Thursday, April 30, 2009

Minnie's Sunroom

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Although we took some great photos today, I haven't had any time to upload them. Instead, we've been soaking up our last day in Disney World. We spent a few hours in Epcot this morning and rounded out our vacation with yet another evening in the Magic Kingdom.

Just to tide you over, I wanted to leave you with a picture from yesterday. This is Ella sitting in Minnie's sunroom. She was tickled that Minnie's cute little house had a sunroom and garden just like Garan. Hopefully, tomorrow afternoon we'll be in Garan's sunroom and garden. We're getting up really early for the drive home.

Check back later this weekend for a full recap, many more pictures and some hilarious things that Ella shared with us this week. See you then!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Why the long face?

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In case you're wondering why she looked like this when we got to Magic Kingdom this morning, I have no idea. She woke up happy, only got one spanking before we got to WDW and was so excited to be back at Cinderella's castle. My only guess is that she wasn't thrilled with the crazy cast member taking our photograph! She cheered right on up once we were riding rides.

Today we spent the morning in Tomorrowland, riding some things we hadn't seen yet. Then we headed off to Mickey's Toontown Fair to see none other than Mickey Mouse himself! While there, we had our picture taken with Minnie & Mickey, Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella. Ella is getting braver with each character and did remarkably well with each of these. We also rode the WDW Railroad around the entire park before leaving TTF.

We then attempted to make a quick pass through Fantasyland, but since that is Ella's favorite part of the park, we ended up hanging out there for several hours. We rode the Mad Hatter, Cinderella's Carousel and were getting in line for Dumbo's In Flight when Josh & Ella spotted snacks. We took a timeout at Scuttle's Landing for bananas and a chocolate chip cookie when we spotted Ariel's Grotto. Not only could we wait in a 45 minute line to see Ariel (our longest line yet), but we could run around in the water spouts barefooted while our daddy saved our spot in line. Luckily, he didn't mind so Ella played in the water the entire 45 minute wait and was thrilled once we saw princess Ariel. Let me say, she was STUNNING! We've seen several princesses up close now and they've all been pretty, but Ariel was gorgeous. Ella & I sat down on her rock for a photo op and Ariel started talking to Ella about playing in the grotto and how maybe she could play with her and Flounder one day and Ella looked up at me and said, "Hop up, mom." Y'all, she took a picture by herself! She was so proud.

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After we'd had our fill of Fantasyland, we heading through Frontierland on our way to Adventureland to ride The Carpets of Aladdin and walk through The Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse (Poppy's favorite!). Ella loved the tree house and decided that if SD built her one, we'd climb it. She was full of one-liners today.

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Next we had lunch at Crystal Palace with Winnie-the-Pooh and Friends. This was the best food we've had in the parks so far - it was an all-you-can-eat buffet with lots to choose from and a frozen yogurt bar to finish things off. Eeyore, Pooh, Piglet and Tigger came by the table to visit and pose for photos while we were eating. Ella's revelation of the meal was that "Piglet is my best friend. 'Cause she's pink." Well said.

We finished up the afternoon with a jungle cruise, that Ella slept through, and a quick ferry ride back to our car. We're hanging out, eating pizza and waiting for LOST to come on. Enjoy the pictures below and we'll share some more tomorrow!



Tuesday, April 28, 2009

She's an animal!

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Today we spent the day in Animal Kingdom. I don't really have the strength it would take to put together a coherent post. We're all exhausted. It was our longest day in the parks so far. We did manage to sneak a little nap in this afternoon and then we headed out for pasta. Now we're on the downside, ready for bed.

We had a great day. Saw lots of animals, rode some rides, saw some shows. Ate A LOT. Watched the parade. Had a few meltdowns (mommies & daddies included). I took 204 photographs. Instead of words, here are my favorite pics of the day. See you tomorrow.



Monday, April 27, 2009

We all scream for ICE CREAM!

After a long nap, we did this.

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And this.

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And it was fun.

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Hello, Hollywood!

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Today we went back to Disney's Hollywood Studios to watch some live entertainment and eat a good meal! All of the food at WDW is fabulous, but at some point hamburgers and chicken nuggets gets a little old. Yes, I know we've been here 2 days... we're trying to keep things interesting.

We started off at the live Playhouse Disney show and got a chance to see Mickey's Clubhouse; Handy Manny; Little Einsteins and My Friends Tigger & Pooh. It was interactive and a lot of fun. We sat on the floor for a puppet show and Ella got really excited when the songs from Mickey's Clubhouse came on. All of the kids in the theater knew the words and they were all so cute singing and dancing along.

