Monday, March 28, 2011

Disney World, Day 1

Sunday was our first day at Disney. We actually all slept in after a long day of traveling before -- we didn't get up until almost 9. Before heading to Disney, our first stop was some breakfast. We'd decided to eat a (semi) big breakfast each morning & a big dinner at night. By the time we finished breakfast we were all VERY excited to start our Disney adventure! We actually got to park close enough to walk to the ferryboat landing, which was awesome. There are some big advantages to getting there a little later in the morning. :) The kids were so excited to learn that we had to take a boat to get to Disneyworld. The boat wasn't crowded and we were able to walk around and look at the view as we traveled the short trip across the water. Charlotte was pretty happy and laid back while checking out the view.
What we were all waiting for was our first glimpse of this:
and it didn't disappoint. Madeleine, especially, was excited to see Cinderella's castle.

After docking, going through security, and feeding our tickets (big fun for the kids!) into the turnstiles, we were FINALLY inside! We headed down Mainstreet and timed it perfectly to see the 11am show!
The kids were soooo excited to see all of their favorite characters immediately upon entering the park. It made it all the more real for them.
I love this picture of Madeleine. I took this just as the princesses came on the stage. She was mesmerized by them.

After the show -- complete with fireworks! -- we headed to Adventureland. Our first stop was the Swiss Family Treehouse. We'd watched Swiss Family Robinson just a couple of weeks before and when I told the kids they had their treehouse at Disney, it became high on their list. I also knew it shouldn't have much of a wait, so it made for a good first stop. We were able to go right up and through it without a wait and they LOVED it! We took our time and I think the kitchen part was their favorite. I have to admit, I thought it was pretty cool, too. Our next stop was the Jungle Cruise. This was Harrison's absolute favorite & we did it more than once. :) It's a super-hokie water boat ride with *fake* animals, but he just loved it!

Matt & I had decided in advance that this trip was about the kids and family time. We tried our very best to do everything they wanted to do. We knew that meant we wouldn't be riding any of the scary rides. We chose things that had shorter lines -- and as luck would have it -- we actually waited only 2 times in a line longer than 20 minutes. So so thankful that the park wasn't overly crowded!!
After all that walking & the heat starting to build we stopped for some popsicles. Yum! We probably spent a mini-fortune on ice cream while we were there, but it was so worth it!
The rest of the day was filled with rides. Sadly, none of them made for the best pictures. We rode Small World, the Carousel, Teapots, and saw PhilharMagic. Let me say, that PhilharMagic was MY favorite. So so so cute! It's a short 3-D movie that touches on most of the famous scenes from the princess movies. It even has smell-effects and touch-effects. Love this! We actually did this more than once.

During all of this miss Charlotte was a DOLL! She had the best time on all of the rides and especially loved PhilharMagic. I think we underestimated the fun that Disney would be for her. We thought she'd just tolerate it all, but she had the time of her life! And, when she got tired, she just napped in her stroller....we'd often look down to find her dozing in there.

That afternoon we headed back to MainStreet for the parade at 3. Here we got to see a lot of our favorite characters....Belle, Cinderella, Wendy, Woody & Jessie and more! We had great seats and had another round of Ice Cream while we watched!

One of the best things we did was to pack snacks and a cooler each day. I kept the snacks in our backpack & we let the kids snack while we were in line. All that walking made us all hungry & thirsty! We had plenty of water & caprisuns right there and it saved us a lot of time waiting in line to get drinks (and lots of $$$). :)

After the parade and some shopping we were DONE. The kids weren't used to the heat and I think we were all still a bit tired from traveling. So we headed back to the hotel to swim and rest.

Not surprisingly, the kids perked up right away when we got to the hotel to swim. Our hotel had an awesome pool(s). The had a huge kiddie pool where we headed that afternoon. Matt and I took turns watching them while the other one watched Charlotte in the room.

The room we had was HUGE. We had a king bed with a pullout sofa (for the kids) and we brought the pack n'play for Charlotte. This was Charlotte's favorite spot there. She could just squeezed between the wall and air conditioner and just see out the window. We had a pool view, so she could see the kids swimming!

After swimming, we headed to a nearby Fuddruckers for dinner. We had to start off with our favorite orea milkshake, of course!

By the time our food came, Charlotte was through. She was beyond tired and wasn't too thrilled at sitting through dinner. So, we just got our food to go and headed back to the hotel to eat. Lesson learned. The next night we ordered dinner to-go. :)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Trip

We knew that the car ride to disney wasn't going to be short & probably not too easy. Well, we were right about it being looooong, but completely wrong about it being hard. It was such a great trip! Matt & I were both just amazed at how well our kids did on the car ride down there. They slept, snacked, watched movies, read & played with toys they'd brought. There were several times I looked back to find them just looking out the window at the scenery -- which they did more & more as we got closer. We tried to find fun things to point out to them along the way: water towers, animals, palm trees, etc and before long they were looking for fun things to point out, too.

