Category Archives: Uncategorized

Day 354, Nate’s 13th Gotcha Day!

IMG_3802Whew, 13 years went by so fast!  How blessed we are!  13 years earlier we were at the Denver airport to pick up this incredible young man and begin the privilege of raising him as our son.  Eliza tried to give him a french fry and leaned in to kiss him, and Dan and I just looked at each in awe.  A son.  We really have him home with us.  I remember it like it was yesterday.  December 10th, thank you God.

I say a daily prayer for his birth parents and the wonderful foster family who raised him for 6 1/2 months.  He was supposed to come home to us at the end of September 2001, but we all know how 9/11 changed things and it changed our lives, too.  The INS shut down and started looking for all the Out-Of-Status-Bad-Guys, and the adoption paperwork got shuffled to another closed desk.  At our adoption agency’s Christmas party our kind social worker asked how I was holding up, and I told her I couldn’t wait for him any longer.  One week later he was in my arms and my life was complete.  Every adoptive parent I know thinks that their child was meant for them, and we are no different.  We thought we were such good parents with Eliza, our first.  She was always happy and was the joy of our lives.  We knew God meant us to be her parents and we considered ourselves beyond blessed.  We had no idea what was coming with our son, but we thought we were ready.

The first night we got home, I laid Nate down on the floor in Eliza’s room, and turned around to get her PJ’s out of the closet.  I turned back just as he rolled to his tummy, crawled to her bed, pulled himself up and stood there looking at me.  I yelled to Dan, “hey honey, we don’t have a baby, we have a toddler” and we’ve been trying to keep up with him ever since.

He is strong-willed, sensitive and bright.  He doesn’t take direction well, and I look in the mirror and think, “yes, God, I get it now.”  What goes around, comes around, and I am definitely getting what I need out of raising this young man.  He challenges me and stretches my patience and each night that I go to bed, I thank God that he’s in my life.

We took him out to dinner tonight to celebrate.  13 years with us.  13 years of tears and joy and laughter and the absolute certainty that he was meant to be ours.  The Keys sunset was beautiful, but his smile is better.  Thank you, God.

Day 344, Manatee Day at the RV Park

I was walking out to the Gulf to do my bible study this morning and here’s what I saw at our boat dock!  A real live manatee!IMG_3526

I saw down and watched him for awhile.  He brought his tiny head up to breathe every couple minutes, and didn’t seem to notice me. He was ugly.  He had scars all over him from boat propellers and his head was too small for his body. Definitely not a “cute” animal.  At first I thought he was a balloon that the RV park had put there because they did all these strange things to keep the silt from building up in the marina.

Another RV’er came out to see what I was doing, and he said that every couple months they would see a manatee in the boat dock here. He proceeded to wash his boat off with a freshwater hose, and I thought it was odd that most of that water was going into the marina until I learned later that manatees like fresh water, not salt water, and he probably did it so the manatee would stick around.

I had stayed at the RV today to cook and clean and have a day to myself, but I spent most of the day checking on the manatee.  When the kids got home, they came over and they got to see him, too.  Eliza had done a report on them years ago, and we had seen a documentary that said they liked to be scratched. I thought about holding on to the post and reaching down with my foot, but I’m so glad I didn’t.  Another RV’er told me that they are protected, and you aren’t allowed to touch them, feed them, or give them fresh water. (!)  He said a lady in Key West hopped into the water there to get a picture with one, and she was arrested and had to pay a $10,000 fine and was still in jail (6 month term.)  I couldn’t confirm that, but I did believe him when he said that he loves them, and he would have turned me in had he seen me scratch it.  Oooh, it takes all kinds!

Pretty cool to see one in person, and we saw mailboxes of them all over the islands.  We liked this one the best because they decorated it for the season.

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Day 349, Grassy Key and Duck Key, FL

After Dan and the kids went to the library to do school, I did my bible study at our boat dock area with this guy watching my every move.  My goal for December is to grow closer to God, and I am spending more time in His word in order to do so.  I love it!  So peaceful and revealing.  I want this December to be about Him and not stuff, and we couldn’t have picked a better place to opt out of the holiday madness.

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Day 347, Key West, FL

I got up early this morning to walk the dogs so Eliza and I could leave for Key West before the two lane Overseas Highway gets packed.  We were so excited!  We get to see Key West AND spend another day together, just the girls.  This is our 4th day on our own – San Antonio, NYC, Washington, D.C. – and we were ready.  We love the boys and obviously enjoy spending time with them, but being on our own is a blast.

