Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Happiest Place on Earth

Well, I have finally arrived at my last batch of pictures from our trip to Orlando in NOVEMBER.  Ha!  Honestly though, I swear yesterday was Christmas.

Anyhow.  We got to enjoy the Magic Kingdom with my mom AND my sister, which was an extra special treat.  My parents let my sister skip (GASP!) school to experience the day with us (aka help with the small ones).  I have to say, it is funny having a sister half your age.  There were many times that I would turn to my mom and say, "I was NOT like that when I was her age."  Of course, mom would just look at me and smile...  Jaci is very much a 16 year old, but she is smart and has a good head on her shoulders AND she's my baby sister and I love her and the boys LOVED her.  She definitely had way more energy than me!  And she so (mostly) graciously played Lego Harry Potter with Henry for hours on end so he could learn the ins and outs of getting through the game - just in time for us to go home!

What was I saying?  Oh yes.  Magic Kingdom.  Pictures!

Having grown up here, I never, ever, ever wait in line to see characters.  But unfortunately, I saw Pluto, pointed him out to Henry, and oh pickles (that's really what I said, I promise) we were then waiting in the hot and humid line with a one year old who did not want to sit in the stroller and did not want to stand still in line with us for HALF AN HOUR.  Ugh.  Being the awesome mom I am though, we made it (having nothing to do with a Grandma or auntie, I'm sure) and got our picture.  And look who is not even looking!

Then, making our way down Main Street, we ran into some ol' friends, the Dapper Dans:

And then it was already about lunchtime.  Mom had made us special reservations for the character lunch at the Crystal Palace - a serious treat.  The characters there were from the Hundred Acre Wood and both boys were excited.  What was most fun for me was seeing how much more excited and not nervous Henry was to see all these giant animals.  He really IS growing up!

Epitome of cuteness:

Right?  You have got to know Henry to appreciate the awesomeness of this next pic:

Eeyore used to be my favorite Disney character...until I had to be him in costume in the Easter parade circa 1995.  Do you see how big his head is?  Did you know that Easter in Orlando is 98 and humid?  In any case, he's still cute - especially with my children.

Then!  Another *GASP!* moment!  Tigger led a congo parade around the restaurant and guess who was FIRST IN LINE to join him???  MY HENRY!  I know!  Unbelievable!  He might have made a face when some older kid got in front of him in line, but he still had fun.

Me and my own personal Goofy

I mean, honestly...isn't Tigger the best?!  He was so funny with the boys.


And then, WHAT?!  Henry kissed Pooh.  Who is this child?

Pooh got him back, though. :)

After a ginormous and delicious buffet lunch, we started on the rides!  I didn't get many pictures of this due to strollers having to be parked and small children having to be carried in lines.  Oy.  Again...really...missing...big strong daddy...

Henry and I did the cars by ourselves because Wyatt fell asleep.  Yes!

We caught the second half of a castle show.  Something about love and magic.  There was lots of smoke and fireworks so the kids thought it was rad, even though it was mostly a bunch of princesses they've never heard of.

Time to wait for the afternoon parade!

And one of my favorite pics to date.  My kids sharing a $20 bucket of popcorn!

Can you see how HOT we all are?  Do you see the sweat in my kids hair?  Do you notice that my mother is still wearing long sleeves?

The second half of the day went by in a blur as we enjoyed many, many rides, many, many treats and a slightly stressful hot dog dinner. But then it was dark and they have brought back the old ElectroMagic Parade!!!  Talk about reminiscent of my childhood.  So awesome.  The boys were enamored with all the lights.  Oh, and characters.  Also wearing lights.

Waiting for the parade to begin:

Fast forward a few days....  We went to Hollywood Studios (what used to be MGM) in the evening to see the Olson Family's Spectacle of Dancing Lights, which is always cool.  Majorly cool.  It even snowed soap.  Here's a pic.

Wyatt and Henry, lovin' the lights.

Wyatt was telling Jaci all about what was happening

Here's my precious mother with her grandsons.  Please note that the boys are wearing long sleeved T-shirts but my mother is wearing a sweater and a jacket AND a scarf.  Because it WAS about 67 degrees.  Don't you see the soap snow?  Brrrrrr.

After this, we got in line for Toy Story Mania.  About halfway through the looooong line, Wyatt had a wardrobe malfunction that involved a new diaper so mom and Jaci took Henry on the ride.  Needless to say, it was his favorite ride of all!

Sadly, that's really the gist of all my pics in Orlando.  I can't believe I didn't take any pictures at my parents house.  Oh well.  At least I got a picture of this ginormous Christmas tree.  In early November.

The End
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Sunday, February 06, 2011

To the Sunshine!

After a glorious week visiting a cold, crisp Maryland, me and the little boys headed on a plane (BY OURSELVES!) to hot and steamy Orlando to visit my family.  The timing didn't work out for Jim to take another week off of work but we saved so much money travelling from Maryland rather than going back another time from was worth it.  Kind of.  No, I'm kidding.  I had some nightmares about what the plane rides would be like with a four and one year old on my own, especially when it came to changing diapers or trying to help your four year old get something out of his backpack without waking up the not-small and sleeping one year old on your lap.  Good thing the trip from Maryland to Orlando was only 2 1/2 hours.  Ironically, it was the tougher of the two trips, since it was mid-morning and everyone was hyper and ready for the day, but I can't complain too much because in comparison (to the other precious kiddos on the flight), the kids did pretty good.

