Cole, Alex, & Anna Grace

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Camping at the Lake

We just got home from a weekend camping trip at the lake. Our campsite was right on the water so the kids spent most of their time playing in the lake and on the sandy shore. We met another family from our church, so Friday night we all made a campfire beside the lake and roasted marshmallows while the men did a little fishing. On Saturday, the kids played in the water at our campsite in the morning and then we went out in the other family's boat for the afternoon. I think this is a great picture of Mike. We are about to celebrate our 14th wedding anniversary and he is just as handsome as the day we met. :-) Alex was so excited to get to take a ride behind the boat. He first rode with our friends' 9 year old girl. Then he rode with Mike and had a blast trying to jump waves and go airborne! Anna Grace was not very happy that she was too young to ride behind the boat, but she did have a good time jumping into the water and trying to learn to dive from the back of the boat. It is hard to believe that this is the same little girl who was terrified of the bathtub just 2 years ago! Finally, after some convincing, Cole took a ride too. By the time his ride was over, he was bouncing and having a blast with Alex. We are tired from our fun weekend at the lake, but we have a busy week ahead with swim lessons, an orthodontist appointment for Cole, a dentist appointment for Anna Grace, and several evening meetings. Plus, Mike and I are hoping to have a date night for our anniversary.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Anna Grace's Dance Recital

Anna Grace had her dance recital several weeks ago- actually just before we left for our Disney trip. I have been so busy with the kids that I have not had a chance to post any pictures, but after frequent requests from my mom I am finally making the time to post. The pictures really did not turn out as cute as I would have liked. Still, for better or for worse, here they are... Anna Grace was beyond excited that she was going to get to dance on stage. At the rehersals (there were 2) she kept asking to go on stage to dance with all of the other groups of dancers. It did not matter to her that she did not know the routines; she wanted to do them all!! These are some back stage shots before her performance. The little girls were excited that one of the moms brought glitter makeup. Anna Grace's partner in the performance dropped out of the class just a few weeks before the recital, so one of her little friends filled in as Anna Grace's partner. We were actually pretty happy that she got a new partner because her previous one was a good bit older and larger than Anna Grace and liked to pick her up when they were supposed to hug during the routine. There were quite a few times during dance practice that Anna Grace got dropped and slammed to the ground by her previous partner. We were very happy that we did not have to worry about her falling during the performance! Anna Grace had a Friday night performance and then a Saturday afternoon performace. I was the backstage mom during the Saturday afternoon performance. I brought lots of snacks and movies to keep the girls happy as they waited to go on stage. I think she was a little distracted by the huge audience and lights during the Friday performance and she did not do as well. However, by Saturday, she was confident and did not miss a step of the routine! I wish my pictures of her on stage had turned out better, but we were not allowed to have flash photography. I am not sure if Anna Grace will take dance again in the fall. She wants to continue dancing, but she asks me almost every day if she can please, please be a soccer player like her brother Alex. With 3 kids and a full time job, we only have enough hours in the day for each kid to pick one activity plus church after school. She will have to decide in the next month or so if she is going to dance or play soccer during the next school year. I must admit that if she decides that she wants to play soccer, I am going to be a little heart broken. I love seeing my sweet little girl shine on stage, but I want her to have chance to explore new activities.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Animal Kingdom

We spent our final day at Disney at the Animal Kingdom. The temperature was a lot hotter than the previous days of the trip and there was no afternoon rain to cool us off. Still, we had a really great time watching the animals and shows. The boys had a great time riding Expedition Everest and even Anna Grace got to ride on Kali River Rapids.
Our first ride of the morning was on the safari through the African Serengeti. We had all kinds of animals, including giraffes come very close to our jeep.
All 3 kids enjoyed the dinosaur themed playground in Dinoland where they got to "dig" for dinosaur bones. Mike and I also enjoyed it because we got to sit in the shade for a bit!
One of the highlights of the day was when we ate lunch at the Rainforest Cafe. It is a huge jungle themed restaurant that is decorated like the inside of a rain forest. The kids loved the monkeys swinging from vines in the ceiling, the huge tanks filled with tropical fish, and the gorillas that randomly beat their chests and made gorilla noises from time to time. Every once in a while the whole restaurant thundered like there was a storm and flashes of light filled the sky like lightning. Our dessert was a huge volcano cake!
After a long day of driving, we have made it home. We are exhausted, but we had a great trip. We loved staying in our camper at the Fort Wilderness Campground right across the lake from the Magic Kingdom. Because we stayed in our camper and saved a ton of money, we were able to use the Disney Dining plan for our meals.
I budget our meals and clip coupons all year long, so it was really nice to have everything paid for in advance and not worry about getting the kids to split an order of fries or skip dessert. We are sad that the trip is over, but because we went into the parks early each day, we were able to ride all of the rides that we wanted without long lines. Now that we are home, we are gearing up for vacation bible school and swim lessons!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Magic Kingdom Day 2 and Hollywood Studios

