Thursday, July 31, 2014

Disney World - Part 1

Less than a month in advance we made the decision to fly to Disney World for Spring Break.  We surprised the kids at the airport!  {We tricked them into thinking we were headed to Austin just to spend the night in a hotel - which they loved!}  We handed them both gift bags with all kinds of fun Disney themed goodies along with a note explaining where we were headed.

We landed shortly after midnight.  The Magic Express bus conveniently transported us to our resort, Pop Century {yay for no car seats!}.  We checked in and rolled our luggage to our assigned room.  We repeatedly attempted to unlock it with no luck.  Suddenly we heard a knock coming from inside that room.  Oops!  We headed back to the lobby to discover that we had been given the wrong room number.  By the time we got settled bedtime was around 3am.  Our alarm sounded at 7am.  *Yawn*  We discovered this enormous Lady statue located near our building on the way to breakfast the next morning {the kiddos are at the bottom!}

The meal plan was great!  We were allotted three meals, two snacks and one unlimited refill mug daily.  We could take advantage of these at both the resort and throughout the parks.  After breakfast at the resort we headed for Magic Kingdom!  We ran on 4 hrs sleep, plenty of caffeine and a whole lot of Disney magic!  The weather was beautiful!  It was cool in the mornings but breezy and sunny by lunchtime.  The first huge attraction upon entering is Cinderella's castle.  It was magnificent!  They were painting during our visit so please excuse the cranes in our photos :)  

There was so much to see and do at the park.  It was definitely our favorite!  First we toured the Swiss Robinson Family tree house.  Throughout the day we rode Aladdin's Magic Carpet, Jungle Cruise, Peter Pan's Flight, Pirates of the Caribbean, Mad Tea Party, Dumbo, Tomorrowland Speedway, the carousel, Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.  The race cars were among Owen's favorite attractions and we rode them twice!  He insisted on driving both times :)

The magic bands and fast passes were must haves!  We each wore a magic band for the entirety of our trip and it was our ticket into parks, meals, our hotel room, etc.  We were also able to program our fast passes onto our bands.  We used these toward the most popular rides and saved time by moving to the express lane.  One of our fast passes was for the Festival of Fantasy parade which was brand new the week of our visit.  It was definitely one of my favorite parts of the trip!  The costumes, music and detail were simply unbelievable!  Each and every Disney character made an appearance and the kids were in awe!

.Our dear friend, Gara, and her sweet mama sent us three different precious embroidered Disney outfits for the trip.  They also made these adorable autograph books.  I had no clue this was such a big deal!!  We got SO many compliments on how amazing ours were and the kids absolutely loved having the characters sign.  I will admit, as parents it quickly turned into quite the challenge.  We wanted to see how many autographs we could get in four days!  I'm happy to report that we grand total of thirty autographs!!  Oh yes we did.  It turns out we spent far more time waiting in line for characters than to rides that week!  I had to continuously remind myself that they were not real ;)

Chip and Dale happened to be the very first characters we stumbled upon!   We stood in line at the Princess Fairytale Hall  two different times that day.  That afternoon we met Cinderella and Jasmine.  Around midnight we met Rapunzel and Snow White.  I must say that these princesses looked, talked and acted just like they do in the movies!  They happily greeted the kids and answered questions and visited with them before signing the book and taking a photo.  What fun memories!  

The Disney employees were very observant and called the kids "princess/prince" or by their first names embroidered on shirts.  The kids loved it :)

I've seen lots of fireworks displays in my lifetime but none compare to the Wishes Nighttime Spectacular at Magic Kingdom!  It was the perfect way to close out such a magical day!  We closed the park down at 1am!  We truly lived each day to the fullest (but the early mornings were rough on everyone!)  We met Mickey Mouse in Town Square Theater as we were leaving the park.  It was the shortest wait we had all week!

There are definitely some things I'm glad I packed for our Disney adventure.  This includes Clorox disinfecting wipes {think: lots of hands=germs at DW!}, bubbles and snacks for waiting in long lines, inexpensive glow sticks for after dark, shoe inserts to prevent sore feet, a stroller for young children, sunscreen, sunglasses and ponchos.

We met lots of nice people including DW employees as well as other guests from all over the world.  The crowd control was top notch.  With it being one of their busiest weeks of the year I was convinced we would wait in ridiculously long lines and that it would be difficult to move around.  This was not at all the case!  The properties were clean, incredibly manicured, well organized, family friendly and there were absolutely no chips of paint or litter found anywhere.

We had a wonderful first day and enjoyed more sleep the second night :)

Saturday, July 26, 2014

A weekend at the river

Earlier this month we met Grandpa Ed, Grandma and cousins in New Braunfels.  We all stayed at River Run Condos which was right on the water.  Check out these cute cousins!!
{Emma-7, Owen-4, Zachary-6 and Zayley-3}!

The whole group ready to float!!  :)

This was their first time to float and they had a blast!  The trip took us about three hours.

