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Life’s too short...to never sleep in a treehouse! 8/27 TR is up! Link in siggie

Discussion in 'Pre-Trip Reports and Plans' started by eandesmom, Sep 14, 2009.

  1. eandesmom

    eandesmom I'm with Beast

    Life is short. And all too often I know I get caught up in things that, in the big picture, aren’t all that important. They aren’t what matters. The minutia of life doesn’t play a minor role most days for me. It can take over and be hard to see past. Sometimes however, things happen, that remind us to take a step back and re-evaluate, re-prioritize. To stop. To breathe. To just be.


    I have had such a weekend. And while I don’t want to start this PTR out on a sad note it is true that such events are often the catalyst for moving other things forward in life and this is certainly a contributing factor in this case.

    I went into my weekend caught up in minutia. Caught up in life. And ok, maybe it isn't minutia but none of it was anything that thinking about, in the moment I was thinking about it, could have possibly had a positive purpose for.

    I had a magical day planned with my husband Jeff on Friday that should have been spent completely focused on enjoying the moment. Instead, at times, I let myself dwell on things, be distracted by things that had nothing to do with the moment I was in, moments I won't get back. It was a good day. A great day even. However, it should have been, could have been, unforgettable, magical. Defining even. I let life get in the way of that, and knew I was doing it at the time and did it anyway.

    Later that night, a coach in our rec soccer league, died from a burst aorta at his daughters practice. I did not know him, but I did know one of the families on the team, their son plays with our youngest and it was surreal to know that the very field our boys were playing on that morning, had witnessed such a horrible tragedy the night before. That their daughter, only 9, had witnessed it at that age.

    It vividly brought to mind the loss of a parent on the same team, just 2 years prior, to a horrendous freak accident, driving to his son's practice. I spent much of Saturday reflecting on time, and making time count and reminding myself to enjoy the moment (and berating myself for my self absorption the day before). I didn’t have a chance to discuss any of this with my Jeff, he was off at different soccer game and then our evening was taken over with a last afternoon at the lake enjoying the summer weather and then a family party at our house, celebrating 2 of our kids birthdays with cousins and grandparents.

    I was blessed with such a moment to treasure later that evening. The party had started quite late and with 6 boys ranging from ages 9-12 my house felt VERY small after about an hour of them being cooped up inside as it was dark out. The TV’s were occupied with adults watching sports or teens hiding from young annoying boys and I was trying to figure out how to commandeer one of the TV’s for the younger ones when my 10 year old nephew Isaac asked me if he could have a blanket.

    “For what” I asked. "To go outside, lay down, and look at the stars". "Is that ok Aunt Cindy?".

    I had to stop myself, for a nanosecond, from even thinking about my blankets being spread out on the street or in the driveway, from caring about dirt and gum and whatever else. From thinking that I can't wash them after they do this because my washer is broke and it won't get fixed until Tuesday afternoon It was a nanosecond. But it was there.

    "Yes of course that's ok Izzy, let's go see what we have"

    That evening, 5 of the 6 previously completely wild boys laid down in my driveway, looking at the stars, finding Jupiter and discussing constellations. It was their idea from start to finish, all we did was provide blankets. Blankets I haven't washed. In fact, I haven't even checked to see if they are dirty or not. It would have been 6 little boys but my autistic nephew wanted to read inside. My DS Evan, also 10, tried to get his cousin to come join them, offering a flashlight so he could continue to read but Quin, 11, declined.

    Often on a night like this, Jeff will get out the telescope and show the boys what to look for. They love it. But there was a soccer game on TV and Jeff, along with the rest of the adults was otherwise engaged.

    They wanted stars. They figured out how to get them on their own.

    I have no pictures to share of that moment, observing the boys from my front porch, other than the ones in my heart but they give me joy as I write just to think about.

    They can be sweet, those wild boys.
    They can have quiet moments.
    they can CREATE moments
    They can reflect.
    They can just...be.

    It is so easy to forget that.

    The next morning we learned that my BIL, Doug, had a mild heart attack and was awaiting surgery. Doug is self employed and does not have insurance and does not take the greatest care of himself. Doug and Jeff are not terribly close, a source of sadness to all. They are not “not” close (if that makes any sense to anyone but me) but just very different people living very different lives. All 3 men, the coach Friday night, the dad 2 years ago and Doug, were 42 or 43. My husband Jeff and I spent much of Sunday in shock and reflection.

