Friday, May 25, 2018

Disney World Day 4

Our last day at Disney was perfect. I was super excited to go back to Magic Kingdom because I knew what to expect and felt like we would really be able to enjoy ourselves instead of being overwhelmed. And we did. We felt like pro's (although I know we're far from it) at this point. We managed to do almost every single (age appropriate) ride, doing some of them even three times our last day. The weather was perfect. We were expecting rain and packed our ponchos. It would sprinkle a tiny bit here and there but not much so basically the weather was cool and breezy. It looked like rain was going to fall out of the sky at any minute the entire day but it ended up being such a blessing! We got rained on maybe once or twice but it was hardly anything and Scott and I agreed we would take that over the heat we experienced the first day without question. I told Scott I really wanted to spend a little bit of time taking some photos before we got our day started. By the end of the day everyone is sweaty and gross so I figured we may as well take the photos first, get it over with, then enjoy the rest of our day. So that's what we did and we walked away with so many great photos!!
Our first fast pass was for Buzz Lightyears Space Rangers Spin, also known as heaven in Campbell's world. Campbell loves Toy Story so we were excited for him to do this ride. We ended up doing it again before the day was over. We also came home with 4 new Toy Story toys including Buzz and Woody themselves. I not so secretly love that he has Buzz and Woody now.
We did a few more rides then headed to Crystal Palace for our last character meal with the Winnie the Pooh characters. I loved this meal. Scott could have done without it. We got lucky with the most spectacular view of the castle and I thought the food was great. Scott thought it was just okay (for the price). I would compare it to that of a country club buffet, which I love a county club buffet (haha!) so I thought it was delicious. It was just super convenient because it's right in the middle of Magic Kingdom and the atmosphere is lovely. I definitely recommend this character meal because of convenience, location, and food. 
We ended up doing several more rides in the afternoon and got to a point where we weren't sure what to do anymore. We had kind of done it all, but I loved that we were at that point otherwise I would have felt like I was missing out on something. We decided to just walk around the park, eat some fun snacks, visit the gift shops and take in the scenery. It was lovely.
Very late in the day we used our fast pass for Enchanted Tells with Belle. I had been told that, even though I have boys, it was worth doing. I'm so glad we did! It's an interactive character meet and greet. They assign parts to some of the guests and Campbell was picked to play Belle's father! Haha! Campbell loved it! We were able to meet Belle (obviously) and funny enough, it was the only character Bennett had any interest in visiting with. The kid is beyond obsessed with Mickey and the gang but wanted nothing to do with them unless they were at a distance. But he sees Belle, who he knows nothing about, and suddenly he's all about the photos. 
We decided since it was our last night we would just go for it and stay until the park closed. We rode a lot of rides then ate our last dinner at Be Our Guest. I had been looking for dinner reservations to Be Our Guest for months and nothing was available. But two nights before, someone apparently canceled their 8:00 reservation and even though that's after our boys bedtime, we decided to take it. I'm so glad we did. The atmosphere was beautiful and it felt like you were in the ballroom. The food was delicious, the service was great, and the Beast was walking throughout the room and taking photos while we were there. Scott and I had some wine, a strip, and ended our meal with "the grey stuff." And you know what? It was delicious!!! 
We walked out of the restaurant just in time to catch the fireworks. I really, really wanted to do Peter Pan's Flight just one more time. It was my favorite ride the first day but there was always such a long wait time and I never wanted to wait on it. Since it was so late, we were basically able to hop right on and it made me happy! After Peter Pan, we walked down Main Street USA, bought two more of those dang balloons, then left the park with full hearts. 
Disney really is all it's hyped up to be. I keep reliving our trip and it just makes my heart happy with every memory I have. The boys had the time of their lives. They obviously have no idea how special it is to be able to go to Disney World but they were still able to appreciate how fun it was. I loved every second and as soon as I got on the plane to head home I was already planning our next Disney vacation in my mind. Ha!! 
I'm so happy we were able to take the boys. It's something I've dreamed of for years and this is the first year we felt like the boys were capable of traveling and it not being stressful for us. This was the boys very first vacation and I think it's a good one to call your first! I know Bennett won't remember it but I hope Campbell will always take away some memories from it. I know I'll never forget it and I'm thankful for these photos and memories that I will treasure forever and ever. Until next time (hopefully soon!!). 

