03.04.13 Madisyn’s 4th birthday, bad bad Dora, new asking price and hot nutritious dinner!

We have had visitors to our blog from Greece, Australia, Pakistan, Italy, Panama, Qatar and Ireland since the last time I updated countries.  Still can’t figure out why but I think it’s cool!  We also have 23 followers now.  I love to look at the stats and see the countries, how many followers and what they searched for to reach us.

We’re still stuck on not knowing what state to consider our domicile.  We have been researching Tennessee heavily due to its extremely low automobile insurance rates.  It would be perfect for all aspect except for mail forwarding. We’re still trying to find a good mail forwarding service there.  I’ve searched Google, Yahoo, many RV forums and don’t find that one key thing.  If we don’t find one in Tennessee we’ll go with South Dakota.  They have all the attractive RV friendly aspects and a few mail forwarding services.   I see us more as Tennessee residents but if we must do it, off to South Dakota we’ll go since you have to spend one night there to get our driver’s licenses!

Precious Madisyn’s 4th birthday party was this past Sunday, the theme was Pop Rock Princess and she certainly was just that!  For once I’m very thankful we hadn’t sold our house already because the party location was changed to our 574862_301198886673503_305735208_nsticks and bricks house (where her mom and dad live) due to the cold, windy weather and it was a smashing success.

2013-03-02_18-22-20_260Our empty dining room provided plenty of space for setting up three tables and all the decorations. Her mommy Liz’s creative ideas all came together with some really cute decorations, food and favor ideas.

The children had a blast jumping in the castle inflatable, dressing up, breaking open the rock guitar pinata, eating rock candy, star shaped sandwiches, rock star cake and just plain old playing!

46954_300842490042476_853496952_nThe rock candy I wrote about before wasn’t a total success. About half of them didn’t grow any rocks and the other half grew about half the rocks we hoped for. It still 2013-03-02_18-20-21_977came out cute and we used the ones that did grow. Check out the picture of the ones that did grow!  That was probably as much sugar as the kids needed anyway! We believe they didn’t grow to what we hoped they would because the directions said to set them in a warm sunny window and they sat in a cold house with very little sun coming in the window.

Some of the Pop Rock Princess theme foods and decorations 2013-03-03_13-54-05_764 2013-03-03_13-54-14_629are shown in the pictures.

It’s events like this that cause us to pause and wonder how we’ll handle not being around for all this fun when we’re on the road.  We’ll just have to plan to be back for birthdays and Christmas.

We’ve really enjoyed Madisyn’s little visits when we get home from work and other times.  Now that Roy’s retired he’s getting to spend more time with her which he cherishes. She puts a smile on our face when we’re down or not feeling good and is just so loving and such a bright little girl.  Since we’ll be 602723_300839843376074_436011214_ntaking to the road soon, I guess this good thing will come to an end in due time.  I like to think that God is giving us this time with her to build memories that will hold us in between visits when the time comes for us to leave.

On to why there is a Bad, Bad Dora in the title.  Dora has been difficult about filling her rear air bags, the motor in one of her slides broke and was changed, the lights went out in the bedroom night before last and the air conditioning that runs when we’re driving wasn’t putting out cold air.  I’m sure she could be doing worse things than this and we are thankful this is all that Dora’s up to but it’s frustrating to Roy to say the least!  Hence Bad Bad Dora! They are probably all things Roy will be able to take care of now that he’s retired. He’s already changed out the slide motor, he found the fuse that was causing the lights to go out, and when time allows he’ll work on the air suspension and air conditioning.  The two air conditioning units in the RV works great, just the dashboard a/c is a concern.   Being retired you’d think Roy would have the time to just jump right on it, but as of about an hour ago he has 5 computers he’s working on for customers.  It’s a good start to his part-time business!  When we go on the road he’ll be offering his services for hire to other RVers at parks where we stay.  If anyone reading this in an RV ever need their computer worked on look out for our Dora and the Explorers sign!

My honey had a hot nutritious meal ready for me when I got home from work yesterday.  What a treat that was!!!  As busy as he is now, he is still at home and I’m not.  It sure is nice to come home from a hard day at work to a nice dinner.  Really makes me feel loved!

