March 30, 2012

the magic continues.

Up next . . . our visits to the Magic Kingdom, Epcot Center and Animal Kingdom.  Ida, we were so sure that we would have seen you in the biergarten.  Where were you?

March 28, 2012

disney wilderness lodge.


The Griswalds took Disney!  We had a wonderful time which, of course, went by too quickly!  You know a vacation was a great one when on the way home everyone is quiet, grumpy and sad.  We didn't want to leave!  Everything was wonderful - the flights, the hotel, the food, the weather.  Okay, I'm lying about the weather.  It was hot and sunny, and I'm more of a slightly warm with occasional cool breeze and partly sunny kind of gal.  But it was nothing a slathering of sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses couldn't fix.  Other than that, Disney lived up to the memory-maker it is known to be.

When we landed in Orlando we took the Disney Magical Express to our hotel.  The boys were delighted to find a bathroom in the back of the bus.  George said, "It really is magic!  There is a bathroom on here!"  Goodness.  They were in and out of it probably 20 times in the span of that short ride.  Who knows what they were doing in there.  I don't ask questions.  But for them, that glorified porta potty was the start to a fantastic trip.
Then we arrived at the hotel - the Disney Wilderness Lodge.  It was so cool!  It had a Pacific Northwest/National Park/Lodge theme happening.  Loved it, loved it, loved it.  Shortly after settling into our room the phone rang and we were told that we had a surprise coming.  It was a bottle of wine and lovely fruit, cheese and cracker platter from one of Kevin's clients.  How incredibly thoughtful is that?  This was my kind of start to a fantastic trip!

Disney Wilderness Lodge Lobby
Front Desk
Enjoying the kid-sized rocking chairs in the lobby.
Huge stone fireplace
Bridge and stream in lobby
Our room had a bunkbed for the boys.  Although on the first night, after playing a quick game of musical beds, guess who ended up sleeping in the top bunk?  I'll do anything to get some sleep!
Our room had a balcony which overlooked a small pond and wooded area.  Just beyond the trees we could make out the castle, as well as watch the evening fireworks.  George spotted a snake in the pond one morning.  The boys also enjoyed looking for bad guys with their wooden guns locked and loaded.
The pool area was very nice.  There was a waterslide built into the rocks you can see here.  There was a big baby pool that Caroline played in one warm evening.  There was a bar.  There were lots of lifeguards.  There were plenty of chairs and umbrellas.  There was a bar.  I already said that.  There was a beach on the lake just beyond the pool.  Each time we went to the pool the boys would make friends within 2 minutes.  One night they had a couple of girls chasing them around which was hysterical to watch.
George checking out Old Faithful near the pool area.
Clowning around by the pool
The hotel had so many activities for kids that I could never convince the boys to do because they just wanted to swim.  There were nightly movies on the beach and afternoon cookie decorating.  The boys did drop a whole lotta cash at the hotel's arcade, though.  Or maybe that was Kevin.  There was also a nightly parade of lights that moved across the lake to music.  The hotel also had a family dining experience that I'll write more about later.  It involves flying straws, enough ketsup to feed an army and lots of hootin' and hollerin'!

March 27, 2012

We're back and it was "magical"!  More pictures coming soon!

March 19, 2012

for allicia.


Allicia, how old are we here?  2 and 3?  And look at Matt.  He looks so much like Teddy.  I thought this would make you smile.  I have this little crib and the matching high chair and changing table in Caroline's nursery.  Hopefully the boys won't destroy it before she can play with it!  Does Maddie play with any of your old things?
Me at Caroline's age.  We have the same hair!

March 16, 2012

Dear Teddy,
Not a day goes by without a special picture drawn by you.  Just as you did almost every day in preschool, you continue to draw military themed pictures or hockey scenes.  When you come home from school, you sit at the kitchen table and draw some more.  You also write little notes that say you love each of us, and sometimes you put your notes in envelopes sealed with either electrical or duct tape.  I keep some of them and put them in your "art file" (a 3-ring binder full of the plastic sleeves).  It's hard not to keep all of them!  Someday when you go off to West Point we'll chuckle at all of your military designs.
Love,
Mom
One of my many love notes.

