Monday, February 28, 2011

Disney Day 2: Epcot and dinner with "those naughty chipmunks!"

Our second day at Disney promised to be one of a peppier Brant, as he popped out of bed, and ran to the connecting room where Mom Mom and Pop Pop were.   At breakfast, he ate two Mickey waffles, PLUS part of my big waffle!  And so, full bellies, map in hand, we were off to wait for the bus to Epcot.

Now, let me say this, there were two big differences between our last trip to Disney and this one.   Brant was only two the last time we went and almost every picture has him looking at the characters like they are about to eat him.  He tolerated them, as long as Mom and Dad were near.  This time though, Brant was hugging all over them, and wanting to get their autographs all by himself!  The second difference was the impatience.  Last time, B was in a stroller, and he was just having fun, on the bus, wherever.  This time though, Brant didn't like waiting. Not for the bus, in line, wherever.  And of course, it's Disney.  You have to wait.  So we had to get creative to keep him occupied.  And thankfully, none of the waits were that long.

Once in Epcot, we made tracks to Soarin'.  Have you ridden it?  We hadn't, but Brant's parents had, and they insisted we try it.  As Brant was tall enough for just about everything now, we got our Fast Passes.  We got them around 10 am, and they were already at a 4 pm ride time!  It's a popular ride!  I should have known though, the sign said if you have motion sickness or a fear of heights don't ride.  That thing made my hands sweat!!  Looking over at me, B said, "No sleeping on the ride Mom!"  I had to close my eyes when we went over the mountains!

After our fast pass acquisition, we did Epcot.  The character stop was the next for the O'Days.  And what fun it was for Brant to meet his buddies!!

Working with an early dinner time, and our fast pass time, we didn't get far in the world showcase.  But we did make it to the United Kingdom to see Pooh and Tigger, and to Mexico of course!

Then, the highlight of the day, dinner at the Garden Grill with Mickey, Pluto and "those naughty chipmunks!"  If you've never eaten there, it's style, hearty food, and the characters are at your table for a long time, multiple times! Brant just loved it.  LOVED it!!  And so did we.  We waddled out of the revolving restaurant, slowly.

We had decided to go back to Magic Kingdom for the rest of the evening, taking the Monorail over.  I'd forgotten how fun that can be!

We hit a few rides, then caught the fireworks there!  WOW, all I can say is WOW!  I've seen them there, I saw them in Epcot.  But I'd never seen Tinkerbell FLY from a castle turret!  What a surprise, as I didn't know it was going to happen!

How's that for concentration! lol!  Brant skunked me, but Pop Pop skunked us all!!

Exhausted, It's a Small World was our final ride.  We said good-bye to Magic Kingdom, for tomorrow was our last day.  We planned to spend it in Animal Kingdom....

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Off to Disney!

Once again the alarm went off too early for the O'Day family, but this time by choice.  We wanted to get on the road fairly early, to get the most out of our first day at Disney.  About an hour and a half drive, with a breakfast stop on the way, we were off to have some magical fun.
Look at those handsome O'Day boys!

On the train to Adventureland

We wanted to get Brant to Magic Kingdom first.  He and Daddy had been planning on what rides to ride, and #1 on the list?  Big Thunder Mountain.  Yes, my 4 year old and his Daddy rode Brant's very first coaster.  I watched.  We had an agreement. I won't project my fear of coasters on Brant, Brantley won't tease me about being a chicken when I don't ride.  Fair deal?  I think so.  Didn't stop my palms from being sweaty when I saw them go up, and around..and around...and around.  Brant's verdict, grinning ear to ear, "IT WAS SUPER FAST!"

Our fun continued in a very crowded park, as we explored Tom Sawyer's Island, rode Pirates of the Caribbean (Brant's second favorite), met Pirate Goofy and just generally enjoyed ourselves.
Exploring the fort on the island

Mom Mom making her way across the barrel bridge.  The boys didn't make it easy on the girls, bouncing around ahead of us!

