30 December 2009

Walt Disney World - Day 6 (aka. The Last Day of Our Vacation)

After our super late night at Epcot the night before we decided that we were going to take advantage of the resort that day.  The weather that day was absolutely beautiful - temps in the mid 80's and sunny.  A perfect day to go swimming.  This was super great for Emi because this was going to be her 1st time ever in a swimming pool and we weren't sure what she was going to think.  You can tell how she felt about it by the photos below. 

After pool time was over we went back to the room and took naps.  It was Emi's naptime and because of our extremely late night ahead attending Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party we also made Eriks nap.  I think most of us got some sort of nap in.

We headed to the Magic Kingdom at around 4pm.  Although the party didn't officially start until 7pm we allowed into the parks at 4.  We got our special event armbands and headed straight for Tomorrowland.  The park was actually not that busy that day and got on tons of rides.  Even the Christmas party not that bad.  It definitely was not a sold out night.  When the park closed to the general public, almost all of our rides were walk-on and we didn't have to wait more than 5 minutes.  The exception was Dumbo.  I don't think that ride is ever a walk-on.  The kids were having a blast.  I was having a blast.  We've attended the Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and although it too was a lot of fun, I loved the Christmas party a lot more.

The unfortunate part of the night is that because Lane grabbed the battery charger for the wrong camera I was unable to charge my battery so the camera died and I didn't get many photos.  My mom on the other hand got tons.  So when I see her in a few days, I'll upload a bunch of her photos of the party to share. 

That's the end of our fabulous vacation.  The next day we left the beautiful 86 degree FL weather and headed home to much cooler temps in Georgia.  However, I felt really bad for my parents as they were leaving 86 degrees and heading home to 22 degrees and snow in Indiana.

We had a great time and we'll go again when the Christmas decorations are up.  Disney is always a magical place, but there was something about it right before the holidays that made it seem all the more extra special.

29 December 2009

Walt Disney World - Day 5

Trying to wrap up our trip review.  So here goes with day 5.

In the morning we headed over to the Magic Kingdom.  We were looking forward to it because the weather was so much warmer that day.  We took a few photos of the family in front of the castle and then it was off to Adventureland for a Dole Whip float.  If you haven't had one, it's a must.  I'll have another one in May/June when Lane take our 10 year anniversary make up trip.  What this very yummy concoction contains is fresh pineapple juice and soft serve pineapple ice cream.  As you can see Emi really loved this because she couldn't get enough of it.

We got to ride The Jungle Cruise, Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion and Splash Mountain.  Eriks originally said he hated Splash Mountain but I think he changed his mind.  Lane and I loved it and we got pretty doggone wet going down the 5 story plunge at the end.  Like I said, thankfully the weather was beautiful and warm that day!  Lane and I took Emi back to the room for naptime and my parents took Eriks over to Epcot for the afternoon.  It was nice that we had a bit of downtime.  After Emi's nap we headed over to Epcot to meet my parents and Eriks.

We had dinner reservations at Biergarten which is almost all the way at the back of World Showcase and the clouds were looking pretty ominous so we hoped to get back there before it started raining.  Thankfully it was only sprinkles but we did get to the restaurant in time. 

The dinner was a buffet full of all sorts of German foods.  The potato leek soup was really good.  I enjoyed almost everything I ate.  There were a few things that just weren't me but I did have a full belly.  My favorite was the Bavarian cheesecake for dessert.  I could've eaten a ton more of that!

During dinner we were entertained by an Oompah band.  They were very entertaining and Lane and I even got up and did a bit of polka!  All that Latvian folk dancing as a kid and young adult came in good use! 

 After dinner we walked the rest of the way around the lagoon checking out the rest of the countries in World Showcase.  My mom and I even stopped to have a frozen Parisian Cosmopolitan from a kiosk in France.  It was absolutely delish.  I could definitely have had a few more but I also wanted to stay sober.

