Archive for January 2011

Disney Day 3: One Long Birthday Party

January 31, 2011

Monday was the kids’ 6th birthday, so we were back at the Magic Kingdom. While we didn’t get picked for any special events, we didn’t lose any children, either. Highlights include:

Lunch with the Princesses at Cinderella’s castle.

Riding Aladdin’s Magic Carpet over and over, since everybody else was waiting for the parade.

A’s picture being projected on the castle as a part of the pre-fireworks show.

Just about every Cast Member wishing J and A a Happy Birthday. Of course, the “Happy Birthday” buttons and “I’m 6 Today” t-shirts didn’t hurt.

When J was asked who his favorite princess was, he answered “My sister.”

Did I mention we didn’t lose any children today?

Some random pictures/videos:


Disney Day 2: the Lows and Highs

January 30, 2011

So our second day at Disney started early. As in just after midnight. The night before, Nana put the kids to bed while K and I went to the store, stocking up on essential supplies such as bread, milk, and Krispy Kremes. When we got back, A and J were in bed on the pull out bed in the living room. We quietly unloaded the groceries and went to bed.

At about midnight, we thought we heard a knock on the door. It sounded far away, so we thought it was downstairs. A couple of minutes later, Nana heard a knock and went to the front door, but didn’t see anybody.

Then, the phone rang.

K answered from bed, and heard two sentences she never thought she’d hear.

“Do you have a child named A? She’s outside.”

I believe I broke a land speed record getting to the condo’s front door. When I opened it, I saw a condo security guy and two uniformed policed officers standing at my door. I also saw the open door of the condo next door to ours. In that condo, wrapped in her blanket and holding her Minnie Mouse doll, was A.

Long story (somewhat) short, A had awakened and didn’t know where she was. She tried to find us and went to the first door she could find, which was the front door. This door is one of those that disengages the deadbolt when the handle is turned. A went outside and the door closed behind her. From what we can figure out, our neighbors heard her outside and let her into their room. After they didn’t get a response knocking, they called the resort security.

So, now it’s 1AM and we’re a wreck, thinking about what could have happened. After a fitful sleep (mostly because A slept in bed with us), we headed to Epcot, a little sleepy, but not much worse for wear. Being a “we paid for this so we’re going to get every minute out of it” type of guy, we were at the park 30 minutes before opening. K mocked me incessantly, saying she could have stopped for a Starbucks on the way. But we were the first at the rope.

First, some of the Disney characters came out and greeted us with high fives. Then two young ladies in uniforms started talking to us. They asked if the five of us were together. When we said yes, they said we had been chosen to ride Soarin’ first. If you’ve never been to Epcot, Soarin’ is a combination IMAX film and flight simulator. It’s the most popular ride in the park. People run to it at opening and sometimes wait hours to ride.

And we were going to ride it first.

Not only that, but we were escorted back to the ride before the park even officially opened, so the park was empty (which was very surreal). Oh, and there was one more perk.

We got to ride it completely by ourselves. Just the five of us.

While the rest of the day was great, it was hard to top that type of beginning at the park. Especially given how our day started.

And better yet, K can no longer give me grief for wanting to be first in line at the parks.

Tomorrow: J & A’s 6th birthday at the Magic Kingdom.

Some random shots from today:

You just won the Super Bowl, what are you doing next?

January 29, 2011

We’re going to Disney World!

In fact, we are at Disney World. We just finished Day 1 at the Magic Kingdom. Some of the highlights:

You know you’re at the airport early when you are there for the sunrise.

It helps to have generous friends who let you use thier timeshare rental service to get a 2 bedroom condo 1 mile from Disney for around $60/night.

I would have to seek therapy if I worked in “it’s a small world”

Just about everything at Disney is too loud for J and A

Be on the lookout for more updates from Disney. Some photos from today:

Playing “Little House on the Prairie”

January 28, 2011

It’s now been almost 40 hours since we lost power/water/telephone. Luckily, my brother’s house has a whole-house generator, so we’ve spent the past 15 hours there. The kids’ school has been closed for three days. I’m off today, so at least Nana doesn’t have to keep them occupied by herself. It’s really been an interesting couple of days.

Did I mention we’re leaving for Disney World tomorrow?

