Thursday, September 29, 2011

Day 272 - September 29

Do you know what's a little bit insane?

I'll tell you.

Going to three different Disney parks in one day with a two-year old.

It's only a little bit insane, though, because we did it in a manageable way. We had about 2.5 hours at Hollywood Studios this morning before leaving for nap time. Then we headed to EPCOT after nap time because we had reservations at Le Cellier for dinner. We got there a smidge early, so we had time for a couple photo ops (that would be the first picture tonight) and to watch a band (Off Kilter) and meet a few characters (Tigger and Pooh). After dinner, we left right away to head back to Magic Kingdom for a last hurrah there. (I feel a little bit bad about how boring EPCOT is going to be for the toddler tomorrow, so the last trip to MK tonight was my way of alleviating the guilt.)

While Michaela, Daddy and Mimi raced ahead to get to the Teacups (this evening's first request), I stopped to take a few pictures of the castle at sunset (that would be picture #2).

I couldn't decide between the picture of Michaela "hold(ing) up the big ball" at EPCOT (her idea) and the sunset castle picture, so I picked both.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Day 271 - September 28

One of my most favorite things about coming to Disney is my once-a-year splurge on a ginormous caramel apple. By ginormous, I mean ridiculously ginormous. Ridiculously.

I should've shared it today. Instead, I ate it all.... While the kid and the husband were napping and my mother-in-law was at the pool. I'm a little ashamed. And I was a lot full. And it was divine, as always.

Oh, and I always get the same kind.... apple, covered in caramel, coated in milk chocolate and rolled in mini M&Ms. Divine.

Day 270 - September 27

After being out too late last night to get the picture up, I'm finally getting to it this afternoon!

Last night was a special night at Magic Kingdom - Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party. The cool part about going to the party is that you essentially get an extra park day (the party is from 7-midnight, but you can get in as early as 4pm on the ticket) for less than the cost of a normal ticket, it's generally not that crowded, and all the rides and everything are still going in addition to a cool parade, fireworks show and trick-or-treating.

Those things are neat, but even better is seeing your daughter dressed up like a Princess, trick-or-treating and meeting characters in Halloween costumes, too!

Not thinking about the overall aesthetic of her costume, I let the blonde choose to be the one REALLY brunette Disney Princess - Snow White. Even with the wrong color, hair, though (and the WAY cheaper version of the costume they were selling here for $65), I think she made a pretty darn adorable Snow White.

Here she is, just after getting her costume on (we kept her in regular clothes for a couple hours so she wouldn't die of the heat in the costume) and starting the "Trick-my-treating" (her words) fun!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Day 269 - September 26

We went to Universal's Islands of Adventure today. Because we were having so much fun riding rides, the camera didn't really come out. When it did - to try to get pictures of the toddler riding her first real roller coaster - the pictures were terrible. And when the phone came out to take pictures, I posted the picture almost immediately on Facebook through Instagram, so there was nothing new for the blog.

That was until dinner tonight.

Although a giant storm was on the horizon, we headed back to the park after naptime this afternoon, only to bust out the ponchos and find out that all the rides were closed because of lightning. So we opted to have dinner first and then headed back into the park to make the most of our tickets - rain and everything.

Dinner was at Margaritaville... where, of course, I had to have a...

Cheeseburger in Paradise!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Day 268 - September 25

I had this picture earlier when I was catching up, but figured I'd wait until the day was over to be sure this was the one I wanted to use. I don't know how I could've come up with something better, but you never know.

I snapped this one this morning with my phone as the two girl cousins were saying good bye to each other as we were getting ready to leave Pompano. Does it get any sweeter than that??

Day 267 - September 24

As I mentioned, we were down in Pompano Beach this weekend visiting Jason's brother and his family. We also got to see Jason's step-dad and his grandmother... it was a nice little mini family reunion!

One of the best parts of these get-togethers is having the cousins get the chance to spend some time playing and being cousins. We miss that by living so far away from everyone!

So yesterday's shot is of Michaela and her cousin, Regan, playing Princess Barbies together. Love it!

Day 266 - September 23

Sorry about the delay in the pictures.... we took a weekend trip down to Pompano Beach to see Jason's brother and his family, so getting to the computer wasn't as easy as normal.

