Our Vacation – Part 2

As promised, the next installment of our unexpected vacation has arrived!  It’s amazing to think our time here is almost over.  When we talked about 8 days I was wondering how we are going to fill the time, I should not have!

Wednesday was another relax day.  In the morning we spent time around the house.  My husband took our son for a nature walk and to the pool while my daughter and I took a walk up to the store for some supplies.  It’s amazing how much my son eats and doesn’t eat at the same time!

During nap time my oldest sister, Cheryl, who also lives in Florida, arrived.  We went to the beach.  Just as we arrived it started to rain!  It was not a hard rain and the cove we went to was not crowded so we stayed.  I am so glad we did!  Despite the rain, ants, no-see-ums it was an amazing experience.  There was not one but two manatees!  I was holding baby girl so no pictures nor did I get super close.  Some of the people who were there did have the experience of the manatees rubbing up against them!  Some of the people said this was a first, wild manatees!

Thursday was the BIG day, we went to Disney!  Once we go there, guess what happened . . . .IT RAINED!  Not all day thankfully.

It was sunny skies on our drive to the park, as we got closer the clouds got darker. Just over the park it was raining and started just as we parked the car.  We did not let it deter us!  The day had it’s challenges, in the end my Mom and son had fun, that is what it was all about!

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Magic Kingdom
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So exited G needed Jazz hands to show it!
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Two thumbs up for the parade!
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Who’s Goofy? We are!
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Which castle is this? We were going to eat here but could not remember the name to make reservations.

Since dinner at the castle did not work and after another downpour while we were on Ariel’s Under the Sea adventure we made our way to downtown Disney and dinner at the T-Rex Restaurant.  Late of course!  Our Reservation was at 3 PM, we finally made it there by 4 PM.   We called ahead and said we were running late, thankfully they still honored our reservation as both my boys (son and husband) had a blast!

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Waiting fr our table. T-Rex standing guard.
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My boys figuring out if they want to explore or eat!
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Nana and Pop Pop
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My daughter more impressed with my bracelets
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Giant squid. Tentacles and eyes moved!
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Here Fishy Fishy Fishy!
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Over the table next to us!
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The cave changed colors. Not sure what the Triceratops felt about it.
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Or the “bump heads” as my son calls them.
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Thanking Pop Pop for a great day!
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There is a what behind me?
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Is that a . . . .
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Awww baby triceratops!

We are on a real vacation – Part 1

With all the changes in our world we have not considered taking a real vacation this year.  Between the birth our daughter and my loosing my job the finances just were not there, or so we thought.

This year my Mom turned 70. My sisters and I were at a loss to give her to make this year special.  Last year on her birthday was when things fell apart between my Mom and brother resulting in us be locked out of his and m nephews world.  I do not know all the details and will not go into them, but do know my mom lives for her kids and grand-kids.  Not seeing her oldest grandsons has been devastating this last year.

As a result my two sisters and I pooled together the funds for my husband, two kids and I to fly down to Florida for 8 days!

My Sisters! Donna (Left), Me (center), Cheryl (Right)
My Sisters! Donna (Left), Me (center), Cheryl (Right) and Gavin (front – picture crashing!)

I am so grateful for my family!  Unfortunately my sister Donna was not able to get the time off from work to join us.

The first few days were spent catching up with my Mom.  We came in early on Sunday and spent the day at home.  Monday my Mom and husband took the kids to the beach in the morning so I could study (nerds are cool and school waits for no one!) The afternoon was spent at a local swimming pool with splash area for the kids.

Tuesday we changed it up and became tourists!  Our daughter stayed home with Nana and Pop pop and we took our son to Universal Studios Adventure Island.  He loves dinosaurs and that is where the Jurassic Park section is located.  He is only 3 so we knew our options where limited.

We did not get to many pictures in this part of the park as my son was always on the move!  Here is some of what we did get to see!

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Water Cannons!
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Watch out! G cooling off after riding the pteranodon flyer!
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OH NO T-Rex!
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Awww nice T-Rex!
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Lunch Selfie
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Allosaurus! Run Away!!!!


It wasn’t all dinos at Universal.  Before we left we did a quick stop to Diagon Alley for wands and Butter Beer.  I also got a distant look at Hogwarts.

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We have arrived!
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Hog warts, Hogwarts, Hoggy Hoggy Hogwarts!
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Butter beer!
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Actually we all got some!
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Our wands! Funny how the 3 year old got the biggest one and my husband has the smallest one!
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The two worlds we wanted and did visit. Dinos and magic, perfect together!


We did not get to visit everything we wanted, bu will be back another time.  Our next vacation installment . . . DISNEY!!!!!

A day out

This week shaped up into a good week for me and goals set.  I was afraid that it might be the opposite with son finishing school last week for the summer.  I LOVE this kid and I can admit he is needy. He currently likes playing with Momma and Daddy. Sometimes to the point where we cannot get anything else done. We are working on getting him into some more independent play. Not to much though as we know he will not want us around forever, I, for one, am dreading that day!

Everyday this week I have gotten in some good study time. This is something that has not happened consistently in about a month. My original goal after loosing my day job was to be finished school by now. Failed that goal miserably! New goal is to finish by end of July. I also do not want to miss this opportunity to be with my kids.

Yesterday afternoon we took a break from the standard and made use of our Season passes to Sesame Place. The kid’s Dad stayed home to work on our son’s big boy room (this will be a different post when finished!). This made me a bit nervous to take both kids without someone to either watch our 6 month old or take out 3 year old on rides.

