The Long and Winding Road.

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(Above: My favorite phone photo from the trip. Des wanted Cinderella to play trains with him! She knelt down and did.)

(Oh, & Scarlet’s hair was starting to form dreadlocks from lack of combing. It has since been remedied. Several times.)


Everyone, I am officially back.

I am SO back. I am walking the aisles of the Northampton Winter Farmer’s Market back. I am looking for my favorite falafel sliders back. (the pickled turnips are DIVINE and I never thought I’d say such a thing) I’m buying local beef jerky back. I’m dropping ice cream off at the back door of a friend’s house because her front door is iced in back. Or as I like to say – winterized. We’re expecting two snowstorms this week and my driveway is no longer a sheet of ice, because the several inches of ice are huddled beneath a blanket of powdery snow. So there’s that. Small miracles and such. Safety.

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The cats are in my lap. I have stories to tell about this trip, but not quite yet. I have photos to accompany my stories, but not quite yet. What I will say (SPOILER) is that I did eight days of travel with VERY minimal anxiety, if any. I did plane flights in the middle seat. I did theme parks and Main Street Disney World during peak hour for gate opening, and for the parades and fireworks, when you couldn’t even move without bumping shoulders or other body parts with half of the people in the world.

I did crowded monorails, rides and late night drives. I did beach trips and four games of mini golf and my first “grown-up” restaurant in ages. I did it all with only a brief feeling of exhaustion and fear in Camp Jurassic at Universal Studios.


I blame the Raptors. Or the Pteranodons. This brief overwhelming feeling was a bit strong, but it was nothing a butterbeer and roasted chicken at Three Broomsticks couldn’t cure. A roaring dragon and ice cream at Florean Fortesque? Yes.

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All of this leads me to confirm more what I’ve always known. My anxiety isn’t general. It’s situational and halfway dormant. It’s triggered, ancient and deep. And sometimes, nearly all times, my sense of adventure will win out every time.

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I like to travel.

And so before I can gather my thoughts, photos, ideas and stories, in great detail, I wanted to share some stories from my travel hijinks of yesteryears. And I’m going to channel an Eli quote from this post too.

“So, what do you think? Which one sounds the least believable?”

1. We used to go to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina every summer. My dad would pile all seven of us into a giant red GMC truck and we’d start around 9:00pm, only to (mostly) sleep through the trip, (my dad, the driver, and I would not sleep) and eat our annual McDonald’s breakfast in the Carolinas. We’d rent a condo with a brief walk to the beach and a spiral staircase. One day we went to Barefoot Landing – a mall set on the water – complete with stores, brides and yes, alligators. Real ones.

One day my whole family heard me gasp and stop short over a bridge to a store. What was it?? A man-eating alligator? A great pair of shoes? Nope. I had run into my softball coach from home in this random mall in Myrtle Beach, 12 hours from NJ!

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2. Speaking of alligators.. My mom, older sister and I were visiting my Aunt in Orlando one July when I was about 19. After days of theme-parking in 100 degrees, we decided to go canoeing on a river way, way, way out of town. My mom and I teamed up in one canoe, and so did my sister and Aunt in another. My mom chose poorly, or so she thought. I was TERRIBLE at canoeing and I was barely pulling my weight. I just wanted to rest! That was hard because alligators kept swimming by us. Well I may not be good at canoeing, but I do have a great sense of direction, so even though my sister and Aunt pulled way ahead of us early on, we still found our way back to our car before them. Like. Way before them. And when we asked the toothless people behind the desk of the “hut” where our beloved family members might be, they smiled, toothlessly, and made a joke about alligators or cannibals eating them. Yeah. We were in tears. Finally, they showed up an HOUR after us, tears in their eyes, walking waist-deep through alligator-infested water. They got lost. And maybe capsized too? I wish I knew.

The BEST part of this story is that my Aunt took us to Virgin Megastore (or maybe Tower Records?) in downtown Disney so that we could find the Deliverance soundtrack for my mom, because after that canoeing experience, it was fresh on our minds. Well I was in the store and suddenly a crowd screamed so I looked in the direction their screams were going and saw some men. I waved at them, because.. why not. They waved back at me. People screamed. They left. I said to the store manager:

Who was that?

