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Having successfully squeezed all our stuff into car #2 we scoot out of the port in Ft Lauderdale to drive across Alligator Alley to meet up with friends on Marco Island for lunch.

Alligator Alley (also known as Everglades Parkway) is an 85 mile section of  I-75 extending from Weston on the east coast of Florida to Naples on the west coast.  First opened in 1969, most of the highway traverses the Everglades.

The name was given by AAA during planning; they believed it would be a useless road, an alley for alligators. However, as alligators often frequent the waterways beside the road, and occasionally the road itself, the nickname has a somewhat literal meaning.


Yes, that is a couple hour drive.  But after having traveled thousands of miles, what’s a couple more hours.  Then, we hopped back in the car and drove 4.5 hours to meet friends up in Orlando for dinner.  We literally ran through Downtown Disney to make it on time.  Kinda fun.

Would you believe the girls just met for the first time?

We've known Beth & Kelly for 20+ years and now our kiddos are friends too

India and Carly

The beach just outside the back door ::sigh::

I guess they like the sunny weather too

We ran to meet up here

And have fun with these awesome kiddos

We were excited to meet up with Dean, Laurel, Cassidy, Tyler and Naomi for a couple days of fun and DISNEY WORLD.  Ginger Kitty was super duper excitedly looking forward to meeting Tinkerbell “in person“.  As we drove on the road to Disney property and through the welcome sign she could barely contain herself.

“This is the first time I get to be at Disney World and actually remember it.”

We are huge fans of VRBO for vacation rentals.  Especially for the Orlando area.  (click the link for one of our favorites)  There are amazing homes with lots of bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchens, game rooms and your very own pool and hot tub -for amazing prices.  Especially if you are traveling with some friends and you all split the cost.  Lots of room for everyone to spread out.

Here is the house we rented. 

True story:  Ginger Kitty had been looking at the photos of the house we were renting for weeks.  She is particularly interested in the “princess” room she would get to sleep in.  (Check out the wall mural.)  She was so excited to get into the house and immediately ran to find this room.  She walked up to the wall mural and started looking around.  Finally she looked at us and said,

OK, so where is the portal that transports me into the princess room?



Check out all those princesses

After taking care of 2 weeks worth of laundry and Mikee trying to get some work done and getting the suitcases situated for a week on the road we traded car #2 for car #3 and got back on the road to head up to see Dean and Laurel.

In Atlanta, Georgia we have some very special friends who we have known since their kiddos were littler than this…

They came down to meet us in Orlando and it was so cool to not say good-bye there in Florida but drive up and see them and their Mom, Dad, and all grown up, married daughter.  ::sniff sniff::  (Nicole also has turned her creativity into a business.  Check out her etsy shop)  Seems like just yesterday I put this picture in a frame.  Where does the time go?  Now my babies are getting way too big way too fast too.


Cassidy, Cathy, Bob, India, Ginger Kitty, Tyler, Austin

Cameron & Nicole

I was so excited that Laurel came along with us up to Charlotte, North Carolina to spend some “girlfriend” time with Jill.

A true friend (and cake diva) knows exactly what to have for dinner

My "golden haired" friend and my little girl

Kiddos and Cameron

We got started on the kids shopping list

These cowgirls could have shopped all day

But the boys were done

Had to say good-bye and get back on the road to go see our cousins in Raleigh, North Carolina.  It was great to hang out and catch our breath a bit with Jim, Jen, Amanda and Andrew.  Austin and Andrew are pretty much the same age and they keep in touch via skype.  But nothing beats being in person.  We also had dinner with a family we knew back when we lived in NY and now are just minutes from our family in Raleigh.  Then, I am going to take a break while the kiddos fill you in on some of their fun over the next couple posts.

Cousin Amanda "baby curled" the girls hair. She is so cool!

While the boys rode their bikes around the neighborhood, the girl team added an artist's touch to the driveway

A blast from our New York past

Andrew, Ginger Kitty, Amanda, India, Austin






{ 1 comment… add one }
  • DAD March 10, 2012, 10:06 am


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