We made the decision to once again lower our asking price for the house and our agent is making the change known.  The current problem in our area is that contractors are building brand new homes for between $85 and $95 a square foot.  Since we are competing with them for sales we have to lower our price to at least $95 a square foot.  Another couple we know who are selling their house got the same advice from their agent and dropped their price.  I asked our agent to shout this drastic reduction from the rooftops if necessary!  Git ‘er sold!

Ya’ll come back now ya’ hear!!

02.18.13 End of my garage sale era, Roy’s freaky finger, Dora’s bobo slide

GARAGE SALES FOR ME ARE NOW OVER!!!!!!!!!!!! Hallelujah! No more pricing hundreds (felt like thousands) of things, putting signs out in the neighborhood, newspaper ads, Facebook notices, emails to everyone I know and working hours and hours and hours on garage sales!  A couple hundred folks came through on Saturday, buying the last of our earthly stuff!!!  I love visiting with the folks while selling our stuff and seeing nice people take home the little things that have meant something to me.  Other than the money it brought in, the visiting was the most rewarding to me.  My daughter in law Liz and granddaughter Madisyn helped me with this sale and sold some of their stuff too!  Madisyn was quite the little sales lady.  She’d take all the children over to her toy section and help them pick out the toy they wanted mommy or daddy to buy.  And of course the toy section was sold out by the end of the sale!

What’s left was displayed in front of the garage and notices sent out to come get it free.  Cars were in and out all evening until 11 pm (and someone was even there this morning when we woke up!) since I posted it on Facebook’s Tangipahoa Buy, Sell, Trade page!  That has been the best source for selling things I’ve found.  If you live in this area you can sign up on their page and check out all the things folks sell and if you ever want to sell something it’s just a click away!  The last of the things will be donated to a church garage sale today.  We now have a mostly empty garage and all of our stuff is completely out of the house. Won’t someone please buy our house!

Roy has several computers and lots of computer stuff still to sell but that’s his thing and while I know I’ll be helping him some, it won’t be my responsibility which makes me a happy girl!  His retirement date is coming up on the 28th of February and then he can dedicate his time to making that happen.  Once the computer stuff is gone we’ll really be finished with the shedding of our earthly possessions!

It’s taken so long to sell the house that I’m kind of hoping it’s because God’s just been waiting for us to be truly rid of all the “stuff” we own, before he sends us a house buyer!!!  Last weekend we had an open house and zero people came.  It was raining and Mardi Gras parades were rolling.  Next weekend we’ll try again and hopefully someone will come see our beautiful home!

Roy had a freak finger accident this week.  He was peeling a banana and went to flick off the little black tip into the trash can and disjointed his finger.  The ligament running on top came off and his finger was all contorted when I first saw it.  He went to the walk in clinic and then to an orthopedic doctor and was told it just has to heal on its own in a finger splint.  Being a man who makes his living fixing tiny things on computers, we didn’t know how he’d do it.  He has amazed us with being able to continue working without missing a step.  He’s of course enjoyed telling people that I hit him which broke it!  Little old sweet me wouldn’t hurt my honey like that!

Roy spent the afternoon Sunday under Dora working on the slide, wounded finger and all.  All that you could see of  Roy while he was working under Dora - just looked funny to me!The motor to move the passenger slide in and out broke two weeks ago and a part had to be located, received and installed.  I looked under Dora to see him and just found it so funny that he wasn’t laying on the ground working but was sitting up with his head not showing. I didn’t realize there were spaces under Dora where you could do that.  I took a picture of what I could see of him so you can see what I’m talking about.

Madisyn got a little concerned because she couldn’t see Paw Paw’s head so I

Madisyn looking for Paw Paw's head!

took a picture of her looking for him.  It’s  such a joy having her around.  She’s one little girl we’ll miss tremendously when we finally hit the road.  We’re setting up Skype on our computers to visit with her better when that happens.

As of today there have been visitors to my blog from Ireland, Lithuania, Canada, Philippines, Korea, El Salvador, Panama and the United Kingdom.  I’m not sure how they all came to find it, but it’s really neat to think that they did!  I also have 18 followers now who receive emails when I post a new blog.  If you are not one of them, and would like to be notified when a new blog is posted, please go to the main blog page and enter your email address in the “Follow us via email.”

I plan to write in my next blog about Work Camping which is called Workamping by some.  If you’re interested in what that’s about stay tuned!

