Friday, December 31, 2010

My really, really lucky day

Yeah... I did some more shopping today... This time at Walmart. In their 75% off clearance... I bought a few (dozen) of their Santa mugs and plates, and platters, and bowls. And, yes, I really NEEDED them. :)

Thursday, December 30, 2010

My lucky day

It must have been my lucky day today. I made a stop by Target last night and picked up a few Cars (the movie) things from Target's dollar spot for party favors for the boys' upcoming birthday. I totally forgot about the girls so after my family headed out this morning I headed back to Target to grab some princess stuff. And I hit the jackpot. Not only did they still have quite a bit of both Cars and Princess stuff - they put it all on clearance. Woo-hoo! :)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

After Christmas Shopping

After I dropped my mom off tonight I decided to do a little shopping before heading home. I hit my favorite dollar store and was excited to find their left over Christmas stuff on sale. I picked up a few things for next year. :)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas Lights

I love the glow of Christmas lights.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

A White (ish) Christmas

This is probably as close as we are likely to come to a white Christmas.

A Visit from Santa

Santa, the elves, and his reindeer were very busy indeed.

And apparently Santa's reindeer (or Santa's Flying Forces from the movie the Flight Before Christmas that we have been watching) had a crash landing on our patio table last night.

I can't imagine I actually slept through this despite the fact that I was up until well after 2am so I can only guess that it happened while my family and I were at my Uncle's house celebrating Christmas with them on Christmas Eve and the winds were gusting as a cold front blew in.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Big Boys

The other thing we did yesterday was move the boys to big boy chairs at the table.

It is officially Christmas Eve. And as of 2pm today I still don't have a single present wrapped. Santa and the elves will be very busy tonight indeed.

Just a few more days...

My family arrived not long after the sun had set yesterday. I didn't get even half of my list done. I did stumble across a Cathy Guswhite (?) book that had a quote it in that made me laugh. It said something like "Why is it that we clean like crazy as if strangers are coming to visit before the people who lived with us for years, and know what kind of house keepers we are arrive?"

At least in my cleaning frenzy I happened upon my snowman dishes and broke them out of hiding.

As we did some grocery shopping today my mom and I had a good laugh about my first Thanksgiving on my own. My mom came to visit me and there was practically nothing edible in my whole house. I remember us driving all over town looking for a store that was open. We ended up finding a Walgreens somewhere. I don't remember what all we scrounged up, but I do vaguely recall a box of instant mashed potatoes.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Company is on the way...

My family is officially on the road. And I am so not ready. I have barely made a dent in all the house cleaning I still have to do. So instead of cleaning we lollygagged around the house this morning and then took the boys to breakfast before dropping them off at school. Afterwards I dragged Kevin to Costco with me. On the bright side I got half a dozen last second Christmas presents, including a nice one for me. :)

At least the outside of the house looks relatively nice...

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Helping with the Tree

The boys helped put their ornaments on the tree.

In the car on the way home I asked if they wanted to help put their ornaments on the tree. They were super excited that we finally had a tree and that they could help. They remembered just which ornaments they picked out at Disney World - a Lightening McQueen Car for Ryan, and a Nemo for Connor. The second we got home and they saw the tree they were so excited.

It's official. We finally have a tree up. Not the 14 footer, Not the 8 1/2. Not even the 7 1/2 or the 6 footer. It's funny how much my ambitions have changed from mid November until now. I was all set to put out the big tree this year. That is until we went on vacation, then I had to recooperate from vacation, and then I realized that Christmas was just a few days away and I still didn't have a tree up. Or my house cleaned. So we went with Plan B, or E or F. I lost track in there somewhere.

I bought a small new tree. One that was pre-lit, and whose assembly took a whopping 2 minutes plus a little floofing time. It is only 4 1/2 feet tall, but was the perfect height to sit on the dining room table out of reach of little hands, but not so tall that we needed the ladder even for decorating.

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Ugly Truth - By the Light of Day

This is (albeit the worst of) what my Nutcrackers looked like before I took a scrub brush to them. Though don't think for a moment that it actually cured them, just made them less noticeably molded... I could have cried. Apparently my (overzealous) husband decided that the (gasp) dirt needed to come off the nutcrackers last year, so he hosed them off before putting them into garbage bags to sit in the garage for almost a year. No, really, I can't possible see any flaws in this plan, can you??

What the mold didn't destroy, the heat didn't help in the way of popped off buttons, missing mustaches, and some overly zealous cleaned right off eyebrows. Sigh. They will probably have to be tossed. Or at the least put away to be repainted some day. Though on a positive note - if I have to repaint them I might even get industrious enough to make a few (dozen) more.

