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The Long Drive

I’ve always enjoyed the car ride to get where I’m going — you know, the being able to stop when and where you want, drive as far or as little as you want, get there when you get there. Well, that’s not exactly the free-spirited days that we have experienced the last two days. What started as a leisurely trip to Orlando, has left us all in need of some magical Mickeyness.

When we finally headed out of our house yesterday, it was noon — just a wee bit later than initially planned. But, that was ok. After all, we were free-spiriting the day. A slightly later start meant nothing. We made our first stop just two hours into the journey. Last minute Christmas visits to relatives. So, once again, we got on the road a little later than planned. Our next stop came about an hour  later — the kids always remind us when we have neglected to feed them.

Our free-spirited drive was really going well.

After the stop to feed the masses, we continued for at least another hour before the traffic decided to stop — completely — for another hour as we inched along a ten-mile span.

The free-spirit was still dancing and singing in the car.

We drove on, pushing into the night. Talking of all the adventures on which we were about to embark. The car ride is probably the one last place where you can gather family together (they are unable to escape). So we talked, and laughed, and sang goofy 80’s songs.

The free-spirit continued to entice us.

The grumpiness finally came around midnight when we were searching for a hotel.

The free-spirit seemed to be making its way from our grips — it was finally beginning to fade.

We awoke very leisurely again this morning — the final leg of our journey should only take us a couple of more hours. Perhaps the free-spirit would return.

We finally arrived at our hotel, tired and cranky (not emotions fit for the happiest place on Earth).

The long drive seems to have chased our free-spirit away.

So here we are, all tucked in. Making plans for tomorrow — each of us mustering up the energy to relax.

Each of us asking the free-spirit to return.

Waiting…

The long drive brought us to our destination — magical Mickeyness will bring us the rest of the way.

The free-spirit will find us again — soon.

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The Joy Of A Hotel

The day of departure came and went — the day we headed out to our first real vacation of the year. Ok, so technically part of the first vacation of this year will also be the first vacation for next year. Which makes me think — this is my husbands way of not doing a vacation next year. Anyway, I have to say real vacation to clarify the difference (in case you aren’t aware).

We have gone away this year, twice so far. The first time was an impromptu two-day trip to a place called Holiday World (yes, the Griswold’s came to my mind as well). It was fun because we surprised the kids — we woke them up, told them to get in the car, then listened to the squeals as we drove — (Yes, all three hours. We will plan that better next time). The hotel we stayed at was… well, let’s just say it had a distinct odor that made me think the reindeer had frequented it. This, is my mind, can not be categorized as a real vacation (this is where my husband and I don’t see eye to eye). My reasoning is that a real vacation has to be planned. This was merely a whim. Whims with smelly hotels are not vacations.

The other trip we took this year was to visit relatives in Texas. We did actually plan this one. It was really fun (I have the best cousins). This, in my mind, can not be categorized as a vacation because we did not stay in a hotel. Therefore, visiting relatives without staying in a hotel is not a real vacation.

Which brings us to — a real vacation. The first real vacation in over a year and three months (yea, I was keeping track). This vacation a) was planned b) will make my financial life creepy for a few months c) will involve several nights at (hopefully) an awesome hotel d) Ok, I’m not sure what d is but I’m sure it will come to me. Therefore… real vacation.

Here is one great thing about this first day, I’m awake and everyone else is asleep. These moments on vacation are few so I am really taking this in. Especially since we are all crowded in to this one last remaining hotel room we found at midnight.

You know, when I was a child and we would go on family vacations, I never remember the joy of a hotel room being involved. I distinctly remember being in the sixth grade the first time I ever stayed at a hotel. It had a courtyard in the middle of it loaded with fake vegetation and a swimming pool right in the center of everything so that it was surrounded by all the rooms. I was in high school before I stayed in a hotel again — it was in Hawaii (rumor had it Elvis stayed there). After that, my memory gets a little shaky — but, the adventure of a hotel still brings a smile to my face.

When we first got in the car yesterday, my youngest immediately asked when we were going to get to the hotel (umm, yea… we’re going to Disney — could she at least be excited by the final destination). By last night, all of my children were asking where the hotel was. The relief on their faces when we found a room was priceless — the long day, the cramped car ride, the lack of a good meal all vanished.

Hotels are magical places for kids. I think because there’s this whole big slumber party feel to it — and who doesn’t love a slumber party.

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Into The New

The night is winding down as Christmas day makes its way into our past events once again. It’s been a wonderful, emotional, sad, funny, anxiety ridden, laid back time — all at once. I wanted to share some of the things I’ve heard over the last couple of days.

Last night at the candle light service, my son was sitting next to me as we were given our candles to be used later in the night. Being an eleven year old boy, he immediately started pretending to burn his cousin who was sitting next to him. They had a wonderful game of pretend fire. Then, he turned to me and said, “Hey mom, do you remember how you were always scared that Nanny’s hair would catch on fire?”

I laughed and said, “Yeah, I remember”.

This morning, as the kids were opening their gifts, I handed my two older kids laptops. I said to them that these were from us and their Nanny. My son, being ever so wise, looked at me and said, “But, Nanny’s, you know, dead.” I laughed and said, “Yes, but her money lives on.” He, without skipping a beat, said, “Will her money still be alive when it’s my birthday?”

This made me laugh, really hard. In that sometimes we’re not supposed to laugh at strange humor but we do anyway way.

Laughter is always there to pull us through.

I am leaving on vacation with my family in the morning. I have had a wonderful journey on this blog so far and am sure to have many more stories to tell — about getting healthy, about family, about friends, about vacations to Disney, about a special party in New York.  Thanks for joining me so far… Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy New Year.

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