Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Independence Day 2014

Hurricane Arthur blew in on July 4th this year meaning lots of rain. We had a relaxing day at home and a few errands and saved our celebrations for the next day. The next day was our neighborhood bike parade/bubble party/ice cream celebration. After that we spent hours weeding but capped off the day with an impromptu cookout at my parents (they are quite generous and go-with-the-flow about things like that which is nice for us). There was swimming, sparklers and lots of food!

We are working on getting those training wheels off! I actually am very pleased with how it's going (when we manage to find some time to practice) because Maddie can be so anxious but she's been pretty game to practice sans trainers.

Why so worried Maddie?
I guess we just should have asked a friend to take a picture of us all together!

This last one isn't from the fourth of July but I wanted to sneak it in. Our friends from back in our Philly days, Katie and her daughter Harper, came to visit us. I love how the girls can pick up right where they left off! For the first two years of their life they saw each other all the time (we dragged those two all over South Jersey and Philly--Please Touch Museum, Rittenhouse Square, parks, zoo, DiBrunos, Ikea, etc.). Now they only see each other a few times a year but they still have a special spot in each other's hearts and they play beautifully.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Disney 2014 Days 5 and 6

Okay folks, we've finally made it to the final days of our Disney trip. I thought about not blogging about them but since I'd already sorted and pulled pictures for the book I'm going to make, I figured I might as well see this through to the end. Next up Bald Head Island! Or maybe I'll sneak in some Fourth of July and other summer pictures first.

Lucy was up before 5:30am this morning. I couldn't settle her back down so we left the room so everyone else could sleep. We delivered the daily character gift to outside the Shumans' door and then walked around the grounds and picked up breakfast. The early waking led to a nap in my arms by mid-morning.

These first several pictures are all from Beth and my dad since I wasn't actually there. My family went off to do some of our favorite rides and the Shumans went with my parents to do some of their favorites which for Nate meant scarier rides like Space Mountain and Runaway Train (and another visit to Splash Mountain).

We met up again for lunch.
This video of Avonlea and Madeleine on the teacups makes me laugh.

The Disney photographer had my parents do these silly (but sweet) poses.
One of the Disney photopass photographers did these pictures which Maddie of course was thrilled to see.
Here I am with my little big girl. She is a sweetheart through and through.

Avonlea really wanted to do Enchanted Tales with Belle again so Andy took Maddie and Lucy off to do Under the Sea while we visited Belle. Avonlea was picked again to participate. This time she played the part of Maurice!

Before dinner Andy and Lucy managed a little nap. The Shuman boys did not so they were conked out in their stroller for the first half of dinner!
We ate at Be Our Guest in the Magic Kingdom. These were the hardest reservations for me to get and we had an oddly early reservation (4:30). We had lunch there the first day and loved it and we had another great experience for dinner. The food was pretty good by Disney standards and it was a pretty setting. Every so often there was an ominous clanging and regal music and then the Beast strode into each dining room. It totally caught us off guard (and freaked the kids out a bit). After dinner we were walking around to see the other rooms and the clanging started and out of door right next to us the Beast strode out. He almost knocked us over because I think the costume is so large and visibility is so poor that he could barely see us (he did have escorts with him to guide him around).

When it was time to meet the Beast on the way out some of the kids freaked out a bit (see Sammy above and our family photograph without Madeleine below for proof). I thought the costume was awesome and I got a huge kick out of meeting the Beast.

After we got Lucy asleep my dad came down and hung out in our room and the big girls went and hung out with my mom so Andy and I could sneak out to the Magic Kingdom for a couple hours. We hit up Splash Mountain, Space Mountain and then just walked around. We stopped for a soda and I commented to Andy that I'd never had a corndog before (the snack place was selling them) so the guy working gave me one on the house. So now I've had a corndog! We thought about staying for the fireworks but I was exhausted and still had to pack up everything for our departure the next day so we wove our way back through the crowds. It was a lot of fun to have a date night!

We only had a few hours before we had to head to the airport on our last day so I don't have many pictures. Rather than belabor my Disney posting, I included them below.
It was fun to see my dad's pictures of the boys getting their daily character gift. My girls liked them but the boys seemed way more enthused than they did. I enjoyed making the little poems and picking out the dollar store trinkets and I'm glad they enjoyed getting them.
The last day gift was little cakes to celebrate Nate's birthday.
We look pretty tired! We got there bright and early for the rope drop ceremony and then they didn't do it! There was a lot of stuff going on for the opening of the new ride (Seven Dwarves Mine Train) like commercial and publicity shoots so I think that's why it didn't happen.

You know you've reached the end of a trip when MorMor is giving looks like the one above and when kids are breaking into tears in the middle of the Magic Kingdom. As you can see below some popcorn solved whatever the issue was...
 Lucy didn't even make it through the morning awake.

11 people require a lot of luggage!
Some cartoons on the Magic Express back to the airport helped to ease the pain of leaving.

It was a wonderful week and I was so sad to leave. I'm feeling a little sad all over again blogging about the last day! Hopefully in a couple years we'll get to go back. I'm really grateful we can afford this special splurge and I've enjoyed every minute of it since I know this time when the kids are so enthralled with it will soon be gone. It's frivolous and silly and a complete indulgence, but I'm happy I get to do it with my kids and husband and even happier that they can share the experience with cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents!