Friday, May 29, 2009

Going Wild

Sam is not a huge fan of characters. It is kinda of like when he chases a squirrel at Colonial Williamsburg who is really used to people so it doesn't run away-- he didn't think he would actually catch it so panic sets in once he gets close. He loved looking at the characters, from a distance. After a great long day at the Magic Kingdom (Not Disney world as I REPEATEDLY referred to it as, that is the term for the collective parks apparently), we got up a little later and headed to the Animal Kingdom. This is a VERY different experience. I didn't really know what to expect and I still don't really know how to describe it. I guess a zoo with rides? Except there aren't really "inclosure's" or specific animal areas... I dunno it is an anomaly. Whatever it is we thoroughly enjoyed it. There are lots of amazing shows including a Lion King bonanza and Liam's favorite Finding Nemo. Personally my favorite part was the Safari Ride. Much to Christopher's dismay I insisted on joining them on this Jeep ride even though there are signs "suggesting" pregnant mothers not ride. Hello I have been on WAY bumpier roads in VA, they are totally just avoiding law suits with that one. It was amazing seeing the animals so close up. We actually had to pause to allow a mama Giraffe and her baby cross the path! Sam had fun sitting on my lap gazing out the window, but Liam was absolutely in heaven. He is crazy about animals so this was his version of a Train Yard. He kept shrieking and pointing and making animal noises, some accurate some not (apparently the hippo moo's). After the safari we wandered through the forest and saw some pretty cool fish. Along the path they had little encampments with different smaller animals and exhibits for the kids to touch. I am pretty proud of this picture because I am actually holding Sam up with my leg and taking the picture! Yeah I know super cool of me. We got to ride a really cool old train around a loop which of course triggered a nice tantrum from Sam when he refused to get off.

One of my favorite things that happened that day though was when Chris, Jan and Rick all headed off to ride Everest (the newest big ride). I got myself in line with the boys to get some soft serve. It was crazy hot and both boys are dying to get their ice cream and the line is LONG. I had been leaning on the back of the stroller sort of hunched over eavesdropping on a huge school group standing in line in front of me. I stood up to stretch and one of their leaders gasps. I literally thought my shirt had come up or something and I was flashing people. "Girl! Are you pregnant!" I thought oh great here comes the, are you crazy? how close in age are they.... yadda yaddda. I smiled and said "Yup!" Instead she replied by saying "Sweet heart you come over and sit in the shade right here and we'll wait in line for you. It is way to hot for your little body and those cute boys." She then proceeded to glare at two gentlemen who were taking up a huge bench until they moved and made me space. She then stood in line for me until she was next, called me up and made it known to all those behind me that this was my spot and not to give me any trouble! I was awe struck and the ice cream could not have tasted sweeter! This is my replenished smile in front of the tree of life after being able to chill in the shade and down a HUGE ice cream! Thank you kind stranger.
Unlike the other parks Animal Kingdom closes at Five o'clock so we were able to get home and fit in a swim after dinner. Afterwards Jan and I headed to the grocery store with Sam to pick up a few items. While we were gone Chris and his dad hung out in the living room catching up. Liam had been playing around and then hopped up into one of the big chairs. Chris looked over after a few mins and this is what he found:
Which is pretty funny since Sam fell asleep in the car and was snoring before we even made it to the grocery store! These parks really wear the kids out!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

quick aside

Today is Christophers and my seven year anniversary! I cannot believe it has been seven years. I guess time flies when you are having an amazing amount of fun and still so in love. Thanks gorgeous for seven amazing years!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Magic of THE Kingdom

