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.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Disney Part 2: Magic Kingdom & Chef Mickey's

We woke up bright and early to head over to Magic Kingdom. This year we spent 2 days at Magic so we were excited to not feel quite so rushed. We decided to make Day 1 the long day and have Day 2 be shorter. Photopass again came in handy as we entered the park.

Day 1 was predominantly Fantasyland and Tomorrowland. This is Mimi, mine, and the boys' favorite park so we made the most of it! I love Caden's sweet face in this picture!
We did Every.Single.Thing. on our itinerary in both Fantasyland and Tomorrowland and had an amazing time!

  We started out in Tomorrowland and Ben and Ethan braved Space Mountain. Ethan thought it was the best thing ever! While they did that, Mimi, Mommy, and Caden rode the way more tame Tomorrowland Transit Authority's People Mover.
 Then it was time for Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin. This and Toy Story Mania at Hollywood Studios are the boys' favorite rides on property so we try to make sure we do both of those early in the day. I was very serious about catching those bad guys ;-) Caden almost always wants the controls so it's funny that I actually got to participate. Again, having the Photopass made getting pictures like this one of a kind.
Ben made sure that the whole trip was well documented by camcorder and the kids have enjoyed watching the videos since we have returned home.
After that we made our way over to Fantasyland and of course, we rode the teacups at Mad Tea Party!

 Then we rode Prince Charming's Regal Carousel and when we got off Caden tried to pull the sword out of the stone :-)
And we definitely made time for Mimi's favorite ride, "It's a Small World"
After lunch at Cosmic Ray's, a ton more rides, shows, and parades and then dinner at Tony's Town Square it was finally time to set up for the Main Street Electrical Parade. I'm still disappointed that I don't have picture documentation of all of them. Some of our favorite memories This is the best parade in all of Disney in our opinion and we always make time for it. Ethan hammed it up and made friends with the girls in the family sitting next to us. They thought he was hilarious and he shared all kinds of stories with them ;-)
After a while, Caden felt left out and had to join the comedy show. Unfortunately, this pic doesn't capture the million laughs the group shared.
After the parade, we made our way toward the front of the park to wait for the Wishes fireworks show. Last year, we watched the parade and fireworks from the central plaza in front of the castle and although that is a prime viewing location, it made leaving the park almost impossible when it was over. This year, we were much smarter and watched from the courtyard at the front of the park and it was SOOOOO much better! When we returned to the villa, even though it was late I called the Lost and Found at Saratoga and at Downtown Disney once again and left messages with my contact info checking to see if anyone had turned in a Nikon camera. I still hoping for it's return...the thought of losing it forever is devaastating. Ethan's kindergarten graduation pictures were still on the camera because I hadn't had time to get them on the computer before we left for Disney. Once in a lifetime experiences that I cringed to think about going undocumented.

The next morning we returned for Day 2
Our first Fastpass was the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train so Mimi rested and met up with us later in the morning. We decided to take the monorail in to the park that morning and it had mechanical trouble when we got to The Grand Floridian so we all had to get off and wait for another train. We had to reschedule our Fastpass so by the time we got to the park we were ready for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Splash Mountain. Then we met up with Mimi and walked back to the Mine Train. It was having mechanical difficulties so we scored 2!!!! extra Fastpasses for everyone in our group! We were super excited about that! I have to admit, we've been to Disney several times but this was the first time I've ever experienced more than one ride and/or mode of transportation out of order. Even so, it didn't spoil our experience at all.
While we were waiting in line for Splash Mountain, I received a phone call. It was Lost and Found from Saratoga Springs! My camera had been turned in! I was so happy I started crying...like balling. Even though I immediately wanted to go get it, I didn't want to sacrifice the day for the boys so we stayed and I hoped that we would be able to leave the park before 5 so that I could pick it up before their office closed. So we continued on and after several more rides, walking through Tom Sawyer Island, stopping at Pecos Bill's for lunch, climbing the Swiss Family Treehouse and riding Pirates of the Caribbean we headed over to The Magic Carpets of Aladdin.
We knew we wanted to leave the park early enough to enjoy the resort pool and get the camera before dinner so we went back to the villa to change. Unfortunately, by the time we got back the office was closed and I wasn't able to get the camera but we played in the kiddie lagoon at Saratoga Springs and the boys loved it! There were multiple water slides, a splash area, and it was all zero depth entry. A very enjoyable experience for all of us!
All too soon, we head to return to the room to get ready for Chef Mickey's, my favorite restaurant on property! I have no idea why Mimi is not in this picture :-( Considering we are gluten free, the dining options should have been challenging for us that week but the managers and staff at all of the restaurants on property are AMAZING at adapting to meet the needs of families' dietary restrictions and they do it all while smiling. Truly, there was only one cast member the whole week who seemed annoyed with us and I call that success.
Unfortunately, all the pictures that I took with the boys and Mickey and the gang using the point and shoot and my phone turned out poorly :-( A HUGE bummer that I had not been able to get the camera before dinner that night!!!! We made the best of it, though, had a great dinner and went back to the villa to rest up for our last long day, Hollywood Studios, Ben's favorite park!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Disney Part 1: Finally Posting from May- Epcot & Animal Kingdom

