Wednesday, January 24, 2018

The Big Thirteen!!

We are now the parents of a TEENAGER!!  Dawson turned thirteen.  He didn't want much for his birthday - just to have a couple of friends over to play football and games and spend the night, and then to have a relaxing day at home with his family, opening presents and enjoying playing with/reading/etc. all that he received.

AWE! Thirteen year old Dawson.

Waiting to blow out his thirteen candles.

Dawson, Seth, and Ben.  Thankful that Dawson has such good friends!

Ready to play some football!

Dawson and Brady on Dawson's actual birthday.

Dawson got a cell phone for Christmas (talk and text only - no data), and then this certificate on his birthday for 6 months of paid service.  After that, he has start paying his monthly bill.

Sherlock Holmes books.

And a new bike.

Chess Tournament

Dawson participated in a local youth Chess Tournament at one of the schools in town (his very first chess tournament) and placed 2nd!!  

Dawson and his friend, Ben, before the tournament.  Twinkie!  And they didn't even plan it.

Dawson's first match, and the only one that he lost (the other boy was the 1st place winner).

Dawson hung in there for a while, but lost in the end.

Another enthralling round of chess.

And another.  
I didn't think Dawson would win this one because he lost his Queen, but he apparently used that as a strategy and it paid off because he won.

Accepting his 2nd place trophy.

Dawson got 2nd place and Ben got 4th.  They both did very well!

Road Trip

We made this trip to Disney World a road trip (it was too expensive to fly).  We took 2 days to drive there, but on the return trip we drove straight through.

We got a very early morning start.

Randy drove every single mile.

Watching a video.

Brady got to complete a bucket list item of his own - getting a snack from a vending machine!!  Hehehe.  His dream finally came true at a Visitor's Center in Alabama.

We made it!!

Disney World

This Disney trip was different than any of our others.  First, it was COLD!!  Record setting cold.  In route to Disney, a huge section (50-ish miles) of Interstate-10 was shut down because it was icy - so we had to detour along some back country highways.  Once we made it to Disney, the frigid weather continued.  So it wasn't exactly amusement park weather.  And then . . . we got the flu.  It started with Dawson, then Randy, and then me (only Brady was spared).  So there were definitely some unfortunate experiences on this Disney trip.  But there were still some wonderful experiences as well.  The marathon weekend races were a big highlight, and we had lots of good family times together at the parks.  

Our hotel (Disney's Pop Century) was still decorated for Christmas when we arrived.

Randy and the boys in the hotel lobby.

We were able to get one of the newly remodeled rooms.

Freezing cold (literally) at Magic Kingdom.

It's a Small World

Posing for a picture inside Bruce (from Finding Nemo).

Randy and Dawson braved the cold, wet Splash Mountain.

Randy and Dawson bundled up at the back of the log for the big splash down!

Hoods up before a cold ride on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.

So funny!!  The pools are heated so they were still opened - but the lifeguards were all bundled up on the sides because it was freezing!

One of the days when Dawson and Randy were back at the hotel sick, Brady and I went to Animal Kingdom.

Safari ride time!

This was our first time to see the new Avatar land at Animal Kingdom.  It was remarkable!  Disney does such an incredible job with the scenery at their parks.

Brady and me at Be Our Guest, the Beauty and the Beast themed restaurant.

Inside the restaurant.

A breakfast date with my boys (this was Randy's sickest day so he was back at the hotel).

Astro Orbiter

Flying high over Tomorrowland in Magic Kingdom.

Making our way through the line at Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger ride.

Brady James Garner

Shooting the marked "Z"s throughout the ride.

Dawson and I on the People Mover.

A quick picture at the end of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train rollercoaster. 

Waiting to ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.

Brady is tired of all the pictures already!  ;-)

Spinning teacups. 

Magic Kingdom.

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

Randy and the boys on the People Mover

Waiting for the fireworks.

Fireworks over Cinderella's Castle.

In line for Star Tours.

Ready for one of Disney's best rides - Toy Story Mania.

Brady in trouble with the Storm Troopers.

Brady dressed for Jedi Training.

The kids getting Jedi tips.

Brady's turn battling Kylo Ren.

Captain Phasma and Storm Troopers marching through Hollywood Studios.

Brady entertaining himself by taking selfies.

Randy took a picture of this shirt for me because the food at Disney is one of my favorite things about being there!

Brady and I ready to enjoy jumbo donuts the size of our faces.  Yum!

Brady said it tasted like heaven.

Another big snack - this one is a giant Mickey cookie.

Snow cones in Epcot's Japan.

Bus ride back to the hotel.

The first time they rode Test Track, Brady noted where the camera was.  On the second ride, he was sure to look right at the camera and give it 2 thumbs up as he rode by at 60 mph.

Souvenir hats.

Done at Disney and ready for the long drive home.