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Disney World Day 3

Our 3rd day at Disney we mixed it up a little. We stayed at the Swan/Dolphin hotel and one of the reasons I wanted to stay there is because they have an amazing pool and "beach" area. I thought it would be fun to spend half of a day on the beach and relax a bit. Before we hit the beach, we went to Beach Club to have breakfast at Cape May Café with Minnie, Daisy, Donald and Goofy. The breakfast was really great and the characters and atmosphere were really great too. I would definitely recommend this character meal. I was super curious to check out Beach Club because we almost stayed there. It was right across from our hotel so we were able to walk to it and browse around a little. I loved the atmosphere and would love to stay there one day. I still think I would prefer the Grand Floridian but I think Beach Club would be next on my list.
As soon as we finished breakfast we put on our swimsuits and headed to the "beach" at our hotel. It really did feel like a beach too, minus the ocean! It was a huge area surrounded by palm trees, a beautiful grotto pool with a gorgeous waterfall and a cool poolside restaurant. I felt like I was at an all-inclusive. We sat next to a couple who was from the area and I asked them why they chose the Swan/Dolphin (because I assume they've been to all the Disney resorts) and they said they like it the most out of all the resorts because of the beach/pool area. We were only there for about 2 hours before Bennett was really falling apart and needed a nap. So we took both boys up to the room where they crashed for an hour and a half.
While they were napping, a massive rain shower came through. The forecast told us it would last all day. We were bummed because we had plans to go to Animal Kingdom that day. Even though it was raining so, so hard, we weren't just going to sit in our room and miss out on the fun. So we bought some ponchos in our hotel gift shop and took the bus to Animal Kingdom. I got so tickled because as we were going into the park, everyone was coming out of it. I thought to myself "we're going to have this whole dang thing to ourselves!!"
Animal Kingdom was so neat. I think it was Scott's favorite. I feel like we didn't get to enjoy it to the fullest extent because it was raining so hard but we would have moments where the rain would let up for 15-20 minutes before starting up again so that was good. We had some fast passes booked and that's basically all we did while we were there. First we took in the Finding Nemo show which was super cute and convenient to watch since it was raining so hard outside. The boys loved it. Next we took the Kilimanjaro Safari which was so neat. We all loved it! And it didn't matter that it was raining because the safari bus had a roof over it so that was a win. The animals were incredible and I enjoyed learning about them from the guide. After our safari we watched The Lion King show. Oh my goodness, y'all. I wish everyone could have seen Bennett. It was the highlight of his trip, without question. He was dancing and clapping and moving to the beats of the music and got SO into the show. Scott said it was one of the highlights of his trip, watching Bennett enjoy that so much. It almost made me wonder if Bennett is destined to be a performer or something one day because that is the level at which he loved it. I loved it too. The show was amazing and brought me back to when I was a kid and The Lion King came out. After the show we had a meet and great set up with Mickey and Minnie. It was the only time we got to meet Mickey. Bennett, unfortunately, was terrified of him but we did manage to get a family photo, the only family photo from our entire trip, so I'd say that was a win.
We left after that because it was just raining so hard and we did our thing and felt like we did all we could do. Plus we had dinner reservations back at the Beach Club at Beaches and Cream. I had heard how fun and yummy the restaurant was and it seemed like a good place to take the boys. We ate our burger and fries then it was time for us to order dessert. We felt like we really couldn't leave without doing the legendary "Kitchen Sink" dessert, so we went for it. The Kitchen Sink is 8 scoops of ice cream, every topping in the house and one entire can of whipped cream. They do a big announcement when someone in the restaurant orders it and the thing is massive. It's served in a kitchen sink bowl and the dessert is heavenly. We managed to eat almost half between the four of us before giving up.
After dinner we walked back to our hotel (in the rain), took a much desired warm shower, then went to bed. You could say it was disappointing that it rained on us but the outlook all depends on your attitude. We still had such a great time at Animal Kingdom! I'm thankful it didn't rain on us while we had our beach time and everything we did at Animal Kingdom was basically indoors so that worked out perfectly. Scott and I were in awe at what an amazing job they've done with Animal Kingdom and how beautiful the park is. I think a half day there was the perfect amount of time. Rain or shine, we had a great 3rd day at Disney!

