Disney Recap #3: Epcot

Our second full day was, by far, the worst day of our trip. When Trevor and I visited Disney for our honeymoon, we loved every single park. However, we knew that since we were vacationing with little kids, we needed to decide which parks had the most to offer them. We figured we’d do Magic Kingdom twice, but since Epcot had two “Finding Nemo” experiences, we decided to go there. Horrible, horrible mistake.

Now, let’s just get this straight: I love Epcot. It may be my favorite park at Disney- I LOVE the World Showcase with all of the different countries, and Soarin’ was one of our favorite rides. Brody did not agree with this love. Nay, dare I say, Brody despised Epcot with every fiber of his tiny little self.

Our first stop was at “The Seas with Nemo.” This was great. Knox and Brody loved the ride, they loved seeing Nemo and Dory and the whole cute little story.

IMG_6479 IMG_6480 IMG_6484 IMG_6491 IMG_6497Then, we decided to go to “Turtle Talk with Crush.” It’s an interactive thing where the sea turtle, Crush, talks to the kids. It was super cute, but Brody had already started his conversion into a nightmare child, and Trevor had to take him out. Knox was interested, but it didn’t hold his attention well- I think that’s just because of his communication skills, though. After talking with Crush, we walked around the aquarium which they both also liked.

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This is where things got fun. The sun was rising quickly. It was about 10:30. It was at least 125 degrees at this point. Sweat, everywhere. Places I didn’t know could sweat were sweaty. Brody hates to sweat. There was no Mickey to be seen, and Brody was under the impression that all the land was filled with Mickey Mouse, so he was getting pretty ticked. We tried to visit a few of the countries, but the only country Brody wanted to see was Magic Kingdom, so that didn’t appease him much. We finally gave up and decided to get an early lunch in China. Brody hates China. The restaurant wasn’t open so we had to wait in the gift shop. Brody hates gift shops. We finally were able to go in the restaurant. Brody hates restaurants.

This was Knox right before he took the fancy pitcher of soy sauce and poured it all over the table.

IMG_6517Trevor got the boys food from America but forgot a very American condiment Brody is addicted to: ketchup. Brody hates french fries without ketchup. Then, amidst his on-the-floor meltdown, our food arrived. Brody spotted sweet and sour sauce and deemed it ketchup. He was happy for five, glorious minutes.

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It’s all a bit blurry after that because I have mentally blocked out the immense embarrassment that followed. There was screaming. Oh, the screaming. Loud screaming. Sweating. More screaming. Oh, and screaming. We basically ran for the exit at this point, sweating all the while. I was praising God that we had driven ourselves and paid $20 to park so that we were able to leave immediately instead of waiting on a bus. The afternoon ended with this:

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At this point, Trevor tried to go home and vowed never to return to Disney World again. I talked him off the ledge, and instead of driving home, he went to the gym and burned off some frustration. That night, we ate dinner at Benihana, the Japanese steakhouse in our hotel. That was pretty fun for the kids to watch. This is Brody’s signature face, in case you haven’t noticed yet:
IMG_6532 IMG_6539 IMG_6542Then, it was time for bed. And a break. We decided pretty early on in the Epcot debacle that we were having a pool day the next day!

Next up: lazy pool day, Downtown Disney fun… and another epic Brody meltdown (of course)

Disney Recap #2: Magic Kingdom

Sunday was our first full day, and the day we visited the Magical Magic Kingdom! Our hotel offered a character breakfast which we happily attended since every character meal at the park was booked up (literally, every one). I was so glad we did this because it was less crowded than the character meals at Disney, AND it gave them a chance to have some close interaction with the characters. I was really surprised at how few of them we saw in the parks this time. They had Minnie Mouse, Pluto and some country bears (which I had never seen before), and the boys loved them. Knox and Brody’s faces looking at Minnie are so ridiculously adorable.IMG_6328 IMG_6339

This picture of Brody kills me. It’s when he first saw Pluto come into the room, and he absolutely erupted into unparalleled levels of cuteness.

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Knox immediately yanked Pluto’s tongue because of course he did.

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After breakfast, we headed out. The boys were very excited because we were going to “Mickey Mouse’s Castle”… they have no clue who Cinderella is, so we made it relevant for them! We took the hotel’s bus, then the monorail into Magic Kingdom. Brody thought the bus was a ride (bless him) and said “Brody ride it, the bus! A ride!” He was hilarious. My mom and stepdad were on this trip, too, hence Knox sitting next to people other than us!

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Knox loved the monorail, too.  Even though we’ve been telling them all about it, they were both pretty surprised when we walked into Disney World. You can’t really explain the hugeness of it to a little person! They stared at the castle and the busy Main Street U.S.A. and didn’t say much! We did not get a good picture of all of us in front of the castle because we are us.

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After our failed photo attempt, we were off to the Dumbo ride first because our kids LOVE that movie. I never cared about it as a kid, but they think it’s great. We had ZERO wait, which was fantastic. Going in September was definitely a good choice as far as crowds go. There are always crowds at Disney, but it’s nothing like the summer time. They re-did Dumbo to include a huge indoor playground that you can play in while you wait. We ended up going back inside after we rode to play there, and Knox was fascinated by it.

