Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Sommer dancing with Pluto...and loving every minute of it!
Ethan taking Tate for a little drive. We loved that the older kids could go off by themselves and help out the little ones too!

Garth couldn't wait to see the "stunt" show! Here is the final cool.

Riding with Grandpa.

Garth collects these creatures...not talking about our children.

Donald, Mexican style! Ole'!

It cracked me up that the Disney characters have to stay in "character." To Belle I said, "You look pretty, love the hair." She replies in her sing song voice, "Well thank you dear. The Beast will be glad to hear it looks so lovely today."

More fun with Pop-pop.

Kids in order of goofiness!

Our trip to Disney was quite a "trip."

I wouldn't call our vacation experience one filled with warmth and sunshine, health and vigor, or free of flight delays. It was filled ironically enough with some rather "goofy" mishaps, things out of our control of course, that created a trip we will never forget.

Where oh where do I begin:

How about we start with our big snowstorm that came the day before our departure. After dumping a record 27 inches, Northern Virginia pretty much closed down. This of course meant our flight was cancelled. We didn't despair for two reasons, we had purchased travel insurance (who buys that anyway...we just happened to!) and our travel agent was already rescheduling our flight and stay for Monday. Sunday morning brought the dreaded news that the airports would be closed for yet another few days cancelling our rescheduled Monday departure. Travel agent Lynn came to the rescue once again, changing everything for Tuesday.

With fingers crossed, we woke up at 3:30 am to make our 6:30 flight to Orlando...for our magical?...and warm?...vacation!

And amazingly, we flew out of Virginia on our way to Disney world...barely. The following day, another blizzard arrived and dumped another 10 inches on our already snowed in state, closing the airports once again. But we had made it out and were ready to have some FUN!

We had been hoping our Florida weather would be clear and WARM! But we were not so lucky. Day one brought a lovely rain. While warm, it was wet!

Day two, three and four were COLD. Highs barely reaching the mid 50's with that blasted arctic air streaming down from the north...thanks a lot wind chill. If only I had thought about taking along my UGGs and parka!

Day five brought a nice combo of both RAIN and COLD.

Day six was heavenly. The skies cleared and the sun brought forth warmth. But this day also brought a trip to the ER for Grandma Donna. After a trip to Celebration (nice name for a hospital...what would one be celebrating?), the local hospital, Donna found out she had a 8 mm kidney stone. So big, it required surgery. After spending two days "celebrating...not," she was scheduled for her ultrasound surgery to bombard the stone...THE MORNING OF OUR DEPARTURE for later that evening. Donna was a super trooper and came out of her surgery feeling spry and ready to board our plane.

But ,no, no, the flight ended up being delayed for 2 and a half hours, not leaving until 10:30 pm. Our children were amazing hanging out in the airport, totally exhausted, waiting for our departure. And Donna, just having surgery hours before, also amazed. We finally arrived home at 2 am in the morning.

One would think that rain and cold would detract people from coming to Disney. No. The park was so incredibly crowded from Sat through Tues with mobs of Mickey Lovers celebrating Valentine's Day and President's Day.

But that was just the unlucky stuff that happened...we had tons of WONDERFUL experiences too!

How about this for starters...our kids didn't miss ONE day of school. School was cancelled for 9 days! And after getting home so late (or early), they even had a two hour delay that morning followed by a delay the rest of the week. This totally benefited me and my late nights watching the Olympics.

The pool was so warm, we swam every day. Calvin, Ethan and Sommer had a blast each night hanging out at the pool with a bunch of friends they had met. Garth, Tate, Ashton, Bruce and I loved the hot tub even more. Our sore muscles loved soaking each night!

We didn't have to wait for any buses! Bus luck was on our side the entire trip. It seemed that every time we came out to catch a bus to a park, the bus would magically appear. And after long days of walking around the parks, our resort bus would be there, ready to give us a quick ride back to our hotel.

We avoided waiting in many a line thanks to Calvin's quick moves for the fast passes each morning. And then when those were out, we had Ashton to use for the extra parent waiting ticket. We rarely had to wait in any lines.

We never felt a hunger pain due to Disney's dining meal plan. I felt like it was a week of non-stop eating. My favorite indulgence was a chocolate chip mint shake every night. The warm cherry cobbler with huge scoop of vanilla ice-cream was a close second. We tried so hard to eat everything before we left...but we failed. We ended up giving 6 meals to a nice couple I met in line...while getting my daily shake of course!

It was too fabulous having Grandma and Grandpa Gair with us to help spoil the children. Thank you both for coming along with us on our Magical Vacation!

I taught the kids to always look down while walking around the park. I told them there would be a good chance they would find some money. Sure enough, our skills brought in 12 dollars. And don't worry, there was no pocket least not this trip.
More pictures to come...if I can get my act together!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Theres Snow Place Like Home

When the Blizzard of 2010 comes to our town, Ashton knows what to do...
just remain in your undies all day.

The rest of us, shoveled and shoveled and shoveled...
or at least Garth did.
I shoveled for an hour early on Saturday morning and was just plain wiped out.

There was so much snow (27 inches) that even the kids were too tired to play in it. Even the dog, Joey couldn't take it.

We have loved it!

I actually had time to read a book. It kept me up until 1:30 am last night! By the way, you need to read, "The Hunger Games."

It did cancel our trip for Saturday. And then cancelled it again on Monday.
Tuesday is our last try and then Disney will have to wait until winter is over.
It's supposed to snow again on Tuesday night. My bets are there will be no school all week long.
I was able to run in it today.
Nothing will stop that.

Monday, February 1, 2010


I am nervous about this weekend. I mean, it has been five years since our last big family vacation. A vacation where we actually were gone longer than 3 days, we fly, we leave all of our cares at home. A vacation where the kids have been saving their coins (in a big jar...I will be cashing that in this week), working on earning "Disney dollars" by behaving and helping. A vacation we have been anticipating for years.

It will be here on Saturday.

But here is why I am nervous:

1. We are supposed to have a major snowstorm on Friday night (we leave early on Saturday morning)
2. We have had 2 sick kids and one sick dad the past few days and now I feel a bit achy and have started coughing. What about the other 3 kids?

Here is why I am okay with my nervousness:

Our travel agent encouraged us to get travel insurance.

And many of you might think that was a waste of money...but the last time we went to Disney we had three kids with fevers hitting 104 and coughing every night. Needless to say, it wasn't the best vacation.

I hope we will be leaving on that jet plane on Saturday...healthy and happy AND WARM!