Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Disney Recap aka - my big fat TOLD YOU SO to all the nay-sayers!

This may be my longest post ever b/c I'm not going to break it into parts! Mostly I'm writing this for my own journaling purposes, but if you read the whole thing...way to go! :) 

Well, folks, we survived Disney with a 2-yr old. In fact, I would say we more than survived...we thrived!

Let me start by saying, we had a rocky start. We were supposed to leave early (like 6:30 AM) Saturday morning to arrive in Disney Springs (formerly Downtown Disney) in time for a 1 PM lunch reservation at the T-Rex restaurant. From there, we were planning to spend the rest of our day resort hopping and checking out the Christmas decorations. Friday afternoon at 4 PM, I got a call from daycare that Grayson was throwing up!

He has never had a stomach bug so I was panicking. That night was stressful as I watched my poor little boy throw up two more times. I called and canceled our lunch reservations, but was not ready to call off the whole trip just yet. I prayed intently over him for immediate healing. Yes, I had some selfish reasons b/c I really wanted to go on this trip I had literally been planning for MONTHS and it was my birthday and it was going to be so magical. But of course I also just wanted my little one to feel better as quickly as possible, for his own sake. After a couple hours, he was up and walking around, chowing down on crackers, and acting mostly normal. He fell asleep on Scott in the living room, which is uncharacteristic, but we were still feeling hopeful. We packed as planned that night, but decided we would take it slow in the morning and maybe leave that afternoon instead.

Grayson was fussy over the night and I was feeling very discouraged. But thank the Lord, he woke up the next morning and was acting fine! He told me he wanted to go to Mickey Mouse's house! So, we had a slow morning, made sure he was able to keep down some breakfast, and left around lunch time. Unfortunately we were not able to see any of the resorts or get any other Disney Spring dining reservations, but we did walk around Disney Springs for a little while and let Grayson check out the gift shop area of T-Rex and Rainforest Cafe...both of which he really enjoyed. Scott's parents arrived that evening and we met up and had dinner at Macaroni Grill.

Our first two park days were at Magic Kingdom. I had a happy birthday pin (that I wore all three days!), and loved having random people and cast members shout "Happy birthday!" to me all day long. :) Unfortunately our first day had to be a short one because we didn't buy tickets to Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party (nor did we have park hoppers), meaning that our day had to end at 7 pm. But we still made the absolute most of our day and did pretty much everything I had planned (which was a lot!).

There were only two bummer moments. One was that the talking Mickey wasn't talking due to technical issues. The other was that we waited for 20 minutes in a line that we thought was for the Under the Sea ride (which claimed a 10 minute wait) only to discover that it was actually the Ariel meet and greet (which we had Fastpasses for the next day!). We left the line after spending those 20 minutes there so we could make it to our Jungle Cruise fastpass. That was annoying, but honestly, no big deal!

It took Grayson a little while to get into the Disney spirit. Don't get me wrong...he was laid back and caused us no issues or stress...but he seemed almost emotionless for many of the rides and meet and greets, which was a little disappointing. I was expecting the same kind of enthusiasm he has while watching the parade on youtube or watching Disney movies. I imagined I would be crying at the magic of it all as he smiled and laughed and commented on everything. But mostly he just quietly took it all in. Usually after a ride or attraction, he would say, "I liked that!" But you couldn't always tell it during the ride itself! But to his credit, he was awesome during everything! He enjoyed Haunted Mansion, calling it the Halloween House (he LOVES Halloween) and his only comment during the ride was, "it's pretty dark in here!" He also was not afraid of Pirates of the Caribbean. Even the drop didn't register a reaction from him. I was nervous about both of these rides, so it was a relief that he liked them so much. We even rode Pirates again the next day!

The only meltdown he had during our first day was getting off the Winnie the Pooh ride. He wanted to get off by himself (he's very independent these days) but it's one of those moving sidewalks and we didn't have time so I had to pick him up. But he was fine by the time we left the ride area and were on our way to the next thing. In fact, those were the only tantrums he had during the whole trip (wanting to get off rides by himself. I think it happened 2-3 more times while we were there). Grayson's favorite part of the day (and probably mine as well) was probably the Festival of Fantasy Parade. He has seen it a thousand times on Youtube, but he still got so excited when he saw the dragon!!

