Thursday, July 15, 2010
We just got home from vacation in Williamsburg, Virginia. We met my two sisters and my parents there for Camp Grandma this year because Autumn wanted to visit Southern Virginia University to see if she might want to go there. She is there this week for EFY and will fly home next Sat.
My good friend Melanie made these great shirts for the grandkids and my mom. We got comments on the shirts everywhere we went. They say Camp Grandma on the back and made it easy to spot each other from a mile away. Since Julia is such a great escape artist and runner and we were in many crowded places- Busch Gardens, Water Country and Colonial Williamsburg- this was a good thing. It was crazy hot while we were there- 105-110 for a few days- but we still had a great time. We went to Water Country to beat the heat. They offered a "bounce pass" for these three places where you could go as many times as you want within 7 days for a price that was lower than two regular tickets to the park. So there was no rush to see everything in one day....leaving us time to do things like stop and try honeysuckle.
I think my favorite part of this vacation was watching the way the cousins played together. They had not seen each other for nearly a year, but they just immediately pick up their close relationships with each other. I love this picture of Sean and Kathryn- it just seemed to capture the comfortable ease they felt with each other.
Of course not all children are perfect, and we did have to punish a few for being too rowdy!
But for the most part, it was a wonderful trip with the kids. Makayla, who was the unhappiest newborn we have ever had, has become the happiest infant we have ever had. She travelled like a pro and kept us all smiling.
Thursday, April 1, 2010
We drove this time, and I clearly had forgotten how long it takes or else we would have flown. That being said, the kids did great. We got there much later than we expected, which made for a late night of preparations for Mike and I to get us prepared for the park in the morning. I think we went to bed at about 1 am. Our plan was to be at the park by 8. We got about 5 minutes down the highway when I realized I left Makayla's formula on the counter, so back to the condo we go. We then decided to stop at Target on the way out to get autograph books for $2 instead of paying $8 at the park (total savings $42). We arrived at that parking lot at 9 am and by the time we got our tickets from will call, took the monorail, got a double stroller ($32 a day- what are they nuts?) it was 10 am and we walked into the park just in time for the morning parade. The kids loved it, but I was looking around and wondering really how we were going to maneuver our huge family amongst the seemingly millions of people that were at the park that day. Apparently, it had rained for two days straight prior to our arrival, so everyone was back at Magic Kingdom to celebrate the return of sunshine. I needn't have worried though, as I have "Super-Mike" on my side. He ran to get fast passes all day, and kept us out of lines. Having a child swap option makes it so easy to avoid waits! We would use 5 of our tickets for fast passes for the rides that everyone including Hunter could ride, and the other four tickets for fast passes for the rides only our 48 inch and over kids could ride. Mike would take four kids on, leaving one to help me with the little ones. At the front of the fast pass line you ask for a child swap and they give you a fast pass good for three more people to come through the line! So after they got off I would ride with two of the kids. It worked great. We didn't have time to go to Walmart to get food for the day because we got in so late, so the only lines we waited in were for food and to get autographs from characters.
We took the kids back to the condo and then Autumn and I went shopping for food to bring to the park on Monday ( Uncrustables, crackers, water bottles, nutrigrain bars, protein bars, pringles, apples, oranges, etc...) and food for Sunday meals (cereal and oatmeal, lunchmeat for sandwiches and lasagna for dinner) as well.
( Animal Kingdom closes early so that night Autumn babysat for us) I blew my diet at Ghiradelli chocolates but didn't even care because it was so good it was worth it :)
Sunday, January 10, 2010
During the ride to the hotel where we were having the pictures taken, I find out that Sean has tried to make Julia happy by giving her a Jolly Rancher. When I begin to freak out at the thought of her adorable cream sweater being drizzled with Jolly Rancher drippings, he assures me that it is okay because she didn't like it and spit it out...thankfully missing the aforementioned cream sweater completely. Crisis averted! If I can keep them clean for ten more minutes it will be a miracle.
I have no number to contact Maddie, our photographer, so I call a mutual friend who gives me her cell number. Maddie is so kind in helping calm me down and lets me know that we can still make this work even if we are late. She is just great at what she does. We show up and she gets awesome shots of each individual child, boys with mom, boys with dad, girls with dad, girls with mom, family shots, baby shots....and everyone cooperates and looks great. Even Julia is happily running around. One would look at us and never guess the chaos that had ensued less than an hour earlier in my home to prepare for this event. And I guess that's the point right? To capture us at our best. Which I hope we accomplished. And we don't need to accomplish it again for a very long time.