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I’m not a morning person. I don’t know whether or not I’ve mentioned that. But I really despise mornings!! About 10am I’m golden, but much earlier than that and my brain does not fully function. Because of this, I try not to schedule flights for early morning because I have a two hour drive just to reach the airport. As I looked for flights out to Orlando for my girls’ week, I made sure to get one so that I wouldn’t have to leave the warmth of my bed too much before the crack of dawn.
Due to my lack of ability to function in the mornings, I am very anal about having everything laid out the night before (or week before, whatever). SO…It’s 11pm and as I set my alarm for Travel Day for the unspeakable hour of 6am I begin mulling over in my brain everything I may possibly have forgotten about.
Boarding pass printed out. Check.
Crap! I forgot to print off my confirmation number so I could do on-line check in for the return flight. I need to remember to do that in the morning.
Directions from the airport to condo printed out. Check.
Directions from the condo to Epcot center printed out. Check.
Crap! I know I printed that stuff out. I don’t remember putting it in my suit case. I need to remember it in the morning.
Passport. Check. (I always travel with my passport even “in-country”…It’s just easier.)
Make-up, toothbrush, hair brush all waiting for me to throw them in my carry-on. Check.
Clothes I’m going to wear in the morning stashed on the bathroom counter. Check.
Confirmation for rental car. Check.
Wait a minute. I know I printed that out at work this afternoon. Where did I put it? I need to be sure and check that in the morning.
Waiver form for the race. Check.
Yeh…I’m good. I can go to sleep now. Roll over.
Crap! I’m never going to remember that stuff in the morning! Get out of bed.

Maps: sitting on the kitchen table. Put them in my carry-on.

Rental Car confirmation: Not in my purse. Not in my car. Not on the computer desk. Pull up the internet and re-print it.
Print out airline confirmations (mine and Ann’s just in case) while I’m at it. Put them in my carry-on.
Print out another waiver form because, although I’m sure I packed that on Wednesday, I don’t remember whether I actually packed it or whether I just thought about packing it.
Print out Ann’s waiver form just in case she forgot hers. Put it in my carry-on. (BTW, I had three waivers in various places throughout my luggage by the time I reached Florida.)
OK…good to go. Back to bed! Too excited to sleep! Toss and turn. Look at the clock. Try to go to sleep. Anxious to see my sisters. Try to sleep. Antsy to see my nieces. Got to go to sleep. Excited to see my daughter. GO TO SLEEP!!!! All night long. The same thing. Over and over.
None of this is abnormal. It’s the same routine before every trip I take. It’s not like I never travel so it’s an exciting and new thing! I do a lot of traveling. Yet, somehow, I still get giddy and excited every single time! One day I may reach “burn out” stage, but I’m not sure when that time will come. I love to travel! And I’m worse than any child about anticipating it.
Finally, my alarm goes off and I get up, very bleery-eyed from lack of sleep, but stoked to go! I get dressed, put on makeup up, eat breakfast, brush my teeth, straighten my hair, load up the last few items into my carry-on bag, do one last sweep of the house to make sure I haven’t forgotten anything, kiss hubby and head out the door.
My vacation has begun!!!! My radio is on and I’m laughing out loud as I listen to Bob and Tom all the way to the airport. They amuse me.
Ann calls me about the time I hit Jonesburg to see where I am and she informs me that she’s packing! Seriously??? Are you really my child? My planning Nazi? The apple that did NOT fall very far from this tree? Seriously just beginning to pack?? I’m stunned. I laugh. And I continue on to the airport. She reaches the long term parking 10 minutes after me and we hop aboard the shuttle to officially begin our vacation together.
We laugh and joke with each other on the shuttle. We reach the airport. We check our luggage. The lady asks for our ID. I whip out my passport. I look at Ann. Not good. Something’s wrong! Her driver’s license and debit card are in the pocket of the pants she wore out with friends last night!!! I was very proud. With the week she’d had, she did not cry! Very impressive!! She finished getting her bags checked then ran out the door, back to the shuttle, back to the parking lot, back to her car, back to her house, back to her car, back to the parking lot, back to the shuttle, back to the airport. Run, run, run. Now stand and WAIT in the long security line. Ugh.
And what did I do while she was gone? I worried!! This was not how our trip was supposed to start. We were going to sit down in the bar next to our gate and have a drink or two. We were going to laugh and giggle and gossip and whatever else we wanted to do while we had a drink or two. I sat down in a chair next to the bar where we were going to have a drink or two and tried to relax. Tried to assure myself that I wouldn’t be getting on that plane by myself. Trying to remind myself that Ann was a smart adult and if she missed the plane she would be able to figure out how to get herself to Orlando in time for some fun. But I’m a mom, so I worried. I wanted this trip to be perfect for her from start to finish! And the start had not jumped off on the right foot.
She called me when she was back in her car with driver’s license and debit card in tow. I checked my watch. She’d make it. No big deal. She called me when she got to the parking garage. Still making good time. She texted me when she was actually on the shuttle. OK. It was all going to be OK. We had plenty of time remaining.
There was a VERY nice old man sitting on one of the chairs by me who started up a conversation. Something about the history of travel. Not really sure because I was very much preoccupied with my daughter’s dilemma. But he was a very nice man. Stinky. Pee-WHEW-y! But nice. And he did offer some sort of distraction which I appreciated.
Finally, the call that she was standing in the security line. The plane was beginning to board. Ann wanted Starbucks but didn’t have time to get it once she got through the line. Don’t worry. I will get your starbucks! So I went and got us some coffee and waited at the end of security for her to get through it. We were the LAST TWO PEOPLE on the plane!! But we were on the plane! I tell myself that I would have left without her, but I don’t know if I could have done that. We did not get to sit together on the 2 ½ hour flight, but we were on the plane and that was all that mattered. Things could only get better from here, and they did!!
To see my sisters and nieces again was “beyond words” fabulous!! The time between visits is far too long! We got our car rented and had headed for the condo when I got a call from Sis2 asking where I was!! Not that she was excited to see me or anything. She and Sis1 had just left the condo to head to the airport to pick up Melissa. Now, how silly is that? I had no idea Sis4’s flight was getting in so close to mine. I could have certainly waited at the airport for another hour to greet Melissa and take her and my uber-cute niece, Brianna, to the condo with us. Sis3 was at the condo with her two daughters and Madison, Sis2’s baby. They were swimming, which sounded stark raving mad to me because it was COLD!! But, they informed me, the pool was heated! Oh, and the walk from the pool to the condo??? NOT heated!! So, a little crazy to me, but whatever…crazy is my family’s middle name!