We received a little extra Disney magic on our first day as well. After meeting Mickey (the first thing we did), we were debating purchasing a set of Mickey ears for Grayson. We knew he probably wouldn't wear them, but it seemed like something we should do! A very nice cast member came over and was talking with us and helping us find the right size. She asked if we wanted his name on the back. We asked how much that was (I think she could tell we were literally thinking through a budgeted amount) and she said, "I'll do it for free. He's cute!" Awesome!! We also had some trouble booking a 4th fastpass later in the day and a cast member tried helping us and ended up writing Scott a paper pass since he was the only one in our group who couldn't get the Haunted Mansion FP and she also wrote a ticket for a free Mickey ice cream bar! The three of us shared one before heading to Haunted Mansion. :)

Despite the park closing early for us, we managed to get a ton done in the last hour or so of the day! We just kept saying, well...we have time for one more thing! And that one more thing led to another one more thing! I think Grayson's favorite ride of the day was The People Mover in TomorrowLand. After that, we decided we had time for the Buzz Lightyear ride. After that, we only had about 20 minutes left and I suggested we just take our time walking out and explore Main Street a bit. But we noticed Monster Inc Laugh Floor only had a 10 minute wait. Why not? Grayson really liked that one! Then, we really did have to head out because we didn't have bands for the party so we couldn't ride anything else. But we took our time walking out, stopping to take pictures along the way.

I knew it snowed on Main St. during the Christmas party, but I figured that didn't happen until later. We were all in awe as we walked onto Main St and it was snowing!! I think I teared up at that moment because I assumed we wouldn't get to see that. It really was magical! Grayson kept commenting on the snow and trying to catch it. It was awesome! Truly the perfect way to end a day at the parks!

It was still early, so we headed to Red Lobster for my birthday dinner where I enjoyed some tasty crab legs! Grayson didn't want to eat any of it, but he happily helped me rip the legs off! :)

That night we said goodbye to Scott's parents and hello to my mom! By the time we were back in our room, it was pretty late. But we took a few minutes to exchange Christmas presents with my mom since we wouldn't see her again before Christmas, and we weren't sure if we would have time on the other days since we had early and late days at the park planned. Eventually Grayson looked at us all and said, "I gotta go to sleep!" haha! I'm not surprised that he was tired. This kid kept fighting his nap until he finally passed out at 4pm in the line for It's a Small World. He took about an hour nap in the stroller after that. But that night, he passed out and slept great! He had a whole queen sized bed to himself in the hotel room and I think he quite enjoyed it! :)

The next morning we had 8:25 AM breakfast reservations at Crystal Palace in the Magic Kingdom. This was great because we were able to get into the park a whole hour earlier than we would have otherwise! I wasn't sure if the character breakfast would be worth it since the day before Grayson wasn't overly excited about meeting characters (not afraid, just not enthusiastic either), but he was a whole new kid on day 2! It was like he understood what was happening so he could relax and enjoy it all more. Also, maybe he just felt better physically since he had been sick just a few days prior. Anyway, we loved our breakfast at Crystal Palace with the Winnie the Pooh characters! The whole time, Grayson was spotting them around the room and pointing them out excitedly. He seemed most eager to meet Eeyore (one of his favorites!), but was surprisingly most shy around him. We met Winnie the Pooh last and by the time he came around, Grayson actually held up his arms for Pooh to pick him up! SO SWEET! We had a wonderful time, I just wish I had taken more time to enjoy the food. I was so excited about meeting the characters and didn't want to miss any of them, that I rushed to get my food from the buffet (didn't even go all the way down the line!) and barely ate it because I was distracted watching for characters! ha! But it was easily the best food we had in the parks.

Day 2 was even more magical than Day 1! I forgot to say we started the day off by getting free parking! It costs $20, but the cast member saw my birthday pin. He high fived me and said December birthdays were the best. And then he handed back my money and a receipt for $0 and said to have a great birthday! I was so excited!!

We were able to do everything I had planned for the day and more! Scott and my mom rode Space Mountain as soon as we were done with breakfast, which wasn't even on my agenda, but I'm so glad Scott got to ride it since it's one of his favorites! Obviously this pregnant mama wasn't able to ride any coasters this trip! Grayson's nap schedule was much more reasonable this day. He fell asleep quickly while I held him during Hall of Presidents (where my mom and I both cried! So moving!). We transferred him to his stroller afterward and he slept for THREE HOURS! We parked at an outdoor table at Cosmic Rays and had lunch, walked around the shops of Main Street, listened to the band play Christmas music (rather loudly), and even watched the Dream Along with Mickey show in front of the castle, which included very loud music and fireworks! He slept through it all!