We are finishing up our trip to Disney, so I will try to get as many days of pictures as I can before I am too tired. We went back to the Magic Kingdom Thursday to finish the rides and attractions that we did not get to see earlier in the week.
Look closely at this picture to see Alex behind Mike and Anna Grace on Goofy's Barnstormer roller coaster.
We have been able to meet lots of characters including Peter Pan. However, Anna Grace has asked almost every day when the princesses would come out of the castle to meet her After lunch, we headed back for nap time. Anna Grace had a surprise visit from Cinderella who left a special invitation under her pillow to eat supper at the castle. She was so excited that we had packed her Cinderella dress that we gave her as a birthday gift a few weeks ago. After we got her all dressed with her crown, princess shoes, and sparkles in her hair, we headed back across the lake so that we could meet the princesses.
The boys headed out to ride more roller coasters while Anna Grace and I went to the castle for our reservation.
In this picture, Anna Grace is showing the "real Cinderella" her little Cinderella toy that she carried with her to all of the parks each day this week.
After we met Cinderella, we climbed the spiral staircase to the royal ballroom for supper. Anna Grace is usually a super eater, but she was not interested in all of the delicious food as princess after princess came by our table to sign autographs and chat.
I loved watching her face light up with each princess and the way that she used her best manners to greet each one.
Finally, we finished off the evening by meeting back up with the boys for the evening parade. We staked out our spot on Main Street early and ordered huge homemade ice cream sandwiches from the Main Street Bakery.
The boys enjoyed the parade, but Anna Grace was thrilled with all of the music, floats, and characters. The highlight of the evening was when Prince Charming picked her our of the crowd from Cinderella's carriage to blow her kisses.
We spent Friday at Hollywood Studios.
Cole and Alex were especially excited about this park because it was a Star Wars weekend.
Star Wars characters roamed the park and special Star Wars events were planned (although many of the events were cancelled because of the rain).
The also loved riding the 3-D Toy Story ride where they got to play arcade games while riding in a little cart.
Once again, we had a lot of rain and Anna Grace napped in the stroller while the boys enjoyed the rides.
One of the highlights of the day was the "Honey I Shrunk the Kids" playground. All 3 kids had a blast climbing around on the gigantic playground made up of huge bugs, blades of grass, spider webs.
I still have pictures to post from today's trip to the Animal Kingdom, but I need to get some sleep. We are all exhausted from our week and we have a lot of driving a head of us tomorrow.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Epcot, Downtown Disney, and Luau

Wow! We are having soooo much fun at Disney World. Between the spotty internet and the late nights, I am really behind in posting pictures. The pictures in this post are from Tuesday and Wednesday.
We spent Tuesday at Epcot. We started the day really early, took a midday break for naps, and then went back late into the evening for dinner and the fireworks/ light show. There was no way that we could stay all day and then make our late evening dinner reservations without a nap!
The kids loved all of the rides and exploring the different countries and ocean areas.
Alex loves finding funny poses for pictures! He is such a funny kid!
Getting ready to ride Soarin. Even Anna Grace could ride this one (she has been mad that she is 1 inch too short for many of the rides!).
The boys thought it would be funny to pose like these characters from Beauty and the Beast...
...and so Anna Grace decided to pose like Mrs. Pots.
The kids enjoyed the exhibits in the China area of the World Showcase.
We had lunch in England and dinner in Japan.
Sorry for the blurry picture on this one, but we had fun trying on Viking hats after our Viking ship broke down when we were in Norway.
After our big day at Epcot, we took the day on Wednesday to relax and explore Downtown Disney.
The boys got to shop at Lego Land with the money that they got from Mike's parents for their birthdays. Thanks, Nana and Pop! .
Leave it to Alex to decide to run through one of the fountains and fall straight down on his bottom! He decided that since he was wet, he may as well run through them some more!
Supper Wednesday night was a luau dinner show at the Polynesian Hotel.
Anna Grace was excited to wear her fish outfit.
And, of course, it had a matching fish hair bow!
The dinner was yummy and was finished with dessert served with a smoking volcano!
Anna Grace was excited that she was allowed to go on stage during part of the performance to dance.
Alex had fun playing around on the stage after the show.
All 3 kids had fun playing around in the hotel gift shop. First, they thought it would be funny to try on the Mickey feet. And then they had a great time posing with the puppets. I still have more pictures to post from Thursday and Friday, but that will have to wait for another time.
We have another early morning planned for tomorrow as we finish out our trip.