Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Dreamer chimes in...

I really can't remember how I got roped into this deal or how it ever got to be my dream - I think I wasn't paying attention when Marianne and Elizabeth cooked this up and I agreed to it thinking either that they were kidding or that it would never happen anyway and it least it would quiet them. Later, when I realized the fix I was in, I decided to go forward against my better judgment figuring it would either be the best vacation I ever had (not counting that HERSELF wasn't there for the whole time) or,more likely, the worst. Actually - aside from the first few hours with Hayes - I had a great time and thoroughly enjoyed it. With the help of medication, my blood pressure is returning to normal and, without medication, my ears have stopped ringing. I now remember why God gives you children when you're young and understand that grandchildren are your reward for not killing your children. I am glad, despite misgivings along the way, that we let Elizabeth and Marianne live.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The end of the dream

Sorry for the delay in our final posts. I hope you all realize that we've both been pretty busy. E, back in the swing of things in Colorado-check out their blog at We've been busy here in California getting settled in our new

Anyway, E and I were furiously packing the van, using the four kids as cones that we were desperately trying to maneuver around. Finally, we're finished, let's grab the last handfuls and bring the kids with us, the door will lock right behind...

And that's when we found Leo, who had found the bag of Cheerios, in the last handful of crap headed for the car. Delay=5 minutes. Good thing E and I found this absolutely hilarious and took at least three of those minutes to laugh hysterically.

Alright, let's go!

Don't worry about those guys up there, won't it be much quieter without 'em?
We took Beam and Hayes to the airport, slowed down just enough to kick 'em out, and headed Northbound. A little traffic around Hotlanta slowed us down...

But, we arrived back at Totten Way at 130 am! Check closely-that's 9791 miles, as opposed to our starting tally of 6511 when we started. I'll do the math for you-that's a grand total of 3,280 miles as one family unit! Papa's Dream was a success, if I do say so myself.

What do you think we should do next year?

Monday, December 21, 2009

Stephen arrives, Big Mama turns 66, downtown Fernandina, whew, that's a lot!

Surprise addition to our fantastic trip! Stephen decided after watching the "rifleman's creed" video that he had to get back to his kids asap. That ended up happening a couple days ago. Eden, obviously was excited to see her Papa Bear, and Reeder got pretty jazzed also. Eden is so smitten with her father that it's crazy. I mean, she is OBSESSED with this guy!

I decided to take the Kappel kids on our own little cupcake walk and give the Irvin's some family time. Cupcakes are golf balls hidden off course. When we were little, Dad would give us 25 cents a ball. Shockingly, Matthew would take E and me out to the marshiest part of the plantation, send us with a plastic bag into the muck, watching, occasionally shouting "ALLIGATOR", watch us completely freak out, try to run back through the muck, laughing all the while. Nice. Anyway, I took our kids on a slightly less frightening version of this. Oh, and, of course, with Matthew, we would get back, put all the golf balls into the tub, wash 'em, and never see a dime. Hmmmm...
Happy Birthday Big Mama! The hot chick is 66! PS. Big Mama and Hayes have some sort of weird bond going. Notice that he is the only one not looking at the camera-but straight at his BEEM!
Santa came to Fernandina! And we were ready. The girls have been talking to their elf, Salmon Coodle, daily, explaining what they would like and that they have been good girls. Eden waited outside for the big man.
Reeder asked for a princess scooter, Eden for an umbrella. I'm serious.
They didn't like it quite so much...
Back to birthday shots. The girls made crowns for everyone while Big Mama and Papa went for massages (don't feel too sorry for E and me-we got them the next day).
And helped blow out the candles!
Isn't this kid adorable?
And I still get my snuggle time!
Ya know Big Mama and Hayes' connection, Leo's got one for the old man.
Pirates in Fernandina. This was Peg Leg and the girls loved him.
Just me being artsy fartsy, thought it was a cool stairwell.
From then on Reed needed a pic with every pirate we passed.
Arghhh, our pirate faces.
Check it out-a new driver, and a wreath! Classy touches to our van!

Thursday, December 17, 2009


On the eve of the 16th, Marianne, Reeder, Shannon, Wyatt, Eden and I met my parents and the boys at Shades of Green - a military hotel on disney property. Staying there was a huge score - normally you need to reserve 7 months ahead of time but we got really lucky. Mickey was there to greet us all...Luckily the fun is not only at Disney - Shades of Green has a restuarant/arcade - brilliant! The kids played games (including tackle Leo). Eden really enjoyed the smash the spider game - she won a ton of tickets (possibly a game malfunction) that enabled us to purchase junky bracelets and rings as prizes.
Reeder has quite a future in the LPBA.