    We decided, part of the way through our day yesterday, in the midst of baby showers and hospital updates, that we need to include Doug in our next family trip. As some of you know, we didn't have a family trip this summer, letting "life" get in the way. We haven't even seen Doug since July of 08. Sure that's only a year but if you only have 1 brother, that's pretty long in my book. At best it's once a year. I am blessed, most of my siblings are nearby and I see them all the time. Jeff's family means travel and we often put the burden on them, making the excuse that there are less of them than us, and it's easier.

    But that's a convenient excuse. With Doug, we have so very few of those moments with him so far, especially the kids, they barely know Uncle Doug. And while this was mild, it was scary and there is some pretty significant family history in that area.

    We decided today, that the trip would be to Orlando. There are a lot of reasons why and over the course of this PTR I'm sure I'll mention most of them.

    The bottom line is I’m pretty sure we can see the stars there. I plan to lay outside on the deck and find out. And even if we can’t see them, we will know they are there. I think that's pixie dust. Lots and lots of it. And I also know that pixie dust has magical healing properties.

    What better place to create those moments. And maybe, just maybe, a new dynamic for uncles and brothers.

    There may be a lot of very good reasons why we shouldn’t do this trip. There may be some significant hurdles to overcome to make this trip happen. But the reasons we SHOULD, well, let’s just say the other stuff isn’t important. Can be overcome. Should be overcome.

    So say we all.

    I hope you enjoy planning with me. And talking me off the ledge if I get overwhelmed with the minutia of life at times and it seems like we won’t pull this off.

    Here is a quick picture and list of our cast of characters, much more bio and history in the upcoming posts. Even though the trip is quite a ways away, life is too short not to make plans. And, while those plans may ultimately not work out or may need to change, there is significant joy and hope to be found in the planning. Plus, as I think most of you will agree, it makes the trip come faster.


    I have decided to dispense with nicknames, if I’m planning this far out, it will make it much easier! By the time this trip happens, we (with the exception of Eric) will all be a year older. Of course we are all older now than in this picture but it's the only shot of all 9 of us I have (from Dec 07 lol!)

    • Cynthia. Me. The planner of the clan. 43
    • Jeff. My fabulous(ly tolerant of my Disney addiction) husband. 45
    • Taylor. DSS16
    • Kendall. DSD13
    • Evan. DS10
    • Eric. DS9
    • Sandie. My fantabulous MIL. I won’t divulge her age!
    • Paul. Sandie’s amazing husband. Who also happened to marry Jeff and I :thumbsup2 He is the bomb. And a huge Disney fan.
    • Doug. Jeff’s brother (my BIL lol), 43
    • And a possible add on, Laura, Doug’s girlfriend

    Handy dandy update links!

    Part one

    Part Two
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  3. cascarlet

    cascarlet Member

    Well said!! Life is too short!! Looking forward to reading your reports, especially staying at the Tree House!!
  4. eandesmom

    eandesmom I'm with Beast

  5. mickeysmyboy

    mickeysmyboy <a href="http://www.wdwinfo.com/dis-sponsor/" targ

    :cool1: I saw your new tag pop up when I scrolled through my PTR and had to come jump on! I have to come back later and read your post because I have to go get the kiddos up for school now! Be back soon!
  6. TarzansKat

    TarzansKat <font color=deeppink>I may be TarzansKat, but I lo


    I know how you feel, and I'm very proud of you for deciding to do this. There will always be reasons not to do things, and you're finding the good reasons to do them. That, in and of itself, is a kind of blessing.
  7. eandesmom

    eandesmom I'm with Beast

    Yeah! ladies who are leaving soon on their own fabulous trips!

    Hi Melissa! Welcome!!!! When I get to 50 days I'm going to borrow your blinkie. Love that.


    TK! Yay!

    Thanks and yes, it is a blessing. BIL is supposed to be released from the hospital today and can go back to work next week, that's the real blessing! More on that later. :)
  8. TarzansKat

    TarzansKat <font color=deeppink>I may be TarzansKat, but I lo

    Awww...I couldn't ask for a better reception!