Woody and Jessie!  Brant wasn't interested in meeting them, but I was!

Pirate Goofy!  We jumped out of line for the ride to get in the shortest character line yet!

Checking out the Dumbo ride, still a favorite in the O'Day family. Daddy rode last time, this time, it was my turn!

Second try...even with the t-shirt, he didn't get the sword out!

Of course, a castle picture!

About this time, Brant was crashing.  Badly.  So we headed back to the resort (Pop Century) to rest.  Thinking a pick me up was all he needed, we were wrong.  After resting, we decided to head over to Epcot for dinner, and to catch the fireworks.  Let's just say, so did everyone else!  Finally finding a table, I looked over to see this...

He may have seen some of the fireworks...not really sure.  But boy, did he sleep good that night!

Tomorrow??  Character meal and Soarin'!!

A VERY early departure

Our trip to Florida began verrrry early Thursday morning.  We got the first flight out, at the eye-cracking time of 8:20.  Doesn't sound too bad?  Well, let's think about it for a minute, you have to be at the airport an hour before departure.  AND we live an hour away from the airport.  We were up at 4:30 to get it all together, after going to bed around midnight.  But excitement kept us going and the minute we stepped off the plane in Florida, enveloped in warmth, we perked right up!

Mom Mom and Pop Pop met us at the Ft. Lauderdale airport and whisked us off to Hobe Sound, to a great little hole in the wall called Harry and the Natives.  We entertained ourselves reading the signs that decorate the restaurant.  Everywhere you looked there was a new sign. Brant was entranced with the grill that was made in the engine section of an old truck!

Full bellies, we headed off to Lake Okeechobee.  We had no idea that Florida had so many cattle farms.  Ranch after ranch, the drive stretched straight and flat.  Occasionally, an orange grove.  It was so odd to see cattle grazing among the palm trees.

We wasted no time in getting on the boat.  On a gator hunt, nature didn't disappoint!

The view down Taylor Creek (actually a canal leading to Lake Okeechobee)

Enjoying the warm breeze in his hair!

The "Pelican Tree, " be sure to go quickly under this one!

Isn't this beautiful?!

One of the many birds we saw...heron?

The BIG boy...we boated all afternoon and found this one a couple of docks down from home!

After a cookout at Mom Mom and Pop Pop's trailer, we all settled in for the night, because the next day was DISNEY!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

soooo....a problem has arisen with Blogger

I went to post the new photos from our trip, and it seems I've used up all my free space.  SOOOO, I'm going to try and get my Blog2Print book done tonight, in order to delete the 2008-2009 posts...

Stay tuned!!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Disney and Florida teaser

We're back!  Well, we've been back since Tuesday night, but with going immediately back to school and being exhausted last night, I've not blogged yet!  As a matter of fact, I've not even gotten photos edited!  So this is a keep you on the hook until this weekend, when there will be several blog posts in detail.  But let me leave it at this, it was wonderful, peaceful, warm, and completely magically Disney. 

"Shootin' indians" at the fort on Tom Sawyer's island

Brant, Daddy and Chip, "one of those naughty chipmunks!", according to Brant!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The annual Valentine's breakfast

Today we celebrated Valentine's Day.  Yes, we know it's only the 13th (Happy Birthday Aunt Cheryl!), but Valentine's Day is so hectic in the restaurant world.  That, coupled by the fact that it's on a Monday this year, this morning was our only available day for our Annual Valentine's Breakfast.

We have a little boy who loves pancakes.  I don't think love is a strong enough word for the way he inhales, gulps, shovels and shoves pancakes into his little mouth.   He ate 3 large ones this morning...the same amount I did!

Because of this intense love and joy in eating pancakes, they have become our celebration breakfast food.  Christmas, birthdays, Valentine's Day you name it, we've got 'em.

