What i love

  • my LORD and Savior Jesus Christ
  • to snuggle in the safety of hubby's arms
  • my kids' laughter
  • chocolate (well it's true)
  • daisies
  • candles of any kind
  • warm bubble baths

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Hollywood Studios

Monday we went to Hollywood Studios. We planned another long day, with stroller, snacks and autograph books in hand, we set out...
Today was the day for autographs!

We set our sites on the Big Sorcerer's Hat in the middle hub of the park, and headed there, where we were able to meet all the gang by tag teaming.

We met Minnie, Donald & Daisy, Goofy & Pluto, all in quick succession. The most hilarious was Lucas who did NOT wanna meet Minnie Mouse... he pouted and really pitched a fit, and i got some great photos of his embarassment in action. he was just very angry and upset to have to have his picture taken with a GIRL! He told me later that he would not do any more pictures with girls. PERIOD NO way NO how... haha
Then we met Stitch, who true to character was a MESS!! He kept trying to take the kids sharpies and write on their hands while they were holding the book for him to sign, he managed to get chelsea a time or two with the green sharpie. He licked his finger and stuck it in chelsea's ear during photos... he picked his nose and wiped it on mia's shirt... Mia could not stop laughing at him the entire time. That belly laugh that makes everyone around you laugh too... it was so cute

My Dad loves Goofy... i know, explains a lot right?! haha so he had to get his autograph and photo too!! When Pluto came up to the site, he went over to a bush and hiked his leg... which i thought was kinda funny, but not sure who all saw that...

We headed over to Pixar place and met Mickey and The Incredibles.

Then we got our fast passes and started enjoying all the rides..
Lucas was scared of EVERYTHING... every ride, every attraction, he was terrified, but after each one was like" well that was fun", so we just kept making him get on stuff, so he would not miss out on all the fun everyone was having. But there were many laughable moments standing in line with him reassuring him that it was all gonna be ok. Bless his heart, he is my over-cautious little guy which could be very beneficial during the teen years, but right now... his sisters drag mr scaredy pants along. They are not afraid of anything... they could use a good dose of fear, but... they are my daredevils and were more than willing and excited to ride everything.

We did force him onto Rockn Roller Coaster and i thought the kid would have a nervous breakdown before we ever even got on it... but after we rode he was high fivin everyone and jumpin up and down and was like "i did it!!!" and he thought it was really cool. HE is such a goofy kid... haha

We rode many fun things that day, the favorites were :
Chelsea: Tower of Terror... and Rockn Roller Coaster
Lucas: Buzz Lightyear & Star Tours

Mia: Loved Voyage of the Little Mermaid show, and her favorite ride was also Buzz Lightyear
Tom: Rockn Roller Coaster he actually screamed like a girl the entire time.. he says he was saying "WHOOO HOOOOO" but to me sitting behind him sounded more like "EWAWAHHHHHHHHHHHH" (actually that may have been me screaming like a girl)

Mel: Rockn Roller Coaster... i loved that it went 0-60 in 2 seconds and straight into an upside down loop... yep instant face lift.. i could see the benefits of riding this several times in a row!! hah are you hearing the sarcasm?! But it WAS fun... once.

We took in all the sights and sounds the park had to offer, many different shows... the highlights of the day were:

Lucas: Jedi Training Academy, he got chosen out of the audience to participate on stage, and learn the ways of the Force, and then in the end battled Darth Vader in a light saber duel... funny he was amazingly BRAVE during this... not afraid of DARTH VADER at all, swinging his light saber with uncanny accuracy (ahem poor darth) and was super excited about that whole process, but of course this kid eat, sleeps, dreams Star Wars, so this experience was right up his alley!!

This was one scary lookin dude. Right after i took this photo he came and stood like 2 inches from my face and stared me down... i just shrugged and laughed at him (yeah thats me brave haha) and then i hugged my mommy... haha
Mia: Loved Beauty and the Beast show, live on stage, we had near front row unobstructed view, and the kids loved it... (i admit i did too!!) Mia was just totally engaged and the look on her face was something i will never ever forget, even tho i did not get a photo...

Chelsea: Riding Rockn Roller Coaster two times in a row (with fastpasses) and then Hollywood Tower of Terror... and still wanting to eat lunch!!! haha she really enjoyed this park with the more activities and attractions to do. She was still excited to meet all the characters, and i am glad she played along with my inherent need to photograph every moment and not ruin the magic for the little kids. I was incredibly proud of her maturity all week, the way she was always looking out for the little kids safety, comforting them, and helping us keep up with them, buying them little treats and such. It was very sweet to see.
The kids got to enjoy trademark mickey ears ice creams.. .mia loved hers, lucas did not like the chocolate and traded with me for my plain vanilla...