Decorating, At Last

I think I might have mentioned that we have gotten off to a bit of a late start in our Holiday decorating this year. As in hadn't even started. And just between you and me there might have even been some Fall/Halloween lingering or still prominently displayed around the house until very very recently (as in today...). But today, we (and by we I totally mean me) broke out a teeny tiny little bit of the Christmas stash and went to work in the front yard while the boys played in the cul-de-sac.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Together, At the Table

We let the boys break into their Goodie bags this morning. After inspecting all the things inside they eagerly grabbed their new colors and coloring books and headed to the table to color together.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Operation Kids Christmas Treats - Assembled and Ready to Go

Or at least the second batch assembled and ready to go. In alphabetical order, by first name, because I am helpful like that.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Operation Kids Christmas Treats

As soon as we got the kids off to bed tonight I whipped out the piles of ornaments, coloring books, crayons, bags of popcorn, holiday cards, candy canes, and assorted supplies that have been multiplying like bunnies and began assembling this years Christmas Goodie Bags.

These must be my favorite to date. I even made some for the kids in my mom's group with the leftovers.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Treats and Treat Toppers

I whipped up 7 (or was it 8? I lost count somewhere after 2am) batches of holiday popcorn, stuffed the treat bags, and finally finished them off with toppers and voila ~

Part 1 of Operation Kids Christmas Treats - Done. I am thinking it has to be at least a 8 on the cuteness scale if I do say so myself.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

It's Officially Time to Panic

It's that moment when you realize what you have signed up for and just how little time you have to get it done. Not to mention that one little snag in the plans that you have no idea how to fix. That moment happened today. It sent me scurrying to store after store looking for tall snack bags (vertical not horizontal) and tall gallon size bags (larger than 11" tall). As luck would have it I would find both in the most unexpected places and at prices that just can't be beat. Not to mention those cute sandwich size bags, too (on clearance!). Santa was clearly sending a little holiday magic my way today.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Around the Live Oak Tree

The boys were running around the Live Oak Tree this morning as I was trying to get them into the car and off to school. After I got Connor in the car I turned around to find Ryan posed by the tree. It was just too cute not to snap a quick pic.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Off to a bad start...

Or the end of a really lousy day.

It's hard to know where it started, or what came first.
  • Connor shut Ryan's finger and thumb in the bathroom door. It was bad. REALLY bad.
  • I booked our flight through Expedia. It wasn't direct. But it only had an hour layover. Our flight was "rescheduled." Which really mean canceled and put on another plane. With more than a 4hour layover. And we had no recourse. The plane wasn't scheduled to arrive until midnight. I will NEVER use Expedia again.
  • I slept on the flight for the first time ever in my life. I was that exhausted. I couldn't even force myself to sleep on any of the over seas flights I have taken when I WANTED to.
  • We checked our luggage at our resort. This is what awaited us at the baggage claim.

Umm, yeah. No bags. They were in West Palm Beach Florida for which the airline had no explanation given we had just gotten off a plane from Charlotte, North Carolina.

And given the whole bag thing when we got to the inter-terminal train it was after 12:30am. Of course it was. It just seemed appropriate given everything else.

Walking distances were quoted on the signs. 3600 feet. At 1am. With a stroller and 7 bags (thanks to US Airways for having lost our bags - at least it was 2 less bags we had to tote 3600 feet).

When we finally got to our terminal we took the elevator to our parking level. Only it didn't look right. The car wasn't where it was supposed to be. We guessed another color and walked another 1/2 a mile. It looked even less familiar. I left Kevin, the kids, and the bags and backtracked back to the terminal to find the right elevator, and the car, and then pick them up.

This was what the clock read when we got home. Though from the timezone we came from it was 3am. What a day...

Goodbye to Disney

It was time to say goodbye to Disney. Though the morning got off to a rough start with Connor closing Ryan's finger and thumb in the bathroom door. They were red, and purple and swollen. There were tears all around.

After some ice and tylenol we grabbed breakfast and then rushed back to pack our bags before check-out time. After packing Kevin took the boys to the playground while I did some last minute shopping and picked up sandwiches to go.

We grabbed our bags, and boarded the Magic Express Bus to the airport. We had just enough time to visit the Universal store to pick up Thing 1 and Thing 2 shirts before waiting in the ridiculously long and slow security line. We made it to our gate just as it began boarding.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Wanted: Fast Pass to Toy Story Midway Mania

With several things still left on our to do list as our last day approached we decided to spend the day at Hollywood Studios. We had high hopes of getting fast passes to get in to see Toy Story Midway Mania without having to wait in the 60-120 minute long standby lines that we had seen on our previous visit (even during extra magic hours), but by the time we arrived at the park at 10am fast passes for the ride for the remainder of the day were long since gone.

