Friday, October 29, 2010

Show Me the Mommy

I got this idea from LauraC's blog. I figure that I post enough pics of the kids, how about me too?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Todd's eye surgery

Today Todd was scheduled to have the lens in his right eye removed. The surgery was originally scheduled for 8:00 but it got moved back a little bit as he was the second one to be worked on today.

Things went pretty well in the surgery. One of the biggest risks associated with this surgery is an increased chance of detached retina. There were two small tears in the retina but nothing that caused the retina to float up away from the wall of the eye. The doctor was able to repair these with a laser to strengthen the walls. He had already done this a few weeks ago when Todd went in for a follow-up visit from the first surgery.

Todd's lens was removed so he no longer has any cataracts in his eyes. He has a patch on his eye and has been sleeping for most of the day. We will go back in the morning so that the doctor can take the patch off the eye and make sure that everything looks good. If all went well, Todd should be able to return to work next week. It's amazing how many advances have been made in the field of medicine in recent years. It gives me hope for Katie and Michael as they get older.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Make new friends but keep the old

We left Ft. Lauderdale on Saturday morning to start the journey back home. On the way, we stopped to see our old neighbors, Gary and Louise, who moved to a small town about 45 minutes from Orlando. They lived across the street from us for 2 years and we used to have nightly get togethers in their driveway. Eating popsicles and talking were the staples of these nights.

We got there around 2 in the afternoon and all ate lunch together. Michael and Katie were fascinated with their 3 collies and new kitten. Both kids wanted to pet the dogs (or in Katie's case, pull their hair) and play with the kitten. Katie seemed to have virtually no fear of any of the pets.

We spent the afternoon catching up and the kids played outside for a while. They have 3 kids, ranging from 10 to 19. Michael loved following everyone around asking questions. It was pretty funny as he didn't really seem to stop until it was time for bed. I got to ride downtown with Louise and see all the cute shops and restaurants.

After dinner, we put Michael and Katie to bed and ate some ice cream. We talked some more while the men watched football and then headed to bed ourselves. We woke up the next morning and got ready to hit the road but not before a breakfast of waffles and eggs. We were finishing the final leg of our trip and wanted to get a decent start.

Our time with Gary, Louise and their kids was far too short. We realized how much we missed spending time with them. They were very generous in opening their home to us and we had a great time. Let's hope it's not another 5 years before we see them again! And can you believe we didn't get a single picture together?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Catching Up

We got back from our vacation today and I have been working on some blog posts. It seems like there is so much to write about. I have a tendency to promise myself to blog about vacation and then it never happens. Not this year. Hoping to have a few posts up by tomorrow.....

Friday, October 22, 2010

Playground Time

We headed to different playgrounds on the beach twice this week. It was a great way to get the kids out to burn off some energy and Todd & I got to enjoy the gorgeous view of the ocean! I think the idea of a playground beach side is great because it gives you something else to do at the beach if you get tired of the ocean and playing in the sand.

Michael loved going down the slide and climbing up to the top. Katie wanted to climb up to the top but was not a fan of going down the slide, even with someone else. So she practiced the stairs, as well as saying "got it" when she went down the steps. Both kids are went on the swings. They had huge blue tire swings for Michael and small swings for Katie. Katie had a blast in her swing and Michael pushed her too.

We spent over 2 hours at the playground one afternoon. It is amazing how much entertainment the playground can provide. We usually go to a local playground at least once a week and the kids can easily stay there for 2 hours. It also gets lots of energy out!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Sun, Sand and Fun

This morning we decided to head out to the beach in Fort Lauderdale for a few hours. We packed a picnic lunch and drove to a beach that had a parking lot at the entrance. It was different than going to the beach in NC/SC, as they had a grassy area in front of the beach with benches and picnic tables. We were able to eat our lunch at the tables and keep the sand out of our food, which was great!

The kids used their shovels to dig in the sand, as well as throw some sand on each other. We all went in the ocean. There was a sand bar so we were able to go out a little bit without the water getting too deep. The kids had fun while we held them and the waves crashed around us. Michael has made great strides since last summer with going in the ocean and Katie loved bouncing up and down in the surf. The sun was out and there was a nice breeze blowing so it was the perfect temperature.

Here are a few pictures from our beach time.

Monday, October 18, 2010

My First Coupon Friend Meetup

Sunday morning, we spent some time in Orlando at the Disney Marketplace and then got in the car to make the journey to Ft. Lauderdale. Before we left for the trip, I had arranged to meet up with Holly, one of the girls on my coupon train. She was going to lend me a pack & play so we didn't have to bring ours. I was excited to meet her as I have only met May 2006 moms and none of my coupon friends.

We arrived at her house late in the afternoon. It was so nice to finally meet Holly, her husband Sean and their daughter Sammie. The kids started playing with Sammie's toys, which she so generously shared with them. Amazingly all 3 of the kids seemed to get along well and played nicely together, while the adults chatted.

