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Sunday, December 22, 2013

Thankful for my husband...

Linking up with my friend Aurie's Counting My Blessings blog.... http://www.ourgoodfamily.org/2013/12/counting-my-blessings-one-at-a-time-2/
CountingBlessings

During this season of hustle and bustle it can get quite stressful to get it all done!

Add in a big family wedding, an unexpected loss and a long weekend trip to Disney with my sister-in-law and well... you guessed it.... I'm a little bit behind! 

Last weekend I went to Disney for 5 days with my awesome sister-in-law. It was just the two of us and I think it was actually my husband's idea for us to go together.  I am incredibly thankful for this trip and the time that I got to spend with my sister-in-law.  I count myself very blessed to have gained an additional sister from my marriage and even more blessed that she and I have become the best of friends in recent years. 

I am thankful that my husband got the kids excited for my trip by making fun plans to keep them busy at home, but also by having them make pictures of their favorite ride in Disney that they wanted me to do.  I was surprised that they were so very excited for me to go on my trip and have fun! 

I am thankful that he drove us to and from the airport... even when our flight home got delayed and that meant picking us up around midnight. 

I am thankful that while I was gone he not only got a tree but got all of the decorations from the storage unit and decorated it with the kids!

I am thankful that he sent these incredible gifts to our hotel room that were waiting for us when we arrived.  The Christmas ears got us much attention in the parks as they were SOLD OUT! 


I am thankful that he made lots of plans to keep the kids busy while I was gone including going out to dinner, seeing a movie and going to Chuck E Cheese.  Plus my parents took them to a play so they were booked solid while I was gone.  They were so excited for their jam packed weekend with Daddy that they told me not to worry that I was missing it.... they were sure that I'd have plenty of my own fun with Aunt Chele. 

But most of all I am thankful that he and the kids had a wonderful opportunity to bond with each other and enjoy each other.  They don't always get that chance when I am home.  I love them with all my heart, but it was very nice to have a girls' weekend away. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Thankful thoughts during a hectic week

It's been a bit of a bumpy week in more ways than one, but we still have plenty to be thankful for...

CountingBlessings
http://www.ourgoodfamily.org/2013/11/counting-blessings-in-the-midst-of-sickness-and-stress/

  • I'm thankful that I found an amazing and easy recipe for lemon bars and that I was able to cheer up a few people who needed cheering up this week with said lemon bars
  • I'm thankful that I found an entire pack of pink pencils that I was able to have personalized for Summer Lou... I think she might have a heart attack when she finds them in her stocking Christmas morning.  (there will be some blue ones for Cole too)
  • I'm thankful that I got a great deal on Cole's main Christmas gift
  • I'm thankful for the Cheryl & Co cookies that were delivered to my friend at work when I was having a rough day and that she knows to run to my office with them first whenever she gets them.... best cookies ever!
  • I'm thankful that my husband (whose been rather sick this week) got my a pumpkin spice latte as a surprise one night this week when he knew I had a rough day at work
  • I'm thankful that my new orthopedic doctor was so accommodating of my schedule. The office called to tell me that the doctor was needed for a surgery and wouldn't be able to keep my 1:50pm appointment and could I come earlier since he'd only be in the office until noon.  I explained that I worked 35 miles away and that it would be difficult to come earlier unless they had something first thing in the morning.  She asked if she could call me back after she checked to see if the doctor would come in at 7:45am before his first scheduled patient to see me.... and he agreed! 
  • I'm thankful that even though I was hoping to be out of this immobilizer boot much sooner (so far I've been in it a week and really it's not so bad) than a couple of MONTHS.... that I am fortunate enough to have wonderful medical coverage through my employer and that the doctor thinks that this non-invasive treatment will work.  I'm hopeful that we are on the right path even though it is going to take much longer than I anticipated.  Now in addition to my boot for the day time.... I have a night splint to sleep with.  Aren't they just beautiful!  