    Oh, thank goodness. :goodvibes
  9. eandesmom

    eandesmom I'm with Beast

    Since I have so much time to plan and PTR this time I'm going to do it right with lots of info on our cast, history, disney obsession, the works!

    So without further ado.... here is our gang! First up, the parental units. AKA DH and I.

    Me. Cynthia. Mom to the e's....



    Currently "in transition" I guess. LOL! I guess technically I am a WAHM. I was with the same company for 13 years, was laid off, took some time off to hang with my kids and then went back into a new industry. My new industry is struggling and my position has been moved to 100% commission. Which, is not really what I'm looking for at this point in my life. So I'm in the midst of a job hunt while trying to bring stuff in and truthfully it was a bit of a hard summer for me in many many ways. I'm glad that school has started and I can focus on this new chapter of my life, whatever it may turn out to be. That's the life getting in the way stuff and I'm REALLY going to work on not letting it get in the way anymore!

    There is a lot more to me than the job saga! I am the mother to 2 wonderful little boys whose names, yep, both start with E. Evan is 10 and Eric is 9. More on them later. It wasn't really planned, it just happened that I liked E names. DH and I often call them E1 and E2 (like Thing 1 and Thing 2). I am also the stepmother (or bonus mom, a term I vastly prefer) to a couple of teenagers. Kendall is 13 and Taylor is 16 although will be 17 next month, gasp. It's a pretty cool job being a bonus mom. I always wanted a large family and this way I didn't have to be pregnant all those times! Actually I didn't mind the pregnancy parts, just the newborn parts. LOL.

    My DH Jeff and I have been married for almost 5 years, together for 7. Being a mom, and bonus mom, to 4 is a bit nutty at times but I like being busy. I don't do well with free time! When I'm not working or shuttling kids around, or volunteering at their events and helping raise money for their schools I like to read, travel, garden, hike, camp and bike. I'm also a closet geek, I love software, especially graphic programs but have almost an equal obsession with spreadsheets. I love seeing what technology can do but don't' really have a clue what I am doing most of the time. Even though Jeff is the engineer, I'm the one who fixes stuff around here or teaches people how it works be it ipods, phones, computers, etc. I stay away from the cars though.

    We are blessed to live in the great Pacific Northwest and I am one of those rare natives! I've lived here all my life with the exception of 10 years in Chicago. I do have a great deal of fondness for Chi-town...it gave me the E's :)

    We are avid outdoors folks which I think is part of why we loved Fort Wilderness so much on our last Disney trip. And why we really really want to stay in a treehouse.

    I've been going to Disney since I was 10. My first trip was, fittingly enough, with MY bonus mom! Who is my mom in my heart and that's what I call her. She started a whole clan of fanatics (I'm the oldest of 6) but it was that first trip to Disneyland that got me hooked. I will never forget the tears and devastation I felt when my tshirt from that trip was ruined just a few weeks later, I was that bonded, even then! Since then I've had quite a few trips to DL over the years, trips as a kid with my family, trips as a college student with friends and then finally, in 1991 I made it to the World for the first time!

    Since then I've been 3 additonal times, with one DL trip thrown in there as well, so this will be trip #5 to the world and my 4 trip in 8 years total (2002, 2004, 2008 and 2010!). 4 years is definitely too long in between trips, Jeff would like to be on the 3 year plan but I'm pushing for every 2.

    Jeff, like myself, is a native west-coaster though he did a brief stint in Denver. Considering I lived in Chicago for 10 years, I don't hold that against him. He however is from that place down south....that all the people leave and move up here and make our traffic terrible! He's acclimated well despite being from CA. While I went to DL quite a few times as a child and young adult, Jeff pretty much lived there and so was not all that excited about visiting the world. Caving to peer pressure, and soon to be in-laws, he joined my family for a trip in 2004. 20 people in 2 rental homes, just outside of the main gate. Not only did he survive, he thrived, and went on to marry me just a few weeks later.

    Here we are with all my siblings and their kids (it's grown since then!)
    [​IMG] I'll post more pictures of this trip later.

    And the fateful day. Those kids look so LITTLE!

    So, enough about ME!
    On to Jeff.


