Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Disney World

 In mid-November, we went to Disney World with the Howell family.  I'm trying to decide if it's taken me this long to recover before doing a blog post, but either way- here we are!  Really and truly, there is nothing like experiencing Disney through the eyes of a child.  I am pretty sure that George is Disney's target audience, because he bought into every aspect of the whole experience. 

As usual...I'll just tell the trip in pictures.  Hold on to your hats, because there are a lot. 

 We flew into Orlando and made it to the Magic Kingdom by 2pm-ish.  
First picture with everyone together!

 Obligatory family pic outside Magic Kingdom entrance.  At this point, George had almost hyperventilated at the fact that bushes and plants were in the shapes of Mickey Mouse.  Oh...he had no idea what awaited him on the other sides of those gates.

 We had just enough time to grab a seat for the big parade down Main Street in Magic Kingdom.  George sat in my lap for this parade, and it almost brought me to tears to hear the excitement in his voice.

 He is slightly ridiculously obsessed with Peter Pan these days.  I thought he was going to run into the streets when he saw the Tick Tock Croc.

 When the parade was over, we headed straight to Peter Pan's Flight.  It was such a fun ride!  Until I realized that I'd left my phone in our flying ship.  This was a major downer on our first day.  Clay went back to find it, and then headed to lost and found later that night and it was there! I am so thankful for a patient husband when I cause unnecessary stress to situations :)

 Up next was the Winnie the Pooh ride (another favorite), and the kids were in total awe that the characters were just a few feet away.

 Flying with Dumbo!

 We saw a Frozen Show at Cinderella's castle, and then the castle was lit up from top to bottom like this for the rest of the night.  It was pretty incredible.

 Our first character meal was with Pooh and friends on our first night.  George actually screamed when he saw Winnie the Pooh (Clay likened it to the girls on the Ed Sullivan Show when the Beetles came out.)  He was beside himself.

 Our second morning we went straight back to the Magic Kingdom and started with the Monsters Inc. show, and then to the Buzz Lightyear ride in TomorrowLand.  This was definitely a family favorite.

 So.  Much.  Stimulation.

 Saty was in it to win it.  

 We came out, and Buzz was right there and no line!  The boys were pumped.

 Ohhhhh...the Barnstormer.  I cannot tell you how many pictures I took of Clay and George on the Barnstormer.  They actually rode this ride SEVEN times during the course of our trip. 

 Oh these two.  I just love this picture.

 They were able to do a bunch of rides that I couldn't because I am expecting.  I think George was totally fine doing things with just Clay- he's definitely the more fun one :)

 I was able to ride 'It's a Small World', and I said, "Hey y'all, let me take your picture!"
They both turned to me, and gave me this look.  It cracks me up every time I look at it.

 We had dinner in Epcot at the end of our second day.

Light up toys for everyone!  It's a great way to keep up with your group when you're walking around Disney.

Dinner in Epcot at Via Napoli.  A rare picture without kids!

 Day three was Hollywood Studios!
Jake and the Neverland Pirates are sort of extended family members to us at this point.  So, for George to get to have breakfast with Jake almost blew his mind completely.  

 It's not a trip to Disney World without Mickey Waffles!!

 Meeting McQueen & Mater in Hollywood Studios

The wait to meet Buzz and Woody was the longest we waited...but we had to meet these two.

George and Woody.  Together at last.

This picture might just have to go in their senior yearbook.

Toy Story Midway Mania!  
This was probably my favorite ride of the trip.

George finally caved and fell asleep in the stroller on our third day.

Waking up was always a little...tricky, for lack of a better word.  We went straight to meet Mike and Sully, and then all was right with the world.

 I'm not exaggerating when I say that Clay was just as excited for some things as George was.  Here they are in the Honey I Shrunk the Kids playground.

 One group picture before the light show in Hollywood Studios!

 I'm pretty sure that George had never, up until this point, had any full-sugar drink.  He usually sticks to milk and water, with an occasional lowest-sugar juice box I can find.  I know, I know...I'm the boring mean mom, and all of his friends will dread coming over to our house because we don't keep 'fun food' in the house.  
Anyways...I caved.  They had 'Lightning McQueen Punch' at the place we had dinner in Hollywood Studios, complete with light-up ice cubes and glow in the dark cup and straw.  
I took one sip, and it tasted like the stuff you drink when you do your glucose screen during pregnancy.  

Day four was the Animal Kingdom!
 By this point in the trip, we figured out that George was happiest when he was meeting characters, and riding rides.  Shows were hard for him, and he either got restless and whiney, or fell asleep.  So we met just about every character we could find! 

 The whole group when on the African Safari, and then Clay, George and I broke off to go meet Rafiki (not pictured) and Chip & Dale, and then even got a quick hug from King Louie and Balou (not pictured).   Everyone met back up at the Tusker House for lunch with Mickey, Goofy, Donald and Daisy.  The kids were loving the character meals!

Family pic with Mickey!

