Monthly Archives: April 2008

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an amazing day

On Friday, Jake and I had a really cool experience. I was hired to document the arrival of this family’s baby boy from Korea. It was so amazing to be a part of. I brought Jake along to keep me company on the 2+ hour drive to Detroit and he ended up grabbing their video camera and recording it for them since they had nobody there to do that. (you can see him in the left of the picture above.) We both felt really blessed to be there. We’ve known people who have adopted, but to be there and see the process was very cool. Seeing mom grow more and more anxious and start pacing around the room, waiting for the baby to go through customs, hoping with each open of the automatic doors that it would be him. And then finally it was and they got to see him face to face for the first time. It was one of the coolest things I’ve ever been a part of. :)

More pics over on the photo blog.

hollywood studios

Our Thursday was spent at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (formerly MGM). I actually thought this park was the least crowded of all of them, which I liked. We didn’t have to wait very long at any of the rides or shows. Of course, our first stop of the day was the Star Tours ride.

We headed over and saw the Muppets 3D, which was fun, and then over to Al’s Toy Barn to meet Woody and Buzz. The army men were out signing autographs.

We were wondering what they actually sign for their autograph … Army guy? Sure enough … “Green Army man” was his signature. haha!

Waiting in line for Indiana Jones.

Fun in the “Honey, I Shrunk the kids” play area. :)

Zach and Grandma. I love this picture and he actually asked me to take this picture, which isn’t very common for him.

While the guys took Zach to see the car stunt show, we took Chloe to see the Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast shows. :)

Our last stop of the day … the Tower of Terror. LOVE this one! Chloe absolutely loved it, too. She wanted to go again and again. She’s so fearless.

We didn’t stick around for the evening lights show, we picked up food on the way home and watched Enchanted again. A fun last day at the Disney parks.

Next … some pictures at Clearwater Beach on our last day and some more pictures taken by my mom. :)

the difference between monday and thursday

This was Chloe on Monday, sitting in the window of our office looking at a neighbor outside walking their dog.

This is Chloe today after hacking all her hair off with the kitchen scissors.

She came up to me while I was working and said “Mom, I love you” in this shy way. I glanced over and immediately knew something was wrong. She suddenly had bangs. She took the kitchen scissors and walked from room to room in our house looking for things to cut, leaving chunks of hair in her wake. I was so sad because I was planning to do a cute little photo session with her this summer with ringlet curls and a pretty dress. So I had to try to trim it the best I could to make it look decent for now. She hates the bangs already. They tickle her forehead. I told her that’s the price she has to pay for what she did. I took a few inches off the back and angled the sides a little to even it up with what she cut. It’s not perfect but it will do. Just had to share that.

More vacation pictures coming soon.

Tomorrow, I’m headed to Detroit for the day for a unique photo session. Pictures from that will be over on my business blog.

relaxing day

Wednesday was our day to relax and hang out. We got up whenever we felt like it and went over to the pool. It was so hot out and the water was warm like a bath. It was wonderful!

Despite the fact that I put 50 SPF sunscreen on the kids, they still got burned on their little faces. Chloe got really burned and her face ended up swelling up a couple days later. I felt so very bad that I didn’t reapply the sunscreen after they’d been swimming for a while. Bad momma! :(

Mom and I ran out to WalMart and picked up “Enchanted” for us all to watch that night. When we got back, both the kids were asleep. Zach on the couch and Chloe in the middle of the living room floor. Poor babies. They were exhausted.

Movie night was a success! “Enchanted” was great! None of us had seen it yet and we loved it! We all snuggled up on the couch with some popcorn. Very fun!

photos above taken by my Mom. Thanks, Mom! :)

Next up: Disney Studios (used to be MGM)

magic kingdom

On Tuesday, we got up a little earlier and headed out to the Magic Kingdom. The weather was beautiful. Perfect to visit the most magical place on earth. :)

We took the fairy to the main entrance. The kids liked riding the boat. My mom bought Chloe a Cinderella dress to wear. I thought she might end up changing after a couple hours, but she ended up wearing it all day long.

Our first visit was to the Swiss Family Treehouse and then on to …

… a little Pirates of the Caribbean.

After that, we got in line for Splash Mountain. It was a forever long wait, but it was in this line that we met a nice man, who shared with us how the process of the Fast Pass worked. Splash Mountain ended up being a favorite of the kids, especially Zach. He liked that one a lot. Then on to another one of my favorites …

Jake told me you can’t capture ghosts with a camera. I proved him wrong. haha!

And what’s a trip to Disney without a ride on “It’s A Small World”. Obviously, we were in line at 3:15. We got on only minutes after the clock chimed.

Snack time! Chloe had chocolate up in her nose and everything. Messy eater. A cold treat was great because it was a very HOT day.

Headed over to Tomorrowland and checked out a few things there including Stitch’s Great Escape and Space Mountain. Space Mountain … very fast indoor roller coaster. Zach was terrified. He didn’t want to do it, but we were already to the front of the line so he did it anyway. I’m sure we scarred him for life. I was sitting behind him and I could see him covering his ears from the noise and crying that he didn’t like it. I reached up and put my hand on his shoulder and kept telling him it was almost over. I felt so bad for making him go. And it made my mom feel ill, too, so that one wasn’t our best choice of the day.

