Hello sweet girl and Happy 95 months to my rising third grader! I have several fun things to recap for you this month – looking back through the photos I find myself marveling at how lucky we have been to share such great memories. Being your mom is a whole lot of fun, I must say.
We couldn’t even wait for the school year to officially end before we began summer adventures. We checked you out early on the last day of school so you could travel to Orlando with your Girl Scout troop for a trip to Sea World. But not just any trip to Sea World – an overnight in the dolphin exhibit.
You girls gathered outside the school, giddy with the double excitement of the end of school and the beginning of an adventure.
And yes, of course I had to sign up to chaperone this one.
At Sea World we enjoyed a guided tour of several exhibits after the park was closed to visitors, including a lovely time spent watching the beluga whales.
But the real treat was unrolling our sleeping bags in front of the giant underwater viewing tank in the dolphin enclosure.
We were enchanted by the dolphins swimming by, and I woke up several times in the night just so I could watch them some more. Even in the semi-dark, they were beautiful.
At 6 a.m., after precious little sleep, we were jolted awake by loud theme park music and the lights automatically blazing on in the enclosure. After rubbing the sleep from our eyes, we were invited to “play” with the dolphins. We held up toys on our side of the glass and encouraged the animals to interact with us, which they did.
We spent that day enjoying the park before joining your Daddy at the hotel and aiming for a reasonable bedtime, because more adventures awaited the next day.
It also happened to be Star Wars Weekend at Disney, so we’d made plans to attend the festivities at HollyWood Studios. For a girl who likes to play dress up and loves Star Wars, the Star Wars weekend is a perfect combination. Last year, you went dressed as a jedi, complete with Princess Leia buns. But this year, your favorite character was not so easy to replicate. You love Ahsoka Tano from the Clone Wars animated series, and I knew accomplishing this outfit was beyond my abilities.
Thankfully, my cousin Emmie (and one of your favorite babysitters EVER), is a talented costume designer, and created an amazing Ahsoka costume. You strutted proudly through the park, stopping to pose for pictures at the request of other park visitors. You endured waiting in line for a chance to pose with beloved characters.
And we experienced what I believe was a bit of Disney magic.
You signed up to do the Jedi Training Academy, in which you get to take group lessons from a jedi trainer and then battle an evil villain. Every time we’ve seen it before, the trainers have been basic jedi (not particular characters), and the villains have been Darth Vader and Darth Maul.
So we were surprised and very pleased when the jedi trainer emerged for your group, and it was none other than Ahsoka Tano.
Soon the villains appeared for the battles, and instead of Darth Maul, your group was approached by Ventress, Ahsoka’s arch nemesis.
Could it have been coincidence that your group was Ahsoka-centric? Or did someone take notice of the enthusiastic girl in the Ahsoka costume at the pre-show sign in, and pull a string or two? Either way, it was Disney magic.
Later in the day, you waited in line for one-on-one time with the Ahsoka character, and she was lovely. “I’ve been hearing about you!” she exclaimed as you approached.
Then she made you turn around so she could admire your outfit, and then announced that you’d be taking over for her at the photo spot, because you looked the part.
Then there was much hugging and posing and general happiness.
You even had the chance to meet Ashley Eckstein, the voice of Ahsoka in the cartoon. She was friendly and kind, and even wanted a picture of the two of you to keep on her phone.
After our Orlando adventures it was back to Savannah for a few days before taking you north to Nana and Granddaddy’s house for “Cousin Camp.” There, you spent a week with Stella and Jane, enjoying Bible School in the morning and then many adventures in the afternoon. But I think one of the favorite camp moments was the nightly pow-wow, when you all would gather in Nana’s closet, turn off all the lights, and then scream like banshees before flicking on your flashlights and discussing your day. Many wonderful memories were made, and I do believe this was the beginning of a great annual tradition.
I think that sounds like a pretty great start to your summer, don’t you? I sure think so. I can’t wait to see what fun we’ll have next. I love you sweet girl.