Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Ready for Some Salsa Lovins!!

Wahoo!! In a few hours I'll be hoppin' across the border and winging my way to a week of double the laughter and double the fun! It's time to party as only Rose and Marie know how!
(The ability to travel now makes all the overtime worked in the fall and before Christmas well worth it. I may wear hand-me-down clothes (yup!) and not buy a lot of new furniture or house stuff but I sure do love me some travelling! I guess I come by it honestly as my parents love to travel too so it's in our blood.)

Mary-Mia and I have been online friends for a few years now and it's been a dream to be able to head west and visit them. Tomorrow is the day! We planned our visit back in the fall and have been waiting a number of months for this time to arrive. It's fun to think that this time tomorrow we'll be chatting up a storm!

It was sweet to talk to the girls on the phone tonight. They breezed by quickly to say a quick, 'Hi' and 'Hi Kaffrin' on the phone. Oh yah...melted my heart! They on the other hand, are probably scheming about what they can do with a rookie in the house! Oh the fun they'll have teaching me the ropes. (Hopefully they don't use those ropes to tie me up when I'm not paying attention. :o) I think I'm blissfully unaware of the energy the adorable twinadoes have but I'm the first to admit I can't wait to spend a week hanging out with Mary-Mia and Rod...and getting a crash course in mommyhood from the girls!

Another bonus about with this trip is I'll have 2 long stopovers on the way down. The first one I'll meet my parents, aunt and uncle in Detroit and we're going to go out to lunch together near the airport. The 2nd 2 hour stopover is in Julie's hometown so she's going to meet me at the airport for a visit between flights. Yeah!!! Hoping Miss Tess will nap early so that she can join us too but if not I'll just need to be patient until we get together again sometime.

Looking forward to spending time with wonderful family and friends tomorrow! Can't wait to see everyone!!!

PS - Will be heading back via Atlanta next Wednesday. Anyone live near the airport and want to grab a Starbucks at the airport? LOL!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Disney Fun...Day 4 - Animal Kingdom, Swimming and Time To Go Home!

We were up early again wanting to make the most of every moment of our time that we could! Mickey called at 6:45 to wake the girls up. (Note: If you stay at a Disney resort, please be sure to request a wake-up call as Mickey or one of the other characters will be the one doing the honours! We used the speaker phone option in the mornings so that we could all enjoy it.) We got ourselves ready, finished packing and after applying about a dozen Band-Aids to assorted blisters on our feet :o) we were ready to go once again! They say the average person walks 10-14 miles per day at a Disney park and we don't doubt that for a moment! It's a ton of fun but I can't stress enough how important it is to wear comfortable footwear. Even with that you can see that blisters can be a problem.

After breakfast at our resort we made our way to Animal Kingdom. Rebecca had hoped to see Chip & Dale and so far this trip they had eluded us. I was going to check with the Character Hot Line to find out if they were going to be at Animal Kingdom but when we moved towards the gate guess who were there to welcome us? Chip & Dale! The girls were so excited and quickly lined up for autographs. As we left C&D Rebecca said to me, 'Auntie Cathy. Aren't you glad we didn't go to Epcot today because we would have missed Chip and Dale again because they're here!!' Yes they are sweetie...yes they are! (We had entertained the idea of going back to Epcot and skipping AK but the girls were sure that C&D were going to be at AK so asked that we go there instead. It wasn't an issue. It wasn't a demand. It was the simple request of 2 precious little girls and we couldn't say 'yes' fast enough!

When we entered AK we headed to Africa and Kilimanjaro Safaris. Rebecca and I had ridden this ride many times in the past but this day was one of the very best ones we'd ever had when it came to seeing the animals! This isn't Giraffe's best side but you get an idea of how close to our jeep he/she actually was! After leaving Africa we headed to Camp Minnie-Mickey where we enjoyed the amazing musical, Festival of the Lion King! Disney musicals are top notch and not only are they entertaining and well done, they're also a great time to give the tootsies a little break!

Dinoland was our next stop where we rode Triceratop Spin. The girls enjoyed running around The Boneyard while Grandma and I tried to catch all the sun we could before heading back home to the ice and snow!