We decided to grab an early lunch at the Sci-fi drive in theater and managed to catch the Lights, Motors, Action show. Afterwards we opted to brave the standby line now boasting 2 hour wait for Toy Story.

Luckily for us despite Mr. Potato head's warning we managed to get through the line in about an hour. The ride was one of our favorites. We wished it had a shorter line as we would have really liked to have ridden it again. But alas... we ventured off to the backlot tour, and then decided to let the kids play for 20 minutes or so in the Honey, I Shrunk the Kids playground where we once again lost track of one of the boys for a little while and 20 minutes turned in to a whole hour of playing. And I am not sure we could have even dragged them out then if it weren't for the fact that the playground were closing.

The boys exhausted from the long day and hard play took a nap as we made our way over to be seated for the Fantasia show. Luckily we were able to take the stroller almost to the top and managed to pick the boys up out of the stroller and carry them in without waking them fully up. They slept for the almost hour that we sat waiting for the show to begin. After the Fantasia show we attempted to get into several restaurants with no luck. We ended up calling reservations and managed to get in at Ohana again as my mom (with the food poisoning) and great grandmother had missed it the previous night. Despite having a later reservation they were able to get us in within about 5 minutes of our arrival. The food was delicious and we even caught the Mickey's Christmas Celebration fireworks from over the water at Magic Kingdom while we ate. It was a wonderful end to the evening.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The boys first roller coaster ride

We spent the day at Magic Kingdom. We took the train, and caught the Dream along with Mickey and Move it Shake it shows in front of the castle while enjoying treats from the Main Street Bakery before heading off to cover most of Fantasyland before breaking for lunch at Pinocchio Village Haus which turned out to be a big mistake as mom my came down with a case of food poisoning from the meatball sub.

After the Country Bear Jamboree we sent her and Great Grannie back to the hotel to recuperate and took the boys on to Mickey's Toon Fair to ride their first rollercoaster - The Barnstormer at Goofy's Wiseacre Farm. We screamed and held our hands in the air. And when it was over we ran back to get in line to do it again before going on to check out Mickey's House, the playground and Donalds' luckily dry boat. With just minutes to spare before close and fireworks we managed to squeeze in the It's a Small World ride. As we came out the fireworks had begun. Our vantage point from near the carousel was an interesting one as the larger fireworks were well off behind us, but the smaller incredibly bright ones were in front of us coming from nearby the castle lighting up the whole area with dazzling light. A piece of string from one of the nearby fireworks landed on Connor's head as he sat in the stroller watching the fireworks display.

After the fireworks we made our way towards the monorail only to find a train come in, disembark it's passengers, but not open its doors to take on new ones. An announcement came on regarding technical difficulties, and as we waited 3 trains came and left on the other line before another train finally creeped its way in to our depot once again. The once long line which we were towards the back of had been dwindling, and we decided it was time to find an alternate route as well. We caught a boat over to the Polynesian for our late dinner reservations at Ohana. We were treated to the water show of dragons and sea creatures along the way. Despite the almost 45 minute delay waiting on the monorail we managed to make it dinner only 5 minutes late for our reservation. Dinner at Ohana was as wonderful as we remembered from our previous visit. We will definitely add it to our list of all time favorites.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Popsicles take the day off

After practically freezing to death yesterday at Animal Kingdom we decided vs. spending another animal less day there we would take the day off, have a leisurely breakfast and visit downtown Disney.

We ended up having lunch at TRex. The food was excellent and the theming was absolutely amazing.

We took the boys back to the room for a nap. An hour later they were still wide awake and had figured out they could get out of their pack n plays (something which doesn't bode well for nap and bedtimes to come I am sure) we gave up and decided to take advantage of the slightly warmer weather to check off a few more attractions at Epcot including the fireworks show.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Animal Kingdom: Antarctica

We spent the day at Animal Kingdom. An unexpected cold front blew in dropping temperatures to record lows keeping the animals snug in their beds out of the elements such that the only critters we saw all day were a lone alligator, a boa constrictor hiding out in his water bowl, and some frisky tigers. We were however able to catch some wonderful shows like It's Tough to be a Bug, The Lion King, and Finding Nemo.

As the boys took their now customary nap in the stroller we managed to ride Everest and find a spot curbside for the Jammin Jungle Parade. We also got in some shopping. I found ornaments for everyone and some cute Christmas 2010 shirts. We closed the park down dancing at the goodbye show and headed off for our dinner reservations at Chef Mickeys to have dinner with Mickey and friends.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Toy Story

We spent some time this morning visiting the Toy Story section of the resort.

