Sunday, September 20, 2015


We are just home from our biggest family vacation ever!  It is currently 6:12 in the morning and I have already had 1 1/2 cups of coffee, played referee to brother wars over ridiculous things and considered doing laundry (I'm still on the fence with that one).  This is for three reasons: 1) we are still on Florida time. 2) We are still on "wake up early because we want to get to the park before everyone else!" time. 3) We all fell asleep around 2pm yesterday and confused our animals by basically sleeping through the night.  Speaking of our animals, Cubby (the cat) doubled in size on our trip.  We all kinda walked in and did a double take!  Georgia briefly wagged her tail to see me and then gave me a look that clearly said "you have some explaining to do", and Max was...Max.  As usual.

For the record, I knew I would hate this ride.  But I did it anyhow because the 9 year old wanted to.  The boys loved it.  I didn't die, so...

Here are 10 of my favorite things from our trip:

-The boys were so busy having fun that they didn't really argue after 9am.  The arguing literally started as we walked through the door at home, though, so don't worry- they were not, in fact, replaced by aliens.

-Both boys dropped the "too cool big kid" thing.  I have to say that both Disneyworld and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter seemed to intentionally reach out to Skyler to help him drop the tween attitude and reluctance to be a kid.  At Animal Kindom we took photos with the characters from Up and Russell grabbed Sky's hand and walked him down the street.  This sent all of us, Sky included, into fits of giggles.  It also led to lots of other guests looking at us and wondering what was going on- which led to more giggles because we had no idea.  At Olivander's Wand Shop Skyler was chosen to be the wizard who was chosen by a wand, complete with books flying off the shelves and magical lighting when the right wand was found.  This is exactly what we were hoping for on this trip and I am so very grateful for the little pause in almost-a-teenager attitude.
Sky's wand is hazel with dragon heartstring in the center.

-Alex grew up.  We don't know how, exactly.  It is one of those childhood things you can't really put a finger on.  I remember it happened with Sky the first year he went to summer camp.  All the sudden you just realize- wow, something changed!  Sometime during the trip, he just shed his "little boy" demeanor.  It is kind of sad, but at the same time it is rewarding to see the person he is growing in to.
We saw the Blue Man Group at Universal Studios.  Alex loved it, and loved the band that played with them- both for their love of music and their shared passion for neon colors.

-Family pictures!  Pictures that may have still been posed, but at least the smiles and excitement were completely genuine.  I can't wait to make Christmas cards this year!
Our family at Epcot.  Sky age 12, Alex age 9.

-The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  I totally geeked out and I am not even a little bit ashamed.  I could have wandered around for a week, just looking at all the small details.

-Be Our Guest restaurant.  Getting to eat lunch in the middle of one of my favorite childhood movies was magical.  The fact that all the males I had with me completely went along with it so that I could feel like a little girl again was even more awesome.  At The Grey Stuff?  Amazing.  They weren't kidding!

-Being the only girl in the group.  One thing I love about being the mom of only boys, now that the boys are too old to go in the women's restroom?  3 minute breaks from parenting every couple hours.  :-)

-Roller Coasters (seriously!).  Everyone who knows me will probably be surprised to read this.  Normally I avoid thrill rides.  But at 9 & 12, I knew going in that I was going to have to do this.  I didn't want to be the parent who didn't participate, so I took some Calm Spirit tea pills and some nausea meds and decided to join in.  Turns out the Tower of Terror was one of my favorite rides, the Dragon Challenges were fun and scary but ultimately fun won out, and I'm glad I rode the Rockin' Roller Coaster...twice.  However, you will never see me step foot on the Rockit Roller Coaster at Universal ever again.  Once was enough, thankyouverymuch.  At least I can say I tried it!

-The safari ride at Animal Kingdom.  Actually, just Animal Kingdom in general.  The whole place was an amazing mix of a really good zoo (and seeing as The Oregon Zoo is my home zoo, my standard is pretty high) and fun amusement park.  Loved it!

-Having fun as a family.  What can beat that?  It was just honestly a really, really fun time.  Even the stuff that wasn't perfect (there are some things I would have done differently after all is said and done) was completely overshadowed by AWESOME.
This was taken on our first day- it was the first ride we did, as soon as Extra Magic Hours began.  It was 8:10 am there.  When we all got queasy we realized we had pretty much just done the Tower of Terror at 5:10am because we hadn't yet adjusted to the time difference.  After the first day, we started mornings with lower-key rides.

I loved Disney.  I thought this would be a once-in-a-lifetime thing, but I gotta say...maybe we will have to return.  I hear Harry Potter is coming to California soon, and once that happens I don't know that we would fly across the country, but I don't think we are done with theme parks yet.  

I am so very grateful for this awesome family experience.  And now, back to real life!

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