2016

What a year has taught me. Chasing dreams, changing times, and rearranging goals. Misery, love, pain, contentment, challenges, acceptance, set-backs, reaching outside your comfort zone, testing the unknown= LIFE. Never pass up a chance to make a change or to enjoy every second.

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January- March

I discovered that little things in life will make your heart grow. I realized that my 11 year old (now 12) son will soon be 18 and moved away and that paying for him to go through driving school just may be a darn good investment. And necessary for my nerves and anxiety. I also noticed just how close the little eyes watch every single thing EVERYONE does, how they soak in your mood and that the ears in this house DO work.

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March-May

I noticed that children can entertain themselves with junk and $$ is wasted on all the cool new gadgets and toys they play with once maybe thrice and it’s old news. I learned that even when you’re feeling upside down, there is always someone willing to love and comfort you. I came to the conclusion that the boys in my household enjoy making me crazy. I mastered my goal- school, one bachelors and associates under my belt! Woop! We were able to have a big (and unforgettable) celebration for my childhood bff’s wedding and graduated on the same day. I blinked and my sons appearance changed; every single time. Since growing up is inevitable, I’ve concluded that soaking up all the changes is necessary and sometimes I lose sight of cherish-able moments until it’s a second to late. (working on that….)

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May-June

Construction will forever be a thing around here and I have come to accept that. Nolan enjoys destruction and construction both. Destruction like Scott and construction like me.  I noticed for the 125, 764, 329, 098th time, my son is the coolest kid ever. I realized that I enjoy quiet time with my husband more than spending evenings and tons of money. Phase 10 reminded us of many more things than signing a check for an overpriced meal ever would. We found out that not only would I be an aunt again but that it was a girl! I just cannot wait! My nieces are the best.

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June

Summer, bedtimes and routines are near non-existent. Ice cream and messes are necessary. Friends and cousins are a must. Family and fun are impossible to pass up.

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July

Vacation was memorable and I’m pretty sure everyone enjoyed it. Check out all the photos here:

Vacation, take 1

Vacation, take 2

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July- September

Surgeries, sickness, changes. Chase started middle school and with that school ball. I learned many more things than these pictures display. I realized, more and more everyday, that people’s actions speak louder than words. I learned that not everyone has the same heart as you and that IF you allow, they will take advantage of you every chance they get. I also realized that some are only out after their selfish best interest, despite who else is involved. And I also learned to never pass up an opportunity to stomp your feet in the puddles. Life is too short to stand on the porch.

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September- October

I witnessed a baby (or belly) growing, witches walking, my son growing, the toddler’s life lessons, and my heart growing, breaking and changing.

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October-November

My sons first shiner is in the books and boy, was it a doozie. Nolan transitioned into a big boy bed. I was ecstatic about my sons first F! God knows how much I love that boy. I realized I miss my nieces and nephew terribly so time with them is important. And of course that my grandma and grandpa are still 110% in love after 38 years of LIFE and not only do I cherish them but look up to them as well. My husband and I need to write life goals and see them through. And a big change in my life took place and all the support I’ve had has absolutely blown me away. I love my people.

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December

Change, challenges, choices and Christmas.

What a year.

Vacation. Take 2.

Day 4 ¹/2

Scott is a magnet for trouble. Since Sea World, he broke out in hives. Everywhere. On his legs, arms, stomach, back and neck. At first we thought it may have been his sun allergy but it was’t the same rash. Maybe an allergic reaction to the darn $16.00 sunscreen from Sea World? Nope. The doctor at a knock on the door house urgent care (I know, I know… I didn’t go with him or he wouldn’t have went there.) said it was a heat rash. Makes since, it was hot hot hot and the sun was beaming.

While Scott and Chase was running around trying to fill a script, Kendall, Nolan and I went about exploring the other pools.