Friday, we went to Sea World. We had a fantastic day of very small crowds, some great animal interactions/sightings and, of course, for the toddler, kids' rides. She had a BLAST thanks to being tall enough for all but two of the kids' rides and NO lines!

I'm pretty sure she enjoyed this one - or, she was just having a great time waving at me. One of the two!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Day 265 - September 22

Oh my goodness - I only have 100 days left in the year! CRAZY!!! I think I'm going to have to do this again next year. I'm having too much fun!

Back to our regularly scheduled programming, though...

Today was a down-day for our vacation. Michaela and Mimi spent some time at the pool this morning, Jason golfed, and I hung around all lazy. By dinner time, I was ready to get out of the villa, so we headed to Disney's Boardwalk resort for dinner at the only Brew Pub on Disney property.

They do a full "three-course meal" there for the kids - carrot stick appetizer, main meal (which was mac n cheese with a side of green beans for Michaela), and a dessert. Since Michaela wore her cranky-pants out to dinner, we got the dessert (chocolate cake) to go, which she asked for immediately upon parking the car back at our villa. The child forgets nothing.

So she ran to her seat as soon as we walked in the door and dug into her to-go box. I'm pretty sure she liked it. Either that, or she heard something about a new chocolate facial that none of the rest of us know about!

Day 264 - September 21

It's another two-picture day. And, surprisingly enough, one of the pictures actually has me in it. That's twice in a week... CRAZY!

But it was a big night last night, so the blog needs two pictures, and I'm all for appearing when I'm all dressed up.

We went to Victoria and Albert's last night for dinner. It was our third visit there in the last 12 years - I like to call it our once a half-decade (really, once every 6 years since we went in 1999, 2005 and now 2011) major splurge. It didn't disappoint. There are really few things in this world I love as much as amazing food. And last night's meal was even better than our other trips there because we both appreciate good food and wine so much more than we did, even on our last visit. And forget about the first time we went - we were 22, on our honeymoon, and didn't even know how to do the valet parking at the hotel, let alone fully appreciating the amazing food.

But last night's meal was truly fabulous, and it was so fun to get dressed up, not have to worry about the kid (everyone should bring a Mimi or a Grandma on vacation with them!!), and just enjoy some time together.

So, by way of explanation, the first picture is pretty straight forward... a quick snapshot on the way out to catch our car (there's NO driving for this meal!). The second picture is a coffeepot. I HAD to take a picture of the coffeepot since that, the valet parking and the fact that the waiter put my napkin back on my lap when I came back from the bathroom were the three things that stuck out the most about our first visit to Victoria and Albert's back in 1999. It IS a really cool coffeepot, though, and it makes an amazing cup of coffee. So there ya go.

See you in another six years, Victoria and Albert's.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Day 263 - September 20

Today was a day of characters. Disney characters, to be exact.

And because of that, I couldn't choose just one picture. I did, at least, narrow it down to three. You should be thankful for that because there were many, many more than that.

We started the day with Disney Princesses, and ended with more fuzzy characters. We learned the toddler is not that fond of the characters that just look like people, but are dressed up. The completely costumed characters (like Pooh, Mickey, Donald, etc.), she loves. We'll probably skip the rest of the "people" and stick with the good ones.

So here are the highlights from today....

Chip and Dale figured out how to get a 2-yr-old to warm up to them by doing whatever it was she was doing. She bent down on the ground to pretend to pick something up, so they followed suit. It was hilarious! I'm grateful for them because, up until then, she was not digging the characters too much. After that, though, she was all for it. We ran into Chip and Dale again, but she was quickly distracted by Winnie the Pooh, much to Chip and Dale's sadness.

Totally enamored with Pooh (or, as she likes to call him, "Winnie ha Pooh"), she couldn't stop hugging him. It was adorable!

And then from Pooh, we saw the same girl who shied away from Cinderella this morning like she had the plague, cuddle up to Mickey Mouse like he was her long-lost friend. Go figure!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Day 262 - September 19

After learning our lesson from last year's whirlwind Disney vacation (you can read all about it here), we're taking things a lot easier this year. On top of having more time, we also have the help of a grandmother this time around, too. I'm pretty sure this vacation is going to be awesome.