  • I'm thankful for the fantastic report cards that both kids received today... Here are some excerpts... "Cole is an enthusiastic learner who loves to participate.  He makes good choices and consistently used his personal best effort on a daily basis." and "Summer is a wonderful student.  She seems to really enjoy school and shows an interest in learning.  Summer also participates often and puts forth her best effort."   
  • I'm thankful that the kids love school so much and that this is what my sliding glass door looks like.  It was a little hard to capture, but I'll try to point out the highlights...
    • I love you mom
    • Miss Summer & Miss Cole (can you tell we haven't had any guy teachers yet for them to understand that he would be Mr. Cole?)
    • tally marks in groups of 5
    • counting to 100 by 10s
    • a clock
    • The cat sat on the mat (this sentence was written without any help at all)
    • 10+11 = 21
    • 5+5 = 10
    • Do you eat turkey on thanksgiving (I did help her spell this sentence, but she came up with it as her "question of the day")

Monday, November 18, 2013

Another week to be thankful for....

Looking ahead our schedule is about to get incredibly hectic, but part of the reason is why because we are very blessed to live near to so many of our friends and family.  It always makes for a busy holiday season and while it can be stressful.... I absolutely love having so many people we love nearby! 

CountingBlessings
http://www.ourgoodfamily.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/CountingBlessings.jpg

Here are some of my top blessings that I'm counting this week...
  • I'm thankful that 12 years ago on November 9, 2001 that Jim and I went on our first date and that we hit it off from the start and although we've had our ups and downs we're still going strong! 
  • I'm thankful for being invited to the kids' friend's house for the Eagles game last week we all had a blast! 
  • I'm thankful that Summer & Cole's teachers are thoughtful enough to coordinate things to be easier for me without me even having to ask.  This week that had already coordinated with each other to make themselves available on the same day for me to come in for both kindergarten conferences on the same day even though they were assigned different days for their classes. 
  • I'm thankful that I was able to get into an orthopedic doctor the day after my primary doctor referred me to one so that I could start healing my foot/ankle for my very busy holiday season... fingers crossed! 
  • I am thankful that I was able to go to my twin moms' convention and catch up with my friends and thankful that I was able to represent my club as member of the year.
     

  • I am thankful that Cole had a big cheering section for his last soccer game, especially since I couldn't be there and that Uncle Chris was able to take a team shot with their trophies to send to me!  Did I mention how awesome it is to live near so much of our family?

  • I am thankful that as I went through Cole's folder from school that I turned over one of his worksheets and found this!  He was told to write sentences or sight words on the back of his worksheet and this is what he wrote.  I'm not going to lie... I balled my eyes out! 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Giving thanks for Halloween and beyond...

I'm linking up with my friend Aurie's Counting your Blessings Link up.... I missed last week, but had started a draft so this week I'll be incorporating two weeks of thankful thoughts into this post...


CountingBlessings
http://www.ourgoodfamily.org/2013/11/blessings-in-the-mess-counting-blessings-link-up/


Here is my last week's list...
I know it may seems strange to be thankful for Halloween.... a holiday that is based around candy!  But that is what I'm thankful for this week among other things.
  • I'm thankful that I got the opportunity to jump on the soccer field and coach Cole's game last Saturday.  It was really fun!
  • I'm thankful that New Katie, Uncle Kevin and Allie were able to make it to see the game
  • I'm thankful that my MIL was able to take Cole to the dentist for me when his appointment needed to be rescheduled because our dentist is having surgery (and I'll be praying hard that she does well because she is the best dentist ever!)
  • I'm thankful that I have a great boss who tells me that my family comes first and I was able to take Halloween off to make great memories with my kids
  • I'm thankful that not only was a chosen to be a parent helper in Cole's classroom for his party, but also that both kids' teachers went above and beyond to let me be involved with both S & C (not only letting me visit Summer's class as well, but actually suggesting that I get Cole from his class to take a picture with me and the kids together)
 
 
  • I'm thankful for the technology that allowed me to participate in a conference call for work in between the "big school" party and the afternoon daycare party
  • I'm thankful that my neighbor is home on maternity leave and always seems to have that one thing that I forgot I didn't have which in this case was a lemon during my conference call to keep my banana ghosts from browning! And I have to mention that Summer was SO excited about these treats from me that she ate it first before any of the other treats!
  • I'm thankful that they were SO excited to start trick or treating as soon as they got home from their party at daycare and that since we finished so early (due to being the first trick or treaters) they were equally excited to hand out treats on the front steps
 
Now for this week....
 