Then for dinner and celebration for Father’s Day, we went to Medieval Times for dinner and a show. The food was delicious and the show was great. There were 8 Knights, each with their own color. We were part of the green Knights cheer crowd. Jousting on horseback, horseback sword games (because I don’t have a better name for it) and sword fights on the ground. Each Knight challenged another until all it came down to the two winners. It ended up being the red and black knight and the GREEN! Talk about some excited boys. It just so happens our Knight was the champion. And then, another man in brown strode out on his horse with two men at his side with swords in hand. He was some type of evil emperor from another realm and it just so happens he was there to challenge our GREEN knight. The battle began. There were loud cheers and some boos. There were sparks flying and clinking sounds of clanging swords. The green Knight eventually fell to the ground from his horse and the man in brown followed suit. The clicking and clanging continued as did the sparks and cheers. The green Knight fell and rolled away just before the evil emperors sword came crashing down onto his stomach. Quickly retrieving his footage, the green Knight vigilantly went after the brown and some quick movements later, the evil brown man fell in a reversal move and was “slashed” on the stomach by none other than the GREEN knight. Our man won! Even more cheers and roots and excitedly waved flags came from our crowd.

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Kendall didn’t sit down, Nolan LOVED the corn on the cob, Chase demolished his chicken and Scott bought “sangria” thinking it was like our sangria at home. Boy was he wrong. Instead, a man brought a glass vase filled with red sweet wine to our table. I laughed knowing Scott couldn’t even sip it because it tasted too much like Ste. Gen wine. Apparently, there was a September night long ago that involved an empty jug of Ste. Gen wine with a story to tell.

It was a successful dinner and show.

Day 5 1/2

On our first evening a tragic event happened just a short 9.5 miles from our resort. “An American born man who had pledged allegiance to ISIS came in with an assault rifle and killed 49 people… The deadliest mass shooting in the United States and the nations worst terror attack since 9/11” according to CNN.com. Not only did he kill 49, he also injured 53. An act of terror and hate. And I say he, the man-Omar which was his name- was responsible, not the gun. But that’s another conversation. We decided to travel to downtown Orlando to the site. “Club Pulse”

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Nothing but cops and news cameras had S. Orange Ave shut down for blocks.
On the travel to downtown, the opposite side of the highway was shut down with a cop about every quarter mile. We couldn’t figure out why, until it was too late. Sitting in traffic just off S. Orange Ave, the radio announced that President Obama was coming to Orlando and that there were back-ups and delays due to the shut down of the highway for his motorcade. That would have been something to see.

After sitting in traffic jams, it was back to the resort for more swimming, sand Tic-Tac-Toe, as well as races and fort building.

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Day 6 ¹/2

Last full day of vacation. I’m not sure we’ve been here as long as it seems.
With a slow start, Kendall and I walked the trail around the whole resort. We found a rather sketchy part of the trail. No railings, grown up bushes and the fear of what may be lying in the unknown of the swampy surroundings.

As you might have also heard, there was a toddler that was taken from his mother and father because of a 7 foot alligator. He was innocently splashing in the shallow water at the resort they were staying at. The resort just so happens to be 8.3 miles from our location. I can’t imagine their devastation and grief. The parents even tried tackling the alligator to save their son with no success. My heart breaks for them. The little boy was Nolan’s age. Many prayers for their devastation. May little Lane fly high and watch over his mommy and daddy.

We quickly turned around and headed back to the room.
Bet you can’t guess what we did next… If you guessed golf, you were wrong. More swimming as requested.

There was something huge that happened on this day. Something so enormous that it deserves its own slide show. Kendall lost the floaties and took off swimming.

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We also discovered that Nolan loves the water. Like LOVES the water. And what a little swimmer he is.

He may move at a snails pace but by golly he can “oggy” paddle like an Olympian.

Chase on the other hand, is quite the accomplished swimmer already. Beat Scott every time.

After nap, adventure to Downtown Disney and Rainforest Cafe was calling our names.

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Last night swim and then bed.
7:00 Saturday morning would be coming early.

Day 7 ¹/2

Belongings packed. Sleepy eyes present. Bellies rumbling. We’re ready for home. It’s a good thing that memories don’t take up room in the vehicle. We wouldn’t have room to ride home.

Just a few extra pictures…

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Are we there yet?