01.27.13 Santa Paul, RV trash cans, 2 tsp of detergent, stinky foods, Sam’s visit…..

Roy's brother Santa Paul
Roy’s brother Santa Paul

Two months ago we purchased a medium size bottle of laundry detergent. Since we only use 2 teaspoons per load in our tiny Splendide washer/dryer I still have two week’s worth of detergent left. By comparison, in my previous life living in a sticks house with a regular washer/dryer, I purchased one of these size bottles every two weeks, if not more often.

Roy’s older Brother Paul came to see our RV for the first time. He looks so much like Santa with his long white beard (it was way longer than in the picture) and body shape that our granddaughter Madisyn is convinced he’s truly Santa. We had such a fun evening visiting with him and seeing Madisyn in awe the whole time. She thanked him for the bicycle he brought her last Christmas and gave him her next Christmas order! His wife Lois called Paul while he was visiting and his ring tone is a Christmas song. Madisyn’s eyes got huge when she heard that and then he told her “Oh, it’s Mrs. Claus calling”. She was in little girl heaven totally convinced that Santa was her Uncle Paul! We showed her his Facebook picture where he has his Santa costume on and she was totally sold!

We’ll have the most prepared house ever when we finally get to show it. Our son Chip has been helping a lot lately with those finishing touches. Removing all the outside porch globes and cleaning them out, painting the front riser part of the inside steps to the second floor, trimming back plants that died in a recent frost, etc. Our agent says we’ll have an Open House in February and we’re considering lowering the price again so hopefully things will move along then. Soon the grass will need cutting and of course we sold the lawnmower, weed eater, etc. All are gone, and the pretty little green blades of grass that I normally cheer about are not a welcome sight this year! Our sweet neighbor Jeannette offered to loan us her lawnmower, but we’re truly hoping to be long down the road before the lawn mower is needed too often!

We're living here in our driveway!
We’re living here in our driveway!

We’re still living in the driveway of our sticks home seeing more of our area than we did in the house.  We have windows everywhere you look in the RV and it’s lovely to see outside, even in our own yard!  Maybe one day we won’t live in a driveway!  Roy’s underneath the back in this picture doing something!  He’s promised me to write a couple of blogs soon about the work he’s done getting Boots, our toad, ready and all the incidental work he’s done since we purchased Dora.  I’m sure it will be him dictating and me typing if it ever does happen!

I’ve made some great progress on preparing for our final garage sale. I don’t think I’ve had three garage sales in my entire life yet after this one we’ll have had 3 sales in 6 months! Several tables are set up with goodies displayed and priced. Roy and Chip gathered all their old carpet/flooring installation tools and loaded them up in Roy’s truck bed. Roy use to work at Halpin’s Flooring in Baton Rouge and stays in contact with the owner Elizabeth, who is just the most delightful young woman. Now instead of installing flooring for her, he repairs all their computers. Elizabeth brings us fish, deer, fresh peaches and other goodies when Roy works on her computers. I love to hear that she’s coming with a computer cause we always know a goodie will accompany her! She said he could bring all his old tools to her and hopefully the flooring installers there now will want to buy a lot of his work goodies! This cleared a lot of space in the garage to set up sale items. It’s taken 5 months to clear out our house and garage and we’re not finished yet. Several pieces of furniture are still at the Estate Consignment Center in Hammond. They’ve sold some and there are still some there to be sold. February 9th is the garage sale date and if all goes well we should be close to cleaned out! Whoo hoooo!!

We have avoided cooking stinky things or pots of food that have to cook for a while to avoid smells accumulating inside our new home. This was something we were warned about on another RV owner’s web site.  Last weekend I decided to cook some fresh vegetables to serve with dinner during the week. I was not thinking about the smell when I chose cauliflower and turnips bottoms! They did smell while they cooked but after a little airing they left no lasting smell that I can tell. We (or at least I am) are trying a new healthier food approach. I want to be a trimmer version of myself when we are on the road and be able to climb hills and cycle around at will so I’m eating healthier and trying to be more active. No marathons for me yet, but a few more stretches and walking more is a start at least!

Our trip to Sam’s today was totally different than previous visits. We only go about 4-6 times a year and haven’t been since we moved into Dora. We’re use to getting whatever we can afford because storage was no problem. Our RV refrigerator/freezer is larger than most we’ve seen in motor homes but it’s not the same size as in a sticks house. Ours is now packed and at least half of the non cold stuff we purchased is headed to the storage bins beneath (I call it the basement). At least we have that space for our “overflow”.

