Thursday, March 31, 2011

Day 2 Hollywood Studios

Day 2 was another bright and early morning at Disney.  On Tuesday we headed to Hollywood Studios.  We didn't quite make the opening time, but were only about 30 minutes late.  As we rushed in I headed to Toy Story Mania to get fast passes and Mom & Dad took the kids to check out the other lines.  They decided to catch the Beauty and the Beast show while there were still seats.  Day 2 was when we realized that this whole trip was going to be super crowded.  First off I had to wait in line 20 minutes just to get my fast pass!  On top of that my fast pass wasn't up until 5:20 in the evening. Then as I dashed across the park to meet the rest of the family, I was totally dodging traffic.  I couldn't move that fast even as a single person in a park full of families.  I think my parents grabbed some of the last seats for the Beauty & the Beast show, but I'm really glad they did because we really needed to get Alex started off on the right foot. 

Here is our obligatory family photo at the entrance.  Still not a great picture of Alex.  In hindsight, I should have given up on taking pictures so early in the day. 
But I did find a smile while waiting in line.  Nevermind that she laughing because she kept hitting me in the face.
 Riley and Nana all set to ride the Backlots Tour.
After the backlots tour we had to pose with the Monsters Inc. gang.  This park actually did not have many characters that the kids wanted to pose with.  But that just makes the day a little shorter.

Riley's favorite show was still the car stunt show. Seen it several times, but we all really enjoyed it.
 Then we checked out Riley's favorite characters.  Lightning & Mater will always be among his favorites.

 One more try at a family shot, but Alex still not posing.  Not even with Lightning!
For our final entertainment of the day, Riley & Dad found this squirrel.  The squirrel was literally stealing fries and chicken nuggets out of the bottom of a stroller. 
 It even let Riley actually feed it a fry.  That is pretty hungry.
 Finally we made it to the time for Toy Story Mania ride.  It was totally worth the wait.  I LOVE that ride.  It was loads of fun wearing our 3D glasses and shooting at the targets in the game.  Plus this is the only good shot of Alex's 2nd day outfit.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Day 1 of Disney World Trip

I know it has been forever since I posted, but bear with me while I update day to day of our amazing trip to Walt Disney World.  For Spring Break, my parents took the kids & I to Disney World.  Randy stayed home to work. :( This was actually Riley's 4th trip & Alex's first visit.  Alex is a huge fan of the Disney Princesses, particularly Belle from the Beauty & The Beast, so I had huge expectations for the trip.  We left early Saturday morning and drove to Pensacola, FL where we stayed with my awesome inlaws and feasted on delicious boiled shrimp.  Then we got up Sunday morning (after the time change) and drove the rest of the way to Orlando.  Here is the sign that greets you at every Disney entrance and really gets my heart pumping.  To me it signals entering the happiest place on Earth!  Sadly around this time, we also realized that Alex was now running fever.  Time to start the tylenol....
 Here are the kids our first morning outside at the hotel.  We stayed on Disney property at the All Star Music hotel, in the broadway section (Beauty & the Beast on Broadway!!!).  This is also the first of 7 days of outfits that my mom made for Alex.  Yes, I did say 7 outfits for 5 days....
 Here is the entrance at the Magic Kingdom.  Alex doesn't really know what to expect, but she is also still running fever.
 As we enter the gates, we found our first character to greet & take pictures with.  Alex wasn't too sure of Snow White, but I figured we were doing ok because at least she wasn't screaming.
 I had carefully plotted out the order of importance for the first few rides.  You really have to plan out your immediate rides & what to get a fast pass on.  Knowing this was a favorite of Riley's and everyone could ride we decided to ride it first & get a fast pass for later.  You can only get one fast pass at a time, so you better make sure it is what you really want.  It was!  This ride is Buzz Lightyear and you shoot lasers to score points.  I think in total we rode this ride 4 times by the end of the trip.  
After I won the first round we headed over to drive the cars in the Indy Speedway.  I think everything was still a little big overwhelming for Alex, but she was going with the flow.  After Riley sped off in the car and left me in the dust, we went back to ride Buzz with our fast passes.  Along the way, we met up with Buzz Lightyear to pose.
 Then we saw my favorites Pooh & Tigger.  Alex was definitely not too sure of that gigantic Pooh Bear.
 Next ride was the Winnie the Pooh ride.  Disney has an amazing way of making the lines so interactive and interesting that you almost forget you are standing in a line. Riley & Alex had lots of fun playing the vegetable drums.
 Just a shot of the castle from Fantasyland.  If you look closely, you will see the bottom half is a facade covering up all the construction.  Disney has huge plans to redo Fantasyland to open in 2012. 
As the park began to get really crowded, the kids were showing signs of wear.  So we decided to head for the hotel.  In typical fashion, you never leave on time.  We realized it was time for the afternoon parade.  We figured it wouldn't hurt to stop and see some more characters.
Then it was time to catch some shut eye.  My sweet kiddos were already exhausted and Alex's fever had now spiked to 102. 6.  I was beginning to get really worried.  This is where things took a definite turn for the worst.  I was hoping Alex just had an ear infection and some antibiotics would solve everything, so we headed to closest Minuteclinic.  $130 later, she told me it was just a cold and it would take 4-5 days to wear off!!
After that huge waste of time, we went back to the park just in time to catch the Electrical Light Parade at dark.  Of course it was amazing as always, although our standing spot was not quite as good as usual due to our late arrival.
The Star of the Show!