He looked at me like I was crazy. “You don’t know?

That was Duran Duran.”

Alrighty then!

3. Shortly after Scarlet was born, we flew six hours to San Francisco for a wedding. We decided to luxuriate at a hot springs in wine country along the way but I didn’t have a swimsuit so I wore my favorite Victoria’s Secret matching bra and underwear set. I floated lazily on a raft on the springs until it was nursing time. I thought I had found a corner alone to nurse and try to get my bra off, but I heard snickering. Oops! I had flashed two ten-year-old boys. I wonder if they told their parents..

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4. Once during January and with a WICKED broken heart, my sister and mom took me to Florida to visit my grandparents. There was a blizzard back home, as such things go, and we were delayed for several hours. Somehow we left late at night and arrived back at JFK Airport at 3:00am. And my car was buried under four feet of snow. No one would help us shovel it out.

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5. When I was six or so, on another of our Myrtle Beach vacations, I accidentally stood behind my little brother during a paddle ball game and he whacked me in the face so hard with a paddle that one of my top front baby teeth flew out into the grass, never to be found. The other front top tooth was knocked so loose that the permanent tooth grew in backwards behind it! Ah, orthodontia was my friend. They used to call me “One Tooth Willie.” I have since cleaned up well. This did lead to oral surgery but I still have all my original teeth. I’m so happy in the photo below because I’m meeting my idol with my son!

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6. When I was about seven and my little sister was four, we LOST her in NYC. We used to go every year during Christmas break and she wandered away from us one year, following a man she thought was our grandfather. My parents FREAKED out. They lost a four-year-old. In NYC. Luckily, she was smart and found a policeman and described our big red GMC truck. They were both waiting for us when we returned to our car. I can’t imagine the relief of my parents, or what that cop thought about us!

About Tamara

Tamara is a professional photographer, a mama of two, a Lifestyle Blogger/Social Media Influencer/Brand Ambassador, and a nearly professional cookie taster. She has been known to be all four of those things at all hours of the day and night. She is a very proud contributor to the book, The Mother Of All Meltdowns, the Stigma Fighters Anthology (volume 1), and The HerStories Project: So Glad They Told Me. She is also a proud Community Lead and a regular contributor to the SoFab Food blog, and the Target Made Me Do It blog. After two cross country moves, due to her intense Bi-Coastal Disorder, she lives with her husband, daughter, son, dog, cat, and 11 chickens in glorious western Massachusetts.


The Long and Winding Road. — 135 Comments

  1. Yay to having you officially back just when I sat down down with Levin and our friends going to Disney around the same time to plot our vacation out now. Almost 6 months out, but seriously so excited. That said, I tru am not sure which one isn’t real, but I am thinking that last one, because even the thought of losing a kid in NYC has me a bit traumatized to be honest.

    • We didn’t plan ours out very much, but we went during one of the two least crowded months of Disney. So you may need to book princess breakfasts and fastpass rides within the next three months! Crazy but true. Feel free to pick my brain about it all! I’m no expert – I’ve only been there five times, but I’ve certainly learned a LOT in the last two years.

      The NYC story was traumatic for my parents. My sister doesn’t seem traumatized by it, though!

      • Yeah, the dining, such as those character breakfasts have to be booked next week 6 months out to get the day and time you want and Fast Passes are 3 months out. Crazy, but I am making sure I get it done and don’t need to worry. And you know I will pick your brain totally (thank you for that offer). NYC still can’t believe that was real!!

        • That’s what I figured about both! We were able to fastpass three things, because we didn’t stay at the resort or have any other perks, and we bought our Disney tickets like.. THREE days before we went. Ah, January and its lack of insanity. We couldn’t fastpass the Seven Dwarves Mine Train, though, and Scarlet wanted to go.
          We were able to fastpass meeting Cinderella and Rapunzel and there was otherwise a 70 minute wait! Took us only two minutes.
          And the Peter Pan ride is insane. Des and I split up from Scarlet and Cassidy and went straight to it, and only had to wait ten minutes. This was when the park opened. Once we got off? The line was 45 minutes.

          • It is totally princess and Mickey Mouse here that they want to do. So, I am going to book as much in advance as I can for that between the dinners and the Fast Passes as I am allowed and got my fingers crossed. But I figure there is going to be a wait for something and I guess you do what you have to do at that point, but still.