It has been a CRAZY month. I mean literally nonstop amazing fun... I am wilting in my comfy chair just thinking about the MILES that have been walked this last month. I really should have worn a pedometer that would have been fun to track. ANYWAY I have about fifteen posts to to be caught up and since I have a sewing project I am desperate to start but cannot allow myself until my blog is caught up, thus begins the post marathon. I am going to try and do one a day for the next little while so watch out world! As a wonderful graduation present Christopher's parents took our family on a ten day vacation to Disney world. That's right people ten days in Florida at the happiest place on earth. I had been planning for this vacation for over a year and with the help of my good friend and fellow obsessor compulssor Sarah Crookston felt like I was very prepared. To begin the trip Chris and I decided that instead of breaking the 12 hour drive up into two days as originally planned (meaning only one small day in between our arrival home from Cleveland and out departure) that we would do what our parents had ALWAYS done and get up and start driving at 4am. I of course was to excited to sleep! Luckily Chris had some books on ipod to listen to and gracefully drove the first three hours, while I struggled to get my increasingly ginormous preggy body comfy in the back seat. We then bleary eyed let the boys go crazy at a McDonald's out door play place in their pajamas as people in the drive through line gave us curious looks. Needless to say it was a LONG day of driving and I vowed not to make that mistake again (said vow was promptly broken when we drove straight through on the way home :)) Christopher's parents had booked us an amazing Condo right down the road from the parks with gorgeous warm pools and playgrounds. It was a gorgeous apartment with a HUGE comfy bed and an equally huge tub. We crashed early ready to begin our first day at the magic kingdom! I had our days completely planned out having printed off daily itineraries from the experts ... down to which turnstile to enter from. We headed straight for Dumbo. The line was about twenty mins long but the torture everyone around us in line had to experience at the hands of our two boys must have made it feel like hours. Both boys LOST it. I mean screaming, kicking, bucking you name it. I looked at Chris and literally felt tears welling up in my eyes. Was it going to be ten days of this!!!! So much planning, so much time and for heaven sakes so much money and they were screaming. Then to add salt to the wound when we got to the front Sam refused to go on. I seriously thought I was going to launch into a "YOU WILL RIDE IT AND YOU WILL LIKE IT!" speech but my ever calm husband had already whisked him away. My guide book suggested having any extra "accompaniers" get in line twenty behind you and then passing off your child so they get to ride twice without having to wait again. We did so with Liam and at least was able to get one cute pic of him and his grandparents (who luckily were not associated with the family of tantrum throwers).

Thankfully that was the only MAJOR melt down that day. Sam started to grasp the concept of waiting in line and we shoved enough ice cream down his throat to keep him happy ;) This was due mainly to the fact that the week we were there FL had a record heat wave. The average temp was about 97... yeah yucky! But when you buy huge drinks have portable spraying fans and a good attitude it isn't that bad :) The boys loved the carousel and I tried to snap some pics without falling off my horse.

Liam lookin chunkyAfter all the rides in Fantasy land Sam spotted the steam boat. Well anything that blows steam and has a whistle is awesome in his book so we took the 20 min boat ride around the island. Liam sat and chowed on his favorite snack, ice. By the end of the boat ride this is what Liam was doing:
So we thought it was probably a good time to head back and take a nap and let the guys go on all the cool rides. This turned out to be a very good idea as we all zonked for over two hours and returned refreshed.... well at least most of us, Liam was still draggin a little. He was a little worried at first, but it turned out he loved Aladdin's magic carpet ride... which is essentially Dumbo but instead of an elephant you are on a carpet, so you imagine my amazement when Sam also LOVED it. But his favorite by far was Pirates of the Caribbean. Which we ended up going on four times! By this time it was getting dark so we hurry and jumped on the Jungle Cruise which turned out to be Liam's favorite. He refused to peel his eyes away for even a second to take a photoBoth boys totally thought all the animals were real and we enjoyed the witty humor of our guide. Sam loved playing Captain and pirate afterwards with the wheels they have right outside the ride. They didn't even realize that they were part of a game that you had to pay money to play. They were just happy to keep spinnin' the wheel.
While Chris and I took Sam through the Swiss Family Robinson tree house (and then Chris had to take him again... and again... its pretty cool apparently) Chris's parents bagged us a sweet spot for the Spectromagic parade. It was then that I broke out what I think was the hit for the vacation, dollar store glow in the dark wands. The boys thought they were sooooo cool and people kept stopping and asking us where we got them. Ha! Jokes on you Disney vendors who charge 12 dollars for a light up toy!
The parade was amazing and although I tried to take pictures they just never turn out cool. The boys had fun going on Pirates again and Sam used his wand to light the way through any scary parts. He then set up camp for the amazing fireworks show. It was beautiful! It was then that Sam got to enjoy his favorite part of every day the "mamarail" ride. He literally called the monorail the mamarail every time he saw it. Then we waited in line to get on his other favorite train "Toby" or the tram that drops you off at your section. Ahhh the little things in life. Thus ended our first day.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Mothers day and some great mail!

