Way back when I was young, I believed summer break was about sleeping in, swimming and reading lots and lots of books. Of course, when we lived in Arizona we were able to swim year round, and as an avid reader books were high on my list of priorities year round. So I guess sleeping in was the only real advantage summer held over the other four seasons!
These days, summer break is about homeschool planning, youth group mission trips, sorting and organizing as much of the house as I am able, taking a family vacation, and brand new this year ~ moving our firstborn to college. (Go ahead, feel sorry for me and remind me that I've done a good job and he's meant to leave home at this stage in his life...I need to hear that over and over again, it seems!). Since the inevitable move to Wheaton, Illinois is just around the corner (10 days away, to be exact) I think I'll focus on our family vacation for this blog post.
Some of you may recall that we took our vacation in late May and were blessed to enjoy 2 1/2 weeks of leisure time in sunny Florida. And you may also be thinking that May was a while ago - isn't it time for me to stop thinking about that long-since-over vacation?? And my answer would be, NO! I think the end goal of a family vacation is to make great memories - and memories are no good if we don't actually recall them. So remembering a great vacation is a huge part of what makes it so, well, memorable :)
While in Florida, we visited the Disney World parks with two of our greatest friends in the whole wide world (known as J & J on my blog). You see them in the photo that heads up this blog. (Yes, it says there should be 9 of us in the picture but my hubby was taking the picture - but he's still a part of the equation because he was on vacation with us!) J & J have done Disney 15 years in a row. They know those parks inside and out! Not to mention they totally "get" our family's quirky sense of humor and are also healthy enough to tell us to "buzz off" for a while when they needed some time for themselves. (Healthy friendships only happen when your friends are emotionally healthy - just thought I'd throw that in for no extra charge!)
Hands down the best day of the trip was "STAR WARS Weekend" at Disney's Hollywood Studios. We had an idea about what we needed to do in order to take full advantage of this unique event, but leave it to our fantastic friends J & J to spend their afternoon finding out all the specific details to ensure our family got the full effect, so to speak. After all, Disney is full of princesses 365 days of the year - and that's pretty cool for our 4 lovely daughters! (Okay, our youngest likes toy guns more than toy dolls, but humor me here!). Our 18-year-old son could have been a little overwhelmed by princess-o'rama. He's a good kid, so he wouldn't complain even if he were in a catatonic state due to an excess of pink ruffles and tiaras. But the fact that STAR WARS Weekend landed on our trip made it a super fun time for him, too.
So around 1:30 a.m. my son, our 16-year-old daughter and my husband left our resort to secure their place in line, which would ensure they received the necessary arm band to meet my son's favorite STAR WARS actor (he's really more of a stunt man than an actor, I guess). And when it was time for my husband to return to the resort and pick up the rest of us for our day at Hollywood Studios, none other than J & J were there to hang out with our two oldest as they rushed to get the correct FAST PASSES needed to meet Ray Park. And they probably rode a few rides while waiting on us, too.
My words and the few pictures I'll share won't suffice to how much fun we had that day. There were Storm Troopers referring to my husband as "rebel scum", Darth Vader "choked" my 13-year-old daughter (it sounds creepy, but it was actually pretty cool), I was asked why I had on a Jedi Training Academy shirt but wasn't in proper academy attire when out in public, and my two oldest teens had multiple incidents with Storm Troopers. Here is a picture of my son Gage being "arrested" by a Trooper:
Isn't that a great picture?
And here is my daughter Alexandra going head-to-head with a Storm Trooper:
Another great photo op moment:
The point of this is to remember how much fun we had on this vacation, and to encourage you to make memories with your family this summer. You still have plenty of time to choose the things that you will remember for years to come, whether it's a night at the drive-in or a trip to Orlando.
In fact, why not try to make a memory every single day? Sounds like a pretty good way to live to me!
Day 107 done :)
Jan L. Burt