  • I'm thankful that my mother in law was willing to come over and help me empty all of my kitchen cabinets while I fixed shelves, purged unneeded items, wiped everything down and found nice new homes for everything.  I'm not really good with sticking with a task until it is completed and she really helped with get so much done! 
  • I'm thankful for the internet that helped me to find an amazing recipe for beef brisket and that it turned out absolutely delicious and I got 2 thumbs up from my kids!  They ate so much and even ate vegetables which are a major struggle lately. 
  • I'm thankful that my mother in law was also able to watch the kids 3 days this week while they were off of school which was such a huge help!
  • I'm thankful that I was able to take another day off this week and that living social had an amazing deal on the Please Touch Museum during the summer.  I was able to plan ahead with a friend to get together during teacher conventions this week and take our kids for a fun day out!  We had a really great day!
  • I'm thankful for getting to see my SJMOMS friends this month
  • I'm thankful that Cole decided that he was going to really play soccer today and run and try his hardest!  He did such a great job and was so excited that Grandma & Grandpa were there to cheer him on. 
  • I'm thankful that we were able to get together with some friends and their kids tonight for the kids to play and for the grown-ups to catch up and eat dinner. 
  • I'm thankful that I got a 50% off coupon when I rented Cole's suit for Aunt Kate's wedding that we were able to use for Jim to get a much needed new suit today!  

Friday, October 25, 2013

Another week that I'm linking up with my friend Aurie's Counting Our Blessings blog.... I'm really loving recapping the week while recounting the great things that we were blessed to do!  I hope you are enjoying reading what we've been up to. 

CountingBlessings

http://www.ourgoodfamily.org/2013/10/on-not-giving-up-counting-blessings-link-up/
  • We were able to see 2 of my aunts and 1 of my cousins from Long Island at my sister's housewarming party.  It was a great day.  The kids had a great time running around my sister's yard and we had a good time chatting and catching up with everyone. 
  • Cole scored 4 goals at his soccer game on Saturday!  And he had a huge cheering section!

  • I volunteered to help the coach at soccer practice on Monday night since the assistant wasn't there.  Cole thought this was the coolest thing in the world and I really had a lot of fun.
  • Summer was such a good girl just sitting and coloring until Jim got to soccer practice so that I was able to help the coach
  • That our daycare listens to me when I have concerns and is willing to help me work through them.  Cole has been having a very rough time adjusting to a small rest time instead of a 2 hour nap each day.  That on top of the busier days at big school has taken a huge toll on my boy.  He's been having trouble listening and last week cried every night about how tired he was.  I was able to make arrangements with the school to take him to his old Pre-K class after lunch to take a nap.  They said the one day he was the last one up and he's been so much better this week!  I'm so thankful they were willing to accommodate us! 
  • I'm thankful that the dance teachers are so thoughtful that even though one of Summer's teacher's told me she got kicked in class.... her other teacher called me when I got home to make sure that I knew what happened. 
  • I'm thankful for our zoo membership and that we are able to take friends with us and for a beautiful day at Boo at the Zoo with my best friend, her hubby and their baby girl!

 
  • I love our mix and match day outfits 
  • We had a great family night at the book fair this week.... the kids got to dress up in their Halloween costumes and pick the books they wanted with their birthday money that I had stashed away for this occasion.  We were so happy to see that both of their teachers were there... Summer's teacher even had her baby there!  Here are our choices! 

  •  Meal planning is still going very well and we have drastically reduced the amount of take-out that we are all consuming.... saving us money and making us healthier.... which I can happily say has contributed to me being 15 lbs lighter! 
  • Cole was also the Star of the week and here is his poster
I hope you have all had a splendid week and even though we all have rough patches... stopping to smell the roses helps to make the thorns not seem so bad. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

More blessings to count....

I'm really enjoying linking up with my dear friend Aurie's weekly Counting our Blessings meme!   It's been a stressful few months for me with lots of schedule changes for everyone and we're still not quite adjusted, but it's nice to stop and smell the roses that we are blessed with each week. 

