Happenings Lately

Happenings Lately

This week has been so crazy but so good at the same time. I feel bad taking a week off from posting but I needed the time to organize myself and my thoughts, plus I couldn't get anything out of my head and onto the keys anyways. I have a bunch of random topics swirling in my head so I am going to do a "Lately" and get it all out in one post. 

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Disney World---Happiest Place on Earth

We are annual passholders as of recently to Disney World. In order to make these worth their while we are planning to go up to Disney three or four times in the next year. We went last week for Henley's birthday for about two days.

While I was watching Henley on a little train ride at Disney Springs, I was looking around at all of the kids faces, it's so amazing the joy. For the most part, the kids are so enamored with the characters and the rides and the parents are thrilled watching the joy on their kids' faces. Of course there was the overtired toddler and annoyed parent here and there but really for the most part it was pleasant. I really enjoyed watching the kids as much as their parents, especially during the Character meet and greets.

Even though we went just two months ago, I feel Macie has opened up even more to the rides and characters. She loved the Ariel ride and the Carousel, even saying "more horsey" over and over again. I mean, look at this face! Pure joy.

Henley of course was just as excited...

Happiest place on Earth....see you again real soon.

::Disney:: October Trip Recap

It's Monday night and we are back from our long weekend at Disney. Overall the trip was amazing. It was filled with characters, princesses, and lots of little girl smiles.

We started the weekend at Epcot for some Food and Wine fun. Going in I knew this was going to be more fun for the grown ups but the littles had fun too. My brother met us there with his kids so Henley was totally content with that alone.

My first stop was to get the Dole Pineapple whip with Coconut Rum. It did not disappoint.

We went halfway around the world and got to try quite a bit. I think you'd need to do a few separate visits to be able to try everything without getting drunk or stuffed.

The girls did get to meet Anna and Elsa which was super cute and exciting. Even though Macie talks about Elsa all day long, she was a little shy when we got up close to her.

That night we ate dinner in Disney Springs and got to meet up with my sister. The girls got to ride the carousel and mama got cake pops! Seriously, prob in the top 5 for reasons I go to Disney (the girls weren't complaining either)

Saturday morning was spent in Magic Kingdom. Meeting a few characters and riding some rides. Macie was so cute, signing for "more" when a ride would finish that she liked.

We left the park around noon to get naps in and rest before the Halloween Party. We were able to squeeze a little pool time in too.

And finally, last night was the Halloween Party. It was great. We got so many compliments on our costumes, especially the Queen who was fully in character most of the night. We did some Trick or Treating, watching the Sanderson Sisters show, and watched the Boo-to-You parade.

It was a great weekend and now that we have Annual Passes I look forward to being able to explore different parts of the park that we always seem to miss.

Now off to pack all of the bags for school and work tomorrow---4 day week!

::Random:: Fall is Here!

Fall in Florida isn’t exactly like the Fall the majority of the country experiences but this week, for us Floridians, it is now Fall. I went for a run on Monday and not once did I think I was dying. We’ve done nightly walks and there has actually been a nice breeze---it’s still about 85 degrees out but there has definitely been a crack in the humidity making it so much more bearable. We are all hoping this weather is here to stay and not just a tease.

I’m so excited looking forward to the next few months. The latter part of the year is definitely my favorite and now that Macie is getting bigger (nineteen months?! When did that happen?) we are starting to really get her involved in our current traditions while also creating some new ones. We have pumpkin patches, fall festivals, Halloween, Friendsgiving, and more coming up!

Last week, as most of you know, Hurricane Matthew hung out on the East Coast of Florida ruining everyone’s weekend and destroying plenty in its wake. We were supposed to go to Disney World for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party but it got cancelled. Henley handled it like a champ replying with a solemn “It’s ok mama”. We instead hung out with neighbors and just enjoyed each other’s company.

Disney has been rescheduled for this weekend and the countdown is on---Henley has been counting down since Monday. Every morning at drop off she says “Four more days, and then three more days, and then two more days, and then one more day, and then Disney World”. It’s seriously the cutest thing. Macie has been loving Ariel, Elsa, and Minnie lately so I can’t wait to see her reactions as well.

We are planning to head out Saturday morning and visit Epcot for the Food and Wine Festival. I’ve already been stalking some blogs and found this link with all of the current 2016 food offerings----I was practically drooling just reading it. Definitely looking forward to it and praying there are lots of princesses to entertain the girls while Mom, Dad, and Grandma stuff our faces.

Mickey’s Party is on Sunday and our costumes are all ready to go! I’m excited to share with you all!! Pictures to come.

I’m hoping to be more present here going forward. I’m finding that I need a creative outlet again now that life has normalized a bit and I would love this to be it. I love sharing my family and thoughts with you all. Hope to see you around more too.

::Family:: Disney Vacation and Cruise Recap Part 2

Time to Cruise! (check out the first part here)

Our cruise was a 4 night cruise with stops in the Bahamas and Castaway Cay, Disney's private island. There is really SO MUCH to say, I could write a novel but I'll try to keep in high level and include a lessons learned in the end.

Before we even got on the boat we got to say hello to Pluto!!

We got on the boat and Dad immediately got in line to get a ticket to meet all of the princesses. These are only available on boarding day from 11:30-2:30. This means waiting in line ONCE for TEN minutes to meet all of the princesses as opposed to 30 minutes for ONE! Quite the deal---if you have a little princess in your party, this was a winner.

While Dad got that, we got to say hello to Belle.

We brought our double stroller on the boat with us. I read mixed reviews on whether or not to bring it and decided to go with it. It was nice for the check in and the parking garage but to be honest we didn't use it after that, it stayed folded up under the bed. Next time I would opt out of bringing it.

