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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Tidbits & Hilarity

Life is constantly a special type of chaos, blessings & hilarity.

The hilarity (& chaos) is usually brought about by the girls, naturally. Having a threenager alongside 2 other kids has been a challenge - it is hard to keep a watchful eye 100% of the time! Some tidbits and snipits from our summer:

- Aleesia drew a mural on the dining room wall. While in timeout. To her credit, it IS a good cat...

- Aleesia also cut her own hair while I thought she was coloring.

- Vivian learned to open the doors and has let the dog out more than a few times.

- Gianna learned to ride her bike on 2 wheels and has experienced the freedom that comes with that. Such an awesome big kid milestone. Also one I never experienced!

- Vivian learned to climb out of her crib. She's only done it once so far, but I am not naive enough to believe that will be the last time.

- they all three love to put the boppy pillow around the tops of their heads like a wig and make each other laugh until they cry. It is hilarious!

- Aleesia learned to swim under water! And Gianna has improved her swimming skills so much as well. Vivian just wants to walk right off the edge of the pool & give everyone a heart attack.

- The kids have spent every moment we've allowed them playing with all of the neighborhood kids & it has been busy but amazing watching their friendships grow & these memories made.

There is so much more that has happened and memories that have been created - someday I'll get to all of them!
School starts this week for G and next week for A - we are ready but not at the same time.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Disney World 2016: Hollywood Studios

Our first park day this trip was to Hollywood Studios. There is a lot of dreamworking going on in this park right now so we planned a character dinner and waited until after lunch to head to the park. It was a really nice, low-key morning at the pool which helped us to enjoy our park time!

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The Disney Jr. characters are outside of the Disney Jr. theater instead of inside like they have been in years past (inside now is Star Wars themed, Mike and G met Chewbaca!) so the kids were hot and sweaty, but I think my littles enjoyed meeting some of their favorite animated characters even if they seem a little skeptical!

 

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We had a snack break after riding Toy Storia Mania (which remains one of the most fun rides!) near where the new Toy Story land will be – that is going to be a super fun part of the park.

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Then we found Mickey and Minnie. The line was slow moving so I was glad we had some entertainment with us!

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We followed this up with dinner at Hollywood and Vine – Minnie’s Springtime Dine ate here last trip and the food was terrible. This time? That was thankfully not the case! The food was great and the character interaction was superb! I tried so hard to capture Aleesia’s amazing surprise/happy face that she made each time she saw a character – it was the best!

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Our next stop was to see Olaf! This was for sure the kids’ favorite.5.30  (182)

We did Frozen Forever which is the best sing-a-long ever. The kids had the best time. Then we rode Star Tours – it was my first time riding it and it was fun even if I have never seen Star Wars.

We stayed for Fantasmic (we got VIP seats with our dinner) for the first time since we’ve gone with kids. I am so glad we stayed, even if Aleesia got scared at the end. Gianna LOVED it!5.30  (194)5.30  (195)5.30  (1)

 

Right now, in my opinion, this is a half day park – especially if you take advantage of late extra magic hours and/or don’t have thrill seekers who want to ride ToT or Rockin’ Rollercoaster. There are huge improvements coming and we can’t wait to go back to Hollywood Studios once all of the new areas are finished, it is going to be so great! And hopefully next time I can convince at least one of the kids to ride Tower of Terror with me!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Disney World 2016: Polynesian Review

We went to Disney World at the end of May and stayed at Disney’s Polynesian Resort for the first time. I previously really didn’t get the draw to the deluxe resorts but when we scored an awesome deal we couldn’t pass it up. Needless to say, I now FULLY understand the draw to the Monorail resorts, especially with kiddos who are still in strollers.

Let’s talk reviews because I have a lot to say!

Kingdom Strollers – we rented the CitiMiniGT and it came with a cooler and rain cover. I want to buy this stroller now, I loved it so much! And the rain cover came in handy at least once. The stroller was simple to order and pick up/return is right at the front desk.  We didn’t miss the stroller at all on our travel days – I wore Vivian in the airport and Aleesia and Gianna did great at holding our hands/navigating the airports. I could easily push any combination of girls with no issue, which was a double bonus.