Our final character stop of the trip was to visit our friends from the Hundred Acre Woods:
Pooh Eeyore Piglet and Tigger! All too soon our Disney trip was coming to a close. It was time for us to leave but we were thankful for all the memories that had been created and know that it will be a trip that we'll never forget!!! The look on the girl's faces in this pic seems to say it all...Do we really have to go?? Well, not quite yet! :o) A 'jog' in the 1950's sign of our resort, and a quick dip in the pool (something we'd been wanting to do but we just hadn't found time to squeeze it in before now) signalled the end of our amazing, whirlwind, trip-of-a-lifetime at Disney! If you're wondering how zonked he kids were when we took them home, here's a video taken in the car about a 1/2 hour before we dropped them off at their homes. Still laughing, still having a blast...and still entertaining Grandma and I!!

Was it hard for us to leave? I think I'll leave you with this one last picture taken of Grandma unpacking the car at home and let you decide!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Disney Fun...Day 3 - Supper with Cinderella and more MK!

We had a 4:40 supper reservation at the Grand Floridian to dine with Cinderella and Prince Charming at Cinderella's Gala Feast, 1900 Park Fare. This has been a favourite for Rebecca and me each time we have gone to Disney. My oh my how she has grown and changed!! This pic is on the 'All Ears Net' website which is the best site I've found to answer any and all questions Disney related. I use it often as you can tell from the many links I have in these posts. Anyway, this is a picture of my sweetie that they have on their site that was taken in May of 2004 when we went to Disney together for the very first time. Isn't she a sweetie???

While we dined, we were once again visited by Royalty at our table!

Prince Charming (Victoria is on the left and my niece Rebecca is on the right)

and the always beautiful, Cinderella!

At one point in the dinner they even waltzed together and then invited the children to join them. It was wonderful!!

The restaurant where the dinner is held was updated last fall and what also changed were the characters at the dinner. The Fairy Godmother, Suzy and Perla (Cinderella's very helpful mice friends) have taken a break and in their place are the Evil Stepmother and the 2 stepsisters. Oh my....this change is wonderful, fun and hilarious as you can see by the pics below!!

As the girls were eating their supper the Evil Stepmother

approached our table and told the girls to, 'Sit up straight and eat their supper!' She commended Victoria about the veggies on her plate. Guess we're glad she arrived before we tackled the make-your-own sundae bar! :o)
Rebecca told her that she thought her dress was pretty and she said that obviously Rebecca had very good taste!

Next in line were the stepsisters and yes, they were as funny and ditzy in person as they are in their pictures! I can't remember their names so will just post pictures for you to enjoy.

After supper we hopped aboard the monorail and headed back to the Magic Kingdom.
The night was still young and even though it had started to rain it didn't dampen our spirits in the least and we still had much fun ahead of us.

We boarded the train and headed back to Toontown where we said good-bye to Mickey, not sure if we'd see him the next day or not.

We enjoyed some of the rides in Tomorrowland including Buzz Lightyear and the Speedway (which the girls loved as they were able to 'drive' although I think they enjoyed giving Grandma and me whiplash more so than driving! :o) One of our last rides of the night was the Mad Tea Party. What trip to Disney is complete without a ride on the spinning teacups?

We were able to see part of the fireworks which is another not-to-be-missed opportunity! They do an amazing show all set to music and story.

After a long, fun, amazing, exciting day at MK we headed back to our room. Sadly Grandma and I needed to pack our suitcases before heading to bed as tomorrow was going to be our last day and we'd also be flying home. It was hard to think of leaving already but we were so thankful for this trip that we didn't dare get sad that it was coming to an end.

One more day to share with you soon...

Friday, January 25, 2008

Disney Fun...Day 3 - Magic Kingdom!

Monday found us heading out bright and early ready for all the fun and excitement that the Magic Kingdom would hold!! Once again we were there on time for the opening countdown and it was one of the many, many highlights of the trip for me. Disney just does it right! There was music playing, people dancing on the train station platform above the gates and the excitement could be felt in the air! As we enjoyed the entertainment the air was filled with the infamous 'Toooot tooot' of the Walt Disney World Steam Engine and the train rolled into the station loaded full of characters dancing, waving and welcoming us to the Magic Kingdom! I was so excited that I forgot to take pictures. It was so neat to experience and for us see the excitement in the girl's faces too! When you're at Disney, if you have the opportunity to get to the MK in time for the opening I'd highly recommend it! What a great way to start your day!