We stayed around and watched the Illuminations fireworks show which is really amazing.  After that we waited forever for a monorail back to the resort.  I think we ot to bed about 12:30. 

28 December 2009

Christmas 2009

As things are settling down and we are gearing up for the new year, I figured I'd sit down and write about our Christmas.

This year we stayed home.  It disappointed most of our family but we wanted Emi to have her very 1st Christmas at home.  Some people might think this is a little selfish but there are a few things I must inform you of:
  1.  I HATE to travel during the holidays.  I love taking vacations, but I grew up never traveling anywhere for Thanksgiving or Christmas.  My extended family took turns hosting Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve but afterward, you always returned to the comfort of your home and bed.  Old habits die hard.  Plus it's nice not having to convince your children that Santa indeed will find you at someone else's house.
  2. Eriks' 1st Christmas was not at home.  He was born exactly 1 week before Christmas Eve and we were stuck in Oklahoma in a hotel.  No tree, no presents...no fun.  We were very fortunate that Lane's parents, sister, brother & SIL and their kids were able to drive up for Christmas Day.  But then we had to deal with finding somewhere to go for Christmas dinner.  We ended up at Hooters.  Yes, you read that right...Hooters.  So my son had his very 1st Christmas Day dinner at Hooters.  We vowed after our next adoption we wouldn't be away from home for that child's 1st Christmas. 
We went to the 4pm mass at our church and it was crazy packed.  They had a 2nd mass going on over at Eriks school at the same time.  Lane had to park at the elementary school down the road because 1/2 an hour before church began, the parking lots were already to capacity.  The school parking lot almost was too!

We had a nice Italian dinner of mushroom lasagna, salad and garlic bread.  I wanted something good but also wouldn't take me all night to make.  We attempted to get Christmas photos of the kids in their nice clothes but it wasn't too successful.  At one point Emi decided she was going to lay on the hearth of the fireplace in protest.  Maybe we'll get the kids dressed again while our tree is still up and try again.  

Eriks came into our room at about 6:30am and we made him crawl into bed because Emi was not awake yet and we weren't going to wake her.  She woke up about 7:30 and the chaos began.  The photos below are what our living room looked like after we put out the gifts and Santa showed up.

 Santa left the kids a thank you note for the milk and cookies the kids left him.  I'm sure they were delicious (wink, wink). 

So we started opening presents at about 7:45ish and finished at about 11:30.  It took so long because we had to take periodic breaks for the kids to have a few minutes playing with some of the stuff they got and because we needed to eat breakfast too.  So here are the photos of the kids opening up and playing with presents as well as a photo of their haul from us parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles & cousins and Santa!
Last but not least, a few photos of Lane and I on Christmas morning opening up our gifts.  I got Lane a new espresso/cappuccino maker.  He bought his in 1994 while at AC school in LR.  I got this super cool craft organization system I've wanted for awhile.  Unfortunately all I have right now is the photo because it's on backorder.

I hope all of you had a wonderful and very Merry Christmas!

21 December 2009

Walt Disney World - Day 4

I apologize for the delay in the continuation of our trip recap.  It was a crazy week/weekend.  Eriks turned 6 on Thursday.  Hoping to get the trip recap done by the end of the week!

So day 4 we went to Epcot.  The weather was slightly cloudy but it was warming up.  I figure the high that day was about 67 or 68.  The 1st ride we went on was Spaceship Earth (aka the big silver golf ball).  This is a really fun ride.  Then the boys ran off and rode Test Track.  We girls hung out and enjoyed a snack and people watched.  After snack, we were really hungry so we headed over to the Land and had lunch.  The restaurant was freezing cold so it did not make for an enjoyable lunch.  After lunch, Emi was exhausted so Lane and my dad who still wasn't feeling 100% took her back to the room to take a nap and my mom and I took Eriks on some other rides.