 After the parade, I felt it was important to make good on a promise from earlier in the day.  I had promised to let Riley ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.  This was his first ever rollar coaster(2 years ago) and he was so excited to ride it again.  I felt it was important to remind him of how much he loved rollar coasters so that he wouldn't be scared on the others.

Excitement is building...
 As we were walking out of the park, we stopped to admire the beautiful colors that the castle can turn at night.  I am so glad we did, because we caught a show I had never seen.  I really can't remember the name, but it was something about memories.  Then they show all these pictures on the castle like it is a blank screen.  Truly amazing!
 This picture doesn't really do it justice, but I will just say only at Disney! 
All in all the first day was well the first day.  We didn't get to see & do but about 1/4 of the park.  Thank goodness we planned to come back to the Magic Kingdom on Friday or I would have been crushed.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Church Family PIctures

It has been 4 years since we had our last church family picture.  Alex was not even born yet.  So when our church started advertising that they were doing a new directory, I have to admit that I got a little excited.  I LOVE pictures & I can never get Randy to take part in them.  The funny thing is 4 years ago when we had our last church family picture, we had Farris Family pictures taken about a month later.  Now here we are finally taking another family picture & we have pictures scheduled in about a month with my parents.  There is no such thing as too many pictures, especially when you look at how stereotypical these family pictures are.  Don't get me wrong there is nothing wrong with this picture, it just doesn't really compete with the outside more relaxed poses. 
Sadly though we still spent a fortune on these pictures.  Part of the problem was we both just ordered and didn't talk over what we really needed & why.  But what is done is done...until we got the pictures in the mail last night.
Randy got home first & found the pictures stuffed, bent, & ruined in the mailbox.  Get this, the envelope actually stated that if too big for the mailbox, then to roll them and place in the mailbox.  That would have been great if everything we ordered had been printed on just photo paper.  Instead we ordered a 10X13 on premium canvas.  That was the one picture that was ruined.  It is bent & the photo just crinkled on the canvas.  This photo was never meant to be rolled anywhere. 
So now I get to call Lifetouch back and fnd out if they will reprint it or if I have to go to the Post Office and deal with them.  In my opinion, (as a former postmaster's child) you can not blame the mailman for the company's lack of care in shipping.  Goodness knows it costs us enough to have them shipped.  For now though I am going to enjoy my new pictures of my beautiful family.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

End of Basketball season

     Yesterday was Riley's last basketball game & team party.  It was a mixed emotions day.  I'm always kind of sad when the end of a season comes.  It means the end of seeing certain friends and where we were comfortable.  Yesterday was also the start of soccer season.  The two seasons had to overlap because of the snow days.  Sadly I wish the games had been in reverse order.  His soccer game was at 9am in the 40 degrees temperatures.  In fact during "warm up", I had freezing rain pelting me.  It was funny to see how much more relaxed and happy Riley is on the soccer field.  He is still not quite the soccer stud that he was a year ago, but definitely better at soccer (at least right now!).  Sitting there huddled under our blanket, I had to laugh as I realized how much more Randy enjoys soccer too.  He was yelling instructions & all into the games, just like I am during basketball. 
      After the game, we went back home to warm up & catch a nap.  Then we headed out to the nice warm gym for Riley's last basketball game of the season. If only the games had been in reverse!!
 Every YMCA game starts with saying the Y pledge.

Riley may not have scored a goal this year, but he has really improved on his defense.  When he is paying attention, Riley is all over his offensive player.  I have watched many a player running in circles to try to lose Riley.  Here is a picture of Riley with those long arms straight in the air while the girls tries to take a shot.
In fact yesterday during the game, there was a point where the player Riley was guarding was dribbling wildly so Riley just took the ball away (the only problem is they won't let them steal the ball at this age).  So the ref blew the whistle and gave the ball back to the offensive player.  Again he dribbled wildly and again Riley took it away.  I was so proud of Riley. So aggressive!  I love it!   Maybe next season, we will work on offense.
After the game, the team headed to Pizza Inn for a end of the year party and trophy presentation.  Coach Kelly did a great job of getting basketball tablecloth & basketball themed goodie bags.  The kids loved it!
   One more team photo!

Such a cute basketball cake. Coach was disappointed because they lost her order for a cookie cake, but I thought this turned out great & tastes better too!
 The all important trophy!  I know it is just because it is basketball, but I like this better than all the soccer trophies so far!
All in all it was a great season.  Stressful for me to adapt my expectations, but he grew so much as a player.  Now back to the cold outside weather...