Way above the loud music that we were playing in the car, I was screaming for most of the drive south, “ooh, look at that” ,”take a picture of that”, “did you see that?” and couldn’t stop talking about the color of the water.  And the water was on both sides of the highway!  Just gorgeous.  It was hot and humid and I wasn’t complaining.

We took a slight detour on Deer Key, following my Google Map directions to what should have been a fish shack that sold a concoction that another RV’er said would keep the no-see-um’s away.  Turns out they are really bad on Grassy Key, and of all things, our site was one of the worst in the RV park because we backed up to the mangrove trees where they live.  And Grassy Key doesn’t spray for them like some other islands do. (Funny, that wasn’t in the brochure.)  Eliza and I were covered with bites – both of us had about 30 on our legs and more on our arms.  We tried not to scratch them, but if we did, they would swell up and not go away.  I knew we were both going to be scarred, and I was willing to try anything to keep them off of us. Turns out I had hit the wrong button on the map, so we didn’t find the right fish shack until our drive back home.  It was a beautiful island, however, even though we didn’t see any of the famous little deer. They are protected here, so you have to drive really slow.  We looked and looked for them, but didn’t see one.  They had a big sign at the beginning of the island that stated 125 Key Deer had been killed last year, and only 100 this year, so to be careful.  We were comparing that to the deer that lived in our back yard at home, and how we’d scare them off any way possible as they devoured the garden.

We had more luck with the map locating our parking garage, and we walked down the ramp and straight into what became our favorite shop.  Look at the name!  Is that Key West-ish, or what?!

We found most of our Christmas gifts here. IMG_3628

A local told us that the “Life is Good” brand started here, but we looked it up and the Jacobs brothers were actually living in their van in Boston, not Key West, when Jake- the -stick- figure- guy was born.  I think Key West has enough of a reputation without having to take credit for another success! Every time I told a local we were going to Key West they started their comments with, “dude, you have to go see…” and would proceed to name a bar.  Funny.

Eliza and I walked all over the wharf and main part of town, and I took almost a dozen pictures of the wild chickens that wander wherever they want.  Made me miss mine!  A local said that there have been wild hens here since the first settlers, but Dan said he didn’t see them when he was here before, just the mangy cats at Hemingway’s house.  I loved hearing the roosters, but when you turned a corner and one was strutting toward me, it made me jump to the side.  Our first rooster would go after Nate each time he was near, so we weren’t taking any chances.  I also took a picture of a large pole that had names of cities attached to it, with the miles to each city.  They didn’t have a city in Oregon listed, so we figured out that we were 3,303 miles away from Bend! Not our furthest spot because PEI to Bend was 3,555 miles. Eliza and I and Poppy are going to make a similar sign when we get home of all our favorite places and how far away they are from Bend.  (Add that to our list, Dad!)

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We had lunch at Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville, and I couldn’t believe he wasn’t there to welcome us.  What?!  I’ve been listening to “Knee Deep” for months, getting ready for the Keys vibe, and he wasn’t available?! Eliza and I had a nice lunch, but the food definitely wasn’t the drawing card.  To skip the expensive fare, we could have eaten at Taco Bell.  Oh well, cross that off the bucket list.  It was fun to see the old pictures of him all over the walls, listen to his music and I was so happy to finally be there.

We walked down Duvall street more, finally found the right hat for Poppy’s Christmas gift, and then went back to the car to drive to the other part of the island.  I was wishing we would have brought our bikes to ride until I saw a car side swipe a rider.  No one wears helmets in the Keys, so it wasn’t pretty and we quickly moved away before the ambulance arrived.  It takes 10 seconds to put a helmet on people!

IMG_3682We took this picture on the Atlantic side. Eliza’s trying to teach me how to take a cute selfie and get us both in, but I just pass her my camera.  It’s easier!

We bought matching sea star necklaces to remember the day and being the dork I am, I immediately put mine on.  I won’t need it in the years to come, however, because I will never forget what a special day it was with my precious daughter in Key West.  Magic, pure magic.

Day 347, Curry Hammock State Park, FL

It’s Saturday!  Yeah, no school!  Dan’s off on a long bike ride and I’m going the other way on my bike when he gets back. The kids are sleeping in, of course, and happy to do so.