Dinner that night was at Narcoossee's at the Grand Floridian.  Lane, Eriks & I had dinner at Narcoossee's last year for Lane's 40th birthday.  The food was fantastic as always.  Unfortunately, part of my steak came out nearly raw (not medium as I had requested) and they ended up comping us all of Emi's meal.  I was a little disappointed that it happened but I was close to being full so I probably wouldn't have eaten it all anyway.  The dessert I had was fantastic.  It was another one I took a photo of.  My parents also loved the dinner there.  We had a great window view of the Magic Kingdom from our table.  We all left happy and full.

The Grand Floridian is one of the most beautifully decorated resorts at Christmastime.  I could've sat there all day long taking in the holiday decorations.  Every year they build a life-size gingerbread house that they sell gingerbread and other holiday goodies from.  It was really cool to finally see it in person. 

This is what it takes to make the gingerbread house you will see in the photo below:
1,050 lbs of honey
600 lbs of powdered sugar
800 lbs of flour
140 pints of egg whites
180 lbs of apricot glaze

16 December 2009

Walt Disney World - Day 3

Saturday morning started out much like Friday - rainy.  The good news was that the rain was just about over so we decided we'd spend the morning in the resort so Emi could get in an early nap and then we'd head over to the Magic Kingdom for the afternoon/early evening.

The rain cleared out around 11ish and about 1 after Emi woke up, we headed out.  We stopped in the park to grab lunch.  We stopped to take some photos with the wooden soldiers they had up near the entrance but unfortunately, some kid decided to join in our photo.  My parents photo turned out great.  On the way to the restaurant as we were walking down Main Street USA, they had this mini-parade come down the street so we stopped to watch.

After lunch Eriks just had to ride some rides.  We headed back to Fantasyland since we were almost there.  The first one we rode was the Tea Cups.  My mom went in one with Eriks and Lane and I had Emi.  We weren't sure how she was going to do with the spinning.  She loved it.  Not only did she have a huge grin on her face, she was laughing.  It was a hit!

(photo taken before the ride started moving)

We then wandered into Mickey's Toontown where we went into Minnie Mouse's house and Eriks rode Goofy's Barnstormer rollercoaster.  He loved it.  It was not his 1st roller coaster ride.  The 1st one he went on was Big Thunder Mountain at the Magic Kingdom the year before.  I think our kids just like their parents are going to be roller coaster enthusiasts.  Unfortunately with my pacemaker, I can't ride them anymore :-(

By the time we got done in Mickey's Toontown it was after 5pm and close to parade time.  I also need to mention that this day was the coldest day we were there.  The temperature started in the low 60's and dropped as the day progressed.  So by the time the parade rolled around it was easily in the low to mid 50's.  I was super thankful I packed all of us fairly heavy-weight jackets.  It was kind of weird watching a parade as the sun was getting ready to set.  All of our previous trips to Disney had been when the sun doesn't set until about 7pm or later.  The parade was cute.  I also got a photo of Cinderella's castle at sunset which I thought was kind of cool.

 We also stayed for the lighting of Cinderella's Castle.  That in itself was so amazing it was worth sitting in the cold weather.  It's too difficult to even describe how I felt when all the lights came on.  I felt the same way when we watched them turn the lights on at the Osborne light display.  It definitely made me feel about 8 yrs old again.  I guess it was pretty "magical".

 After the lighting, we had to get over to the Contemporary resort for dinner at the Wave.  It's a pretty new restaurant there.  I know it wasn't open when we were there last April.  My mom and I both ordered drinks.  She had a margarita and and I had this drink that had a reusable flashing ice cube in it.  It was pretty and I got to keep it.  Dinner was fantastic!!  And dessert was really great too.  So great, I had to take a photo of it before I ate it.

I forgot to mention that at the Contemporary they had this huge Christmas tree made out of gingerbread.  It's a 17-ft high tree that took 136 pounds of honey, 101 pounds of flour, about 50 eggs and lots of spices and sugar syrup.  They also used about 75 pounds of icing.  It was so cool.
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