  2. Love the first picture! Only Des would get Cinderella to play trains with him πŸ™‚
    So glad you had minimal anxiety and a great time. Can’t wait to read more about it! xo

    • Thanks! I can’t wait to write about it. My fingers are totally itching to do so, and I have been making notes, but I still have to upload the photos, and clean the hard drive first. Such is life!

  3. So happy to see you back and can’t wait to hear the stories and see the photos. I adore that first photo of Des and Cinderella! So sweet. And your stories? I don’t know. I really hope that you didn’t lose your sister in NYC or that your car was buried under 4 feet of snow!

    • Both totally true! Both NYC too. We lost my little sister in NYC and the blizzard story was Lindsay. And let me tell you, she did NOT get out of the car to help my mom and me shovel it out. What a punk.

  4. I am glad the adventurer in you won out! I would be anxious in Camp Jurassic as well and it is totally the fault of the Pteranodons. Can’t wait to see the rest of your pictures and hear your stories. Oh BTW, my oldest daughter just came in and said anything Harry Potter related would be most welcome!

    • I had a bit of anxiety last year in Camp Jurassic too because Scarlet wanted me to go on the Pteranodon Flyers ride with her and I was scared, but I did it.
      This year the wait was too long so we bagged it. Whew! Off the hook. I think that might have been what was causing me anxiety, to be honest.
      The Harry Potter part of the park was SO GOOD. I have photos and videos coming for her!

    • I’m very excited for you! And for me, because I love to follow along.
      What foods specifically? Last year we were so budgeted and only did Disney World one day so I pooled my money into that $4,000 princess breakfast. (slight exaggeration) Between that and protein snacks (the only thing that gets me pushing a stroller for 13 hours straight), we didn’t really enjoy many treats.
      This year we had some yummy things, though. The mickey mouse ice cream ears, cotton candy, etc. In Universal Studios, if you go, you have to have a Lard Lad doughnut! They are so good! And we ate everything Harry Potter – butterbeer, ice cream, chocolate frogs, Honeydukes fudge…

      My stomach is now growling.

    • It really is! I certainly loved it as a kid, and even during my jaded years of tween, teen and college, but it’s totally amazing to do it as a parent too. I had no idea!

  5. Your yesteryear recollections seen so recently fresh, Tamara! It was a Winter Wonderland when you left for Florida and you came back to a Wonderland with a fresh new snow blanket. It was fun following the activities of your vacation, and especially Disneyland. Could the sixth and last story be the least truthful? I was so sure you were Lindsay’s younger sister. Welcome Home! I’m anxious to see your pictures and read your vacation stories of humor and adventure and that’s the truth!

    • I am Lindsay’s younger sister! Did you know we have a littler sister too?? She got lost in NYC – totally true story.
      Thanks for following along! I really can’t wait to share more about our trip!!

    • Thanks, it’s nice to be back!!
      I’m so glad to have not had an anxious trip. Sometimes life is just so anxious and I was really nervous about the trip. I remember in December I was thinking about all I had to do – the holidays, travel, photo shoots, house guests, New Year’s, dental appointment, big trip to Florida, and I remember just wishing it to be February already because I felt like I couldn’t do those things.
      I’m happy to say I did them all, with only some hiccups.

    • I like that and I hope you’re right – generally insights and successes do lessen future anxieties.
      As for NYC, it’s a totally true story! I don’t remember much fear and panic because I was just a little kid, so I had to fact check with my parents!

  6. Oh my goodness, if #6 is true I can only imagine what that must have been like for your parents! Welcome back to blizzardy New England πŸ™‚ While returning from a warm, sunny place to a very cold, snowy place can be hard, it is nice sometimes to be back with the familiar. I look forward to reading more about your adventures! And if I were to take a gander at which one is the fake story I’d go with #4 just because some of the other stories are so much crazier that they have to be true.

    • #6 is very much true! I swear it! My poor parents. I don’t know how any takes care of five little kids. And when they had five teenagers.. my mom wouldn’t sleep until all five cars were back in the driveway. And I think two kids is a lot!
      #4 is true too!