In the interest of starting off slowly, we did nothing yesterday after getting here Saturday, and then only did a character breakfast at Chef Mickey's this morning, and a little shopping at Downtown Disney to get into the spirit of "The Happiest Place on Earth."

The breakfast was perfect, though... personal attention from Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Pluto and Donald, right at your table! Along with that, Michaela got to eat as many donuts as her little heart desired. That was her request for breakfast this morning, and thankfully they had donut holes to satisfy her request. They also had Mickey-shaped waffles. It doesn't get much better than that if you're Michaela.

And then there were our visitors. We were surprised to learn that Donald Duck was the favorite. Poor Minnie got the brunt of the toddler's curiosity.... yeah, that would be my child trying to poke Minnie in the eye. I hope those guys get paid well!!

Stay tuned for more Disney fun all week!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Day 261 - September 18

Today I thought I'd share a rare glimpse of the elusive.... me.

Don't get all excited. I'm pretty sure another couple months will go by before you see another one of these. So enjoy.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Day 260 - September 17

See? I really DID need to make that pedicure a priority yesterday.

Like I said earlier on FB, if you need me for the immediate future, you'll be able to find me either at a Disney Park (or Sea World or Universal), or here:

Friday, September 16, 2011

Day 259 - September 16

It's good to have priorities. Because I wasn't busy at all today (*read that with massive amounts of sarcasm*), giving myself a pedicure was on the list of things that HAD to get done.

Hee hee....

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Day 258 - September 15

In the morning, if Michaela is nice enough to let me, I like to sit at the table for a few minutes to check email, check facebook, maybe spend a little time on Coastie Chicks, or, like this morning, do some banking.

Of course, all of this is done on my laptop.

Because the toddler is becoming more and more of a mommy-mimic every day, she likes to pull her "laptop" out while I'm using mine sometimes, just to be like me. This morning, that also included actually sitting at the table across from me... not in her booster seat, of course, but in the same kind of chair I was sitting in.

Hopefully I'm not teaching her any bad habits!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Day 257 - September 14

Because the upcoming two weeks in Orlando will not be enough character fun for the toddler, we decided to splurge and get tickets to Sesame Street Live: Elmo's Superheroes. We didn't tell Michaela about it, though... we decided to just go and see what happened.

So, this afternoon, after her nap, we put her new Sesame Street shirt on her (picked up for $1.98 on clearance at Target the other day!) and headed downtown to the Civic Center Theater for the show.

Twenty minutes into it, we started losing her attention, but she still seemed to enjoy the whole thing, even though Mommy and Daddy thought an hour and a half (including a 15 minute intermission) was maybe a smidge too long for the toddler/pre-school set. There were no melt-downs as she lost interest, though, just general fidgeting. I can handle that.

And it was all worth it to see her reaction as each character made his or her entrance onto the stage at the beginning of the show. She jumped up out of her seat and was trying to figure out how to get closer to the stage. It cracked us up!

This is my favorite picture.... she was standing up, hanging onto the seat in front of her, completely engrossed in what was happening on stage. Loved it!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Day 256 - September 13

Theoretically, we go to playgroup so that Michaela can run around and get some energy out, and I can chat with my other mom friends.

However, neither of those happens in large quantities when we go to certain parks around here... the parks that have swings.

Michaela is obsessed with swinging, so she doesn't run around, and I spend all my time pushing her and trying to shout to whichever other mom is in the general vicinity, all while listening to demands such as "I go big!" and "Mommy back up!"

I get treated to this view, though, which is generally accompanied by laughter or some version of, "Wheeeee!!!"

I guess it's a fair trade-off.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Day 255 - September 12

Cheater alert! Cheater alert!

I did NOT take this picture today. I took it on Saturday.

I was having way too much fun building blanket forts, blowing bubbles, having my hair combed by a toy foam "brush," making duck quacking noises as the toddler used the duck-shaped magnet on her magna-doodle, and various and sundry other activities (like sitting at the car dealership for an hour and updating my packing list for our upcoming trip) to remember to take a picture.

That's not entirely true. I took two pictures of the toddler "using" the Wii remote to play a Netflix movie, but they didn't come out well enough to use. And I wasn't going to try to make her do it again and risk the ire that is the "Terrible Two" year old by making her do something she didn't want to do.

