A few years ago, before talk of full timing with the band had even begun, Michael dreamed of us going on a vacation to Disney World with the kids and playing our way there. At the time I suppose we didn't consider taking the really LOOOONG way there, but we did get there!
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It. Was. Awesome! So awesome it ruined me on fun for a time. In an effort to take in as much as possible with all the things one can see in every area we have traveled since hitting Pennsylvania, we pretty much wore ourselves out. The grown-up "ourselves", that is. I'm sure the younger two would keep going indefinitely.
However, if you're going to wear out your capacity for fun, Disney is the place to do it. I am in awe over their whole business model. Everything in and around the area is designed to part you with your money, but unlike other places that attempt that feat, Disney makes you desperately excited to see it go at every turn, inspires you to look for more places to contribute to their part-you-with-your-money goal, and sends you merrily on your way, dreaming of the time you can come back someday to throw even more money at them. They are the masters, and we loved them for it, despite our usually insane frugal mentalities.
The kids busked and saved their earnings for months, sometimes playing with tired voices, fingers, hot, cold, and weary, but they succeeded and enjoyed every minute of the trip. Grandma Susan joined us and the twins stayed at her hotel room with park-hopper passes. They were park hopping fools, sometimes late into the night when the Magic Kingdom had extended hours. The younger two were just hyper from the lights, music, loud sounds, rides, and all sugared up all four days. The after-Disney hangover has begun and we're fighting off weariness and some minor illnesses, but I think everyone would agree it was worth it.
Here is where I end this post and simply let the pictures speak for themselves. Thank you, Lord, we did it! He did it, really, finding us unexpected places to play and stretching the money we had to live off of for our first frightening and vulnerable year out on the road. I am very grateful for every moment, most especially learning to trust in the every day grace we needed to keep going.
Next stop: Texas and, Lord willing, a slower period of time over the winter. Should God's providence allow, we'll loop the eastern part of the country and find ourselves in Florida again next year.