  7. Welcome back Tamara! I saw your pictures on Facebook and was telling Frank how I can’t wait to read all about it. I’m glad you had minimal anxiety during your trip and I love the picture with Donald!

    • Thanks, Ana! I can’t wait to write more about it! Hold-ups are just that we’re still adjusting to being home and I haven’t exactly.. uploaded my photos yet. Gulp!

  8. My husband teases me by singing the banjo melody because I hate hate HATE Deliverance. It. freaks. me. out. And he knows it!

    My college roommate had Simon Le Bon’s haircut. It was intentional, and I’m not making it up!

  9. Oh those are such GREAT STORIES!!! I’m so glad you didn’t have any anxiety and you just had the BEST time away for 8 days!! Situational… and I love that the adventure and LIVING LIFE is such a beautiful part of your spirit!!

    *Why wouldn’t ANYONE help you shovel off that snow? FOUR FEET? How did you get home? And could you even imagine losing Des or Scarlet in NYC? Holy crap.*

    • Regarding the JFK Airport story, it was 3:00am. BUT. The reason the car was buried was because of THEIR plows! And a plow passed us at that moment and we screamed and waved for hep and he kept going.
      Ah. NYC.

      As for losing Des and Scarlet in NYC. Oh. My. Goodness. No. My poor parents.

    • Thanks, Dara! I thought the same thing! There was a crane last year too! I kept wanting to Photoshop it out but decided not to do it.
      And there was water in the moat last year but not this year!

  10. Man I thought I knew until I got to that last story because that easily happens here in NYC. I’m sticking with the story after Scarlet was born because…I can’t imagine being able to move so freely after having birth!

    • ha! Well the trip was actually three months after Scarlet was born, but I remember not feeling totally like myself until she was four-months-old.
      And sadly, it’s true and those boys saw my boobs! They were big then. Postpartum and all.

  11. Welcome back. You know you had a good time when you don’t freak out at the snow, but think happy thoughts. What exactly is in a butterbeer anyway? I haven’t been to Disney in about 17 years, so I haven’t seen Harry Potter world. Someday! I guess #6.

    • Ok, so the butterbeer recipe is top-secret and honestly, probably full of chemicals, but I have Googled imitation ones so I have an idea of it. The classic one is a cream soda, a vanilla or butter brickle ice cream, and butterscotch syrup. You can have them hot, cold or even frozen. Seana, they are delicious!!

      #6 is totally true! My poor parents.

  12. I can’t imagine losing a child in NYC. The wait to see Cinderella was our longest wait at Disney, but it was definitely worth it. Once you get in there you don’t feel rushed and the princesses did a good job of interacting with our kids too. Looking forward to reading more about your vacation.

    • Cinderella and Rapunzel were together and the wait was over 70 minutes. Luckily we had Fastpass for that particularly, so the wait for us was only two minutes! You’re right, though. They didn’t rush us at all. It was a great Cinderella and a great Rapunzel!

      • It’s good you guys had a Fastpass. We probably spent close to 90 minutes waiting to see them and we waited until it was pretty late too. We we came out it was right in time for the fireworks.

  13. Welcome back, Tamara! I am so relieved to hear that your love of adventure prevailed over the anxiety. Traveling often gives me jitters so I definitely can relate. Looking forward to hearing more about your trip.

    • Traveling definitely gives me jitters because it’s that panicked away from home feeling. It’s the unknown. For some reason with my particular brand of anxiety, though, I’m usually at my best when away. Who knows why??

  14. Oh I am loving these pictures already and the short video of “Disney Morning” seriously gave me the chills!!! I can’t wait to take the boys back someday. I’m also glad you’re embracing this weather. OMG more and more snow! Thought of you as we drove by Northampton on our way to Ludlow VT this weekend πŸ™‚

    • I’m glad you liked my video! I realized I should have kept it going because the loudspeaker was still going, but you got the idea. That was the minute the gates opened and we all ran in! And those punk people ran RIGHT to the Snow White ride, making the wait time 45 minutes at 9:00am!
      I waved hello as you drove by us! I want to go to the ice castles in Stratton, Vermont before spring. Any interest in meeting us there?

  15. I love the recounting of your childhood travels! That is so much fun. I used to go camping with my grandparents and I have lots of memories of them and that old RV that we traveled in! I am glad that you had such a great trip! I can’t wait to hear and see more!

