Saturday, July 26, 2008

Vacation Days 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

We have not had internet access since July 20. Here at Disney, the cost is $9.95 per 24-hour period, and we have been too busy to worry about surfing the net. But tonight, we decided to bite the bullet and pay it. I am on the internet tonight while Bruce, B1 and maybe B2 will get on it in the morning. Tomorrow, we go on the cruise ship! Here are the notes I have recorded for the past six days.

July 21, 2008: We got up today about 8:20 and got cleaned up. The hotel had a restaurant connected to it called the Green Derby and we had free breakfast buffet coupons for that. It was good. Then we got on the road and began driving again. We stopped once for gas but otherwise, drove straight to Disney World and Caribbean Beach. We checked in to our room, located in the Jamaica section and then unloaded all of our stuff. We got freshened up a little and headed to the main building where they have a couple of shops, a game room, a restaurant, and a food court. We had planned to go to Downtown Disney for dinner but about the time we were to leave, it began pouring. So we opted to eat at the food court. By the time we got our food and sat down to eat, the rain stopped. We ate and then boarded the bus to Downtown Disney. There were so many people shopping there, it was crazy! We shopped in some of the stores and bought a few things. We headed back to the hotel and got here and into the pool in our section of the resort by 9:15. Bruce walked around the lake while we got into the pool. He joined us when he was finished walking. The pool was nice and felt really good. There was a slide there too that the girls enjoyed. Now we are in the room getting ready for bed and going through the items we purchased today.

July 22, 2008: We had a VERY FULL day today. We didn’t get up too early (about 8:20am) but once we did, B1 and I walked around the promenade here at our hotel. I think we walked about 2 miles total. We have decided that we think the Jamaica section at this hotel is one of the best sections because we have a pool with a slide and we are relatively close to the main building. All we really have to do is walk over a bridge to get to it. Also, our beach area seems to be bigger than the others. We all got cleaned up and went to Old Port Royale for breakfast. We had a combination of things we bought here and things we brought from home. Then we headed to Animal Kingdom. We entered the gates there at about 11:30am. It was HOT. At one point not too long into the day, B1 said to me “Mom, look at your legs!” When I looked down, the bottom part of my legs was completely wet. Not just a few beads of sweat running down them, but totally covered in perspiration! Wow! We headed first to “It’s A Bug’s Life” and got FastPasses for that ride. Then we went to Expedition Everest. B2 didn’t want to ride it so Bruce and I did the child swap. B1 got to ride twice. We then went to Kilimanjaro Safaris and had to wait about 45 minutes for that but it was good once we got on. The ride lasts about 20 minutes and we did see a lot of animals. We then went back to “It’s A Bug’s Life” and finally, headed over to DinoLand USA. DinoLand is my favorite part of Animal Kingdom. We tried to go see “Finding Nemo the Musical” but it was full so we went to Primeval Whirl, which B1 and B2 were looking forward to after having ridden the Tony Hawk ride at Six Flags earlier this summer. The two of them and I rode that ride and it was good. Then it began to rain so we headed to Restaurantasaurus for dinner, which tasted really good even though we only had burgers and chicken nuggets. By the time we were done eating, the rain had stopped so we went back to Primeval Whirly (we had Fastpassed it earlier) and finally to Dinosaur. We had Fastpassed that one as well. After we were done in DinoLand, B1 wanted to ride Expedition Everest again and B2 wanted to ride Kali River Rapids. I rode with B2 and Bruce rode with B1. We separated and met back up later. We got soaked on our ride!!! But it was fun anyway. Then we left Animal Kingdom and headed to Magic Kingdom. There, we mostly stayed in Tomorrowland, riding the Carousel of Progress, the Tomorrowland Transit Authority, the Indy Speedway, and the Buzz Lightyear ride. We also got some ice cream at around 7pm and watched Spectromagic at 11pm. We left the part immediately after Spectromagic and got on the first bus back to our hotel. Now, it is almost 1am and we are waiting for a pizza to arrive that we ordered about 40 minutes ago! Yeah, we are all hungry. Wow, what a day. I think we will sleep late tomorrow since we are not going to a theme park!