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Disney World Day 2

Our first "real" day at Disney was awesome. Scott and I were very overwhelmed at first. It took us a few hours to figure it out and we literally didn't know what to expect with any of it so it was all just a little confusing. We found it to be super stressful to make sure we did our Fast Passes on time and I had booked us a character brunch at The Grand Floridian and we were 20 minutes late for it because we didn't realize how long it would take us to get there and that was stressful because they'll charge you $10 per person if you miss your reservation. So the whole 'you have to get to your fast passes and you have to get to your reservations' was super stressful for us at first. If I had any advice for a Disney newbie I would say to book all of your fast passes on your first day for the afternoon so you have the morning to figure out Disney, walk around, enjoy, and not worry about trying to meet your "deadlines." Once we got the hang of it is was great and by the last day we were high fiving because we were rocking our Fast Passes and managed to do every single ride, some of them even twice, but at first it was just overwhelming.
Our first day we did a few rides then booked it to the Grand Floridian for brunch at 1900 Park Fare. We were so late but thankfully we were still able to eat there and I'm so glad because that meal ended up being my very favorite part of our vacation. It was a character lunch with Pooh & Piglet, Mary Poppins, and Alice and The Mad Hatter. The room was beautiful and the food was insanely delicious. The best meal we had at Disney, no question. I just loved that entire experience and I will never go to Disney and not go there. I highly recommend it. We also enjoyed just walking around The Grand Floridian. It is beautiful and I would love to stay there the next time we go. Right before we left, Scott snapped what ended up becoming one of my very favorite photos ever.
We hopped back on the monorail and enjoyed the rest of our day at Magic Kingdom. We did several rides, watched the Festival of Fantasy Parade (omg it was so good!) and the boys even cooled down at the 'Splash N Soak Station' which was such a huge highlight for them. They loved it!!
We ate a less than desirable meal at Cosmic Ray's Starlight Café for dinner. Scott and I laugh about how bad it was. I didn't book us anything for dinner that night and we quickly learned you can't just pop into a restaurant at Disney. You have to have reservations if you want to eat good food. So we ate cafeteria style food (that's putting it nicely) and while Scott was eating his burger he was literally on the Disney app making sure we had all of our meals booked for the rest of the trip so we wouldn't make that mistake again. Ha!!
Before we knew it, it was time to call it a night. It was a great first day but I was so glad we were going back to Magic Kingdom again because I definitely didn't feel like I got to truly experience it the first day due to the lack of knowledge and slight chaos of not knowing what we were doing at first. Magic Kingdom was perfect for our boys so I would definitely recommend spending two full days there. I may not need two full days now that I've been but for our first time, doing two full days was a wise choice for us and I was already looking forward to returning as we were leaving the park.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Disney World Day 1

We are back from Disney and oh my goodness we had the best time. I've been reflecting back on our trip all day and it's just full of happy memories. I'm not even sure where to begin, really. I may have to break it down into several posts because I have a looooooot of photos that I love and want to share.
The trip started out a little chaotic. We missed our flight because we were less than 5 minutes too late to check in. I felt a wave of stress hit me immediately and couldn't believe we were too late. That's never happened to us before. Thankfully we were able to get out on the very next flight but would be on standby for our connecting flight. The boys did great on the plane. A lady even commented on how well behaved they were (#ThanksiPad). When we were in the air Scott was checking out the flights. We landed the plane in Charlotte at 1:00 and there was a flight out to Orlando at like, 1:20 or something like that. So we literally ran to the gate and I'm not even kidding she printed off our tickets and we hopped right on. I couldn't believe it. Unfortunately our bags didn't make that flight but they did get on the flight that arrived a little less than 2 hours later. So we just hung out in the Orlando airport until our bags arrived then we got an uber to our resort. It was a little bit of a later start that we had originally planned (we were supposed to land in Orlando at 1:00) but we got there just in time to have our first character meal and thankfully it was at our resort so we weren't in a rush to get there.
Campbell was instantly smitten and Bennett was instantly terrified. He cried at the characters and made me hold him the whole time. I kind of assumed he would act that way so I wasn't surprised and I figured that as the trip went on Bennett would warm up to it and he did. We had dinner at Garden Grove. It was a good meal but unless you are near the property I wouldn't recommend eating there. I booked it because it was in our hotel and I'm glad we did it and had that experience but I probably wouldn't worry about trying to eat there again. Of all our character meals, this was my least favorite. It just didn't have that extra special something that the others had. But if you are staying near this property then I'd say you may as well go!
We finished our fun meal with Goofy and Minnie then went straight to our rooms to get settled and in bed so we could be rested for our big day at Magic Kingdom the next day.
Our hotel set up was perfect. Scott and I had our own room, Campbell slept on the pull out sofa and we had a crib brought up for Bennett. We all slept great but the boys definitely did not get as much sleep as they normally do. We tried really hard to get them in bed by 8:00 every night (they go to bed at 7:30 at home) but it was hard and it was usually closer to 8:30-9:00 and they woke up at 7:00 am on the dot every day so no extra sleep. Each day the lack of sleep just continued to build on top of one another and they were so cranky by the end of the trip. We came back to our room one day so they could both take good naps (and Campbell doesn't even nap!) but after about 1.5 hours we were ready to get moving so we woke them up but I bet they both would have slept another 2 hours if we had let them. That was really the only challenge with traveling is that they weren't getting the sleep they needed so they tended to be whiney at times and I honestly felt sorry for them. You could just tell they were exhausted but overall, they had the best time and mostly happiness and joy radiated from them!! I'll share more tomorrow so it's not Disney overload in one post!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Last Day Of School

