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Monday, March 31st, 2014. Congratulations to Jackson. Against Cedar Grove, in a meet at MAHS, he beat his personal best in the mile by a whopping 11 seconds, coming in at 6:09. Quite an accomplishment considering how many times he has ran it right at his best of 6:20. He followed that by beating his personal best in the 800 by 9 seconds, finishing in 2:56. In the 800, he was the last male competitor with a half a lap to go.  He kicked it in high gear and passed six runners over the next 100 yards, then held 3rd place all the way to the finish.  Jackson ended the day by running a fast anchor leg in the the 4X200. It was a great evening for watching the MAMS team compete. Lots of fast running, high jumping, far throwing, hard working kids out there. 

Friday, March 28th, 2014.  Happy Anniversary Amy!  I love you!

Yesterday Amy picked out 4 baby chicks, today she added three more!  It should be a fun adventure for the family.

Jackson ran two great races yesterday.  He ran 6:20 again in the mile and had a personal best of 3:01 in the 800.  It was a quad meet, so the field was crowded.  5th place earned the team points in the 800 due to the number of competitors. 

Thursday, March 27th, 2014. Cold, windy home meet versus Central and Southeastern.  Jackson placed 3rd in the mile with a time of 6:20 and 5th in the 800 with a time of 3:05.  He laid back in 4th in the mile, then kicked it in hard for the last 200 meters, sprinting into a strong 3rd place finish with one of his best times.  It was also his best finish in the mile.  Our friend Alex finished in 4th with a time of 6:23.  Central finished in the top two spots in the mile.   

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014.
We wrapped up our stay at Disney World with a day at Hollywood Studios.  It took a huge effort on everyone in the family, but we managed to get in line in time for Jackson and Ben to participate in Jedi Training, which was at the very top of the to-do-list.  It was a great memory four years ago and they wanted to relive it.  The boys built their own light sabers again and Jackson bought a Galactic Swag t-shirt.  It was another great day with lots of sunshine.  Even though we had a fast pass for Fantasmic, I urged the family to leave early as we had a super long day ahead of us.  So after getting lots of autographs from characters, we headed to Orlando, where we checked into a small motel for the night. 
 
We woke early on Monday and bolted for Universal Studios.  I was afraid that it would take a long time to find it and to sort out the will-call tickets and it was imperative that we were in line early for the Harry Potter ride.  We were at the park within 5 minutes, printed our tickets at a kiosk and found ourselves in line with a small group of people, a full hour before the park opened.  We did not know that guests at the Universal hotels get to enter the park early, but were ushered in along with them.  We were on the Harry Potter ride within 15 minutes.  It made Jackson a little sick, Ben was scared, Amy was not  sure about it, I loved it.  After that, we were able to ride Flight of the Hippogriff over and over with no wait.  The boys bought Butterbeer, Ben was selected in Olivander's and a wand picked him.  That was a highlight.  Jackson and I struck up a conversation with an employee while Amy and Ben rode a spinning ride.  He took us to the top of the Hulk coaster on a service elevator, then gave us front row seats.  We got to cut line in front of even the express pass passengers.  It was the best coaster experience I have ever had.  We loved it.  We also enjoyed the Dragon coaster.  I got sick on the Seuss ride.  Amy and Jackson rode a water flume ride and got soaked.  The day was gorgeous.  We hopped over from Adventure Island to Universal Studios where Amy and Ben got in line for the Despicable Me simulator.  Jackson and I split off and rode The Mummy, then met back up at ET.  We then stumbled onto a waterpark section and spent the rest of the day playing there.  It was hard to tear ourselves away to make the ten hour drive back to freezing temps, but we eventually did, hitting Orlando rush hour traffic in the process.  We arrived home around 4am, but luckily found school on a two hour delay the next morning due to ice.
   
Tuesday, March 25th, 2014
. We have had so many snows this year, that I quit counting and stopped documenting them.  But this one is so late and so heavy, that I just had to post a few photos. 

Our third day at Disney was spent at Epcot. We got their early, had a game plan, executed it and found ourselves sitting in the front row of the first Soarin' ride that day.  Awesome.  We used our main fast pass on Test Track, which we all really liked.  The car that Jackson and Amy designed beat the one Ben and I created.  We hit the rides early, then were separated after lunch when Ben and Amy went on a Phineas and Ferb mission.  This was the first day that we actually got to be hot in Florida.  The sun was out, the skies were blue and the temps were in the 80s.  We spent the afternoon walking around the lake, checking out performers and shops, then had a spectacular meal at Tokyo Dining.  We called it a night after the fireworks and once again crashed hard at the hotel.  