We headed over to The Voyage of the Little Mermaid were we watched a black-light puppet show where you pretty much couldn't take any pictures (to keep from exposing the puppet handlers), so we just sat back, relaxed and enjoyed. Ella liked this one a lot, too, but when Ursula, the Sea Witch died she leaned over to me and said "She's dead. We didn't love her because she isn't very nice." Well said.

After that we just walked around and enjoyed the nice weather. Ella played at Honey I Shrunk the Kids playground and we took lots of pictures while we playing in the oversized back yard. We grabbed a snack, walked around the NYC and San Francisco street movie sets and had lunch at Mama Melrose's Italian Restaurant. Yummy!

Below is another slideshow showing the best of today's images.



Sunday, April 26, 2009

Fantasmic!

Well, forgetting my camera at MK this morning served exactly one purpose: I will NOT forget it again. Luckily, we plan on hitting up MK several more times, so we probably didn't miss much, but mommy was a little sad. When we got home this afternoon we all crashed and didn't wake up until almost 5 o'clock. Those hotel blackout shades are the ticket!

Tonight we headed to Disney's Hollywood Studios for the light and water show, Fantasmic. I wasn't sure what Ella would think, but she did pretty good. We had dinner at Rosie's Diner and walked around the park to see what all we might want to do tomorrow. We also ordered some Minnie Mouse ears with our name on them since our headband went missing this morning.

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The show was a lot of fun, but very difficult to photograph. There was a lot to see, but the stage was far away and it was dark outside. Instead, here are a few pictures of US at the show!

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Sweet Ella waiting for SD to bring dinner!

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Ella & Mommy getting ready for the show!

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Our Minnie Mouse laser toy (as if we don't have enough of these already?!?!?)

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It's time for the show!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Surprise!

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After a fun afternoon in the sun, we took a much needed nap and then geared up for a very big surprise. Ella got dressed and wore her Minnie Mouse ears, but had no idea why she was wearing them. We headed over to Disney's Swan Resort and had dinner at the Garden Grove, where Pluto and Goofy just happened to join us. We asked her if we were at Disney and she said, "No, Mom. This isn't Disney... it's just a restaurant."

Ella was very excited about Pluto from a distance, but wasn't sure what she thought about him as he got closer to our table. She let me and daddy take a picture with him, but wouldn't take one herself OR let Bunny take one. She told us later that she didn't even like dogs... only Beemer. That quickly changed when Goofy appeared. Not only did she and Bunny have their picture made, but she even gave him a high-five and a big 'ole kiss on the cheek.

She got really excited when we passed the Magic Kingdom sign and we finally told her we were at Disney. She opted for the monorail, so we saved the Ferry for later. When Cinderella's castle came into view she started squealing. Once we entered MK that was our first stop.

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We didn't intend to do much riding... we really wanted to walk around, get a feel for the layout with Ella in tow and find a great spot for the evening parade. To our surprise the lines were non-existent and we managed to get a few things under our belt. We rode Cinderella's Carousel and Dumbo's Flight before we settled in for the parade.

We had a primo spot right in front of Cinderella's castle where we enjoyed the SpectroMagic Parade and Wishes fireworks. Ella had a chance to call home and talk with Nana and Garan and tell them all about Disney World. She loved the parade, especially Mickey Mouse, but wasn't too impressed with the fireworks. That's a license to turn in early the rest of the week, so Mommy and Daddy were thrilled.

The slideshow below includes all pictures from our Character Dinner and our first evening at MK. There's more where these came from, so come back for a visit tomorrow!




**UPDATED** Unfortunately, Mommy forgot the camera on Day 2, but that just meant we had more time for fun. We're heading back after a much needed nap, so we'll be sure to take plenty tonight :).

Poolside

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This is pretty much all we did this morning. We loaded up on groceries, got organized and spent the day at the pool. Ella surprised me and did really well. Little did she know her day was about to get much better...

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Road Trip

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We finally managed to leave around 6:30 last night. Did I mention we were driving? Somehow I got stuck on the second leg and (in case you failed to realize it) that means staying awake for the first four hours and THEN driving the next four. Yikes.

Ella did remarkably well. We were hoping she would sleep overnight, but our biggest concerns were eating dinner in the car and continuing the potty training momentum.

We managed some chicken nuggets in the car, despite the fact they were way too hot. Possibly the best part of dinner was that because Wendy's doesn't have juiceboxes with their kids' meals (weird!) Josh ordered her a strawberry fanta?! Ella has never had a carbonated drink. Ever. She took one sip, shook her head and announced "I don't like it!" So I shared my tea.

We pottied before we left, but I knew there was no chance of making an eight hour drive with no pit stops. She decided she needed to potty while we were in the middle of nowhere and instead of ruining what we've got going her, we pulled over on the side of the road. Believe it or not, Ella was quite proud of her ability to go in the grass. Yeah for potty training!