    • That sounds like such fun. I definitely have the RV dream… one day… going west. And maybe up to Alaska. With the dog too. Flying is so fast but I missed my dog so much while we were away last week. She was totally living it up at Grandma’s house, though.

  16. That very first picture is priceless and it’s so good to have you back. I took some time off while you were gone but I’m only semi-back. I am not sure which of your stories is believable, you’re such a great storyteller that it’s hard to know at times. πŸ™‚ Anyway welcome back and can’t wait to read all about your experience.

    • Aw… thanks, friend!! I’ll be catching up to your blog, though. I’m doing it slowly but surely. I already pinned one of your valentine recipes even before commenting.

      This isn’t a truth and lies post, so no need to guess! I was just curious as to what people thought was the craziest.

  17. I took the two oldest when they were little with no plan at all. It was awesome! We hit up Orlando like a hurricane in August. Hopefully we left less damage. I loved your bit about alligators. The first time I saw one was up close and personal and I nearly fainted! LOL

  18. I can’t wait to read more about your trip, and I’m so glad you were relatively anxiety free. For all of my crazy anxieties, travel doesn’t bother me for some reason. I used to go to Myrtle Beach in the summer too! But I’m way older than you so I doubt we were there at the same time. When we were at Disney World in November the crane wasn’t there – I’m thinking maybe they were using it to take down the lights? Have a wonderful week!

    • It’s strange about the anxiety! I can be on a plane in turbulence and be relatively ok, but then have a random bout of anxiety about taking the kids to school. I don’t get it. Whatever it is, it’s not out there… It’s right here.

  19. Welcome baacckk!!! Cracking up on your tooth story. I mean it’s no joke really because I hate going to the dentist, but still. LOL. I lost a tooth once because of eating a fishcracker. I was probably 5 or 6.
    Losing a 4-year old in NYC?! Whoa, she’s a smarty! Good thing you found her! I’d freak out.
    I thought the alligator story is crazy! I’m not sure I’d survive! Geez

    • What is a fishcracker?? I must Google that.
      I had so many tooth issues as a kid – it’s a wonder I still have them all. Although I don’t have my wisdom teeth – they are long gone.
      My sister is a smarty! Glad she’s still around thanks to her quick thinking!

  20. Well, I hope the first Myrtle Beach story is true because my family goes there every year!!! (It’s been tradition in my hubby’s family since he was a kid and I guess sI married into it!) So I know all about Barefoot Landing and such. I hope the second Myrtle Beach sorry about the tooth is not true. Or ,Maybe losing you sis in NYC – I would FREAK OUT!!! Anyway, I ‘m glad you’re back and that you had such great time with not much anxiety!

      • Well, my family goes every year in mid-late June.The past several years we have actually been staying just north in Ocean Isle, but we still go down to Myrtle for restaurants, etc. If you ever go back, plan for the same week we are there!!! πŸ™‚

        • That would be a dream! We always used to say we would go back as a family, even though we’re all grown, but it’s so hard to nail down all seven of us and our families. So maybe one day I’ll go with my little family.

  21. Oh I can’t wait to hear more about your trip! So excited you had a great time and how was the butter beer? I so want to visit Harry Potter land. Yikes on your past stories – I hope that you did not lose any teeth during your travels this time. Glad you got back safely!

    • The butterbeer was so good!! We got about four. I remember last year just having a few sips and realizing that it would be a whole year or more before getting another like that. So this time I tried to stay in the moment more and enjoy those butterbeers! Until next time!
      All my teeth are still here too. Whew.

  22. I’m so glad you had a good time! You know, as many times as I’ve been to Universal and we’ve only done City Walk. I so desperately want to see the Harry Potter side!

    All your stories sound completely plausible. I’m going to go with getting your teeth knocked out because your smile seems too perfect for that!

    • Universal is more expensive than Disney, which is insane. Totally worth it, though!
      And by the way – that story is true!! My teeth have been through a lot with braces, surgery and retainer, but it’s all the original teeth. (oh, I got my wisdom teeth out, though)

    • Kim, I assure you that story is totally true! Sad but true. Lindsay would be happy to tell you her point of view because she was in the lost canoe! She also was there for Duran Duran but she didn’t care much. I guess because at that point, she had already rubbed elbows with celebrities a lot as a radio DJ.