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Garden Grocer – We got a delivery credit from renting our stroller and it was great. We got almond milk, a case of water, gateroade and some snacks. In all honesty, I over-ordered on snacks and if we could have had 1/2 a case of water that would have been ideal. But again, ordering was so easy as was picking up the stuff that I would do it again in a heartbeat. My only “negative” was that I found their website kind of hard to navigate as far as figuring out some specifics on products before ordering, but it wasn’t a huge deal. I had also packed snacks, which I probably won’t do next time.

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We did the Magical Express and were the first stop, which was really nice. We stepped off the bus and the kids were amazed, as were Mike and I. The theming and decor is beautiful, I really felt like we were stepping into Hawaii!

We had kind of a haphazard checkin process – but we did online checkin so our room was ready as soon as we got there and our bags arrived relatively quickly. We didn’t get a balcony room, which I was a little disappointed about but our room in the Aotearoa longhouse was wonderful. We had a lagoon view and the doors opened to the outside and the view was perfect – we could see the magic kingdowm fireworks from our bed and we were so close to the Grand Ceremonial House and pool. We didn’t notice much extra noise from Luau Cove except when the last show ended as the guests walked right by our room, but it wasn’t a huge deal.  The walk to the TTC wasn’t bad either.

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The kids LOVED the pool! Gianna couldn’t get enough of the Volcano slide and everyone loved the splash pad. We specifically planned pool time into our days and I am SO glad we had the opportunity to enjoy the hotel and the pool. We never visited the quiet pool or the sand area, but that’s okay – everyone was happyily cooling off in the main pool area. It never felt overcroweded either, even on Memorial Day.

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We did the dining plan this time (as we have in the past). Probably my only ‘complaint’ about the resort is that the Captain Cooks (quick service) had more limited options than at the moderate resorts. We ate lunch there a few times and felt like we were always getting the same things. We also have picky eaters, so that was part of it. The flatbread though? WAS AMAZING. Honestly, all the food was so good there – the service is a little slow so don’t be starving when you walk in.

I had a polynesian pearl drink from Trader Sam’s which was super good and the awesome pineapple drink (pictured above). The iced coffee from Kona is something I’ve been craving since we left.

Other restaurant reviews:

Kona Cafe – this is my favorite breakfast in all of Disney World, so no surprise that I loved it once again. Tonga Toast is where it’s at!

Ohana – we had breakfast at Ohana our last morning and it was SO yummy. The juice was wonderful, the fresh fruite platter was a hit and I loved all the warm food. They were so accomodating to our crabby kids! Vivian called Stitch (who is all over the hotel in the gift shops and stuff) a bunny the whole time and was so excited to see the bunny in person! She, at the end of the week, had finally warmed up to the costumed characters and loved Pluto!

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My biggest regret is forgetting to buy our MemoryMaker/Photopass pictures in time (the day I went to purchase all of them, the first 2 days had disappeared and I didn’t realize it!)– there were just a few that I really wish we had, although I am lucky enough to have captured a version of every picture taken on my own camera. I have always discouraged against paying for MemoryMaker, but I have to say it really is worth it especially if your family splits up and there are some great ride pictures that get captured (I’m bummed not to have the pictures of Aleesia and I on the Mine Train).

 

More resort/dining reviews coming soon!

 

We’re already ready to plan a(nother) return trip….

Saturday, July 16, 2016

A letter to my {first} daughter: Seven!

Gianna!

This is a slightly delayed (and by slightly, I mean by 3 months) letter to you for your birthday. I wrote you one in our letter journal (albeight it last month) and somehow never got around to putting anything here. Life, as has been the case for the longest time and will probably for the next many years, passes by without me being able to take a few moments to put all the things swirling around in my head down in writing.

Enough about that – let’s talk about you!

The past year, the age of six (now the beginning of seven), was one that was FULL of changes in your life.

