bunny love


Wednesday, March 31

last year, i made this bunny garland. it is one of my favorite paper things i have made. i hung it in the aqua frame i painted for spencer's first birthday party and, ahh, i could look at it all day. i haven't gotten to craft much for easter this year, so we are going simple with this and a little bunny topiary. i am enjoying the simplicity, but definitely felt the need to decorate with something. am i the only one who feels the need to decorate for each holiday?

where the wild things are


Monday, March 29

disney day 3 was spent at the animal kingdom. it was the warmest hottest day we were at disney and the humidity was ridiculous as it rained the next day. almost immediately after entering the park we knew this would be our hardest day-it was hot, the park is really spread out and we were starting to drag from our long drive/lack of sleep/immense disney fun.

look who we found at the gate!
miller wasn't really sure what to do with goofy

after making lunch reservation at the rainforest cafe, we attempted a picture in front of the tree of life. i think this sums up everyone's feelings about the heat. and, yes, this is the best picture we got. 
our first attraction was kilimanjaro safaris. as josh said, it made the entire day worth while. it was amazing to see the animals so close. the kids were in awe.

when we were finished, we headed to harambe train station so we could catch a ride on the wildlife express to rafiki's planet watch. we had heard the affection section contained exotic breeds of animals for the kids to see and pet.
 here is one of the exotic breeds. looks like a sheep to me. it was a long ride and walk for miller to pet a sheep. 
in fact, all the animals looked just like the ones happy times farm brings to the preschool each fall.
exotic, huh.

the most amazing details of the animal kingdom are in the street scenes they have created in africa and asia. you really feel like you were on another continent. miller and carter found the african drums on our walk to asia. because josh has been to india, he really wanted to see how the disney created asia compared to the real thing. 
from here, we headed to the festival of the lion king. it was amazing. spencer spent most of the time trying to crawl out of the sling so she could see more of the entertainment. our stay at camp minnie-mickey put us past due for lunch. so, we hurried out of the park to have a little lunch break. we definitely cooled off while watching the animals in the rainforest. since we had never been to the rainforest cafe, the kids were fascinated. we left with just enough time to ride the triceratop spin before traumatizing miller at dinosaur. because he reached the minimum height requirement and loves dinosaurs, we thought why not? ooh, why did we do that? it was one of the roughest, scariest rides especially for a 3 year old. the ride occurs in complete darkness. we rode in an atv that herks and jerks down a path while life size dinosaurs come at you (complete with disney breath-in-face effects). i literally spent most of the time trying to protect miller from the craziness while he buried his head behind my arm. sweet carter just looked at her daddy and asked, "are they real?" to which he replied, "no, sweetie, they are like big toys." after all that, we finished the day with finding nemo-the musical. the big kids loved it, so much so they still sing several of the original songs from it. 
"just keep swimming . . ." 

carter: dinosaur (brave girl!)
miller: triceratop spin and kilimanjaro safaris
spencer: kilimanjaro safaris and the rainforest cafe

favorite ride: kilimanjaro safaris

yes, somehow we took very few picture, like we should be ashamed so few pictures. after our miserably hot, full-of-walking, exhausted-looking kids day, we decided to take a disney break. our vacation day four plan was sea world. sea world on february 24th. because they were predicting rain, we opted to hit the outlet malls instead. we are so thankful were not at the park on that traumatic day. we already knew we would have to explain the death of my parents' cat eventually, but we didn't want to have to explain the unexplainable.

random photo friday


Friday, March 19

magic at the castle


Monday, March 15

disney day two was the day everyone was anticipating- well the adults, that is, because what the kids didn't know was we had an 8:25 reservation for breakfast at cinderella's royal castle. we woke the kids up (that never happens at home) and told carter about our reservations. 

i had packed carter's favorite princess dresses from home and let her choose which dress and how she wanted to have her hair done. it wasn't exactly what mommy would have chosen, but this day was all about her and i didn't want it any other way.
we were so proud of ourselves when we pulled out of the driveway around the same time we had planned. it is a longer walk into the park itself and then you have to take the monorail. on the monorail we chose, the driver announces that we are going to play cat and mouse with the one behind us to see if he can find us as a testing procedure. uhh, really. does this seem like a good idea to you?? and, what about all these cute little princesses waiting to have breakfast at the castle? after ten of the longest minutes suspended in the sky in the middle of the monorail, he found us safely and we moved along. so, needless to say, we were late as usual. of course, we still had time to stop and take pictures because there were very few people in the park as it wasn't open yet.
she was so excited! we headed into the castle and were greeted by cinderella. we had our picture taken with her and then were ushered up the spiral staircase. as we were headed to the staircase, i looked at carter who had tears in her eyes. big, watery eyes. i asked her if she was okay and she could only nod her head. then, i realized that she was emotional from meeting cinderella! it was so precious. i held back my own tears as we climbed the stairs knowing that this was so magical for her.