I have been waiting until things slowed down to post our May trip to Disney. It's been a busy couple of months with the move and things haven't completely slowed down yet but I am finally finding moments to sit down. This has been the first trip that we have ever taken to Disney that we visited all 4 parks on the same trip. The boys had a blast and we were exhausted by the end of the week. Mimi rode down with us and everything went smoothly until Caden threw up :-( After stopping to get the car seat cleaned up, get his clothes changed, and finding a pharmacy for some Dramamine, he felt much better and we were back on the way. Thankfully, we were staying in a villa for the week and I was able to wash the car seat cover when we got there. Once we arrived, the boys were ready to put on their ears and explore.

And the first thing we did was check out one of the resort restaurants. This was our first time to stay at Saratoga Springs and we LOVED it!

After eating, we walked around the resort for a bit before heading to Downtown Disney. This infamous picture below that I took the day that we arrived is the beginning of the end of the trip. The boys climbed over the side of the carriage after I took the picture and got stuck. So, I sat the camera down to help the boys off of the carriage...completely forgetting about the camera and walking away. It wasn't until we were at Downtown Disney a while later that I realized that I no longer had the camera. And at that point, I did not remember where I had left it. I was devastated but tried to make the best of it. I had the point and shoot in my backpack as a back-up and I had my phone but it wasn't the same. When we returned to our villa that evening, I called the front desk and Lost and Found at Downtown Disney but no one had turned in a camera and I still couldn't remember where I had left it.
So, this Disney trip probably had about 2,000 fewer pictures than any other vacation we have been on :-(  Either way, we headed on to Downtown Disney and checked out their favorite place The Lego Store. We also checked out almost every other store down there but without my good camera our visit was not well documented :-( That evening, we returned to our villa to get some rest and get ready for our big day at Epcot!
The next morning we hopped on the bus and headed to Epcot!
This was also our first trip to Disney that we used Photopass. It was really nice to have someone else take pictures for us!
The boys loved the park and had a blast! This was our first visit to Epcot and there was way more for the boys to do there than I truly thought there would be. We really enjoyed the park!
Seabase was awesome and we totally could have spent more time there. We loved Journey into the Imagination with Figment, Imageworks, and Innoventions! The boys loved Soarin' and Spaceship Earth. They thought Turtle Talk with Crush was amazing and Ben and Ethan enjoyed Test Track more than anything else in the park.

Even our tour through the World Showcase was fun :-)
Unfortunately, I didn't take as many pictures as I normally would have including our night at La Hacienda de San Angel eating dinner and watching the IllumiNations fireworks. It was a late night but we finally got back to the villa to rest and get ready for our next day at Animal Kingdom.

We started with breakfast at Tusker House the next morning.
Goofy was ABSOLUTELY hilarious and the boys thought he was the best thing ever! He would do a quick tap dance and Ethan and Caden would laugh hysterically!
After breakfast, the first thing we did was the Kilimanjaro Safari
We had a light rain but we trudged through and took the Wildlife Express Train to check out Rafiki's Planet Watch and the Affection Station.
After that, we saw the Festival of the Lion King
which was amazing!
And kept everyone enthralled
I love that Ethan didn't want to miss anything with his binoculars!
Then we went to The Boneyard to dig for some bones before we headed over to watch Finding Nemo which was probably my favorite show of the whole trip!
The Triceratop Spin was not working so we skipped it and Ben and Ethan decided not to do Expedition Everest so we headed back to the resort. Even though we could have spent more time at Animal Kingdom and we definitely missed a few things that we would have liked to do, we were tired from the previous last night and ready to relax. Again, the Photopass was awesome and we got some pics of all of us!
After returning to the resort, we hopped around to several of the pools for a few hours then ate a little dinner and rested up for Magic Kingdom!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Drama Camp and Patrick School Tour

It has been a busy summer starting with Disney, selling our house, staying with friends for a couple of weeks, getting settled in a new house, and preparing to transition to a new school. Throughout this time, Ethan has stayed busy with VBS, science camps, and drama camp. Last week, he finished his last camp of the summer; drama camp at The Actor's Scene. They did showcase on Friday and Ethan showed off his Superhero skills...
 Complete with a shield

After drama camp ended, we went on a tour of his new school.
 Their mascot is a Dalmatian, super cute!
 And the school was named after a local firefighter lost in the line of duty
  Since Ethan missed Patrick's Pup Camp for incoming Kindergartner's, Ms. Karen was sweet enough to take us on a tour.
After much anxiety, I finally feel peace that we made the right decision and this is going to be a great year to look forward to!