Monday, March 9, 2009

There's No Place Like Home

We arrived back home late last night after a WONDERFUL week in Florida.

God is good and protected us every step of the way, showing Himself particularly faithful when I had a car wreck on our last night in Orlando. Although the guy who hit me suffered some measureable body damage to his car, mine escaped any visible signs of damage, and the kids and I were not hurt. There were a couple of moments when I was afraid he might pummel me in front of my kids, since he was using profanity constantly and opened his trunk to pull out a crowbar so he could pop out his fender. He seemed determined not to call the police, and since there was no damage to my car, I didn't press the issue. I was content just to get away from him. I'm sure he woke up the next morning wishing we had at least swapped insurance info -- his car was a mess.

I know I have to hit the ground running this week as we resume our normal schedule of homeschool, allergy shots, music lessons, and such. I will miss the ocean and my siblings, but truly there is no place like home.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Everything Possibly Cool Or Thrilling

Yesterday we visited Epcot. My son asked me what EPCOT stands for, then immediately came up with his own answer: Everything Possibly Cool Or Thrilling. Clever kid!

We had such a great time. Chris decided that he is a "seagull whisperer." He enjoyed talking with the animals and actually managed to get close enough to almost touch a gull or two.

Today we are headed to Treasure Island for a visit with my sister, Lydia, and a quick trip to the beach. We'll be there less than 24 hours, but no doubt it will be a relaxing visit. After four full days at Disney, we are tired and ready for a little rest (make that a LOT of rest!).

Favorite rides at Epcot: Mission: Earth and Test Track. (We rode both twice.)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

I Feel Like the Energizer Bunny!

We just keep going and going and going. We have been on the move the past couple of days, hitting Disney Hollywood Studios on Tuesday and Animal Kingdom today. Tomorrow we wrap up our four-day theme park vacation with a visit to Epcot Center.

Last night we capped off our Hollywood Studios (formerly Disney-MGM Studios) tour by attending the American Idol Experience finale show. It was so cool! The set is like the one you see on tv and the program has a host and three judges. Ryan Seacrest makes a couple of video appearances, as do former idol winners who are there to encourage the contestants. There were seven finalists -- all of them very good singers -- selected through an audition process during the day. At the finale show, the audience got to pick the winner using a voting device mounted on the arm of our chairs. It was high-tech and fun. Favorite ride for Disney Hollywood Studios: Rock 'n Rollercoaster.

Today's visit to Disney's Animal Kingdom was fun. What an amazing place! I was so impressed by all the detail given to props, sets, and landscaping. We all enjoyed the Safari. Favorite ride: Expedition Everest (another rollercoaster).

Video Clip of Chris & Joy on Primeval Whirl

Monday, March 2, 2009

Round and Round She Goes

Today we spent our first day at Walt Disney World, visiting the Magic Kingdom. I am proud to report that Joy rode Space Mountain with me first thing this morning; however, she didn't talk to me for 10 minutes afterward and absolutely hated the ride. At least she rode.

Chris, Joy, and I hit the majority of major attractions at the park, including Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Pirates of the Caribbean, Jungle Cruise, etc. We really had a phenomenal time. I even rode the teacups, which I hesitate to do because of motion sickness on "spinning rides." Thought you might like to see a video of the kids having a really great time!

Tomorrow we head to Disney Animation Studios, then to Animal Kingdom on Wednesday and Epcot on Thursday (Lord willing).

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Tripped Up

I am writing this from our hotel in Albany, GA (Hilton Garden Inn -- very nice).

After a twelve-hour day, 650-mile drive -- originally was supposed to be about 450-mile, nine-hour day -- we arrived safely at our hotel. Using Mapquest (next time I'm taking a GPS), we took the back roads through Alabama and Georgia. We missed a key turn in Birmingham (my son was navigating from the Mapquest directions) and failed to give me the exit number. I am not blaming him; I must have looked at the directions (in tiny print) about ten times myself. We simply missed it. As we continued toward Atlanta, I told him that I thought we should turn back. We looked at the directions again to confirm it, then doubled back fifteen miles. Finally, we were headed in the right direction.

Oops! We did it again. Somehow we missed another turn, although I was carefully watching for road signs. There was a lot of construction; perhaps somehow it had been removed--I don't know. Anyway, after avoiding going through Atlanta, guess what? We found ourselves IN ATLANTA! How in the world did that happen? Thankfully my sweet husband was on standby and he quickly got out his maps (real ones are still the best) and through a series of phone calls navigated us to our hotel.

The kids never once complained about the ineptness of the driver to follow a simple set of Mapquest instructions. They were really sweet-spirited about the whole thing. At nearly midnight we finally settled in at our hotel.

The children all nestled snug in their bed,
dreaming of Disneyworld.

As I kept asking the Lord, "Why this annoying detour?", I realized that it was His way of including Steve in our vacation and making him feel not only needed, but missed. All's well that ends well.

Collierville (where we live) and the surrounding Memphis metro area is blanketed under several inches of snow. This morning, we are heading south again, with a much shorter drive ahead of us, hopefully.