That question is pretty typical when traveling with young children. Surprisingly, I only heard it about 4 times on our travel down. On the other hand I heard, “Tonna, ah you doin’?” about every 2 miles for most of the hours Nolan was awake. Lots of giggles, watching of license plates and movie switches. There was also ear tingling loudness but I shouldn’t expect anything less. I mean, there were 4 boys under the age of 34 in a van together for ONLY 23 hours.

As we pulled in closer to our destination, the toll roads tripped us up. Thank goodness for the good ole GPS! After many u-turns and side roads, we made it to the address. The resort seemed abandoned from the road. I was a little worried when I glanced towards Scott as he said, “Is this it?” A half mile in, down a concrete road with trees and freshly landscaped bushes, we came to an opening. Tennis courts to the right and a large pond to the left. The resort is beautiful.

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After we checked and finally found our way through the many lefts and rights and parking lots, we found what would be our get-away for a week. 3rd floor. Next to the elevator. Made it a bit easier to unload the very packed van.

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Ate dinner out at Hurricane Grill and Wings. They had the best steamed garlic-Parmesan broccoli! Delish! Then pool time. Nolan discovered that licking the water was gross. Chase was proud he almost choked out Scott and Kendall wouldn’t stay in one spot long enough to get a picture. We were all happy to be out of that van and in Orlando, Florida.

DAY 1 ¹/2

We decided then that the next day would be spent lounging at the pools and exploring the very large resort. There were 4 pools, kiddie pools included, a golf course, a game room, exercise room, activity room, spa, basketball courts, paddle boats, fishing, sand volleyball and so much more. We chose an easy pizza dinner by the pool and relaxed well into the evening hours.

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DAY 2 1/2

Next up, Sea World. Just 1.8 miles from our resort. The sun was pretty brutal by 9:30 and the heat that came from the sun was ferocious. Sunscreen and plenty  of fluids was a must! I forgot the sunscreen and didn’t realize it until we were parked. We had a darn good spot so… I bought a $16.00 bottle there. :O We ended up buying a cup for $13.00 and refilled that sucker for free all day long.

The boys really seemed to enjoy the aquarium exhibit. Large Stingrays that wouldn’t fit in my bathtub, school of fish, crazy looking seahorses and Nolan even found Dory! (I cannot wait for that movie!! I hope it does not disappoint.)

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The Stingray Manta ride- Oh. My. Lanta! I about lost it on that ride. Upside down, backwards and laying on my belly, so to say, all at a high rate of speed. What a ride! I recommend it if you like the type of excitement that makes you gasp for air and pinch out a scream that sounds more like a squeak. Nolan and Kendall tried out the seats while they waited for Chase and me. A little more growing is necessary.

We walked clear across the park to catch the Shamu show. But along our way we saw a group of three men performing in the street. They were hilarious. Kendall laughed so hard I’m pretty sure he had tears. I had one of those laughs that makes you look all awkward so you glance around the crowd to make sure no one saw you.

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We sat in the soak zone at the show and didn’t get wet but soaked in our own sweat. Did I mention it was 92 degrees and so flipping hot? Poor Nolan was trying so hard to go with out a nap. Dang near lost him to a snooze and then the show ended. No matter how hot, we enjoyed the show. It amazes me how well trained those killer whales are. Impressive.

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Kendall got to ride his very first roller coaster and unfortunately we didn’t capture that memory because Scott’s camera roll was full and I ventured off to the slides with Nolan, but I am happy to report that he loved it. Rode it twice. We were able to see the dolphins in the dolphin nursery but no good pictures were captured. Darn it. Also, Kendall, Chase and I rode the Wild Arctic simulator. We “rode” a helicopter and while I was trying to stay focused on not getting sick and containing my dizziness, Kendall cackled. I think it’s safe to say he enjoyed that too.

 

Chase and I was able to ride the new “Mako” roller coaster while the other two stayed with Scott at the smaller rides. The “Mako” just opened on June 10th and is the tallest, fastest and longest roller coaster in Orlando. With only a 40 minute wait, we jumped in line. Let me just tell you about our experience there. I had the following thoughts as we stood in line…

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The furthest this fella stood from us.