  23. How did you miss DURAN DURAN? Simon? OMG! While most girls my age were drooling over NKOTB I was a die hard Duran Duran fan. And trains with Cinderella? AWESOME! Your pics are so vivid, looks like you had a great time! Wish we could have come up to see you….next time for sure!

    • I don’t know! I think I was still do distracted by the alligators, and this was 2000 or so – maybe they looked different?
      I have to tell you that I never liked NKOTB either! Not sure why.
      Cinderella was wonderful. Really wish I could have seen you but it would have been a trek. We are going back next year, though! We already know.

    • Aw! Well you guys will get there too. I like it even more as an adult. Next year I think we’re trying to convince the grandparents to come with us to the theme parks. We’ll see if that actually happens…

  24. Welcome back, sweets! I’m so glad you had fun, had very little anxiety even sitting in the middle seat of the plane and had butter beer! I’ve heard it’s really good! I can’t wait to read more about your trip and see your incredible photos. I so want to go to Disney now. I wonder when the very least crowded time is…

    • Thanks, Kristi! It’s good to be back. Even with this.. uh… 14 inches of new snow and the snow day we had today. Des STILL hasn’t been back to daycare. Sigh. Maybe tomorrow.
      Ok, as someone related to an insider, I can tell you. My Aunt worked at Universal Studios for 20 years and has Disney and SeaWorld (bleh) friends too. The two most dead times to go are September (school starting) and January (holidays are and people are broke). We have gone in January twice now. It’s dead until mid-February when President’s Day break starts and then spring break and then insanity.
      I will say that “dead” is relative. I still thought it was the most crowded place on earth even in January.

  25. I got really excited when I saw the title and first photo! I was excited to read about your travels but am glad you’re waiting to fully submerge yourself in the awesomeness of your trip. I’ve been to Disney 10000 times and have never seen it that busy. I don’t think I’d like it. I’d feel very protective of my home and friends (the characters.) I think there was a 40% off resort sale while you were there. I watched a live podcast last week (WDW Radio) and the host took us live on TTA and to watch Wishes. I cried. πŸ˜‰ Welcome home!

    • I can’t wait to finally write about it! It might be a bit.
      I’m glad about the info of the 40% off sale. I thought it was ridiculously crowded and I couldn’t understand why! If it’s like that in January, the off-season, how unbearable is it during peak season? It made no sense to me!

  26. That is so awesome that you guys had a fantastic trip, Tamara. Totally wicked cool that Cinderella sat down and played with the kids. OMG, they will be the envy of every kid – EVER! Falafel sliders and beef jerky? Yes please πŸ™‚

    • Mike!! I kept meaning to email you. I’ve been thinking of you.
      We had a really wonderful time. And please come here for the sliders and the jerky. They are that good!

  27. #2 sounds pretty unbelievable ‘alligators, capsized canoe AND Duran Duran’?! Oh well, usually it is the most unbelievable ones that are true, right?!
    I am glad the adventurer and traveler in you more dominant than occasional, situational anxiety
    Oh, and…. welcome back!!

  28. So glad to have you back. Looks like you had a wonderful time. We really need to visit the other parks, we’ve only gone to Magic Kingdom. This weekend, we ended up going to a ball… Got dressed up and pretty to have a night on the town with my hubby. I love all of your adventures. I lost my son at Raging Waters (a waterpark). I couldn’t imagine losing him in a big city. Smart sis!

  29. can’t wait to hear all about the vacation. I loved all the mini-stories in this post. I was hooked going from story to story. The alligator one has to be my favorite though. Funny how you will never know what actually happened to them. Such great adventures!!

  30. Welcome back!

    I love the pictures you shared here… especially the first one. Awwwww.

    Now for those stories, they are crazy! I’m guessing the Duran Duran one isn’t real? Regardless, they’re all spectacular stories.

    Thanks for sharing! I love Donald Duck… he’s the funniest of all the Disney characters. Goofy is a close second.

    • I love that you love Donald Duck too!! Always and forever.

      As for the Duran Duran story, it’s totally true! And right now on my Facebook page, my sister and aunt are contributing the details that I missed because I was not lost on a river like they were!

