Sunday, July 31, 2011

Florida Trip...Pt.3..The Beach











That 3rd vacation day was probably my favorite.





I finally drug myself out of bed just before breakfast at 9:30. Pretty much everyone in our suite was still asleep.





I didn't want to miss breakfast.





I could miss any other meal of the day, but I LOVE breakfast.





And the hotel had these great little Mickey Mouse waffle makers that the kids loved.





(Not to mention myself after I'd sprinkled it with powdered sugar, chocolate syrup, regular syrup and whipped topping. Yes, all of that. It was vacation after all).





We just hung out at the hotel that morning and let Baby K get a good long nap and the other kids a chance to swim in the pool.





Then just before noon we took off for Jetty Park near Cocoa Beach.





On the way we stopped at this great little Pizza place to each lunch.





It was fabulous!






None of my kids have ever been to the beach and Jake and Jennifer hadn't been since A was about 2, so we weren't sure what to expect with all the kids.
They LOVED it!!

The flags were at a yellow and there were some pretty good waves that the kids dove in and out of and were rolled over by several times, but they jumped back up again as if that was something they did every day on our little farm.
I had a hard time getting any pictures of Mr. Smiles because he never came out of the water until it was time to leave!


Doesn't K look like a little 40's synchronized swimmer?
Poor baby was so tired after 3 days of go go go and was not terribly fond of the beach and all that sand that kept getting into her eyes and all that kissable little baby fat.
But she sure made a cute feature on the beach front!





We had to keep a close eye on Nater Mater.
The kid had no fear even after getting tumbled and rolled in the surf!
Several times we had to swoop down and grab him up because he couldn't get himself righted.
Not once did it seem to faze him!
He just went right back to getting smacked in the face and rolled by the waves.
I think he could happily make the beach his friend!


Good Lookin' was the one I was a bit concerned about before this whole trip.

In a word, he was WONDERFUL with just about everything we did!

No fits, tantrums or refusing to do what everyone else was doing.

He definitely let it be known that he was "never going on that ride again mommy! It was yucky!" when he and daddy got stuck in the dark on the People Mover at Disney when they shut it down for about 5 minutes with everyone still on.

But no screaming was involved.

Just 2 weeks before our trip we were talking about the beach and swimming in the water when he broke down in the most heartbreaking little sobs I'd heard out of him in a long time.

He wasn't angry or mad, but he was very very distraught.

After 20 minutes of cuddling and rocking and trying to figure out why he kept sobbing, "I don't want to go to the beach! I don't want to!" I learned he was afraid of...not the water or sharks or being swept away, but the Sun.

Yes, the sun.

He hates the bright sunshine and has worn his sunglasses and hat throughout this long hot miserable summer we're having here.

(It was 105 today, and has been in the upper 90s or in the 100s for almost 2 months straight now).

He's my nature loving boy and loves being outside, but is hating this heat.

Anyhow, Florida was waaaaay cooler than home and he thought it was "wundeful."



Precious Jewel?

Well, she posed in the water, out of the water, jumping the water, under the umbrella, and wherever else I'd take her picture.

I think she thought her day at the beach was her own personal photo shoot.

She got plenty of sand and water time too and it was very sweet to watch her laugh and run with her brothers and cousins.



Everyone was pretty spent for the day by the time we got them (sorta') lined up for this shot.

A few of the little side-liners kept trying to scoot out of line and head back for the surf (mostly the little guy in the McQueen shorts on the right).

But after a bit of bribery and 1 make it or break it shot, we let them run free and we packed up to head back to the hotel.




I could have lived this lovely lazy day for several more days.
I could live by the beach forever.
But forever by the beach is not possible when you live several thousand miles away and even the best days must come to an end.
I'll just look up all these sunny pictures some cold day in winter when the wind is howling





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Florida Trip 2011--Pt. 2


We arrived at the park just after it opened and headed straight for Town Hall where Mickey and Minnie Mouse and the Princesses were signing autographs.