CountingBlessings
 

  • I'm thankful that my sister-in-law was able to pick up these awesome shoes for Summer to wear as the flower girl in my cousin's wedding

  • I'm thankful for how handsome and grown up Cole was when he was fitted for his tuxedo for the wedding
  • I'm thankful that I'm getting back on track with working out and although I can't get to the gym as much due to the activity schedule at the moment.... a new Sunday class just got added with one of my favorite instructors and I'm totally psyched to have more options that will work with our new schedule! 
  • I'm thankful that my wonderful husband is so supportive of me leaving the house as much as I do to workout and go to my SJMOMS activities, etc. 
  • I'm thankful for Jim's awesome aunt who brought us an amazing dinner that was big enough to last 2 nights....which saved me from cooking those nights. 
  • I'm thankful that we did not have plans last weekend and were able to have a mostly quiet weekend at home getting some stuff done around the house. 
  • I'm thankful for Cole's very understanding soccer coach who was so encouraging when Cole completely lost it at practice on Monday because he is having such a hard time adjusting to no nap and asked him to be the stretching captain at the end (after he sat down for a much needed break)
  • I'm thankful for the wonderful relationships that we've built at our daycare that when I found out Cole had an issue at "big school" via email from his teacher.... I was able to send a text and a comforting face was able to give him big hugs and make him feel better. 
  • I'm thankful that Summer was able to read almost an entire sentence of a book to me (and not all of them were her sight words)
  • And .... I'm thankful for this....

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Another week with more blessings to count...

It's been a long stressful week at work... quarterly closes are my least favorite... and this one was especially problematic....

  • I am thankful that Jim was given a chance at a different position and so far is liking his placement
  • I am thankful that he had a few extra days off and was able to run some errands for me
  • I am thankful that Cole scored 2 goals in his soccer game last weekend and that Grandma, Grandpa & Aunt Yiz were there to see it! 
  • I am thankful that my in-laws had a great trip to Disney and brought us some amazing gifts back.... I got an awesome Mickey fedora that I'm waiting to sport :)
  • I am thankful that Summer and I were able to attend an amazing shower for my dear cousin Kate and spend time catching up with my family.  I was so proud of my little girl who was super shy at the get go, but wound up blossoming into this grown up who was super into all the "pots and pans" that Aunt Kate received
  • I am thankful for pumpkin muchkins that someone keeps bringing to my office
  • I am thankful that I got back to the gym 2 times this week.... once with my awesome sister-in-law
  • I am thankful that I am getting back into cooking, which is not only a huge cost savings but also much healthier for our family
Hope you have plenty to be thankful for this week!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

My Disney World Travel Tips...

So here are some of my favorite tips for traveling to Disney with kids.  We've been to Disney more without kids than with kids, but we've now been to Disney with our twins 4 times.  This definitely doesn't make us experts, but we definitely have found some valuable tips in our opinion. 

  • I like to pack each outfit (complete with socks, underwear and accessories) in a gallon sized Ziploc bag.  This helps make getting ready in the mornings MUCH easier, especially if someone is helping you get them ready.  No digging in different places for socks, shirts, etc.  As they get old enough to dress themselves, my kids enjoy getting to pick their outfit for the day. 
  • Take an extra outfit per kid in a Ziploc bag (I really like using Ziploc bags!).  This keeps the outfit dry and it also provides a location to put a potentially wet/messy outfit back inside. 
  • Several of the parks have water splash areas (Magic Kingdom & EPCOT definitely), so I pack a swimsuit in a.... wait for it..... Ziploc bag! 
  • I also like to put our autograph books with their pens in a Ziploc bag.  Then I can keep them easily accessible in the back of the stroller and not worry about something spilling or one of the frequent afternoon rain showers that hit Florida ruining them. 
  • You can take a small cooler into Disney! No glass or alcohol is allowed, but other drinks, food and snacks are.  We don't pack lunch, but you certainly could.  We bring several bottles of water for the day, some juice boxes and snacks for the kids. 
  • If you want to eat in sit down restaurants or character meals.... MAKE RESERVATIONS and make them as far ahead of time as possible (up to 180 days in advance for most restaurants).  Due to the popularity of the dining plans it is quite typical for there to be no same day reservations available in the parks. 
  • Make a rough game plan for each day of your trip.  I usually make a chart of the park hours including the extra magic hours for each day of my stay.  If I will not be taking advantage of the extra magic hours.... I steer clear of that park.  (Extra Magic Hours - each day a different park opens early or stays open late for those staying on Disney property only)
  • Once I have this rough plan of how we will spend our days, I plan our meal reservations.  (Park hours usually are released 10 days prior to when you can start making meal reservations)  This is especially important if you won't be getting park hoppers because you do need to use a park ticket if you are eating in the park. 
  • I like to pre-order the Disney Photo Pass CD as you can save $50 on the price it would be after you arrive.  I would highly recommend this especially if you will be going to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique during your stay.  On our first visit they took 87 photos of my daughter, some of these are surely photos that I could have gotten myself but they have a set that they take of the reveal through different mirrors and I certainly could not replicate those amazing shots!  I was able to get all of my photo pass photos downloaded instead of having to choose to print at $15 per photo through the Photo Pass site.  I have not yet upgraded to the Photo Pass + as I didn't feel we would use enough of the meal/rides that it includes to be worth the higher price.