So you get a picture from Saturday.

She's all ready for Trick-or-Treating at the Magic Kingdom in a couple weeks - as Snow White!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Day 254 - September 11

Last night, as I was posting the picture for September 10th, I had a thought that I should find something patriotic to take a picture of today as a way of remembering that day 10 years ago when our world was changed forever.

I didn't get to it, though. After a really bad day with a cranky kid, I was happy to be able to get a few pictures of her - happy finally - playing in her very first living room blanket fort.

Just now, as I'm getting ready to post such a random slice-of-life picture, my initial thought was that I really should've made the time to do something a little special. But my next thought was that this kind of picture - a toddler playing happily with her daddy - IS special.

It means that, although the terrorists tried their best to kill the American way of life along with those thousands of Americans who lost their lives that day, they failed. Yes, certainly everything has changed and my toddler will never know the world like I knew it until September 10, 2001. But, we still live freely. We still enjoy life. We still worship our God in whatever way we want. We still let our little girls go to school and be whatever they want to be, right along with the boys. We still get up every day and go to work, or school, or church, or the playground, or the store. We travel. We stay home. We have picnics. We go to parties. We go to the movies and concerts. We watch our favorite sports teams play games. We LIVE.

And because we live, and live well for the most part, they failed.

So this picture of my toddler, playing in her first blanket fort with her daddy IS special. It shows that life goes on. And that, by virtue of being here and going about our business, we win.

And, in the words of my friend Kim as she posted on Facebook about going on a hike this morning on the Maine coast with her family.... "Suck it, terrorists."

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Day 253 - September 10

What a difference about 18 hours can make!

Last night, I had a fever-ish, cuddly, non-eating, tired toddler on my hands. This morning, I had a chow-hound (catching up on a missed meal!), smiling, bi-trick-le (that's bicycle/tricycle to you and me) riding, normal toddler in her place. Crazy!

Besides the illustration of the weirdness of the fever that came from no where and went away just as quickly, in looking at this picture, I'm also struck by how incredibly grown-up my "baby" looks. Yikes. How'd that happen?

And, on a side note, doesn't it look like she knows what she's doing? Yeah, she doesn't. She was posing with her feet on the pedals. Daddy is off to the right, having just let go of the parent-assist handle so I could get the picture in the good light. But she looks like a pro!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Day 252 - September 9

Tonight was supposed to be date night. We had Fandango tickets to use through a Living Socials deal that expired today. So I found a friend to watch Michaela (we STILL don't have a real babysitter), I bought our tickets online today, we made our plans for take-out dinner to be eaten between my haircut and when the sitter was getting here, and then.... Michaela was sick.

She was fine all day today, but got a little cuddly and sleepy while Jason had her out for a walk and to pick up dinner while I was at my haircut. By the time I got home, she was weepy and only wanted to cuddle with one of us, without even eating dinner. And she was warm.

So Jason called a friend to head out to the movie we'd already gotten tickets for, and I took up station in the chair with a toddler cradled on my lap.

Thankfully, shortly after normal bedtime, she conked out laying on me and I was able to get her to bed. Now our fingers are crossed that we have an uneventful night and that she's feeling ok in the morning. I'm not sure where a random fever is coming from, so we'll see what else it brings.

So tonight's picture is what I was doing while Jason enjoyed our date night... with Robb.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Day 251 - September 8

I think I need to find a new app to take pictures with on my iPhone. I love Hipstamatic, but I'm realizing that most of my pictures are taken with it. Anyway...

For the third day in a row, courtesy of low-ish temperatures, and even lower humidity, we were able to go on a walk as a complete family today. With a toddler who didn't want to "stroll," though, we had to get creative. Oddly enough, Jason wasn't as comfortable during our walk as Michaela and me. Once you see the picture, you'll be able to guess why.

Oh, and I'm posting a second picture because I couldn't decide between the two. The first one, with Fred and Michaela, was taken because I wanted one of just Michaela, but she told me no. I asked if I could take a picture of them together, and that was ok. Of course, once that was out of the way, she wanted me to take one of her by herself. I told her to "look cute." I'll let you decide if she managed that.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Day 250 - September 7

Some days I wonder how a 2-year-old's mind works. Today, she gave me a glimpse into it.