We took our time wandering down Main Street and just enjoyed being there! Once again there were Cast Members lining the streets welcoming us and waving wearing the large white Mickey gloves and horse drawn trolleys rumbled down Main Street. Each thing just one more piece of all that is 'Disney!'

We stopped for a group picture with the castle in the background. This is just one of those 'have to have' photos!

Victoria's wish was that we ride the Dumbo ride first so that's exactly what we did. She loves to soar up high and Rebecca likes Dumbo to stay closer to the ground so Grandma flew with R and I flew with V. Oh to see and hear their fun! Sights and sounds I want to keep in my heart forever!

After Dumbo we rode Winnie the Pooh a couple of times as well as Cinderella's Golden Carrousel. From there it was time for one of my dreams to come true. Ever since I'd seen 'Mickey's PhilharMagic' the very first time, it was something I knew I wanted to share with Sharon. It's a beautiful 3D movie featuring Mickey, Donald as well as many famous Disney movies. Once again it's a treat for all the senses and that day as we were able to watch it together a dream come true was realized!

We continued on our journey of fun enjoying Peter Pan and 'It's a Small World' (where I made my traditional call to my cousin Bridget. She's as big a Disney fan as I am and it's our tradition to call one another when we're on the 'Small World' ride. Can't wait to receive that call from you next week Bridge!! Have a GREAT trip!!)

As I said before, Victoria brought out the brave in Rebecca and this time she allowed herself to try out The Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean. She wasn't too sure about the Haunted Mansion but loved Pirates! Thanks Victoria for encouraging Rebecca to try some new things this trip!

Next ride on our list was the Magic Carpets of Aladdin. The first time R enjoyed it with Grandma and then the girls decided that they were all grown up and quite able to ride on their own...thank you very much! We offered to sit in the back of their carpet but they said they wanted to be on their own so Sharon and I mastered the art of flying our own carpet! Self portraits leave much to be desired but you can see that we were having a great time too!

This video is of the girls flying in front of us. The ride naturally goes up high at the end of the ride and I love how Rebecca curls into Victoria for protection.

We gave our feet a break and enjoyed some old favourites like The Tiki Room and Jungle Cruise. The only ride we did separately this trip was Big Thunder Mountain Railroad as that one is still a little too much for Rebecca but Victoria loved!

Realizing it was time to leave the Magic Kingdom for supper we boarded the train and made our way back to the main gates. There was more fun to be had at supper and then we'd head back for more MK memory building later in the evening. More Disney fun to come....

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Heh! Guess We Need More Princess Training!

This is one of my favourite pics from our trip! After a day at Epcot the girls were changed into their beautiful dresses and waiting for our names to be called to dine at Chef Mickey's. I think we may need to work a little more on 'how to sit like a Princess'...but then again, we would have missed out on this great picture!!

Disney Fun...Day 2 - Chef Mickey's!

After leaving Epcot we took the monorail to the Contemporary Resort, changed the girls into their matching Christmas dresses ('half fraternal twins' like to dress alike!) and prepared to dine at Chef Mickey's! This Character meal was the girls favourite although Grandma and I enjoyed supper with Cinderella the most. (More about that one in a Day 3 post still to be written.) Here the girls are carefully preparing their autograph albums for the Characters. They also enjoyed peeking around the corner to see who might be coming next! During the course of our dinner we were joined by: The Mouse himself....MICKEY!! Minnie! Goofy! Donald! and, Pluto!! Twice an hour there is extra fun in the dining rooms too! The music begins and the characters march around the restaurant twirlling napkins in the air and often the kids follow the characters. It's so much fun to see kids and adults alike....being kids! I think that's one of the many, many reasons I love Disney. It allows me to be a kid again and I love it!!!

The video is dark but you can hear and see some of the fun!

Celebrating 22 months Closer to Hannah!!

I'm interrupting the Disney posts for a very important announcement and celebration! Today my file has been logged with CC*AA for 22 months! 22 months closer to my sweet baby girl and beyond excited about that! All in God's perfect time...all in His time!

Mommy loves you Hannah and I'll wait as long as I need to to hold you in my arms. Even though my arms ache to hold you now, until that happens, I will hold you close in my heart and prayers. I love you sweet baby girl. Mommy loves you! xoxo

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Disney Fun...Day 2!

