lines were long but we managed and the boys were good natured and happy the whole day.


The Country Bear Jamboree is a must-see.

Rich and I are actually sort of sad that we only have Sarah left to take out of all seven children.  It’s the most wonderful thing in the world to take your children to Disney on that very first time for them, to see it all fresh through their eyes, knowing and remembering what it was like on your own first visit.  “Maybe we can take the grandchildren.” as remarked by myself, was met with a strange look from my husband.


There were amusements to entertain us in the looooong lines…..like this “honey wall” at the Winnie the Pooh ride.  The moms thoughtfully took hand sanitizer out of their purses.


Seth had a lollipop.  The walkways were wet from an afternoon shower.



“It’s a Small World” ride…..lines (picture taken as we waited).


The boys were dazzled by all the coins in the water.  We threw some in, too.


We hugged in the lines.



“Shalom” meant a lot to the boys after a week of Vacation Bible School and the “Shalom Song” they sang every day.


The Swiss Family Robinson treehouse.


really love these words~


Little shoots of water were coming out randomly from a ride and Seth danced around trying to get wet for a few minutes.


So typical.


They are such good boys.



I saw the tower from Tangled.



We were busy all day long walking, riding, waiting, sitting in shows, looking…….fifteen hours, to be exact.





It meant so much to Rich to be able to have this special vacation with the boys and me.


Okay.  So.  Rich was riding a baby roller coaster with Caleb and Seth and I had to have a break.  I went and bought a caramel apple, sat down to eat it and waited for them to return……well…..I had to sneak out my camera and take this picture…..of a mom with her darling daughters…they sat next to me and all three wore pink shoes!   The icing on the cake was the baby’s feet!  She lost her shoe but her tiny sock was pink, too!


If I remember correctly the fireworks were at about 10pm.  We watched them from in back of the park/castle to avoid the masses of people in front.

Just so beautiful.


After the fireworks were over we continued to stay at the park for several more hours.  It was nice to walk in the cool of the day and we all got our “second winds”.


We rode the Buzz Lightyear ride twice and the boys got behind bars with Zurg.

We went on more and more rides, the last one being *Space Mountain* which was quite intense, and very odd to be having such thrills at MIDNIGHT.   I spent the entire ride worried that Seth (who was behind me) would fly out of his seat.  But all was well.


The castle is so pretty, I turned around to take one last picture of it as we left.





legos for the boys


((SETH AND CALEB in the plane.  Caleb, a more cautious type, was quietly worried and gave up his window seat to Seth.  They were excellent travelers. Seth loved going to the bathroom.))


The first thing Caleb did this morning was go to the table to continue working on his first big lego set.  He is 9 and the set has 738 pieces in it.  He has three older brothers and typically lets them put his sets together for him.  I am proud to see that he is getting old enough to follow the directions carefully and do it himself.  It takes some concentration and determination for a boy to put a lego set together, and it’s so healthy and good for their minds.  Before you know it, you’ve convinced yourself that fifty odd dollars on a box of plastic bricks is worth every penny!

My husband had to work in the Orlando office after lunch, so the boys and I walked to Downtown Disney.  They were already enlightened by the knowledge of a LEGO STORE, and I figured we may as well cross that off our list of things to do…..with springs in our steps we practically ran to find the legos.

Isn’t it funny how a girl’s mind changes when she becomes a grown up and a mom?  I’m so used to giving the children experiences that I almost forget what I myself enjoy!  If I was a little girl the last place I would want to go to would be the Lego store.  (I know some girls love them and that’s great and all, but not me).  On the last day in Orlando I went alone to a completely girlie store in Downtown Disney….I smelled every bar of soap and bath bomb in the place and treated myself to my own souvenirs…and everything was PINK.


We stopped to give Buzz a pat.  I have pictures of this same Buzz with baby David (first trip), and then the older children, too (second trip).


Caleb likes “How to Train a Dragon” (he just finished reading the book) these days, so he was thrilled to be greeted by a fire breathing dragon made of legos.


We also found the seven dwarfs made of legos.


While admiring the sea monster made of legos in the water, the boys excitedly told me there was a bird to take a picture of.  This happened all through our trip, they would point out bits of nature and I knew my family’s love for God’s creation was being was passed along to them, even if unintentional.  They collected a white feather to give to Grandma, and wanted me to pack palm tree bark to take back for Uncle Dave.  I am sorry, Uncle Dave but I never did pick any up for you.


A somewhat disturbing image of Snow White.


We entered the store of happiness.  My job of keeping my eyes on two little boys just got even more exciting.


Seth had no trouble picking out his new set.  It kills me that he lost Bilbo Baggins before we even got home.  He still has the golden ring, though.


They are always so thoughtful to point their fingers, grab my arm, and say LOOK! over and over because they know how much I appreciate the legos.


This is 17 year old Jacob’s dream lego set.  Only three hundred and ninety nine dollars!  Awesome!

Actually, they have so many legos at this point that he put together a pretty decent death star with instructions off the computer. (=free)

( did I just say death star?  like I know what I’m talking about??  who am I??)


Caleb really and truly wanted a Lego Movie set and at first I said no to the one he wanted because, if I remember correctly, it was 10 dollars more than Seth’s.  But then I thought, “this is Disney, where dreams come true” and said yes.  I can’t even show you a picture of it because I didn’t take one.  But it’s the “Lord Business’ Evil Lair” set which includes a tiny sign that says “Where are my Pants?”, and other fun things you will only understand if you watch the movie, which I have about five times now.


I don’t know, they just pointed it out to me so I took a picture.


The Incredible Hulk was there.


Seth with Lego Woody and Lego Buzz, and trying to keep his lego set in his arms.

At the register I joined the lego VIP club, it’s about time, right?  We also received a free lego set (of a car) for spending over 100 dollars.