He woke up just in time for us to ride Carousel of Progress before our fastpasses to Buzz Lightyear. We maximized every part of the day! We even walked around and played at Tom Sawyer's Island for a while so Grayson could run around for a bit. We stayed late--watched the Electrical Parade, which Grayson enjoyed even though he was very sleepy. Immediately after it ended, he said "I gotta go night-night." I gave him his paci and put him in his stroller and he was out in minutes! He slept straight through the Celebrate the Magic castle projection show. We had great spots to view this (and the parade) but were dismayed to realize we couldn't see the fireworks from where we were at all! It was really crowded and we were tired, so we decided to go ahead and leave and catch glimpses of the fireworks show on our way out. Yes, I wish we could have sat and watched the whole thing, but I could tell it was awesome. I was very thankful when we were boarding the monorail and I looked back at the massive crowd that had gathered behind us after the show was over! Leaving about 15 minutes early probably saved us at least an hour of travel time! Grayson slept until we had to move him to his carseat. He was not happy with that, but he went back to sleep soon after.

It's hard to say what our favorite part of Day 2 was...it was all so awesome! The only bummer part of that day was that we had some bubbles in our backpack that leaked out and ruined a couple of board books and got my wallet soaked. Fortunately it did not get to our camera or the autograph book, so it wasn't too much of a disaster! I don't know what Grayson's favorite thing was. Maybe the Under the Sea ride, which we did twice. Or maybe our breakfast with the characters. Or, probably it was riding Dumbo and Aladdin's Magic Carpets (like Dumbo but with carpets). This was definitely his favorite type of ride at Disney. He also loved the Triceratops Spin in Animal Kingdom, which is the same concept. I can't believe we all survived a 15 hour day at Magic Kingdom without any drama or tantrums, but we did and it was awesome! :)

Day 3 was a little tougher to compare. I love Animal Kingdom and remembered it being one of my favorite parks when we went 4 years ago. But this time it just felt like a letdown after our two days at Magic Kingdom. Plus, we packed SO much into each day at MK, the slow pace and lack of attractions at AK felt a bit lack-luster. I was pretty disappointed and wondered if we had made a mistake even going there. But it was too late to do anything about it since we didn't have park hoppers. It was insanely crowded (despite crowd predictors saying otherwise), and very difficult to walk around. Also, the park closed at 7 pm but most of the attractions closed at 4:45. We weren't able to see all the animal exhibits, just due to how things played out. Many of the shows we wanted to see had conflicting show times, so we couldn't even do all of those. And the food I was really looking forward to was probably my least favorite of all the places we ate on our trip.

But I won't say it was a complete bust. We had some great moments at Animal Kingdom. It really was worth it, but it was so different from our previous days, and with it being our last day, that was hard to deal with. But it was still a lot of fun! The Festival of the Lion King show was AMAZING! Grayson absolutely loved it. And we stopped by the giant animatronic Simba on our way out to wave at him and say goodbye. I guess the person controlling him from the sound booth noticed us because Simba turned his head to look down at us and he lifted his paw and waved! It was so awesome and Grayson smiled so big! :)

Grayson also really enjoyed the Safari ride. After that, he took a 2 hour nap in his stroller. In the meantime, we all ate lunch, Scott rode Everest twice, and my mom and I watched the monkeys play. The Nemo show was also magical and Grayson loved that as well. We had some great character interactions while we were there -- Pluto and Goofy, Mickey and Minnie (all four in Christmas outfits), and Baloo and King Louie were super entertaining. King Louie pointed out that he and Grayson had the same color hair. :) Mickey was also the only one to ever acknowledge my belly. He patted it and gave it a kiss. So sweet!

Grayson really loved the Dumbo-like ride (rode it twice) and honestly, his favorite part was probably the Boneyard playground! After all the attractions except the roller coasters closed down, we still had about an hour of park time left so we went to the playground. It was easily the best playground I've ever seen! Grayson and Scott played, and played HARD, for that whole hour until park closing! Even though it was a tame and short day compared to the long day before, we were all sufficiently tired. We talked about touring some resorts or doing something Disney-related that night, but none of us had it in us. My mom headed out b/c she had to be back at work the next day. Scott and I got some Taco Bell and ate it in bed at the hotel while watching HGTV (our vacation tradition!) and Grayson snoozed.

Again the next day we toyed with the idea of touring resorts or going back to Disney Springs just so it didn't have to end right away, but we decided it would just be delaying the inevitable and would pale in comparison to the parks. It would have been a good way to start the trip, but not end it. We headed out after breakfast and got home in time to play outside and let Grayson get some energy out from being in the car for so long. It was slightly depressing, as any vacation end is, but it was also comforting to come home to our house all decorated for Christmas and play with Grayson in our own yard.