In order to keep both kids happy and safe we stayed mostly in the Tiddly Winks section. My son loved it! He played alligator in the wave and splash pools. Ran around Ernie’s Water Works. Made and smashed sand castles in the sand box.

My daughter took it all in and frequently laughed at her brother’s antics. She fell asleep on the way home and still slept through the night! We also get to see some furry friends while we were visiting.

G was a little shy, but Oscar the Grouch eventually won out.
G was a little shy, but Oscar the Grouch eventually won out.

After meeting Oscar, my son was on a mission. To find Cookie Monster and Big Bird. We did not see them, but we did run into another furry friend!

It's Murray!
It’s Murray!

As you can see he was more open to meeting Murray!

Family Time at Sesame Place!
Family Time at Sesame Place!

On the way home my son and I chatted as his sister slept. I promised him we would go back soon and see Cookie Monster and Big Bird. As we pulled into our development and got closer to home he said “Today good day.”

Yeah it was, so glad to have the opportunity to have these days too!

Why we stay.

Over the last few years my family had the opportunity to move in with my parents. A trend more and more people are doing in order to save money in this expensive time when cost of living is much higher then incomes. We seriously considered it after our oldest was born. We held out only for the fact my commute would have went from 10.5 miles to over 60 miles one way. In my son’s first year of life, that would not have been sustainable for me.

Shortly after our son turned 1, my parents made a HUGE decision and one I am very happy for them for making. My parents decided to retire and move to Florida. My brother and his family moved down the year before. My parents went to visit just before my youngest nephew’s second birthday. It took one week and my parents made plans to have a house built. They offered for us to move with them.

Offered again once they moved in. Continue to offer every couple of months . . .

Now what could keep us in a home we cannot currently afford and barely scrapping by? I would normally answer my job. For a while that was true. Tough even as the job began to change and became less enjoyable I would still say the job. Only that was not it, not really.

When I dream of when I can go anywhere and live anywhere, one thing keeps bringing me back to where we are now. It is not the house we live in or the possibility of what we could have or the sense of failure if we do leave. More it is my second family. The friends who are more than just friends.

These people are the ones that opened my eyes and heart to a world outside of the everyday. These are the people who watched me grow, fall and claw my way back up with the same support and love my family showed me.

Who are they? They are my Special Olympics Family. They are people who come from all walks of life and into mine and various stages. There is not one that I can imagine life without.

Paulaanne, "my idol"!
Paulaanne, “my idol”!
The Dream Team!
Me, Paulaanne, Natalie, Carol volunteering at Floor Hockey Tournament 2007

How am I to move to another state and leave them behind? How can I not see them every weekend? I am not saying they are more important then my family by blood, but they represent a part of my life I do not know how to let go. My family is a part of me I will never have to choose between. No matter how far apart we live we will always be a phone call away. Will I be able to say the same for my other family?

An afternoon of shenanigans

Have you ever tried coming up with an afternoon activity with two children, the oldest only 3? It’s not an easy feat. Especially when you are looking at this challenge as the only adult supervisor.

On Thursday my man asked if I could take the kids for a few hours so he could work on what will be our son’s big boy room and we can finally transition our daughter into the nursery. Of course I said yes, but inside I was thinking, how the heck am I going to pull this off?

My kids are good kids, just young. My son is full of energy and curiosity and often wants one of us to join him the first time he does something as a just in case and to see how it’s done. We often hear “Look momma, look daddy!” as he plays and explores. This is awesome when we are both present, but now we are adding in my very clingy 6 month old who also wants to be held constantly!

Thankfully I received a call from a good friend saying she had the afternoon off and wanted to know if I was open to hang out! Told her I was taking the kids out for a bit, but if she wanted to join then she was more than welcome, she said YES!

We took the kids to the Garden State Discovery Museum! It was a blast! As you can see, having my friend with me was a huge help!

We spent a great deal of time in the Dino room, they are my son’s favorite!

Dino Hatch-ling
Dino Hatch-ling 
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Dino Puzzle Time!
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Look at these fossils!
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What’s this one?

There were lots of areas to play and expolre!

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Who needs our help? We are on our way!
I got this!
I got this!
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Aunt Amy holding my girl while her brother has me off and running!
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Oink Oink!
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You want me to build what?!?!
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Love you Momma!
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Thank you for joining us Aunt Amy!

Yes, thank you Aunt Amy! The day would not have been as fun without you!

Lacking accomplishment

At the end of April I was let go from my full time position. I made plans for this period of time I would be unemployed. These included finishing an online study at your own pace program, spending more time with my family, and working on writing.

All of these have been put into motion! The main focus is and will always be on my family. This, as it always will be my main focus , it has caused other areas to fall behind. This is leading to a feeling of lack of accomplishment.

In my head I planned on being done school by now. Unfortunately, I am not even close. Over the last 6 weeks only three lessons are completed. Granted these lessons were bigger then anticipated, but still not good. Part of this is not spending as much time studying as I should, time management is a little bit of an issue as I get use to working from home. Another road block is all home life responsibilities falling to me as well.

Now that I am home all the dishes are left for me to wash, laundry to do, as well as ALL the shopping. Yes I like looking for deals, but I loathe shopping. It seems at least twice a week I am going shopping.

With my weekends opening up I am hoping to limit the weekday trips which will lead to more study time during the week. My son also finishes school for the year tomorrow, another adjustment in the making!

Today is a study day, so let’s get to it!