We Have to Go Back!

Now how often do you feel like this?

Travel is a funny thing for me. I ache to do it, and when I do it, I ache to come back. As both a young child, and as a semi-comfortable adult, I got to experience the wonders of being exactly where you should be. I have a song for that, of course.

Between that isn’t necessarily travel I didn’t want to do, but it was weird head and heart spaces. Like being disoriented. A little like time travel. It’s like going away for two weeks and it feeling like two months. Maybe it’s being with the wrong person at the wrong time at the wrong place, or they’re all wrong, or maybe all right. But just alright. Not like.. fantastic. Sometimes it’s going somewhere that once knocked you off your feet, only to find it feels all different. Wrongish. You’re pretty much going through the motions but you don’t feel the same. You need something different. And hey, that’s ok too.

As long as another place, another time, another person, another experience – knocks you off your feet.

Here are a ton of photos and little stories from our family vacation to St. Augustine and to Orlando Florida. We loved Magic Kingdom and Universal Orlando - especially the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

There was a time in my life in which every travel experience was riveting, and returning was more bittersweet than just sweet. Sometimes just bitter. It’s probably because I had money and could go to the places I really wanted to go, which you can’t when you’re the middle child of five. Who can afford seven plane tickets? I certainly can’t. Four is my speed right now. Also when I had that early 20’s money and could go where I wanted, I was also spending it with the right person/people.

In my current phase, I’m somewhere in the middle, and somewhere in new territory. These ARE the places I want to go, even when that middle child syndrome creeps up and I complain that it’s never about me. It’s that strange middle of life/generations thing. We work hard to make our parents and our children happy. We work hard to travel and work and progress and connect and keep our balls in the air, and sometimes if you drop one, it’s like you drop them all. We don’t rest very well. I should say that it’s me. I don’t rest very well. I love to travel but I work so hard, that I have to do triple duty to clear things out of the way for my trip. Then I work a bit during the trip, and like a dog after the trip. Still totally worth it.

Here are a ton of photos and little stories from our family vacation to St. Augustine and to Orlando Florida. We loved Magic Kingdom and Universal Orlando - especially the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

So here’s the 25 cent, highlights and lowlights, cellphone only photos, version of our trip to St. Augustine and Orlando. Was it overall positive and amazing? Of course! Very little negative, if at all. I did feel sick one night, but whatever. This trip had such imagery and such stories. When I go on a trip, and know that I take 7,000 years to edit the camera photos, it’s nice to do a 25 cent version here. Maybe more like 50 cents. I’ll post more photos with more in-depth thoughts, but ultimately?

Let’s let the phone pictures tell the stories for now, shall we?

We had to get up at 5:00am for the flight. I always say I’ll only get up at 5:00am for something grand.

family vacation

family vacation

The flight was smooth. I had the middle seat between both kids because I’m a Mama now and even though the window seat is my favorite thing on earth and the only one I choose.. well.. I’m a Mama. Des entertained us with his barf bag puppet:

Oh, and I watched a whole movie on an flight! Never had. It starred Reese Witherspoon.

When we landed, it was 75 degrees! We got into a bit of trouble at Orlando International:

And then Scarlet instantly found her people:

Then we drove/dozed to St. Augustine where we all found our people:

family vacation

family vacation

family vacation

We went to the beach twice on that first day. Just to feel the sun and see the sights!

There was a tree in the water on the first day, and by the second day, it had washed onto the shore. I took a lot of “real” photos of it to share “soon.” (had to air-quote that one) I wonder this tree’s story! And how long it was in transit:

We had four nights there in my in-laws’ newly purchased beach house. There was a TON of relaxation. I loved to sneak up to the kids’ room, overlooking the palm trees, and take book naps. The food, company, beach, napping time had a great flow. We played mini golf and went downtown a few times. Cassidy and I had a hot date – clearly the only northerners there because we chose to eat dinner outside! There was chocolate, there was ice cream, and I finished a book during the trip.

That’s all part of the magic.

family vacation

family vacation

Lattes in St. Augustine!

family vacation

And gourmet ice pops.

family vacation

On Monday, we met my aunt at Disney Springs. We go every year and marvel at its growth. It’s definitely a good half day, and this is us knowing exactly what we want to do, see, eat, drink, etc. Like I like to go into Ghirardelli to get chocolate samples and a latte. And then go back in for more samples. Plus pin trading, the LEGO store, chocolate BB-8 from Star Wars, and the MARVEL store. Des loves the hot air balloons. Cassidy loves getting in trouble there, like he does everywhere.

My aunt gave me the BEST Rocky Horror Rubber Ducky EVER.

We were in Magic Town at this point. Also, Santa gave Scarlet’s best friend’s family a hotel room in the same resort we were staying at, as well as TWO whole theme park days with best friends. I mean, really. Isn’t that the stuff of dreams?

We loved being warm!

Des had the best window view as he drifted off to sleep for the two nights we stayed at Art of Animation Resort, in a Cars Suite. I mean, imagine being five. I’m an adult and this looks right out of the Cars movies to me. It blows the mind!

We got up early on Tuesday to get breakfast and then head to Magic Kingdom. What else can I say about it? I did two roller coasters again. This time I didn’t hate The Barnstormer. I went on it twice! And Mine Train is SO GOOD. We went on Magic Carpets of Aladdin which was new to me! I went to the Hall of Presidents.. That was a new one. We saw the parade and the fireworks and the princesses and the shows and it was all so good! I still have yet to have a Dole Whip. Maybe one day?

