Sunday, September 29, 2013

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Day 271 - September 28

Vacation is finally over.

Well, mostly. We still have another overnight in Tallahassee to get through, along with two short days of driving (please, God, let Cate forget that she hates the car after the last two weeks), but we spent our last day doing vacation things today and I'm so glad.

I'm ready to get back to real life and a routine.

To finish the trip, though, we headed back to Downtown Disney. We only browsed the other night in order to hold souvenir shopping over Michaela's head not clog up the villa with all our souvenirs, so we had to get back over there tonight to actually make our purchases.

We stumbled on this cute little fall sign and Michaela, who is all of a sudden a posing fool (too much Princess interaction), was all too happy to humor me and let me take a few pictures.

Fall and tank tops don't really go together, but it's what we're used to at this point. Maybe next year we'll live somewhere that has real fall!

And that's another Disney trip in the books!

Day 270 - September 27

Two weeks of vacation and FINALLY it was a day sort of for Mommy and Daddy. I'm not saying we expected much since, when you bring your kids to Disney World, you generally do what makes them happy. But sometimes the adults need a little something to make them happy, too.

That came in the form of opening day at of the Food and Wine Festival at EPCOT.

Lesson learned: don't go on opening day. Two years ago, we stumbled on the "soft opening" the day before opening day. That's when we should've gone. It was more crowded than we're used to for a park at this time of year, but it was still a good time.

Because, really, what's not to like about even MORE food and adult beverages than normal at EPCOT?!

Day 269 - September 26

After busy days at Magic Kingdom and my brother's house, we had a quiet day just hanging out at the resort and doing some swimming and chilling. We finally headed over to Downtown Disney for dinner and a little shopping in the early evening.

Included in the Downtown Disney fun is usually a ride on the carousel or the train. Lucky for Jason, the line at the carousel was too long, so the train had to suffice.

Michaela didn't want to ride alone.

Daddy is a sucker.

Day 268 - September 25

One of the great things about going to Florida for vacation is that we generally get to see at least some family while we're here. We didn't get to see Jason's brother and his family this time around, but we did see his grandmother and aunt on the way down.

And then we made the short-ish drive over to St. Pete to see my brother, Ryan and his family. They recently transferred down here from Rhode Island and it was awesome to spend a good part of the day with them.

The best part is seeing the kids together. We decided that Cate and Lizzie (their youngest) have the exact same nose. And Jacob (their oldest) and Michaela somehow know that they're cousins even though they've hardly had the chance to spend any time together yet in their short lives. Gabby (their middle one) had her work cut out for her, keeping up with the big kids.

After going out for dinner, we headed to a gelato shop Ryan had taken us to 5 years ago when they were last stationed down here and we visited on our way out on a cruise. Michaela and Jacob grabbed hands and ran through the little park together. Adorable!

Day 267 - September 24

Happy Halloween!

Ok, not really. But it was Halloween for us at Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party!

Michaela dressed up as Belle (courtesy of the Playful Princesses shop on etsy) and Cate dressed up as Minnie Mouse (courtesy of my friend Jana at J.Marie Designs).

You'll see both of these looks again on real Halloween. Hopefully with the right color shoes and no pacifier for Cate the next time around - Mommy should've made sure the shoes still fit before bringing them to Florida and expecting to put them on her. Oops!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Day 266 - September 23

Just because we're on vacation doesn't mean our normal routines go completely out the window.

Take, for instance, Cate's nightly nap on the floor between her bedtime and our bedtime....

Day 265 - September 22

Only 100 days left for the year. Woah!

Today was a crazy day - Animal Kingdom in the morning and afternoon - until we got chased away by the rain - and then dinner back at the resort, followed by heading back to Hollywood Studios to go see Fantasmic! We're definitely trying to get as much use out of the hopping part of the park hopper pass as we can!

As we waited for the stadium to empty out a little before we joined the crowd, Michaela sat happily on the bench, munching her popcorn, sporting her light-up Minnie Ears (Mommy is a sucker and had to buy those for her).

Sometimes I'm amazed by how grown-up she looks.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Day 264 - September 21

Happy first day of fall!

