Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Cold, Cold, Cold

Have I mentioned it's cold?

It is.

February is the worst.

Last week both kids were a bit under the weather and we had some snow.  Avery was out of school for President's Day and I stayed home from work to care for the sick kiddos.  The kids definitely snuggled in, rested, and watched movies.

And of course there had to be cookies.

We finally decided to go ahead and do the wood flooring project that we've been wanting to do basically since we moved in!




Poor Rob-this was hard work.  It took up pretty much all of his time this weekend.  I *think* he agrees it was worth it and we're both really pleased with the outcome.

Avery and I had some quality time with nails, pizza, and gelato.

Oh, and Avery decided to move into the office.

Benny and I had some quality time on my day off.  Oy.  Ben is every bit of TWO lately.  We are seeing more fits and defiance.  He's going to wear out the time-out corner...

But he is also so sweet and funny.  And talkative.  And bossy.
Catching snowflakes

Plotting my shopping demise

To get the kids out of the house, I took them to the children's museum after school.  They had a blast as it wasn't too crowded and they had the run of the place.

Dancing with his shadow

We're chugging along through February, looking forward to warmer weather, fresh air, and longer days!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Valentine's 2015

After returning from vacation, we got right back into the swing of things with school, work, and getting ready for Valentine's Day.  Ok, all that really entailed was Avery writing out Valentines (we weren't tasked with making one of those time-consuming creative valentine boxes this year).

I ordered a printable bookmark from Etsy that turned out really cute.  Easy and inexpensive (and her teacher was totally impressed).

Avery wore her Christmas dress from 2013 and looked adorable.

I was able to make it to her class party on Friday.

She told me several times how happy she was that I was there:)  Even if I did get into "trouble" for taking pictures and videos.

Then I got roped into painting little hands and feet for the Valentines craft.
Avery took this photo while I was working

Saturday morning was Valentine's day and I was quite pleased with myself for getting NO CANDY gifts.  A robe for Avery and a Thomas pillow pet for Ben.

We had a Valentine's breakfast feast including pink milk, strawberries, heart shaped bacon, and cinnamon rolls with pink icing.

Rob and I had agreed on no gifts. So naturally...

Later, we shipped the kids off to Mimi and Papa's and we enjoyed a nice dinner out!


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Disney World-Final Thoughts and Videos

Last Disney post! Then I'll be back to my regularly scheduled programming of weekend updates:)

Rob borrowed Pepaw's GoPro camera and it was invaluable for bugging me capturing priceless family memories.

A few videos:


The Barnstormer (Avery's favorite).

Meeting Tinker Bell.

Bus ride with Ben.

Meeting Ariel.

Expedition Everest.

Mermaid makeover.

Scary driver.

Some final thoughts on Disney for anyone that is considering taking a Disney World vacation:

-Plan ahead.  Plan, plan, plan. Research, then research some more.  This is not a vacation where you simply show up and wander around.  I mean, you could, but it would be a waste of your time and money.  Reservations can be made for restaurants and special activities up to 180 days in advance, and for FastPass (reserved times to ride popular attractions and meet characters with no wait) up to 60 days in advance.

-We went in "low" season and crowd volumes were still very high (at least in Magic Kingdom).  If that is low season, we would never consider going at moderate or peak crowd times.

-Expect to wait in line for everything.  Everything.

-The service is largely above and beyond.  The parks are meticulously clean.  You get what you pay for.

-The cheaper the hotel ("value" category), the farther away (longer bus ride) to most of the parks.

-Food and drinks are expensive, but you can take your own into the parks.  While it's probably not feasible (or fun) to bring all your own food and drinks in, whatever you do bring is a definite money-saver.  We ordered snacks and drinks from Amazon and had them delivered to our hotel (they accept packages on your behalf up to (I believe) two weeks before your arrival).  A bottle of water in the park is $2.50.  You can buy a case of water for about that on Amazon.  We also brought our own Goldfish, applesauce, snack bars, etc. into the parks with us.  When one of the kids was hungry (or needed a distraction) we were able to pull out something that we brought.  And while we did treat ourselves to ice cream and popcorn snacks, we were able to save a ton of money by not having to stop and spend $4-$5 on a snack every time a kid said they were hungry or thirsty.

-Stroller rental is awesome.  We used Orlando Stroller Rentals and had no issues.  They deliver and pick up from your hotel.  Even if you think your kids are too old for strollers, they probably aren't at Disney World.  There is no way Avery or Ben had the stamina to walk the parks all day.  Plus they're good for containing them and moving quickly when you need to get somewhere.

-Wear athletic shoes.  I know.  I didn't like it either.  But it really saves your feet and, in my case, back when you're walking 8-10 miles a day.  The one day I wore flats, my feet AND back were killing me by the end of the day.  Trust me, people are wearing all sorts of crazy outfits.  No one will look twice at your tennis shoes.

-Lastly, it's worth it.  Even when you do it on a budget, like we did, Disney is still an expensive vacation.  But it's worth the money.  There is no other place like it.  And to see your kids experience some of their favorite things in real life is so cool (even if Avery was often rendered speechless).  And who would have guessed Avery would love the thrill rides and that Ben would be so taken with Minnie Mouse?!  It was definitely a vacation that Rob and I will remember forever.  Even if we need our own beach vacation to recover...

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Disney World Day 5

Animal Kingdom and homeward bound!!

We had half a day to spend at AK.  We got up pretty early, packed up the room, and checked out of the hotel.

First thing on the agenda was a drive-through safari.

There were plenty of things to keep us busy for the morning.

Ben was perfectly happy jumping in puddles while Rob and Avery rode a bigger ride.

Avery and I rode Expedition Everest.  I don't think she realized how terrifying thrilling it would be.

Yikes!  Rob made her ride it with him afterwards (Ben wasn't tall enough).  Hopefully we didn't scar her for life.

After a long ride to the airport and a 2 hour delay we finally boarded our 2.5 hour flight home.  Ugh. Let's just say Ben wasn't at his best.  He managed to take a cat nap but was understandably cranky (tired and hungry).  Not the best evening but we made it through.

We used the flight time to catch up on some of Avery's schoolwork.

Ben watched Cars.  Again.

He and Avery shared a Sprite.  He kept saying "dis is good.  I love dis."

We were exhausted when we got home.  We quickly washed (they were filthy) and tucked the kids into bed.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Disney World Day 4

Last day at Magic Kingdom!

Gotta eat some breakfast first!  We ordered snacks, drinks, and oatmeal to our hotel which worked out very well and definitely saved us a little money.

We were able to get in a few popular rides in the morning before the lines got too long.

As a treat from Gigi and Pepaw, Avery had an appointment for a mermaid makeover at the Pirates League.  It was an awesome experience.

We were able to get into the popular Be Our Guest restaurant for lunch.  It was worth the line-best meal we had in the park!
Outside the beast's castle

Time to meet a few more princesses.
Ariel at her grotto



Another cat nap

Giving up on standing in line

Ice cream break!

Avery loved Splash Mountain.

We stayed as late as the kids would allow and ordered pizza to the room.

A great last day in MK!