Here are a ton of photos and little stories from our family vacation to St. Augustine and to Orlando Florida. We loved Magic Kingdom and Universal Orlando - especially the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

First time meeting Tiana!

Here are a ton of photos and little stories from our family vacation to St. Augustine and to Orlando Florida. We loved Magic Kingdom and Universal Orlando - especially the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Here are a ton of photos and little stories from our family vacation to St. Augustine and to Orlando Florida. We loved Magic Kingdom and Universal Orlando - especially the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Here are a ton of photos and little stories from our family vacation to St. Augustine and to Orlando Florida. We loved Magic Kingdom and Universal Orlando - especially the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Here are a ton of photos and little stories from our family vacation to St. Augustine and to Orlando Florida. We loved Magic Kingdom and Universal Orlando - especially the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

No, really. Can we go back yet?

The next day was Universal Studios. This was more of a half day for us, as we were headed straight to the airport after the theme park. Not only did I face a lot of things that used to be fears – crowds, airports, muggles, etc. – I went on two new roller coasters! That’s four for me now. I went on Ride of the Hippogriff and the Woody Woodpecker one that’s really ok for three-year-olds, but my roller coaster phobia deems me as good as three. E.T. is still my favorite ride of all time! Magic!

Getting into trouble magic too.

What part of this trip looks most fun to you?

Cars 3 Geek-Out

I woke up today, looked at the gloomy morning, and figured out if I should write about Cars 3 or Taco Tuesday!?

We attended the Cars 3 event in #Boston over the weekend, and met Lightning McQueen, Jackson Storm, and Cruz Ramirez. We can't wait for the #movie premiere!

Obviously Cars 3 won, but have no fear – Taco Tuesday can be next week? There’s always going to be time for tacos. Cars 3? Well, we shall see. If you’ve been following along even halfway, you may have noticed that Des is in love with Pixar’s Cars franchise. It happened in early 2016, and no lie, it was maybe a month after we stayed at the Art of Animation Resort in Walt Disney World. We had booked a Little Mermaid room, but stayed in a Finding Nemo suite as a surprise to the kids. There are four sections of the resort – these two and Lion King and Cars. Well, we stayed there for five nights and didn’t even VISIT the Cars section! We didn’t know! I was kicking myself.

So this year we remedied that and it was glorious.

Disney Pixar(Des looking at the Radiator Springs sign like, “I have found my people!”)

Cars 3

I need you to know that I have followed along with this obsession INSANELY. I spend way too much money on way too many toys, in a house already overflowing with toys. We booked a Cars 3 movie theater birthday party for Des because the movie comes out a few days after his fifth birthday. We stayed at the resort twice on my dollar! And get this – I had NEVER seen the movie until last night! That’s right. Last night. It’s fantastic, by the way. Laugh and cry and feel good. You know Pixar. They clearly know us. “You don’t know me, Pixar! Wait, yes you do. Sob.”

Even Scarlet is in on the act! Cassidy must want to stuff his ears with cotton.

Months ago when I had heard that there was going to be a Cars 3 event in Boston, I knew we had to go. I figured, though, that it was one of those many dreams I have that races out of the cannon until it loses steam and momentum. Then it never picks itself up off the ground. I do that a lot because I’m prone to changes in mood, with changes in weather, exhaustion, patience, tolerance for hearing “Mama” “Mama” “Mama” 17 times in a row, and acceptance of Boston traffic and four hours in a car with two kids, etc. The thing is, though: WE SO DID IT.

I thought it would be quiet and no one would know about it because they’re not big geeks like me. I WAS WRONG!

Disney

We waited on line for over an hour to get in, but the kids were calm. Des wanted me to carry him like a baby, but Scarlet kept him in line. She also packed snacks/water and thought we were irresponsible for forgetting them..

Cars

Cars 3

siblings

And in true Disney fashion, they entertained us while we waited in line!

..Still looking at the ice cream truck instead..

Cars 3

We attended the Cars 3 event in #Boston over the weekend, and met Lightning McQueen, Jackson Storm, and Cruz Ramirez. We can't wait for the #movie premiere!

Finally, we were in! The event was free even though I had my hand reaching for my wallet because I’d totally throw more money at Pixar. You could watch a trailer for Cars 3 inside a truck. You could play games and win prizes! Scarlet won toothpaste (BOO!) and Des won a sheet of Cars 3 tattoos (YAY!). There were free smoothie samples, coupons, recipes, and artwork. The big deal for us – worth the long wait – was “meeting” Lightning McQueen, Cruz Ramirez, and Jackson Storm. We told Des they were sleeping and that’s why they weren’t talking to us or racing. Also, Scarlet believed that too and that this was REAL LIFE. WIN for ages 4 and 7!

We look like happy, happy dorks.

We attended the Cars 3 event in #Boston over the weekend, and met Lightning McQueen, Jackson Storm, and Cruz Ramirez. We can't wait for the #movie premiere!

We weren’t in there long, but the kids were elated. After that we went for ice cream with my friend, Bev, and her family, hit LEGOLand Boston for the store (throwing more $$ away), and went to an urban playground.

It confounded my country kids just a bit, but they caught on fast.

Thanks for bearing with my geekery and my iPhone pics. You KNOW I’m all about camera pictures, but I was contending with enough! Then we drove home to the smooth sounds of Sia Radio Pandora. Until next time, Boston!

Do any of your kids’ passions make you geek out too?