To celebrate, Michaela put on her favorite sun dress and we headed to the mini golf course here at the resort where we sweated to death for the hour it took us to play.

You can't tell from this picture, but this girl's daddy is a pretty decent golfer.

He obviously hasn't gotten around to teaching her much yet.

This was kind of painful to watch. But she had fun. And that's all the matters.

Day 263 - September 20

I think this might be a record - a second picture with me in it in just one week! Crazy!

Today was exciting for me. I got to finally meet a friend I've known online for a few years now in real life! I like to say that Kate and I are mommy-soul-sisters. We have a lot of the same ideas about parenting and just get along really well online.

So when we planned this trip, and knew we'd have lots of time to do things besides Disney, I knew I'd make it a priority to figure out a way to meet up with Kate since she's as close as we'll probably get to each other for a while at least!

She made the drive over to meet up at our resort with her husband and two adorable boys. Cate was enamored by her baby (who is almost as big as she is, at only 3 months!!), and Michaela tried everything she could to get her older son to play with her. We had a great time and I just hope we get the chance to do it again some day!

Day 262 - September 19

Another busy day! I have lots of pictures of character greetings and park fun, but nothing compared with the iphone picture Jason got of Michaela as they went down the big hill on Splash Mountain! I love that he has a Lifeproof case for his phone, so he could get a picture even with the water on its way over the top of them!

To say she loved Splash Mountain would be a major understatement. And, thanks to the rider switch thing, she got to go two times in a row!

What do you think? Did she like it?

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Day 261 - September 18

Michaela's princess hair was still fully intact this morning. The gel and hairspray was used with a heavy hand yesterday so it wouldn't fall out and it worked!

So this is a last picture of it before she hopped in the pool this morning.

I have no idea where these poses are coming from, but apparently princess hair makes you do this.

Day 260 - September 17

Oh my gosh.

Today was awesome. We went to Magic Kingdom, starting the day with breakfast in Cinderella's castle with the Princesses and ending with a last ride on Prince Charming's carousel, with all kinds of fun in between.

Besides breakfast, the other highlight was Michaela's first (and probably only) trip to Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, where she was made up with fancy hair, make up, and lots of glitter. Added to her Belle dress, she walked around like a princess all day long. It was fabulous.

I could go on and on about the day, but instead I'll just post the picture... of all of us!

Family picture with Minnie and her pirouetting poodles. And I'm convinced they put weird lighting in these character greeting spots so you'll feel like you want to buy their professional pictures instead of the ones you take yourself (or have someone take with your camera). Nothing I could do with this would fix the pink glow.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Day 259 - September 16

Way back in 2010, at just about this same time of year, we brought Michaela to Disney World for the first time.

One of the first things we did was to stand in line forever so she could meet Mickey and Minnie. And I was afraid she'd hate them and do the kid-screaming-in-Santa's-lap kind of thing. But she didn't. She surprised the crap out of us and ran right up to them to give them hugs and love.

So today we eased into our Disney trip by having breakfast at Chef Mickey's. We figured it was a way to start the Disney fun without a huge day, and the girls could see the characters. I guess we thought Cate would like them as much as Michaela.

We were wrong.

This picture isn't the best quality one I got this morning, but it's the funniest. Donald was the first character to come to our table and Cate was done already. She's not reaching for a cup or some food or anything. That's a straight up get-me-out-of-this-chair-and-over-there-with-you! reach to Daddy across the table. She was NOT a fan.

Hopefully if she gets the chance to meet them on her own terms as the trip goes on, she'll decide she likes them. Hopefully.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Day 258 - September 15

I could've posted a picture of either of the girls with their great-grandmother or great aunt today. I could've posted a picture of the girls staring out the balcony window at the resort pool. I could've posted a picture of Cate enjoying her new princess crown. Or I could've posted a picture of Cate climbing up the stairs of the play structure at our resort.

Instead, you get these two pictures because I'm pretty sure Michaela will talk about this for a looooong time.

On our way from Tallahassee to Orlando, we stopped to see Nanners (Jason's grandmother) like we always do. She likes to find a good place to take us to lunch when we stop by every year, and this year was no different. She brought us to a great pizza place with the closest-to-real-NY-pizza I've had in quite a while.