We were all up at the crack of dawn to make the 'magical hours' on the morning of the 17th. While some people visit Disney - we take Disney by storm using the unofficial guide - we follow it like the bible. Papa Jerry stands at the exit of every ride telling us where to go next - and we never have to wait in lines. The day was absolutely are the highlights.

The crew waiting for the bus to monorail to Magic Kingdom...

Papa Jerry is his usual post - not on a ride, but patiently waiting to direct us to our next destination...
Marianne, Eden, and Reeder enjoying the high flying Dumbo ride - our first of the day.
Wyatt loved the Dumbo ride but not Shannon - oh no, not Shannon (she has a thing with heights)
Big Mama and the 'Hugger' getting ready for an adventure...

Then on to Peter Pan's adventure - it was a little dark and scary for the girls although Reeder like the volcano....

Papa Jerry, Shannon, and I hanging in Disney - we even pretended to be enjoying our time together.
From the mommy perspective the 3D movie was unreal - the girls stood on their chairs trying to grab everything that flew towards us. Wyatt studied the mechanisms of his glasses and tried to discover the riddle of a 3D movie.
We all make assumptions about our children - Reeder is a little more hesitant and Eden the daredevil although many times on the trip they flipped roles and left us scratching our heads. Disney was one of those times - Reeder decreed that she wanted to ride Splash Mountain and Eden was more than happy to be deemed to short - and ride it she did. Her final analysis was that the hills were fun but the cave a little too dark!!!
Is map reading genetically inherited? We think so....
Reeder, Eden, Wyatt, Shannon, and I were standing outside our lunch spot when we heard the distinct sound of New Orleans Jazz - and I did what I never expected myself to do - I grabbed the children and ran full speed towards the music of Princess Tiana. Wyatt had no prior princess experience but now he wants to be a prince...and Eden and Reeder, well, they were in heaven watching Tiana sing and dance.
The greatest thing about staying at Shades of Green was that we went back to the hotel for naptime and returned to Disney with happy kids for evening activities. On the way back we took the ferry - quite possibly the kids' favorite ride.
Since Shannon lives in Florida she is completely unprepared for the freezing temperatures of Oralndo in December (mid-50s mind you) she proudly sported Papa Jerry's prized sweatshirt. And yes, Shannon does love Reagan.
And no trip to Disney is complete without purchasing gear - luckily Big Mama outfitted the girls' at the PX at Shades of Green thereby saving hundreds of dollars on fleece alone.
The big kids were tuckered out by the time Cinderalla's fairy godmother decorated her castle - so the mommies gave them lifts....
Snowing on Main Street - and Hayes is amazed!
On the ferry back to Shades of Green - take that Disney!!!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Cooties and Old Friends

This is just a little tiny taste of our time in Casselberry. I had some major camera malfunctioning, still trying to work out the details. What this means to you-this blog post will be updated when I get my photos from Shannon from our night out with the BEST neighbors in the world-the Coutants (cooties). But for now, just two pics for your viewing pleasure.

That afternoon, Shannon organized a playdate for Reeder to hang out with her old cronies. We had an awesome group of moms in Casselberry that I hung out with daily. A few of them showed up for a little reunion show.

These are Reeder's first besties-Preston, Ava and Wyatt. I can't believe how big all these kids are! We met Ava when Reeder was just weeks old at a breastfeeding luncheon-I can't believe it's already been four years! AHHHH!

Burn baby burn

We've finally made it to the 407! I made some incredible friends during our "tour" here, and I was more than excited when a party was planned.

Here's the low down. One of my besties, Cha Cha, had reduction surgery this summer. To celebrate the new Jen (Cha Cha), we had a bra burning pary for her at Shannon's house. So we all got together, lit the fire and let the fun begin. E "casted" the circle with a little shout out to Jen. Then we all went around and gave Jen love from each of and told her how INCREDIBLE she looks from the inside out. She truly is amazing and I was so glad to have this awesome night with her.

The cast-Marshall, Jen R., Me, E, Shannon-front and center-Cha Cha!

The fire gettin' ready...

And before it gets burned we all had to try it on, of course! Doesn't E look fierce (Tyra would be soooo proud).

Shannon in her best goddess pose.

Jen showin' the goods!

Natalee posing for the paparazzi.

Yours truly, of course. I think we all have modeling potential...

And Marshall showing other options for what the bra could be used for...

One last time, let's get rid of it Cha Cha!

Burn baby burn!

Cheers Cha Cha-we LOVE you!