All along the Overseas Highway that stretches the entire length of the Keys’ islands there is a bike trail of sorts.  Sometimes you ride on the road, sometimes you are off of it.  I ride off whenever I can because my recumbent rides low, and I don’t think people can see me as well.  After a couple times of having a side view mirror swipe my ear, I learned to ride as far from traffic as possible.  I have lost count of how many people I see texting and talking on cell phones.  My favorite was the lady doing her make-up, eating, and talking on her cell phone – with her arms steering the car because her hands were busy. Agh.

IMG_3578This huge iguana was all the way across the bike path and as I fumbled to get my camera out, he started to go into the trees.  He was about 4 feet long!!!  There was a smaller 3′ one to the right of him, but he was bright green and blended into the grass.  So cool to see!

IMG_3587This is my all time favorite spot in the Keys!!!   Vaca Cut bridge.  The water flows on this side from the Gulf when the tide goes out to the Atlantic Ocean behind me about 200 yards.  The pelicans swoop down, under the bridge or over, or from the trees, and plop into the water.  Not to dive for fish, but to ride the tide for fun!  They “talk” to each other the whole way and I imagine they are saying things like, “good ride today” or “dude, you should have been here yesterday for the tide”.  I stood here today watching for about 20 minutes and every other time we drove over the bridge I looked to see which way they were floating.  They were having fun.  I like that.

After lunch, about 1:30, the kids and I are going to the beach…!  This state park is only a couple miles from our RV park, so we will get to come every day if we want.  It’s a nice park, with a campground that would have been fun to stay in had we been able to get in.  It’s known for being excellent, so it’s full year round.  The wind was up today, so the kite surfers were out in full force and it was fun to watch them.  My heart stopped every time one of them would “catch air” about 20 feet high and I couldn’t watch one man who was having fun doing summersaults in the air.

Nate and I walked down the beach, and I was collecting shells and taking pictures.  He was exploring and enjoying the warm water.  When we got back to where Eliza was lounging, I went into the water again and was looking at a tiny shell when Nate said to me, “huh, I can’t get this off my hand” and I turned to see the blue part of a jelly fish on his fingers and his hand was swelling up.  I immediately took out my camera to take the picture below, so we’d know what it was and I told the kids to grab their gear and get to the car.

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I asked one of the kite surfers where the closest medical help would be, and told him what Nate had touched.  He said, “Oh, not good man, he touched a Portuguese man-of war. You better talk to these people.”  We walked over to another group and they all agreed that it was serious, but that the ranger at the entrance could help us.

I drove to the ranger station, reminding Nate as we drove that I had told him AT LEAST A MILLION TIMES during this trip, NOT to touch jelly fish on the beach.  We’ve been to the beaches on the west coast!  We’ve gone all the way from Canada down the east coast and not once has he touched one, even when I swam with them in PEI.  We had just walked the beach together and I had said, “Don’t touch it with your hands” at least a dozen times.  He had picked up another kind of jelly fish with a branch and I had praised him for not touching it directly.  For some reason, at the end of our day, he picked one up?  With me standing right there?!

IMG_3596Here’s what his hand looked like right after he picked off all the blue stuff.  it went red immediately and started swelling.  He said it hurt.

So the ranger was non-plussed as she poured a hefty amount of ammonia right on his hand.  She said to be concerned if it got worse, but that this ammonia should do the trick.  The other rangers said that they’ve had kids covered with them, and that’s when they send them to the hospital.  They said to keep an eye on him.  Oh yes, I certainly will!  I wasn’t mad, just so concerned that he would be okay.  And frustrated that 13 years of saying “don’t touch” didn’t take root.  Pure teenager.

We got back in the car, and smart Eliza was looking up the Portuguese man-of war and what else we should do.  Turns out that the ammonia was the first thing, and then you wait.  We went back to the RV to tell Dan, then we all went to our pool and hung out.  It was 85 and beautiful, but we weren’t really noticing that.  From Eliza’s research, we knew he shouldn’t get it wet, so he had to sit by the side of the pool.  His left arm was hurting all the way up to his arm pit, but he was pretty calm about it and joking about it.  I just kept thinking, “in an instant, everything can change”, and was so grateful that it wasn’t more serious.  After a few hours, the pain went away and the redness did, too, but it took Nate a few days to want to go back to the beach with me.

IMG_3599This is our little pool.  Heated to 88 degrees daily, it’s saltwater and fun to splash around in.  Today we lounged and watched Nate.