  • The characters do tend to pay a bit closer attention to children that are dressed as them.  While this is not always possible for every character it is something to keep in mind.  It might be as simple as a private photo with a special pose or words like "oh I thought I heard my mice friends poking around my closet this morning, but it must have been you trying out one of my dresses".  Makes for a cute little memory!

  • Gift shops are a plenty in Disney World.  In fact, just about every ride dumps you into a gift shop.  What we have started doing with the kids is save up money in their piggy banks in the time leading up to the trip.  We then put that money plus gifts they received or a little extra from us on a gift card for each child.  That is their present money for the trip.  They can choose any gifts they want, but when the money runs out.... that is it.  It has really worked out for us with little to no meltdowns.  If I felt they were spending too quickly, I tried to explain how many days we have left and how many presents worth of money they had left.  Sometimes we even took pictures with my phone to "think" about an item. 
  • I have tried a few different Disney World apps.  I really love the new Disney Experience app put out by Disney (previous apps were by outside companies and not as great).  All your meal reservations are available within the app.  There is also a great "Here and Now" button that will give you all the current wait time and fast past distribution times for the rides you are near.  It will also give you nearby restaurants along with their menus! 
  • You can now fast pass the Princesses in Magic Kingdom and Mickey Mouse.  And I recently found out by talking to a cast member that a fast pass with Mickey Mouse does not affect your ability to get your next fast pass immediately.... because everyone should get to see Mickey!
  • If you've seen the parade and/or fireworks before or just don't think your kids will sit through them.... this is the best time to hit the rides.  Much shorter wait times in our experience. 
  • Last year we had some problems with being afraid of the "dark", which is not even especially dark.  But when you go from bright, sunny outside to dim lighted to keep you cooler inside lines it can seem darker than it actually is, which apparently freaked my kids out and eliminated a bunch of rides.  I thought about what I could do to combat this and came up with glow bracelets.  I bought several packages of them from 5 below and kept some in my bag each day.  I told the kids this was there own light if they got scared.  It really worked late.  This would also be helpful if you're out and about at night for the fireworks shows since the glow items sold in the park cost a fortune. 
Ok... that's all I have for now :)  I'm always happy to chat about Disney if you have any specific questions.... let me know! 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Counting my blessing during a stressful week...

I knew this week would be stressful.... but as luck would always have it... it was a bit more stressful than I had ever anticipated...

CountingBlessings
http://www.ourgoodfamily.org/2013/10/counting-my-blessings-one-at-a-time/

Despite being dealt one of the biggest lemons we've been given in quite some time... we still have plenty to be thankful for

1) I'm thankful that I planned ahead last weekend and cooked most of Sunday.  I cooked for the whole week... I made crockpot oatmeal for my breakfast, I made a big batch of smoothies and froze them for my lunch and I precooked dinners for the week.  This has made mealtime stress this week absolutely zero.  I also am feeling great having not had any takeout this week (except for a little snack after my SJMOMS meeting last night).  This has also saved a great deal of money with not eating out as well.

2) Speaking of my SJMOMS group... I am thankful for being part of such an amazing group of women and to call many of them my friends.  They have made my life with twins so much easier and I don't know what I would've done without them. 

3) I am thankful that we were invited to a friend from school's house and had a great family play date.  It was nice for the adults to enjoy dinner and socializing, while the kids played nicely with each other. 

4) I'm thankful for my fabulous neighbors who watched Cole when Jim was running late from work so I could pick up Summer and her friend from dance without dragging him along. 

5) I'm thankful that even though my husband lost his job in a huge layoff this week that he was given the opportunity for a lesser position instead of no job at all. 

6) And I am thankful for this... Summer did this at school today and I think I will try to add a picture to each of these posts showing off what they are learning this year. 

 
Have a great weekend! 

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Counting my blessings...

Today I'm linking up with my dear friend Aurie's Count Your Blessings meme....