  31. I really enjoyed your photos on FB! I’ve never been to these places so I was living vicariously through your posts. πŸ˜€ Nice to hear that you had a wonderful trip! Can’t wait to see more photos!

  32. I love your pictures and my babies loved your video, they’re working on their worksheets in my office/classroom while I comment. πŸ™‚
    In unison: “I’ve been there.”
    We just finished conversing about how awesome it was to be at Disney World. (Now they are back at work)
    I’m glad your inner adventurer won! That deserves a happy dance and a dozen cookies! πŸ™‚
    Okay, story #6 brought on my own panic, I would go nuts!!
    I’m sorry you had to come back to such “wicked” weather.

    • Awww!! I love that you shared my video with them. There will be more videos coming! And photos glory.
      This weather is something else. 14 inches of fresh snow yesterday. More coming potentially this week and weekend.

  33. I’m so glad you had such a good time with minimal stress and anxiety! Love the idea of your sense of adventure winning every time, and hope it stay that way forever!

  34. So glad you are back, and can’t wait to hear more. You’ve had a lot of exposure to alligators in your travels! I used to travel a lot when I was a kid and a lot of your stories reminded me of the magic of those times. Good for your adventurous side winning out over your anxiety! Also I def. could not pick Duran Duran out of a line up.

    • See? That makes me feel better. I’m also slightly nearsighted, but I was only 19 at the time so I guess that’s not my excuse. I just didn’t recognize them!

  35. I’m soooo glad you had such a lovely vacation! And not incredibly surprised about your adventures. Speaking of Deliverance…I attended a wedding once where the father of the bride had less teeth in his head than my 18 month old…you sure can meet some interesting people in different parts of the country.

    • That’s for sure! I remember driving to Florida on that same trip, and taking a lot of back roads through smaller towns in the Carolinas. I don’t want to make judgment calls. All I can say is that it was very very different from what I was used to up north.

  36. So glad to have you back! So glad to know you enjoyed yourself. And then you tease us with these true or not stories. They’re all so crazy, I’m not exactly sure which is true and which is not! They’re all at least a bit harrowing, but the idea of swimming in the midst of alligators seems like it would be seriously traumatic!

    • Ha!! No teasing. They are actually all true. I just threw in that line to make people confused. That was rude. On my Facebook page, my sister and aunt are adding in details about the alligator story. All true!

  37. Glad you had fun without too much anxiety. I only went to Universal once – the one in CA – I would like to go – probably more too it then in the 20+ yrs since I went.

    read – that you said all are true – lol some seem like crazy adventures πŸ™‚

  38. Welcome back gorgeous!! I’m that parent that stalks my kid in public spaces.. If he’s not near me we have a problem.. None of that wandering bullcrap. Granted since he’s just an only child, it’s easier for me to be mindful.. So that helps Lol. πŸ™‚ Love that photo of Cinderella kneeling down πŸ™‚ So many beautiful photos! My anxiety was general and has become situational as I become older. I’ve learned the triggers and have learned to prevent and avoid them, so it’s been at bay. Sometimes I run myself ragged and exhausted, that increases my anxiety as well. I’ll get more paranoid when my exhaustion is past normal exhaustion and borderline hallucination. Once I start hallucinating I just start laughing. Lol. πŸ™‚ Have a great one love!! Take Care -Iva

  39. Duran Duran!!! I would have died. they are probably single handly responsible for giving birth to the fan girl within me. If only you had known me then!
    I once had a tooth pulled straight out when skipping double dutch. never did find it.
    I also drank one of my contact lens once….. but that’s an entirely different reason.
    Disney… I’m so jealous and searching for my happy thought.

  40. OMG That last story about your younger sister getting lost in NYC is freakign TERRIFYING!!!!!!! Omg. But she is such a little smarty for being able to convey her situation to a cop, I’ve seen kids freak out and lose it when they get separated with their parents and they cant even catch their breath long enough to speak! I am having a little panic attack just thinking about it. Oy vey!

    “the toothless” sentence made me laugh lol

    BTW! I was reading an AAF post that your sister did and she mentioned that Cassidy makes sushi. SERIOUSLY?! What DOESN’T that man do!!?

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