So, our plan was to drive to LR Friday night & spend part of the night with my parents. We left NWA around 5pm and got to LR a little after 8. Matt went on to be almost immediately & I stayed up and kept the kids up & playing until almost 11pm before we all went to bed....hoping they'd be tired & sleep later in the car the next morning. Matt got up just before 2am & we hit the road around 2:15. Madeleine went back to sleep almost immediately, but the other 2 took awhile. Thankfully by 3 all kids were back snoozing and we were on our way!!! We stopped just the other side of Birmingham a little before 9am at McDonalds for some playtime and breakfast. Then we loaded up and headed back out.

Unfortunately, LOLA (our GPS) did us wrong. Very wrong. We re-routed through Atlanta and ended up getting stuck in some MAJOR traffic. It took us almost 1 hour to go about 5 miles. Boo. Thankfully, the kids were happy and good, which made it not as bad as it could have been. Ha! Harrison & Charlotte even took a little nap around this time.

We ended up stopping in Macon for an early dinner at a chick fil a. The kids played and we ate & then got some ice cream for the road. They were serving PINK ice cream & we all had to have some!! Everything tastes better when it's pink. :)

The drive from Macon to Orlando was pretty uneventful and we did great until we got to Orlando & got stuck in some traffic again from a wreck. So we didn't get to our hotel until about 10pm. It was a loooong day, but we were all so thankful to be there!
I have to say that if all future car trips could be like this one, we'll be doing many, many more. Our children amazed us with their patience & ability to entertain themselves in the car. Even Charlotte seemed quite happy to just look out the window and watch the scenery pass by....the only time she fussed was if she was hungry or needed a new diaper. Perfect little girl!

Thursday, March 24, 2011


Matt & I had been planning a trip for us to take the kids to DisneyWorld this summer. We've checked out hotels & looked at how we'd get there. Then late February happened. And, we decided we needed to have some family time & get out of town for a week. So, we moved up our trip to Spring Break!!! Wow! It's been a crazy couple of weeks getting ready, but I think we're almost there. I've been grocery shopping for travel snacks, quickly buying summer clothes for the kids, and making lists galore!

I think this has worked out for the best though. Our biggest concern this summer was how hot it would be (especially for Charlotte). We waited until we were sure this was going to work out to tell the kids -- we told them just 1 week beforehand. Thankfully, that was perfect! I don't think they could have made it if they knew the trip was months/weeks away. Especially Harrison. To say he's been excited would be the understatement of the century. :) I made this chart for them to countdown. Harrison gets up every morning, doesn't speak to anyone, runs out of the room, straight for the kitchen, right to the countdown, moves his marker, counts remaining days and then he'll talk to us. Every night as I've tucked him in, he says, "mommy, let's talk about Disneyworld." And we do. All the time. If I even mention "disneyworld" in a conversation to someone (or on the phone) it starts an at least 30 minute conversation with Harrison about what we'll do there & who we'll see. :)

I think watching his excitement has been one of the best parts for me! Madeleine is much calmer, but still just as excited. She almost cried when we told her where we were going. Actually, we made them guess.....we asked them where was the one place they want to go the most (knowing the answer) and then told them we're going. It was quite a conversation that followed with the kids throwing out things they want to do!

Here's our countdown. It's magnetic.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Mr. Sandman

Now that warmer weather is here, Harrison has been back enjoying his sandbox. We spend a good part of the day out back with him playing in the sand. :) And the house is once again filled with the sinks, tub, floors. And it will be until winter comes again. Oh how that boy loves sand!

His mission on this particular day? To build a castle for Mini-Buzz, complete with a bridge and moat.

I love that he's out there in just his shirt & slippers. Apparently pants aren't necessary for sand play.
I usually bring Charlotte out with us, but this morning left her playing happily just inside where I could keep an eye on her through the window. Once she realized we were outside, she wasn't too happy.
Moments later the wind blew the backdoor open and out she came!

Hurray for Spring!

Saturday, March 19, 2011


Charlotte has discovered her love for spagetti! I'd forgotten what a mess it makes!! I've been giving her the little Gerber meals & her favorite is now the spagetti/corn one. She's the first of the kids that actually liked those meals & I'm quite thankful that she does. She still usually eats before the rest of us & it's nice to pop it in the microwave for 30 seconds and be ready to go. :)

Spagetti is alway followed by a good ol' bath. She even had it in her ears this particular night. Ha!

I am so thankful that she's still such a good eater & hope this will continue. Her current favorites are: spagetti, mac n' cheese, corn, grapes, peas, apples, oranges and cheese. She's more like Harrison (and me!) in that she prefers salty food to sweet.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Fun Teacher Gift

Madeleine has so far been incredible blessed to have wonderful teachers. I know firsthand how often teachers are unappreciated & how very very VERY hard they work to make learning fun and exciting. So, besides Christmas & the end of the year, I try and send something now & then to M's teacher. Each year, I've sent a fall scented candle on the first day of fall & this in the spring. Since the first day of spring falls during our Spring Break this year, I'm sending these tomorrow -- one for her teacher & one for her intern (it's her last day).

I took a cute plastic glass cup & filled a clear bag with egg candies (hershey's, butterfinger eggs, & reeses eggs). Then I added a big pink flower & tied with a fun ribbon. It took very little time & cost me less than $10. I think they turned out cute (although last year's was actually cuter -- found a better cup, oh well).

I'll have Madeleine add a note to my "Happy Spring" one & have her deliver them tomorrow. :)