I try very hard to look at the bright side of things as often as possible (even though it can be difficult at times). The rules are simple – write a post listing 1 or 100 blessings you’ve found this week.



http://www.ourgoodfamily.org/2013/09/new-counting-our-blessings-link-up/

Here's mine for this week:

1) I'm thankful that we are settling back into our crazy new school routine after a fabulous week on vacation

2) I'm thankful that we went for our 5 year old check-ups and haven't seen our beloved Physician's Assistant since our 4 year old check-up because other than some issues that we had to see Summer's ENT for we've had a healthy year.  Just a few years ago we were there weekly for 3 months one winter.... and this is NOT an exaggeration!

3) I'm thankful that we have seen the same PA since the twins were born and that she really remembers when they were tiny babies and always remarks that you can't tell they were preemies!

4) I'm thankful that when the PA asked the kids if they could count to 10, Summer said I can count to 100 and Cole said I can count to 109!  We are seriously blessed by the awesome daycare they attended and so far their new kindergarten too!  I seriously can't believe all the things they have learned in their short lives.

5) I'm thankful for my family that is always there to help me with the kids or talk to me when I need advice.

6) I'm thankful that I was able to get out for 1 zumba class this week... hoping to fit more exercise into our new schedule as we get used to it. 

7) I'm thankful for the beautiful weather that we had today for Cole's first soccer game and for a surprise visit from Grandpa to cheer him on! Oh and that Summer was well behaved even though she cried for 20 minutes last night about how going to his game was going to cancel her day that she had planned of playing with her dolls and coloring. 

8) I'm thankful for my husband who secretly searched the internet for the scarf that I fell in love with last week in Disney, but when I went back to buy it found it was sold out!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Our last day in Disney...

Friday

My initial plan was to spend all day at Magic Kingdom on Friday finishing up things we hadn’t gotten to yet.  However, since we hoped back into Magic Kingdom so many other days when we finished up at other parks we decided to start the day at EPCOT.  We drove over and headed in the gates…. I hit Starbucks and discovered that I could use snacks from my meal plan for our Frappuccinos!  And Jim headed to get us all Fast Passes for Test Track since everyone enjoyed it so much.  Then we headed over for my very favorite ride Soarin’ with only a 10 minute wait!!!! Unbelievable!  I was super excited that everyone was tall enough to go on this ride (40”) since Summer wasn’t tall enough last year.  It was so much fun and Summer had a blast.  Cole…. Not so much, but he was brave and powered through for me.  Then it was time for Test Track!  The kids had so much fun that they wanted to ride it again, but Daddy had to leave to check in on our rental home so we got our own Fast Pass tickets and then headed over to see Belle in France.  Summer then reminded me that it was snack time so we found her favorite Funnel Cake and shared while waiting for Jasmine & Aladdin.  After pictures and autographs with them… we took the boat back towards Test Track!  I was a bit nervous to be taking both of them on the ride by myself but we did great and then Daddy was back to meet us for lunch.  After a yummy lunch in Mexico we headed back to park at our hotel and head into Magic Kingdom for the last time. 



 

First stop… Tinkerbelle!  The line was a bit long, but air conditioned and with a TV playing a Tinkerbelle movie.  We got to see Tinkerbelle and Rosetta!  Summer loves Tinkerbelle… she’s been her the last 2 years for Halloween and probably would be her again if it wasn’t for Sofia coming out. 




Next we hit Small World again… then Summer & Jim went back on Thunder Mountain (10 minute standby line!).  When they got off Cole decided he wanted to do Splash Mountain to see Brer Bear and Brer Fox from the ride videos that Jim had showed him on you-tube.  And that was only a 10 minute wait too!  It was great!  Cole was nervous for the big drop, but Summer was not at all.  In the picture (which is of the monitor taken with my phone so not super clear), she is giggling with her hands straight up!

Then we got a snack on the way to the boat to the Polynesian.  We had a great dinner at O’hana luckily with activities for the kids and then headed back to our hotel before the water slide closed.  We had some great pool times. 


 
 
Cole is a huge rule follower so when the lifeguards started getting the nets prepared to close the slides he wouldn’t go on the slides again and tried to stop Summer from going until we asked the lifeguard how much time was left.  It turns out he thought they’d put the nets up without warning and he’d get stuck coming down the slide.  Then it was time to pack for home and have one last red velvet cupcake from the Contemporary, which I know I am just mentioning now…. But they are to die for and we had quite a few this week. 