Amazon Trash Can - paid 11 cents!
Amazon Trash Can – paid 11 cents!

One thing we have taken care of is our trash can. May not be a big deal in a regular home but in an RV it is. We tried a small one under the sink but that lasted about a week since  we had to empty it every day. We’re use to having a trash compactor that only needs to be emptied once a week so once a day was not going to work.  Then we purchased a tall plastic one with a lid. Well, it was white and when you walked into the RV the first thing your eyes locked onto was the white talk trash can. Not the look I’m trying to achieve! I shopped in all the stores around here and found nothing. Didn’t want white, didn’t want too small. I really wanted it to just disappear into the room. Finally on Amazon I found the right one. It doesn’t disappear into the room but at least it doesn’t shout, look I”m a trash can! When I checked out I found I had a large enough cash back balance on my Discover Card that the trash can only cost me 11 cents! We’ve received it and it’s in use and it is perfect! For owners looking for one, this is a picture of the one we got from Amazon.

I know this is a blog with very random thoughts, not many related. Yet that’s how our life is right now, all over the place so this is probably a good reflection of the current life of Dora, Roy and Rosalyn the Explorers!

01.04.13 Black tanks and toilets, oh my!

Today’s blog may not be of any interest to our family and friends unless they plan on RVing or have a fascination for all that is RV-related.  If you want to learn about RVing keep reading.  This may be a very weird blog to those who really just want to know about our travels because it’s about the toilet and the black tank.  If you are planning on living in an RV, and know nothing about an RV toilet this is good information for you.  We don’t know all yet but have learned enough to know we can share with those who are just starting out. Since the weirdness of all this is slowly becoming our normal, here goes! THERE WILL BE NO PICTURES IN THIS BLOG!

Roy and I have never camped in our lives, not in a tent, not in a cabin, and certainly not in an RV.  The closest our family ever came to camping was when our sons camped out in their big tree house across the pond from our house.  Roy and I slept in our nice warm bed while they roughed it in the treehouse, never more than one night at a time!

We’ve never even been in an RV until we started looking for ours.  We went into this knowing absolutely nothing about this new world of ours so the odds of making mistakes are high and the odds of us learning a lot is high as well.  Everything is new and interesting to us.  I’ve never used a toilet that didn’t flush using a handle on the toilet tank.  Our new home has a toilet that flushes by stepping on a pedal and has no holding tank behind the toilet.  This aspect of RVing is absolutely the weirdest part of our transition from a sticks house to an RV.

I’m not a plumber but I’ve seen enough plumbing work done to understand how a house toilet works.  Fairly simple and who really cares what happens once you flush.  Well in an RV it’s very different.  There is no water (or very little) in the toilet bowl.  You can add more water by pushing down on the pedal just a little bit.  which is the reverse of what you do when you’re flushing and you push down on the pedal.  That allows some water into the bowl for “special occasions”.  I don’t want to get too graphic so if you can’t imagine what a “special occasion” is, think about it.

Once you’ve done whatever you’re going to do in the toilet, you push the pedal down with your foot to flush it.  A little dome opens over a 3 to 4-inch wide pipe and your “stuff” goes down the pipe to the big black tank which in our RV goes from one side of the RV to the other.  You can look down the tank (yes I did that today!) and see all your stuff and water.  Not something I want to do again but I did learn from it.  I learned all this today because Roy took me on a potty tour to learn all about the black tank and how the toilet works.  I want to learn as much as possible about all things RV so I can be as helpful as possible when we are on the road.

The black tank is a large tank that is black that all of the toilet water, toilet paper, and “stuff” goes into.  Nothing else goes into it.  The gray tank is a large tank that is gray that all the shower water and sink water goes into.  Since we are parked in our own driveway and we don’t live near anyone we have a long expandable tube attached to the gray tank (definitely not the black tank) and it continually empties into our side yard.  That allows us to not worry about filling up the gray tank and having to empty it.

We also had a problem that was uncovered today when I opened one of the empty storage bins underneath the RV (right under the toilet) to see how much room was in it.  It was empty but had a lot of pee in it which is just about as gross as it gets.  Roy had to figure out where it was coming from so he could stop it which lead to the toilet lesson for the day!  We now have one very clean and sanitized storage bin!