The men talked about sports while Holly and I got to talk about deals, coupons and hunting for bargains. We talked about where we get our coupons from, what stores we like to shop at and what other people think about couponers. It was great to chat with someone who understands my use of coupons and the need to run out to CVS for the weekly deals!

Thanks to Holly for taking these few pictures. Can you believe I forgot my camera in the car?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

19 months old

Katie turned 19 months old yesterday, on our last day in Disney World. I can't even believe how fast the time is flying by. I know I say this all the time but it is just so true.

Over the past month, she is really starting to say things in response to what you say and understand what they mean. She asks for things by name now, like cup, shoe, sock, and cookie. When she is eating, she says "all done" when she is finished. She also says "all done" when she doesn't like something or wants to get out of the bath. Her most recent words include "Katie" and "Michael". It's so cute to hear her call herself or to call Michael. I need to get it on video because the way she says it is adorable.

Her newest physical feat is climbing on table tops. She uses the chairs to stand up on and then she crawls across tables. And she is fast! All tabletops need to be cleared of anything that you don't want her to touch or try to get. It's a constant battle with her and you can't take your eyes off of her for even a minute.

She has also started to give kisses. When you would ask her for a kiss before, she would come up to you with her mouth open. Now she actually comes up and makes the smooching sound when she kisses you. She took my chin into her hands yesterday to make sure she got her kiss on my lips. I had to laugh a little when she was doing it. And she loves to hug Michael. They are really loving and sweet with each other, when they are not at each other's throats.

Katie got another tooth this month, which leaves only the 2 year molars for her to get. I figure we probably have about 6 months with no teething, which suits me just fine since it really seems to affect Katie.

As we are now closer to 2 than 1, Katie's starting to get very independent. She can throw a little temper tantrum when she doesn't get her way. We do our best to ignore them but she wants it to be known that she is not happy. And she also screams to show her displeasure. I am pretty sure this is about the same time that Michael started to act out too. Seeing her personality emerge is one of my favorite things about this age!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Last Day at Disney

Today was our last day of our Disney vacation. Michelle and Alex had to get up early to head back home but we were going to be able to take advantage of another day in the parks as we drove there and were heading on to Ft. Lauderdale for the second week of our vacation.

After getting up, we finished packing and loaded up the van. That way, we only had to come back later to pick up the car and not worry about getting all of our stuff out of the hotel room. We boarded a bus to Hollywood Studios. We had planned to get there early as it was a day with Extra Magic Hours but we didn't get there until the park was opening at its' regular hours.

Since we had already been there earlier in the week, we headed straight for the Toy Story Mania ride. The wait was already 70 minutes but we were able to get fastpasses for 3:30 in the afternoon. We went to see the Playhouse Disney show, which Michael enjoyed. Mickey Mouse Clubhouse has been a favorite show of his for several years now.

After the show, we headed over to the Rock N Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror. Since I am not a fan of these rides and Michael wasn't tall enough, Todd rode these rides alone. He loves rides like those. While he was on the rides, we got a little snack for breakfast and did some people watching. On our way out of the park, Michael got a souvenir, a Pluto hat. He was really good about not wanting everything that he saw while we were there.

We left Hollywood Studios after this and took a boat over to Epcot. We headed into the countries again and went over to Germany to eat lunch. We had bratwurst, frankfurters and pretzels. It was a nice change from what we had been having and Michael got a popsicle on our walk back to the boat.

Outside the country of Norway was the coolest train track through a small town. It was setup over two areas and went under the sidewalk in one part. Michael could have watched the train go for hours. It was quite elaborate and detailed. I can't even imagine the time and effort that went into the design and execution.

We took the boat back to Hollywood Studios with a detour at the Boardwalk to get some candy and do some window shopping. As we exited the boat, someone getting on offered us fastpasses to Toy Story Mania. We now had 4 additional passes and headed back to the ride. The 4 of us went on the first time as there was no height restriction on the ride. We got about 30 seconds into the ride and Katie started saying "all done". Guess she didn't like it as much as the rest of us did!

So we took the kids over to where you could meet Woody and Buzz Lightyear while Todd and I took turns riding Toy Story Mania with Michael one more time each. Michael LOVED the ride and probably could have gone on it 10 more times. He also was thrilled to meet Buzz and Woody and have his picture taken with them.....Katie not so much.

We ate our final dinner at the Cape May Cafe, which was a seafood buffet. I think it was a great ending to our trip. Todd and I both took advantage of the all you could eat crab legs, although I think we could have eaten more if it was just the two of us there. By the time dinner was over, it was almost 8:00 and the kids were DONE. I think we were all pretty exhausted. What a great vacation it was!!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Epcot and Typhoon Lagoon

This morning, we got to Epcot right as the gates opened. We went straight to Soarin' so that Michael and Todd could ride it. While they were waiting to go on the ride, Katie and I walked over to get Fastpasses for Test Track to pass the time.