The funniest thing, now that we are home was the stroller hunting... most times it was right where we left it, but at this park, the stroller mover parker guys were very ambitious and kept moving them WAY down out of the way from where we originally left them.. Frustrating somewhat during times when you are trying to get somewhere fast and hunt for the stroller for like 20 minutes cuz no one could tell you where they moved it to....

We ended the day by taking in the late show of Beauty and the Beast... followed by a detour exit down hollywood & vine. lost our stroller again... then headed back thru the park for Fantasmic... and we ended up at the end of the line, but it was actually beneficial because they opened up the last section of seating as we entered and we got great seats, and they were near the exit. The night ended with a bang, the kids all had a wonderful time and we were happy that the night ended early at 10pm (haha).

Saturday, January 24, 2009


Our first official day at Disney was Sunday, we went to Epcot. We started the day early... park opened at 8 am. So we loaded up lunches, stroller, people and headed in. Everyone was perky, slept well and very excited about the adventure ahead of us.

We got into the park and headed to Spaceship Earth... the big silver ball that is so recognizable... but it was broken, so with much hoping that this was not to be a theme for the day, went on around and headed the opposite way most people go... we headed to the right towards Great Brittain and that area. I cannot tell you how cool this park is and how authentic they try to make every building, gift shop and restaraunt to be like the actual countries they represent, complete with interns from every country working the shops and stuff, talking to the kids in their home languages and all that. THIS IS COOL!! We walked, and shopped and enjoyed the sights and a few ride thru attractions that day. Ate fish and chips in Brittain and then enjoyed feeding the seagulls on the bridge over into France. The kids were really liking the Kidcot stations at each country . These were little tables set up with a craft project. They gave us a mask at the first station, and at each country you got to add something to your mask representing that country. Most of them were little die cut shapes, some were plastic little charms, stamps and stickers and such and at each station were the interns, and they liked to write the kids name on their project in their native language. The kids loved hunting for the Kidcot stations in each country. Another thing they loved, was hunting for the penny presses. We gave each kid a roll of quarters and a roll of pennies and they had to find the penny presses around each park to get cheap 50cent souveniers... they LOVED this!!! and kept them occupied in a not so exciting park for kids. They did not complain and really with kids this is the park to begin with because they have no "disney expectations" so it was all new and exciting to see.

They loved all the fountains with the dancing water, and trying to catch it.

The best part at the end of the night they had an open area that squirted up water from the ground... the kids saw it and wanted to walk thru it, but it was just "trick"-ling a little bit, so they did not know it would soon shoot up high into the air... so they are skipping and running thru it getting their shoes wet and just laughing... then all of a sudden.... YEP... it came on FULL blast, and little Mia got caught in the middle. She just DIED laughing and just turned around and around giggling, and people were stopping and laughing with us, and we heard many people were like "that is sooo cute" and it realllly WAS!!

That night, we had dinner in America... Hamburgers and fries for everyone....( I know i know... so crazy considering the FOOD all the countries represented... but we were STARVING, and the lines to sit down and eat anywherelse were just tooo long.) So after eating we then headed across the street to the pavilion for the Candelight Processional. It was just beautiful. They had the HUGE choir come down the street carrying candles (they were electric) in a looooong line, up to the stage all decorated for Christmas. Then sang traditional american and other countries Christmas songs in between the reading of the Christmas Story... FROM THE BIBLE!! (which i loved)by Angela Bassett and Courtney Vance (who by the way did a phenomenal job of reading it with enthusiasm and just a bit of dramatic voice.) At the end of the traditional Christmas Story, Courtney Vance gave the crucifixion and ressurrection a very nice moment, and we cheered when he said the "tomb was empty, He IS RISEN". It was just beautiful, really.

OH!! I need to tell you how cool, while we were sitting down to dinner, the kids noticed an airplane flying over the park skywriting... something....

that was so cool and they did it over every park that week... some big church down there does that... and i think what a cool way to reach SOOO many people!!!

When that was finished, we headed over to Italy got some cappuccino, and got near the water to watch the evening fireworks show. Then we headed home... tired and happy from a great day.

The Christmas lights were wonderful, the music piping around the park was Christmasy and cheery, the cast members at the park were so incredibly sweet and we had a wonderful first day.

We met Donald Duck in Mexico... and Aladdin (not the genie, the boy) in Morrocco. We caught a glimpse of Snow white and a few dwarves somewhere around Germany, but the line was too long to wait cuz she was leaving. We met Mulan and Mushu in China, and i think that is all the characters we saw that day. But it was enough to get the kids really excited about their autograph books!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Disney days...