Dear sir,

Why do you not have regards for our personal space? I’m pretty sure I smell and I know you do. For goodness sakes, I’ve been sweating for the past 6 hours. It’s 92° out. We are standing in close enough proximity of one another in the blistering sun while we are all waiting just the same amount of time to ride a ride. It doesn’t make me feel comfortable for you to stand so close I can almost hear your nose hair rustling around as you breathe. Sir, I’d much appreciate you stepping just one step backwards and stay out of my swamp rump. Not only are you so close to me that I can feel your breath on the back of my neck, you are now forcing me up the swampy mess of a sweat crack standing directly in front of me to try to get space from you. Please back off. You are invading my bubble. The bubble that is now not only rolling in my sweaty smelling stench, but now has an invasion from you and I am about the pass out from trying to limit my intake of air due to the fact all the combined smells could put someone to sleep for days.
The smell I can handle but the fact that you think you have to be so close is weird. You have now almost assaulted me 5 times by brushing your hand across my butt cheek and it’s quite awkward and obnoxious. You may only mean it as an innocent gesture or as no gesture at all but it is not welcomed nor appreciated here. Also, if you’re going to rub my butt at least wink at me. If not, again, please back off.
By the way sir, the kiss you nearly planted on my cheek due to the simple fact you were, once again, invading my space nearly scared me to death. There is only one man and very few boys that are even welcomed that close to my face and it’s not you.
So if you are babbling on about how rude you may think I am because of the looks I continue to send your way or because I won’t just let you around me, I can promise you it doesn’t hurt my feelings in the least. Just because I can’t understand what you’re saying because I cannot speak your language doesn’t mean I cannot understand looks. Body language is usually the same in every spoken language. Please take my hints and back away.
Oh… And enjoy your ride.
Sincerely,
Perturbed sweaty rider in front of you.

And then,

He ended up in the same row as Chase and me. Turns out he was just so excited to ride the Mako roller coaster that he couldn’t wait in line well. I’m not at all kidding about how close he was, him brushing my rear or nearly kissing my cheek when I turned to look beside me. His lady was just as pushy as he was but she followed his lead.
I nearly lost it during the ride. No, not my lunch, but laughter. He was throwing his hands all around and even in the wrong direction. Poor Chase could’ve came out with a bloody nose had he not moved his head back just in time. I still have no idea how he avoided that near slap. His excitement continued as we pulled back in to be dropped off. He was bouncing up and down and hitting his seat continuously. I’d say he was happy. I’d also say that maybe that was his first coaster ride. So maybe he was overly-excited and ready to ride again.
No matter his excitement, I still have personal space to be respected.

DAY 3 ¹/2

It’s beach day! I was most excited for beach day. Scott wanted to travel further south to Clearwater Beach, FL so that we could make a stop at Hulk Hogan’s beach shop. He is and has been a big Hulkster fan. I don’t get wrestling but hey, whatever. image

Then lunch… imageWe stopped at Cooter’s because I had to pee, it was close and the name was catchy. But, sadly we were disappointed in lunch. Maybe they had an off day. Who knows. It was fuel for the bodies… On to the beach. Oh, AND the kids got a free frisbee with their lunch.

After finding a parking spot we walked to the white sand beaches. It was SO packed. But, it’s the beach on a hot day. How was the water? EH! Not trashy from pollution but from sea scum. Kendall figured out quickly that the taste can make you want to throw up. Again, trying to capture a good picture of that child is a task all in its own. He doesn’t stand, sit or look still for more than a millisecond. He had a great time. Nolan loved chasing the seagulls, smashing the “tastles” but he did not, however, like the moist sand on his toes. Interestingly enough, he would dig his toes into the wet sand and enjoyed it, then after noticing the sand on his toes, he’d “EWWWW” until I helped him wash it off. Chase stood in the waves, crashing into them, riding them in and waited for the next one to come. He said it wasn’t his favorite beach but he was kind of spoiled with his very first trip to Santa Rosa and Destin beaches. We made the best of the beach we were at and left a few hours later.

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Oh, I forgot to share that Kendall may have been a little scared of the seagulls. He closely watched his back and I just so happened to capture his face when one came a little too close. It was comical.

We finished our evening with watermelon. YUMMMMMMY!

Stay tuned for more to come.