Sunday, April 26, 2009

A Day at the Beach...

Tuesday we went to the beach...all day! We ended up driving, even though it was only about 2 blocks away, but parking is so easy and it made it easier with all of our stuff. The beach was pretty much empty and the kids played in the sand all day. Ryan was great...he'd sit and watch everyone and then take a nap. John took him on a few walks down the beach to get him to sleep, so I got some good relaxing time in with the kids.

You are allowed to drive on the beach at Daytona Beach, but unfortunately we didn't see anyone doing that :(

By the end of the day we were beat...and sunburned! I felt horrible! We tried so hard to keep the kids protected, but both Kylie and Josh had some burn. Thankfully Ryan did not. So that night we slathered on the aloe :)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Day 5 of Vacation

Sunday we woke up and decided to head to the GIGANTIC indoor flea market that was just a few exits up. I had no idea what to expect…I’ve been to very trashy sales and I’ve been to really nice ones…this turned out to be a mixture of both :)

First of all, it was huge! We had a map showing us where things were. Even though I like to go to flea markets and garage sales, I’m not one to usually buy other people’s used stuff (although sometimes I will…it just depends on the item and the condition). But then we started getting to the booths of food, and I was in heaven! First there was the spice booth – tons of interesting spice combinations and fun things, so I got a few. Then there was the salsa booth – this couple makes all kinds of homemade salsas (we ended up getting a peach-chipotle one that is awesome!).

We walked around and got tons of samples of wonderful fruit – oranges, strawberries, etc. We also got samples of and bought kettle corn and sweet and spicy nuts. We had a great lunch there (tons of little “restaurants” within the place) of corndogs, fries and funnel cake. We spent a good ½ day there!

When we left it was raining. The flea market was by the speedway, so we went over there to see if there was anything we could do there. Turns out a good part of it was outside, so we decided to come back another day and do the whole “Daytona Experience.”

When we got back to the condo we just hung out. John went out and made friends with a guy that actually lives here in Columbus and owns a local chain of dry-cleaners! The kids were running around and playing, and after the “note” we received, I was trying my best to keep them quiet. There was this couple sitting outside on their patio that looked to be about my parents’ age (so much younger than the average age of the rest of the people there :) ). I was nervous because of the kids...

But then the lady asked me how old the baby was, and then she made the most amazing comment to me…“we love hearing the children run around and play…you keep letting them play out here.” I was kind of taken aback because it was so opposite the “note” and I honestly wasn’t sure if she was serious or being sarcastic. But then she, and her husband, told me that they love to hear the kids playing…it reminds them of their grandchildren (3 of which are Ryan’s age). So I pulled up a chair and made myself comfortable! These two people, one a retired doctor and one a retired professor, were the nicest people! They talked and played with the kids, offered me drinks, and brought us out cookies. I told them about the “note” and they told me to ignore it! They confirmed what I thought in that whoever wrote that must have never had kids!

After a while we decided to head to dinner. The lady was so nice and gave the kids a huge basket of toys to play with for the rest of our trip. It was so nice to experience this kindness after worrying about that stupid note!

We went to this awesome seafood restaurant right on the inlet for dinner. Our table was right by the window, and even though it was dark, we could see the water below us and had a pelican friend to watch. I got the most amazing dinner…crabmeat already taken out of the shells and soaking in butter! And even though Ryan was a pistol (tired but wouldn’t go to sleep), we still had a good dinner. John took the kids out to the car when we were done while I waited for the check, and the 2 couples at the table behind us started talking to me. They told me I had a beautiful family and that the kids were so good (and mind you, it’s 10:00 at this point!). They told me they had teenagers at home that they were worried were throwing parties and getting into trouble and wished they could go back to this “easy” time. I was wearing an “OU” shirt, and the one guy asked me if I went there. I told him both John and I did, and it turns out he not only went there too, but he also graduated from Athens High School! They live in Cincinnati now (2 hours from where we live). Talk about a small world!

It was a long and eventful day!

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Disney 2009

We went to Disney on John’s birthday. We got up early, got everyone ready, and headed out the door for our 1 hour and 20 minute drive to “the World.”

The drive was gorgeous…the sun was out and it was a beautiful temperature. When we got into Orlando it was so exciting seeing all the billboards for the nearby attractions…we knew we were getting close! We then started seeing the signs for Disney World and drove through to the Magic Kingdom to park.

Once at the front gates we bought our tickets…which had to be done a little differently since there were extra steps to get John’s free ticket. The lady also gave him a button to wear that said “It’s My Birthday” that I told him he had to wear for at least ½ hour! She also gave each of us a button that said “I’m celebrating Daddy’s Birthday,” which the kids loved.

After we got the tickets we headed onto the monorail. It was so neat seeing the castle get closer and closer! Once we were there we went into Main Street and were in awe…the weather was perfect and it was just like it had been the previous year. The same show was even being performed in front of the castle as a year ago when we first entered!

