Warning: This post has a lot of photos in it.
I can’t help it. We are on vacation, and in the past week we’ve watched a cousin compete (and win 5th place!) in his HS State Wrestling tournament, had a birthday (and multiple parties), taken a plane ride, visited a great-grandpa and then a great-grandma (in different cities), and gone to Disney World. We’ve been in Iowa and all over the state of Florida. These events and their corresponding photos should have been put into several different posts, but we’ve been adventuring, and I haven’t wanted to stop to take the time to post before now. Here’s a little glimpse of the first half of our vacation.
Last Friday we got to watch part of the Iowa High School State wrestling tournament from a box. It was great for the girls to be able to watch their cousin’s semi-final qualifying match and then play cards or read or color at a table in the box the rest of the time. They really got into the excitement of cheering for their cousin, whose match was very exciting, and the other wrestlers from his team.
On the day we went to the tournament I asked Miss at bedtime, as I do every night, what her favorite part of the day was. She said it was watching her cousin wrestle.
On Saturday we had a Snow White themed birthday party for this girl who turned four.
It was a great party, with lots of family and fun, though I kind of spoiled the opening of her one present she has been asking for for weeks. She really wanted a Merida doll and I was so excited to give it to her. I kind of get into the present opening part of a birthday for my little ones, and I love watching their little faces light up and taking pictures as they exclaim over opening just what they wanted. Well, Miss went over and started opening her gifts while I was still feeding her baby sister and tending to Lass after her cupcake. When I realized it, mid-open, I hollered, “Honey, wait! Wait! WAIT!!” She didn’t wait. I didn’t get a photo of her opening the gift. I made an annoyed face at her when she didn’t listen to me. Though I recovered myself and told her “I was sorry for yelling but had wanted to be with her and take her picture while she opened her gift,” the moment was already spoiled. This is the photo I did get of her and her much-anticipated Merida doll. I felt like a total jerk.
We regrouped though, and she has been enjoying her doll.
Note to self – a photo is never that important.
On Sunday we flew to Florida.
I got headphones for the girls and packed their backpacks with their Leap Pads and Tag readers, books, puzzle books, coloring books, and crayons in a travel soap box. Lass thought the head phones were quite cool, though she wasn’t exactly sure how (or what) to plug them in.
The flight was fairly painless. The girls did a great job.
After we landed we got in our rental minivan and drove.
First we drove two hours for a quick visit with Great-Grandpa C who lives in a veteran’s home. It was wonderful to see him, as well as my uncle and his wife, though sad to only be able to stay a short time.
Next we got back in the minivan and drove two more hours to Great- Grandma B’s house. We spent the night and got up Monday morning (Miss’s birthday) to play with all sorts of fun stuff that my Gram had gathered and put out for the girls. Golf balls, plastic food container lids, baskets, and empty egg cartons were only a few of the things she pulled out to entertain my lovies for hours.
They were in heaven with all the toys, and then she whipped up a “country breakfast” for us, complete with eggs, sausage, biscuits, gravy, and a huge bowl of cut fruit. Yum.
She had tons of balloons that she blew up for the girls to play with and for Miss’s birthday celebration.
Great-Grandma had a big to-do for Miss’s actual birthday with pizza and cake and ice cream.
Baby sis got her first taste of ice cream.
We really had a wonderful time with my Grandma and my aunt and uncle (who live next door to her). My Gram really went above and beyond for my girls, which meant so much to me.
We had a too-short visit with her before hitting the road again for two more hours to head to Disney World.
We checked into our hotel and played for a while before dinner. The “playground” at our resort was pathetic. It consisted of lots of fake rocks and coral and three small slides. The girls had fun sliding and running anyway.
Then we headed out for a birthday dinner,
and back in for an early bedtime.
Miss got this “nighttime gown” like Wendy’s from Peter Pan for her birthday. She loves it. I got it from Esty (I love Etsy) here.
The girls watched the Disney bedtime story on the TV and we went to bed early to get ready for our big day at the Magic Kingdom.
We did the Magic Kingdom.
Tea Cups (one of my favorites):
Casey Jones splash pad area, which was clearly the favorite of the girls:
As an aside, I love these dresses, and so do the girls. They’re another Etsy find. You can get them here. They were perfect for wearing to Disney, and the girls also wore them to Miss’s party on Saturday. They were cool and comfy (I saw lots of little girls in big puffy dress-up dresses who looked hot and uncomfortable), washed up very easily, and my girls can wear them any day. The girls got drenched in them twice and they dried quickly and were no worse for wear.
It’s a Small World:
A few other rides, and then it was time for lunch at Cinderella’s Royal Table.
We had a nice lunch, with excellent food and service. The girls liked seeing the princesses. Each of them said Snow White was her favorite.
My favorite was Ariel. She really tried to talked to them (though they were a bit shy), rather than just signing her autograph and posing for photos.
She was even attentive to Sis.
The girls got magic wands and made wishes during the “Wishing Ceremony.”
And we had another little birthday celebration (she always plugs her ears during the Happy Birthday song!).
Afterwards, all they really wanted to do was to go back to the splash pad. So we did that for a while, got a few souvenirs, and hit the road.
It was only 3 when we took the ferry back to the parking lot, but the girls were totally worn out.
I have to say, I was pitifully unprepared for all the little tricks of the Disney park experience. I had done a bit of Pinning, read up on a few things, and gotten a couple of apps on my phone, but was totally crushed by the huge crowds and immensity that is the Magic Kingdom. It was extremely crowded, which made it all the more overwhelming. In about five and a half hours we went on four rides (Prince Charming’s Magic Carousel, Dumbo, Mad Hatter, and Small World), played in the water, had lunch with the princesses, and picked out a few souvenirs. The rest of the time was spent wandering around trying to figure out where to get fast passes (most of them were not located right outside their rides, which seemed quite stupid to me), trying to find the rides that we wanted, or waiting in line. We got one fast pass for the Little Mermaid ride but then just missed our window to ride it while we were having lunch with the princesses. We never even made it out of Fantasyland! I learned a lot though and will be much better prepared next time.
One of the highlights of the Disney day for me was that we ran into some friends of ours from when we lived in North Carolina. We haven’t seen them in almost five years, and yet there they were, shuffling along next to us in the crush to get through the entrance to the park. I’m still marveling that we saw them at Disney World, of all places. How likely is it to “run into” someone on a busy day at the Magic Kingdom? Amazing, but we did. And it was so fun to see them, even if it was only for a few minutes as we were herded through security.
For the past two days we’ve been relaxing at my in law’s house. Lass, Sis, and I all have yucky colds (which means unfortunately we can’t visit some of my friends we had planned to see while we’re here, because one of them can’t be around sick people). We’re still enjoying the warmth and soaking in the Vitamin D. Eventually I’ll post about the rest of our adventures. Tomorrow we’re going to the beach. Saturday we’re going home.
“Vacation” isn’t relaxing anymore since having little ones. But it is so much more fun.