Things Teachers Do in the Summer: TRAVEL

In addition to finding tons of great, new books to share with my new class, I also had some fabulous opportunities to travel with my family!

Ok, I’ll give you one guess as to where we went.  Alright, you can have two or three guesses if you need them, but if you know me at all, or if you’ve spent any length of time here on this blog you already know the answer.:

This IS indeed, the Happiest Place on Earth!

This IS indeed, the Happiest Place on Earth!

We spent the first 10 days after school was out in our favorite place, which is the week we typically go because it’s not too hot yet, and the crowds aren’t as crazy as later on in the summer.  This year’s weather was a little weird, though, because Tropical Storm Andrea decided to come for a visit at the same time as we did.  It was rainier than normal (not the usual 3 o’clock shower that is over in 5 minutes) and cloudy most of the time we were there.  But hey–we didn’t let that get us down!  We’ve been to WDW many times, but we always find a way to make new memories.  Two highlights from this trip were the Princess dinner we had at Akershus Royal Banquet hall–in Epcot’s Norway pavilion–for Allie (which we actually went to on Daddy’s birthday–HA!) as well as a Pirate cruise that Riley took with a small group around Crescent Lake near Epcot.

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I was so surprised as how shy she was around the princesses.  Those are pretty much the only two that she would talk to–when the others came around she was buried in my shoulder hiding her face!  She did the same thing for Mickey and the others, too, which just surprised me because of how naturally outgoing she normally is!  Our prince was not at all bothered by all the pretty ladies who came to our table, though, and he took pictures with them instead!

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I don’t really have many good pics of Riley’s cruise, but that’s mostly because I wasn’t there!  He took off in his pirate skipper with the tour guides and 5 or 6 other kiddos in search of Captain Stinkyfeet who had stolen the pirate treasure!  I was so proud at his willingness to do that without us (he’s learning to let go 🙂 ) and he had a SUPER time. It was all he could talk about for days afterward!

The one other highlight of the trip was meeting up with some an old 5th grade friend and his family who happened to be there at the same time as we were:

What fun to run into Keelan, his sisters Macie and Amelia and his parents!  Fun in the Florida sun!

What fun to run into Keelan, his sisters Macie and Amelia and his parents! Fun in the Florida sun! (Doesn’t Riley look like he could be related to all of them?)

Disney is usually our big excursion for the summer, but this summer we finally got around to going somewhere else in the world (which is honestly a BIG DEAL for our family!).  So in July we packed up and headed east to Charlotte, NC to visit some friends who had moved there a few years ago.  We spent a lovely weekend with their family (of which I have NO pictures–I realized this after we were home…) and then headed to Asheville for the next few days.  We were excited to see the mountains, as well as enjoy Asheville’s food scene, which is focused on sustainable, local, fresh ingredients and is right up our alley!

Several days we went driving on the Blue Ridge parkway, which is the scenic route through the Blue Ridge mountains and afforded us some AMAZING views, along with tunnels and roadside overlook points to stop and check out.  We went shopping, ate some fabulous food, and also visited the Western North Carolina Nature Center.  While we’re definitely still lovers of all things Disney, this was a great time for our family and it’s the trip that Riley keeps going back to when he reminisces on his summer fun!


This one cracks me up! Just an example of the cool rocks we drove next to on the road–here we stopped to look at the water running down the walls. Obviously it was more interesting than smiling at me for the picture!

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We also learned that Asheville is home to the highest point east of the Mississippi river–Mount Mitchell.  So fun to trek to the top of it!  Such beautiful views from way up there!

IMAG0854IMAG0882IMAG0872Doesn’t that picture just say it all?  WE HAD FUN!!

What did you do this summer?  What adventures did you go on?  Where did you visit?  Leave a comment and tell me all about it!  Send me a picture, 5th grade friends, and I’ll add it to the blog! 🙂

What I did on my summer vacation–Part 1: Took a vacation!

