Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Since going to Disneyworld . . .

Madelyn has taken a renewed interest in her princess dolls. She left them out on her bed the other day and Owen saw them. I don't even think he knew what they were. He kept looking at them and looking at them. And then he just carried them downstairs and one by one would pick them up and look at them. (I wonder if he was remembering meeting the princesses at Disneyworld??) It was pretty funny to watch. He was both perplexed and entertained by them.

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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Simple dinner

When Trent is out of town, I tend to simplify lots of things just to be able to keep up with everything by myself.

Tonight we had pancakes for dinner. I put the batter into a ziplock bag, clipped the corner and made the craziest little designs.

Did you know they actually taste better in crazy designs???? My kids loved them and I loved them, the thin little pieces were almost crunchy. It is amazing how changing one little thing can really make things more enjoyable. Thanks pinterest for the idea.



Monday, February 27, 2012

Small things make me happy


Before we left for Disney world I broke a couple little twigs off our weeping cherry tree and brought them inside and put them in a vase of water. I had always wanted to force branches to bloom but I thought the idea of putting sticks that look dead in a vase for a couple weeks seemed a little silly. Last year I glued popcorn on the sticks and found it to actually be cute -- so figured I could be patient this year.

And I am so glad I did. Having them in your house makes you realized that flowers don't just pop open --- it is a gradual process. It is amazing to observe. When they are on the trees I don't take the time to notice all the little things I just one day notice they have bloomed.

It has had a calming effect on me. It's like I have the chance to "smell the roses" everyday by observing these sticks. The flowers were beautiful but I was so surprised by the emergence of the leaves. I knew the flowers would bloom, but I forgot all about the leaves. I am having my own personal spring inside despite the cold outside.

I am going out in the morning to get some more dead looking sticks and enjoy watching. . . really watching spring in all her glory.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Owen's obsession

Isn't it always the case? Your kids want the one thing you don't want them to want??

In this case we have about 5 different sets of cars from the movie Cars. Four of the sets are big enough to not pose a choking hazard to Owen, 1 set is teeny. REALLY teeny. That is the only one Owen wants to play with.

He hasn't ever put them in his mouth, but I only let him play with them while I am right there. He LOVES the squinkies.


Saturday, February 25, 2012

Puzzling Saturday

We had so much fun doing the 2 500 piece panoramic puzzles from Disney world that I stopped by the puzzle section at Walmart.  They had a box containing 8 Disney puzzles for $15.  I grabbed the box figuring that over time we would really enjoy doing them.

And we did.  Just a lot faster than I thought.  By bedtime we had done 7 of the 8 puzzles.  (4 150 pieces, 2 300 pieces, and 1 500 piece puzzle)





Friday, February 24, 2012

4th grade Pasta Night

We awoke to 3-4 inches of snow and a delayed start to school. Trent was out the door early to fly to Raleigh, North Carolina and I got the kids off to school. Tonight was pasta night for the 4th grader's big fundraiser. Catherine and Anna (her close friend and classmate) took their job as waitress very seriously!

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Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Today was beautiful

I cannot say enough times how nice this winter has been. Today was yet another day in the upper 50's. Owen wanted to spend the whole day outside.


One thing Owen loves right now is the comings and goings of the girls to school. He loves to wave good-bye and blow kisses. He loves to see the busses. He loves watching the girls come up the driveway and then he loves giving the girls loves.



Today we were outside waiting for Julianne. Aren't they cute together?

Julianne is a good big sister to him!!!


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A few more reminiscing photos of the last DisneyWorld trip

I have been looking at lots of Disney photos for the last 2 weeks.  I constantly flip back to the ones we took 4 years ago and today's to see the changes in our kids.  Like these viking hat pictures -- we took the same photos then and now.

But the most striking thing is that my mom is in a lot of the photos from 4 years ago.  I only wish she were in even more of them.  I have really tried to change my picture taking habits to make sure that I don't take for granted that ANYone will always be there.  In so many of the photos I know my mom is standing next to me helping to get all the kids attention -- what I should have done is tell her to get in there with the kids and who cares if the kids are all looking.








Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Missing Disneyworld

At least we brought home some souvenirs, like this puzzle which the kids promptly did when they got home from school. We have another one that I suspect they will be doing tomorrow.