Michael really liked Soarin' and told me about everything that he saw while he was on the ride. He actually said he would go on it again. We got the kids a snack and then went back to Test Track. Since Katie was not tall enough to ride, Michael and I went on first. There were various diagrams of body angles and the impact during an accident. Michael had fun posing next to the diagrams.

Once on the ride, he held his hands over his ears because he said it was too loud. After we got off, I asked him if he liked it and he told me he couldn't wait to ride it again. Then it was his turn to go on with Todd.

We headed over to the World Showcase to eat lunch. Of all the times I have been to Epcot, I have never eaten a fast lunch in one of the countries. It was a nice change of pace from the burger, pizza or hot dog. We ate in the United Kingdom at the Yorkshire Fish Shop. The fish and chips was fried and unhealthy but delicious. Would definitely eat there again in the future.

After lunch, we headed back to the hotel and made our way over to Typhoon Lagoon. It wasn't quite as warm as earlier in the week but the water park seemed to be something that Michael really enjoyed so we headed to another one. We rode in the lazy river with my mom and Katie rode in my lap. After that, we headed up to the family tube ride. Even Katie could go on this ride. She was a real trooper and we were able to go on it 3 times in a row since there was no wait. As we got to the end of the ride on the 3rd time, she said "all done" right before a wave of water crashed over her body. It was pretty amazing since Michael probably would not have gotten within 20 feet of the water at the same age.

Since it was our last night with everyone there, we all headed to Epcot to eat in Italy. Katie wasn't really being too cooperative at the table and was throwing silverware and napkins on the floor. I pulled out a Tootsie Roll pop to bribe her and it worked. When they brought out her plate, she ate more than half of the meal. It was almost as big a portion as mine! We walked back to the boat to take us back to Boardwalk after dinner and to our hotel. Michelle and Alex were leaving early in the morning to head back home so we said our goodbyes. It was fun spending time with them and Michael was especially sad that they were leaving!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Day 5 Activities

We slept in a little bit this morning and headed to Hollywood Studios a little after 9 with my parents. As soon as we got there, we headed straight back to Toy Story Mania. The fastpasses were being given out for 7-8pm and the wait was already 70 minutes. We decided to come back early Saturday morning to ride it instead of waiting in a long line.

We did the Great Movie Ride, which Michael didn't like because of the loud noises. That part didn't seem to bother Katie at all, as she sat there eating her animal crackers. Then we went to the Muppet Vision 3-D, which Katie wouldn't sit still for, even though Michael loved it. Outside the theater were Lightning McQueen and Mater from the movie "Cars". Michael was thrilled to get to have his picture taken with them, as that movie is one of his favorites.

We walked down the movie set streets and went to the Backlot Tour. We had to wait for a little while and Katie got a bit restless but it was also nearing lunch and nap time. After it was done, then we got lunch. We were going to do a few more things but it was hot and the kids were ready to get back to the room. Katie napped on the way back. We rested in the room for a while before heading to dinner at the Coral Reef Restaurant at Epcot.

After some inquiries from Todd, we got to sit at a table right next to the fish tank. Shortly after we sat down to eat, a sea turtle came right down from the surface and stayed with us throughout the whole meal. We also saw scuba divers inside, as well as various fish and sea life. Michael loved seeing what the turtle was doing and watching when it went up to the surface to get a breath. After dinner, we went to see the aquarium on the other side of the restaurant. We also went to a show called "Turtle Time with Crush". It involved a fish that interacts with the kids in the audience and asked them questions about humans and vice versa.

Todd rode Mission:Space since the lines were not long and Michael was not tall enough to go on it yet. Michael had fun playing in the arcade while we waited for Todd to exit from the ride. There was even a small playground inside the waiting area. We headed home after that and were all exhausted once again!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Chef Mickey and Magic Kingdom

We had a character breakfast this morning at Chef Mickey's in the Contemporary Resort. Michael was so excited to finally get to meet Mickey after talking about it for several weeks leading up to the trip. Katie was feeling a little under the weather so she wasn't as excited!

We had been eating for about 5 minutes when the first character approached our table. We got to meet Pluto, Donald, Minnie, Mickey and Goofy. Michael asked Todd why the characters don't talk after meeting a few of them. He really enjoyed getting to shake their hands and have his picture taken with them. Michael happily posed for the camera while Katie was constantly keeping watch on the character.