Day 343, Grassy Key, Florida

Started the day by walking the dogs south from our RV park, and went through a grassy field to get off the highway.  Didn’t know about a weed that would grab their hair and stick all over them.  I couldn’t figure out why Jessica wasn’t keeping up, and knelt down to talk to her and saw all 4 legs and her stomach covered with these little green 3/8″ oval weeds.  At first I thought they were bugs and I was ready to throw up, then I figured out that they were just stuck to both dogs.  Not burrs like we’ve had all over, just sticky.  I turned around and took them back to the rig and Dan came out to help me pull them off.  We couldn’t get them to come off, so we grabbed the scissors and I started cutting the hair off their legs. They were NOT happy with this, but we couldn’t leave them because they were trying to get them off with their mouths, and then their faces were getting covered. They really didn’t like us pulling them off their faces.  After an hour of working, we had gotten most of them off and I left to go walk again.  A neighbor saw what we had been doing and told me that those weeds are only bad in the early morning when they are wet, and if we had waited until they dried, we could have pulled them off easily.  He watched us for an hour and didn’t say anything?!  Grr.

My walk turned out to be beautiful.  Online we had seen that there was a neighborhood just south of the RV park, and I walked an almost overgrown path along an inlet/lake (couldn’t tell which) to get to it.  I happened to glance right and saw an alligator snout resting on the water and I screamed, saw him go under, and I took off running.  As if I could outrun an alligator.  The kids told me later that they learned that I should run in a zig zag pattern.  I kept thinking about how I’d do that with the dogs in tow.  (On other days, I walked the 1/2 mile down the highway to the neighborhood, or drove the car and parked and then walked the dogs.)

Walking in the neighborhood was a pure delight. It was so fun to see all the different plants and the smell was different from one area to the next.  There were tons of flowering plants and I stuck my nose in every one that I could when no one was around.  I had no idea there were so many varieties  of palm trees – short, fat, tall, and a light green to dark green with a blue/green in between that looked fake.  Many of the homes were so landscaped in the front that I couldn’t see the houses, even on a small lot.  On the lots that were empty, the vegetation was dense I guessed that people would have to work really hard to fight it back.  Each home had 8-10 large “plastic” garbage cans out front filled with palm leaves, stems and  other vegetation from their yards.  The majority of the houses were square, built up off the ground.  They parked under the house, or stored junk, or had table and chairs set up to enjoy the view if they were on the water.

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This is what the streets look like in the neighborhood. This big huge green and yellow plant is my favorite – I’ve seen it in other yards 5′ tall, so this one must be old. It gets sun all day.

We went to the little local library for the day to do school, and we were so disappointed to find it small, dirty, and full of homeless men inside and out.  Right next door to the sheriff’s office and the hospital, it wasn’t a bad area per se, but we learned quickly that the homeless population is huge in the Keys because of the warm weather.  The town of Marathon is a very popular spot for them because there are services here and they used the free wifi on their laptops just like we were.  Definitely some mental instability, alcoholism and poor choices that the kids witnessed first hand.

IMG_3522I spent the day reading this good book and wishing I was outside.

The kids and I stopped at the state park on our way home and bought a pass for the month.  I couldn’t wait to get to the beach and check it out!

Day 342, Grassy Key, Florida

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I will never ever forget our first sight of the Florida Keys – how the islands stretch for miles, the Gulf on our right, and the Atlantic on our left – just magical.  The varying blue color of the water and the blazing sun made it seem like a painting that you could hang on your wall and sit and stare at all day.  I’ve taken many pictures like this during our drive today – it will be hard to decide which one to frame.  So peaceful.  Such a dream come true to actually get here.  Dan had been here before, but the kids and I are seeing it for the first time.  We like it.  A few of the islands are so “thin” that there isn’t room for the Overseas highway and the huge electrical poles – so the poles are in the water.

The drive south was easy, nice flat highway and many people still celebrating the long weekend, so not much traffic.  We did have a few motorcycles passing us at crazy times.  Evidently it’s a big deal to come ride the Keys, so they come from all over.  We saw a few other RVer’s, too, heading south.  We have spent a lot of time on the trip looking at license plates and we’ve only seen a few other Oregon plates.  We like seeing what they put on their plate to show their state pride, and we noticed that Florida is like Oregon in that you can buy many different styles of plates.  My favorite is the Olympic rings, but their regular state plate is a white background with the state outlined and a big orange in the middle.  We like to see where everybody is from and then we have to tease Nate to see if he knows where the state or Canadian province is, and ask him if  we have been there.  We are going to get geography into him during this trip if it kills the rest of us!