Apparently, Woody needed a hug from Mrs. Potatohead. Then Buzz did, too. Then Bear needed to hug all of them, and was placed just-so to make that happen.

My only part in this whole thing was putting Buzz in Mrs. Potatohead's second arm. I make no claim to the rest.

Have I mentioned how much this child cracks me up?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Day 249 - September 6

It was SO wonderfully cool out today, it almost felt like fall. Don't worry, I'm not deluding myself... I know fall won't get here to Alabama for at least another month, but I'll take the tease when I can get it.

When I woke up this morning (nice and early... thanks, kid), it wasn't even up to 60 degrees yet. By 9:15, when we headed out for the park, it was still only 70 degrees - with no humidity! I was actually thinking I should've grabbed jackets for us!

There was no need for a jacket once Michaela got going at the park, though. She's had only a couple of park visits since the spring since it's usually too hot to be out there longer than about 10 minutes, so she was in her glory today to get about an hour and a half at the park!

And her new favorite, by far, was the tire swing. She's finally figured out how to hold on, so I'm no longer afraid of a head-over-heels accident. She spent the last 10-15 minutes of our time at the playground parked on the edge of the tire. There was no moving her until a little boy finally came along, looking for his turn.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Day 248 - September 5

It's another day for Fred... but a much happier dog today.

The clouds finally broke for a while this afternoon! And, even though the outside temperature was only 77 degrees and the pool had cooled down to only 83 (it was nearly 95 last week), Michaela asked to go swimming, so Jason took her.

And Fred.

Nothing like a good splash in the pool to wipe away the blues of three days spent inside!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Day 247 - September 4

I think maybe Fred is tired of the rain from TS Lee.

Or, after two years, he's just really over being pushed aside by the mere presence of the toddler.

Either way, he couldn't have looked any more pathetic today if he'd tried.

Poor Fred.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Day 246 - September 3

Today was a nice day.... for a duck. (As my good friend, Rich, would say.)

Tropical Storm Lee has been sitting on top of us all day, with alternating drizzle and super heavy bands of rain. I think we've had a total of ten minutes throughout the day without rain. At one point, it looked like it was getting a little brighter out, and then the skies opened up again.

Jason has drained the pool twice, and estimated he pumped out about 2500 gallons of water total. Ironically, we had to top the pool off about three days ago - something we do regularly - because it was getting low again. Too bad we couldn't save those 2500 gallons for the next time evaporation has taken its toll.

Unfortunately, I'm not skilled enough to get good pictures of the rain (nor did I want to stand outside any longer than I had to since I was getting wet even under the covered part of our patio), but I tried. Again, I have two pictures tonight... one of the "pond" that formed in our backyard, and the other to give a little bit of an idea of what the view was in our backyard. Both were taken at about 1pm this afternoon... when it would normally be bright and sunny. It was not.

We're expecting 10-15 inches of rain total by the time this thing finally decides to move on. We're up around 7 inches already in the last couple days, so we'll see how it goes for the next couple. Thankfully, we're about 200 feet above sea level, so flooding shouldn't be an issue for us, and the wind is no worse than a "breezy" day in Kodiak!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Day 245 - September 2

Know what happens when you store bubbles in your garage at about toddler eye level right next to the door into the house?


At about 7pm, on the way in from dinner, your child decides she needs to blow bubbles. But you decide it has to happen inside because it's raining out (Hello, Tropical Storm Lee). And then your child proceeds to nearly eat the bubble wand and blow bubbles with her nose and mouth (meaning, without the wand) because she has so much "bubble juice" on her face.

How was your Friday night?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Day 244 - September 1

I have two pictures again today. I took one early-ish today that cracked me up and then couldn't help but take the second after Jason got home from work this afternoon.

Sadly, neither picture is that great in quality. The first is much blurrier than it looked on the screen when I took it and the second is just an iPhone one. But both tell good stories, and that's what pictures are all about.

Right before I took the first one, Michaela said (whined), "Mommy don't take your (my) 'pitcherrrrr'!!!" Can you hear it? The look on her face was just too funny. She was running around doing her own thing and had asked me to take her picture about five minutes before, but all of a sudden decided having her picture taken was sheer torture. Ah, the mind of a 2-yr-old.

The second one requires no explanation (I don't think).