Loving, Learning and Letting Go

New Year Vacation–National Lampoon Style

on January 5, 2014

Hi Everyone!  Happy New Year!  I hope that your new year has started out right.  I think I’ve mentioned on this blog before about how a new year brings such new hope and exciting thoughts about what’s to come.  I agree with that, but my goal is to slow down a bit, try to relax, and enjoy each day as it comes!!

This post has to mainly be about our New Year’s Vacation!!  We bought Alan tickets to the Capital One Bowl in Orlando Florida for Christmas.  Of course his Gamecocks were playing, and Mary Cate and I had worked hard to book the trip AND keep it a secret until Christmas Day.  His reaction???  Not what we were expecting…BUT, he was excited, he just had to get through 14 days of end of the year work, in less than a week.  So, we let him work, and we became more and more excited for our trip.  Mary Cate’s big sister from her sorority, was inducted into our family for this trip, and I think she had lots of fun!

When we booked the trip we weren’t absolutely positive the Gamecocks would be playing the Capital One bowl but we took a chance and made sure everything was refundable.  Mary Cate booked us a room as the Econo Lodge, which the next day I quickly changed to the Holiday Inn Express.  There were lots of jokes and comments about that Econo Lodge!!

New Year’s Eve day, we pile into my Jetta (Jerri) and hit the road.  That was also part of the deal.  I would drive, so Alan could work.  This was very difficult for him in that he ALWAYS drives.  But once we got going he relaxed and was okay with it.  (of course before we got started the disclaimer that he couldn’t say anything about my speed or driving was put out there).

8 Hours later, we arrive in Orlando, and this happened:


It was a loooonnnnggg trip!  We made it safely to our hotel and then had to determine where we were going to spend New Year’s Eve.  We were pretty positive we wouldn’t last til midnight, so dinner  and some Duke football and we called it a night.  The girls still looked pretty though:



And here’s us:


The next day was Gameday!  We were hoping for beautiful 80 degree Orlando weather, then we were hoping that it just wouldn’t rain.  Neither hope worked out for us.  We started the morning at Bojangles for some tailgate food, when we run into another Gamecock fan with a cane.  She continued to be a buzz kill telling us that we are so screwed that we didn’t buy a parking pass and that there was no tailgating anywhere around the stadium and that the area was horrible…lock up your valuables.  Yea, Lady, thanks….

Bojangles in hand, we are off to the Stadium.  As we enter parking lot run by some interesting folk, pay our fee, we pull up to this:


And these were our tailgating buddies for the next 3 hours.  A few fellas from the University of Central Florida, like football, won tickets, and headed to the game.  Luckily for us they LOVED the Gamecocks!  This crew was lead by Alan’s new best friend John….  John called Alan Al, and me Ma!  He’s from Winchester NY and goes to school at UCF.  He was a great kid….here’s how that went down:


Yep, that’s what you think it is….  : )


Yes, it was cold and rainy, but this is what I love about college football…the people you meet.    So things got a little bit dicey and Alan was ready to hit the game (it is his vacation you know)


During the game, our friend John, came and found us and sat with us for a bit.  This was until the mean family sitting behind us got mad that he was standing up and got him kicked out.  That was a bummer.  But we still consider John part of the family!  Funny the people you meet.


These here are dangerous weapons.  Have you seen them before??  You bang them together to make lots of noise.  Well,  I ended up having to have mine taken away because I hit the man in front of me, not once, but several times.  The last time I was upset about a play and banged him hard on the head….ooops.  I laughed for about 20 minutes….

The rest of the trip was spent resting and doing some shopping at the Outlets in Orlando.  That was even almost too much for me.  The highlight of this day though was our visit to the World’s Largest McDonalds!


Seriously,  never seen anything like it!!

All in all we had a great trip.  Erica was a real trooper with our crazy family, and it was just so much fun to get away for a bit and have a good time!!


Our final mileage as we pulled into our driveway Friday evening!!


Happy New Year all!!!



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