Thursday, October 10, 2013

Disney September 2013 - Day 1

So much to catch up on, but I'm going to try to get my feeble brain to remember all the way back to 3 weeks ago, so that I can blog about our September trip to WDW with my family.

So without further ado - Day 1

WooHoo! We were so excited! The day dawned sunny and cool. Probably the first cool morning we'd had in over a month or two (we had a weirdly cool summer as I mentioned above ) It was starting to feel like fall and we were headed to WDW and MNSSHP! Yay! 

We got dressed, packed up the car, and were ready to go in less than an hour. Woo! 

We had to say a sad goodbye to Big Daddy who had postponed his flight until Tuesday to finish some work at home.)  We were sad to leave him, and he was sad to see us go, but we knew the days would fly by!

We were flying out of Atlanta again. We arrived at the awesome Peachy Parking (love those Groupons!) a little over 2 hours before our flight (right on time in my book.) 

With two kids and tons of stuff, I sweated my way through security - why don't they turn up the AC in the security line??? Don't they know?? - and once we were through, the kids made a bee line for the closest candy. 

What did I do with my money Mom??? "Well, I'm not sure. Maybe if you had left your giant blanket at home, as I suggested it wouldn't be so hard to find your wallet?" (I told my kids they could bring what they wanted, but they had to carry it through the airport themselves. It was unbelievable to me how much stuff they crammed into their 'carry on and personal item' ha!)

We had time for a nice lunch. Unfortunately, we passed all the good places to eat and ended up at a not so good restaurant. But it did have a nice view of the planes, so the kids were happy!

The flight was delayed by about an hour. Some sort of mechanical problem. The pilot was very apologetic and told everyone on board that was over 21 that drinks were 'on him'. Once we were off the ground, the flight was smooth and uneventful and we even made up some time in the air.

The kids and I sat next to the nicest couple from Palm Beach, who had been cruising Europe for 7 weeks!  I have decided I will like retirement. :-)

Before we knew it, we were off the plane and onto this familiar sight:

Next Stop - Magical Express! It was interesting to see how My Magic + has already made it to Magical Express. They had the 'tap and go' Mickey all ready to go to meet arriving WDW visitors. My Magic + really is going to be an information bonanza for Disney. They'll know how many flights are on time, etc. Maybe even be able to tell how many minutes it takes each guest to walk from their gate to the ME counters! Amazing!

We just had our plain old paper tickets, so they scanned those and I alerted them to the fact that my husband would be delayed by a few days and we were off to our line! One thing that I was sad about - no more hotel names labeling the lines. Now it's just numbers. :-(

We were right up front. Which always means we'll be waiting a while for others to join us. 
We were on the bus soon enough - front row baby! And the Dino sticker was procured:

It was a perfect, beautiful evening:

We didn't check in online, but check in was still a breeze!

I spoke to my sister and my parents. They had arrived around lunch time and were already at the Magic Kingdom. They had 6:45 dinner reservations at the Crystal Palace. I'd hoped (before the flight delay) that we'd be able to join them for dinner, but we walked into our room to put our luggage away at 6:30, so I knew there was no way.

We were starving, and there was no Crystal Palace for us, so we stopped by the Pop Food Court on the way to the MK. 

For the life of me, I can't remember what we ate, but I do remember Pop has added a really cool ice cream area on the gift shop end of the food court and it is fantastic! Milkshakes, sundaes, etc. And of course, knowing the dining plan, I asked if we could have one of those as dessert and the answer was -absolutely! Yay!

We were in a hurry to get to the MK though, so we took our ice cream to go.

 When we arrived at the MK, it was a perfect night! It was just so exciting to be there.

My family had finished dinner and had already seen most of New Fantasyland, so we met them in the Castle hub to find a spot for Wishes!

After Wishes, we decided to set up a spot for the MSEP. We watched the 'castle show' (what's it called again?) while we were waiting.
(Now this is a cell phone pic)

After the parade, the MK was closed, so we made our way down Main Street and toward the busses! 
ML fell asleep on the ride home:
:-)  More to come!
Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Awhile - Packing for Disney

It's been a while!  (Awhile?)  So much has happened.

I thought I'd start back with a post idea I had when preparing for our latest trip to Walt Disney World in Florida.

