>The culmination of months of planning….the Disney “Princess and the Frog” 5k! This is the excuse we needed to gather together as sisters, nieces, daughters, cousins.

This was the reason for our girls’ weekend. It’s the reason I tried running again after all these years of not running because I feel ancient and have achy joints.
We spent weeks deciding what type of “princess” outfits we would wear. Clearly, our choice was outstanding! You can’t tell by looking at Sis4 and Brianna’s outfit, but they were tinkerbell, look alikes. Sis3 and her girls had the cutest pink tops on underneath their sweatshirts, but it was too cold to not wear them. Sis2 and Madison were clearly mimicking Minnie Mouse. Then there’s Ann and I. What the hell??? There was no Disney character in my brain when it came up with this idea. I felt that tutus were in order, but I thought that black was in order also. I started searching for inspiration at Halloween when there were princessy, costumey things everywhere. That’s when I found the tights, and it snowballed from there. The long sleeved pink shirts under the black tank tops was the afterthought when we found out that it was going to be cold during our trip. Ten degrees colder than Orlando weather normally is at this time of year. So it was cold.
Sis3, Briquelle, Ann, and Kali wanted to run so they went ahead of us. Sis2, Madison, Sis4, Brianna and I were more interested in getting pictures with the Disney characters throughout Epcot Center so we walked the course. As we’d pass Disney worker-bees they’d cheer on the participants. We had our names on our racing bibs, but still they would say, “Good job Tinkerbells; good job Minnies; good job……Cristy.” They had no idea what category to classify me in. It made me laugh every time they would offer words of encouragement.
We had our pictures taken with Donald Duck, Snow White and the Wicked Queen, Belle and the Beast, Princess Aurora, Tigger and Pooh, Mary Poppins, Alice in Wonderland, Goofy and Pluto, Mickey and Minnie. It was very fun to see Sis2 and the little girls get so excited about the characters. Yes, Sis2. Donald Duck was the first character along the route and when Sis2 saw him she did the dolphin clap. Even knowing that the manatee wave was supposed to have taken the dolphin clap’s place, she did the dolphin clap. This was the beginning of standing in lines to get our pictures taken while we were doing this race. It was the most unique race I’ve ever been a part of. But we had a great time.
After we were done with the race we went home and changed clothes so that we could head to the beach. Yeh, I know…the beach in cold weather doesn’t make any sense, but Sis1 wanted to go to the beach so we went.

I was so happy to get to the beach. I love the smell of the salt air; the feel of the ocean breeze; the sand beneath my toes; the sea birds that stalk you for a piece of bread; these are some of my favorite things. We stayed at the beach for a couple of hours, had lunch, waded in the water, watched the surfers, just hung out.

I was so glad that Sis1 asked to go to the beach. Sis1 was so afraid that everyone went to the beach just to appease her and she felt like a burden. But she was no burden. We ALL loved the beach. There is something in the family gene that draws us to the beach. Any chance we get, we go to the beach. This is one of the similarities that every single one of us share…me and all nine of my siblings share this love. So, I’m horribly glad that Sis1 suggested we make the hour drive to head to the beach!
When you have a family as large as mine, you can count on a little drama with every get together. And this trip was no different. After getting back home from the beach everyone was tired. It had been an exhausting weekend. Early morning hours, constant motion, it was very tiring, so by the end of the day Saturday some nerves were on edge. Two sisters snapped at each other. Two sisters with a history. It got very ugly for a while. Quite a while. It’s hard to watch two people that you love so deeply have some issues that you can’t resolve. For years they’ve been unable to solve their issues. They both love each other deeply, but sometimes even if you love someone so much you have to take a step back before permanent harm is done. That is difficult to watch. However bad that may have been, you can’t let one bad moment spoil the memories of a wonderful weekend. And it was wonderful a wonderful weekend.
I have fantastic siblings! I have especially fantastic sisters! They are all unique. They are all caring, loving women that I have learned so many lessons from over the years. I’m so grateful for each of them. I have a great relationship with each of them. Each of those relationships is based on differing foundations. Each of those relationships at one point or another has hit a bump in the wall that we had to find a way around. Working through those bumps has made each of the relationships stronger. I am so blessed to share my life with these four beautiful, intelligent, strong women. Growing up with them has helped to mold me into the woman that I am today. I look forward to the next time that I can be together with my sisters!
Long live the Princesses!
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