Saturday, October 17, 2015

The Secret Revealed! TToT Week 122

The scene: Six kids, 2 parents, and one grandmother sitting around the dining room table, having just finished dinner.

As Mom passes out big, red file folders full of papers, Dad says, "You all have some homework over fall break."

The kids roll their eyes and open their folders.

Kids: AAAAHHHH! IS THIS FOR REAL????? ARE YOU SERIOUS?? WHEN??? TOMORROW??

Cuckoo: WHAT IS GOING ON?!!? ('Cause he can't read)

Inside each of those file folders was a boarding pass and a packet detailing each and every ride at Disney World.

For months and months, Bryan, my mom, his mom, and I were able to keep the biggest secret we've ever kept.

Back in February when the school schedules for this year came out, we saw that for the first time ever, the elementary school and the high school had the same week-long fall break. We decided not to let this opportunity go by.

As the kids know full-well, we take a Disney vacation every 5 years. We drive, and we stay off-site in order to save loads of money. This time, since Phoenix will be graduating next year and we don't know if the breaks will line up again, we jumped on it. And we went all out.

We flew.

We stayed in a Disney resort.

We went a year and a half before we were "supposed" to.

And they had no idea whatsoever.

After they received their packets and knew that we were going, Bryan announced another surprise, "You have 20 minutes to shower (a couple of kids had just gotten home from practice before dinner),grab your toothbrush, a jacket, and your shoes, and be ready to go. Mom already packed your bags."

It was all very exciting.

And loud.

Very, very loud.

But mostly very, very exciting.

It was a fabulous week, and the thankfuls are overflowing.

Unfortunately, we took a pathetically few number of photos. We didn't even get a video of the kids being surprised with the news of the vacation. We just enjoyed the moments as they came. I'll give ya what I've got.

1. There were some snafus in the actual getting to Florida, including injury (my mom), soccer (teams winning sectional games), and a cancelled flight (the one Phoenix and I were to be on), but in the end all 10 of us got there safely.

Phoenix and I didn't get to Orlando until a full 24 hours after the rest of our family. We went straight to Magic Kingdom from the airport to meet up with everyone. Can you tell how happy we were to finally get there? :)


2. The weather was perfection the entire week. Sunny and 80s until the last couple of hours of our trip, and even then it was just overcast and 70s.

Turken and Cuckoo cooling off on the 88 degree day in the splash pad

3. Staying on Disney property has some definite perks, and the biggest one is the transportation. While we spent most of the days together, we were able to stagger our return trips to the hotel. Those who wanted to stay out later could, while those of us who were worn out could head back.

We stayed at the Art of Animation complex, and the decor outside was awesome.

4. The last night of vacation, we split up into four groups (one adult for each) so the kids could do what they wanted on their last night. It meant that Turken and I were able to spend some time just the two of us. We explored Animal Kingdom, seeing lots of things the others have never seen (and couldn't see with 10 people traveling together), then went back to the hotel to swim.



5.  The two times we've taken the kids to Disney, we've spent one day going around the world of Epcot trying food from all the different countries. This year we happened to be there during the food and wine festival, and it was so good we decided to spend TWO days making our way around to the food stands of 30 countries.

Don't ask me what Turken is doing. I'm pretty sure he's not smelling my behind. I think he's exhausted and leaning on me at a very awkward angle.

6. Both my mom and Bryan's mom were able to go on this trip with us. The kids and the grandmas have such a good time making some memories together.

My mom wanted a photo with the oddball grandkids.
7. While we were terrible about taking photos, Disney helped us out. At every park photographers are everywhere to get pictures in front of different attractions. Plus, they take photos on every single thrill ride. Before the trip, Bryan signed us up for the photo package, so we could just order every one then print what we wanted when we got home. We got several good family photos and many, many, many photos on the rides. Our family loves to do funny poses for the ride photos, so we figure out where the cameras are and prepare.

My mom and Star did not know that Bryan and I were going to cover their eyes, so they are trying to do their prepared pose while we cover their eyes. Just in case you plan on doing funny ride photos, they won't even let you look at photos if a boy puts his shirt over his head. The boys learned this on a previous ride. I guess this pose was OK, though. (See Phoenix and Giant in the back row (I was adamant that he keep his shirt on the rest of the week.))
8. To continue the ridiculousness, Bryan was chosen to be an "extra" during the Indiana Jones show. (I took a video, but my computer is having some trouble downloading it.) Just picture my serious, lawyer husband strutting his stuff across the stage, then flicking his wrist in a dramatic final pose. In front of several hundred people. He brought the house down. I love that the kids get to see their dad being silly and completely not concerned with what people think. It helped my self-conscious teens loosen up and have some fun themselves throughout the week.

9. It was a rare ride that I sat with one of my kids on one of the rides. They only rode with me if they had to. Same with Bryan. I must admit, it stung at first to know that I was the last choice for partner in roller coaster riding. But after taking a look at what was going on, it warmed my heart to see that they weren't rejecting me as much as they were choosing each other. My kids are honestly and truly friends. They want to ride rides together. They want to hang out together. This is precisely what Bryan and I pray for and encourage, as it is way more important when they are adults for them to be friends with each other than to be friends with us.