Due to kid sports obligations we chose to fly to Orlando as opposed to our usual method of transportation - driving.
I was flying solo with the kids down to Orlando, so this meant I wanted everyone to be able to carry their own luggage and carry ons.

To simplify things, I sent a box of 'stuff' down to Orlando with my parents in their minivan.  These are things that I often pack on our WDW trips.  Just things I have have found to be useful in the room.

First up - a small air purifier aka 'the white noise machine.'  This trip we were staying at a Value resort - Pop Century.  When staying at Pop Century, we usually request a room with a 'lake view' in the 50's section and we have almost never had an issue with noise outside our room, but at every level of WDW hotel (Deluxe, Moderate, Value) we find it easier to have a white noise machine, especially in the mornings when Mousekeeping starts making their rounds and the 'early to rise' park goers start emerging from their rooms for the day.  This is not to say that WDW rooms are in any way badly constructed or noisy all the time.  This is just to prevent being woken up by that *one* family with that *one* kid who is yelling outside your room when you're children are fast asleep at 7 am.  (And we all know, there is no anger like the anger you feel when you miss out on sleep because someone else woke up your child.  :-)  Ha!

Next up, a few breakfast items.  Now, this may seem crazy.  WDW sometimes seems like it's nothing but tempting foods everywhere you look.  And this trip we were on the 'free' Disney Dining Plan.  But if your children are anything like mine, they wake up STARVING every morning.  And grumpy becomes 'hangry' pretty quickly if you don't feed them right away.  When you're by yourself with your children and you need to get ready before you head to the food court (read: it will be an hour before you're out the door and headed to eat) having some easy breakfast foods on hand can mean the difference between a stressful morning and an easy one.

I try to pick easy breakfast foods with *some* health benefits.  :-)

Next up- Laundry.  I usually need to run at least one load while I'm at WDW.  If for nothing other than stain control (you know, someone dumps something on their outfit at dinner and you need to get it out before it sets in.)  All the WDW resorts have great laundry rooms.  They sell everything you need at the resorts, but it saves time and money to bring your own.  I bring - a hanging laundry hamper (can hang in the closet area - keeps laundry off the floor and keeps it from being mixed in with the clean clothes in kids suitcases,) Shout to pretreat stains, Tide pods, a few dryer sheets and a delicates bag.

 Finally - Dish/ hand soap and a dish rag/ towel.  One thing about WDW resorts are the 'refillable' mugs that everyone seems to have.  You buy a $18 mug and you get unlimited tea/ coffee/ soda refills for your entire stay.  Most people will bring these to breakfast, fill them up, and then throw them in their stroller or back pack until the end of the day.  After dragging our mugs all over the park for the day, I REALLY feel the need to give them a good washing, so I bring an old hand soap bottle (that I saved and cleaned out) filled with our favorite dish soap - Method grapefruit.
This serves dual purpose though, as I find it hard to get my kids to wash their hands with a bar of soap provided by the hotel.  They do much better with liquid soap.  So it's a win, win.
The dish rag and towel are just because of my own OCD.  I don't want to dry my dishes with a towel some other person has wiped their mouth on.  :-)  Weird I know.

I put everything in a clear plastic bin (you can seen I brought a few other WDW essentials too - hello sunscreen!  I didn't think the sunscreen would make it through security in our carry ons.  I also brought a $9 coffee maker from Wal Mart and some coffee, because this momma needs her coffee right away!) and sent it with my parents.

I hope this is helpful to someone out there planning a WDW vacation!  Thanks for reading!
Sunday, September 1, 2013

I love you this much

ML said she loves me more than lemonade and lolly pops. 

I told her the feeling is mutual. 

Sweet moments I want to remember forever. <3
Thursday, August 22, 2013

Happy Birthday Big Daddy!