 I just can't say enough about how wonderful our trip was. Ever since we got back, Scott and I have been talking about our next one! We will definitely be going back before Adam turns 3 so he can get in free! (Oh, yeah...we are having another little boy and naming him Adam! Eek...I've been really bad about posting on here lately! Haven't written since October! Oops!)

I may write another post about tips, but there are about a billion of those in the world already, so maybe not! :) I will just say...it's worth it. Don't let nay-sayers stop you! 2 year olds can definitely have fun and it will be magical. Just do it! :)

Monday, October 26, 2015

October is the best!

I know there are a lot of great months in a year. December, for example, is a particularly awesome one because it's the month of my birth AND the month of Christmas! But October is definitely my favorite month!

For one, the weather finally starts to cool down and I can breathe outside! Many nights it's cool enough to sleep with the windows open! Also all the typical fall stuff emerges -- pumpkin everything, scarves, boots, spicy fragrances, and colorful leaves.

October is the month that Scott and I were baptized together. It's also the month that we got engaged. The same day that we were baptized, two years later, Grayson was born! My dad and brother's birthdays are also in October, which isn't quite as exciting for me, but still noteworthy! ;)

But I think what makes October really FUN is all the traditional Halloween and fall activities that you can do in October! In our house, we really get into it! We make Halloween crafts and use them to decorate the house. We watch "scary" movies (not REALLY scary though!). We make Halloween costumes, go to fall festivals or farms, pick out pumpkins (shockingly, I've never carved a pumpkin! We are hoping to still do this sometime this week!), have bonfires, etc... So tell me, how can you NOT love this month?!

Here are just a few of the things we've done so far in October this year! We still have 5 days left and plan to use them wisely! ;)

We had two birthday parties for Grayson. This was the one at my dad's house for family in Atlanta. I know he took more pictures than this, but he didn't post them on facebook! Rude! ha!

This stinker turned 2! :)

My cutie!

And enjoyed several rounds of "party cake" :)

Scott and I went to Vegas and presented together at a conference for work. Vegas isn't really our favorite place, but we still had a good time together! :)

View from our hotel room in Caesar's Palace

Inside the Forum Shops of Caesar's Palace

Dinner at Hexx underneath the Eiffel Tower

Out and about on the strip!

Grayson enjoyed his first cup of "hot" chocolate while watching Halloween specials on Netflix!

We made Halloween crafts. The hair is made from Grayson's handprints.

Grayson made a "spooky spider!"

Our decorations

Every year when we decorate, we put on parts of our old Halloween costumes! Helps get us in the mood! :)

Grayson's costume from last year! Doesn't quite fit anymore! ha!
We went to Old Freeman Farm for pumpkin patch, corn maze, and lots of other fun fall activities!

In the corn maze

Riding the train at the farm!

In the corn crib! It actually felt really cool...but you definitely end up with some corn in your pants!

Family time at the farm!

Pig face!

We went to the local fair

We had a bonfire with our church small group
We also had a second birthday party for Grayson, spent time walking around the park and looking at turtles, and yesterday we went to Savannah to visit our aunt and uncle. We walked all around the city, thoroughly explored an awesome playground at Forsyth Park, and enjoyed watching the big boats go by on the river while we ate dinner at Huey's on River Street. (no pictures of any of these things!)

We've also been watching a really cute and magical 30-minute movie called Room on the Broom that is based on a children's book. Grayson loves it and wants to watch it every day. As I said, it's magical--so we have watched it a lot! :)

Needless to say, I'm enjoying October this year! Still to come -- carving pumpkins, finishing our Halloween costumes, and Scare in the Square in Downtown Statesboro for Halloween! :) So much fun!

What have you been up to this month?

Monday, October 19, 2015

A line is a line, no matter how faint!

We're expecting another little pumpkin! Coming April 26, 2016!

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We do not know the sex yet. The chalk color was a coincidence! :)

I don't think Grayson quite understands it yet. But he talks about the baby in mommy's tummy and will tell us if he wants a baby brother or sister (but his answer changes each time!).

