Archive for February 2011

Happy Birthday Nana!

February 24, 2011

Happy 29th birthday to Nana, the one who takes care of us all.

And yes, it is her 29th birthday.  I know which side of my bread is buttered.

The new role model

February 17, 2011

Growing up as the sons of an FBI agent, my brother and I always played some variety of Cops and Robbers, replete with lots of toy guns, badges, and handcuffs.

Yes, handcuffs.  You can only imagine the fun to be had between two boys and toy handcuffs.

I guess our own kids are now imitating us and our work paraphernalia.  The other day, we saw A walking around holding a card between her two hands.  She was looking at the card intently, while her thumbs were a flurry of motion.  When she finally put the card down, I picked it up to see what was so fascinating:

Yes, she made a paper Blackberry.

Complete with a “<- Back” key.

And the message on the screen?

“I love Mommy.  Love, A”

I’m pretty sure this is headed for the memory box, if not to K’s wall at work.

Disney Day 8: More Animals, Heading Home, and the ER

February 6, 2011

Another lesson learned from taking a week off to go to Disney World … it takes several days to catch up, leaving little time for blogging.  So for completeness’ sake, here’s our recap of day 8.

Yes, we did spend eight days in the parks at Disney. And as K likes to say, Disney may not be the most relaxing vacation, but it’s a whole lot of fun.

On Saturday, we packed up the vacation-mobile and checked out of our condo.  Our flight wasn’t until 7PM that night, so we had plenty of time for one more park … K’s favorite, the Animal Kingdom.

Eight days worth of parking passes, totalling $112, all graciously paid for by Nana.

One of our first stops (after collecting photos 234 through 245 of A with the various Disney characters) was the Festival of the Lion King show.  K loves to sing during this part.

Nana and the kids at the show.

After the show, we finally let A get the face-painting she had been begging for all week.

The final product. Nice.

While A was enjoying her face paint, J, K and I took one last safari ride.

This was our first trip without one of these. While not having a place to store things was somewhat challenging, the trip was soooo much better without one. And the kids never complained.

We had perfect weather all week, averaging a high of about 80°, without a drop of rain.  Then, on our way out of the park on our last day, it started to drizzle just a little.  The kids were thrilled, since they had wanted to wear their ponchos all week.

However A was less than enthused when she found out we were leaving.

The trip home was uneventful, outside of the airline loading the plane then immediately telling everybody we had to get off the plane because  flights were backed up, only to turn around 5 minutes later and load everybody back onto the plan again.

Outside of that whole A-walking-out-of-our-condo-at-midnight incident, I’m not sure we could have had a better week. The weather was perfect, the crowds were light, and a good time was had by all.  We just needed to head home to relax.

Except for a little trip to the ER the first morning back.

Long story short, after getting home late Saturday night, we had to be at church Sunday AM.  While K was getting ready Sunday morning, she started to use some sort of eyelash brush/medieval torture device to work on her eyelashes.

I swear her eyelash brush looks something like this.

While normally K has pretty good aim, it was less than accurate that day, raking this eyelash brush/torture instrument across her eyeball instead of her eyelash.  I knew it wasn’t good when I found her curled up on the floor, wincing in pain and complaining of nausea.

So off to the ER we went.

Luckily, it was a minor scratch across her eye.  But since the cornea contains a lot of nerve endings, it hurt like crazy.  And it was right across her iris, causing blurred vision.

Checking her vision, which was not good in the affected eye.

Closeup of her eye containing dye and under UV light. Cool!

She was given some antibiotic drops and pain meds and sent home.  Luckily, the cornea is one of the fastest healing parts of the body.  It stopped hurting later in the day, and her vision is almost back to normal.

Never a dull moment.

Disney Day 7: Kids’ Choice

February 4, 2011

When I originally planned this trip, we were going to spend two days in each of the four parks. But after we did everything in Hollywood Studios on Wednesday, we decided to let the kids pick where we would spend our final full day.

Of course, they picked the Magic Kingdom.

Some highlights from today:

Going back to the Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor, a comedy routine based on the Monsters Inc. movie. They take jokes from audience members via text message and feature audience members on video screens during the show. Well, continuing our streak of being picked out of the crowd, J and A were featured on the video screens, and the joke they had K text in was read during the show. Needless to say, they were thrilled with this show.