So we pulled into our little RV park on Grassy Key, about 1/2 way down the Keys.  There are only 38 spots here, and it’s all really nicely landscaped.  Dan got the spot he wanted – backed up to a row of mangrove and palm trees, and we have a view of the Gulf – as long as no one parks there!

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While Dan hooked us up, the kids and I walked toward the water to check out the beach that was advertised.   Oh dang, yet another well advertised RV park – there was no beach!  The chairs and beach they show are actually part of the first row of RV sites – so you can’t use them. There is also no swimming from here, as it’s not very deep and the coral would be unmerciful.  There are two boat docks, a covered grassy hut, 6 green Adirondack chairs, a horseshoe pit, and a view that takes your breath away.  I am going to spend a lot of time in those chairs!  Just not what we expected, and once again, our expectations were too high.  It will be fine for the month and we are grateful to get to spend December in one place.

Days 334-338 Jetty Park at Cape Canaveral and Cocoa Beach

On Sunday we left Disney World for a short drive to the coast. It was hard to leave all the excitement and running around, but we had to get back to school. I knew we would miss all the good food, too!

As we pulled into the Jetty Park campground, we realized that we were right smack dab in the middle of where the cruise ships are moored. They are huge! There were 4 in at the time, and we were counting ourselves blessed that we weren’t in the middle of all the traffic for people to board. The ships were the large ones, carrying approximately 5,000 people. That would not have been fun with the RV and tow taking up most of the road.

We quickly headed out to the beach, and it was beautiful. You could walk for miles south, but north was the river and then on the other side, Cape Canaveral itself. We were going to take the tour, but we ran out of time. After the silly Johnson Space Center in Houston, no one wanted to give up our precious non-school time for an iffy tour. We looked it up online instead. The shell collecting wasn’t great, but the views were spectacular – blues, purples and pinks in the sky at the same time.

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Later that day, I was sitting at the RV table when I looked up as a shadow filled the huge front window. It was one of the cruise ships leaving and even from 1/4 mile away, it filled the window! I ran out to take a picture and then kept going closer because of the noise – all along the river people were standing with drinks in their hands, yelling and cheering for the ship. I asked a local and they said people do it every day – tourists and locals alike. The younger kids were running along the river with the ship. Quite the festive atmosphere. For a moment I wished I was going wherever it was going, and then I remembered I was already on an adventure!

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We spent our days doing school at the local library and coming home the first day, I noticed a sign for I Dream of Jeannie Street. Duh! We are in thee Cocoa Beach! They have one local TV channel that plays the show quite often, and watching it, I realized that they really did use a lot of real local places in it. The kids couldn’t believe that we used to watch the show, and Dan and I couldn’t believe it ran for 15 years. We didn’t watch it that long. Still, fun to see all the local spots they referenced. Wouldn’t have known they were real unless we visited here. Worth the drive and we had a productive few days.

Day 332, Eliza’s 15th Birthday at Magic Kingdom

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The professional photographer had Eliza pose like this and I took a picture, too.  Of course I did – it’s her birthday!

Whew that went fast!  Our little girl has been a young lady for years now, but 15 sounds so grown up!  Not too old to wear the ears we bought her, though, and I was proud of her.  She also wore the button that said “It’s My Birthday” most of the day, and cast members and other tourists wished her  a “happy birthday” all day long.  Tons of tourists wear the big buttons – Anniversary, First Visit, 23rd Visit- and when you wish them whatever it is, they just beam.  Of course, if we are stuck in line with them I have to talk to them about it, which my family just loves.  I love hearing people’s stories.  Just love it.  I’d share more of them here, but I really do want to respect people’s privacy, especially when they tell you something serious.

Today, however, was all about Eliza and celebrating her big day. Which is why we are here in the first place!  We were going to only come for her birthday, and then somehow it morphed into the whole week.  If we hadn’t stayed at Dave and Claudia’s for a month, we wouldn’t be able to afford this week, so thank you Dave and Claudia for helping us give Eliza this week.  She was really looking forward to it and it helped get her through all the tough on-line schooling she’s been doing.