Just like when I was pregnant with Grayson, I wanted to document my feelings as close to when I actually discovered my pregnancy as possible. Of course, I don't want to tell the whole wide world yet, so I'm saving this post for after I announce. If you're reading this, I must be in or close to my 2nd trimester! Hooray! :)

But in reality, as I'm writing this, I'm 5 weeks, 4 days! I took a pregnancy test last Tuesday (8/18/2015). Just like with Grayson, I was not really expecting it to be positive. We had just started trying this month. Last time it took 3 months, so I was expecting similar results this go-round. I also apparently do not understand the female cycle because I wasn't even sure I was physically able to be pregnant yet, much less have a positive test. But that day for lunch I had deli meat turkey, wrapped around sliced cheese and avocado. I ate the first few pieces and then couldn't bring myself to finish the rest. Intense nausea washed over me. I didn't think much of this. I'm not really a big fan of deli meat, it was really hot outside, and I had been suffering from intermittent nausea over the past month or so due to some hormonal fluctuations from weaning. So, I didn't immediately assume I was pregnant.

The nausea lasted the rest of the afternoon. The very thought of the turkey made me feel sick to my stomach! I couldn't even bring myself to throw my leftovers away until the very end of the day because I didn't want to go near it. Driving home I thought...maybe...just maybe... Even so, I still thought it was way too early to take a test. But we had purchased 25 test strips for pretty cheap on Amazon recently. I figured I would want lots of them as we were trying to conceive over the coming months (ha!). So, there was no harm in going ahead and taking one. Plus, I was planning on having a beer with dinner (Taco Tuesday, hello!), so I figured better safe than sorry on that one.

I had never used the test strips before, so I wasn't sure what to expect. I did the deed and waited 5 minutes. Came back for a quick peek. It looked like there might be a second line there, but if so it was extremely faint. Scott came in to confirm. He agreed it looked negative. But I had this nagging feeling that it was positive. I did some Google searches and everything I read said even a faint line meant positive. I knew this because with Grayson the line was very faint. But with these little strips, the whole area was kind of pink...so I was concerned maybe the cheap test just had leaky ink or something. I took a second test and had similar results. By this point, we were driving ourselves crazy! We decided the only way to confirm that this isn't just how tests look when anyone pees on them was to have someone who was definitely NOT pregnant pee on one. Ahem, Scott. Yes, my husband peed on a stick for me!

After comparing his tests with mine, it was quite clear that he had absolutely no second line, whereas I did, albeit a very faint one. We were still hesitant to consider ourselves pregnant. We didn't want to get our hopes up. But I still refrained from that beer!

We went to my OB on Monday of this week (8/24) and they confirmed the results! Of course, it was too early (based on my cycle) to do an ultrasound. I go back next Weds (9/2) for an ultrasound, so I'll know more then. But basing it on my cycle alone, my estimated due date should be around April 23, 2016! :) {update-- it would seem my cycle was fairly irregular due to weaning recently, and my actual due date is April 26, 2016. I wasn't quite as far along as I thought when I wrote this post!}

It's a strange feeling, this early pregnancy with baby #2. First of all, I'm still too nervous to get too excited. I know miscarriages are very common, and I have many close friends and family who have experienced them. I will be glad when I can hear that heartbeat next week!

It's weird remembering all the little things about pregnancy that I had forgotten or not thought about in a while. I'm giving everything I eat and drink a lot of thought! Caffeine was never a problem the first time b/c I wasn't a big coffee drinker. Since having Grayson, I've been a 1-2 cups a day kind of girl! I'm limiting myself to one cup per day (usually green tea instead of coffee b/c less caffeine) or a cup of half-caf coffee. I know you're allowed 200 mg, but I'm trying to be cautious in these earlier weeks.

In a lot of ways, I'm more confident and feel more prepared than I did before. None of this is brand new (so far!), so there is comfort in that. On the other hand, there are no guarantees that my experiences will be the same (I wish there were!!). I'm anxious to discover if I'll have a lot of nausea again (none so far since that one day with the turkey!), if I'll escape pregnancy without throwing up, and if I'll have as smooth of a labor and delivery. Of course I'm also curious what baby #2 will be like. Boy or girl? As awesome as Grayson? Yes, I worry that the next one won't compare. I know that's ridiculous. But right now, it's hard to imagine loving another baby as much as I love Grayson. I know all that will change, but right now, I still get a little sad thinking about having to share my affection with another child. I worry that I'll miss these sweet times of just the three of us.

But I remind myself that I had the exact same fears when I was pregnant with Grayson, and wondering if I would miss the times with just me and Scott. Change is always uncomfortable, but that doesn't make it bad. I have NO idea how we'll handle two kids! Like, no idea at all! haha! But I'm confident we'll figure it out just like we did with Grayson, and I know we'll nail it (at least most of the time!). :)

I'm dying to share my news with everyone!! Only a few people know right now. I can't wait for that first ultrasound! It's exciting and scary and wonderful! And now I just wait for it all to play out!
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