upstairs, we were seated in the raised area of the dining room. the chef immediately arrived at our table and asked miller what he would like for breakfast. we had noted miller's nut allergy on the reservation just because it asked, but never dreamed the attention he would receive. the chef brought out each course of miller's food and verified that everything was nut free. it was nice for miller to get some special attention for his allergy instead of always having to tell him he can't eat things.

a little bit about the experience: all of the servants (the role they are playing) refer to you as "my lord" and "my lady" and "the royal family".  each princess is completely in character and never, ever sways. as we enjoyed our breakfast, they would announce the arrival of each princess. then, each princess would make her way around the room, signing autograph books and having her picture taken. we were in the worst location for photos. poor, josh! every one on the main floor had amazing light from the beautiful windows, but we were in the darkness. but, it doesn't matter because the pictures are just a memory of the experience, right?
first, we met aurora. she referred to miller as the prince and said "he was as handsome as prince philip." well, of course, he is.

next was snow white. if only josh had a picture of miller's reaction. he has always been his favorite because she wears hot blue. isn't she beautiful? i think i see why he is so smitten!

then, jasmine. she asked, "are you going to hang this portrait on your palace walls?" yes, yes we are.
and, finally, belle. she has always been carter's favorite princess. carter got all teary-eyed again when she met her-so sweet! belle immediately noticed carter's dress and said, "oh, i see you are wearing my ball gown. you must have a date with the beast later."
i love that miller is more infatuated with his sword than the beautiful princess touching his arm.
and, then spencer. belle was the only princess who gave much attention to her. right after this picture was taken, spencer moved belle's hand off of her arm and belle said, "oh, you don't like to be disturbed. i understand. i am like that when i am in the middle of a good book."

after we finished and carter changed, we headed out to start the day in the magic kingdom.

of course, we had to begin our day with peter pan's flight.
because we entered the park early and the weather was a little overcast, our wait at most of the rides was almost non-existent.

spencer loved it's a small world. and, i definitely appreciated it more as an adult. it's all about the details.
our longest wait for the day had to be dumbo the flying elephant. but, it was worth it. can you tell how much fun they had?

and, miller and carter enjoyed it, too.

making plans at cinderella's golden carrousel

miller loved the carrousel

so much so that he rode it again on day 2 at magic kindgom.

spencer rode her first carrousel. she didn't want to be up there alone, so i had to ride to. 
carter rode "the royal horse" next to us, or so she called it.

next, we went to mickey's philharmagic. i really wasn't expecting much, but it was so cute and the kids loved it. when that was over, we let the grandparents take spencer to sit and have a snack and we headed to the mad tea party.

while we were waiting for our turn, we spotted alice in a tea cup! she was spinning with a little girl dressed up in an alice costume-it was so cute! when we left the tea cups, an impromtu signing was taking place, and , of course, we had to meet her.

after our time in fantasyland, we headed to tomorrow land and did buzz lightyear's space ranger spin, monsters inc laugh floor, tomorrowland transit authority, tomorrowland speedway. we finished just in time to get a seat for the celebrate a dream come true parade.

waiting for the parade to start

carter's way of waiting

do you see the button in miller's hand? it is one of the "my first time" buttons they hand out when you enter the park. he carried it everywhere that day. everywhere. he was so cute about it.
he was not sure he was okay with this guy.

but, she was definitely okay with this girl. we love some toy story, and carter really wanted to meet jesse, but she wasn't with buzz and woody at hollywood studios. after the parade, we headed out so we could get the kids to bed early. it was definitely a magical day and one i doubt anyone will soon forget. 

