Thursday, July 31, 2008

5 Summer Favorites!

I think it would be fun to celebrate all the great things in life so I'm going to start posts about 5 Favorites!  I really think focusing on the good things in life are important.  I also believe that we need to cherish every moment and to realize how blessed we are in life.  To start, I thought I would list my 5 summer favorites!

5 Summer Favorites!

1. No school!  Being off for the summer has to be the number one best thing about being a teacher!  I love working with the kids and helping them learn but nothing beats being home with my hubby and my son all summer!  

2. Flip flops!  I love wearing sandals.  I have a ton of pairs of flip flops, probably twice as many pairs of flip flops that Chad has gym shoes, and as a physical education teacher he has a ton of gym shoes!  It just feels good for my feet to be free!  Plus, I love seeing my cute toes with their pink nail polish.

3. Water fun!  We have had so much fun going to the water park.  I love to watch Jordan go down the slide.  This week we went to the water park with our friend Kathy and her daughter Maddy.  The water park is not as relaxing as it used to be before we had Jordan because we chase him around everywhere, but it's still fun!

4. The grill!  Chad grills all the time in the summer.  It's nice because he does all the grilling but mostly because I love food from the grill.  Tonight he grilled hot dogs and corn on the cob.  It was fantastic.  We went to a Farmer's Market today and bought lots of summer squash and I can't wait to get that on the grill.  Yum!  I love all the summer fruits, too (see post below).

5. Big Brother!  Okay, I'm going to admit it, we watch Big Brother.  It's a reality show that usually is only on during the summer.  It's on 3 days a week, gotta love that!  It's kind of like Real World except there are 13 people living in a house and someone gets evicted every week.  There are lots of competitions and other things going on that make it very interesting.  Chad and I get addicted.  I have to say, though, this is about the only show I watch.  If you turn on our TV it's usually set to ESPN, and our DVR has either Big Brother or Mickey Mouse Clubhouse recording.  With the weather so nice, who has time (or wants) to sit inside and watch TV all day?

 What are you summer favorites?  Please share! 

Watermelon!




What's summer without watermelon?  This is one of Jordan's favorite fruits right now.  It's probably second only to blueberries.  When we were in Florida at Chad's aunt and uncle's Jordan ate tons of watermelon.  The other day we brought one home and Jordan had fun chowing down on watermelon.  I have no idea where it all goes but once he gets started he doesn't want to stop.  I'm so glad he is a fruits and vegetables kind of kid.  Hopefully that continues for the rest of his life!

Specials


Most Recently Read Book

Specials

By Scott Westerfield

I am a total fan of series and love to read multiple books about the same characters.  Specials is the third book in this series by Scott Westerfield.  The first book is Uglies, and then Pretties, and finally, Specials.  This is the series about the girl who lives in the future where at age 16 everyone goes through an operation to become pretty.  I like this science fiction twist.  The language is cool and the crazy world Westerfield comes up with is neat.  I was kind of disappointed in the ending, but not at the same time.  There is one more book in this series, but it seems like it is not entirely connected.  There are different characters in the world after the main character's story from the first three books.  I may read it somewhere down the road.  I definitely these are good books to make you think, but I think a teenager would enjoy it more than an adult.  



At the Beach with Patty

It's crazy to think we have been back from Florida for over a week now.  I definitely like going on a vacation in the summer when we can come home and still be on vacation.  I always say you need a vacation from you vacation.  Even if you go on a relaxing vacation, you just need a few days to get back to normal before going back to work and everything.  We talk about how nice it is to have the summers off together all the time.  

Anyway, last Thursday we went over to Patty's house to go to the beach with her and her daughter, Emma.  Patty is our daycare provider.  Jensen, another kiddo who goes to Patty, was there to play, too!  Jordan had fun in the water.  He likes the water but he's kind of scared of it.  He definitely wants someone to go in with him and he'll grab your hand as soon as he thinks he needs it.  It's really sweet.  Jordan had more fun climbing on the beach chairs and playing in the sand.  







Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Florida 2008 Part 5

And now, the final installment of our 2008 Florida vacation.  I'm not sure how I was able to consolidate almost 500 pictures into 5 posts, but it has been done!  