July 23, 2008: B1 and I got up and walked this morning and wore our swim suits under our walking clothes. Then we were able to get right into the pool when we got back to our section of the hotel! Bruce had walked before us so he and B2 were already in the pool when we got back. The pool felt great. Afterwards, we came up to the room and got ready for the day. We headed to Downtown Disney and DisneyQuest. We have never been there before but it was basically a “freebie” with the options that we had purchased with our park tickets. DisneyQuest was fun, although I am glad we didn’t pay full price for it. It is a 5-story game place. They have lots of video games from back in our day. Everything is free once you pay to get in. They also have high-tech bumper cars, a place where you can learn to draw a Disney character, a place where you can record your own song, and lots of other stuff. We were able to design our own roller coaster and then “ride” it inside a simulator! That was pretty cool. First, I designed my own. Then I went to find the rest of the family and B1 and I designed one together while B2 and Bruce designed one together. Then the girls designed one together. We purchased a DVD which shows their design as well as the two of them “riding it” inside the simulator. Pretty neat. We then boarded the bus to the Polynesian Resort. We had tickets to the Spirit of Aloha dinner show. When we were in line, the weather began to look bad and eventually, while we were eating dinner, it began raining and then pouring again. We were sitting next to a nice family from California so the time went quickly. We got to eat dinner (roasted chicken, BBQ ribs, rice, mixed veggies, salad, bread, fresh pineapple, and chocolate volcano mousse w/raspberry sauce) but they ended up cancelling the dinner show, which was disappointing. We got 50% of the cost back. Anyway, we then decided to go back to the Marketplace and visit a couple stores we hadn’t been inside yet. Then we came back to our hotel and popped some popcorn in the microwave in the food court. Now, we are in the room and B1 and B2 are trying to get some postcards written out.

July 24, 2008: We had another full day today. We got up, showered, and ate a small breakfast in our room. Then we headed to Custom House (front desk area) in order to complete the final paperwork for our cruise on Sunday. Once done with that, we boarded a bus to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. We got there just a bit before the park actually opened and headed to get FastPasses at the Rock & Roller Coaster. Then we all rode the Tower of Terror together. B1 liked it but B2 did not. Oh well. We then headed to Mickey’s Sorcerer’s hat for the High School Musical block party. B2 danced a little bit with the performers! Next was the Voyage of the Little Mermaid, which was a welcomed air-conditioned break. We were hungry by this time (about 11:15am) so we grabbed some lunch at the food counter near the “Honey I Shrunk the Kids” movie play set. Then we rode “Toy Story Mania” which just opened a couple weeks ago so we waited 80 minutes for it! Yeah, 80 minutes! It was good but I don’t think I would wait 80 minutes again. We rode the Great Movie Ride and then the Backlot Tour. I am not really impressed with the Backlot Tour anymore. After that, we rushed to see the end of the afternoon parade and then back to the “Honey I Shrunk the Kids” movie set for the girls to pay a little while. We rode “Star Tours” (me, B1, B2) and eventually made our way to the 50’s Prime Time Café for dinner. It was good (I thought so) and they are funny there. I had ordered a chocolate cake to celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary which was yummy. During the evening, we headed back to the Rock N Roller Coaster, the Tower of Terror, Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage, and then Fantasmic! Our feet are now really hurting! We are trying to get to bed so we can have another full day tomorrow at the Magic Kingdom! Whew!!! We are certainly going to need to relax when we get on the Disney Wonder!

July 25, 2008: My feet are KILLING me right now. We “finished” the Magic Kingdom today. We got there shortly after opening and Bruce practically ran to Space Mountain to get FastPasses for all of us. He met us at Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, which only had a 10 minute wait and we rode it twice. Then we FastPassed Splash Mountain and headed for the Hall of Presidents. I love the Hall of Presidents. It makes me feel good to be an American and also an Illinois resident (because of the way that Lincoln is portrayed). Anyway, we then went to the Haunted Mansion and It’s a Small World. Those 3 attractions (Presidents, Mansion, World) along with the Carousel of Progress are my “must-sees” while at the Magic Kingdom. The lines weren’t bad at all at any of them. Next, we got a FastPass for Peter Pan’s Flight and the girls rode Cinderella’s Golden Carousel. We then headed to the castle for lunch with the princesses. Our opinion is that the price is way too high for what you get. Yeah, they give you a photo package of your family (in our case, the girls) with Cinderella, but seriously, it was over $200 and with my picky family, we certainly did not get our money’s worth in food. Also, it took the server forever to bring refills on our drinks. The price also included dessert which was good. The princesses (Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Belle, and Jasmine) all come by your table and sign autographs and chit-chat with you a little bit so that part is pretty neat. But anyway, we have now done the breakfast and the lunch at the castle and I think that part of our life is over! After lunch, we rode Snow White’s Scary Adventure, Peter Pan’s Flight, Mickey’s Philharmagic, and Winnie the Pooh’s Big Adventure. Then we went to Mickey’s Toontown Fair, a place I have never visited in the past. The girls rode a mini roller coaster and then we all boarded the train for a complete ride around the park. Once we got off of the train, it was time for Space Mountain. The girls both really liked it. B2 wanted to go again but the stand-by line was a 60-minute wait. We rode the Tomorrowland Transit Authority again, which is just a nice little relaxing ride around Tomorrowland, and then headed to Main Street USA to do some shopping. We ran into Donna’s sister Pam and her family in one of the stores. We then headed back to Frontierland and ate dinner at Pecos Bill’s Café. After that, we rode Splash Mountain and finally ended the day with Pirates of the Caribbean. We were going to ride the Jungle Cruise but the wait at 8:30pm was still 30 minutes so we opted to skip it. Like I said, my feet are KILLING me and I think the rest of my family feels similar. The girls are excited about the water park tomorrow. They enjoy the water parks more than the theme parks I think. I am now sitting in the laundry room by our pool doing some wash. Everything is in the dryers now so it should be ready to be folded soon.