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This was Knox’s face 75% of the time. He was so interested and studied everything!

IMG_6416Then, we went around and rode some other rides like “It’s a Small World After All” (<– the boys’ absolute favorite ride), the Winnie the Pooh ride and the carousel.

IMG_6435 IMG_6440 IMG_6446Those kids love a good carousel ride. Then, we took a break and ate some lunch before riding more rides. We did the Jungle Cruise, Aladdin’s Magic Carpet Ride, Pirates of the Caribbean and some other stuff that I am forgetting.

We let the boys choose a special souvenir that day. Knox chose a cute Dumbo, and Brody chose Goofy aka “Goopy.”

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We stayed until about 4 and it was well past time to go. Brody was totally finished, and honestly, so were the adults. We were all sweaty and tired and needed a shower! Our first mistake was taking the ferry back to the parking area. MISERY. It was blazing hot and took forever for everyone to load.

IMG_6470The worst ever was waiting for the bus. We had JUST missed it, so we waited over 30 minutes in the 90 degree weather for the next one… with no shade or cover at our stop. Yes, we were all pretty done by then. We eventually made it back to the hotel and cleaned up and ate some dinner at “Rocco’s Tacos” before calling it a day.

After doing a full day, we realized that 1) we needed to take a nap break for Brody after lunch if we wanted to keep our sanity, 2) we were never taking the big ferry again and 3) we were never taking the hotel’s bus again.

Next up: the worst day of the trip: Epcot day. Dun, dun, dun!

 

 

 

Disney Recap #1: The Ride

Every time someone asks me “How was Disney?” I respond with “it was the least relaxing vacation of my life.” Because that’s pretty much how it was. Let’s start at the beginning, shall we? The drive down there was surprisingly great- the kids did really, really well with just a couple of minor meltdowns. And up until the last hour, I managed to stay in the front seat.

Our first meltdown belonged to Brody (of course it did) who had a fit because I wouldn’t turn the pages of his tractor book for him. It’s blurry because he was thrashing like an alligator while screaming at me “TURN IT DA PAGE!!!” No thank you, I don’t believe I will.

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Meltdown #2 belonged to Knox who did NOT want to watch “Finding Nemo.” He wanted to watch the screensaver on the TV, instead.

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We started out just driving, trying to hold off on using the DVD player until we had to. We made it about an hour before we busted out the first goodie bag. Those things definitely worked!! I wish I had made another set for the trip back… oh, the trip back. You guys. Don’t even. Anyway, they were very happy with their little toys and goodies.

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We drove about four hours before we had to stop for lunch. We stopped at a random Chick-fil-a in Georgia to eat and stretch our legs. It was also pouring down rain, monsoon style, which was lovely. I always enjoy getting drenched in a torrential downpour then sitting in wet clothes while I drive for an eternity.

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When we were about an hour away from Disney, Brody had enough of the drive. He was getting belligerent and just generally obnoxious in the back seat. There was crying, yelling, throwing, etc. So, I did what needed to be done.

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And I stole one of their lollipops because I needed to reward myself for sitting in the 11 inch space between those huge carseats for an hour. It was not worth it. However the crying did stop, so I count that as a victory! When we finally arrived at our hotel, we checked in and decided to go on a walk to Downtown Disney- we stayed at the Hilton right across the street (we had extra magical hours and bus transport to the parks, which was nice), so it was a very short walk. Knox passed out, and we sweat ourselves to death before deciding to go back to the hotel for dinner and some rest before hitting the Magic Kingdom the next day.

IMG_6281 IMG_6286 IMG_6292 IMG_6314Next up: Magic Kingdom day!

Disney Bound!

We’re leaving for Disney this week, and it’s the boys’ first trip. I am AMPED, you guys. Like, it’s a little sad how excited I am. Trevor and I went to Disney on our honeymoon six years ago, and it was by far, the most fun vacation I’ve ever been on. Of course, seeing that it was our honeymoon, we stayed at a Deluxe resort (Wilderness Lodge) got the nicest dining plan, etc. It will be much different this time around, but we are just as excited.

The one part I am not looking forward to?

The seven hour drive there.

YIKES.

My youngest, that shall remain nameless, ::cough:: Brody ::cough::, despises the car and has since the day he was born. He is better now on short trips (less than an hour), but long trips, please. We can’t handle the screaming. So. much. screaming.

I’ve been thinking up ways to make this drive less like a hellacious nightmare and more of a pleasant jaunt, so I decided to make bribery bags. Of course, I am not calling them that, they’re “Busy Bags.” I mean, let’s be PC (even though we all know what’s up).

