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 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.
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.|
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!
A Fly on our (Chicken Coop) Wall, Amycake and the Dude, Considerings, Finding Ninee, Getting Literal, I Want Backsies, The Meaning of Me, Thankful Me, Uncharted, The Wakefield Doctrine
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