So here we go. I haven’t posted an update on here for the better part of a year. It isn’t that I don’t have anything to say, I just haven’t had time to sit down and actually say it. But I’m going to try to take a few minutes and rehash the highlights of my last year. Here we go…
Halloween Horror Nights, Orlando 2017
Oh yes I did. Because, let’s face it…if you know me, you are probably shaking your head. Not only did I go to Halloween Horror Nights, but I traveled 746.8 miles to do it. It was totally different when I lived in So Cal and could just pop into Universal Studios Hollywood. But this time I traveled all that way to be terrified. Truthfully though, I was bribed with Butterbeer. I did it for the trip to Daigon Alley. All in all, it was really a great weekend. It was a quick, kid-free trip. We were going to take them to Orlando a few weeks later anyway.
Grand Disney (and Universal Studios) Vacation, Orlando & The Bahamas, 2017
For years I have wanted to take the kids on a Disney cruise but I wasn’t really sure if cruising would be their thing, so we split the difference. We spent half of the time in Orlando and the other half of the time on the cruise. That way, if they didn’t enjoy the cruise, the entire vacation would be a wash. We started out by flying into Orlando and staying at a fantastic resort in a 3-bedroom condo. That is DEFINITELY the way to go when traveling with three kids and one of them is a teenager.
We spent a day at Universal Studios, where we had some ups and downs. My youngest rode The Mummy and it almost killed the day because she wasn’t quite ready for a ride like that. But thanks to their awesome staff, our day was recovered. We ended the day with my son riding the Rip Ride Rockit roller coaster. That was a big deal. My boy has grown up so much.
Of course we went to Disney’s Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios. We cut our Hollywood Studios day short and went to Medieval Times. It was hot and rain off and on so it was a good call all around. We did the whole shebang and did the knighting all that good stuff.
We purposely timed our trip during Halloween season so we could do the Mickey’s Not So Scary party. We did that every year for years in California and it has been greatly missed since moving to North Carolina. It was so great doing that again. We all got dressed up and our dinner reservations came with VIP spots to watch the fireworks show.
After a few days in Orlando, we headed to Canaveral and boarded the Disney Dream. It was absolutely amazing. We sailed to Nassau and Castaway Cay. As it turns out, the kids are REALLY into cruising. Everyone had such a great time. My oldest made some awesome friends in the teen club and my littles made some magical memories in the kids club and pretty much all over that ship. It was a total win. We did the Halloween on the High Seas themed cruise so there was a lot of Halloween-themed parties and trick or treating on board.
(Ok, my attention was temporarily derailed as I was tying this. My 16 year old just came in to tell me that she wrecked her car. Deep breath. It’s just a car. It’s just a bumper. OMG. Refocus.)
George Straight, Las Vegas, 2017
I got my dad VIP tickets to the George Strait concert in Vegas. That was a really fun albeit quick trip. We flew into Vegas and spent a couple of nights at MGM Grand. Our VIP experience included access to a pop up museum. It was REALLY awesome seeing his CMAs in person…and all of the Dusty gear! There were also some very stunning guitars on display.
I came home from the family vacation with pneumonia (and at the time of posting this, I still have it…ugh) so there were a few touch and go moments. But even with the pneumonia, the entire trip was such a great time. Between the George Strait fans and all of the people there for the rodeo, Vegas was crawling with cowboys.
Sweet 16, Boston and London, 2018
My firstborn celebrated her sixteenth birthday earlier this year. Instead of throwing some crazy Sweet 16 party, we went on a girls’ trip to Boston and London. She’s wanted to go to London for years so I thought that would be a pretty cool and memorable birthday present. We spent a few days sightseeing in Boston. I hadn’t been there since I was 16 so it was great to go back. It is absolutely my favorite city in the US. There was a lot that I wanted to show her but we didn’t have time. We are definitely going back again.
After a few days in Boston, we flew over the pond to London. It was our first time so we did a lot of touristy things. We wanted to take the Chunnel to Paris and go to Disneyland but we never beat the jetlag so we put that on our to-do list for next time we are in Europe.
Life has taken me to some really interesting places but it doesn’t mean much if you can’t share the moments with someone. This summer I had the chance to go to a great conference in NYC. I work from my home office and sometimes I forget what it is like to connect with friends and colleagues. But this summer I was able to connect and learn so much. The best part was that I was able to share the experience with my best friend. She and I spend a lot of time together with the kids but we never get to really let loose. Some of the highlights of our trip included drinks at The View, a rooftop party and dancing at the famed Copacabana.
I hadn’t been to NYC since I was 16 and either I never realized what a pit it was or I had just forgotten. Times Square smells like a combination of urine, raw sewage, trash and weed. I think I’ll stick to my small town life where I can smell clean, fresh air and have a big house with a big yard. But it IS fun to get away and remind myself of these things from time to time.
And with that you have the highlights of my year. There have been ups and downs but overall it has been a great year. I’ve really grasped the fact that life is short and it is important to seize the moment.
Now if I could just shake that darn pneumonia…and maybe keep my blood level up…but I’m getting there.