We moved twice, you went to a new school, changed dance studios, lost a lot of teeth, made a lot of new friends and your confidence is growing by leaps and bounds. Little babies grow rapidly as they develop, but big kids it seems, grow just as rapidly but differently. For example, I realized sometime in the spring that i hadn’t tied your shoe in weeks – because you learned how to do it yourself! Sometimes Idon’t even realize how much you’ve grown and learned until I’m doing something for one of your sisters and it hits me that I don’t need to do the same for you.

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You are such a little girl, who sometimes wishes she wasn’t so little (and that’s okay), but I think you also don’t want to grow up so fast (I appreciate that!). There was a moment a few months ago, you and your sister were getting ready for bed and I was brushing your hair – I forget now what was so funny, but you were CRACKING UP – all I could see in the mirror was a little girl in the middle of a giggle fest – I tried so hard to burn that image into my head: an image of innocence, sweetness and laughter – it was perfect.

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It amazes me how helpful you can be – how much (at times) you want to help your sisters, to help me, to have responsibility of your own. I’m greatful for your kind spirit and your big emotions. You’ve always felt everything with such magnitude and the only thing that has changed about that is how you recognize it too. You’ll often say to me when you are upset about something “I just have a lot of feelings!” to which I tell you it’s okay to have a lot of feelings!DSC_0293

One thing you REALLY REALLY wanted for your birthday was an ipad. We debated and finally got you a new-to-you ipad – you would have thought we bought you a pony! You were so so happy! Technology isn’t something I always put a lot of emphasis on, but the world does, so we need to embrace that a little here with boundaries and responsibility/responsible use. So far, so good. (Also, facetime and iMessaging are her favorite things to do!)

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Confidence growth, I think, will be the name of the game going foward. Confidence in your ability to do anything you want (practice and work hard!), confidence that you CAN, confidence that you can learn anything. You’ve shown this in the way you’ve learned to read even when it was really really hard, in the way you’ve made new friends when you were shy, in all the new things you have tried this year, in the way you’ve grown in dance and just in life. I’m so proud of you and I am really loving all of the big kid firsts happening in your life!

 

Love you much, my little G!

Mommy

Monday, April 25, 2016

Punked

If I didn't write this stuff down, I wouldn't remember to laugh about it later. Or something.

Truth is, I feel like I've been stuck in an episode of Punked the past few days. I don't know who I pissed off along the way, but I'm sorry for whatever I did/didn't do and/or said/didn't say.

Let me recap:

Thursday evening Aleesia had a problem choosing a towel after her shower which ended in a giant tantrum, her barely putting her PJs on and just general ridiculous threenage attitude.

Friday afternoon during her "nap" Aleesia got into perfume that was in Gianna's room. She spilled the perfume on herself & her blanket which she then wanted to wash. Thankfully I came to check on her before she figured out how to open the new bottle of detergent!

Later that same day, when I thought she was coloring a picture, she was actually coloring on HERSELF!  Arms, legs, hands in black marker because she wanted to be like Cat Girl.

While I was handling her, the dog was then a muddy muddy mess who also needed a bath!

Saturday & Sunday were super crazy and filled with only minimal tantrums and minimal terrible things.

Monday, however was tough. The highlights include a dog that escaped & ran around the culdesac for 25-30 minutes while the older kids screamed & cried that she'd be gone forever while I couldn't chase her and had to make dinner.

Then  a tantrum over washing hands (which had literally just been washed)
And the icing on the cake? Vivian vomited all over herself on the way to dropping Gianna at PSR. It was the. Worst.

After I got everything cleaned up, kids asleep, etc. I stubbed my toe on the baby gate and just decided the day was over! I grabbed some Reese eggs and went to lay in bed!

I have to laugh at this stuff because this is life and life happens (& because I would cry or scream too much otherwise) but really, white flag is flying over here! I always felt fairly put together and like life was decently organized/structured but increasingly I just feel like I am a hot mess 98% of the time and that's totally fine as long as dogs stop running away and kids stop puking in their car seats, because cleaning those things are just awful.

Plusandalso, thankfully the kids are still adorable despite their antics!