It's Big Daddy's Birthday!  
We have a football scrimmage tonight, so it's low key today, but Saturday night we will party hardy! :-)

It's been a great year of life!  Here's to many more.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Chunky Bead Necklaces

As discussed many (many, many, many) times on this blog - I'm not super crafty, so when I find a craft that's easy for me to make, I get pretty excited and may, or may not, go a little overboard in making said craft over and over and over again.  Hee.  :-)

 That's the way it is right now with chunky bead necklaces.  They seem to be everywhere on little girls these days!  I decided to make one for ML in her school colors so she could wear it with her uniform on 'no PE' days.  The biggest obstacle seems to be finding larger, candy colored beads at stores like Hobby Lobby and Michael's.  For this particular necklace, I only had time to visit Hobby Lobby, so I decided to fill in the 'lack of' candy colored beads with sparkly, clear beads.  Because, who doesn't love a nice sparkle?????  :-)

Once I settled on the beads and chose my wire (more on that in a few,) my final decision was what type of clasp to purchase.  I settled on a toggle clasp, but there were lots of choices!  If my beads had been lighter, I might have chosen the magnetic clasp, just because it would be so easy for ML to operate on her own.

I had so much fun making that necklace, that I decided to make a bracelet for our friend who was baptized on Sunday using the same method.  I used beads in school colors once again and another toggle clasp.

I've *attempted* to make other jewelry over the years and most of those attempts have been total failures, mostly due to the materials I used to string the beads.  I finally came to the conclusion that stretchy plastic thread and fabric threads aren't for me.  Wire seems to be my medium (if a not-so-crafty girl can have a medium - ha!)
 I usually start by cutting (with tiny pliers) a length of wire about 1.5 times what I think I'll need (if I was better at this/ did it more often, I'd probably waste much less wire.)  Then a make a small, temporary loop at one end of the wire to serve as a 'stop' for the beads I'm stringing.  After all of the beads are on the wire, I simply unhook the temporary loop and attach each end of the toggle clasp to each end of the necklace/ bracelet.
I attach the toggles by threading it around and around the attachment loop and then twisting at the bottom between the toggle and the closest bead, but I'm not sure that's the 'professional' way of doing things.  It's just my way.  :-)
Not sure about the bracelet, since it was a gift, but the necklace has held up very well and we are really enjoying it!
Sunday, August 18, 2013

Weekend Crazy

(I may never post from moblie again!  I can't get this space at the top to go away for anything.  Gah! :-)
We had a great, crazy busy weekend!
We started with two birthday parties on Friday afternoon. JR loved the high dive at the pool where his friend!s birthday party was hosted. He has no fear. 

Sweet friends. 

I dropped off JR at 4, then dropped off ML at 4:30, then went back to socialize and pick up JR, but he was invited to spend the night with his friend.  ML was at her party until 8:30, so Big Daddy & I got an unexpected date night. Score!

We went to one if our favorite places and then did a little shopping. Then I went to pick up ML. She had a blast at her party. My friend Jill had planned the ultimate little girl party - American Girl doll themed- and she pulled it off seamlessly. ML said it was the best party ever!

Saturday we got up & met my parents and nieces at the Space & Rocket Center.  

Then we all went to a local BBQ competition to eat lunch and support one of our favorite charities. 
I had to leave soon after to pick up ML from another birthday party (one of our friends was kind enough to take her to the party.)

And then we dropped off a friend at home and were off to our neighborhood cookout. It was cold and drizzling the entire time - on August 17!!!!!  I still can't believe this weather. We left once ML got out of the pool, her lips were blue from the cold!

Today, Sunday, was my & Big Daddy's turn to man the desk at the Small Groups station in the church lobby, so we did that and after church, I had a parent meet & greet for high school small group leaders. 

We had lunch at home & got ready for our young adult small group to come over. I had to do some grocery shopping & Big Daddy & ML had an Elvis music dance party. :-)

We went back to church to see one of JR's classmates be baptized. Let me tell you, I was a HOT MESS during that baptism service. 19 people were baptized and every story was so amazing - from the youngest child to the 62 year old man. It was how do you even describe what it's like to be in a room with that many people on fire for God publicly declaring their faith in Jesus as their Lord and Savior???- however you describe it, that's what it was. :-). Amazing just doesn't seem like enough description!  I felt so blessed to be there. 
Finally it was time for small group - always a good time!  Love to laugh and grow in faith with those young adults!

Saturday marked 7 days until JR's football season begins!

And it also marked 14 days until the Auburn Season begins!!!!  War Eagle!!!!  We're riding the Gus Bus all the way to victory!  (We hope!  Ha!)  Here's to a new era!