Awesome puzzle

Monday, February 20, 2012

Finally . . . Home -- Happy President's day to us!!!!

Today was a long drive. We left at 5:15 in the morning.

South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York and Connecticut.

I got in a picture of Delaware (which is tough to do since it is so small) and also New Jersey.

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Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

We got to eat lunch at Chick Fil A. And we got to see all the snow plowed on the side of the road that we would have been driving in if we hadn't decided to stay in Florida an extra day. On the radio in Richmond Virginia, they announced that police had responded just 24 hours earlier to over 700 motor vehicle incidents that were weather related. So it was a good call-- the roads were clear, the skies were blue, and the temperature just dropped and dropped as we headed back to the land of the frozen tundra!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The start of the drive home

After our late, late night closing the Magic Kingdom. We ALL slept in. It was nice. We needed it.

We got checked out, loaded up and were on our way about 11:30 am. It is only a 6 hour drive to Trent's Aunt Emilie's home in South Carolina. We stopped at a Subway for lunch and the kids had so much fun watching Trent play a silly coin game where you have to position a key to win the prize. The kids were just certain that their Dad could win an ipad for them. After playing 6 times and not winning we cut our losses and got back on the road.

For dinner we ate at IHOP. And then we got to Emilie's around 8:00 p.m. The kids nearly talked her ears off. You could tell that they had been trapped in a car with literally thousands of stories of our week just desperate to burst free!!!!

Once we sent them to bed, they were all asleep in a matter of minutes. (I think we really did wear them out this whole week!)

Here is little Owen on the drive.

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So, now a few comments on taking long drives with 5 kids.

It sure isn't the easiest thing, but it also isn't so bad.  You are free to stop.  You make your own schedule.  You can start early or finish late.  The flexibility is nice.

and DVD's help, as do Ipod touches (if you can keep them charged).

I grabbed mostly new movies to take this time (all from the $5 bin at Walmart).  The good thing about new movies is that once you can convince your kids to give it a shot they are usually hooked because they do not already know the ending.  The bad thing about new movies is that even if they are tired they tend to stay awake because they don't want to miss anything.  It is also fun to see which of the movies are a hit with the kids and which ones are a flop.  For example, one of the movies was called Aliens in the attic.  Julianne DID NOT want to watch it.  But 20 minutes into it she (and all the other kids) were in heaven.  They actually watched this movie 3 times in the car.  They did not like Sister Act???  They wouldn't even give it a chance. They loved because of winn-dixie.  The didn't like Inkheart so much.

Also the kids could watch Netflix on our iphones so that was nice.  And Trent and I listened to several podcasts.  The interesting thing is that no matter how long or short the drive the last 20 minutes are always absolute hell.  I think the combo of car fatigue, suspended anticipation, and more factors contribute, but there is no way to really prepare for that part of the car ride.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Saturday -- Our last Day -- Magic Kingdom

We thoroughly enjoyed today. It felt like a bonus (since originally we were just going to go for the morning and then start driving by noon) but now we were staying all day.


We rode all the favorite rides. Did some of the "slower" things like the tiki room, and Tom Sawyer's Island, and just had fun!










At around 2:00 (with it being the Holiday weekend) the park was super crowded and we went ahead and left. We went to Olive Garden and had a nice lunch and then checked into our new hotel and almost all of us took great naps.

At 6:30, we headed back to the Magic Kingdom.





We started using all our fast passes and we did the Laugh Floor and the kid's texted in Jokes and one of them got used (I guess because the phone number came from texas they identified the girls as being from Texas)

We were anxious to see the Electrical Parade but when 9:00 rolled around the park was still super crowded. So we decided to continue riding rides knowing that parade went again at 11:00. We watched the fireworks again, and then the parade. And as you can see it wasn't crowded at all!!!!


Owen slept through it all!



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When the parade ended we did even more rides finishing up at Splash mountain where the kids rode over and over without having to even get off. Before we knew it-- It was 1 am. We had closed the park.