S'mores, glow sticks and a dance party.....summer doesn't get much better than this!!

The last day of our trip we visited the beautiful town of Gruene.  We enjoyed shopping, walking through the state's oldest dance hall and lunch at The Gristmill.

On our way home we stopped by Wonderworld in San Marcos.  We took a train into their wildlife petting zoo which included mostly hungry deer and emus.  Those birds are crazy!

We enjoyed a tour of the Balcones fault line cave.  We traveled 100+ feet underground and experienced absolute darkness and witnessed amazing structure!  

We had a great time and can't wait to do it again next summer!  

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Beach Bash 2014

In June we enjoyed some time at the beach with Big Daddy and Lita!  We stayed at a lovely condo on the seawall and this was the view from our balcony:

We consumed lots of yummy fresh seafood.  A couple of our favorite restaurants there are Fisherman's Wharf and Fish Tales.  

Galveston had plenty of sand, sun, salt water and seaweed!  Crazy tall mounds of seaweed!  

We spent two mornings at the beach.  The kids spent most of the time perfecting their  "tummy" boarding skills.  They did a great job and picked up right where they left off last summer!  I've never seen Jarrod or the kids move quicker than when they spotted a gray fin near them in the ocean.  We realized that it was just a dolphin :)

No trip to the beach is ever complete without some serious sandcastle building!  :)

 Feeding the seagulls with Big Daddy!  

The whole gang with our toes in the sand!

One evening we took the kids on their first beach bike ride around town.  We even stopped for ice cream!

One of the newest seawall attractions is Pleasure Pier.  It includes 11,030 feet of fun!

There were rides, midway games, live music and more!  Emma was actually tall enough to ride everything!  She is very brave and adventurous like her father :)  Owen's favorite attraction was the bumper cars!

We had a fun trip and look forward to next time.  Thanks Big Daddy and Lita :)

"If you want to know how much I love you just count the waves in the ocean!"
-Author Unknown

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Magic Diamonds

Emma enjoyed her first season of coach pitch softball.  We quickly discovered that the rules and competition  were light years beyond what we were used to in the tee ball world!  Coaches for the Magic Diamonds this year were Coach Jared {our pastor} and Coach Jarrod {daddy!}.  The season lasted from late February to May and games were held on Saturday mornings.  Some games were home and others were away.  As the season progressed Emma showed strength at third base and defended it most of the time.  She also did very well batting and scored several awesome runs!  Perhaps one of the most exciting memories of the season was a game when Emma got the final out of the game in order to save the victory.  As you can imagine, Coach Daddy was just a little excited :)

Eye on the ball and ready to run!

A huge thanks goes to Grandpa, Grandma and Lita for coming to watch a game!  :)

Sara (my sweet friend and pastor's wife) and I were both team moms this season.  What an experience!!  We did our very best to keep the dug out organized and the girls in correct batting order!  Among the beautiful chaos of tears, chatter and lost gloves we somehow made it through the season!  I must also mention that we did so while also keeping three little brothers under the age of four entertained :)  

There were 13 players total on our team.  What a fun bunch of young ladies complete with sweet and spunky personalities!  I really enjoyed getting to know each of them throughout the season.

Relaxing in the dug out before game time

Magic Diamonds 2014

Our number EIGHT is oh so GREAT!  :)  We are so proud of Emma and her team  for an excellent season!

A walk down memory lane as a Cub, Giant and Ladybug :)

Thursday, July 10, 2014


Happy HALF birthday!  Our favorite girl is officially seven and a half!!  She is truly such a delight and suddenly seems so grown up.  She now stands over four feet tall, weighs 70 pounds, wears size 8-10 clothes and size 3 shoes.  It seems like she has out grown most of her clothes and shoes so we will have to do some serious back to school shopping!  :)

She is extremely independent, polite, adventurous, inventive, determined and clever.  From the time she wakes up to the time she goes to bed she likes to keep busy and keeps her brother {and her parents!} on our toes all day long.

She is so close to conquering swimming and riding her bike without training wheels!  She is now tall enough to ride some roller coasters and other wild rides.  Her daddy is so excited to finally have a thrill ride buddy :) 

She is extremely competitive {thanks to her dad!} and loves being part of a team.  After each softball inning she would ask "Who is winning?....".  She also takes her Wii sports very seriously.  She enjoys being outdoors and will try any new activity or sport.

She enjoys playing with Barbies and dolls.  She has become very resistant to the idea of wearing hair bows and cute outfits.  I knew the day would come but I'm still not ready!

Current favorites:

Day of week: Wednesday (because I like that word!)
Food: pineapples
Number: 8
Color: aqua, pink and purple
Sport to play: tennis (Wii!) and softball
Why do you want to grow up? A teacher
Sonic Happy Hour treat: Dr Pepper or Sweet tea
Friend: Rebecca
What are you good at? Wii tennis
What is the best thing about Summer? no school!!
Restaurant: Chick fil A
TV show: Jessie (on Disney)