Our week was full of fun, giggles, firsts, and thank yous but was not free of meltdowns and disagreements.  However, there were more smiles than frowns and really with a crazy on the go trip of this nature…. That’s really all you can ask for.  Especially when we usually spend 10 hours a day away from each other and are not used to being together 24/7 for an entire week.  We made lots of fun memories together as a family of four and I’m already working on the timing for our next Disney trip in probably about 2 years.  Like the sign says when you leave Disney “See you real soon!”

Pirates and Princesses...

Thursday was our day for special activities.  The deal was.... that they could do these special activities but they were coming out of their souvenir money (which I'll cover in another post). 

First up was Cole!  He decided that he wanted to go on the Pirate Adventure Cruise that he did last year again.  The cruise departs from the Grand Floridian.... parents are not allowed to go with the children and they are gone for 2 hours.  (now if we could only convince Summer that she wanted to go too, we'd be in awesome shape!)  All I can really tell you is that they ride this boat around to the different hotels on the water in search of buried treasure which they find and each kids gets a treat bag out of the treasure chest.  They also have a snack and read a story about pirates I believe.  I did get a few more details this year than last out of Cole as to where some of the stops were, but there is this pirate code and he won't share much.  But I do know that he had a blast and the Pirates that run the cruise are really into it and work really well with the kids.  Added bonus..... I had no idea that when I booked this 6 months ago that I was booking it for National Talk Like a Pirate day! 





 
We took the monorail back to pick Cole up from the boat and then took the monorail to Magic Kingdom.  Summer wouldn't stop talking about picking up her umbrella so we had to get that first.  After a few rides which included climbing the Swiss Family Treehouse (which I hope to never do again, especially when it is 90 degrees), we grabbed fast passes for the BRAND new Princess Fairytale Hall which had just opened the day before and then had lunch. 
 
After a somewhat heated discussion between my daughter who believes she is 25 and not 5 about why I only brought her Belle dress and not her Sofia dress, which luckily Jimmy was able to difuse without too many tears.... it was time for Summer's visit to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique!
 
It did not take her long at all to warm up this time to the attention and Cole decided that instead of having special time with Daddy that he wanted to stay and watch Summer's transformation! 




 
 
Then it was time for meeting Cinderella in her new home in Fantasyland....
 

 
 
After seeing Cinderella and Aurora.... we headed for the park exit so we could get over to EPCOT for dinner.  We got trapped in Town Square as the parade began and actually wound up with a great viewing spot with no effort so with no where to go... we stopped and watched. 
 
Well Coley didn't really watch.... he was a sleepy pirate.  I especially like how he pulled his bandana over his eyes before falling asleep. 
 
Summer watched the parade intently and as Belle passed us and caught a glimpse of Summer done up and dressed as Belle with her special Happy Birthday Princess Summer pin.... she blew a kiss right to her!  How magical and of course..... Mommy missed that Kodak moment. 
 
Then it was off to the Monorail and into EPCOT!  The kids really loved any time that we got to ride the Monorail!  And loved that we could see it at our hotel.  Once at EPCOT we went to Innovations for our FREE and very short lined Disney Visa photo with characters spot.  If you have a Disney Visa bring it with you to Disney and currently the photo time is 1-7pm (but does change).  Characters rotate, but this time we got Minnie & Goofy.  You also get a free 5x7 print from your photo shoot. 
 
Then we grabbed fast passes for Test Track, went on the Donald Duck boat ride in Mexico and then headed for dinner with the Princesses at Akershus in Norway.  Everything claims that the princesses in this dinner rotate, but we've been there 3 times and have seen the same 5 princesses each time (not complaining though because we love all 5).... Belle, Aurora, Snow White, Cinderella & Ariel in the sea foam green ball gown. 
 
 




 
After dinner we had to get Funnel Cake because Summer had been waiting all week to go to EPCOT for Funnel Cake.  We got one to share and a duck nearby caught wind of the eating and started pestering us which caused Cole to stand up in the stroller screaming for the duck to get away.... pretty hysterical.  

 Then it was time for Test Track.... which Summer LOVED and held her hands up for the whole time.  Cole was undecided.... he liked it but also wasn't crazy about the inside somewhat dark part. However when we went back on Friday that's all he talked about was riding it again.  Then we picked up our free picture and headed back to the hotel for bed!  One more day left.....