We decided that I would take Ryan and go and get the Fast Passes for Splash Mountain while John and the kids watched the show at the castle. Afterwards we met up and the kids met Donald Duck and then we headed over to Fantasy Land so that the kids could ride some rides while we waited for our Fast Pass time. Ryan decided he was hungry, so John stayed and rode rides with the kids while I took Ryan to the baby care center.

I just want to say I love Disney…really…everything from how stinking nice the employees are, to the fact that the parks are so clean, to the silly rules they have in place that make it an overall great experience. The baby care center was no exception. Inside I found 4 rocking chairs in a dimly lit room where I could peacefully feed Ryan (I was the only one in there for a while). I know there was a changing room somewhere, but I just changed him in the rocking chair room, which was nice. I just loved not having to worry about whether Ryan was going to pull the blanket down out in public, or whether I was exposing too much skin, or just being comfortable!

After that we headed over to Splash Mountain and Kylie and John went to ride while Ryan, Josh and I went down to the little play area below. Josh had so much fun playing there and I had fun trying to make Ryan smile :) Unfortunately Kylie didn’t have as much fun on the ride this time because she got wet right away :(

After that we decided to get some lunch. It was hot dogs and McDonald’s fries! Then the kids went on Dumbo with John and Ryan and I hung out. After that ride we went over to the Peter Pan ride – the kids had loved that so much last year! And it was so nice because I could take Ryan on it, so we got to all go!

We then headed to the front of the park to look for Kylie’s Minnie ears. She had been wanting them the whole time and she knew she wanted the ones that had a veil. So we found them and as we were going to leave, Joshie saw the “make your own” ears and you know what he said? “Hockey helmets!” The base part (the hat with no ears) looks a lot like a hockey helmet, and since we know he’s obsessed with hockey, he loved it!

After that we headed over to Mickey and Minnie’s house. The kids love playing in their houses because they get to touch everything! I had to feed Ryan again and this time it was not such a lovely experience, but we survived :) John and Josh went to ride Goofy’s roller coaster and then we got to do the parent swap so Kylie and I could go and ride (another wonderful thing I love about Disney). After that we headed to the barn and shopped around while Kylie and John participated in the parade :) Then Kylie spent the rest of her money on a baby Minnie doll (it’s so hard being a parent and trying to teach kids what are good things to spend money on and what aren’t).

Joshie was getting tired at this point so I carried Ryan in the sling and put Joshie in the stroller to nap. He fell asleep and John and Kylie decided to drive the race cars. They were in line for about 45 minutes, so I got an ice cream bar and planted myself in the shade. I gave Ryan some licks of the chocolate, which he loved, and just enjoyed watching all the people. After John and Kylie were done, we parent swapped and Kylie and I went on the race cars.

After that Joshie woke up and we spent more time in Tomorrowland (which was nice because we didn’t get here at all last year). We went to the Monster’s Inc. show and at the end when the little monster says “you want to know what’s cute?” they flashed a shot of me holding Ryan on the big screen and the monster says “a baby! And that one’s fresh out of the oven!” It was fun!

We took the tram thing around tomorrowland and got to see a lot of neat things (including the inside of Space Mountain with all the lights on because there was some sort of problem – it was neat seeing all the tracks!) Then we headed over to the Buzz Lightyear ride…it was so nice because I could take Ryan on it, so we all got to go as a family! It was a very cool ride…we got more Fast Passes to ride it again!

By this time it was starting to get dark, and cold. We forgot to bring in the kids’ jackets, so we were planning on leaving soon. We rode the astro-ship-ride-thing (parent-swap again!) and then I told John to take the kids back on the Buzz Lightyear ride while I went to feed Ryan one last time before leaving. Unfortunately I got up to the front just as the light parade was starting. I couldn’t cross the street! Luckily, Ryan had fallen asleep in his sling, so I wrapped him up in the blanket and watched the parade. When it was over I started to make my way up to the front, wondering how I was going to find John and the kids, and I happened to run into them! What are the chances of that? We also saw a guy wearing a Blue Jackets shirt (our hockey team) and Joshie yelled “go Jackets” and the guy yelled “go Jackets” back! We made our way back to the monorail and the kids got to ride in the front car which was a really nice treat for them! Back at the car we had two very sleeping kids and little man that wanted to eat! So I fed Ryan while John talked to his parents on the phone (since it was his birthday and all). The kids informed us that they were too tired to stop for dinner :) So we headed out and were back at the condo by 10:30.

It was a long day, but so very much fun. It was nice because the kids really didn’t have any interest in seeing any characters (we saw a line for some princesses and Kylie didn’t want to see them) so we didn’t waste any time doing that. We just rode the rides and relaxed!