    Jeff is a fabulous dad, stepdad (bonus dad!) and husband. I am especially grateful for him as he is the only dad involved in the E's lives. And much like my own situation growing up, I know what a different the RIGHT stepparent can make. My (step) mom saved my family in so many ways and I am so grateful to have found this amazing man! He is an engineer, an outdoor nut and is much more focused on his fitness regimen than I am. Much to his disappointment. I am working on that. He also loves to travel and we try to make sure we have at least one "date" trip a year (no kids) as well as somewhere with the kids. We've both learned the hard way just how important it is that the couple is a couple, not just a family if that makes sense.

    In his spare time, not that he has much, he is building a plane in the garage.

    Yes. You read that right. I'm sure part of this PTR will include plane saga. But the plane is a key cast member actually. Because...he is building a seaplane. And the company that makes this kit happens to be based in...Orlando! Some of you may recall he went on a test flight down there on our last trip, for this one, if the plane is far enough along, he will be doing several days of certifications. We won't know where things are at for quite some time though so that is definitely a wild card.

    My flyboy....


    Jeff took me flying for the first time last friday. Even though he's been flying for years, it wasn't "encouraged" in his previous relationship. So for the past few years he's been working on getting current again, with my support. We've tried to go up together before but for this reason and that reason, it never happened. It finally did last friday and it was a truly magical day. It would have been more magical had I NOT been thinking about my job situation and that, combined with everything else that happened this weekend is hopefully the snap I needed to get out of my funk and move on. And focus on what IS really important.

    A recent pic of the two of us....


    As you will see once we get into the report, there aren't many of just the two of us and so you get this kind of self portrait!
    Coming up next, a quick BIL update and meet those crazy kids
  10. eandesmom

    eandesmom I'm with Beast

    BIL is supposed to be released today and can go back to work next week. He is a contractor and was just starting a huge job, one he is worried about losing so hopefully he can hang on to it and if he can't manage some things, he gets help. BIL is not good about asking for help so we are all a little worried about that part but have faith.

    He had 100% blockage in one artery so now has a stent. Apparently he'd had some asthma issues all week and so his breathing was already compromised. This was actually a good thing as when the mild attack happened, it was much more noticeable than it might have been, had he not been already struggling to breathe.

    The prognosis is very good IF he makes some changes and has to be on a pretty strict medication regimen for at least the next year. We are less concerned about him making the diet and exercise changes and more concerned about the medication. As he is self employed, he does not have insurance and the meds he will need are VERY expensive. He struggles to make ends meet as it is and now with these medical bills well, it's scary to say the least. The family has decided to chip in to make sure the meds are covered so he has no excuse to slip. Which I guess means we may now be paying a third of that bill if it is split equally between my FIL and his wife, my MIL and her DH and us. Which is what it sounds like Jeff agreed to with his mom and dad. Ugh. Not money we have either but again, we have to focus on what is important. We will see how that plays out, money things are never great to get involved with, with families, but hopefully we can all come together and it will be fine and not too stressful for Jeff.

    Who, speaking of, plans to get his own cholesterol checked this week. I'm hoping to get in next week. We think we are ok as we both had recent life insurance exams and nothing came up but...it'd be nicer to have those actual numbers in front of us!

    Back to Doug. Apparently he is in good spirits and was up walking yesterday though did tire pretty quickly. His girlfriend did stop by so that's good.

    For Disney either MIL will buy Doug's ticket, or we will split it, that money aspect I'm not worried about as it will certainly not be the first time we, or she, have done it. The beauty of August is free dining and that really makes it feel doable to just "add" him to the trip.

    I know MIL is very worried about the hospital bill as well, when her husband had the same thing the bill was 100K which of course Doug doesn't have either (who does!). So it will be an interesting time. It just really brings home the insurance issue for us, we have never been touched this personally by it and it is scary to see just how quickly one can be destroyed financially, it breaks my heart. And of course all of us have insurance so despite being research hounds, really have no idea of where to go for help for him though I'm sure it exists.
  11. mickeysmyboy

    mickeysmyboy <a href="http://www.wdwinfo.com/dis-sponsor/" targ

    All I can is WOW! Your are so right! There are so many things that we get caught up in on a daily basis that don't really matter. I try hard everyday to remember what really does matter so my kiddos will, perhaps, gain an understanding of that and not focus too much on nonsense. But all to often the chaos of a family of 5 with 5 different things to do gets in the way.

