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our family adventure continues

So long, Orlando!

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The last thirty days have been about the hustle. We moved RV parks, migrating back to Kissimme, the land of the big box stores and WDW. We finished Classical Conversations in Apopka, FL and said our final goodbye to our friends there.  We spent a quiet Easter by ourselves in Orlando. All of the kids, but especially our eldest, cynical child were pleasantly surprised to find out that the Easter Bunny can enter a locked trailer to deliver Easter goodies. (I guess it’s further off the ground than a regular house? Or maybe it was just about the bunny, in particular. Santa Clause coming down the chimney was much more logical.) During the week following Easter, we buckled down for one last, uninterrupted stretch of school. And on April the 8th, the interruption began!

The kids and I drove home to Mississippi because two days later, on April the 10th, Nora Ruth and YiaYia left on a month-long trip to Italy! Nora Ruth had been looking forward to the trip for months; it has been an amazing opportunity for her to learn another language (one that Mom speaks fluently, so that they can continue to practice when they get home) and to see many of the places that we’ve studied throughout this past year’s scope: ancient history. I’ll write more about her trip once she gets home (next week, aggghh!!! We are so excited), and I have had a chance to pick her brain about what she saw, what she learned, and what she loved most.

When Nora Ruth left for Italy, most of us were feeling pretty sorry that we couldn’t go, as well, but probably none more so than Alliene. Thank goodness my sister was willing to loan us our cousin, Johnston, for a few days to keep us from slowing down too hard, too fast. NR, Allie, and Thomas all adore him and nobody is jaded yet about letting him have anything he wants, anytime he wants it…we shall see how long that lasts! He was a fantastic distraction for all of us and not 10 minutes after leaving NR and YiaYia at the airport, Alliene surveyed the backseat of the car, Thomas on one side, Johnston on the other, and announced, “Hey, I’m the oldest now!”

Nora Ruth hasn’t had all the fun. There was another special event happening in April that Alliene and I attended: Camp Skyline Ranch’s “Mother-Daughter Weekend” in Mentone, Alabama. This may be overly-ambitious, but I also plan to write more about the weekend in a separate post as it was really special for Allie and I to have that time all to ourselves and I observed some things about my fiery little tender-heart that I want to mull over for posterity.

Mother-Daughter Weekend was the last thing on my “to-do” list before we could head back to Orlando to rescue my poor, lonely husband from quiet, unhurried mornings and relaxing, autonomous evenings. With one of our five notably absent, we were all ready to see each other. And after chasing my youngest two around Mom & Dad’s house, turning lights off, closing doors, flushing toilets, and picking up toys after them, I have to say that it was a relief to be the Queen, once again, of my minute domain.

With one week left in Orlando, we are trying to do all of our “lasts”. I’d like to think that I have worn out our WDW annual passes; this morning we made our final pilgrimage to the Magic Kingdom and had our last Mickey Mouse ear ice cream, even if it was for breakfast. We’ve not had enough time to appreciate the eats in Orlando, so we only had a few final goodbyes to say- a trip to Singh’s Roti Shop and to our favorite bahn mi sandwich shop at Mill’s Avenue. I’m holding out hope that we can find a 4Rivers Barbecue on our way out of town tomorrow morning.

Speaking of goodbyes, I am going to have to say a final farewell to the old hay-bale garden; I’ve been carting it around, salvaging what I could of rotted hay bales, wrapping them in plastic bags, and storing them in the kids’ bunk room for the short trips the trailer made around Orlando. I don’t think I can give the ants, roaches, worms, lizards etc…,that undoubtedly live in those bales, a free ride to Pensacola. I plan to get a late, but solid, start on my garden at Hogeye in June!

Tomorrow we are cranking up the jacks, sliding in the slides, rolling up the rugs, pulling up the plumbing, battening down the hatches, hooking up the hitch, and towing our home-sweet-home to Pensacola. Clif’s final core rotation, OBGYN, is 6 weeks long so I am going to enjoy every minute of my brief return to coastal living. Its not the Caribbean, but it is the Emerald Coast.

So long, Orlando…and goodbye to so many new friends we’ve made here: our friends at CC Apopka, Ms. Willie & Mr. Ray, Fr. Tom and the wonderful members of the Church of the Messiah in Wintergarden, Ms. Angela and all of our friends at SHINE, Karla, Brian, Miles & Roxy, Aunt Becky & Uncle John, Ms. Marie & Mr. Matthew, Ms. Gertrude and Mr. Rudd, Ms. Brandi, and Mickey Mouse and crew.

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