Eliza had a list of rides we still hadn’t done, and many of them were in the new Fantasyland.  Which was filled with toddlers and babies screaming and crying non-stop.  Agh!  Help!  We already paid our dues in that regard!  We could only stand it for a little while, then we’d go do an “older” kids’ ride.  My favorite was a little play called something like  “Talking with Belle.”  After winding our way through the set of a house, we filed into the second room and stood behind a fake fence.  The cast member asked for all the kids to come forward, and mine weren’t budging from our back row spot.  When the wall opened up and we went into the next room, all the kids that wanted to participate were given parts in the play.  After practicing their parts – spoon, guard, tea cup- we went into the next room.  The parents and non participants took seats on the long benches, and Belle swept in, wearing a beautiful yellow gown.  They all acted out the little play, with a narrator helping the story along.  At the end, each child who participated was able to get a picture with Belle, and I joined the other moms who were wiping their eyes.  It was adorable. Belle was so gracious with the kids and you could tell the little ones were into the magic.  One little girl knew this Disney story by heart, and Belle was really sweet with her.  And the young man who played the guard wasn’t too cool to get his own picture with her.  It was so well done.  Disney at it’s best!

IMG_3110This was my favorite float of the afternoon parade.  We had a good spot to watch it and really enjoyed it.  We spent the rest of the afternoon doing rides, watching plays, snacking, watching people, and waiting in line.

For her birthday dinner, we rode the monorail over to the Floridian resort and we got to see the gingerbread house in their lobby.  This resort is a little too upscale for us; we do better at campgrounds.  Dinner was great and we rode the monorail back to catch our boat.  It had been a long, wonderful birthday for our young lady, and we were so happy she enjoyed herself.

Day 331, Hollywood Studios at Disney World

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This is Eliza and Dan, riding the bus to Hollywood Studios, about a 15 minute ride.  We were up early again because the park was closing at 4 p.m. for an employees “Years of Service” party.  We found out the day we checked in about all the early closures, and we were bummed. We had planned on staying in parks longer, but instead we were having to get up early and cram it all in.  Still, we’re here, so we’re going to enjoy it.

I didn’t carry a purse today, so we were able to go through the line quicker, and we took off running for “Toy Story”.  It’s a game/ride that you sit in and shoot at targets for points.  Last time we were here, we waited 90 minutes in line with a Fast Pass, and we weren’t able to get a Fast Pass this time, so we didn’t know what we’d face.  We were in good company, with about 50 other people hustling to the line.  It sounds funny to type that in, but when you’re there, it’s worth running to miss waiting an extra hour.  I think of it as “cardio” and since Dan and I can barely keep up with the kids when they run, it’s always hilarious.

We got there in pretty good time, and quickly walked through the huge waiting area and to the cars.  You put on 3-D glasses that are adorable – bright yellow squares that appear clean, we hope.  The ride itself is a blast and we’re not sure if the counters were working for the score, because Nate and Dan’s car beat Eliza and I by a hundred thousand points.  My accuracy was the best, but I had the least points.  I’m sure there’s a lesson there.

We had free time before our next Fast Pass, so we strolled down the back street and into the history of Walt Disney.  There are trophy cases full of his first cartoons, and it was interesting to see that Mickey Mouse didn’t get cute until later in the process – when he wanted to make him a star, a friend and fellow artist drew Mickey with eyes that moved – and that added more complicated expressions to his face.  They also made his belly a little rounder to be cute.  We were the only guests in the theatre, and we enjoyed the 20 minute movie.  The cast members(employees) made a big deal of the fact that we were the only ones and I was waiting for the kids to tell him that their nerdy parents made them come in, but luckily, they didn’t say a word!

We headed to the Rock n Roll roller coaster next, and rode it twice in succession. This is my favorite ride here!  The music is Aerosmith, played loudly, and it really makes the ride more fun.  You could barely hear people screaming over it as we looped up and around and then continued for another minute.  After Cedar Point and learning about how fun long rides are, we think Disney should step up the ride time, too.  But this ride is excellent!  We went out and ran to the standby line and rode again.  Dan sat by the exit, held our coats, and watched the parade of tourists go by.  Many of the rides take pictures of you on the ride now, and ours was hilarious.  We saw other peoples’ that were obviously staged – they knew where the camera was and did crazy poses – but we weren’t that organized.

Next we went to find Eliza’s favorite lunch spot from 2011 – only to find that it is closed on Thursdays!  We were so disappointed.  I promised that I’d make her a caesar salad and we’d stuff it in a roll, but we both know that it wouldn’t taste as good as 2011.  We will have to practice to get it to taste decent and not be soggy.

We spent the rest of the afternoon watching shows, watching people, and eating snacks. We were so tired.  (Read, Dan and I were so tired.)  We took the picture below as we were leaving the park, and Dad said if we were doing a Christmas card this year, we should use it for our photo. We’re not.  We got up early.  We’re still tired and happy, that’s us.

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