 After lunch we had FastPasses to the Festival of the Lion King show, and it was INCREDIBLE!

 George fell asleep during the show, so, again, he woke up to find Goofy and Pluto.  Characters seemed to make everything better.

 After spending the majority of Saturday at the Animal Kingdom, we made it back to the Magic Kingdom and George wanted to go straight to the Barnstormer!  This time he got to ride with Saty.  I love the genuine smiles on their faces.

 I was least sad about missing out on the teacups.  George loved the teacups, and Clay always would take him.  I couldn't ride it, but I loved sitting on the sidelines and watching them laugh hysterically.

 Back at the Many Adventures with Winnie the Pooh!

 Group picture in front of the Frozen Castle!

 Last day...Magic Bands UNITE!

 Ah...here we are again.  You might think I'm posting pictures all from the same day, but you'd be wrong.  This was his seventh, and final ride on the Barnstormer.  If you can make this picture big enough, you can see George's little hands in the air.  The funniest thing that Clay told me, was that the employees started calling George by his name and stopped measuring him, because they all knew him by the end of our trip.

 But by far, my favorite memory has to be the excitement and pride on his face when he would come out of the roller coaster.  His little adrenaline rush as he ran up to me telling me all about the Barnstormer just turned me into a puddle. 

After one last ride on the Buzz Lightyear ride, it was time for us to catch our flight (nevermind the fact that it would be delayed two and a half hours).  So we stopped for one last girls picture in front of the castle!

...and one last picture just me and Saty!

Oh these three love their Saty.  This trip, while exhausting and sometimes stressful,  was just so magical for us.  Thanks Saty and Pop, for such a great trip!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

September and October

I've totally neglected the blog, so I'm going to do a re-cap of the last two months via pictures.  

September 19, 2014...George turned three years old!  He chose a campout birthday party.  In lieu of camping out with a bunch of three year olds, we had his party at a nearby park.  We pitched tents for the kids to play in, roasted hot dogs, and even had a pinata shaped like a tent!  It was the easiest birthday party to date, and it made my heart swell to see George with all of his friends.

George found the 'prizes' in the tents during set-up.  He was pretty pumped about the binoculars.

Waiting to bust open the pinata!

Just after George turned three, it was time for his first trip to the dentist.

He did great!

We hit up a pumpkin patch the first weekend in October (definitely too early...our pumpkins rotted before Halloween).

Then, before we knew it, it was Clay's birthday.  I asked Clay what he'd want to do for his birthday.  He chose lunch at Chick-Fil-A, a quick trip to the McWane Center (both during his lunch hour on a work day), and dinner at home with donuts for dessert.  He also chose to carve pumpkins, which was a favorite for all of us!

But, I think George was most excited about the donuts.

The next weekend, I got the chance for a girls' weekend at the beach!  It was the most perfect weekend.  Great company, great weather, and two days of pure laziness.  

On a whim, I picked up a box cake mix while I was at the grocery one Friday.  I had some extra icing I had made from George's birthday party, and thought it could be fun for a Friday night treat.  
I had no idea how much fun it would be for Clay and George.  They totally took it over!

George insisted on both of them wearing these aprons.

This was all Clay and George's doing, I really had no part in it (even though I was a 'professional' cake decorator in high school.  My skills were not useful here.)

George wanted to make Pops a birthday cake- complete with all the 'toppings'!

The last weekend in October, our dear friend, Jessica Wright, came and did family pictures for us!
Here are a few of my favorites.

I just love her work.

 Then we blinked, and it was Halloween weekend!  Saty wanted to paint pumpkins with all the grandkids.

George, Rogers and Frannie loved it!

While they were drying, everyone got to pick out the face for their pumpkin.

I could not have been prouder of George's masterpiece, Mike Wazowski.
Then it was Halloween!

Oh, these boys make my heart so full.

 Hey, look!  I made it in a picture!

Our friends, the Caldwell's, came to trick-or-treat with us.

I just couldn't decide between these two pictures.  So I put them both in.

 Clay and I moved from a neighborhood with about 20-25 kids trick-or-treating to a neighborhood with about 300 kids running around the neighborhood.  No exaggeration there.  We hopped on a hayride with some of our neighbors and cousins to cover as much ground as possible!

 Oh...George and Hank.  These two just melt me into a puddle every. single. time.

 Cochran Cousins on Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

It's hard to believe November is upon us, and the holiday season will be here in a blink.  As I look back over the past year, and see just how far the Lord has carried me and my family, I am so thankful to be able to taste and experience joy and happiness again.  I am so excited for the next season of life for our family, but I am most thankful that the Lord gives me the awareness to appreciate where He has me today, in this moment of life.  My heart is so, so full- even though we miss Nan every single day.  And as much as we anticipate Billy's arrival, I love to soak up the time we have just as a family of three.  What a sweet gift Clay and George are to me.  I love my days with them, and the Lord has shown me so much of His mercy and love through them both.