Next, I made them go to into a shop so I could get a sweatshirt.  I lost my anthropologie white sweater at the airport 😦

I made them go into the Ghirardelli chocolate store so I could get a frozen latte. (caffeine!)

Then we headed back to the room(s) so the boys could put together their mini figures.

The hotel messed up our reservations so we ended up staying in the best suite of the entire Hilton…the presidential suite.

It gave the boys plenty of room to spread out their lego sets without mixing them up.

Caleb was here::



And Seth was here::


If you have boys, perhaps they would like to see this blog post.  Tell them, when you go to Disney, there are legos there!


After half a day of travel and an adventure in the Lego store, Caleb and Seth settled into their covers for a movie::Kung Fu Panda 2.  Seth fell asleep.

After their rest time, we left to go to dinner with Rich’s team.


vacation//orlando, FL

Rich was so excited about our vacation that he stayed up super late the night before.  On Thursday morning we woke up at 4:30 in the morning to drive to the airport with the boys.  About 5 years ago, we took Jacob, Ethan, Grace, and David to Disney and this year it was Caleb and Seth’s turn to go.

We got back home safe and sound last night at about 11pm.  I drove over to our friends’ house to retrieve Grace, Sarah, and David this morning.

Jacob and Ethan stayed at home to take care of things.

It feels good and right to be back with all seven children today.  David is watching drawing lesson videos on Youtube, Sarah is by my side talking to herself, Seth is playing with a hula hoop, Ethan’s outside, Jacob is upstairs with Grace and Emily…..

I have a ton of photos to share but today I thought I would simply post all my phone pictures.


After a whole day of travel on Thursday and a late night eating dinner with Rich’s team (more details on that later), by Saturday morning the boys hated the idea of another “sit down and wait forever” meal….so we happily went to McDonald’s for breakfast.


Here I am in Downtown Disney, enjoying a dark-chocolate-covered pineapple spear.  photo by Rich


Downtown Disney bakery….I thought the Olaf candy apples were adorable (10 dollars a piece).


At the hotel pool, watching the boys swim.


Seth, our little swimmer.  We forgot his life jacket but he was just fine.


Friday evening dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings, after a long day at Gatorland.


Downtown Disney was a short walk from our hotel so we went often; this was such a fun night with loud music playing…people milling about, dancing along, just such a upbeat, happy atmosphere.


It rained for a little while at Magic Kingdom so we bought big plastic ponchos.  I love how Seth is grinning at the phone, too.  photo by Caleb


SPLASH MOUNTAIN!!!!!  Rich’s favorite Disney ride.


While we were waiting for the Winnie the Pooh ride, the boys hung out in Eeyore’s Gloomy Place.


10pm Disney fireworks!!!   I always get sentimental.



pretty awesome selfie, right?


Oh my word.  I rode space mountain for the first time at about midnight….with our hotel room key we were able to stay after hours…I had no clue this ride was so crazy.  I was praying and thinking about Seth the entire way.  He loved it and when we got off he said, “Where WAS I?  I was bouncing the whole time!”  This ride is a roller coaster in the dark, I was scared that Seth would fly out of his seat.  Rich was afraid he would lose his sunglasses (clipped on his shirt).  Caleb was in the car in front of us.   Very fun ride!


I have a lot more Epcot pictures on my phone because my big camera ran out of batteries the moment we entered the park, LOL.

This is where people can sample ice cold sodas from different countries.  so interesting!  Their favorite was the dark red soda from Zimbabwe.


Such a PERFECT quote for our Seth.  He doesn’t know his left from his right, he doesn’t know how to tie his shoes, but his adventurous spirit never stops and inspires us to no end.  He went zip lining this weekend, and rode roller coasters with no fear.   Wait until you see the pictures of him hanging over the alligators in his zip line harness in Gatorland!



Rich came back from taking my camera back to the car and since the boys had no desire to visit the Epcot countries, he took them away to go on rides.  I was able to walk around by myself.  My favorite places were England, France, and most especially Norway.  My Great Grandfather came to America from Norway and over the past year I’ve gotten more and more fascinated by this beautiful country.  I read Kristen Lavransdatter twice (a huge pulizer prize novel, of the best quality literature, IMO) and several other Norweigan books…..most recently, the haunting Giants in the Earth, a saga of the prairie, by Ole Rolvaag, a story of Norweigan immigrants in America.  It contained the most beautiful treatment of mental illness I’ve ever read, but ended in such a way that I am still asking questions and coming to grips with the novel.  I do recommend it highly, however…both “Kristen” and “Giants” are excellent books.

I was greatly looking forward to Norway, but I had forgotten that the movie FROZEN was set in Norway so it was a let down for me personally that the movie and characters have made “Norway” in Epcot more of a destination than it was the last time I was there.

While I was there I ate lunch; and as I ate I started a Norway pinterest board on my phone.  🙂


traditional Norweigan baked goods; lafke (filled with cinnamon sugar and butter) and school bread.  Both were so delicious.  Of course I was starving by that time, too.




I went back to France for a cappuccino.


meanwhile, Rich was also having fun…he texted me this picture….


I watched a show on the sidewalk.


It was such a beautiful day.  I love the flower gardens at Epcot, and the cloudy blue sky was big and gorgeous.


the boys wanted to catch a lizard in the worst way


pickle christmas tree


thinking of my girlies, wishing they were with me


waiting in line for a ride


our little vikings.




YESTERDAY Rich took the boys to a water park while I stayed behind to lounge at the pool, shop, and nap.  We were all packed and ready to leave by 4:30, tired but happy!



After we landed in Hartford, the pilot let the boys sit in the chairs.  He only said, “NO don’t touch that one!” once.  🙂