July 26, 2008: This morning was time for breakfast at Chef Mickey’s. It is obviously a character meal and Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Pluto, and Goofy are in attendance. The food was good too…..lots of “normal” breakfast stuff and also some “not so normal” stuff. This is good for our family because there is comfort food but also some new things that I can try. Anyway, it was a good meal and the girls got their pictures taken with all the characters. B2 has now purchased a pen in the shape of each of those 5 main Disney characters, so she had to make sure to take her pens along today so each character could sign her autograph book with “their” pen. It was cute. B2 misses Shinza, our dog. She even cried a little bit tonight about it. I hope this trip isn’t too long for her. I promised I would call tomorrow and check on Shinza. Come to think of it now though, the kennel probably won’t answer the phone tomorrow because it is Sunday. Then we will be out on the cruise ship for 4 days after that. Oh boy. Anyway, after breakfast, we spent the rest of the day at Typhoon Lagoon. It was fun and hot at the beginning of the day. However, towards the later part of the afternoon, the weather cooled down and then rained a little (no lightning though so everything stayed open). We did all the slides, the lazy river, the wave pool, and B1, Bruce and I all swam in Shark Reef with real sharks, stingrays, and other fish. Bruce was proud of himself because the last time he tried this, he wasn’t so successful. I think B1 was a bit afraid at the beginning as well but once she saw that she could actually work the snorkel the correct way, she was good. We ate dinner here at the food court and then did some shopping in the hotel gift shop. We came back to the room to try to pack up for the cruise tomorrow and I realized I left the bottom of my swim suit at Typhoon Lagoon. We drove back there at 10:45 (they close at 11:00) only to find that it was truly gone. I checked in the locker room where I changed and with guest services and found nothing. Bummer. I do have another suit along, but this one was the one I prefer to wear in public. Oh well, we have to stop at a store tomorrow to pick up a couple other things before boarding the ship so maybe I’ll check out their swimwear. Bruce reminded me that here in Florida, swimwear doesn’t go out of season. Anyway, that’s about it for today. Everyone else is now asleep and I need to get there as well.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Vacation Day 1

Like I explained from last year's vacation, my parernal grandmother used to keep a journal whenever we took her on vacation with us (which was pretty much every summer). When I got old enough, I began keeping a journal as well. She used to write things down like where we ate and how much it cost, etc. I thought that was weird at the time but now I understand it. Today I looked back at my journal from 2004 and I had written down the cost of our dinner. I was surprised at the inexpense of the cost from only 4 years ago. Anyway, once again this year, I am going to keep the journal on our laptop and when we arrive home, I will print it out. Following is what I wrote for today.

We decided to leave a day early and took off a little before 9am this morning. We drove until we got to Clarksville, TN and stopped for lunch at Dairy Queen. I had promised B1 that we would try to find a DQ before we left. She was craving it for some reason. We also got some gas and then got back on the road. I drove the first 250 miles and then Hubby took over. I slept for awhile and when I woke up, we were in Chattanooga. We stopped for dinner at exit #221 on I-75 in Georgia. We ate at a Golden Corral ($35.27 for the 4 of us with water to drink). We drove a while longer and are now at a Holiday Inn in Perry, GA. We packed an overnight bag so all we really had to bring into the hotel room was that bag, the “bathroom” bag, the laptop, and the bag with books, magazines, etc. in it. It was easy to move into the hotel room tonight. Tomorrow won’t be so easy. Oh well!

