Our Story

My photo
Ben and I met in 1996, began dating in 1999 and married in 2001. Now 20 years and 2 children later, we have returned to where our life together began. Ben works for the Federal Reserve and I have the privilege of staying home with our two precious boys.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Caden's Construction Party

Saturday morning started bright and early with Ethan's tee-ball game. Since Mimi, Maw-Maw, Grandad, and Uncle CJ were in town for Caden's birthday party, Ethan had an entourage for his game. They all got a kick out of watching him play and he was excited that they were there. 
 The boys got a lift to the car after the game ;-)

Once we were back home, things kicked into high gear for party set-up. Our little transportation boy had a construction birthday party much like big brother's 2nd birthday. As usual, we had games set up in the backyard and the front set up for snacks.
The birthday boy in his dump truck shirt
 First activity: Decorate your dump truck sugar cookie
Next: The boulder dig
 After that: Safety Cone ring toss
 Then: Sand bag toss into the dump truck
 And last: Musical Trucks to the tune of Bob the Builder
 Once games were finished, everyone went inside to get snacks then brought them out front to eat. So sad I forgot to get a picture of the food table :-(
 Then it was time to sing to the birthday boy!
 Make a wish! Then Mommy took the cake inside and everyone got a yellow or chocolate iced cupcake that had a construction vehicle on it just like on the little cake...forgot to get a picture of those, too :-(
 Everyone went home with a personalized hard hat, a construction sticker, the vehicle from their cupcake, and a goody bag containing some construction bubbles and a small treat bag with edible truck tires and boulders AKA chocolate covered doughnuts and chocolate covered almonds & Hershey's Drops.
Once our friends had left, Ethan could NOT wait for Caden to open his birthday presents! In fact, they got started before Mommy was even in the room.
 Thankfully, Grandad had been watching and came to the rescue. He was able to remember who gave what and which gift came out of what bag so that Mommy could write it down for Thank-you notes :-)
We were thrilled to be able to share Caden's birthday with so many loved ones and are extremely thankful for the family members that made the long drive to spend this special time with us!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Caden's 3rd Birthday

Happy, Happy 3rd Birthday to sweet Caden! Ben took off work for his special day and we spent the morning lounging at home after eating a yummy birthday breakfast. Then we went out to grab some lunch and headed over to the Southeastern Railway Museum. For a boy who loves transportation, this was heaven. The outdoor museum has 27 train cars that you can explore including passenger, dining, mail, army, and sleeping cars as well as several locomotives and cabooses. There is also a working steam train to ride. Additionally, there are numerous buses dating back to the '40's that can be toured as well as some steam tractors. Can you say paradise for this boy who loves everything and anything that has wheels and a few things that don't :-) 
First stop...trains
 A pic for big brother
Back to the trains, playing Peek-A-Boo in one of the sleeping cars
 Final stop...A ride on the steam train. 
I didn't know this but there are seats in the very top of a caboose. Guess where we sat!
What a fun day! Everyone had a blast and we can't wait to go back! After we left, we were planning to stop for cupcakes but the birthday boy decided he would prefer a birthday doughnut instead. So, off to Krispy Kreme for chocolate sprinkled doughnuts! 
Once we returned home, the boys took a rest before their Spring Fling at school that evening. There was lots of bouncing action!
By far, the favorite of the evening!
 When our Spring Fling activities winded down, Mimi and Maw-Maw met up with us and we headed home to get a good night's sleep because it was party time the next day!

Disney: Day 8 Wrap-Up

Sadly, our trip came to an end. Mimi went to the airport at 6a.m. and we were loaded and in the car by 7:45. I let the boys sleep all the way up until the bellman came to load the bags, then woke them up just enough to get their clothes on and into strollers to ride down to the car. As I put Ethan in his stroller, he was sobbing because he didn't want to leave Disney World. He said he already missed it and he wanted to live here everyday :-( Who wouldn't! Thankfully, by the time we made it down to the car, he had calmed down.

Here's our "See you next time" picture

What a week! It was amazing and exhausting and took us another week just to recover. AND we only did 2 parks keeping nap schedules every other day! Although this wasn't our first trip to Disney we still learned a few things. We will definitely build in additional park days next time so that the days we are in a park will not be as long and we will either stay on the Boardwalk like we did this time and have done in the past OR we will stay at a resort on the monorail. The convenience of having a boat or the monorail at your disposal is fabulous. We especially like the Boardwalk resorts though because you have additional entertainment, restaurants, and shops for times when you are not in the parks. Disney is great no matter how you do it and we can't wait to go back. However, I will NOT miss the 30 pound backpack I wore all week. I'm so thankful that I had it because at one point or another we had a need for almost everything in it, but OH BOY did it get heavy! 