10. This vacation was kind of bittersweet. It is the last big, family vacation we will take before the older kids start moving off to college and their adult lives. While I'm looking forward to the adult relationships I will have with them, I am going to miss these family vacations something fierce. I will forever be grateful for Bryan's job, which allows us to have these experiences. I will forever be grateful that we took the opportunities as they came, living up these short, precious years the kids are in our care.

So, now you know about the big secret I alluded to last week. Have you had any big surprises lately?

Have a lovely day!




Ten Things of Thankful


 Your hosts

Join the Ten Things of Thankful Facebook Group

40 comments:

  1. wow .. i would not be able to keep a straight face around the kids and the reveal I would have loved to see their faces...Disney is wonderful we had a great time when we went last year we enjoyed the food, the company and the rides...I can imagine how fun and delicious the food festival must have been..
    wonderful tens have a lovely Sunday and week...

    we are starting preparation for Confirmation it is a two year process, and I am excited for James to really learn about our religion , any tips would be wonderful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It wasn't too hard until the last couple of days. I almost gave away the entire plan a few times!
      The food festival was fabulous. Bryan and I discussed it, and we agreed that we'd never go to Disney without kids, except to spend a week going around the food and wine festival. Delicious!

      How exciting for you and James! Two years for prep is an impressive amount of time. I'm always curious to hear how other parishes do it. I'll message you on FB so we can chat. :)

      Delete
  2. Wow...what a brilliant secret for you to keep. It sounds like you had a fantastic time, your enjoyment shines through in your writing and photos. What a great idea to get the photo package too - when all the kids have grown up and finally left home you'll have those photos and memories to look back on over the years.

    My only 'big' surprise this week was a check from the tax man for £320 - I knew I had something to come back but reckoned it was less than half that so I'm well happy :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was a fantastic time, and I imagine I'll be flipping through those photos many times over the years. And then showing them to any grandchildren we'll get. :)

      What a nice surprise for you!

      Delete
  3. For some reason there are tears of joy in my eyes as I'm reading this. I would have loved to see the kids' faces when the red folders appeared. What wonderful family fun and love. Number 9 is so important - having your kids be friends with one another. It wasn't always so here with big brother, little sister. But now things are great!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm sorry we didn't get any video. My mom's one job... ;)

      I'm glad your children have become friends over the years. I pray mine continue to be.

      Delete
  4. very, very cool.

    that about says it all… (although I'll add to Phoenix and Giant, 'excellent, yo, excellent')

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not surprised you like their photo. :)

      Delete
  5. I read your posts all the time, but have never commented. Not sure when exactly you were at Disney, but my whole family was there, too!! My 2 grown kids, my granddaughter, my MIL and my husband. So take heart. You will probably still get to have family vacations even when the kids have flown the coop.

    Sounds like a wonderful trip!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Diana, thank you for taking the time to leave a message for me! We were there just last week, Saturday to Saturday. Bryan and I would love nothing more than to vacation with our adult children and their families. I pray it works out as well as it has for you.

      It was!

      Delete
  6. Very cool. Theyll be telling your grandchildren this for the rest of their days!

    ReplyDelete
  7. That is an amazing surprise for your family, and I agree with you that it is nice when siblings get along.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They were gobsmacked, for sure. :)

      Not to say that they don't get on each other's nerves sometimes, but overall, they get along beautifully. It's great to see.

      Delete
  8. What a fabulous week spent with your family. This couldn't have been anymore awesome.

    The best thankful post you've ever done and you've done a lot of thankful posts.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was a fabulous week.

      Wow, that's saying something, seeing as how I think you've read every one of those many thankful posts! Glad you liked it. :)

      Delete
  9. What a fun surprise for everyone! I've been thinking lately how we spend too much time with photos (I'm so guilty, because I love them!) and such rather than simply taking in the moments. I think it's kind of a fabulous thing that you only got a few photos because you were enjoying the moments of such an awesome family trip!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know it was fun for them to be surprised with a vacation, but it was even more fun for Bryan and me to plan it these last many months. The last few days were extra exciting!

      I do love photos, but sometimes taking them just interrupts the flow and fun. We just need to take mental photos and let the fun continue.

      Delete
  10. OH how I would've loved to see the reactions!! I love surprising others. :D Looks like you all had a marvelous time. What wonderful memories for all of you. <3

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm sorry! I'm blaming my mom. She was just sitting there with her phone in her hand, not recording any of it. :)

      It was marvelous.

      Delete
  11. My parents surprised my siblings and myself with this same sort of thing...twice. I will never forget those memories. Reading this made me a little sad because I miss those trips, now that we are grown, but family vacations with parents, children, grandparents and grandchildren...Disney in October with family and there's nothing better.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. WOW! It was hard enough to pull this off once. I can't imagine doing it twice! It warms my heart to know you cherish those vacation memories so much. I pray our kids feel the same way as they get older. I know I fondly remember the few trips I took as a child with my parents. We still talk about them, actually.