But that wasn't what made it awesome.

What made it awesome was that, on the kid's menu, was a make your own pizza. So Michaela got to choose what she wanted on it and then they brought her the parts and she got to put it together herself. That was one excited and proud little girl!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Day 257 - September 14

Cate moved herself right into our hotel for the night.

If only she could read, she could've picked out a place for dinner for us in that little freebie newspaper.

Day 256 - September 13

Ah, packing. I hate it. (Thus, my list.)

But I had a good chuckle tonight as I loaded up the rest of Jason's bag with some of the girls' stuff....

Their diapers and pull ups.

Most of this is for Cate, though Michaela is still wearing a pull up at night just so I can avoid having to change sheets. We're close to getting rid of those, too, but we have at least another year and a half with diapers for the little one.

I'm so over diapers.

But this is how you can tell you're taking two small children on vacation.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Day 255 - September 12

How do you know it's almost vacation time for the Dorval family?

The excel spreadsheet packing list makes its appearance!!

Now to actually use it and get ready to go. I'm about 4 days further behind than my normal way of getting ready for a vacation, so the next day and a half could be fun!

Day 254 - September 11

On this date two years ago, I posted about feeling bad about not having a patriotic picture to post. But then, it occurred to me that by posting a slice of life kind of picture, I WAS being patriotic. I was enjoying my real life, the one the terrorists didn't ruin. And this year, I feel the same.

Instead of blanket forts of two years ago with the older sister, today we had carseat fun with the younger sister. Not her carseat, but that didn't stop her.

We're playing a stupid around and around game trying to find carseats that will work in Jason's truck. We had planned to use Michaela's Radian (that she used in my car until a couple months ago) in the truck, and we bought a new one for Cate, which didn't fit. Well, it fit, but then a person couldn't fit in the seat in front of her.

So we're just having fun buying and returning all kinds of seats. I'm hoping we'll have the right combination with this one for Michaela and a new Radian for Cate (long story on why a new one, but at least I got a great deal on it).

In the meantime, though, Cate just loves every single one that makes its way into the house. She likes to put her babies in them, climb in them, and, in the case of the new Nautilus, she was more than happy to test drive the cup holder.

Day 253 - September 10

I pretty much jumped up and down and did a little cheer for myself this morning.

I stepped on the scale and saw my "normal" weight for the first time since about a day before I got pregnant with Cate. Ok, maybe like a month after I got pregnant. But still, it's been a while.

Of course, if I'd tried anything other than using the fact that I'm still nursing as a weight-loss technique, I might have gotten to this point sooner. I've been sitting around 5 lbs more than I want to be for probably about 12 of Cate's almost-14 months.

Then Jason went on a trip for work and I didn't eat out a whole bunch of times (because it's a pain to bring two kids to a restaurant alone), I ate lots of homemade fruit and veggie smoothies (coconut water, water, kale, strawberries, mango, and pineapple), I didn't snack a ton at night because I was too busy snuggling a baby, and the weight started to come off.

I fell off the wagon a little when he first got back, but got back to it and, voila!, back to 120!

Now I should probably get active again, too. Cate won't nurse forever!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Day 252 - September 9

I just have to acknowledge that this is the most behind I've ever gotten, I think. Even with vacations and traveling all over the northeast on trips and stuff, I don't think I've ever gotten over a full week behind. Yikes.

So this was my view when I finally opened the blog tonight to get caught up... September 1.

And now I'm all caught up on the 9th... just in time to be crazy busy the rest of the week. Hopefully I can stay caught up.

How many times have I said that now??

Day 251 - September 8

This looks like an unremarkable picture at face value.

It's just Cate, sitting in a chair, though with two different blankets pulled down on her.

But it's not just Cate sitting in a chair. It's Cate, sitting in a chair that she climbed into from the ottoman that sits in front of it. And she climbed onto the ottoman from the floor. Because that's her new favorite thing.

And I'm scared. Because Michaela was NOT a climber.

