Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Summer Vacation 2010 - Part 3 {Real Life Fairytale}

I'm not sure I'll ever be able to convince Eveley that fairytales are just pretend.

She hugged Cinderella.

She was introduced to Prince Charming ... although he made her very shy.

She met the Wicked Stepmother

And she danced with the stepsisters.

All while nibbling some goodies from a Mickey Mouse-shaped plate.

In the lobby of the hotel, they had a large orchestra playing all of the Disney hits. Eveley couldn't help but burst into a dance. I almost joined her.

It was a magical evening.

Then the clock struck 7, and Caleb ran out to find some dirt.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Summer Vacation 2010 - Part 2 {Disney}

I have never been before. Nope. Never. Not even as a little bitty girl.

No one can believe me, but it's the truth.

I have friends who went there on their honeymoon, those who plan vacations there each year, and some who even try to control their reproduction timing to ensure the trip there isn't inconvenienced.

Then, there are those moms. You know who I'm talking about. Those moms who research this destination for months in advance. They chart out the park, use different colored highlighters to mark their daily schedule, and buy fast passes off Ebay. The kids are briefed, the mom survival bag is packed, and they march into this place as if it's paradise waiting to be explored.

When I realized we would be staying so close to Disney while on vacation, I knew we had to work in a visit. Our kids are definitely not the "perfect" age for a Disney vacation. They are still young and unpredictable. But they both are fans of Mickey's Playhouse and all the Disney characters. And Eveley is totally in the princess stage. So we decided to go for it.

Given my uber-organized style, you may assume I would fall into that latter category of moms. But you would be wrong. We decided to go on a Monday hoping to avoid the weekend crowds. I coated the children in sunscreen, dressed them in cool, comfortable clothes and shoes, brought hats, a small cooler of juice boxes and snacks, and we were off.

We bought our tickets at the park, rented our $30 stroller, grabbed a map at the welcome center, and began to explore.

But it was hot. I mean really hot. Central Florida saw a week of record high temperatures and Monday was the hottest. It was in the high 90s with 100% humidity. There was absolutely no cloud cover or shade. The sun was boiling.

But when we walked into the Magic Kingdom and Eveley saw the castle, we knew it was worth the sweat and the hundreds of dollars we had just paid.

She was in heaven.

We hit the famous "It's a Small World" ride first (because there was no line and it was an indoor, air-conditioned ride).

The kids loved it. Then we walked back outside into the horrible heat, just long enough for a kind woman to hand us a "fast pass" to the 3D Mickey movie that was just getting ready to begin. I still had no idea what a fast pass was. She was a saint.

We walked right into the theater and loved the show (and the a/c). Then we rode the Carousel and took the train around the park. Eveley was excited to see Mary Poppins (or Mary Ann Poppins, as Eveley calls her??)

The kids had fun in Mickey's land where they got to tour his house.

Uhh.... take 2

After a potty break, it was 11:30 and everyone was on the verge of a breakdown....or meltdown.

Quick thinking, and a few suckers later, the kids were content. The sucker was definitely worth the $15 we spent on it.

I was beginning to lose hope that this would be a pleasant experience. It was just miserable. And then we heard the music. Without any purposeful planning, we had ended up on Main Street just as the huge parade was beginning. It was awesome! (I mean the kids thought it was awesome...) We saw all of our favorite Disney characters and tons of great dancers. It really was kinda magical.

As the parade wrapped up, the princess show outside the castle began. They had each of the famous couples from the Disney classics (Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White) along with Mickey and Minnie. There were tons of people crowding the street to see the show. But Eveley didn't care. She danced right there in the middle of them. I think she thought she was part of the show. So cute. And this stage will be gone very soon, I'm sure.

The show ended in fireworks, and we decided that was all we needed to see. It was 1:30. We took the train and headed back to our car.

We were just pulling out of the parking lot here.

We were so hot!! But Eveley had the time of her life and will never forget her first trip to Disney. (And I will never forget my first trip to Disney either...)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Summer Vacation 2010 -- part 1 of ?

I have talked about out bestest friends - Brian and Jenna - before. We met in law school and have since spent vacations together every other year. The first was right after Bob and I were married -- no kids for us and their 2 with grandma back home. The vacation included late mornings sleeping in, glorious uninterrupted afternoons lying in the sun, quiet dinners out at fine restaurants, and late evenings spent laughing and playing games.

2 years later, we hung out at a mountain retreat with their 3 children and our sweet Robbie.

The next 2 years brought us to the beach with their 3 and our princess Eveley.

A few weeks after returning from that vacation, both Jenna and I discovered we were pregnant!

Fast forward 2 more years, and here we are in Florida with 6 kiddies: their four - Lauren, Cade, Cooper, and Bennett - and Eveley and Caleb.

Vacations together are always fun but have definitely morphed over the years. This time, we rented a big house in a wonderful resort. We had our own pool, and the resort had an awesome waterpark. Our mornings began before sunrise, the kids had "underwear morning swims" each day, our afternoons couldn't begin until the little ones awoke from their naps, dinners were early and usually consisted of bringing home take-out, and we were slowly losing consciousness around 9:30.

The boys preferred playing in the outside shower.

Very different days! But awesome fun nonetheless.

The total trip was 12 hours, so we spent the first night in Savannah, GA before driving the rest of the way down into Florida. The kids did remarkably well in the car.

Bennett Robert and Caleb Robert (both named after our sweet Robbie) were the newest additions from our last vacation.

We spent most every day at the waterpark.

For obvious reasons, Bob and I were a little worried about the pools and waterpark. Caleb and Eveley have not had much swimming exposure. But I took a friend's advice and bought "Puddle Jumpers" for Eveley. We brought Caleb some floaties and a boat. It didn't take much time at all for Eveley to turn into a fish. She loved the pool and the water slides. And on the last day of our vacation, Eveley jumped off the diving board by herself.

It took Caleb a little longer to enjoy everything. He liked the fountains and going down the slide with mama and daddy. And towards the end, he especially liked the lazy river. But truthfully, he enjoyed the mulch and sand much more.

Despite the various ages, the kids played so well together.

Eveley loved having an older girl around and can't stop talking about Lauren. But she has as much fun with the boys too. They were sweet to eachother and also had fun wrestling. We are having bets on what the future holds for these crazy kids!!