The girls were excited to see Mickey and Minnie, but the boys did not share their sentiment.

I think waiting in line for 30 minutes killed all excitement for them.

Even Mr. Smiles who is usually fairly compliant refuse to smile and looks more constipated instead.

I asked him later what was wrong and he answered that "Mickey was way to big mom. Way to big."

Ok. that makes sense I guess.

So, Luke took the boys over to get a Fast Pass for the Buzz Lightyear ride and they also rode the People Mover while we girls went to meet the Princesses.

I'm not sure what I was expecting when we were to meet the Princesses, but it wasn't what I thought at all.

This may sound ridiculous, but it was honestly an emotional experience for me!

Precious Jewel has outgrown the Princesses and hasn't really cared about them for the past 2 years.

But these ladies played the Princess part to the hilt.

They truly acted as if every little girl in line was the only little girl in the world and their best friend.

The girls (including Precious Jewel) fell instantly in love with them.

Baby K was totally mesmerized.

Precious Jewel hugged each and every one of them and they hugged her back with the sweetest genuine heartfelt hugs.

I got teary watching them!

I know. Don't tell anyone. ; )

Belle was funny and talkative and little C just wrapped her arms around that huge skirt and didn't want to let go.


I thought I was going to have to drag Precious Jewel out of the room so the 50 other mesmerized little girls would get a turn to chat and hug and get an autograph with the Princesses.

We made it to the Buzz Lightyear ride only to find that it absolutely terrorized half our little clan.
It wasn't fast but it was loud and very much like being inside a shooting video game.
I'm pretty sure that a couple kids thought they were going to be killed by the Evil Zurgs who were popping up around corners and hanging from the ceiling.
I thought it was pretty cool myself and just kept hollering over the noise to Good Lookin' to "shoot em! Shoot em! Look at all the points your getting!" to keep him from going absolutely ballistic like his terrified cousin 2 cars in front of him who had been placed in a car without an adult.
Hey, who knew that fighting the space aliens could be so intense?
We left there to go find Adventureland and the promised rides for our excited 5 and 7 year old boys.

Cinderella's Castle


Several times a day the characters performed at Cinderella's Castle.

We were passing by when we caught this performance.



Then it was on to Adventureland and Swiss Family Robinson's Tree house.
I am not one for heights, but the kids loved it.




We had planned on a couple more rides, but by 2pm, our 4 littlest ones were near meltdown and needed naps if we were going to watch the Electrical Parade and fireworks later that night.


So we headed back to the hotel and everyone...I do mean everyone crashed.

I slept for 2 hours and could have slept through the night if allowed!

By 7pm, we were headed back into the Magic Kingdom.

It really was beautiful at night.

The kids oohed! and awed! at all the lights.
Luke took Mr. Smiles to the ride he'd been begging to go on since the moment we entered the Park.

The rest of us secured spots an hour before the Electrical Parade was supposed to start.


Then the Magic Began....

Big Ben from Peter Pan


Pete and his Dragon.

Pete leaned over and hollered down to our little group in the front row.

He yelled out to little A much to her surprise and delight.


The Patriotic float was amazing. It had electrical fireworks that blinked on and off.

Our kids being as little as they are thought they were real fireworks at first.


Cinderella's Castle changed colors dozens of times and the fireworks...

....were AMAZING.


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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Have kids. Will Fly--To Florida and back again--Pt 1

It all started with the Pink Pig.

Well, not really, but the Pink Pig really pitched in and helped.

Luke's parents announced last Christmas that they were planning on taking all of us to Disney World in Florida this summer.

All of us.

Luke's brother and his family and all 6 of us.

13 people on an airplane and visiting Disney World together.

7 of those 13 are 8 and under.

We began saving our pennies for things we would need to buy or souvenirs might want, so hence, we turned to the Pink Penny Pig.

