This summer is quite different from previous ones (and not just because of the Disney trip). This is the first summer that I've worked, and it is quite a different experience to leave Brian and the kids behind 3 days a week. I am so glad that I asked for a reduced work schedule back in May because it would have been very difficult to be gone 4 days each week. Because of Brian's busy schedule during the school year, summer is generally an 8-week stretch of freedom for us. Not so much this year, but we're making it work. At the very least, it's a slower pace which we can all appreciate!
We do not have big plans for the holiday weekend in terms of celebrations. I think we're skipping fireworks because of rain, but it'd be pretty hard to measure up to Disney fireworks anyway (is anyone tired of my never-ending Disney references yet?). Tomorrow night is a church picnic/volleyball tournament. Sunday we're having some friends from out of town over for dinner.
Today we spent the day running around Nashville shopping for granite counter tops for the kitchen. Unfortunately, my taste is much more expensive than my budget although I think we might have finally found something that satisfies my aesthetic requirement and Brian's budget requirement.
(I love the white cabinets!)
Since we had to be in Nashville anyway, we made a day of it with street tacos and elote from Mas Tacos and ice cream from Jeni's (yes, after not indulging in over a year, we've been there 3 times in the last month). Somehow they managed to improve on their fabulous scoops by adding free sauce this weekend. Because we do things big, we also made a grocery run to Aldi. Ha.
We also had plans to visit Cumberland Park in downtown Nashville for the first time, but the city already has everything blocked off for the big firework display tomorrow night. It's probably just as well. I would have pulled out the camera, and my kids are pretty much all pictured out after Disney and cousins consecutive weeks.
This girl skipped lunch and went straight for ice cream.
My computer chose to max itself out last weekend so it had to go to the computer doctor, and while it's back and running . . . it's slow. And my Disney book did not happen. And I have hundreds of photos from the last month to go through. I need to spend some dedicated time backing up and deleting, but it's not going to happen today! A nap or some HGTV sounds much more exciting.
Vanderbilt finally called this afternoon. I'm actually not sure the nurse was calling with my results since she asked for insurance information and then seemed surprised that I didn't already know the results of the scan and CA125, but I have results whatever the original reason she called.
My CA125 is continuing to slowly rise, but the scan shows no change so I will continue with the Tamoxifen and see Dr. C in 12 weeks. The nurse told me that Dr. C had remarked on how well "Mrs. Lewis looked" which is nice to hear. I'm thinking she may not have been quite as pleased if I would have admitted to how often I'm forgetting to actually take the Tamoxifen. Shhhh.
The weekend plans include:
**Trying to take advantage of Blurb's flash sale and make a Disney photo book. I have something like 1,500 pictures from those 8 days so I'm trying to organize them and then cut the number down to something a little more manageable.
**Camden has a baseball game tonight. It's incredibly hot and there's a possibility of thunderstorms so I'm secretly hoping it gets cancelled.
**Tomorrow morning we are going to take advantage of free Krispy Kreme donuts for every A on the kid's report cards then make a trip to the Clarksville downtown Farmer's Market. Yes, I do realize there is a philosophical contrast to eating donuts then going out to buy vegetables.
**Hoping to see Inside Out with the kids either Saturday or Sunday afternoon.
We're at the point in the summer where everyone is getting on each other's nerves, both adults and children. It's okay - this point arrives every year, and we'll get through it.
As if our Disney trip wasn't going to be fabulous enough all on its own, a friend (of a friend . . . of a friend) upgraded our family to Club Level at the resort. This meant we had lots of extra pampering, food, drinks, an entire level dedicated just to those with "club" status, etc.
It. was. awesome.
We also received extra Fast Passes several days, and for those of you familiar with Disney - these Fast Passes were just open, general passes. As in, we literally just walked up to the ride/attraction and walked on in. No advance scheduling needed.
And as if all that wasn't enough, this friend (of a friend . . . of a friend) arranged for the head animal keeper to take us on a behind-the-scenes tour of the open savannas that are at Jambo House and Kidani Lodge at Animal Kingdom.
I wasn't allowed to have my camera with me for most of it, but he took us in a van and we rode around the savanna for about 2 hours, observed the red river hogs up close (and their babies), and even got to go into the barns and feed an okapi. We all agreed that this behind-the-scenes safari was just about our favorite event of the whole trip.
I took a few pictures of the giraffes, because, hello! I hope they give you some perspective on how close we were. They were taken from the front seat of the van with the window down, and I most certainly did not have a zoom lens with me. What an experience!
For perspective on how big they are - this was out the opposite van door. And this was just a baby giraffe.
Not quite as beautiful, but these red river hogs are super interesting and apparently incredibly intelligent.
We had several character meals at Disney, but with the exception of our dinner at The Royal Table (hello, Cinderella's castle!), they were mostly with big stuffed animal characters who couldn't talk. Not that they weren't fun, but my kids were just a tad old to be in awe of them.
I think the general idea is that Disney has characters everywhere, and you meet and greet all the time out on the street. That was definitely not our experience - there were characters available, but there were very long lines to go along with them.
On Friday morning we were surprised to run into Mary Poppins as we walked into Magic Kingdom, and she was spectacular. It was like we had the real live Mary Poppins walk off the movie screen into our world. She was beautiful, so engaged with the kids, and full of cute little Mary Poppins quips.
(he did not stick around for a hug)
my favorite :)
We had several more character experiences later on: Cinderella's stepmother was awesome; Elsa and Anna were pretty outstanding as well; Belle was beautiful. But Mary Poppins was the first character that made me really dig Disney.