Road Trip "busy bags" to keep preschoolers behaving on a long drive- road trip ideas for kids- from mycoffeeiscold.com

I went to the Target dollar section and bought up all kinds of little cheap toys and games and made each boy four goodie bags (they’re identical… because I don’t have time for sibling rivalry whilst in the car for a million years). I may have spent $30 total on everything? I also included some little fruit snacks and Dum Dums in some of the bags. I numbered each bag to let me know which ones are the same (there two 1s, two 2s, two 3s, two 4s) without having to dig through them. This is the kind of thing each bag has in it:

A light-up, spinning toy, silly putty, fruit snacks

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Stickers, glittery water stick (it is NOT a purple magic wand… at least that’s what I tell my husband), sticky octopus, lollipop

 

 

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More stickers, water game, fruit snacks

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Squishy light up toy, matchbox car, lollipop

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I also took everything out of the packing because I don’t want to hear “open this, open this, open this, OPEN THISSSSS!!!!” 45 times in a row, which Brody does for everything. My plan is to give them out when the kids start to get restless and bored. Obciously, these are nothing crazy involved or complicated because I have a life outside of creating busy bags for my children, but just something simple and fun to keep them interested. They’re too young (or in Knox’s case, doesn’t have the attention span with his Autism) to play road games, so here’s hoping this keeps them entertained.

We also put in our car DVD player this morning, so we can watch Disney movies all the way down. We only use this for trips, so it will be something new and exciting for them to be able to watch TV in the car.

I also took their little toy basket I keep between their carseats and replaced all the toys and books with different ones so there would be something new in there, as well.

I am, of course, armed with snacks. Boxes of pop-tarts, cookies, candy, juice and more. I figure I have done just about everything to keep us sane on this trip, the rest is up to the kids!

If it was up to me, we would have left at 3 a.m. and let them sleep the whole way. Sadly, Trevor is working the day before, so we can’t leave until he gets home at 7:30, a.k.a. wide awake time for these hyperactive monkey children. The good news is that in case we’re in meltdown mode, my brother lives in Jacksonville, so we can always make a pit stop for them to get out, run around and play with Jake the dog at Uncle Austin’s house. We would love to drive straight, just stopping for a few potty breaks and lunch, so we get there faster, but we’ll play it by ear. I’d rather it take longer and have the kids be happy the whole time!

Do you have any car trip secrets to share with your dear, sweet, desperate blog friend?? Because, seriously, do it.

Brody’s Room Update

The boys’ rooms have come a long way since we moved in, but they’re not quite “finished.” Though, is any room really ever finished? Probably not! This is what Brody’s room looked like when we moved in. Essentially, we had painted walls (Sherwin Williams Moody Blue),  a bed (bedding from Pottery Barn) without a headboard and his dresser. Wow… thrilling.

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A few weeks ago, Trevor had some free time and was finally able to make Brody’s headboard. We had tons of pallets lying around after construction, so my handy husband deconstructed those and used them for this headboard. He sanded down the individual boards and made a basic headboard. Then, he stained them with a walnut wood stain. Voila! Brody’s bed looks much more substantial, now. We hung his “B” that was in his nursery right over the headboard. This wall will likely get more “stuff” as we move along, I’d love to do some wall-mounted lighting on either side of his bed, but we’ll see where we land. We just moved the rocking chair out last week (tear!), and I stuck an extra side table we had in it’s place. I’d love to get something more interesting there one day, but for now, it works. We also did some quick drop cloth curtains. We chose not to hang blinds on the front of our house, and we have curtains in all of those spaces.

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My favorite, favorite part of this room is the wall over his dresser. I went with an outdoorsy look in this room because Brody is a major BOY. And when I say “boy,” what I really mean is that he’s a miniature version of his outdoorsy father, so it fit perfectly.

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He loves to show people his room and shows everyone his moose head (from Cardboard Safari)

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His fish (from Hobby Lobby)

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and his big arrow (also Hobby Lobby). Not sure why those three are his faves, but they are. I love this little moose head hook I found at TJ Maxx.

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I freehanded the moose silhouette and just put it on top of some scrapbook paper. I did something similar in his nursery with safari animals.

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My favorite part is the “Be Brave” canvas. This is kind of an interesting piece because when I first saw this canvas by Lindsay Letters online, I NEEDED IT. I mean, seriously, it was perfect. However, it was too expensive. So, I faked it. I made this one myself. I pulled up a picture of the canvas and freehanded it with a pencil onto a white canvas, then painted over the pencil with navy paint.

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Of course, a couple months after I went through this process, this canvas appeared at Hobby Lobby for much cheaper than the original canvas price. This is pretty much what happens in my life, and I am pretending I never heard that for sanity’s sake. BUT, I do love how it turned out.

The boys’ rooms are not huge. We planned on keeping toys in a common play room as opposed to filling every square inch of the room with stuff. The layouts are also a little odd with the bathroom doors and large double closet doors (on the wall closest to the foot of the bed) creating not much wall space for the furniture. This is what the whole dresser wall looks like:

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I used the same book slings I made when I was pregnant with Brody for this small part of the wall. The art over the slings says “Count Your Blessings” and then “Every good and perfect gift is from above” from the Bible. That little door is the pocket door into Knox and Brody’s shared bathroom.IMG_5988

 

That’s it for now, but we’re happy with our progress! Have y’all done any decorating lately? I love getting things feeling more “done” and homey around here!

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