Luke and I had planned on cashing in that Pink Penny Pig for our 10th wedding Anniversary this next year, but we figured that this was a worthy cause and cashed it in early.

I've had this Pink Penny Pig since I was about 10 and I've taken it to 2 different colleges and every different place we've moved.

Pennies have only gone in; never out.

Being the somewhat obsessive compulsive person that I can be, I never put anything in but pennies. I've wanted to see since I was about 10 how many pennies this thing could hold in dollar amount and I wasn't going to cash it until it was full.

Well, we decided that since we wanted to use it for this trip and since it was up to it's literal eyeballs in pennies, that we could cash it early.

I was a rather poor college student, so most of my money disappeared to college tuition, but pennies went in here.

A whole $126.oo worth once it was all counted and returned in a neat (and may I add disappointingly small) stack of bills.

My first thought was 20 years and only $126.oo dollars?

Then my dear and not-so-obsessive-compulsive husband pointed out, that if I'd allowed myself to put in all kinds of change instead of just pennies, I might have not only filled it a lot faster but had a lot more money.

Hmmmm, we're going to give it a try again and see how long it takes to fill and how much $.

Needless to say, it did pay for all the souvenirs we bought for the kids and ourselves.

Hurray!


Last Monday finally arrived after months and weeks of waiting . We left our corner of the world 6:30 Central Time with 7 very excited children in tow.


My sweet sister-in-law found these adorable little tops and shorts for her girls and matched them for the flight out.
My oldest has gotten to old for me to dictate what she can wear.
Only if she can absolutely match her cousins will she wear what we ask.
The kids did amazing waiting over an hour in one little spot in the airport for our flight.
Grandmama can take the credit for that one.
She had bought each child a new toy and they happily played while we waited to board our plane.


The kids were nervous and excited and a little stressed about flying, but awed by boarding the plane by an outdoor ramp.
I was just hot and a tad stressed trying to help keep track of 3 carry-ons, 2 backpacks, 2 strollers, 3 incredibly wiggly little boys, and 1 very excited 8 year old girl who was firing question after question at us.
Thank goodness they let us check the 3 car-seats!!


The book of choice on Nater Mater's flight---the airplane emergency flyer. Hmmmmm.....



The next morning dawned.......late. We didn't get everyone into bed until around 1am after the flight and then drive from the airport to the hotel.

But, by noon we made it to our destination with kids shrieking in their car seats behind us, "There it is! What does that say? There it is!!" Why are there so many other cars? Look daddy! Look mommy! Do you see the castle? LOOOOOOOOOOK!"

Just the drive into the park is about a mile or more!


Then we parked in the Daisy Duck lot and took bus/train looking thingy another mile into the park entrance.

My mother-in-law and sister-in-law either bought or bought and added decorations to T-shirts so we could match all the kids.

It made it a whole lot simpler to keep track of them in the massive crowds.

Actually, that wasn't the official entrance either.

That ride simply took us to the Monorail (the transportation to and from the entrance which is the ride I think they enjoyed the most).

It was then another mile to the entrance where you scanned or bought your entrance tickets!


I was so glad to have nearly 1 adult to every child.

The sheer number of people was overwhelming.

My sister in law brilliantly thought of or read about and made these little bead bracelets for each of the kids with their names and phone numbers on them if they got lost.


Now we get to enter the actual park!




I think this was one of the boy's favorite rides.

The Speedway.

It was loud.

It was a ton of cars.

And they got to drive all by themselves---fast for them---but in a lawn mower slow sort of way.



Papa was hilarious!

Precious Jewel loved driving for him because he kept hollering she was going to crash and kill him.

Another favorite was the Flying Dumbo ride.

The wait took forever (like an hour for a 3 minute ride), but the kids begged to go again once it was over.

We adults decided that standing in line for 2 hours was not worth 6 minutes of fun and took them to the Carousel instead.

They had all these fun parades that they did at different intervals of the day.