Christopher spoiled me big time this Mothers day with something to wear, a few things to watch and a much needed boost for my computer. It was a great couple of days getting the mail. Every time I did it felt like there was a fun surprise! Thanks for making it a wonderful early mothersday. I hope all you other moms out there have a fabulous one as well!

Sunday, May 3, 2009


(For some reason this photo looks like it was taken years ago, and don't mind my man hands either.) This week we headed up for one last visit to Cleveland before our awesome friends the Tillman's pack up and move back to UT to cure the state of any dental woes. It was funny thinking we will probably never return to Cleveland-- with the exception of our friends I really do not think the city "rocks" as the song claims. We always have a hilarious time though and I leave with a very sore tummy from laughing so much. Last time we visited Chris decided that he really wanted to go see Niagara falls. It is a few hours drive and I had never been to Canada. Unfortunately our neighbors to the north now require a passport and birth certificates for kids, none of which we had. This time we came prepared and after a day of goofing around we caravaned up to Canada. The kids were good sports and except for almost hitting a raccoon (the guys, who were driving together, waited to see us roll the Tillman's SUV to avoid, thankfully the thing was walking like a sloth) we got there in one piece. Let me tell you it was NOT what I expected AT ALL. I thought it would be really national parky with picnic tables and some cabins and lots of people in campers. We roll in and the kids are yelling "let us out and play!!" as they see all the Vegas lights and huge Ferris wheel. It was crazy! I spotted the falls for a second but then they were out of view until the morning when we took the kids swimming. The pool was okay, Sam swam a little... Liam spent his time eating a ginormous apple. The view however was amazing! I have to admit though that I was thinking "pretty cool but was it worth the drive?" After drying off we headed down and bought our tickets for the Maid of the Mist. Sam was pretty excited to go on a boat. Liam on the other hand was grumpy and tired. As we boarded they handed us these huge ponchos and I debated on whether or not to put it on thinking there was no way we would get THAT wet. Sam loved his and skipped his way to the boat. Heading out we were able to take some nice dry pictures.

We even got a rare entire group shot! (see Liam? yeah NOT a happy camper). There are really two sets of Falls and as we approached the first Lucy and Reese retreated to their stroller, and Chris and Liam scooted back a little to avoid the light spray. Sam got a little nervous but nothing bad, he just hid his head a little while looking over the railing. Then we approached the main falls. If I ever wondered what it would be like to be a newscaster in the middle of a hurricane I wonder no more! It was CRAZY!!!! I cannot believe how close they take you to the falls. I thought for sure the boat was going to get sucked right under. By this time all the kids are hidding in the stroller (Liam is ASLEEP!!!!) and us adults are dying laughing at the sheer power and how soaked we are all getting. Over the roar we hear the announcer yell "THIS IS NIAGARA!!!' I was thinking um yeah just don't kill us! I had to chase after my hat twice until I finally cinched up my poncho with just my nose hanging out.
As we retreated the kids came back out and we started the drying off process. See Kristen's hair? Its like you were being hosed down! It really was amazing. No pictures do it justice, nor does standing on a bridge looking at it. You can't appreciate the real power until you are right there fearing for your life :) If you ever get the chance go, but be sure to take a ride on the maid of the mist! And then have an expired passport on the way back in and take a nice long tour of the ghettos of Buffalo New York so your wives are terrified in the car behind you.... charming :)