Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Meanwhile, Back At The Ranch...

I apologize that it is taking so long to get the Disney posts up on the blog. Life was waiting for us when we got back from our trip, and we have been swept up in it these last few weeks. Here are a few of the (some lame, but all very real) reasons I have not gotten blogging done lately:

*Mount Laundry. 'Nuff said.

*In working on the aforementioned laundry, I found 3 quarters, 1 nickel, 4 pennies, 2 Nerf darts, 1 school paper, 1 pencil, 9 socks without matches, and 1 ketchup packet in various boy pockets....all in one afternoon.

*While I was unpacking all the luggage from our trip, it struck me that it was the perfect time to clean house. Like, really clean house. I have been cleaning out drawers, closets, and cabinets with a vengeance. Our garbage man probably hates us; Goodwill is gonna love us. I told Hubby it's like nesting, only without the baby.

*Speaking of babies..."Aunt Allyson" sounds nice, doesn't it? My sister and her mister are expecting their first baby at the end of the summer!

*As joyful as I am about that news, I am sorrowful about other. I have a friend who, from a medical standpoint, is fighting a losing battle with ovarian and breast cancer. I wish I could understand God so much more than what I do.

*My Tuesday Sisters Bible Study group have become temporary NOGs! We are doing the "No Other Gods" study by Kelly Minter. It has inspired me to take a hard look at my life and what things might be taking more of my time, energy, and/or resources than they should. One of those things is media, namely, the computer. Sorry, e-mail, Facebook, and even precious blog. I need to back off a bit.

*We got a Keurig coffee machine for Christmas. It has rocked my mornings.

*I've gotten up early the last two Saturday mornings and met sweet friends for breakfast. Great conversation and delicious pancakes...nice.

*Goliath went on his first overnight church event (read: didn't need his mom) this past weekend. If you know anything of his issues with separation anxiety that have come about as a result of The Sickness, you know that this is HUGE. What's more, his best little buddy got sick at the last minute and was unable to go. Goliath chose to go on his own and had a great time. I'm a proud and thankful mama.

*I am back to making weekly menus. The week's menu is posted on the side of the fridge, so everyone knows what to expect. It is much easier to make and stick with a grocery list, too. I spent less than $100 at the store this week for the first time in a long while. Go me!

*In just a couple of months, I will register Baby for kindergarten. Yesterday while we were getting ready for preschool, I said, "Baby, you're growing up too fast. I wish you would stay little just a while longer." He replied, "Mom, your plan is stinky mcstinkersons." Sigh.

So there you have it. Blogging, especially of the Disney trip sort, will resume slowly but surely.

Disney: Day 3

We spent Day 3 at Disney World at Animal Kingdom. I was particularly excited about this day for 2 reasons: 1) My Little Middle is an animal lover! I knew that he would have the best time at the park...and 2) It was Goliath's 9th birthday!

We had breakfast inside the park at the Tusker House restaurant. What fun for my birthday boy to meet some important friends first thing in the morning!

My future veterinarian is ready to get going.
This guy was interesting both to look at and listen to.

One of the first things we did was head for the Kilamanjaro Safari ride. We loved this attraction that epitomizes Animal Kingdom! It was amazing to see all those plants and animals up close and living as they would in their natural habitats.

Another favorite ride was in DinoLand. The TriceraTop Spin is similar to the famous flying Dumbos in the Magic Kingdom. Mom and I laughed hysterically at how silly we must have looked riding this over and over again!
You can't celebrate your birthday at the Animal Kingdom without getting your face painted.
In order for all the creatures to be fed and cared for, the Animal Kingdom closes earlier than the other parks. Little Middle was bummed about that, but the four adults were fine because we knew what was coming later that night: a BIG birthday surprise! We went back to our hotel and as soon as we had all cleaned up a bit, we were off again. One bus, one monorail, and one short walk later, we arrived on the dock at Bay Lake. This was waiting for us:

It took Goliath a moment to understand that the awesome boat with the Happy Birthday banner was for him. As realization spread over his face, a big smile broke out. He wasn't the only happy one!
This birthday boat tour was amazing! The only other person on board besides our family was Austin, the skipper/tour guide. He took us all around the lake, pointing out different Disney properties and attractions. We enjoyed snacks and drinks while Austin shared interesting Disney World tidbits. He was great with the boys!

After a while, Austin positioned the boat where we had a spectacular view of Cinderella's castle. At exactly 8:00, the fireworks show began. We didn't say much while we watched--we were all transfixed by the magic!

As the last fireworks erupted in the night sky, I'm sure Mickey himself could hear the sigh of contentment come from our boat.