Day 250 - September 7

I have a pretty good view in the morning on the days when I get to sleep in until Cate decides to get up. I hear some noise from the pack n play and then look over to see a goofy girl smiling at me.

A goofy girl who almost always has one pacifier in her mouth, and one in each hand. At least she's willing to share.

And check out that bedhead. Sweeeeeeet.

Day 249 - September 6

I'm pretty sure one of Michaela's favorite things about preschool is the carpool line.

Instead of walking her into school, we line up with everyone else out front and wait our turn for a teacher to come get her from the car and bring her inside.

Why does she like it so much? Well, her carseat is on the driver's side of the car, but the curb is on the passenger side. So, in order to expedite things (and against every fiber of my being), she has to be unbuckled from her seat and ready to get out on the passenger side. She could duck under Cate's seat, but that's more hassle than it's worth, so, instead, she climbs into the front with me.

There are three funny things about this.
1) She faced backwards for so long (until just after her 4th birthday) that she calls the front seat the back. She's all confused.

2) She is fascinated by the sensor in the seat that makes the seatbelt light go on for the passenger seat. She is heavy enough to trigger it and just loves the little red light with the seat belt picture.

3) In order to make the sensor happy, she MUST put on the seatbelt in the front seat while we wait. To be honest, it makes me feel a little better about her being out of her seat should the people behind us not pay attention and gun it into us, but mostly, it just makes me laugh at how grown-up she thinks she is, not only to be in the front seat, but to use the seatbelt instead of the harness of her carseat.

And her cherry sunglasses are awesome.

Day 248 - September 5

You know you have a pacifier addict on your hands when she will suck on a doll pacifier. This thing doesn't even have anything that closely resembles a regular pacifier nipple on it. It's a tiny little hard plastic nub. But that didn't stop her.

Crazy Cate.

Day 247 - September 4

I made the mistake of asking Michaela the open-ended question of what she wanted for her snack. Usually I give her a few options. And usually she has one snack and then has something totally separate for a second snack (but both in the afternoon).

But, apparently, it was better to have three snacks, and all together.

Popcorn, veggie straws, and Annie's fruit snack bunnies.


Day 246 - September 3

I'm not sure if I'm mentioned it here before, but one of Cate's new favorite past times is finding a book, getting you to sit down on the floor, and then backing into you to sit in your lap and have you read to her.

Or, if you're already dumb enough to be sitting on the floor, she'll bring the book and back in.

It's pretty hilarious.

And sweet when it's Daddy doing the reading.

Day 245 - September 2

Holidays are good for getting out of the house and doing fun things. I can't believe we let an entire summer go by before we made it over to the splash pad in Hurley. Insane!

This was Cate's first crack at a splash pad. She was not at all convinced it was a good idea at first, but she eventually got over it. Michaela just picked up where she left off last year - in the bubble.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Day 244 - September 1

It's September. That's crazy.

Ok, with that out of the way, onto the actual post.

Jason did plenty of fishing while he was in Kodiak, but didn't have the best luck with salmon. His halibut charter trip resulted in 20 pounds of halibut once it was processed (he did catch the two biggest fish of the charter, but the 5 of them split the fish evenly). But he was only able to catch one Coho salmon during his time in the river.

Thankfully, he maintains a friendship and reciprocal supply agreement with the head brewer at the Kodiak Island Brewery, so Mike generally hooks him up with fish, while Jason supplies him with beer he can't get up there.

This time around, the fish supplies included some stuff from Mike's freezer like usual, but it also included two sides of King salmon literally fresh off the boat. As Jason was packing up his fish box with his frozen stuff on Friday afternoon, Mike stopped by and gave him a freezer bag full of the freshest salmon you can get without catching it yourself.

And, tonight, it was dinner. And it was good. So very very very good. I've missed the real fresh stuff!

This is the before picture - when it's this fresh, all it needs is a little olive oil, salt, and pepper, and it gets broiled for about 10 minutes for that size piece. The only thing I did wrong was to not cook up more of it!

Day 243 - August 31

Daddy is home!!!

And neither Cate nor Michaela wanted him to get too far away. Cate took it the furthest, though.