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014. On our second day at Disney, we hit Animal Kingdom.  The rain had stopped, but it was still pretty chilly.  We had an early Fast Pass for the safari ride, so we started the day by walking across the park.  There was no wait for the ride, so while walking through the turnstiles, I switched our Fast Pass to another activity.  That juggling continued throughout the day.  In the end, we used our passes for the Finding Nemo musical, Primeval Whirl and It's Tough to be a Bug.  We loved Primeval Whirl and rode it twice as a family.  I loved It's Tough To Be A Bug.  Those, along with Nemo, were new for us as we missed them last time.  Jackson and I again rode Everest and again rode Kali Rapids, even though we knew we would freeze after getting wet.  But with fond memories of our trip there in 2010, we hopped on and had fun.  It was a fun day and we had exhausted the rides by early afternoon.  We caught the parade, wrapped up the day with the Nemo musical and headed to our dinner at Sana in the Animal Kingdom Lodge.  Ben had picked that restaurant and it was a huge hit.  The kids were able to sit by a fire and watch the animals graze while we waited to be seated.

Monday, March 17th, 2014. On Tuesday, Feb 25th, we left town just as soon as the kids got out of school.  Unfortunately, that meant that we hit Charlotte right at 5:00, which slowed us down, but the rest of the drive went fine.  We made it to Ormond Beach and stayed the night with plans to make the last 1.5 hours of the trip on Wed morning.  We again found ourselves in rush hour traffic as we hit Orlando that morning, but we once again found Disney welcoming and magical.  Our room at Caribbean Beach Resort was ready for us and just fantastic.  We quickly unpacked and hopped on a bus to the Magic Kingdom.  It was a little chilly and it rained that afternoon, but we still had a fantastic time.  The lines were short and we had no problem riding all the rides we wanted that day.  We loved the new Magic Bands and the way you now schedule Fast Passes using the My Disney Experience app on our iphones.  It made scheduling rides much easier.  We rode the Winnie The Pooh ride first as it had no wait, then Amy and the boys hit the tea cups before we finally arrived at Barnstormer, which is a family favorite.  Lunch that day at Be Our Guest was a highlight and we once again enjoyed our dinner at Liberty Tree Tavern even though it is no longer a character meal.  We rode The Haunted Mansion for the first time and hit Big Thunder Mountain Railroad multiple times.  We stayed until late and caught the fireworks from the side of the castle.  We returned to Magic on Saturday, March 1st, only this time we arrived in time to watch the welcome train arrive.  When the gates opened, Jackson and I bolted for Space Mountain and were the 16th and 17th people to get on the coaster that day.  Amy and Ben had their own fantastic experience as they met Magician Mickey, the only character at Disney that talks to you.  He and Ben had a fun photo session.  Jackson and I walked through Future Land, which was empty and ran into Stitch.  We rode the People Mover for the first time and caught a "no line" Buzz Lightyear Spin before joining up with Amy and Ben, who were in line to meet the Fairy Godmother.  We had a wonderful, sunny day.  The Jungle Cruise was a favorite that day.  We ate lunch at The Crystal Palace where we met the Winnie The Pooh characters, left for some pool time, then returned in warmer clothes for the evening.  We had the best seats ever for the fireworks and stayed until it closed at 1AM.  We rode everything that we wanted that day and closed it out with one last turn on Barnstormer.  Magic Kingdom is still our favorite.
 

Sunday, March 16th, 2014. So much has happened recently.  We spent 5 days at Disney and 1 at Universal Studios at the beginning of the month.  Just the best time ever.  Lots and lots of photos from the trip in the Disney gallery.   Jackson then went to Miami one week later with Deana and Martin.  He met Brittney Griner, saw Vin Diesel and spoke to T-Pain.  They had phenomenal seats for the Heat/Nets game.  Amy, Ben and I had fun watching them on television behind the Heat bench.  On the day he returned, Ben and I went to the NC State/Miami ACC Tournament game in Greensboro, followed by the Clemson/GA Tech game.  We had a little excitement on our way home when one of tires blew out on my truck.  Ben fell asleep while I changed the tire on the side of I-40 and we made it in around 1:30 that night.  Then this past weekend we went to Chapel Hill to watch Jackson compete in a Quiz Bowl competition.  It was really fun to watch and we were very impressed with all the kids that participated.  This happens to be right up Jackson's alley.  There were eight members of the team, with two more that traveled but did not compete.  Four can compete at a time.  Jackson and his friend Robert played every round in all six matches, with the other six members of the team rotating into the two other slots.  Jackson did fantastic and his team placed 4th.  Not bad for their first ever competition.