On the first day we went to the sail away party, had some lunch, passed out (the girls at least) and just explored the ship including the kids area. 

I will say that Macie slept in the Tula twice a day, every day. We used it on the island and around the ship. I was even able to watch Zootopia while she slept on my back. She hadn't used it for months so I brought it really not knowing if she would even like it!

The kids area was really great. Henley didn't want to stay there alone so we only went during Open Houses (which they have a few times throughout the cruise) when parents were allowed to join. 

We didn't get off of the boat the second day in the Bahamas. There weren't really any excursions that Macie could join us on and everything was quite expensive. Instead we enjoyed the Nemo Splash Pad (which was SO adorable), Putt Putt Golf, the pool and ice cream!

Day 3 in Castaway Cay we got off of the boat early, picked up some sand toys and headed out to the beach. The girls played in the sand (the water was freezing) and we played in the little splash pad there too.

We even ran into Olaf and Stitch on the island.

The day at sea we watched Zootopia, met some more characters, played at the splash pad, and visited the Bippity Bop Boutique where Henley got a mermaid makeover complete with mermaid striped sunscreen.

I prepaid the Photopass on the cruise and ended up saving 30%. I'm really glad I did that and didn't have to bother with deciding and ordering prints the last night of the cruise. The morning we were disembarking, I just swung by the Photo Shop on board and grabbed a USB drive with all of our pictures. Here are a few:

I think these are most of the highlights, now onto complaints! Dinner----dinner was a mess! A 1-2 hour four course meal with a 3 and 1 year old was a mess. The girls were over it before we even finished the second course. I wouldn't even have minded this as an option for eating if there were alternatives. My complaint is mainly that there were no other options! Macie is in bed at 7 and all of the other options started around 8-9. Really dinner was stressful and overwhelming, I dreaded it each night. 

Despite being a mess I got some cute pictures at dinner and pirate night.

Macie's sentiment regarding dinner.

 My second complaint is the formal night really isn't formal night. On previous cruises we've had an obvious night and everyone was dressed up. In the daily planner, dinner was listed as an optional dress up. We were running late and ended up in nice clothes but not dressy. There were VERY few people dressed up. I had a whole scheme of outfits picked out for that night for all of us and it totally passed me by. Partially my fault but I do wish the formal night wasn't optional and more enforced.

Now some of my faves:

  • Bippity Bop Boutique was so cute, Henley loved it and we got a new swim suit out of it.
  • Movies---they had Zootopia and a few other new movies playing in real deal theater which I loved.
  • The splash pad was great, both girls loved it.
  • The characters---we ran into a few in the halls and they were so great with the girls, Rapunzel even asked Henley if she'd see Pasquale while we were on the island.
I think if I were to do this again or recommend this to someone else I'd have to say everything was amazing and I'd def recommend. Next time I'd probably make sure Macie was at least 3 and potty trained. She wasn't able to go into the pool with Henley so if Henley wanted to be in the pool, hubs and I had to divide and conquer.Plus if she was 3, both girls could have gone to the kids club. I think Henley would have been more apt to go if she wasn't alone (then we would have had some adult alone time to relax).

Overall the vacation was great and the girls had a blast. It wasn't relaxing but I think relaxing vacations are long gone for us for a while. I am already brainstorming our next vacation---thinking something snowy in December or January!!!

Hope you enjoyed this recap, there was so much that happened so it was virtually impossible to have it all here but feel free to shoot me a question if you have any.

Mere :-)

::Family:: Disney Vacation and Cruise Recap Part 1

Last week we returned from a family Disney vacation. While I was on maternity leave I went into a deficit for time off and therefore had no extra PTO hours to take during 2015. Once I returned to work I knew I needed something to look forward to. After some searching and research, the hubs and I landed on a Disney cruise. We booked it in June, 9 months in advance, but it was just the thing I needed to keep me motivated throughout the year.

We started the vacation off by visiting Magic Kingdom, Macie's first trip!! Port Canaveral is only 45-50 minutes from Disney so we thought it was the perfect kick off to our vacation. We drove up Saturday and hung out at Disney Springs (previously downtown Disney) for the day.

On Sunday morning we headed to Magic Kingdom for a very special Royal Breakfast with the Princesses in Cinderella's castle.

The breakfast was great. When we walked in, Cinderella was there to greet us before being seated.

The girls got magic wands and wishing stars. The princesses all came around and signed autographs and took pictures with everyone. Henley was over the moon. It was a great experience and the food was amazing. 

After the breakfast we headed to Fantasyland and rode a few rides. Fastasyland is a great place for the littlest park hoppers since they can ride practically everything. We rode It's a Small World, the Tea Cups, and a few others.

We had an extra fast pass so decided to do Enchanted Tale with Belle. I'd never heard of it and really wasn't sure what to expect. I was so glad we did this, it was a pleasant surprise. It's a live show staring all of the little kids from the audience. Henley was one of the salt and pepper shakers. They all go through and act out a very short play about the Beast & Belle and at the end, Belle comes in to watch. It was seriously the cutest thing, especially considering our "Beast" was a tiny girl about 4 years old. 

After a few more rides, ice cream, and a nap we headed back to the hotel for the day. We lasted at the park until probably about 2 then both girls were spent and ready to rest.

Everything was great but I do have one major complaint. I relied on the Photopass picture of the family in front of the castle and it was totally white, there was no picture at all. I was so disappointed. I did complain to Disney and they gave me a credit for another picture which was nice but I still had no family picture besides this Cinderella one (which has a smudge). I've always had great experiences with Disney and the pictures so that was a little bummer. Otherwise everything for the Magic Kingdom was great.

I think if I try to recap the cruise here too this post will be massive so I'll write a separate post for that. 

Mere :-)