R & R has come and gone. Joshua has returned to his FOB and the kids and I are back at my aunt's house. We're not home yet and although I'm heart broken that we'll miss a good friend's wedding, getting back in time for it just wasn't possible. I feel like I need to get back up on my feet before we do this whole deployment at home alone with two kids thing again. In some ways it was harder to say goodbye to Joshua because I knew what was ahead but I also feel like it was easier because this time, I'm not pregnant (unless R&R left us with a special souvenir-please God, no special souvenirs).
So here's our vacation as condensed as possible...
Our first picture as a family of 4. Please excuse the quality. It was a phone pic the night we picked Joshua up from the airport. We all just piled in the bed and cuddled until the kids fell asleep.
The next day, we checked into our Disney resort. The All-Star Movies. We picked it because the boy is in love with all things Toy Story so we opted for the preferred rooms in the Toy Story building. To be honest, I wasn't expecting much because the All-Stars are the older value resorts and not to sound like a snob but we really think of the mansions at Port Orleans Riverside as our home away from home. But, much to my surprise, it was great. The boy loved it. We were super close to the main building. The pool was fun and the cast members (Disney's name for employees) were wonderful-especially Bob at the arcade. We loved Bob. I wish I had more pics of the resort but as always upon check-in,
I said "Babe, let's go take some pics of the kids at the resort"
Joshua, as always replied, "No, we'll do it later. I promise. You'll get pics of the resort this year"
And then, as always, it didn't happen.
So, moving on. Our first park visit was Seaworld. It was a first for all of us and thanks to their military discount, it was free. To be honest, I would have been disappointed if we had paid the $200something to get in because although we had a good time, we discovered it's not a very small child-friendly place. You are not permitted to bring strollers into any of the aquarium buildings. At. All. Fabulous. So, we won't be returning until the kids are out of strollers totally but then I'm sure we'll go back.
One of our favorite things was the Shamu show, One Ocean, but fair warning when Seaworld says it's a soak zone, it's a soak zone. The baby was not a fan of the soak zone. Ooops. Parenting fail.
I had the pleasure of feeding the dolphins. Joshua and boy both got to touch them earlier but stayed with the baby while I fed Flipper(s).
Seaworld has a few kiddie coaster type rides. This one was the boy's favorite. It's the kind that goes straight up and then just drops. Not. My. Idea. Of. Fun. But the boy loved it.
After we went to Seaworld but before we hit the main four Disney theme parks, we went to Disney's Typhoon Lagoon.
Me and the hubs at the water park. He's so cute.
Swimming with the sharks at Typhoon Lagoon.
Joshua and the kids at the Wave Pool. The girl was good with it...but the boy in his elder wisdom was a bit terrified. The wave that pool produces are pretty impressive. I was told the waves are 6 feet...since I'm 5'2" and a terrible swimmer, I didn't go out much past my hips and even then, I had to fight to stay on my feet with each wave.
Normally we laugh at people who leave water parks because it's raining but about an hour before the park closed, what can only be described as a monsoon hit. So this is us, running to the truck. Btw, we bought a Kodak water proof camera before the trip and it was great! We used it at Seaworld, Typhoon Lagoon, the resort pool and all the water rides at Disney. I highly recommend it. It takes great shots under water and even really great video with audio. For the price, you really can't beat it.
Our next big event was the Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. We went with a big group (my family) and all dressed as characters from Peter Pan.
From left to right...Tinker Bell (our baby girl), Capt Hook (Joshua), a pirate (me), Peter Pan (our son), Nana (my Aunt who is aka Nana), Wendy (my cousin's daughter), Smee (my grandmother GG), Tiger Lily (my cousin), the crocodile complete with a clock (my cousin's son), and an Indian (my cousin's husband).
I'm proud to say that I made both the Peter Pan and Capt Hook costumes (GG helped me with the Capt Hook but Pan was all me...it was also my first time with putting a zipper in).
Our favorite things of the night were the Halloween parade (which opened with the headless horseman above), the Villains Show (a musical show with almost all the Disney villains held on a stage in front of the castle) and HalloWishes (the special Halloween fireworks). It was great and we had a wonderful time but it's not something which I think we'll "have" to do every year.
We had the smallest, cutest Tinker Bell in all of Magic Kingdom. Everyone told us so.
One of my favorite things about this trip (aside from the obvious-got to see the hubs and he got to meet our baby girl) was that my GG came this year. It was her first visit in over 20 yrs. My aunt and cousin were a bit cruel and convinced my 81 yr old GG who is not a fan of roller coasters to ride Expedition Everest without telling her anything about it. For those of you who don't know what Expedition Everest is...it's one of Disney's fastest roller coasters and without giving the best part away, it does something very few roller coasters in the world do.
Instead of an autograph book, this year, we brought a football and had all the characters sign it. The boy loved it and all the characters had a great time. Goofy even played catch with the boy for a few minutes.
We spent a day at Hollywood Studios and the boy (aka Buzz) and the girl (aka Jesse) got to meet the real Buzz and Woody.
We happened to be visiting Walt Disney World on the official 40th anniversary. Magic Kingdom was packed but it was fun to see all the die hard Disney fans.
WDW's 40th Anniversary.
My favorite boys
One of the things we were most looking forward to was the appointment we had booked for the boy at The Pirate's League (it's a pirate make-over where little boys and girls get to pick a new pirate name, get one of five different face paint options, take an official pirate oath, and get booty in the treasure room-a sword, sheath, medallion and sash)...but since the boy had never had his face painted before, we thought it would be a good idea to do a test run first at Animal Kingdom's Dino-land. It turned out we were right because the boy was extremely unsure of the whole face-painting thing. We found out AFTER he became Dino-boy that he thought it was permanent like a tattoo. Once he realized it was temporary, he did everything he could to keep his face paint on and it set us up perfectly for The Pirate's League where the boy picked the scariest face paint Disney offered...
We brought the costume from home but Disney sold basically the same thing for $65.
This is Jeremiah Sharkstench.
It was a trip of a lifetime and I'm so glad we got to go (thank you Army for not screwing up the dates). It was horrible to leave Joshua at the airport but we're over halfway through this thing and now we can focus on the fact that the next time we see each other again, it will be because Joshua's home.