We arrived in our room at 3 o'clock (4 o'clock local time) and crashed. Ella let us sleep until 9. That was 13 total hours for her and about 5.5 for us. Ugghh.

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This is the view from our room. Gorgeous. We are staying here, thanks to Lane & Johnny who gifted us a week at this lovely resort. It reminds me a lot of this. We have a cute little studio-style condo that is just steps away from the golf course and pool.

See you soon for fun in the sun!

Friday, April 24, 2009

D-Day

Well, it's here. Friday. Are you happy? I am. Not only is it the last day of the work week, but we have something really exciting planned.

Hint number one was that we'd be leaving our timezone for another. We are. We are heading east, then south. Hint number two was that we'd be leaving and returning on Friday. We're leaving today, Friday, April 24th. We're returning on Friday, May 1st. Hint number two was that we were eating lunch with friends. We're doing that, too. Winnie-the-Pooh and friends.

That's right, we're headed to Walt Disney World!

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It was an absolute last-minute decision that had a lot to do with the stars aligning, family & friends and the fact that the three of us haven't been under one roof in almost a month. Ella has no idea we're even going, which is the best part. She knows only that we're going on a trip. We'll surprise her on Saturday evening for a BBQ dinner with Goofy and Pluto along with the Spectromagic Parade at Magic Kingdom. I am beside myself and Josh is warming up to the idea.

Please pray for us as we travel. Pray that our feet don't get tired and our daughter doesn't have a meltdown. Pray that she won't be afraid of characters or rides and that she loves every minute of it. Pray that we memorize the look on her face when she sees Cinderella's castle for the first time.

I'll post as much as possible over the next seven days, so come over here to join in the fun. See you soon!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Ready to go.

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In case there was any question... bunnies are in tow.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Whew!

My photos are back. Here's one to celebrate.

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Technical difficulties

Y'all, I'm experiencing some technical difficulties tonight. For whatever reason, my flickr account is deleting photos, which in turn removes them from the blog. I've contacted tech support and hope to have that fixed very soon. In the meantime, you can enjoy the three that happen to be showing up.

As for today's hint... we'll be eating lunch with a few friends.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Pros and cons

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Today has been a day. From... well, you know. Here's the breakdown:

Pros:

  • I got that cute picture of the friends from Parker & Connor's mom today.
  • I got a little bit accomplished at work today.
  • My internet is working, even though my phone isn't.
  • The lack of phone service kept me from talking to the bank when they called to remind me that just because I was gone for three weeks didn't mean I was excused from paying the car payment.
  • Ella's cute gold gladiator sandals that I ordered a month ago, finally came.
  • I can throw the cheap silver flip flops from Wal-mart away [see below].
  • K let me borrow her zoom lens for our secret Friday.
  • We had pizza and watched most of American Idol.
  • Kris' performance on AI was fabulous, as always.
  • I overheard Ella telling Molly that they were best friends.
  • While I was contemplating spanking my child [see below], she said, "I like your haircut Mommy." Well played, my child.
  • My computer isn't broken after all [see below].
  • I didn't have to use soap to bath my child [see below].
  • We started a "potty chart" since Ella hasn't had an accident in 5 days [see below].
  • The perfect shorts exist, afterall.

Cons:

  • My phone isn't working and the internet is awfully slow.
  • My cell phone battery died and Josh has the charger.
  • I forgot to make my car payment. And probably a few other things, too.
  • Ella had a meltdown when I took her cheap silver flip flops away [see above].
  • I was cooking pizza and watching AI while talking on the phone with tech support.
  • I was on the phone with tech support for an hour and a half [see above]!!!!!
  • My child emptied an entire bottle of body wash into her bathwater [see above].
  • Ella had an accident [see above].

I feel better now. As for the daily hint... we'll be leaving and returning on Friday.


Monday, April 20, 2009

Four more days...

but not five or six, just four. That's what Ella says. Four more days 'til Friday.

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I'm only posting this picture because it makes me laugh {and because K borrowed my camera for the Dave Matthews show tonight}. Ella took it of me a few weeks ago, wearing a party hat from Jackson's birthday party. She's been a little obsessed with my camera lately. It is so big compared to her, but she holds it just right. I'm thinking about getting her a rough and tumble camera for her birthday this year. Is three old enough?

Today was my first day in the office in three weeks. Three weeks is a long time. Several people made jokes about whether I worked there or taking me off of the payroll. To be expected, I guess. I didn't get much accomplished today. It took me almost all day to process my time and expense report and get re-organized. Just about the time I feel comfortable with my job again, the weekend will be here.