      Delete
  12. Who cares about photos. What you made was far better- lots of great memories! Thanks for sharing the week with us.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not me! :) Memories that can be talked about and relived for years and years to come.

      Delete
  13. I can SO VERY IMAGINE IT! And in your house imagine it, too! I LOVE THAT! And I'm so so happy that it went well, and that you had a gorgeous time, and WELL DONE for linking up even though you were away all week. What an amazing time to have for your family, and so special to do on this perfect-timing occasion. So happy for you all (and I can totally imagine Bryan strutting his stuff...)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Isn't it fun to now be able to picture all of these people in their homes? Makes reading even better!

      It was absolutely hysterical. I was actually crying I was laughing so hard. The kids' could not stop with the howling laughter.

      Delete
  14. I've been thinking about you this week. I'm so glad that everything went well! Your kids will never roll their eyes at homework again! :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha! Well, I won't hold my breath about the eye-rolling, but they may be suspicious of us from now on. :)

      Delete
  15. my kids have flown the coup...I am missing these times..so glad you were able to have a wonderful trip to remember.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know I will miss it desperately. The transition of all the kids being in school this year has been hard enough. When they start heading off to adult lives, I'll be a wreck, I'm sure.

      Delete
  16. I opened this post up this morning and read it and then had to run off to a soccer tournament.. followed by a football super bowl game for end of the season and our team won! THEN out to dinner with all the family to celebrate...

    So... I'm home to comment finally!! ha! (I know you get it!!)

    I am just so happy that your family had such a GREAT experience on this incredible surprise trip!! I just smiled through reading this entire post- oh the memories for you and those precious kiddos of yours!! And I especially love how they LOVE each other and want to be together... as hard as it was for you- what a BLESSING you hold right there in the palm of your hands that you have established... to have such a beautiful family who truly adores each other. That makes my heart swell... <3

    Bittersweet trip, I know. But what a PERFECT way to have your final trip with all your chickadees home. LOVE IT!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, I get it alright. I'm just now replying to comments because I was taking Giant to a soccer game in Ft. Wayne. We left right after 9:00 church and returned at 6:00 pm. (Congrats to the super bowl champs!)

      It was a marvelous trip. A great last hurrah before it all falls apart and they start leaving me. ;)

      My kids' relationships are getting better and better, as they all move into high school, play on the same team, and ride home with Phoenix driving. They spend a lot of time together, take a lot of the same classes, so it's a good thing they like each other! :)

      Delete
  17. Oh, my goodness, this is just OVERFLOWING with thankfuls! I can't believe you were able to keep the whole thing a surprise from the kids. I love the picture of you and Phoenix. And the boys with 'Mater. And you and Buttercup. We've only been to Disney World once, and we stayed in a Disney resort and were never sorry it might have cost more. And we parked our car when we arrived and never got in it again until we checked out; that bus system is awesome!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can't believe it, either! I almost blew it several times during the last couple of days.

      It's one of my favorite photos, too.

      While the wait to catch those buses was really long at times, it was quite handy to not have to drive.

      Delete
  18. We enjoyed a similar secret years ago over a long Labor Day weekend to Disney! We, however, didn't do the resort thing; but we did fly! The kids played hangman to learn about the trip. Great memories for yours and mine!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love hearing about parents surprising their kids! It is so much fun to do. What a great idea to use a game of hangman to reveal the secret! It's made extra funny because each of my little boys had a fanny pack with snacks and a little notepad in it. We played endless games of hangman standing in line waiting for the bus or a ride. :)

      Delete
  19. What a wonderful surprise! Don’t feel bad about not taking pictures. Sometimes we need to take a vacation from that as well. You had everyone with you that you wanted to share the experience with so that’s all you need. Love that your group was big enough to spilt up and let everyone do what they wanted to do that last night.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Oh my gosh! What a wonderful surprise and trip for your kids! They will remember this forever! Your family has changed and grown since I first discovered your blog. It IS so bittersweet as they become young adults. I'm in central FL, an hour from Orlando - we could have had lunch somewhere! HA! Really, though, looks like your days were full of fun and memories. What a beautiful gift for your whole family.

    ReplyDelete
  21. The memories made and shared by all if you will be priceless keepsakes forever, and table talk for years to come. This is in keeping with my "Do It Now" philosophy of life that moves so quickly. What an awesome surprise!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Okay, your post has me in tears. I think this surprise trip for your family was such a wonderful gift! I know of another family who surprised their children in a similar manner, tickets and being given a very short amount of time to get ready, Mom having already packed their things, etc. Your description of your children wanting to go on the rides together because they are such good friends is what brought the tears. That is such a blessing, when after your children are grown, they have that tie that binds. As for not having a lot of photos, that will just make all the reunion stories in the future that much funnier, and there won't be any pictures to prove who has the true recollection. Just get ready for, "Remember when. . ."

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for taking the time to tell me what you're thinking!