After breakfast, we got on the monorail and headed to the Magic Kingdom. We headed to Tomorrowland after stopping to see a short show on the way there. The first ride we did was the Monsters Inc show. We got Fastpasses for the Buzz Lightyear ride and then Todd & Michael headed over to Stitch's Great Escape. We went to Buzz after that and then headed over to the Speedway. Katie was not a big fan of the Buzz Lightyear ride, probably because the 4 of us were all in one car. She loved the Speedway though, as noisy as it was. Michael did too!

We got ice cream and then went over to Mickey's Toontown. Todd and Michael rode Goofy's Barnstormer, a kid's rollercoaster. Katie and I went to play at the playground with miniature houses. We decided to head back to the hotel after this since Todd and I had an early dinner reservation.

Todd and I went out to Victoria and Albert's to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. My parents watched the kids for us, which was a nice treat. It was nice to get dressed up and go out to have a relaxing and quiet dinner, just the two of us. We got to try new foods, as well as enjoy foods we already love. Since we went to this same restaurant on our honeymoon, it was extra special to us. They even give you a personalized menu with the foods that you have chosen as a keepsake.
We thought about going out after dinner but were so stuffed that we just headed back to the room to hang out for a little while.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Blizzard Beach

We decided to go to Blizzard Beach today. It was the perfect weather. Just hot enough that the water would cool you off but not so hot that the lines were long. There was a kids' area for Michael and Katie to play in and it even had short water slides and tube slides. Michael had a blast in there and probably spent about 2 hours there. Katie went down one of the water slides but she couldn't get herself upright as she started to go down so she's not quite ready. Both kids loved the wave pool. Todd and I even got to ride a few rides without the kids!

Tonight, we ate in the country of Japan in Epcot. We had early reservations, which seemed to work well for the kids. Katie was feeling a little under the weather and didn't eat nearly as much as she did the night before. She did enjoy the Sprite that I had with dinner and Michael had his first Shirley Temple, which was a change from the chocolate milk that he had for most of the week until then.

We ate dinner with my parents and Michelle and Alex. Our chef was very entertaining and the meal was delicious. This is hibachi style dining, where your meal is prepared on a hot grill right in front of you. The kids love it as much as the adults do for the entertainment value as much as the food.

After dinner, we walked around the World Showcase. As part of the Food and Wine Festival that was going on at Epcot, different bands were playing outside. The one playing tonight was Air Supply. Todd and I laughed because Michael really seemed to like it and asked if he could stay to watch it. He sat on Todd's shoulders and swayed along to the music.

When that was over, we stayed for the nightly fireworks show, Illuminations. We found a spot to sit about 30 minutes before the show started that wasn't too crowded. We put Katie in the backpack carrier and she wasn't scared at all when the show started. In fact, she fell asleep about 5 minutes into it. When the show was over, we headed back to the hotel. Michael fell asleep in the stroller on the way there. It was another great day!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Animal Kingdom

Since we were staying at a Disney resort, we were able to take advantage of Extra Magic Hours at a different park every day. Today was an hour early at Animal Kingdom. We headed out and got there about 8:30.

We went with my parents, Michelle and Alex. Once we got into the park, Michelle and Alex headed off to get FastPasses for Expedition Everest, a rollercoaster. The rest of us headed back to the safari. We all rode the safari together and only had about a 10 minute wait. Since it was early in the morning, it wasn't hot out yet and a lot of animals were out. We saw giraffes, lions, elephants, as well as some new animals to the safari and a rare animal that only has a population of 500.

We exited the ride and got a family picture outside by a waterfall. We decided to head over to Expedition Everest and pick up passes for Kali River Rapids, a water ride. My mom, Katie, Michael and I did not go on Everest. Todd, Michelle and Alex liked it so much they rode it a second time. My dad said that once was enough for him.

The next ride we went to was Dinosaur to get passes and then tracked back to the Kali River Rapids. We took turns going on the ride since Katie wasn't tall enough. Michael liked this ride pretty well and managed to stay pretty dry. Probably because he was sitting right next to me and I protected him by getting soaked on one side. We walked back to Dinosaur after that. I think this ride was too scary for Michael because it was dark and the dinosaurs really get close to your vehicle. Fortunately, it didn't turn him off from liking dinosaurs because he really enjoyed the gift shop.

We headed to pick up lunch after that. Everyone else left the park to get back to the room to rest while Michael played in the Boneyard, a dinosaur playground with rope bridges and ropes to climb. We went to see "It's Tough to be a Bug" in the Tree of Life and then left the park around 3:00.

Since there was so time to kill before dinner, we went to one of the pools at our hotel. Michael and Katie enjoyed themselves although the water was a bit chilly. The day ended with dinner at Captain's Grille, where Katie ate NY Strip Steak, mashed potatoes, carrots and salad. I think she could have continued to eat had there been more food. Michael got a pizza and make your own sundae and fell asleep before we got on the boat to head back to the hotel. He was exhausted, which seemed to be the theme for this trip!