The Annual Valentine's Breakfast came about because we never get to go out on Valentine's Day as a family.  And, as Daddy says, "Valentine's Day is just a day for people to say I love you, when they don't do it everyday!"

The night before the breakfast, after B is asleep, I decorate.  Oh I have fun, with doilies, hearts, plates,napkins, and anything else that goes with the theme!  Then, when he wakes up , Grandma comes and we have our breakfast, (pancakes) and exchange gifts.  What fun it is! Although we had to squeeze it in this morning between Daddy having to go to work and going to church, it was fun and yummy!

Yummo!  Topped with the last bag of frozen strawberries we picked last year!

Brant opening his Build-a-Bear at home kit, he's been wanting me to "sew" him an animal. Now we can do it together!
(and it will look a lot better!)

It was so fun to see the cards and gifts Brant picked out for people! Grandma got a Transformers Valentine, Daddy got a bear holding Reese Cups and I got a box of chocolates.  Grandma got bubbles!

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! From our family to yours!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Brant's new play spot

It seems that cabin fever gets us every year.  Right around now, I start to rebel and refuse to wear a coat.  I get so sick of hauling my coat, and Brant's, plus whatever else is going with us to school or elsewhere.  So I haven't worn a coat for the past two days.  I want it to be warm.  So does Brant.  And Big Brantley.

The cabin fever manifests in interesting ways.  Big Brantley tends to get into projects, little Brant tends to get into everything, and I just want to snuggle down and read or sleep.  Needless to say, not much of my choice around our house.

So, as I was grading papers at the table and cooking dinner, Brant wanted to sit on the counter.  45 minutes later, he asked to get down!  He occupied himself with our baking drawer (measuring cups, spoons, cookie press and rolling pin) and made the most deeelicious pretend cookies!
My little baker boy, watching Daddy and his saw out the window too

Big Brantley is into his project, the counters for the laundry room...
They will be tiled, with the sink under the window!

Why didn't I get to read?  or nap?  I'm not picky!  Oh well....maybe tomorrow!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Silliness, cookies and a Valentine mailbox

It's been a fairly uneventful week this week.  The weather has been blah, and Brant is coming down from his 100th Day of School high.  The most exciting thing that happened this week, according to Brant, was being line leader on Friday.  For Mom, it was the half day on Friday.  Dad? Don't know, but I DO know he's VERY much looking forward to his day off tomorrow.

It seems Dad's been home more this week, in the evenings, and it's really helped, as I'm prepping two new units for the K3's and K4's and that means lots of cutting, coloring and gluing. Not to mention cutting it AGAIN after it's been laminated.  As I was working at the kitchen table, Brant was squealing in this little kid ear piercing, totally happy squeal.  Going in to find out what was going on, I couldn't find him.  Daddy was smirking.  Next thing I hear is knocking.  From inside the TV armoire we are trying to sell (and have had 2 people from Craigslist back out of, which is why it's still IN the house and not in the garage)!  Opening it up, Brant had a pillow, blanket, flashlight and book.  According to him, "It's my new hideout!"

This morning, while the boys did boy stuff, I went to my friend Meredith's cookie workshop.  You've seen her cookies before, but if you haven't, check this out her blog.  She did an amazing job, showing how she mixes her perfect dough, and royal icing, which I've not been brave enough to do yet.  THEN, how fun was it that she had 4 cookies for each of us to decorate!  I had so much fun, didn't do half bad (although Meredith is in NO danger of losing my business! :-) ) and they boys loved having a treat when I came home.

After a quick trip to Michaels to pick up some supplies, Brant and I got to work on his ever changing Valentine mailbox.  First, Batman, then Super Heroes.  Finally, he wanted to make Tootles, the Train from the Golden Book.  We set off to find black wrapping paper, having gathered supplies for a funnel, etc. from home.   By the time we searched for black paper, Brant found blue, and decided to do Thomas. Phew...much easier.   And so, the Thomas construction began.

I'll let Brant tell you about it in his own words!