Something interesting about the black tank – it has sensors that show up on the control panel indicating whether it is ¼, ½ ¾ or completely full. The gray tank has the same type of sensors so you know when to empty both of them.  This is a whole different aspect that is totally, totally different than a house toilet.  About every two weeks, we have to empty our black tank and you do that at a “dump”.  RV dealerships have dumps and our RV spot at Disney had one.  I think a lot of RV parks have them but don’t have any experience with them yet.

We know nothing about the chemicals some use in their tanks.  Most people say to just make sure you put plenty of water in the tank so nothing gets stuck……………………  We just read about a method called the GEO Method that uses Dawn Dishwashing Liquid (blue) and Calgon Water Softener after you empty your tank and it takes care of lots of issues! We’ll try that one as soon as we buy some.   We don’t have a real problem so far. I like things always smelling pleasant and reading other people’s descriptions of “smells” makes me want to be much more proactive than sitting back and wait!

Toilet paper is another “topic” of discussion amongst RV owners.  Our wonderful Charmin toilet paper is considered by some to be not appropriate for use in an RV toilet.  Most RV bloggers say they use their regular toilet paper and don’t have any problems.  Our RV Technician says that you must buy RV toilet paper or it stays forever in the bottom of your black tank and can fill it up.  He said it mixes with the liquids and makes like paper mache which is hard.  I’ve heard RV toilet paper is not as soft.  We just bought some septic tank safe paper at Lowe’s so we’ll see how that does and then try real RV toilet paper last.  There is a test they say to do that shows if the toilet paper dissolves quickly.  I put our Charmin in a cup of water and stirred it for a few days and it did get looser but didn’t come close to disintegrating like they say the RV toilet paper does.  I’ll have to put the paper we just bought to that same test and report on it!

Like I said previously this aspect of RVing is the weirdest.  I’ve never liked using the toilet on an airplane for similar reasons to why I dreaded using the toilet in our RV.  It must be some phobia I had but now I think our RV toilet is very normal.  I guess it’s our new normal!

This is definitely a basics lesson on RV toilets as we only know what we’ve learned these last two months and you don’t just naturally spend too much time focusing on the toilet!  If experienced RVers read this and can give us tips please comment away!

I plan to write about our tiny washer/dryer combo next time since that’s a cool, very different aspect of RV life.

December 2012 – the whole Disney trip – our first RV on the road experience!

Roy and I decided in November to make our first RV trip a trip to Disneyworld around Christmas. The last time we went to Disney was three years ago at Christmas and it was so beautiful at Christmas that we thought it would be great to make our first official RV trip to see Mickey!! We checked with Madisyn’s mommy Liz and she said she could go with us so we made the reservations at Ft. Wilderness Campgrounds at Disneyworld. Several very helpful friends gave us good tips and information about staying there since we’ve never been to Ft. Wilderness before. There was a lot to do before leaving our sticks house and hitting the road. What was really nice was that we didn’t have to pack – what a difference that made. We didn’t forget one thing, because everything was with us! We loaded up lots of special snacks and food for Madisyn, and us!! We left Sunday after church and headed to Milton, Florida to pick up Madisyn. We meet her mommy in the Walmart parking lot near their home. Madisyn jumped out of her car and ran to see us and Dora. She got used to the RV on her last visit with us so she was very comfortable being in it.

After playing for a while we all went to sleep. As weird as I thought it would be sleeping in a Walmart parking lot, it was no different than sleeping at home since we were in our own bed! Knowing that the lights we saw through the curtain were Walmart lights was a bit odd though but we slept well! In the morning Madisyn woke us up with her puppy singing Christmas music. We all showered in the Walmart parking lot, ate breakfast, and headed off to Disney.

We strapped Madisyn in her car seat in the passenger seat (we called it her throne). Her eyes were big and amazed at the big windows and sitting up so high! A 7 hour trip from Milton to Ft. Wilderness turned into a 9 hour trip with multiple stops for various things including stretching our legs.

Lesson one learned is that trying to walk through the RV on a road that is not extremely smooth is like trying to walk on a cruise ship during a storm. A seriously queasy stomach is sure to follow.  Also, learned that I don’t travel in the RV too well when trying to walk around, getting up and down, fixing lunches, getting drinks for the Princess and her Paw Paw.