We headed off to Epcot for the rest of the morning. The boys enjoyed the Finding Nemo ride while I particularly enjoyed Living with the Land. After a hibachi lunch at Teppan Edo where Ryan showed off his chopstick skills we hit a few more rides before heading off to Hollywood Studios for the evening. The boys were zonked again so I talked my mom into riding the Tower of Terror. Afterwards we saw the Osborne Spectacle of dancing lights before enjoying a few more rides and some extra magic hours.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Hollywood Studios: Honey, I Lost the Kids.

We spent the better part of Day 3 at Hollywood Studios where we caught the Drew Carey Show, Indiana Jones, lunch at Mama Melrose's, the Muppets, pictures with Lightening and Mater, and half a dozen other things. Though the thing I will remember until my dying day is that I spent 15 of the most terrifying moments of my life in Honey, I Shrunk the kids. Only it should be more aptly named "Honey, I lost the kids."

Despite knowing there is only one way in, and one way out it is still terrifying to watch your two year olds dive in opposite directions and disappear into itty bitty tunnels that go who knows where. I dove in after one and promptly lost him as I attempted to crawl as he ran through the warren of tunnels shrieking and giggling at the pursuit as he went. I eventually caught up with him and dragged him back out to his father with strict instructions not to let him out of his sight, before spending the next 10 minutes waiting and watching for sight of a 3ft tall blond head in the mass of kids darting here and there. I finally caught sight of him across on the far side climbing some stairs that disappeared past the mushrooms into another series of tunnels. I dove in after him and came up with a shoe full of laughing giggling child who was having the time of his life completely oblivious to my near panic at not having caught sight of him during all that time.

We chased them around the tunnels for a while before finally corralling the two of them in the toddler area with one of us stationed on each side watching them run, crawl and frolic in the tunnels, ramps, stairways, and slides. It was by far their favorite playground ever.

They were so tuckered out after their hour of play that they passed out in the stroller as we wandered around the park before heading off to the Magic Kingdom for dinner, the Main Street Electrical Parade, and Wishes Fireworks Display.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Magic Kingdom

We spent our first full day at Disney World at the Magic Kingdom.

In the morning we made our way through Tomorrow Land including favorites like Buzz Lightyears' Space Ranger Spin, and the Tomorowland Indy Speedway. After lunch the boys zonked in the stroller. While they napped Great Grannie kept an eye of them while the rest of us rode Splash Mountain, and the Thunder Mountain railroad.

Once they woke up we headed into Adventureland to ride one of the boys' absolute favorites the Jungle Cruise, Pirates of the Caribbean and the Magic Carpets of Aladdin, before catching the Enchanted Tiki Room Show, and taking a tour of the Swiss Family Robinson Tree house before it was time to head off to our Dinner reservations.

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Happiest Place On Earth

I tell Kevin all the time that's it all a matter of how you look at it. A positive attitude makes all the difference.

Case in point - instead of concentrating on the fact that I had to work part of the day, the insanity of transporting 4 people and 9 bags through the airport, dealing with a damaged gate checked bag, 2 bags that never made it on to the flight, a ridiculously long wait for transporation, a 3 hour online (for QUICKER resort check-in!!!) check in fiasco, the guests who forgot to check-out, and the handicapped room located as far as humanly possible from the lobby, dining, and transporation I instead choose to focus on the fact that we arrived. At the Happiest Place On Earth.

We also managed to enjoy a ride, a fantastic dinner at the Garden Grill (seriously 5 stars - I highly recommend it), and the evening's fireworks.

I was giddy with excitement. I couldn't wait to share with the boys the magic of Disney. For the very first time.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

How to Pack for an Army

I packed like mad today. And this isn't even all of it. 5 uprights, 5 "personal items," and a stroller, too. We will be checking the largest two bags, but otherwise will be toting all the rest through the airport like a travelling circus.

The good news is that one of the bags contains almost nothing except disposable items (diapers, breakfast, and snacks) so in theory we should have plenty of room for souvenirs on the way back. :)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

2011 Calendars

I managed to get at least one version of my 2011 calendars done. The kind where you pick the photos and the software fits them to a page. This one doesn't have all the birthdays and anniversaries, but it does have pictures of the boys throughout the year. I always try to pick photos from that month from the previous year. So January 2011 has pictures from January 2010, and so on. It is always fun to see just how much they have grown over the past year. Though with over 100 birthdays and anniversaries to keep track of I will certainly miss having them on the calendar.

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