Monday, May 11, 2009

I'm Back

Wow, can't believe it's been over two months since my last flimsy post. I actually wrote this post a month ago, then our internet crashed for 4 weeks. Honestly, I have many reasons for not posting, not just excuses. So I'll try to catch up on everything without being too long winded. And yes, if you scroll to the end and skip my babbling, there are pics of our trip to Disney. I tried not to put too many of the same ones that are on Facebook, but the really cute ones were repeated:)

So, a 2 months ago, my Spartans were defeated in the NCAA finals. Flat out outplayed by the Tarheels, I can admit that. It was fun to have a good run, though.

At the same time, for work we were putting on a large scale conference for dairy producers, veterinarians, industry personel, etc. I honestly felt like I was planning a wedding again - guest list, catering, meeting spaces, hotel accomodations, sponsors, speakers, just to begin the enormity of it all. In the end we had over 200 attendees and an incredibly successful event. It was actually amazing how well everything came together - not even a computer crash! It was a great meeting! The remainder of that week I spent escorting one of the keynote speakers around to many of our client's farms for walk-throughs of the calf facilities.

Naturally, the next week was spent recovering from the previous. There was a bunch of horse work that I had to get caught up on after neglecting the poor creatures for a week. Plus we were leaving the following week for Disney, so I really had to cram 'em in. I've been impressed that the horse business hasn't fallen off all that much. Considering our great economy here in Michigan (and everywhere else for that matter), and the fact that you hear stories of people just abandoning their horses, I figured things would be pretty quiet. It honestly hasn't been much different than any other year up to this point. We'll see how the remainder of the "shot season" plays out.

So that brings us to our exciting family vaccation to Walt Disney World in Orlando. We had been so looking forward to this trip. It was our first vaccation as a whole family (since C.J.) and our first "big" Disney trip - we went for 1 day 4 years ago. I had planned and planned to get this one just right for all involved. We went with my parents, which was really nice - the adults outnumbered the kids which is very important. So I'll use the multitude of pictures to give you the scoop. They aren't in any particular order. Sorry for the long length. That's what happens when you only post once a month I guess.

Here is the Motley Crew in front of Cinderella's Castle at the Magic Kingdom. As a 30-year old, I'm still enchanted by Disney. They do such a fantastic job of creating atmosphere that you truly feel like a kid again. It sure was fun living in fantasyland for a time. There are times you really feel like Tinker Bell and Mickey aren't just imaginary.

We were very fortunate in the timing of our trip. It was after the Spring Break rush and before the summer vaccations, so the parks weren't all that crowded. Most of the time we were able to get on rides at our leisure. TinkerBell, however, was our longest wait 45 minutes! I was feeling annoyed because the sign said 15 minutes, but then later when chatting with someone they said that they had waited 2 1/2 hours to see her and then got rushed through! All this for a fairy!
You may not realize the significance of Gabby's presence in many of the character pictures. What child doesn't love the characters? Gabby. Until day two of our trip that is. I don't know what came over her or if there was a child swap that I was unaware of, but my daughter is normally terrified of anything dressed up - characters, mascots, halloween, you name it - and on day one she hid behind any pole or person she could to avoid these fuzzy friends. Then it all changed. Not only was she unafraid, she became a woman on a mission to find every possible character she could. Forget rides and shows - lets go find Pluto!
I had to include this picture because I think it is the only one of just Steve and I. This is at Animal Kingdom. None of us had ever been to that park, but we really enjoyed it. They have a great roller coaster and several other good rides, as well as zoo-like attractions.

While at Animal Kingdom, we ate breakfast with Donald and Mickey. This was a big hit! And good food, too! C.J. adores Donald Duck. I had some really cute pictures of him with Donald on our first day. Unfortunately, Rylee got ahold of my camera the next morning and promptly erased ALL of the pictures on it. I was sad about the Disney day one being gone, but heartbroken that probably about a year's worth of pictures were also on that chip and not saved on my computer. I seriously almost cried. I still might.

So back to C.J. and Donald Duck. The boy loved the duck! He got this crazy grin on his face, laughed his belly laugh, and ran straight to him. He was kissing his beak (I know, germs, swine-flu, etc. Get over it.), cuddling him, and loving every minute of it too. The great thing was, it seemed like every Donald we ran into was great! They'd get right down on his level and give him all sorts of attention and affection. It was really cute! There were moments I second-guessed our decision to have an 18 month old with us, but not when characters where involved. C.J. was definately into them.

Gabby and Poppy at our pool. The girls were great for most of the trip. They did have their moments, though. Especially the first couple days when they were getting in the groove or whatever. The whining was intense at times. But we made it through. One of the more annoying things they did was constantly whine about when are we going back to the hotel so we can swim (Just imagine that said about 20 times in a high-pitched whiney tone). Not that I don't love a little pool time, but come on, we're at Disney. We can swim all summer long. But Steve and I had to come to the realization that their reality isn't the same as ours and we spent time at the pool almost every day.

Rylee lived up to expectations of being a dare-devil and enjoying every thrill ride available to someone under 48" tall. Her favorite was the Tower of Terror at MGM/Hollywood Studios. This ride involves several stories of freefall. She also ate up every roller coaster she could go on (there was 1 or 2 that she was still to small for). Gabby did pretty well with the coasters, too, but didn't care for rides that spent any length of time in the dark.

Steve and Rylee at Epcot. The girls saw all the different fireworks/nighttime shows (we missed the fireworks at the Magic Kingdom). They were pretty much troopers about being on the go constantly. I thought they'd hit a wall and just fall asleep, but they never did.

C.J. however, was the opposite. He was one tired kid. He only got one nap each day because it was too time consuming to take the transportation back to the hotel multiple times. So the adults rotated who would go back in the afternoon. Actually, my parents did it most often because they enjoyed the chance to rest up a little, too. He's been teething for a while - molars - which makes him tired as well. He did really, really well, though for the most part. Considering all the bus rides, stroller in-and-outs, strange sights, being woken up every morning, he wasn't too bad. This picture was at night when he could barely keep his eyes open. He was playing at a water fountain, but just layed down.

We did the Disney Dining Plan which was awesome. I swear we ate enough for an army! It was also great to be able to go to a wide variety of really cool restaurants. In Disney style, they are all themed one way or another. Below we are at the Princess dinner in Norway at Epcot. We also enjoyed a Japanese steakhouse, an African Boma, the Whispering Canyon, and a couple others I can't think of.

Wow, they actually look like they love each other:) They do. It's great to have kids who enjoy (most of the time) playing together. They both have wild imaginations and have a blast. They were the perfect age for Disney.

This is a picture of our hotel, Coranado Springs, at sunset. It was a great hotel - beautiful settings, excellent food court, fun pools with water slides, adequate rooms, and white sand beaches with hammocks. We did also spot a 3 foot alligator swimming in the "lake" but convinced Gabby that they are more scared of us than we are of them.