During the two hours that Madisyn napped in our bed, I sat in my passenger seat in the front and felt fine. Since that’s where I’ll be sitting when we’re really traveling I should be fine. Princess Madisyn needed her throne to be safe, so Grannie just stayed queasy until we got there. I’ve decided that’s one of the best purposes of the windows behind the sofas is so they can be cracked open for a queasy passenger, it sure helped!

We thoroughly enjoyed looking out all the windows and seeing everything from a bigger, higher perspective. The weather was beautiful except for about an hour of rain.

When we got to Disney we checked in through Dora’s driver’s window – very cool and convenient! The campground is huge and it took us quite a while to find our spot. We saw lots of Christmas decorations throughout the park, at least half the RVers brought Christmas blow up and light-up decorations that they set up outside and on their RVs, and the campground did a lot of decorations also. We found our spot which required a lot of driving through narrow curing pathways in the dark. Roy only tried to take out one car that wasn’t parked properly but otherwise handled it all masterfully.

We stayed at 1444 in Big Bear Run in Fort Wilderness Campgrounds. There were fruit and other trees and bushes all around us giving us total privacy. 50 amp hook-up, water, barbeque pit, and bright orange picnic table on our cement parking pad. We were maybe 200 feet from the bus stop where we caught the Disney bus we took throughout the campground to the ferry which took us to the Magic Kingdom. At the bus stop, there was a picture of a missing dog named Quincy. Madisyn felt so bad for Quincy and every time we stopped there she’d touch his picture and say Quincy I hope they find you. She has such a sweet loving heart.

To get to the ferry we took a short bus ride that dropped us off at the Wilderness restaurants. Outside of Trails End Restaurant, they hung several hula hoops and on six occasions Madisyn stopped and practiced her hula-hooping skills. The first night we ate at Trails End and Roy enjoyed it so much he said I could just leave him there and come back Thursday to get him. It was a buffet dinner of all great home-cooked food, salad bar, dessert bar, potato bar, and sweet tea in a mason jar. It always seems like when a restaurant serves you sweet tea in a mason jar that the dinner is always delicious. The price of the meal was way too high but we enjoyed it all the same! We headed back to the bus and on the way there stopped at the playground and at the hula hoop station for Madisyn to have fun.

After a good night’s sleep, we woke up at 7:30, ate breakfast at the picnic table while visiting with Squirley who came to visit. He later followed us to Disney and that thrilled Madisyn! We took the ferry which was a fun experience in itself. Madisyn had never ridden on a boat that big and we sat outside on the bow. It’s a beautiful ride to the Magic Kingdom on the ferry. We took it slowly once we got off the boat and entered the Magic Kingdom to let Madisyn take it all in. She knew the names of all the characters she saw pictures of as we entered, and couldn’t wait to meet some of them. The first stop was to meet Princess Aurora, Rapunzel, Princess Jasmine, and Daisy Duck. A stop was necessary at one of the vendors to get her some sparkly Minnie Mouse ears – hot pink of course! Then on to the Mad Tea Cup for a ride and other rides in the morning.

We headed back on the ferry to Dora after lunch and took a long nap then headed back to the Magic Kingdom in the afternoon. Madisyn wore her Cinderella dress back to Disney after the nap and was just delightful. Seeing her skipping or running (which she did quite often) in front of us was so precious. Her childish joy and exuberance were contagious making Roy and I almost skip along with her. She’d twirl around in her dress causing those around her to just ooh and aah and of course we the proud grandparents smile, just loving it! Since she had her Cinderella dress on we went back to meet the Princesses and get their autographs. Cinderella was there this time and we got a video of Madisyn meeting her looking just like Cinderella. They sat on the floor visiting and then hugged. It was truly a magical moment for this little girl who thinks that was really Cinderella. We rode Dumbo the Flying Elephant a few times, took some pictures, and then headed off on the bus for Hollywood Studios so we could see the Osborne Family Lights and see the snowfall on that street. When we walked around the corner and there it was, Madisyn’s eyes lit up. She could hardly stand it when it started snowing and she kept trying to lick it up with her tongue as it fell. The lights covering every square inch of every building that flashed with the music kept her dancing in the street for quite a while. We took a video of her doing her ballerina dancing in front of one building with an audience watching her. Disney is truly a place where a little girl’s dreams do come true!