some more quotes for the day:
"miller, if you get hit by a car, you won't get to go back tomorrow." me
"i'm too tired to go to bed." carter

carter: meeting all the princesses 
miller: dumbo with papaw and the race track with daddy, and the teacups, and peter pan and the carousel
spencer: small world

favorite ride: peter pan

he said


Thursday, March 11

we have been sick, sick, sick. between the stomach virus that took our house by storm and the fever virus that has latched onto spencer for the last 5 days, i am over it. i have yet to take all three kids to preschool this week. luckily, my gracious parents have kept the ailing children so i could teach, and get a break from the sickies. so, today miller and spencer stayed with my parents at their home. let me set this up with a little back story:

when i was 17, i took in a stray cat while my parents were on vacation. yes, i did this occasionally much to my father's chagrin. thankfully, josh's allergy has curbed this unwelcome habit. my mother, who probably fostered such antics, took the cat to the vet and found out that he was a young cat who had been neutered and then dumped. so, we kept him. fast forward 15 years and here sit my parents with a 17 year old ailing cat who lives in the upstairs of their home do to my children's unwarranted fear of things that jump. even though they rarely saw him, they loved him and asked about him often. miller had become brave enough in the last year to help feed and care for him. this new found affection kept my parents from doing what they so desperately knew needed to be done. so, a couple of weeks before our disney trip, my mom did it, and then left town  in hopes that my children would forget. ahh . . . naivety, naivety.

while we were in disney, they mentioned continuing their vacation at the beach the following week to which one of my children said, "but who will feed sam?" uh oh.

now, back to today. my mom said she saw miller's eyes dart upstairs not long after he arrived. after a little while, he just put it out there and the following conversation occurred.

miller: where's sam?

my mom: well, he was really old and not well and he died. do you know what died means?

my dad: he went to be with Jesus.

miller: so if God took him to live with Jesus, do you think he could send a dog to live in your room?

my mom: do you think dogs are better than cats?

miller: yeah. cats sleep too much.

rest in peace, sam. rest in peace.

let the magic begin


Monday, March 8

as a few of you know, we decided months ago to plan a trip to disney world and let it be a surprise for our kids. we finalized dates and a place to stay during the holidays and booked our character meal around the same time, but didn't do anything else until we bought the tickets about a week before we left. we just aren't planners when we go on vacation. (doesn't that completely negate the idea of vacation?)

we had no idea how we were going to tell them or how they would react, but we just didn't want them to know until we were there. so, we told them we were going to the beach. it wasn't entirely a lie, and while that won't work for them as a justification for telling one, as the mommy and daddy, it worked for us. i mean, there is a beach within driving distance, right? besides, they talked about the beach constantly for weeks, so i can't imagine if they had known where we were really going.

we decided to drive through on the way down to disney. (yes, we drove. we have 3 children and it would have cost a small fortune to fly and then rent a car large enough for 7 (my parents met us there) and carry three car seats and a stroller and yada yada yada.) we didn't arrive until 2:30 am disney time and, of course, our children were wide awake at about 7:30 a.m. nice. once awake, my children began to notice all the disney decor in our townhouse. they honestly didn't think anything about it, but we used it as our intro into telling them we weren't going to the beach that day. miller didn't have any idea what it meant that we were going to disney. he just smiled. carter understood a little bit more, but having never been to disney before, she had no idea the extent of what we were telling here. she just sat and giggled.

for our disney day one, we decided on hollywood studios because we knew they would be going on less than normal sleep and we wanted everyone to be better rested before going to the magic kingdom.

so, here is a little rundown of our day . . .
we began at toy story mania!

then headed to voyage of the little mermaid. i seriously remember seeing this when it first came out and i was like 16. let me just say, while my ariel-loving princess was in awe, i was amazed at how far technology has advanced, but the voyage had not.
muppet vision 3d

waiting . . .
at luigi's garage

after a yummy lunch at pizza planet, we headed to honey, i shrunk the kids movie set adventure.

oh, you know we had to . . . 

then, we hurried to watch the block party bash. we had a perfect spot in a totally random location. i would definitely say this was the most fun parade for the kids because it was so interactive. just look at her face . . .

 beauty and the beast-live on stage
everyone wanted to sit in papaw's lap because his knee was taller than any seat and allowed the kids to see over tall people, crazy hats and headbands or video cameras-you know, all the normal stuff.

then, waiting for . . .

buzz and woody at pixar place. oh, such a happy boy!

while we waited for josh and the gang at pixar place, i took spencer to pick out a princess. she loves carter's belle doll, but the new ones at the disney store are much larger. i was hoping they would have a smaller one at disney world. instead, they had a baby belle. they actually have every character you can imagine, but this is the one she chose-just like her big sister! too sweet! and, a little possessive.

we left exhausted, but silly happy. i think that is just how disney makes you feel. silly happy.

favorites of the day:
carter: block party bash
miller: meeting buzz & woody in pixar place
spencer: her new doll, belle

ride of the day:
toy story mania!


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