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.

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...


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.....

Saturday, September 21, 2013

A Disney Junior day!


Wednesday morning we headed into Hollywood Studios for breakfast at Hollywood & Vine with the Disney Junior Characters.  We had a yummy breakfast with Jake, Oso, Handy Manny & June from Little Einsteins. 

The kids had a great time and then we headed out to see the princess in training… Sofia the First!  Summer wore her Sofia dress and shoes from Aunt Chele and had to wear her hair down just like Sofia for the visit!  We waited as patiently as possible for 40 minutes (which was the longest line we waited in the whole vacation). 


THEN we met up with Miss Stephanie one of the kids’ teachers from daycare who is interning at Disney for the semester.
 We saw the Disney Junior Live on Stage and then headed to take pictures with Buzz & Woody before using our Fast Passes for Toy Story Mania.

Then the skies opened up and poured rain!  And it was not the 5-10 minute rain shower that happens pretty much daily at this time of year in Florida.  So we called it quits.... the kids were ready for a rest anyway.  But they both said their favorite part of the day was seeing Miss Stephanie!  And then Summer said well Sofia was first and then Miss Stephanie! 
I got some food from the quick service restaurant in our hotel and we ate in our room.... then Summer passed out for quite some time and Cole played quietly with his Legos the entire time she slept. 
After Summer's nap and the rain stopped we hit Magic Kingdom since it was just a quick walk to our hotel.  Summer decided she wanted to order one of the painted umbrellas she had seen with the rest of her money.  Then we rode Small World again which Cole decided he loves and calls Little World.  After that we hit Enchanted Tales with Belle which we got to at a perfect time because people left the line due to the parade getting ready to start.  We had never done this ride before since it just opened within the last year.  It was super cute and you could take pictures at the end with Belle on your photo pass.  Then we visited Ariel with her fin in her Grotto with the kids really enjoyed. 
The fireworks were going off as we were in the new Fantasyland section and it was really a beautiful spot to stop and watch!

Then of course we had to hit Goofy's Barnstormer, Dumbo and the Speedway again before heading back to our hotel!  What a great night! 


Thursday, September 19, 2013

Another day in Disney...


Tuesday was our planned day out of the parks...

We started off with our very first visit to Chef Mickey's!

Mommy epic fail.... I forgot the autograph books, but luckily we had already gotten autographs from all of the characters that would be there so the kids were ok with just getting pictures. 

After a yummy breakfast with the characters.... we got ready to hit the pool!  Which was basically.... let's go on the huge waterslide over and over and over.  Summer was really nervous but got over her fear and decide to try it and LOVED it.  In the picture below you can just about see her brown hair in the splash right below the slide!  What a brave girl that doesn't mind her face getting wet anymore. 
Then Cole decided that he was going to talk me into joining them on the waterslide!  He told me that it wasn't scary and that he would hold my hand up to the top of the 20 foot waterslide.  Then he told me how to sit so that I didn't go to fast and to wait for the light at the top to change from red to green before I went.  After we've been trying to convince him not to be scared and try certain rides I had to take my own advice and his and try the slide.  What a fun morning.  After some lunch and relaxing in our room... we headed over to Downtown Disney for some shopping and dinner. 

We had our very first visit to the Lego store and Cole chose a very nice little starter set of Lego City collection.  He was super excited and couldn't wait to get back to our room to put it together.  I couldn't believe that when we did get back after dinner that he sat at the table with Jim for over 2 hours to put it all together!!! We checked out a few of our other favorite stores and then got to meet up with a friend that recently relocated to the area just before our dinner reservation...
It was so nice to give her a hug and see her sweet girls and their little toes!  Cole & Summer enjoyed seeing some other twins and then told me later... those twins look the same, not like us we don't look the same! 
Then it was time for dinner at Raglan Road that is probably my favorite place to eat in Disney World.  It is a Irish Pub and so delicious!  They also have Irish entertainment every night.  Either dancers or bands, etc.    Summer got invited up on the stage to dance with the Irish dancers and she was so excited and did such a great job! 
I need to figure out how to post videos to my blog.... as soon as I do I'll post the video of her on the stage! 
When we got back to our room.... the boys got to work on building the legos.  It was hard for me to not jump in since I'm the typically putter together in our family.  Summer also was having a tough time without daddy's attention so I took her for a walk to get some drinks to kill some time.  Cole was SO excited and has played with his Legos every time we've been back in our room!