It was the perfect ending to a great week!!!!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Friday -- Animal Kingdom - Happy 38th Birthday to Trent

The Animal Kingdom -- the last Disney park. DSC_2335 We got there early and Trent got fast passes to Expedition Everest while I headed to the primeval whirl and triceratop spin. These 2 rides are fun -- one is a fun little roller coaster that I think the 3 girls rode at least 5 times and the other is just like Dumbo but they are dinosaurs and me, Adam and Owen rode it at least 5 times (without even getting off) and then Trent and I traded and the boys rode it again. We rode Dinosaur and then went to Finding Nemo the musical which was amazing. DSC_2337 Then the day got kind of drizzly -- and I guess that meant my camera got put away -- because I didn't take anymore pictures this day. We went on the safari and saw all the animals, watched the 3D It's tough to be a bug, rode Expedition Everest several times, and enjoyed spending the whole day with our friend's the Whiteley's who had come from North Carolina. When the park closed at 6 it was really raining pretty good and so we headed back to the hotel to relax, rest, and figure out our plans -- Initially we were going to leave on Saturday, but with a huge snow storm expected to hit areas of Virginia we decided to extend our stay to avoid driving in the weather. But our current hotel is booked so we had to find another (which we did) but it meant that we had to get everything packed up to change hotels the next day.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Thursday -- Universal Islands of Adventure

Today was our only NON disney day. We had high hopes and expectations.


The girls were super excited about Harry Potter world. We arrived early and walked the mile from the parking garage to the entrance of the park. And we immediately made our way straight to Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. This is the marquee ride that takes you through the castle. I really enjoyed the wandering through the queue seeing the inside of the castle. We all loved the portraits and the details about the castle. They did an amazing job on it. As for the ride itself -- well I had heard of so many people getting sick on it that my expectations were pretty low. And I was pleasantly surprised. I really liked the ride. It was really an amazing blend of technology and roller coaster. Universal has a baby waiting room (which is kind of nice, but then you have to bring the babies (without the stroller) all the way through the line which depending on the wait could be a very long time.


Then we went to the Hippogriff ride. It is a smaller roller coaster that my kids just loved (they could have gone on it over and over). Even Adam loved it. Then Julianne and I went on one of the dueling dragons roller coasters (there are 2 of them intertwined). It was fast and thrilling and I endured it. Julianne loved it.

Once we finished all the rides in Harry Potter World we got our first butterbeers (one frozen and one regular). We all loved them!

And we should have stopped there and called it a day. But instead we went to the "kid" section of the park. Dr. Seuss world. We waited in insane lines (like 45 minutes to ride the tiny elevated train that travels at 3 mph that they wouldn't let Owen ride-- really? this kind of ride has a height restriction????).


We went to the Dr. Seuss show -- which was awful. Middle schoolers with costumes could have done better with only 5 minutes of rehearsal. We did at least get to take pictures with all the characters.

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And at least we had friend's with us at the park to make it more fun!





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We rode the Caro seuss el.

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We went to the stunt show -- Sinbad -- and it was not very funny, and kind of boring. And I kept thinking . . . "Don't they know we just came from Disney???"

We made our way back towards Harry Potter to have lunch at the 3 broomsticks. And on our way stopped at a quick magic show. It was a phenomenal show (only 15 minutes) and slight of hand right in front of you. It was in the shop of wonders and was probably the real highlight of the day.

Lunch at the three broomsticks was actually quite good (and pretty healthy). We did the feast which was lots of fresh veggies and chicken and ribs.

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Here we are in front of the Hogwarts express.


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We then made our way to the rest of the park -- stopping to watch Poseiden's Fury -- it was AWFUL.

Then to Superhero world. By now the lines were super long and most of the rest of the park only Julianne was tall enough for the rides. Julianne and I went on the Hulk (through the single rider line so we didn't have to wait).

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Then the kids rode a spinny teacup like ride.


Owen was a good baby entertaining himself with the stroller.



At this point (given that the spiderman ride was closed) there were just a lot more roller coasters that only Julianne and either Trent and I could go on and LONG, LONG, lines. We were unwilling to pay for the express pass -- which I find to be outrageous. And so at 3:00 we left. To say we were disappointed overall would be an understatement. While Harry Potter world was neat, there were a lot of things about it I didn't like -- like that Ollivander's wand shop only let in 15 people every 20 minutes??? Who designed that??? and the shops were just too small. I kept thinking how much more amazing it would have been if Disney had done it.

We headed to Downtown Disney for the evening and shopped for souvenirs and enjoyed the nice evening weather.

This statue / person was quite entertaining.

Then we headed home for a good night's rest to be ready for another fun filled day!!!!