Sis3 was READY for a Disney weekend…complete with her mouse ears and crazy socks. She came out to help us carry our luggage upstairs and show us where we would be “living” for the next few days. Then we headed to the pool to see the little girls. The little girls were out of the pool in nothing flat when they saw us walk through the gates and ran over to give us giant, soaking wet hugs! And I didn’t even care. I was so happy to see them. We sat and visited with Sis3 by the pool while the little girls played. And I use that term “little” very loosely. Kali is 14 now! And she is BEAUTIFUL!!!! I can’t get over how old they are. It makes me feel rather ancient. Briquelle and Madison are 10, almost 11 (I think it’s somewhere around that age). I’m not sure exactly where the time has gone, but they’re not babies anymore.

Briquelle

Madison and Kali


Can you tell that we’re sisters??? If you can’t, perhaps you should renew your prescription for your glasses!

This first afternoon in Florida was spent catching up and partying. We arrived on Sis2’s birthday, and Sis1 had just celebrated her birthday the week before so we had a Princess birthday party for the two of them. We played Kiss the Frog, which I felt was appropriate since we were down there for the Disney “Princess and the Frog” 5k. So, blindfolded, we had to kiss the frog on the wall and try to get as close to his mouth as possible. The pictures are NOT attractive!! But it was fun. The laughter during the evening was infectious. You could not sit in that room and be a sour-pus! That would have been impossible.

The last event of the night was a trip to the hot tub/pool area. The kids wanted to swim some more. I wanted to soak in the hot tub. So we all went down to continue our visiting. The only thing that could have made the trip any more perfect would have been nice, warm weather instead of the cold wind that we got. We didn’t stay in the hot tub too long because in the morning we were getting up at the crack of dawn to go see the Manatees. There is a place called Blue Springs State Park. It is, as the name suggests, a spring. And it’s a warm spring…72 degrees. It flows into the St. John’s River where the manatees live. When the river gets too cold the manatees make their way to this spring to stay warm. I was beyond excited to go see it, and I figured it would be worth having to set an alarm while on vacation. So, we went to bed and tried to sleep, but sleep for me would not come. I was FAR too excited to see the manatees!

And thus ended the first day of our Princess Weekend.

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