Nater Mater thought they were a tad to loud and was a bit intimidated by the huge larger-than-life characters, but was a trooper.

Other than plugging his ears and refusing to look at the camera, he did great!


Just to show you the sheer number of people.


We bowed out early from the Electrical Parade and Fireworks due to some exhausted little ones.

The kids were too tired to care.

The monorail was closed to exiting traffic, so we were directed to the ferry.


I honestly think that the rides they are going to remember the most are the transportation rides to and from the park.

And after a quick fast-food dinner and a dip in the pool once we returned to the hotel, we tucked everyone in bed early.

We had plans to get them up and hit the park early the next morning.


The Celebration Parade where everyone got to street dance at the end!

The kids loved it!


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Monday, July 18, 2011

He Got Them!

I could just kiss that sweet little face. (I do a lot actually).

He is so excited about his new glasses.

And in the 3 days he's been wearing them, he's not complained of a headache once or cried because his eyes hurt (which he has been doing since his mono last summer poor guy).

I am really praying that it will help him this week and the day we go next week for summer school.

He said he sees a whole lot better and the letters aren't so confusing.

Hurray!!







A Trip to the Dentist

Can I say that I am in love with our dentist's office?

In love? Really?

Yes!!!!!

We start taking our kids to the dentist when they turn 3. They basically just get used to the chair and loud instruments before anything else. If they get a teeth cleaning, all the better. If not, they are establishing a healthy relationship with the person who will take care of their teeth for a long time.

We had a great experience with our local dentist for the first 3 years.

Patience and Understanding and a Quiet Voice is important when dealing with small children who don't want you to put a spinning metal object into their mouths.

We loved ours...until he said he could no longer work with Precious Jewel because she needed more professional help. AKA: an Orthodontist. (we still love that dentist by the way, but we are now onto the big leagues). And since I don't want to go to several different dentists for my children when they could all see the same one, I picked the one I'd heard about on our radio and made a visit.

This is what we saw when we first got there.

Yeah, AWESOME in a word!

She liked the animals. The boys like the jeep crashing through the side of the building.
This was gonna' be a fun place to get your teeth pulled, jaw widened, and teeth straightened. Hehe.


My sister was here a couple of days ago and came with us for Precious Jewel's Orthodontist Consult. She needs braces pretty bad, but they have to widen her jaw first and make room for the teeth that aren't in yet. Yes, she is just 8, but she's lost nearly half her teeth because she simply has a tiny mouth. Mr. Razorback Gorilla greets you at the front door. You can't see it, but Nater Mater and Good Lookin' are excitedly holding his hand.



Walking in the front door, you have to be extremely careful not to fall into the ravine below where there is raging rapids and I think a crocodile or 2 waiting with open (and may I add very perfect shiny teeth) jaws.
Upon entering the reception area, we are greeted with a Horton Hears a Who type elephant who is about to crash into the giant aquarium. Wait! Stop! Don't kill Nemo!



And yes, Nemo (the real fish) does live in our dentist office tank. So, does Dorey and Joque, and several other whose names I can't remember. Mr. Smiles asked me last Spring if Darla ever came to the office and if the dentist stopped her from tapping on the tank. "Swim free Nemo." I heard him whisper the first time he saw the tank. "Swim free!"

Then there is all the PlayStation 2 areas and Nintendo DS spots to keep one occupied. When Precious Jewel had a tooth pulled last winter, she climbed the snake on the wall behind her and sat in the tree that I forgot to take a picture of. It was her own quiet place.



If that isn't enough to keep your mind of any impending pain, there is a fun surround sound movie theater for your convenience. Seriously. And they truly do kid-friendly G-rated movies.




This time though, Precious Jewel was just here for a consult to see what the next step was in teeth care.

Jaw widening. Now we just wait on insurance approval.

So, you'll have to wait until next time to see what is beyond the reception area.

For now, I'll leave you with the boys playing the Lightning McQueen racing game!

Happy Visit to the Dentist!