    I also love your introductions!! I love the pictures of you and your DH with the mountains behind you :cloud9: One day I will see mountains like that in person and not just in pictures and on TV ;)

    I love your wedding pictures!! You looks soooo beautiful and soooo happy!!

    My DH is an engineer as well! I think its so cool that your DH is building a plane! How awesome is that?!

    Anyway, I'll stop babbling now! Can't wait to read more!
  12. cascarlet

    cascarlet Member

    Thanks for sharing your beautiful family!! Love the wedding pictures, what a lovely couple you are.

    This made me LOL for some reason!! :rotfl:
  13. eandesmom

    eandesmom I'm with Beast

    and well deserved :)

    I know that SOOOO well! It is hard!

    Thanks! Those pictures are from one of our all time favorite hikes and even though they aren't super recent, they are one of my favorites. Just one of those magical days. One of those "moments" I'm trying to focus on. And it was a HARD hike and we earned that view! Come to the great NW, we've got lots of those mountains. I'll tell you, it was something else seeing them from a tiny plane last week, I got some amazing pictures! DH calls it God's country, and it is! I truly can't imagine living anywhere else, the midwest was hard for me, I missed my mountains and my sea.

    That was a happy day, it's nice that it shows in the pictures! The plane is pretty cool I must admit. I only get nervous when it hits me that it makes me the navigator, NOT my strong suit! Thankfully it will have GPS lol. I also apparently have to do something with fabric...melting it on? And of course the logo and paint design, now that part I can handle!


    LOL! The building a plane in the garage makes many people smile. And then shake their head like he/we are crazy. A big disclaimer here. He is building it on HIS side of the garage. That's the deal. No infringement or encroachment. Once that happens it moves! Of course that will take a while, it'll fit until it is time to put the wings on.
  14. MainStMandy

    MainStMandy DIS Veteran

    Loving your report! I am definitely in!!:woohoo:
  15. eandesmom

    eandesmom I'm with Beast

    Welcome! I just started poking through your PJ and while reading, realized I left something out of mine.

    DH and I met online :)

    god bless the internet.

    ok back to yours, loving it so far!
  16. mickeysmyboy

    mickeysmyboy <a href="http://www.wdwinfo.com/dis-sponsor/" targ

    It's funny you say that because my DH calls where we live God's country!

    We live at the very eastern end of Long Island, NY. Summer can be a nightmare because of "summer people" but other then that it's still very peaceful and somewhat unspoiled! We have so many beautiful beaches, wonderful farms and vineyards etc! No mountains though!! LOL!!

    My parents live in the Poconos in PA and lived for awhile actually on a mountain in the Catskills in NY but I want some mountains like in your pictures with snowcapped peaks etc. The Catskills and Poconos don't really have that! It's more kinda rolling hill, but big hills.

    I forgot to add before that your more then welcome to my blinkie!! I'll even make you a new one! I'm contemplating the Disign board. The thing is, I know it's terribly addictive!!!
  17. MainStMandy

    MainStMandy DIS Veteran

    Love it! I love people who can stand up and say...we met online and WHO CARES!:rotfl:

    You guys are going to have a blast! Can't wait to read about it!
  18. Lady Lallie

    Lady Lallie DIS Veteran

    I'm joining in! You are so right, life is too short!

    I also met my DH online. :lovestruc

    My dad had a heart attack in 2005 at the age of 48. Luckily he was already in the ER when it happened as he had been having chest pains and he recovered quickly with some lifestyle changes. I know how scary it can be. I am so glad everything is working out with your BIL. :hug:
  19. eandesmom

    eandesmom I'm with Beast

    I'd love to see that part of NY, I've only been to Manhattan and there is SO much to see in NY. Rolling hills are gorgeous in their own way but you are right, they are hills. When I lived in Chicago we'd go east to ski and then complain that they weren't "real" mountains. The ice on the slopes probably bugged me more but still, it's a very different but equally beautiful, landscape. You should DISign! I love your blinkie! (even if it feels like I am writing "binkie"! ):rotfl:

    Oh it's a wonderful thing, online dating. I would NEVER have found Jeff otherwise and we were living parallel lives, just 15 minutes away from each other but far enough to have never, ever, met otherwise. My brother just got remarried as well and was mortified to tell people they'd met online. Apparently he never knew about Jeff and I. And what was even funnier is my parents were giving him a hard time until I reminded them about Jeff and I. They'd forgotten about it as well!