March 15, 2012

Dear Caroline,
Today you sat in a swing for the first time.  You enjoyed it.  And of course I took 87 more pictures.  You're my doll.
Love,
Mom
Baby doll in a swing.

March 13, 2012

Dear Caroline,
Today you turned 5 months old, and we took a few pictures.  Okay we took 87 pictures.  You only turn 5 months old once!  So at this stage you are rolling over onto your belly, you're reaching for things, you're babbling endlessly, you love walks outside in the Bjorn, you chew on anything you can get your hands on, and (this is my favorite) you laugh hysterically at your brothers.  It's like you know they are little people just like you.  You laugh at me, but it's not the same.  It's different with your brothers.  So, so cute.  Also, when it comes to your dad you give him the biggest smile I've ever seen, like this:
You give me more of a desperate look, as if to say, "Soooo are you going to feed me, or what?"  It looks like this:
But often times you give me this smile, which makes up for all the sassy ones:
There is this simply pretty look too:
Happy 5 months baby girl!
Love,
Mom

March 8, 2012

Dear George,
You are almost 7 years old.  Today we finalized plans for your birthday party.  Gone are the days when having people over to the house for treats was enough.  Now you want to be entertained somewhere!  What do you mean you don't want to sit around a table and make a craft?  Sigh . . . glow-in-the-dark monster themed miniature golf it is.  So anyway, your sappy mama is going through your baby pictures and feeling very sad.  This is what pushed me over the edge.  I love the little boy you are now, but I sure miss that baby too.
Love,
Mom
George at 14 months
Photo by Ruth Hendricks, 2006

March 6, 2012

Dear George,
I walked into the sunroom today to find you in your sister's highchair.  You told me that it was a very comfortable place to sit while playing Wii.  There are no words.
Love,
Mom

March 3, 2012

Dear Caroline,
Let's post a picture for Aunt Elayna.  She wants to eat your checks and your wrists.  This picture is going to make her very hungry.  Hee, hee.
Love,
Mom

March 2, 2012

Dear Caroline,
You rolled over today for the first time!  You were 4 months, 2 weeks, 4 days, and 1 hour old.  I left you (on your back) on the floor in your room for a couple minutes, and when I came back - ta da!  On your belly!  You just looked at me with huge eyes as if to say, "What in the world just happened!?"  I pulled out one of your arms which was stuck and then ran to grab my camera.  Sorry love, I can't help myself.  You are just too darn cute.
Love,
Mom

March 1, 2012

Dear Boys,
I'm not going to lie, the house is very quiet when you leave to go to school.  I really like quiet.  George, you know what I'm talking about.  You scream everything with great enthusiasm.  Everything.  Screaming.  Sort of screaming/singing really.  Enthusiastically.  "THE PENGUINS WON IN A SHOOTOUT!" is appropriate, but "GENERAL TSO'S CHICKEN MAKES ME THIRSTY!" is not.  Just say it in a normal voice.  You know, General Tso's chicken makes me thirsty.  Period.  You know what George, I should call you Oprah.  General Tso's CHIIIIIIIICKEEEEEEEN!  So anyway, you precious boys leave for school and in the quiet I stand at the front door and watch you walk with daddy to his car.  Daddy rolls down the windows, honks and we wave and blow kisses.  For a second I feel sad that you're leaving me and going out into the world.  Then I remember . . . it's quiet!  Or rather, (Oprah voice) IIIIIIIIT'S QUIIIIIIIET!
Love,
Mom
Dear Caroline,
Today I put you in your big girl high chair, pulled out one of the boys' old mesh chewy things (what are they called?) and put a piece of frozen mango inside.  Caroline, what are your thoughts on frozen mango? 
Love,
Mom
Thumbs up.
Oh, wait.
No, it's bad mom.  It's bad, it's bad!
How could you do this to me?