After work, but before getting caught in the rush-hour traffic from hell {that took me almost two complete hours to traverse} I stopped at Old Navy in search of the perfect pair of shorts. They don't exist. I bought these* instead. They're pajamas. Or yoga pants. I fully intend to wear them in public. They kind of pass for gauchos if you squint your eyes. Why do shorts make anybody over the age of 13 and weight of 88 look weird? The legs are either too long or too short and I always feel really silly. Uuugghhh.

Sorry this isn't a more coherent post, our evening wasn't very coherent either. I needed to pay bills and call about our computer, but time got away from me and I should really be sleeping right now. The vacuum people had to come back for some paperwork today. I had to clean up three weeks of accumulation. I had to unpack Ella's overnight back and get laundry started so that we have enough clothes to make it through the week. All the while, dealing with an overzealous dog, a two-year-old with stomach issues and a phobia of the potty {although she hasn't had a single accident since my return on Friday}. Tomorrow, there will be actual pictures of the princess in question and hopefully more interesting material.

In the meantime, a hint. We'll be leaving the timezone on Friday. Ooooohhhhh.

*but not really these. mine are black and slinky and have a drawstring waist. they aren't on-line. irritating.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

welcome home

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I was right. I came home on Friday. I met Josh and Ella for dinner and she was VERY excited to see me. I was exhausted and thought about taking a nap in the booth at Outback. I wasn't sure how that would go over exactly. When we pulled into the driveway, Josh flashed on our brights and revealed this sweet message. How cute are they?

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Saturday, Ella and I visited with Isabella and Alston at Nana's before heading to town. We ate at Chipotle, of course, and as usual the worker's love to visit with Ella. The we ran to the Summit to pick up a few things for our surprise destination next week. I won't tell you what all we needed... that might be enough to figure it out!

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Today was a lazy day with some church and family time to enjoy our SD before he left for another week at work. We'll be seeing him again on Thursday, just in time to make our final preparations for Friday. Maybe I'll give you a hint tomorrow, just to keep you interested. Until then...

{I promise I didn't gain 40 pounds while traveling this month; I don't know why I look so weird in that picture?! I really wanted you to see how silly three babies looked in my lap, but I'm starting to second guess this post altogether. Please ignore that thrown back head, double chin and chunky arm... please?!}

Thursday, April 16, 2009

home.

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Three weeks is a long time to live in a different city than your daughter. It is 15 days that somebody else gave her a bath and tucked her in. It is 15 dinners that I didn't cook. It is three weeks of pizza night and American Idol that we didn't share. It is countless I love you's. Too many.

Three weeks is as long as I have to be away from her, because tomorrow I'm coming home. I finished up my out-of-town to do this evening, had a lovely dinner with my bosses and will be packing up and coming home some time tomorrow afternoon. There are things to do in the morning, but the end is in sight.

I love my job and couldn't ask for a more interesting profession. I have wonderful bosses who took care of me this week and allowed me to be a part of something wonderful. I have met many people who made the last three weeks more bearable.

I've heard from Gran, that Nana cleaned my whole house and did all of my laundry while I was gone. I'm so relieved to be returning to a clean house. It's too bad I couldn't find somebody to balance my checkbook and pay the bills, too. I am looking forward to doing normal mommy things this weekend, like buying groceries, bathing the dog and reading bed-time stories.

Are you excited about the return to current posts? With recent photographs that aren't a week old? I am. But mostly I'm excited that I'll be there to make the photographs myself. In the meantime, here are a few from Easter Sunday afternoon.

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smelling the flowers with Poppy

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hunting Easter eggs

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flowers for Mommy

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driving the buggy with Poppy

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trying to take a picture of ourselves

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more easter eggs

On another note, I've got a very fun group of posts for you coming soon. Starting next Friday, April 24th I'll be posting from an undisclosed location. There will be much to see and hear. It's a surprise that I cannot wait to share. See you soon!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

pretty girl.

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I posted these to remind you how pretty this girl is.

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That's all.

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Pretty.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Bunny Visits

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We had a lovely Easter weekend and Ella really enjoyed Sunday morning. We had a hard time squeezing everything in and the Easter Bunny had to make a late-night visit, but boy was Ella happy when she woke up. I had to wake her up {she was in our bed, of course} and convince her to check it all out.

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Wanna know what the EB brought?

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Candy, which Ella said was her favorite thing;

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a doctor's kit, stethoscope included;

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a jelly bean pooping bunny;

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an egg full of play-doh;

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Disney DVDs, including The Jungle Book 2, which illicited MANY sqeals;

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a princess puzzle, the sidewalk chalk you saw above and a new hairbow and pair of bloomers to wear with her Easter dress.

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After sorting through all of that Ella & Bunny took a little movie break and watched Finding Nemo while eating Reese's PB Eggs for breakfast. YUMMY.