    It is so not a secret! We are actually proud of it. And Jeff, the poor guy, dated about 50 women online over the 3 years before he met me so the great thing for me is I never have to worry about him thinking he can find someone better! I lucked out and found him almost right away. Operative words being I found him. Only time in my life where I made the first move.

    Yay and welcome LL! I'll have to get some light fictures into my PTR :)

    Wow your dad is young! I can relate. My dad had his first heart attack at about 58 I think and he's had to make major changes but is still going strong and 13 years and 10 (I think) stents later!

    At 43 though it through us for a loop. It's something Jeff worries about already for himself and this about put him over the edge. I'm so grateful he already had a physical scheduled this week for his flight certification!
  20. eandesmom

    eandesmom I'm with Beast

    So we&#8217;ve had trips as kids, trips without kids and that brings us to this phase of our lives&#8230;.trips WITH kids!

    I love seeing Disney through my kids. I love seeing how it changes as they age. I must say, I love traveling with them to Disney, more and more as they age. I&#8217;ll go back and talk about our past trips but here is what they&#8217;ve done so far!

    DL and Universal CA 2001. Evan and Eric. Eric was an absolute nightmare much of the trip. Of course so was my ex. Not sure who fed off of whom but all I do know is that taking a 13 month old to Disney is forever NOT on my list of things to do! :confused3

    WDW, Kennedy Space Center and Universal Islands of Adventure 2004. Evan and Eric and their star gazing cousins. First trip to the world and they were rockstars! They don&#8217;t remember much of the trip though, which is sad. We do. It did start them down the thrill junkie path although at the time they were a bit traumatized by TOT. Yes, we were THOSE parents. Eric was 4. It was not pretty. :scared1: Clearly, he&#8217;s gotten over it.

    DL and Unversal CA 2004. Kendall and Taylor, with Jeff. They couldn&#8217;t make the WDW trip for a variety of reasons, Jeff and I were not yet married and their mom was even less flexible than she is now. So Jeff wanted to make it up to them and took them to DL for spring break that year. It was a bit of a soggy disaster and at that point K&T were about as far away from thrill junkies as you could get.

    WDW 2008. All 4 kids! This was our make up trip. We tried to plan it for a couple years, really wanting to go over thanksgiving as with 4 kids at 4 different schools, schedule coordination is hard! But it never worked, for a variety of reasons and thanks to the magic of soccer schedules, mid winter break became a valid option and we braved the crowds to bring K&T with us. There was no WAY we were going back again without all 4 kids!

    So we did!

    Those crazy kids....

    Eric. 9

    Eric is in third grade in what we call a &#8220;highly capable&#8221; program. It is a self contained school for gifted students located in one of our districts elementary schools. It pulls from 4 schools, including our home school and has about 100 kids in it, grades 2-6. They mainstream with the rest of the school (about 400 kids) for PE and Music and some field trips. It is an amazing program and is by far, the best thing we ever did for Eric. I believe each child has their &#8220;thing&#8221; and school is Eric&#8217;s. He has just blossomed there.

    Eric is also involved in cub scouts, which he loves, plays soccer ,(ok, skips lol), loves Playmobil, is a voracious reader and can entertain himself for hours doing almost nothing. He does tend to live in his own world much of the time which can cause the occasional problem, like him wandering off with strangers. At 9, not something I thought we&#8217;d still be worrying about but he is one deliberately naïve little boy. He inherently believes everyone is good and turns a blind eye to anything different. He will talk the ear off of anyone who will listen. He is one happy, content little boy and I often wish I could live in Eric&#8217;s world, it such a nice place! He wants to be a mad scientist and inventor when he grows up and much of his chatter revolves around his invention ideas. He is a thrill junkie.
    • Favorite Ride: EE (followed by TOT!)
    • Favorite Park: MK
    • Favorite Disney Dining: Teppan Edo
    • Must do for the next trip: HOP. It was closed during our trip, much to his disappointment.

