Thursday, September 29, 2011

Is This Kid Cute or What?

Here are a couple of pictures I took on the way to school this week.  Before you say I am favoring Charley over B, B does not want her photo taken.


Wednesday (today)

Just so you know,  Chucky picks out most of her clothes.  The hat, the shoes, the dress.  I wanted her to put on pants - no way.  She is a riot.  Of course ask me what I think when she is 12.....

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Happiest Place on Earth - No, I am Not Talking About James Street!

As everyone knows, our James Street house has been on the market since July with lots of showings, but nary an offer. So, since we could burn some of Mike's vacation and because B (not me at all) wanted to go for her birthday and because Mike was afraid of the carnival birthday I was planning, we planned a spurish of the moment Disney trip.

B has been more into Disney since she started watching the Tinker Belle movies. And Charley was hugely on board because she LOVES princesses. Belle and Tiana especially. We prepared by watching movies, some Disney Travel stuff on Netflix, looking through a Disney Travel book, reading, listening to movie sound tracks. By the time the plane took off, the girls (especially B) were so excited! OK, I was too. I love Disney World. The magic, the characters, the Beach Club Pool, the french toast at the Crystal Palace, Soarin (which I missed because I had a headache). I could just live there. The kids were so well behaved, they had so much fun. Even though B's favorite part was the pool. That is OK, it was an awesome pool!

I wish I had taken more pictures ( really, in this era of the digital camera, does anyone wish they had taken less photos). But as the days went by, and we had already seen characters, and I was getting tired, it seemed more important to just stop saying, "look at me, " while I took a photo.

As I mentioned, we stayed at the Beach Club. It is an on-property hotel, where you can walk to Epcot and Hollywood Studios (or take a boat or bus). It is themed OK. We got a great room, on the first floor so we could just walk out, instead of going through the hotel. It was great when we went to the pool or Epcot. And, the Beach Club has the best pool. Sand bottom, with a sand bar, a little over my knee at the deepest. Just like a beach. The kids loved it. Really, we probably didn't spend enough time at the pool.

It was a little hard with Charley and her naps, though I want to go back tomorrow, I think it would be better if we didn't have the afternoon nap. It gave B a chance to swim or walk around Epcot in the rain with me, but we could have done more. I know, I know, you can't do everything, and we didn't, it just would have been nice if we all could have gone swimming. I think Charley was the only kid there who didn't fall asleep in a stroller (B did, on the way to dinner one night. Slept through dinner, woke up right afterward. Then we had to get her dinner).

The weather was AWESOME. In fact, I am hating the cold, rainy weather we have today. I really cannot say enough about the trip. It was so fantastic! Really, I am not crazy. Well, I am, but you know. And I don't remember drinking any Disney-Aid while we were there. The place is clean, the people are friendly and the kids have plenty to do. OK, the food isn't the best, even at the really good places. That is a problem, you have to spend a lot to get food that is good. But, we got the free dining planning promo, so that helped.

So, the Disney goodness started the night before when the girls unwrapped some pjs from their Fairy Godmother, who may or may not be living in B's fairy house. How do we know it was a fairy that left them? I saw pixie dust floating in the air around the presents.

B got Tink pjs.

Charley got princess pjs.

B was up and ready to go a bit after 6 am.

We left from Midway. It took us a little longer to get there than we planned. Traffic, you know. Oh, and the stop at the donut shop. Might as well start the holiday on the right culinary note. (OK, I was freaking! I did not want to miss our plane. Truth be told, we have missed the plane to Disney on two other occasions. Really.)

The plane ride was uneventful. Charley took a little nap and B watched a movie. We did run into out first issue at the airport. B will not use potty's that has an automatic flush - and 95% of the toilets at Disney are auto-flush. While that proved to be a problem, we still had no accidents the whole trip. (Thank God for Charley's portable potty - came in very helpful!)

Here they are all ready to have some Disney fun!!

First stop? Epcot. It is so close to the Beach Club and we had dinner ADRs (advanced reservations) at the Via Napoli (?).

What (or who) did we see first? Well, actually it was Mary Poppins, but no interest from my kids and, there was a line. So, up next it was Aladdin.

B was too shy. So Charley and Mike visited with him. Just a few short steps away? Aurora.

B thawed a bit and ran around with the Genie's friend.

The face characters are so good. They really talk with the children and make the meet a big deal. I really didn't expect them to be so personable. I guess in the past, we've only seen characters. They don't talk, just give hugs and stuff.

Next stop? Nemo! Then Turtle Talk with Crush. Huge hit with my kids. On our last trip, B went on Nemo every night.

Then we got the characters out of the way. I think this was the most we waited the whole trip. About 25 minutes.

Charley did not like Donald Duck. Which is strange, because the next day, she wanted a stuffed Donald. Wouldn't let it go. We bought it. She really never asked for anything else. Until we were at the Orlando airport and Charley wanted a stuffed Simba (the girl in line next to us had one) and the Disney store there did not have one. Tears and cries were loud. I felt bad, she hadn't really wanted anything except Donald.

We headed to dinner after we met the characters. And though we weren't expecting much, it was very good. The pizza was probably an 8 on a scale of 10. The salad, tiramisu and the ricotta donuts Mike got were also good. The kids soup, was meh. And it was freezing inside! Coffee was tasty too.

The next morning we slept in a bit.

We had 10:30 ADRs at the Crystal Palace at the Magic Kingdom, so Mike went to the hotel shop and picked up up some pastry and coffee to hold us over until then.

Good thing our time was late, we barely made it!