Now, off to start planning our next Disney vacation! Or maybe we'll look into a Disney cruise???

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Disney: Day 7 - Hollywood Studios

Saturday morning was hot and started bright and early. It was our last park day and we had saved our family Disney shirts for that day. Daddy headed off to class for an hour while Mommy, Mimi, and the boys rode the boat over to Hollywood Studios to start the day. Daddy caught up with us soon after we got there and was able to spend the day with us. When we were planning the trip, Ben expressed that his favorite park was HS so we saved it for the day that he was able to join us. The boys had been looking forward to this day because they knew that Woody, Buzz, Lightning McQueen, Mater, and Jake would be there and they would get to see them. They also knew they were going to get to see the Lights, Motor, Action Stunt Show which they had been watching on YouTube for the previous few weeks. 
Our first stop...Oscar's "Service Station"
 Then on to see Lightning McQueen and Tow-Mater
 Next up, the Honey I Shrunk the Kids set. Oh my, how they loved it! They played in here forever and it was soooo hard to talk them into moving on!
After that, Ethan totally showed Mommy how brave he was and he and Daddy rode the Star Wars Tour ride while Mommy, Mimi, and Caden hung out and watched the outdoor show. I truly thought that this would scare him but it turned out to be his favorite ride of the day!
  By that time, we were ready for lunch. Our last character meal was at Hollywood and Vine and the boys were so excited to see the Disney Junior characters!  We saw Handy Manny first and got his autograph.
 Then Jake...love the interaction he and Caden had!
 The boys had such a good time with Sophia and Caden adored her.
 Our last visitor was Doc McStuffins and we made sure Mimi had her picture taken with her since they are both in the medical field ;-) Love Caden's giggle face!
Mimi, Doc, and the boys
 There was lots of dancing and singing and Caden had a blast singing the crocodile song from Jake and the Neverland Pirates.
 After lunch, we walked over to see Woody and Buzz. The absolute LONGEST 35 minutes of the day with one of the most enjoyable outcomes. We entertained ourselves with pictures of the boys playing in the line while we waited.
When it was finally our turn, I realized why the wait felt like it took so long. Woody and Buzz did not rush us in the least and spent waaayyyy more time with the boys than I ever expected. Their interaction was priceless and will be imprinted in my mind for a long time to come
  Woody trying on Caden's ears
 They autographed not only their books but also their ears as well. So sweet!
Ethan's fist bump...
And blow it up with Buzz
Then they took tons of pictures with the boys and with us as well.
 Our fastpass for the ride was for a little later so after our visit with them, we headed over to watch the Muppets in 3D.
 Then we used our first fastpass of the day and went to see the highly anticipated Lights, Motor, Action Stunt Show. The boys loved it!

  And they got to see Lightning McQueen again
 Then it was time for our next fastpass which was for Disney Junior: Live On Stage. What a surreal experience for a parent! The TV at our house pretty much only has one channel...Disney Junior. This show comprised of all of my children's favorites in one 22 minute experience: Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Sofia the First, Doc McStuffins, and Jake and the Neverland Pirates with a mini-episode and song from each show.
 Ethan was completely mesmerized and into it!
 Swim away, crocodile
 After the Disney show, we tried to do the Studio Backlot Tour which the boys had been looking forward to because they knew they would see Herbie and an airplane as well as a helicopter but something had happened and they had to close it early. We were so bummed! Once we recovered from disappointment, we got excited again because it was almost time for our last fastpass, Toy Story Midway Mania. Both boys loved this ride but Mommy didn't get any pictures :-( When the ride was over, we walked toward the front of the park to take some pictures of everyone wearing their ears.
 And no ears :-)
 Then it was time for dinner at Prime Time Cafe. This is one of Ben's favorite themed restaurants on property. Caden was a little tired by this point and didn't feel like cooperating for pictures but Ethan was happy to do so!
After dinner, we made a pit stop by the Sweet Shoppe for dessert, then Mommy, Mimi, and Caden headed back to the boat while Daddy and Ethan went to ride Star Wars one more time. Once everyone was back on the room, Daddy got a little Star Wars reenactment with the boys new Light Sabres while Mommy ran bath water.
It was another long day, but Ethan and Caden had an amazing time and I am thankful that Ben got to enjoy the day with us. We did a lot and although there were still a couple of things left on our itinerary that we didn't get to, it was a fun-filled jam-packed day! The best way to end a vacation. We returned to the hotel around 9p.m. to get ready for bed because the long drive home started first thing the next morning.