Our first day at Disney was actually Saturday night, we got to Orlando early and checked into our condo. (which by the way was SO amazing!) It was townhouse style but bigger, had 4 bedrooms, 3 up one down, 3 bathrooms, marble countertops, tile floors, nice NICE big beds and comfy bedlinens. It was just perfect, honestly! I wanted to move in permanently! It was located only about 10 minutes from the parks... but hidden in a little suburbia just inside city limits.

So the night we got there, we decided we better get our park tickets, so we headed to Downtown Disney, the shopping mecca of the parklands... all kinds of wonderful stores, restraunts and just a taste of what we would see when we got into the parks. As with most things Disney, this shopping mall (think promenade style) was very eclectic, and had a wide range of things to look at... from Ghiardelli chocolates (smelled divine) and coffee shops, little boutiques for clothes, kitchenwares, and lots of "kid" stores related to toys and Disney souveniers, but like most, were not cheapie type things, these were cool.

We walked around and oohed and ahed at all the christmas decor, all the "disney-ed" up stores the way only they can do it... and shopped just a bit

Legoland was a big hit with the kids and we thought that some of the creations were just amazing.. built with LEGOS!

We went into a toystore and they had a Mr Potatohead station where you could build your own... fill up a box of parts for 19.99... so guess what?! We HAD to do that for all 3 kids.. and spent probably an hour building and hunting parts, some you can only get at Disney, mouse ears, all kinds of princess parts and such, that was a blast!!! Then Lucas spotted a build your own lightsaber station, for again 19.99... so he did that! and we just had such a good time there!

We finally get our park tickets, and head back to the condo... to rest up for the next days journey to Epcot.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Disney is BAD for reality!!

Haha we are only back for 2 weeks and ready to go back again!!

well here's the story, or at least days 1-2...

Day 1: Christmas morning... aren't they cute in their matching TCP pj's? They screamed and jumped up and down and did not believe us that we were leaving NOW til we took them and showed them the van... we were on the road by 8am! can u believe that? crazy... i videoed it and if i figure out a way to include that somehow i will do that later...

then we hop in the minivan... Definition of LOADED: 7people, luggage, toys, movies, blankets, FOOD, surfboard on top, stroller in cart dragged behind car.. YEP LOADED.

So then we drive, and drive and drive... down thru south Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama... and end up in Pensacola, FL... only 13 or so hours, and 3-4 movies, games of uno, a couple of naps, pit stops and lots of "WHEN WE GONNA GET THERES"

We get checked into our flea bag motel for the night (seriously) and sleep it all off. Next morning we hop up, load up and head to Mobile to the USS Alabama warship tour. Very cool for the boys anyhow...

We get to spend the morning touring around this humongus warship and the boys have to touch and read everything, so the girls just kinda split off and toured the whole ship... then I was itching to leave, cuz we still had to drive back 50 miles and change clothes to do our beach trip.

SPELLED: Family photos!

so i was REALLY wanting to leave that ship..

We get back to the hotel, get changed and it clouds up and looks like rain... i am ready to cry at this point, but we trek to the beach anyhow.. and lemme tell you it was worth the trip!

My two littlest ones had never seen the ocean, and they were in the biggest God made sandbox ever!!! They had the best time playing in the sand, the surf and hunting for shells.

The worst thing was the jelly fish kept washing up on the beach... TONS of them, and i really did not think much about it, except to warn them sternly not to touch, step on or get anywhere near them... but Chelsea had other ideas. she was too upset that they were laying there dying, so she finds the bill of an old ball cap and starts scooping them up CAREFULLY and then slinging them back into the water (i did not have the heart to tell her the tide was coming IN) but hey it was the thought that counts right? I did some research after we got home and discovered that those cute lil jellyfish were none other than Portugese man of War jellyfish, some of the most poisionous... and painful stings around... so very thankful that my jellyfish saving spongebob cutie pants was carefully throwing them back to her version of saved (wink)

So the rain held off, the clouds made for just so so lighting, but the photos... OH the photos were just well, see for yourself!!

they are a little lighter than i wanted, but i am still tweaking a bit in photoshop.. so for now, this will do for a preview. I shot at a high ISO low light and they were sooo grainy, so i found this noise reduction software, and it softens everything like it was shot thru a filter, so i am tweaking that a bit too. these are not the finished product, just the first draft.

Yeah thats my super model jelly fish saving sponge bob cutie pants... oh my goodness the view was breathtaking!

oh... and the ocean was pretty too..;)

keep your eyes peeled i am hoping to post some more sunday...