How I love Main Street USA! I love the Castle, I love the smell, the feeling, the music. The most magical place in the world.

First stop, Breakfast. (I didn't get a lot of the pastry.) The Crystal Palace features the Winnie the Pooh characters. And really good french toast. Like, almost like a donut, fried-goodness, french toast.

We toured the Magic Kingdom that day. Came back to the room around twoish. Charley hit the sack and B and I went to the pool. We had ADRs at The Plaza - but Charley slept through those. We ate at Pecos Pete's or something. (It was - well, adequate.) First, though are photos of the fabulous pool. This is just part of it. There is a giant slide and a little kids slide (both which went unused by B). A lazy river, and regular old pool, plus some more sand. I wish this were my local pool. I can't say awesome enough.

So, we eventually got ready to go to Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween party. My girls used the Tinker Bell outfits I made. Check out the pose below.

Charley didn't get into it nearly as much as B. She even sat cross-legged on the bus. She stayed in the wings and shoes all night.

First stop? Princesses. Minimal wait, so we thought we would take advantage.

Again, I cannot say enough nice things about these princesses. Belle was particularly nice. They were so sweet and kind and patient. Charley just about plotzed when she saw Belle.

So, no lines, no waiting. We went on a ton. B did Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. We did the Carousel, Dumbo, Peter Pan, Winnie the Pooh. Gosh, I don't even know what else. We also saw lots of characters - all in costume. Charley did a dance party with Chip and Dale and Goofy and Stich. We also saw a villians show. The Shadow Man sang his "I've got Friends on the Other Side" song.

After a rather late night, we got up, well, not bright, but early - well, not too early either, we almost missed our ADR, for a princess breakfast at the Norway pavilion at Epcot. I think the restaurant is Akershus. The big draw for us was Belle. She was the lead.

We also saw Aurora, Snow White, Cinderella, and Ariel.

We made a pit stop at Sourin' then we hit the Animal Kingdom. You can see how tired they look. Poor things. It was hot too! B went on Dinosaur and Charley did the flying dinosaurs. Charley and I also saw the Lion King Live on Stage. Very cool. I have missed seeing while on previous trips and it was my one must do. It is a great park.

That night we went to Epcot for dinner. Mexican pavilion. Not the restaurant inside the pyramid, the one by the water. It was good. A bit salty. Charley was up for dinner. B was not. She fell asleep in the stroller on the way to dinner.

See, Charley walked, B rode. We had to get B dinner after we ate dinner. Then we went to this little caramel shop at the Germany pavilion. Quite good.

B kept talking about Splash Mountain, so we headed back to the Magic Kingdom. While her and Mike rode in the first seat of the ride and got soaked, I took Charley to meet Tiana and Tinker Bell. She was happy to meet them, but I think she wanted to go with Mike and B on the ride. We hit lots of rides after that, so all was good.

The picture below shows B holding a love bug. They were everywhere, and B can find a bug friend wherever she goes.

(B wore this skirt when we took her to Disney World a couple of years ago.)

The Tea Cups where a big hit. B would not ride It's a Small World, so Charley and I went.

Here's where the trip gets interesting. Some people asked for a showing the morning we left for Disney. I originally said no - because we would be gone - and you know the dogs, the cat pee, the way my house looks before we leave for a trip. But it was a second showing. So, our realtor Karen, took care of the dogs while the potentials spent over an hour in the house. Which really, is kind of creepy. People you don't know, in your house, while you're not home. Anyway, they made an offer. So we had to do all that back and forth stuff while on our trip. Then we had to do all the back and forth to make an offer on the house we want. That is Mike on the phone doing the high dealin'. HA! Anyway, as long as the appraisals and the inspections go all right, we could be moving. No excitement from me until the fat lady sings. I'll keep you all updated.

That night we headed over (by boat) to Hollywood Studios to eat at The Brown Derby. Which was OK, but our ADR was at 5:50, and I bet it took almost an hour to get seated. (B found a friend to play with while we waited.) Then, while the service was fine, it was slow. By the time we finished it was close to 8:40, and the park closed at 9, so Mike took B on Toy Story and I took Charley to see the Little Mermaid Live on Stage. Then after, there was a band. Charley loved it. She is such a dancer. This time, B joined it a bit. Then , instead of waiting for the boat, we walked back to the hotel.

Unfortunately, this is where the pictures end. I must have been too lazy to get out the camera. The next day we headed over to the Animal Kingdom again. Came back for lunch and an afternoon swim then headed over to the Animal Kingdom Lodge for our dinner at Jiko. This was the best of the dinners and our kids were about punked out. Charley didn't want to sit a moment longer than she had too (she had a very short nap) and wanted to explore outside. We got dessert to go. Hit the Lodge's gift shop (much better than ours - African musical instruments to try) and headed home. Where I stayed up too late watching Hawaii 5-O. Stupid right? but I got sucked into it. The next day we were heading home. Instead of going to a park, we had breakfast at the Yacht Club's Captain's Grille (our favorite breakfast - besides Winnie the Pooh's french toast at the Crystal Palace) and we spent our time relaxing at the pool. Then we came home. I didn't want to leave. It is wonderful at Disney. I actually miss it and would like to go back every month. This trip was fairly easy compared to the trip we took with B. Maybe because I didn't push us to see everything! But, we did miss a lot, but we have loads of time to go back. Just not until Charley is at least 40 inches tall, and doesn't take a nap. So maybe for B's 7th birthday. Do they frown upon children missing school? I hope not. It is Disney, doesn't that mean an automatic pass?