Anyhoo, we made it, we met my sister at at the security checkpoint and made our way to get our baggage.  I had thought through this, so I knew exactly what to do with our 2 suitcases, 1 duffel bag, 2 carseats, 2 backpacks and diaper bag.  RENT A BAGGAGE CART.  Those things are 100% worth the $4.00, let me tell you.  Especially when you're taking two vacations in two completely opposite weather situations.  Also, if my sister hadn't come to the airport, there is no way I could have done it.  How do you push a stroller and a monster baggage tower at the same time?  As smart as Henry is, I wouldn't let him push the stroller for any amount of money.  Well, maybe large amounts, but then I'm not proving my point.  He likes to push the stroller with arms fully out and head down, where he cannot see where he is going.  I love getting to know new folks after my son has just crashed into their shins.

Somehow, we made it through renting a car and making it to my parents house without any disasters, so I felt like a total winner. :)  And then we all took naps.

That was Sunday and on Monday, we went to Epcot!  My mom was working, so she let us in at the gate and we just took our time wondering around while she sang her little heart out.

One of our first stops:  World of Imagination, childhood fav!

Wyatt was hysterical to watch on every ride we went on.  If looks could talk, they would have been saying, "What the..." at every bright, loud and colorful thing that popped out.

We stopped and had a $50 lunch, but at least the sandwiches came with grapes!

We celebrated Christmas in the second week of November.
Only at Disney...

Wyatt insisted on holding his precious blankie, even though we were all sweating profusely.

Here we are, in the American Adventure, waiting for Grandma to come sing to us!

And there she is...sweet mother singing her heart out.  Can you feel the passion? And how 'bout that hairpiece? :)

Then we stopped at Japan to watch the sweet drum show.  The kids were in awe at the huge drums, and I had so much fun watching their reactions that I didn't take any pictures of the show.

We did more, but as I have already stated, I WAS BY MYSELF.  I had enough patience to make it through the day without offering one of my children to the many vacationers, but adding trying to take many pictures to the mix would have made for a disaster.  Key to happy kids:  Keep moving.  However, on the ride in Norway, a sweet old man asked if he could hold Wyatt while we waited in line.  I tried really hard not to throw my baby at him while he said Wyatt reminded him of his grandchild.  Whatever!  Hold my heavy child!  I love nice people.
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Friday, February 04, 2011

Maryland Fill-In-The-Blanks

I have to say, I got a little kick to finally finish these vacation posts because my friend who is AT Disneyland RIGHT NOW, is already blogging about Disney.  We went to Maryland and Orlando in November.  Right.

Anyhow, the following are just an assortment of other fun that was had while visiting Jim's family in Maryland.  There is truly so much to see in this part of the states, which will give us plenty to do when we visit again.  And again. :)

Downtown Baltimore:

Fort McHenry
(For some reason, Henry really liked this name)

 Henry asked for this next picture.  Not sure about his pose...

Greatest picture ever of Grandpa and his boys!  I took it!  I took it!

And so the Lego obsession began...

Wyatt got some swingin' in at the Fort Meade Army Base, where Aunt Kathy works (at the library!).

Aaaand last but not least, we got a family picture!  It's not perfect and it's not perfectly in focus, but it is all of us!

Such a great trip!  We can't wait to go back.
Coming next is my epic adventure on airplanes with two small children by myself.  Wait.  I didn't take my camera out on those trips.  Pics of Disney, coming up!
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Well, if you read my last post, we did get to go back to the see museums!  I won't say WHO exactly, but one of us was SO excited to visit the National Museum of Natural History because he heard there was a HUGE dinosaur exhibit. 

Wyatt's first train ride!!  Now that I think about it, it was Henry's, too.

Besides the terrible picture quality, can you sense his excitement???  And I quote, "Mooooommy!  It's. A. TYRANNOSAURUS REX!!!!"

Yeah.  I'm glad dinos are extinct.  This was just and upper thigh bone.  What the what?

A view from above:

Future paleontologist, just hanging with his pal T-Rex:

Okay, we saw much, much more at this museum but we forgot about our camera.  Let me just tell you - this place was awesome!  All kids would have a blast here!  Animals, bugs, fossils, jewels...oh my!  And.  AND!  I held a ginormous millipede!!!!  Eeeeeeew!  I was trying to show Henry that we could all be brave, even when we didn't want to do something.  I may or may not have practically flung the thing back at the bug handler afterwards.

Then we skipped over to the American History Museum.  We spent most of our time amongst the planes, trains and automobiles section.  It was cool:

Henry thought it would be fun to pose with the exhibits:

I'm not sure where he got this idea: 

They had a little room full of fun stuff for kids to explore so we of course had to spend a few moments there.  Here is Aunt Kathy helping Wyatt with a pinwheel:

Here's the fam on our way back to the train.  Can you tell we've had a full day?
Can you?

Jim snapped a shot of the capital building on our way out.  Not too shabby!
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