Friday night Magic Kingdom was open late so I decided to leave Chad with Jordan in the room and head out on my own.  It was weird to be there by myself.  I was looking around and, seriously, no one goes to Magic Kingdom by themselves.  Oh well, I did.  I watched the fireworks and did one show.  Here is the finale of the Wishes fireworks show that they have every night.  

video

Saturday morning we were taking advantage of the early-in again, this time at Animal Kingdom.  Animal Kingdom is one of our favorite parks.  It's absolutely beautiful.  Again, we didn't really do so great because there aren't too many Jordan-aged-things open so early, but we did get Fast Passes for the Kilomanjaro Safari and Expedition Everest.  Usually, you can only get one Fast Pass at a time, but the machine was down and they were just handing out the Fast Passes so when we went to Everest we used our card.  Love it!  

Here is Chad with Jordan in Asia looking at monkeys...well, trying to look at monkeys, you couldn't really see them very well.  

After we got our Expedition Everest Fast Passes we made our way back to Africa to go on the Safari ride.  Luckily, it was early in the day so it wasn't soooo hot.  It was hot though.  Jordan did pretty good sitting in the truck, he wanted to walk around and stand on the seat but we were able to keep him occupied looking at all the animals. 

Chad thinks I have a tendency to forget/overlook all the stresses we had on our trip.  For example, I really believe Jordan is screaming in delight in this picture with Chad...but Chad probably remembers Jordan screaming because he was being held down and wasn't able to move around.  I'm an optimist, what can I say?
  
Here are some animals we saw on the safari:  Elephants,

flamingos, 
and an ostrich that was in the road right in front of our truck and then walked right by us!

After the safari we went to have breakfast at the Tusker House where we met Daisy, Donald, Goofy, and Mickey.  Jordan seemed to like Daisy.  

He was kind of freaked out by Goofy.  I think because he was so tall, and because of his huge whiskers!

He loved Mickey, of course!  

Here he is dancing with Donald.  This was a fun buffet and the food was great!  

After breakfast, we were off to ride Expedition Everest.  We rode this as much as we could on our last trip and it was one of our favorite rides.  This time, because we had Jordan, Chad and I took turns going on the ride.  While Chad was on the ride I did loops around the gift shop and Jordan fell asleep.  This was one of the last times Jordan cuddled with this blanket...we left it on the bus on the way back to the hotel from Animal Kingdom!  (This was "travelling" eehee so at least we still had the "real" eehee back at the hotel.)

On the way out of the park we saw Chip and Dale!  How cute are they?!?!  I LOVE getting to meet the characters and made Chad wait with us to meet them.  Jordan liked them, they tickled him and made him laugh, look at that smile!

Friday night was Chad's turn to go out!  He went to Typhoon Lagoon because it was open late.  He did pretty much everything there, including swimming with sharks and sting rays!  

Sunday...our last day at Disney!  :(  We found our way to the Polynesian resort to have breakfast with Lilo and Stitch.  I love Lilo and Stitch, they are just so cute.  The Hawaiian theme was fun.  Jordan thought Stitch was cool.  

He liked Lilo and even gave her a kiss!

Gotta love the Mouse himself!

Pluto was cool...but you can tell the whiskers kind of freaked him out again!

After breakfast, which was, again, awesome, by the way, we hopped on the monorail to go to Magic Kingdom.  This was a much nicer morning at the Magic Kingdom than the last time.  Here are Chad and Jordan on Main Street with Cinderella's castle in the background. 

And here I am in front of Cinderella's castle.  I still had my lei on!!!  

We didn't do too many rides before so we were back to ride the rides!  Here we are in line for Dumbo!!!

And here we are riding Dumbo!!!  Jordan loved it!  Our Dumbo has a blue hat so watch for us!

video

After Dumbo, we went to play in Ariel's grotto where Jordan got to splash around.  I waited in line to meet Ariel.  I told you, I'm a sucker for meeting the characters.  Ariel is very tiny!  She was very sweet!

Next, we rode the Peter Pan ride, which was way darker than I remembered.  Jordan did okay though.  His shirt was glowing in the dark!  We didn't even know it glowed in the dark!  After that, we decided to try It's a Small World.  Everyone said to do it but we were nervous about Jordan being able to sit still for the whole ride.  It's a pretty long ride.  It ended up being the best ride of all!!!  Jordan sat so nicely for the entire ride.  He just looked around at everything and pointed and took it all in.  Chad and I were able to really relax and enjoy the air conditioning!  We almost went on again, but decided not to push our luck!