Jake took Zach on the go-carts after that while we took Chloe over to Minnie’s house to see if she could meet her. No such luck. I felt so bad because she never got to meet any of the princesses either. At Epcot, we saw Jasmine and Aladdin running around and Snow White, but there were long lines to meet them and we decided against it. So we decided to go get in line at one of the character locations so she could meet some princesses. We waited about a 1/2 hour to even get in the door and were told it was at least another hour wait after that. So again we decided against it. I felt bad, but Chloe didn’t mind when we let her pick out a toy. :) hehe!

By that time it was starting to get dark. So we walked through Cinderella’s castle. I loved all the mosaics on the walls.

We found a nice spot very near the front of the castle and sat down to rest. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a parade night so the kids didn’t get to see that. But the fireworks were great and I got a bunch of pictures.

We were exhausted and so sore when we got home and decided Wednesday would for sure be a day of rest.

Epcot

On Monday, we headed down the road a few miles to Epcot. We had planned to go to the Magic Kingdom first, but we heard it might rain so we decided we didn’t care if it rained at Epcot (which it didn’t, by the way) and we made that our first Disney park adventure.

One of the first rides we hit was Soarin’, which was absolutely worth the wait. But I must say … if you visit Disney, definitely take advantage of the Fast Pass that they have next to every ride. You can put your park ticket in and get a Fast Pass, which gives you a time slot that you can return to that ride and speed to the front of the line. We were totally unaware of how these worked on our Epcot day so we ended up in a 90 minute line for Soarin’ and since we arrived at the park later in the morning (almost noon) it ate up a big chunk of our day and we missed out on some of the things we would’ve liked to have seen in the front of the park, which was only open until 7. The World Showcase part of the park was open later for the fireworks show, but the only places we really visited there were Mexico and Norway because we knew they had rides the kids would like.

We actually felt like we could have skipped Epcot altogether and gone to Animal Kingdom instead. We did a 3-day pass and chose to go to Epcot, Magic Kingdom and Disney Studios. There were some things at Epcot that the kids liked. They thought the big “golf ball” (as we call it) was cool, but we didn’t get to go on that ride because by the time we got back around to it, they had it down for maintenance. ugh! I think they probably would have enjoyed Animal Kingdom more. Ah well … live and learn.

My mom and my brother Rick were such a great help with the kids. I’m so thankful we were able to take this vacation all together. :)

Zach and Daddy. You can see Chloe in the background being carried by Uncle Rick. He was so nice to carry her around so much. She was always whining “my legs hurt” or “I’m tired. Pick me up.” Thanks, Rick! :)

Up next … the Magic Kingdom!

Florida!


Day 1 • Cocoa Beach

I’m going to post our vacation pictures a day at a time ’cause there are a lot of them.

Our vacation started on Friday. Zach had the day off of school and so the kids spent the day with my Mom while we went to pick up our rental van.

Note about Budget Rental: When renting a van for vacation (yes, we drove all the way to Florida), make sure to rent it for 2-3 days earlier than you need it. When we went to pick up our van, they were all out because of spring break. I really don’t understand why they let you confirm your reservation if they don’t have the car when you get there. And I rented it over a month in advance. We waited for 3+ hours while they had some brought over from Detroit and we were finally able to get a van. They offered us all sorts of things in place of a van, though: 2 SUV’s with the second one being free (uh, no … that’s double the gas for us), a Hummer (no again … the gas mileage would be atrocious), a Ford Explorer (no way … too small for 6 people and all our stuff). They kept offering us other vehicles but we said we’d wait and since we were the first ones there in the morning we got the first van that was ready. Yay for Jake saying we should go early. When we finally got the van, they gave us $45 worth of coupons for our next Budget rental and paid for a tank of gas for us.

OK … so we left for Florida on Saturday morning and drove straight through. We arrived on Sunday morning and went to IHOP for breakfast. We still had time until we could get into our townhouse so we drove over to Cocoa Beach so the kids could see the ocean for the first time. :)

They loved it!

As we were leaving the beach, it started raining and it didn’t stop. We drove through downpours and I could barely see where I was going. It was such a relief to finally make it to the townhouse, but it was a huge pain bringing all our stuff inside while it was raining. Here is our cute little pink townhouse. Home for the week!

It was a nice place, 3-bedroom, 2-bath, small kitchen, dining and living room area with laundry and even wireless internet. The place we stayed was Venetian Bay Villages in Kissimmee. It was the perfect size for us. A little home away from home. Much more comfortable than a tiny hotel room at a Disney resort and it was only about 10 minutes from Disney, which was so nice. It’s a gated community, which was really nice. Our only complaint was that people would pull up to the gate and wait until someone entered their gate code and then they would drive right in. There was no security guard to monitor that and what’s the point of a gate if anyone can sneak through at any time. Other than that, we loved it. We rented it through HERE.

Next up … our day at EPCOT.

we’re back

THIS …

… is where we’ve been for the past week. We arrived home earlier today and slept most of the day since we drove and were exhausted. Just waking from my zombie-like state and thought I’d throw a picture up here so you’d know I’m still alive. ;) More pictures to come, of course!

four eyes

Well, here I am with my new glasses.

It’s SO weird to wear these. I’m just not used to them yet. I’ve lived my entire life not needing them and I really don’t need them for everyday, just when I’m on the computer for a long period of time (which is all the time during wedding season). So hopefully these will help prevent computer headaches. So far they just make me feel dizzy.

Taking a week off for Spring Break! Probably no blog entries until the 14th, but I’ll have lots to share by then. Have a great week!!!!

AJAXed with AWP