While the timing of this trip is somewhat fortuitous, having no power presents certain challenges. Most difficult is the concept of packing for a week long trip when you can’t wash clothes, or, for matter of fact, even see them. Not to mention that we’ll have to pack in a house that is currently a balmy 50 degrees and falling.

Who knows what condition our house will be in when we get back, but at least we’ve got week of Disney World and above freezing temperatures ahead of us.

Oh look, it’s snowing again. I think I’ll check the weather in Orlando one more time…

… sunny and 71 tomorrow.


Here comes the thunder

January 27, 2011

We had our first real snow storm of the season last night.  9 inches.  Unfortunately, those 9 inches came in about 4 hours.

During evening rush hour.

Luckily, I took off from work around 3:15, as soon as the pelting sleet started.  It only took me 50 minutes to get home. Others weren’t so lucky.

Our senior pastor lives 6 miles from the church.  It took him 3.5 hours to get home.  There were many reports of 6 … 7 … 8 hour commutes.  People leaving their cars on the side of the road.  Dogs and cats living together.  Mass hysteria.

Then, with a clap of thunder (yes, thunder snow), our power went out.

And our phone.

With cell phone batteries quickly dwindling (and cell service being jammed due to the power outages and people stuck in traffic), I made as many calls and texts messages as I could to make sure everybody from work got home OK.

The snow piled up quickly (2-3″ per hour).  By 11PM, it had stopped snowing, leaving 9 inches on the ground.  We cranked up our gas fireplace, and tried to keep busy (and warm).

Since the kids are celebrating their birthday at school on Friday, K had to ice cookies ... by flashlight.

My brother has a whole house generator and offered us a room for the night.  But since the kids were already in bed, and the house was  still pretty warm, we decided to stick it out.

Sleeping wasn’t too bad.  It was 60° in the house when we woke up, which, given the weather, also wasn’t too bad.  However, when you are on well water, the bigger issue is that having no power means having no water.  After snowblowing the driveway for 2.5 hours (yes the snowblower does work this year), we did take up my brother’s offer to shower at his house.

And trust me, everybody’s glad we did.

Since K had a meeting she needed to make, we both piled into the truck and headed out.

As soon as we left our driveway, we had to play limbo with a fallen tree.

Next door, my brother works on his driveway. I've highlighted the downed telephone line hanging above his head.

Other trees that we made it under.  Sort of.

A little further down the road, we found the cause of our power troubles.

Once out on the main road, we were able to confirm the rumors of abandoned vehicles.

Yes, this person thought it was OK to leave their vehicle in the middle of a 4 lane road. Sideways.

So we both made it to work OK.  The power company estimates that power should be up by this evening.  In the meantime, pray for Nana.  She’s the one stuck in a power-less, water-less, phone-less house with two 5-year-olds.

Medical update

January 25, 2011

A quick update about a couple of medical issues.

  • The results from J’s recent 24 hour Holter monitor test came back.  No issues, outside the fact that he still only has three heart valves.
  • K finishes up her antibiotic treatment for Lyme disease this week.  Hopefully this will be all the treatments she needs.  She’ll get  more tests to determine its effectiveness.  More importantly, she’ll be able to resume a more regular schedule of eating whenever she wants, i.e. no more waiting until 11:30 at night to consume a box of Swiss Cake rolls.

Acting! Genius!

January 24, 2011

Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve been passing around the typical winter virus.  A had it first, which, given her 102° fever, caused her to miss a day of school.  This caused her much grief, because she had to miss Calendar Day.  I don’t know what Calendar Day entails, but obviously missing it is a traumatic experience for a kindergartener.

After the virus passed through me and K, J finally got it at the end of last week.  His teacher emailed us Thursday morning, letting us know that he wasn’t feeling well (Ya gotta love these new school communication methods.  We get text messages and emails.  Kinda beats the note pinned to the lapel.).  While he never had a fever, we kept him home from school Friday just to be sure.

Over the weekend, he showed no signs of illness (other than his usual 5-year-old boy attitude).  So last night before bed, I made sure he knew that he was going to school in the morning.

Without a beat, he subtly transformed into Laurence Olivier.

“But Dad,” he said, “I can’t go to school.  I still have a cough.”

He then proceeded to produce the weakest “chuh-chuh” in a vain attempt to prove he was still on death’s door.

Needless to say, he’s sitting in class this morning.