And then, it was back to the bus stop.  We didn't do too much waiting for buses (you might have to ask Chad for his opinion on that, though).  Jordan was sleeping so we took advantage of taking our picture.  

After relaxing at the hotel for a bit, we headed out to the Boardwalk.  Chad had seen that Disney has the ESPN Club but we didn't know where to find it.  When he asked they said it was at the Boardwalk, so, of course, we had to go to the Boardwalk!  This is a neat hotel right on a lake.

We had a great view of the sunset from here!

Jordan likes to climb on things at this point in his life so he was climbing and jumping off and climbing on this bench!

Here we are getting ready to order in the ESPN Club.  It was a restaurant with TVs everywhere and lots of signed sports memorabilia.  Chad had fun shopping in the store afterwards!


And that concludes our Disney World 2008 vacation!  Here's Jordan with his Mickey Mouse ears!  We got his name embroidered on the back.  He really was a trooper and we had a great time.  I'm ready to go back any time.  It really is the best place for kids and there is always something fun to do!  Thanks, Mickey!  We miss you already!  We hope to see you real soon!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Florida 2008 Part 4

Day two of Disney we were up early again and on the bus headed to Blizzard Beach, one of Disney's waterparks.  Because we stayed at the Pop Century, which is one of Disney's hotels, we had early access to parks.  On this day Blizzard Beach was open one day early so we had to take advantage.  Were one of the very first people into the park and everyone was headed for The Summit Plummet...so I told Chad to just follow everyone there and Jordan and I would wait for him.  Does it tell you something when just to get to the top of the slide you had to take a chair lift????  The Summit Plummet was a 120-foot drop basically straight up and down!  I don't think Chad had any idea what he was getting himself into!  The kids with him assured him that it was Disney, they couldn't kill him.  

It's kind of hard to see them but they are kind of up towards the top/middle.  You can see feet hanging down. 

Here's Chad after he survived the Summit Plummet!  This slide up up there at the top, it looks like you go flying into the air, but there's a hole and you really go straight down through it.  I didn't have the guts!

Jordan and I had fun in Tike's Peak.  I didn't really expect this slide to be all that daring, but...

...we totally got monstrously splashed at the bottom!  I didn't expect this at all...you can see by my face.  Poor Jordan, I was so surprised I didn't really have a chance to shield him.  He's a trooper!

Jordan likes splashing in all the fountains that spray every where.  It's funny to see us in bathing suits when it looks like we're next to a mound of snow.  Gotta love Disney!

I did get to do a couple tamer slides.  This was a cool toboggan slide where you were able to race everyone else.  There are 8 lanes, but only 7 people raced.  There are two people to the left of the purple bar, and then I'm in the third lane to the right of the purple bar...which makes me in the fifth lane.  I was neck and neck with this other guy but I totally beat everyone and got first place!  Is it sad that this totally had me excited?

The champion!

Jordan was a trooper and even took a nap in his stroller at the water park while we took advantage and did some slides.  He liked the lazy river.  Here we are having a snack!

After Blizzard Beach, we headed back to the hotel to relax and change.  We tried to get Jordan to take another nap but he wasn't having it.  We got ready and were off to Epcot.  Here are Chad and Jordan in front of the giant ball.  We never know what to call this thing...it actually has a ride inside of it...which Chad didn't know.  It's called Spaceship Earth...I guess we could call it Spaceship Earth...I just feel like no one else would know what we were talking about!  Anyway...here are the boys (and Nemo)!

By the time we made it through the front part of Epcot and all the way around World Showcase to the back, where Japan is, Jordan was asleep!  As long as he slept we didn't really mind where it was.  He's just so cute.  My friend, April, thinks I look at Jordan way to much while he sleeps, I was in heaven to be able to just watch him.  It's just so sweet.

Jordan woke up to find himself in Japan (at Epcot) where we had reservations for Tempann-Edo which is a hibachi restaurant.  Chad and I love hibachi!  Jordan really liked coloring at all the restaurants we ate at.  I think he has learned that crayons don't taste good...finally.  Fortunately, the food here tasted very good.  I love teriyaki sauce...I have no idea what's in it, where it comes from, or how to describe it, but it's the best.  For some reason, Jordan thinks I'm way more interesting in this picture than the camera.  What can you do?