On we went to Epcot around 8 pm to watch the 9:30 Illuminations firework exhibit. It was cold so we bundled up and found a place to catch the show and just huddled for a while. The show was beautiful as always and Madisyn enjoyed every minute of it except that her fingers were plugged into her ears to keep the loud fireworks noises out. If someone has never seen this firework show, it’s much more than that. It’s a very moving experience about the world coming together in peace. The end of the show features the song “Let there be Peace on Earth”. Everyone joins in and for that moment you do feel that peace on earth could be possible. It’s a beautiful way to feel at Christmas time. After all, Jesus is our Peace, and wouldn’t it be wonderful if we all felt that way. We didn’t get home until 11 that night and Madisyn was still awake. Within minutes of hitting the bed, she was sound asleep and slept until 9 the next morning.

It was a little harder getting going on Wednesday our second day there but once we hit the beautiful clear wind on the ferry we woke up and were all looking forward to our day. Madisyn again wore her Cinderella dress and was the center of attention a good bit of the time. There were lots of other little girls with their princess outfits on and they tended to gravitate together and make friends. Anyone who has been to Disney knows the wait is long for the rides. Even though at Christmas the wait is considerably less (maybe 15 for most rides, 40-60 minutes for a couple of rides), the princesses would gather and visit, complimenting each other on their gowns and fixed up hair. Madisyn and Roy were selected to participate in two events together. One was when Madisyn met Belle (who is her favorite) from Beauty and the Beast and Roy was the Knight in the skit. It was one of the new attractions at Fantasyland and was a perfect child-oriented event. They also participated in a street skit where a Lady in Waiting and the Gentlemen’s Gentlemen (not sure if that’s what he’s actually called) were teaching the children how to curtsey, and various other important technicalities to palace life! A group of street clowns had a child’s interactive skit she was in, and very much like her daddy was more interested in the bright posters behind her than in the clowns!

The star event of the visit was of course “It’s a Small World”. She loved it so much she immediately wanted to ride it again so of course, we did that. Actually, we did most things twice and some even three times. This was Madisyn’s time at Disney so, within limits, we tried to do what she wanted. We ate a delicious lunch at Pinocchio’s house where we enjoyed a nice rest to the constant go go go. After lunch, we made our visit to Belle’s Mansion for the skit there and met Ariel in her Grotto. The carousel was a big hit and it is so beautiful I felt like a princess on it, though I was just the photographer! We flew in the sky with Peter Pan and by that time it was getting dark so we bid farewell to the Magic Kingdom, much to Madisyn’s deep despair. She was very cooperative throughout the trip except for when we were leaving and we fully understood the tears that fell as she walked away, waving bye-bye to Mickey. At least we knew we had introduced her t the magical, marvelous world of Disneyworld, the happiest place on earth. After our last ride on the ferry, by 7:30 we were all ready for bed and our last night at Disney with Dora!

The morning we were to leave we all slept until 9 am, which means all of us slept at least 12 hours last night. Madisyn and I went out back of Dora and picked some grapefruits from the tree behind us. It was a great place to stay. By 11 we were waving goodbye to our little cement parking spot and heading back to reality.

On the way back we ran into about two hours of rain. Roy drove very well through the storm. I feel so much more comfortable with him driving in Dora than in one of our regular vehicles. I learned from our trip going to Disney not to roam around when the RV was moving so I didn’t get queasy!!!!!!! Yeah, big relief – Dora would have been for sale when we got home if that hadn’t stopped! Paw Paw taped several episodes of Dora the Explorer while we were at Disney and we made good use of them keeping the little chatterbox occupied on the long ride home. We also enjoyed the movie Cars on this trip. Madisyn is napping on our bed right now so I’m enjoying some blog writing time.

We’ll be at Madisyn’s in a couple of hours and will spend the night at Walmart again before heading back to Hammond in the morning. It’s been a wonderful trip and we are both so thankful to have been able to have this experience with our granddaughter Madisyn. We’ve been to Disney several times over the years and this one was like going the first time. Everything was new for her and we got to experience that. She’s only 3, almost 4, so she may not remember all the details of our trip but we believe we’ve created some lasting memories for her of how very much her grandparents love her and how special she is to us!

My next blog will be a bunch of pictures from our trip – please check them out!