We got our toes done yesterday after we decided we were going to leave today. Above is B2's foot (I like her toes the best of the 3 of us).
Here is what B2 french tips and black flowers on her big toes. No, she is not a "goth" kind of girl. I told her that it looks like her toes are bleeding!
And here is my foot. Last year for vacation I just did a french tip. This year I chose to have a flower as well. I think I would like it better if I had 1 big flower on each foot but this is fine too. All of our flowers have little sparklie stones in the middle of them.

Change of Plans

OK, so we were supposed to be leaving Monday morning at 3:30am. But today we decided to leave on Sunday instead. I booked another night at our Disney Hotel and did a lot of quick packing tonight (stuff I was waiting until Sunday to pack) and off we are tomorrow (Sunday.....which is really now today!)! I am sooo excited! Like I think I said before, I plan to try to blog while we are there but if time doesn't allow it, oh well! I'll fill you all in when we get home. Have a Magical Week! I will!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

St. Jacob Homecoming First Night

The homecoming went well last night. B1 and B2 enjoyed riding on the float as always. The weather was hot and humid but we are used to that by now. I told Hubby while we were watching the parade that if someone who grew up in a big city or didn't know "small town life" were to watch our parade, they would think it was the biggest hick thing they have ever seen. Lots of farm equipment, tractors pulling floats, ball teams in the back of pick-up trucks, horses, etc. There really aren't very many pretty floats anymore. But anyway, this kind of parade is what we have always had and what people seem to love. It's always fun. Above, B2 laughing because she just hit me with a strang of beads while I was trying to take her picture!
B2 and on HER right, her friend Micah. On HER left, her friend Cami.
Both of them as they passed by.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

I think It's Over

OK, so B2 is feeling better for the most part. Today, I took them to Chuck E. Cheese's for lunch. We had promised them at the beginning of the summer that we would go and we hadn't yet, so I decided today was the day. I actually think their pizza is pretty good and I do like the salad bar too. The store we go to has expanded since the last time I was there and now it seems so HUGE! There are a lot more games and much more seating. It was nice. She complained about her stomach once today and it was when we were getting into the hot car. I wonder if she was just cranky about the heat and decided to bring up her stomach. Nothing since then and we did also swim today and had some ice cream. I think she is fine. Whew! It's 3 days, 4 hours, and 9 minutes until our adventure begins! Whoo-hoo!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Please Get Better!

This is the third day now that B2 has been sick. Well, actually it comes and goes. She had a headache on Monday afternoon and then vomited Monday night around 9pm. Therefore, I thought it was a migraine and I figured she would start getting better. But Tuesday, she still complained about her head and had a stomach ache as well. So we took her to the doctor. She (doctor) was not happy with B2's urine test and sent us to the hospital to have blood work and an x-ray of her stomach taken. Later yesterday afternoon the doctor called to tell us that the tests showed nothing and that B2 probably has a stomach virus which just needs to pass. But today, on two occasions, she has moaned and groaned with stomach pain. B1 never had this and this is the first time B2 really has. So, knowing that we are supposed to be leaving in five days kind of scares me. Hubby talked to someone at the doctor's office who told us that if it's not much better in the morning to just go into the office when they open. I did go online and search "stomach flu." It said that besides the normal vomiting and diarrhea, symptoms also can include headache and cramping. Honestly, that relieved me. It also said that it can take 1-10 days to pass but that usually it runs its course in 1-3 days. She has not had an episode of pain for about 4 hours now so I am hopeful that it is on its way out. Keep your fingers crossed for us!

Monday, July 14, 2008

The Countdown Is On.....

To Disney 2008 that is! If things go as planned, one week from right now, we will have been on the road for 5 hours. We will probably be somewhere in Tennessee. I have begun the packing process.....the bag is ready that has all the paperwork (passports, hotel reservations, Disney advanced dining reservations, etc.), magazines, travel games, etc. in it. The snack bag is ready; the blankets and pillows for the car are ready, Hubby has most of the technology stuff ready (DVD player, movies, gameboys, Nintendo DS, etc.), the swim bag is almost ready, and the bathroom bag has a lot in it too! I am excited!

This week, we definitely have ball games on Monday and Tuesday. We could have a game on Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday as well, just depending on what happens tonight and tomorrow. B1 could end up having a game next Monday, which she would have to miss if it comes down to that. I hope we win the championship on Saturday though. This weekend is our homecoming and the girls were asked last night to ride on a float so they are excited about that. Summer sure is flying by, but it's been a good one thus far! Happy Monday.....

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Lots of Green Tomatoes

Last year I posted about all the little cherry tomatoes I had grown in my garden. There were a lot! Today I went out to check the garden for the first time since Sunday (class and ball games have kept me from doing so any earlier this week) and I found the 6 little guys you see in the 4th picture. I ate 2 of them and they were yummy! There are TONS of little green cherry tomatoes on the vines! They look like grapes hanging there. I also have regular size tomatoes but still, none of them are turning red. I used to think my parents and my grandma were so old when they would enjoy checking their gardens. I guess I am old now too.