Here are Chad and Jordan with one of the hostesses at Tempann-Edo.  The girls were all so sweet and nice.  I love that Disney is just a great place for kids.  Everyone is so nice and friendly.  All the cast members are helpful and want to talk and play with Jordan.  I have to say it makes any of the stress of getting there worth it to feel so comfortable with everyone and to know you child is welcome.  

Drumroll, please!  This was one of the highlights of the trip.  (For myself, anyway.  I loved being able to watch Jordan be excited, but this was a treat for me.)  The last time Chad and I were at Disney two years ago, I saw this and wanted to do it.  I was determined to do it this time.  In Japan you can pick an oyster and they open it for you.  There is always a pearl inside...you just don't know what color it is going to be or how big it is going to be.  It's so fun to pick an oyster and to watch her open it up for you.  The cast member played a song on the drum.  My pearl was 7 1/2 mm.  I chose a simple pendant setting and bought a silver chain for a necklace.  I love it!!!!!  

After I got to pick my pearl, we took Jordan to the Nemo ride.  We hopped into a shell and took a ride through the aquarium and looked for Nemo.  It was a quick ride, but cute.  After that you end up in the aquarium where you can walk around.  We tried to do Turtle Talk with Crush but Jordan really didn't want to sit still.  The part that we saw was really cool, basically Crush is in front of you on a screen and he talks to people in the audience.  I have no idea how they make an animated turtle talk to you one-on-one in real time, but it's definitely got something to do with Disney magic.  

After we snuck out of Turtle Talk we took Jordan to look at the fish in the aquarium.  He was in heaven.  We even saw some divers in the tank.  

Here we are with Nemo!

It seemed like our Epcot experience was short...but we definitely did exactly what we wanted to do and we had a good time.  Friday morning we did the whole wake-up-early-and-get-in-the-park-early thing again with Hollywood Studios (this used to be MGM but has been renamed).  this was kind of a bust...but it worked out actually.  The rollercoasters/big rides are open early but that's about it.  There wasn't much for Jordan to do.  We did get Fast Passes for the new Toy Mania ride.  We love Fast Passes!  There is no other way to do Disney.  Once you get your Fast Pass you are free until the time on the Fast Pass when you come back to the ride and basically walk right on with no wait.  The Fast Passes were going quickly so we got them so we could go back and ride after lunch.  Then we let Jordan wander around the streets of New York until other fun things for him opened up.  When Jacquie, my sister, saw this picture she said, "Is he in the middle of the street?"  Yes, he is, but it's totally a movie set thing, it's not real!
  
Playhouse Disney Live!  This is what we really wanted to do at Hollywood Studios.  We made it on time to the first show and got in with no wait!  We rock!  This was such a cool show and perfect for Jordan.  The audience just sits on the carpeted floor so the kids can stand up and dance around when the characters come out.  There is one stage and the characters are all puppets (I guess) from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Little Einsteins, My Friends Tigger and Pooh, and Handy Manny.  I'm guessing if you don't have kids or work with kids you might not know what those are, but they are all preschool-aged shows on the Disney Channel.  Jordan was excited to see Mickey and Goofy.  He was in a trance most of the time.  It was a very cool show!

Here's Jordan just trying to take it all in!

We at lunch at the 50's Prime Time Cafe.  This is one of my favorite restaurants at Disney.  It reminds me of Ed Debevic's in Chicago.  Everything is 50's and your brother is waiting on you while mom is cooking.  The food is all mom's home-cooking and it is sooooo good.  Chad and I both opted for the pot roast.  Yum!  I can still taste it!  

After lunch it was perfect timing for our Fast Passes for Toy Mania.  This is a ride based off of Toy Story the movie.  It's a 3-D ride where you have a cannon in front of you that you use to shoot at stuff on a screen in front of you.  The ride whips you around to a ton of different screens while you try and rack up your points.  I totally beat Chad!  


That concludes my very abbreviated tale of our adventures at Blizzard Beach, Epcot, and Hollywood Studios.  The fifth and final installment of our Disney vacation will highlight the the Magic Kingdom at night, Animal Kingdom, breakfast with Lilo and Stitch, our goodbye to the Magic Kingdom, and Disney's Boardwalk.