Campbell and Bennett had their last day of school yesterday. The last day of school is technically on Thursday but we are leaving for Disney on Thursday so Monday was the last day for us. I cannot even begin to express how wonderful this year has been for both of my boys. It has always been so awesome for them but Campbell especially has loved this year.
I think Campbell is going to be one of those kids who likes school (definitely doesn't get that from me!). His preschool has a workbook that they've been using all year. He's mostly been practicing tracing and writing letters, following patterns, etc. They've also learned the days of the week, the differences in weather, the pledge of allegiance, and a whole lot about the Bible. He asks me every single day "do I go to school today?" and is disappointed if I say no. He has made so many new friends and he is beyond obsessed with his sweet teacher. Like, obsessed.
Campbell made a new "best buddy" this year and apparently they are super tight. Adele's mom and I were informed on their tight bond at the beginning of the school year and those two are like glue. We're planning on some play dates over the summer. Thankfully, our school has a 6 week summer program so it's not "technically" over quite yet. Campbell will have the same teachers and friends in his class for a few more weeks. We'll take a month off, go back for 6 weeks, then take more time off before starting up a new school year in the fall. So we didn't have to say our real goodbye's just yet. Thank goodness.
And then there's this sweet little love muffin. I've had Bennett in Mothers Day Out since he was four months old. I know that probably seems crazy to some people but the women there are so incredible so I just didn't see why not. His teachers this year were no exception. Bennett absolutely loves his teachers and I do too. It really ended up being such a blessing this year. Bennett wasn't originally supposed to be in the "puppies" class. He got, as Scott jokingly likes to say, held back at the beginning of the year. He was supposed to be in a different, older class but he was a late walker and since he wasn't walking when school started in August, he was put in the class just below his age group. I was honestly a little sad at first because I knew it would be a very different "school" experience for him (no outside play, no spring musical, etc) but it ended up being the greatest blessing because his teachers and sweet little friends were just amazing. Plus, he was able to be with his teachers from last year during music time and I know he still knows them and is comfortable with them so it all just worked out perfectly.
Bennett loves school and he and Campbell both have never once cried at drop off. I know I've said that before probably but it just makes me so happy and I think it's a testament to how wonderful the program they're in is. It really has enriched their lives and I feel like it's one of the best decisions I've made as a parent to send them there. I'm know there are many incredible programs around NWA but for us, this is where we are meant to be and I've never once questioned it. Some moms have told me that they looked into over a dozen "school's" before choosing this one. I just go to church here so I was like.....this is where we'll go. Ha! It's seriously been incredible though and I will be so very sad when my boys are too old to be here.
Another school year down. So cliché right now but truly one of those "I absolutely cannot believe it" moments. It went by quickly. Thankfully Campbell gets to resume back to his ways in 4 weeks. Bennett will be upgraded to the class he was supposed to be in. So new teachers for the short summer session then new teachers again in the fall. I'll be honest it makes me a little nervous for Bennett to have all that change. I like consistency for my kids. But I'm sure he'll handle it great! I know they'll anxiously be awaiting for the summer session to start! Apparently school is way more fun than being home with me. Can't say I blame them.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Mothers Day

I had a great Mothers Day! I got to sleep in and when I woke up I was greeted by two cute boys (well, three!) and a cup of coffee. I opened some sweet gifts then got ready for church. We had lunch with my mother-in-law then I came home and immediately left the house. Ha! I just wanted to be out alone, get a pedicure and take my time in Pottery Barn. So that's what I did.
I told Scott that all I really wanted for Mothers Day were some pictures of me with the boys. A true gift from Scott because his least favorite thing is taking photographs of kids. Well, maybe just our kids? I don't know. But he cannot handle that they don't stand still and it frustrates him so he's over it in about .02 seconds. You really do have to have a lot of patience to photograph kids. I will totally wait an hour to get a good shot so it doesn't bother me but Scott cannot deal with the craziness and out of focus photos. And I really do believe our kids are the absolute worst when it comes to taking photos. Scott says it's because I have a camera in their face all the time. Whenever I photograph other families the kids are SOOOOO good and still. What the heck? Ugh. So anywho, for Scott to say yes to taking our photos made me feel loved. Haha!! So after dinner we went out to a field and snapped a few shots. And by a few I mean about 300 and only about 5 of them were in focus but that's okay because that's all I needed! :)
I'm just beyond thankful to be a mother. It's the role I dreamed my whole life as having and it hasn't disappointed me one little bit. I longed to be a stay at home mother my whole life so to have my dream job gives me a level of happiness I could never express. I didn't realize how incomplete I was until I became a mother. These boys are my world.