Riding the Tea Cups with J and A (since K does not do spinning things)

Our longest wait in line turned out to be so A could get a picture with Tinker Bell.

Having the time to enjoy some of the more laid back attractions, like the Liberty Belle steam boat, the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse, the railroad, and eating a funnel cake while watching a parade.

Tomorrow, we hit the Animal Kingdom one more time before heading home.

Disney Day 6: Survey Says …

February 3, 2011

We were back at Epcot today, catching some of the things we didn’t get to do on Sunday. Mostly this involved doing the World Showcase, the half of the park that has representations of several countries from around the world. Epcot has a nice program for kids at World Showcase, putting colorings/stamping stations at each country. It definitely keeps the kids interested.

Crowds were once again very low. We walked on to every ride we wanted to visit. And the weather continued to be perfect.

There we two major highlights of the day. First, K and I went on the “Behind the Seeds” tour of Epcot’s Land pavilion. This tour goes behind the scenes at K’s favorite Epcot ride, Living with the Land. This ride showcases advanced agricultural techniques. K was thrilled to be able to do this tour. And I definitely made some positive points after yesterday’s Tower of Terror ride.

Giant pumpkins

Growing Mickey Mouse shaped cucumbers

Helping distribute ladybugs

The second highlight of the day was being chosen to participate in a survey. Now normally I run from surveys as a waste of time. But this survey was about some interesting developments in Disney’s website applications. Since I spent over 15 years in web application development, I thought this would be interesting. And it didn’t hurt that they were going to pay me $100 to participate.

So at a prescribed time, I went to the Seas pavilion. I was led backstage and up an elevator to the VIP lounge above the main Seas pavilion. This lounge had windows looking directly out into the main aquarium. After a couple of minutes chatting with the head of IT development for Epcot surveys, I was led to a series of computers and a person conducting the survey. Unfortunately, I can’t discuss what I saw due to a series of non-disclosure agreements I signed. But it was a very cool process.

This is the lounge at The Seas

Some other random pics from today:

Tomorrow … one more day at the Magic Kingdom.

Disney Day 5: Hooray for Hollywood?

February 2, 2011

Today we were at Hollywood Studios. While we were at the park at rope drop (in fact we were the fourth car in the lot), we weren’t picked to do anything special today. Of course, it didn’t appear that anybody was chosen, so I don’t feel slighted. Cause obviously our kids are the cutest and should be chosen every time (there were a couple of cute kids in mouse ears next to us at the rope this AM, but I managed to screen them out of the way).

Overall, this was a great day crowd-wise. But we found that there really isn’t much for a 6 year old to do there (especially compared to the other parks). It’s the most thrill-ride oriented park. But even the shows aimed at kids have scary and loud parts. While the plan was to hit each park twice this week, the lack of interest from the kids and our ability to go on every ride we wanted to means we’ll probably not return to Hollywood Studios again this week.

Highlights today:

Walking on just about every ride, multiple times.

Kicking K’s butt on Toy Story Mania. Three times.

Eating lunch at the Sci Fi Drive-in, where you sit in ’57 Chevy-shaped tables and watch cheesy 50’s movie clips while you eat.

Having K ride the Tower of Terror with me. Normally I have to ride this alone. But she went with me once, which made the ride a whole lot more fun.

Watching J enjoy the Jedi Training Academy, where kids get to battle Darth Vader. He even asked to purchase his own lightsaber, which I was thrilled to purchase for him:

Not to be outdone, A had to get her own lightsaber:

In retrospect, getting both of them collapsible sticks may not have been the best idea:

Some random pictures, including a shot of J standing next to the slide that broke his leg 4 years ago:

Disney Day 4: We’re 2 for 3

February 1, 2011

Once again, we were at the park (Animal Kingdom today) before park opening. Once again, we were right up on the rope at opening. And yes, once again we were chosen to be the first family to ride the most popular ride in the park (Kilimanjaro Safari). As our friend CPQ said, it must be the cute little redhead. We’re thinking about renting her out.

Weather’s great (80 degrees and sunny). We may get a little rain tomorrow, but that won’t slow us down.

We’re going for 3 for 4.

Tomorrow, Hollywood Studios.

Video of A and J on the drums. Glad we don’t have these at home.

K finally agreed to ride a thrill ride with me. But she wasn’t thrilled about it.