This little guy will be ready in a day or two.
Picking the first tomatoes of the season is kind of exciting!

Here's another picture of the hydrangea bush. Some of the blooms are starting to dry out now but it sure was pretty!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

I'm Here

I am here, just extremely busy this week. I am taking a class which meets every day from 8am - about 3pm at a site 45 minutes from home. I am trying to do the homework for the class so I can turn it all in on Friday and not have to mess with mailing it to the instructor later. Also, both of my kids are in softball playoffs which began last night. I have to do the physical therapy three times this week. I haven't been home much at all. I'll be back with a "real post" soon.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Gotta Love It!

This sign is displayed in the yard of some people who live just outside our town. I believe that last year, at the end of the Cubs' season, it read "Choke.....99 years of losers." Yes, I realize we lost 2 0f 3 games to the Cubs this weekend, but still, I LOVE this sign!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Disney and July 4th Weekend

Hey! For all you Disney buffs out there, I have found out about a Disney podcast that comes right out of good old St. Louis. My friend Donna's brother-in-law is sort of the ringleader and I think it's pretty informative. If you are interested, check it out here. I have been checking the message boards and also listening to some of the podcasts. Good stuff. Oh, and by the way, I added another day to our upcoming trip. It's now going to be 17 nights and 18 days long! I got to thinking and realized that we really weren't going to have much "down time." My kids like to swim, I like to shop, and we simply need some time to relax. So I realized that we really could leave a day earlier than we had planned. Now, instead of spending the morning at Animal Kingdom and the afternoon at Epcot (on the same day), we will be able to take two days to do these parks. We won't have to get up as early on those days because we don't have a whole lot of "must-sees" in those places, so we will be able to take our time more and also, probably come back to the hotel early enough in the evening for a swim. Anyway, needless to say, I am excited!

I hope everyone's fourth of July was great. Ours was pretty good, although not really too exciting. We had Cardinal tickets and it was the first game I've been to so far this year that they lost. I am 5-1 now. And losing to the Cubs just really sucks. Oh well, they won today! We had my parents and brother over tonight for home-made pizza, salad, and strawberry shortcake. We also played euchre, something we hadn't done in quite awhile. It was relaxing just sitting outside on the deck watching the girls swim, and playing cards. Tomorrow morning, we are celebrating the birthday of one of my best friends by going to brunch and then going to a BBQ in the afternoon at the home of some other good friends. Fun times!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Past Two Days

I finally went back to the doctor yesterday since the Plantar Fasciitis in my foot never did really get better. He gave me a cortisone injection and ordered physical thereapy. Yay. I had PT over two years ago when I tore the ACL in my right knee. I must say that the facility I chose was wonderful and it seems the people really know what they are doing and have a great bedside manner. Anyway, today was my first appointment. And. My. Therapist. Was. Cute! Yeah, he is a 27-year old guy (kid). We chatted a lot about high school, college, his job, my job, etc. I found myself thanking God that I had shaved my legs this morning because his hands were on them more than I remembered. Gees. Thank God too that I have somewhat of a tan and my toes were painted! I'm gonna have to shave again tomorrow before my next appointment. And Hubby is so happy to hear about the cute therapist! Ha ha!

Also, last night, I attended "camera class" at the superstore location of the chain where I bought my camera. I swear, it was the fastest 2 hours of my life. Seriously. I never looked at my watch once during the class (which was directed specifically at the brand and model of MY new camera and which only had 2 other participants) and when the instructor was finished, I thought that we had been in there maybe an hour. I was completely shocked when I looked at my watch. Wow. Now I just need to remember the things he taught us and use them!

Tonight, the four of us went to the movies. Hubby saw "Hancock" with Will Smith and said it was OK. The girls and I saw "Kit Kittredge: An American Girl" and it was WONDERFUL!! Seriously, I wasn't expecting a whole lot but knew the girls would like it so that's why we chose that movie. The story was great, the acting was pretty good, and we found ourselves not wanting the movie to end. I would recommend the movie to any parent for their child (boys too). We will definitely buy this one when it comes out on DVD.

Tomorrow, B1 and B2 find out if they "passed" their swimming lessons for this year. I know B2 will stay at the same level because she was passed on last Friday. I am really hoping B1 passes. She says they have been telling her that everything is good and not correcting her on anything the past couple days so I am keeping my fingers crossed.