Thursday, July 24, 2014

Disney World

Since we were in Jacksonville, we decided to drive down to Disney for a quick day trip with the kids. Madgie and Patch were kind enough to keep Matthew for the day (well, really Madgie kept him as Patch had to work most of the day), so we got to really spend time with the "bigs" without worrying about Matthew's schedule. It is about a 2.5 hour drive, so we got up early and got to the park before it opened. I happened to call the night before just to see if there were any dining reservations available, and they were able to get us in for breakfast with Winnie the Pooh and gang actually before the park opened, which was perfect!  Here we are on the monorail!

Outside the Crystal Palace waiting to be called for our table!

Now we did this same breakfast with Ben and Abbey when Ben was 4 and Abbey was almost 2.  Ben loved it and Abbey screamed whenever a character came close to our table, so we were interested to see what would happen this time.  Paul took matters into his own hands and immediately gave Eyore a big hug!

So did Ben.
Abbey hesitated, but didn't scream.
And she finally walked over to be in the picture, although she didn't hug him.  Juliette, however, moved close to me and wouldn't go be in the picture.  She didn't scream though.
Pooh Bear enveloped Ben in a big bear hug!

With some prodding, Abbey would touch Pooh, but that was about it.  I would say that was good progress!
After breakfast we ran (literally) over to the Meet and Greet for Anna and Elsa to get in line.  The park had just opened for the general public (but had been opened to the resort guests for an hour).  The line to meet them was 260 minutes.  That's right - we even asked to be sure if that could possibly be correct, but yes, the line to meet them was almost 4.5 hours!!!  So we told the girls that unfortunately they would not meet them this time because waiting that long would be crazy.  So instead we went to the Merry Go Round.
Selfie!  With Abbey photo bombing us in the back - ha!

Then we headed over to Huck Finn's island, which we had never been on before, but this time Ben had read the book and wanted to go.  It was fun to walk around and explore the island for a bit.

Back from the island, we had to put Ben in time out...
Just kidding, the kids were good, but we had to snap some pictures.
We found it strange that they did not have stools for the kids to stand on, but no problem when Daddy is around!
Next we went on the new Ariel ride, which Juliette was just in awe of - you can kind of tell from this picture how much she loved it!
And we got to meet Ariel!!!

Juliette went right to her, but Abbey was still a little shy.  Ariel was awesome in talking to her though.  My favorite line was, "What's wrong?  Have you never met a fish before?"
Ben went along with it well, but the girls, especially Juliette, really loved it!

Then it was off to meet up with our good friends who were at Disney for the week!  

Madgie had been talking to Juliette about the tea cup ride so all morning she kept asking to go on it!
This is Paul's least favorite ride because it makes him feel like this...
Then we went to the new experience of stories with Belle.  She acted out a scene and had different kids be part of it to help her.  They had a part for every kid that wanted to participate...but of course, none of our kids would do it!  But this is our friend Danny being Chip the tea cup!
After the play all the kids got to go meet Belle and Juliette immediately wanted to do that!  She even walked up in line by herself to go do it (Abbey wouldn't go with her).

Then it was off to some 3D action with these crazy kids!

And of course, It's A Small World!
All the kids.  It was really fun meeting up with them for a good part of the day.
Our family.  This was the best picture we could get - kids were really tired at this point and getting cranky.
So we fixed that with a quick stop for ice cream!

After that they were back to being silly and happy again, so we got some cute shots in front of the castle.

Love this one!
Then we were off again to get in a few more rides before heading home.
Like driving the cars!  Ben was just a tad too short to drive by himself, which he was disappointed about, but he did well driving with Daddy and Juliette while Abbey and I went together.

Then it was time to head back.  We left the park just before 9 - just before the parade started.  If we were staying around Disney we would have stayed for the parade, but seeing as how we still had to drive 2.5 hours back to Jacksonville, we figured we better get going.  It was a great day.  Thank you Madgie and Patch for keeping Matthew for us!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Dance Recitals

I know you have all been on the edge of your seats waiting for this, so without further ado, please enjoy Abbey's and Juliette's 2014 dance recital videos!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


The day after school got out, we went to Florida to visit Madgie and Patch at their beach condo.  After a fun, but hectic, last few days of school, it felt good to relax at the condo with this view out the back porch...
And the kids loved playing in the sand.
And spelling out words with the seaweed.
Best to wear shades to protect our eyes!
And we got to hang out with Patch!
And build sand castles.
My beach bunnies!
Working together to build something great!

Plenty of running on the beach!

And playing in the ocean.  Ben mastered the boogie board.

While the girls ran in and out of the waves.

This is the way Abbey liked to use the boogie board!
Then Matthew woke up from his nap and came down for his first trip to the beach!
Having the pool right there was great too!  It helped change up the pace for the kids and dipping in the pool after being at the beach always feels so refreshing.
We spent most of every day down at the beach.
We also found some really cool shells, like this one Ben found and then drew a picture of to remember it!

Matthew testing out the ocean.  He didn't cry, he didn't laugh, he just kind of was ambivalent about it.
I was hoping for some sort of fun reaction.  I remember when the other kids first tested out the ocean and found it funny or seemed to enjoy it.  Matthew just seemed like he didn't care one way or the other about being put in the ocean.  Maybe he was still waking up a bit.
Same thing when Daddy tried.
He was tired though, so maybe he just needed a cuddle.
Abbey trying to surf on the boogie board!

Lots and lots of beach fun!