    Evan. 10
    Evan is ALL boy. If it involves bodily functions, harebrained construction, or anything that seems ridiculously dangerous he finds it 1) hysterical and 2) irresistible. He has a great sense of humor and an unlimited amounts of energy. He is a black belt in TaeKwonDo, currently working on his 1st degree international (having received his 1st degree national this past June). He is obsessed with baseball and currently wants to be a major league player when he grows up. He is going to have to get a LOT better for that to happen but we just love how much he loves the game, even if he isn&#8217;t all that good! He is all about sleepovers, pranks, music and&#8230;fashion. He has always been a dapper Dan and that trend seems to be continuing. He is currently obsessed with shoes. He is starting to become a great helper around the house. Our youngest member of the family, Melvin (the cat) is his pride and joy. And responsibility. He does ok with it so far. Not great, not horrible, but ok.

    • Favorite Ride: RRC. I think. It may be tied with EE
    • Favorite Park: MK
    • Favorite Disney Dining: Teppan Edo
    • Must do for the next trip: Main street barber. He is also pushing for Blizzard Beach but I think he's going to have to miss out on that. We have other plans!

    Kendall. 13


    Kendall is our soccer player and much of the drama with scheduling in our house revolves around soccer. But it&#8217;s worth it. She is worth it. She plays select soccer and then for our state ODP team and it&#8217;s a pretty year round venture. While we are doing our best to schedule this so she can go, it's a wildcard and will be until late spring. She may have to make a tough choice. I hope not but....we have to do our best, hope for the best and then deal with whatever comes. As a result (soccer) I'm very short on summer pictures of her that aren't of her on the field!

    She also manages to do most of her 8th grade middle school sports, softball, basketball and volleyball and maintain a straight a average. If she wasn&#8217;t mine, I might have to hate her! All that pretty blond hair doesn&#8217;t hurt either! She has the normal tween drama going on, we get some silent treatments, some stomping and a lot of &#8220;I don&#8217;t know&#8217;s&#8221;. She loves anything to do with Vampires and I enjoy reading all the crazy trashy teen books with her. I wish they didn&#8217;t drink in those books (among other things!) but then remind myself I was reading Rumble Fish at her age and turned out just fine. I sure as heck wouldn&#8217;t have wanted my mom to read those books so the fact that she can share them with me, and her mom, is truly a blessing. I get to do girl things with her, which is pretty sweet for both of us. Pedicures, chick flicks, shopping. Being a bonus mom rocks. Another voracious reader she wants to be a writer when she grows up.

    • Favorite Ride: Dinosaur!
    • Favorite Park: MK
    • Favorite Disney Dining: Teppan Edo
    • Must do for the next trip: Goofy&#8217;s

    Taylor. 16
    Taylor is our budding rock star. Or at least he hopes to be. He is actually on the verge of joining a band so we will see how that goes. His dream is to go to Berklee School of Music, in Boston. He is starting running start this year as a high school Junior, and we have mixed feelings about it. He is doing it so he can take music theory among other things but I am saddened he is checking out of the high school experience. Thanks to soccer, we got to spend a LOT of time with Taylor this summer which was incredibly cool. It is exciting to see him really come into his own. He was our biggest fear for the Feb trip, that he&#8217;d be bored, think things were dumb, etc. He had a blast! On the first night of that trip he bought a Mexico Mickey head pin, in Epcot and it still lives on his jacket. He is one very cool kid, I got extremely lucky in the skid department!

    • Favorite Ride: RRC
    • Favorite Park: MK
    • Favorite Disney Dining: Teppan Edo
    • Must do for the next trip: Probably the Petty driving experience, if he could drive it.

    We do have two other members of the family who will not be joining us but they will likely make appearances from time to time.

    Hank. 11
    I&#8217;ve had Hank since I was pregnant with Evan so in truth, he is my first child
    As you can see, he makes himself at home. In the picture and then on my computer!

    Melvin. 2
    Evan&#8217;s cat (and 10th birthday present)
    They fight like brothers. And love like brothers. It&#8217;s pretty cool. They are both extremely cool cats with tons of personality, more dog than cat. They meet you at the door, follow you around, lay on top of the computer and, if you are Melvin, run around like a crazy person for no apparent reason. He is crazy. But so was Hank at the same age!

    Up next...Meet the In-laws!
  21. MainStMandy

    MainStMandy DIS Veteran

    Awww...your family is beautiful!! Eric and I can't wait to start one. I think I feel like you do. Going to the "world" with kids is going to be WAY different, in a good way!

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