Sunday we were up bright and early once again and ready for more fun! Today's park of choice...Epcot!
We were in line for the opening, had fun waving at the characters who were dancing in front of us and counted down to the opening...5-4-3-2-1...FUN! After grabbing a locker and putting away jackets and the girls fancy dresses to be worn at dinner that night, we were off! We joined the parade of people heading to 'The Land' in order to secure Fastpasses for 'Soarin'! It sounds silly but I love being part of this little parade of people heading for a time of fun! There are cast members (anyone who works at Disney is considered a 'cast member') whose sole purpose at that time of the day is to wear Mickey gloves and wave at those passing by. As you enter 'The Land' you can hear pots and pans banging and whistles blowing as the kitchen staff from the local food court are there to welcome you too. It's just...Fun! We grabbed our Fastpasses, exited the building and were on our way. Destination? Norway for Breakfast with the Princesses!! (It was on this jaunt that we bumped into Mary Poppins!)

The sun was shining, we had a skip in our step (ie. we still had the energy to skip!) and we were on our way!

When we were summoned by name into the castle, we were greeted by Princess Aurora (Sleeping Beauty) in her formal gown! (Rebecca left, Victoria right)

As we dined on a delicious breakfast of pastries, fresh fruit, eggs, bacon, sausage, potatoes, Florida orange juice, coffee and much more we were visited by...Royalty!!



Snow White

and...the girls new favourite princess...Mulan!! I must agree with them on that one!

After a wonderful time with the princesses it was time to enjoy some rides! Soarin' is an amazing ride that is hard to describe but must be experienced! It's a not-to-be-missed in my books and many others too! From there we enjoyed many other rides and shows. One of my favourites is Turtle Talk with Crush, where Crush actually asks kids in the audience questions and answers them! Here they were hamming it up for the camera as 'Bruce' ate them for lunch!

Another favourite ride is Test Track! Having Victoria along brought out the 'brave' in Rebecca and it was fun to see her try new adventures each day! She tends to be on the timid side when it comes to things but her best friend was a great help! Rebecca and I have had the awesome pleasure of visiting Disney together a few other times but I must say, sharing it with Sharon and Victoria this time made it extra, extra special!! Hope we can do it again sometime - maybe when Miss Hannah is home!

(Some people have asked how our we're all related. Well, officially we're not but we share an amazing friendship that feels like family!! Sharon and I have been great friends since I was a teen. She's like the big sister I never had and I love the time that we share together - as any of you who have spent time here at the blog know. Victoria is her granddaughter. When Victoria was a baby I often babysat her when her parents were working weekends. She and Rebecca are 1 year, 1 week apart in age so when Rebecca was a baby, she would often see Victoria with me. From the time that Rebecca was only months old, I would do things with the 2 of them together and their friendship grew and grew to what it is today. They are the very best of friends although like to tell people that they are 'half fraternal twins'(???) Sharon and I love to watch them together as they are SO GOOD for one another. Loving each other. Supporting each other. And totally free to be what they want to be together! How thankful we are that God has brought the 4 of us together and that we were able to experience this awesome trip together!!)
The picture above is very typical of the two of them - totally spontaneous and oh so precious!!

The warm weather was a great treat for us and it was absolutely perfect!! The girls had fun cooling off (and getting quite wet) in the fountains.

Trying to fit in as much as we possibly could, before we had to leave for dinner reservations, we headed back to the countries for more fun and laughter! The girls couldn't decide which was funnier when we were at the Mexico Pavilion...these huge sombreros

or these teeny, tiny hats!

The final country that we were able to visit was China!!
The girls each had their name written in Chinese characters and I was able to get Hannah's name as well as buy a necklace (on a red cord!) with her name in Chinese. My sweet baby girl is never, ever far from my thoughts but those moments as we visited the China Pavilion, she was extra close. I love you baby girl. Praying for you daily and antipating the day that God brings you and mommy together.

Sadly our day at Epcot all too quickly came to an end. We discussed going back after supper (another post) but lets just say that by the time we'd sat down for supper, our feet were begging to be put to bed. After all...tomorrow was another day and the Magic Kingdom was waiting!!

Here is a sample of the fun Sharon and I enjoyed, watching the girls just being girls and having fun on the monorail. Sweet, sweet friendship for sure!

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