Austin docked the boat and we all climbed out. Goliath handed his life jacket over, and said, "That was the most awesome birthday I've ever had." I will never EVER forget my boy's pure happiness on his special day.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Disney: Day 2

We spent our first full day at Disney World at Hollywood Studios. Some thoughtful and kind friends had rented a motorized scooter for me to use. At first, I was hesitant (as I always am!) to use it, thereby outwardly identifying myself as "weak" or "different." It didn't take long, though, for me to give up that silly notion and hop aboard! Without that scooter, there is no way I could have done half as much as I did while we were on vacation.

The little cowboys took turns riding with Mommy on the scooter. To them, it was as great as another amusement ride! It was also a good way to shuffle the little guys back to the bus at the end of a long day of walking.

Our first stop at Hollywood Studios was Hollywood and Vine, where we had breakfast. This is where we were introduced to Mickey Mouse waffles--yummy! (The food, by the way, was an experience all its own on this trip. I'll post about that separately.)

We met Leo and June from the Little Einsteins.

Dad and Handy Manny compared notes on fix-it issues.

Goliath and his Poppy

Just as we finished up with our breakfast, I saw familiar figures out the window. We made a mad dash to get our pictures made with Pooh and Piglet!

The Honey, I Shrunk the Kids playground was a hit! The boys loved exploring familiar scenes from the movie. I posed for a picture with my guys on Antie, and I may or may not have climbed a huge spider web and slid down a blade of grass.

The whole family enjoyed the "Lights, Motors, Action!" stunt show. There was plenty of tire-squealing and crazy driving for Hubby to admire, fire and falling for the boys to oooohh and aaaahh over, and to the rest of us...it was just plain interesting to see how a movie is put together!
Speaking of movies, we also loved the Backlot Tour. We saw some interesting things, but none was better for my boys than watching this sequence of events for a "movie:"

If they would have let me hop off the moving tram, I could have spent hours in this costume shop!

One of the planes used in the movie "Pearl Harbor."
For lunch, we went to the 50's Prime Time Cafe. There are 2 things I will always remember about that lunch hour. 1) Our waiter was hilarious. Too bad I'm the only one who thought so. He made all the groups in his section introduce themselves to one another, he refused my son when he ordered an ice cream sundae, and he called my dad Max. 2) My mother said at least 100 times, "This is just how it used to be."

This is just how it used to be.

The cowboys enjoyed the first of what was to be many ice cream sundaes.

Enchanted is one of my favorite movies. How could I not get my picture made with Queen Narissa (even though I'm a little scared of her)?
On our way to more rides, we passed by a street show. We stopped to watch, and guess who got to be part of it?
Look closer...

That's my Little Middle, helping to direct!

Poppy and Nana with their grandboys.

Our family in 3D!

My first love...

and my life love.
Our favorite attractions for Day 2:
Hubby--Toy Story Mania
Me--The Beauty and the Beast Show
Goliath--Tower of Terror
Little Middle--Tower of Terror
Baby--Toy Story Mania

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Disney: Day 1

On the morning of New Year's Eve, we were up early, packed and ready to travel! A friend arranged for transportation to the airport, and we were thrilled to meet our driver, Steve. He showed up at my house in a big (brand new) van, wearing an even bigger smile. What a great way to start our trip!

At the airport, the boys showed a healthy fear of the dreaded Security. No one was patted down or even delayed, so we made it to the terminal with plenty of time to spare. While the rest of us took turns entertaining the boys, Dad served as the Keeper of the Stuff.
On our way to Florida!

We got to Florida late in the afternoon. We were able to bypass the baggage claim and head straight to our hotel, courtesy of Disney's Magical Express. We stayed at the Caribbean Beach Resort, one of Disney's best. The little cowboys were thrilled with the Nemo/beach theme in the rooms and the pool that was just feet from the doors to our rooms.

After we dumped our things, we grabbed a bite to eat in the hotel's marketplace cafe and then caught a shuttle bus to the Magic Kingdom. It didn't take long to realize that we weren't the only people who thought it would be great to spend New Year's Eve in the MK! It was crowded. But the atmosphere was so fun--like one huge party! People were clapping, blowing noise makers, and celebrating everywhere we went. We rode a few family favorites, including Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (Baby's first real roller coaster--he loved it!!!), Pirates of the Caribbean, and Aladdin's Magic Carpets before we finally called it a day and headed back for some much-needed rest.

It was one of the few times they didn't ask to stay up "just a few more minutes PLEASE?". We were all so tired from a long day of travel, but we fell into bed beyond happy to be where we were.