So you may already know (and if you don’t, believe me you’ll hear WAY more about it!) that my family are HUGE Disney fans.  Well, really Disney World fans, I guess.  We don’t wear Disney or decorate our house with Winnie the Pooh or anything, but we love spending time at the Happiest Place on Earth.  I mean really, Riley is only 4 and has already been there FIVE TIMES!  So, as usual, we set out on a lovely Saturday morning for the really long drive to Florida.  Oh wait, did I say morning?  Does it count as morning if it’s 1 o’clock?  If so, then it was a lovely morning.  Or a lovely night.  Take your pick.

I cannot possibly tell you all about the whole trip in this blog post–we spent four days on the road, two nights at the beach in Clearwater, and 10 days at Disney World altogether–but I can give you the highlights:

1.  We found out that Allie is not yet a seasoned traveler.  Since she was only 6 months old at the time, she had never been on a vacation.  She is definitely a girl who appreciates her schedule, so when that was upset for almost two weeks, she was not a happy camper.  So she really didn’t sleep well the whole time we were gone and was crankier than usual.  Some day she’ll learn. 🙂

2. Somewhere around Macon, Georgia, when it was like 150 degrees outside, the air conditioning on our car went out.  And it wasn’t just freon (the stuff they put in there that makes it make cold air), the whole thing imploded on itself and will cost at least $3000 to fix.  Needless to say, we haven’t repaired it yet.

3. We stayed for two nights in Clearwater Beach, at a place that we found out (after we were all checked in) was a party hotel for young people.  So there was a dance party outside our window from about noon til 2 in the morning.  A very loud dance party.  It’s funny how kids can sleep through all that, though.  Oh yeah, and we had to move rooms because the first one was overtaken by a swarm of gnats.

Hanging out at the pool.  Can you see Allie under that silly hat?  She did NOT like to be outside for very long.

4. While we were in Disney World we stayed at one of our favorite hotels and spent oodles and oodles of time in all the parks.  As you get to know me better you’ll hear all about how much I (we) love Epcot and walking around the World Showcase and eating in the amazing restaurants there.  Did I mention we like to eat?  Some of my very favorite restaurants are in WDW.  We had an AMAZING time.

The view out our balcony window.  That’s a big lagoon with a beach and the pool is to the right.

This is the fancy-dancy stroller where Riley and Allie spent alot of time.    Our awesome friends let us borrow it and it worked out so great.   People thought it looked a little like bunk beds.

This is the first time that we had to buy a ticket for Riley (at Disney you’re free if you’re under 3).  He was very excited to get to put his ticket into the machine and walk through the turnstile by himself.  🙂

5.  I lost my wallet.  Not once, but twice.  But here’s how magical Disney is: I got it back both times and everything was still in it.  I’m not sure that would have even been possible at home, much less in a place as huge and crowded as the Magic Kingdom.  But it happened.  I was really relieved about that.  Both times. 🙂

Don’t be fooled by that cute, smiling face.  That baby and that red wallet pouch added much stress and excitement to our trip!

6. We got a phone call one morning from my father-in-law telling us that we needed to call him as soon as possible.  He told us all about how one of the upstairs toilets had overflowed and run down into the basement ceiling.  Then it broke open and spilled gallons and gallons of water all over the floor and ruined a section of the ceiling down there.   Luckily they found it and stopped the water problem and cleaned up the mess before we got home.  But there’s still a hole in my basement ceiling.

7. Riley turned 4 on our last day there and he had a super great birthday!  He picked his birthday breakfast and originally had planned to have ice cream.  I was pretty excited about joining him in this, but at the last minute he changed his mind and instead had donuts, goldfish (?) and chocolate milk (this is a big treat because he doesn’t normally get to drink it).  That night we stayed in a hotel with a big pirate ship in the pool, which he totally loved.

After all the fun and excitement that happened while we were in Florida, the trip home seemed boring and pretty normal.  We stayed the night in Atlanta and then drove home the next day, happy to be in our own beds again.
Now it’s your turn:  Did you take a vacation this summer?  Or maybe you had a “stay-cation” and just did fun stuff around town with your family or friends.  Tell us about it.  Add comments to this post and share the highlights!