Thursday, February 23, 2012

Ahhhh, Florida

If you read my previous post, you know we just got back from a trip to Florida.  There's just something about being in the sunshine state.  To me, it seems to run at a much slower pace than we do here in the outskirts of the ATL.  It's quieter.  It's peaceful.  I don't know if I feel that way because I associate it with a less complicated, less stressful time of life, being that I grew up there and as a kid was mostly oblivious to the stinkiness and crud that life so often throws at us grown ups.  It may be that I feel that way because nowadays, when we go to FL it's for vacation or at least a time to get away from the everyday grind.  Whatever the reason, it's nice. 

My parents (who live in FL and are who we stay with while there) live in a town that although is not all that small number wise, it still has a small town feel to it and it's far enough aways from bigger cities that it's not really all that affected by them.  Some days, I long for that small town, lazy, slower pace feel.  I wish my husband didn't have to commute to work everyday.  My dad's office is maybe 10 minutes from my parents' house.  That would be nice. 

The town they live in is in a great location too.  45 minutes from Disney, an hour from the beach.  Nice. 

I do love where we live though.  Because we are so close to the city, we are afforded a lot of amenities that people in a small town are not.  I love the season change we experience here.  I love that we are so close to the mountains as well. 

My parents talk from time to time about moving up this way, but then where would we go on vacation (for free)??  Where would we go to relax and get away from it all (for free)??  Right now, we have our own little vacation home in central Florida (my parents' house).  It's nice to know it's there. 

My parents town is known for it's many lakes.  One of our favorite things to do when we visit is to go feed the ducks and swans (and evidently pelicans).

Being that it was not a beautiful, sun shiny day, the poor ducks had not been fed all that much so they were very excited to see us. 

This is a picture of another one of my favorite places in their small town.  It's these beautiful gardens on the edge of one of the lakes that are just very peaceful.  They even have classical music quietly playing in the background.  The kids want to know if we can make our backyard look like this.  (This picture does not do it justice).

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A Fun Day at the MK

A gloomy yet magical looking castle
This past weekend, we surprised the kids with a trip to the Magic Kingdom and it was fabulous. The only non fab part was that we only got to go to the MK and only for one day.

All along, they knew we were going to Florida to visit my parents. They also knew we were going to "Disney." I put that in quotes because my kids' idea of going to Disney and other people's is different. We go to FL at least twice a year to visit my parents.  Every time we go, we make a trip over to Disney.  My parents live only about 45 minutes away so why not.  But when we go so often, we don't actually go inside any of the parks.  We do the outside of the parks stuff that is either free or relatively inexpensive.  Most of the time this includes riding the monorail resort line (it makes stops at 3 different Magic Kingdom hotels) looking around at some of the intricately themed and beautifully decorated hotels and spending some time looking around at Downtown Disney. Sometimes we visit the Boardwalk that is near Epcot and rent a surrey bike (more like a bike cart that has benches that can hold a whole family) and ride it around.  Sometimes we sit on the beach at one of the hotels and just let the kids play in the sand.  I could go on and on.  There is actually quite a bit to do without spending much money.  So that's what we usually do when we say to our kids that we are "going to Disney."  That is what they thought we were going to do.  It's what we always do.  And while they get excited about it and always beg to go whenever we are in FL it ain't no Magic Kingdom. 

So to surprise them and say we are going to Disney would have gotten us a, "ya, we knew that."  When we told them though that we were going to Magic Kingdom (we waited until we were actually inside Disney property) they didn't really believe us.  It took a few seconds of "mom, are we really going to Magic Kingdom?"  and "can we ride the rides?"  and "are you serious?" for it to actually sink in and for them to get excited. 

It was a really fun day.  The weather could have cooperated a little better but wasn't really all that bad.  I was a little nervous because the forecast was for 60% chance of rain and I was like, NOOOOOOO!!!!  But it wasn't that bad.  It sprinkled on and off pretty much all day, but it only sprinkled and really not all that often.  And the cloud cover kept the temps down. 

We got to do almost everything we wanted to do.  It was actually a pretty productive day.  And since our kids are a little older than the last time we went, no one needed a nap break in the middle of the day and everyone walked of their own volition!  There was no maneuvering of a stroller through crowds.  No one had a meltdown 1/2 way through the day. I was especially proud of our 4 year old.  We got there about 9:30 and left around 10:30.  My husband had his pedometer with him and clocked 21,000 steps that day.  21,000!!!  That means our 4 year old with her much smaller legs probably took twice as many steps as her daddy.  And she did great.  A couple of times she told me her feet were hot or her toes were burning (I think that meant they were tired or sore) from all the walking, but she didn't really complain about it. 

Anyway, without getting into a lot of details that you probably don't really care about, it was a really good day.  And yes, it was magical.  I love Disney World.

Just before entering the Magic Kingdom

I took this cool pic of the castle as it changed colors while sneaking out behind the carousel while we were waiting to meet Princess Tiana.

We were not planning to stop to watch the Electrical Parade but when we walked out of the Country Bear Jamboree, it was like someone saved us a seat.  There was a wide open, front row spot right in front of where we walked out and just as the parade was starting.  So we figured, why not.

Monday, February 13, 2012

First Date

Everybody say Awwwwwww!!!

Friday night was the Valentine's father/daughter dance at the local Baptist church. Fortunately, my husband had not one, not two but three dates.  My girls were SO excited.  The mother/daughter part was when I took them all shopping for a new dress.  This is something I don't usually enjoy with all three at one time but this excursion was relatively painless.  They all found a mom approved dress on the first try.  And they matched!!  And Paul already had a tie the exact same color!!  We were 3 for 3 for 3! There were some tears the next day though from my middle child when I told her she could not wear that dress to church and that she had to save it for the dance which was a week away at that point.  Actually there were a lot of tears.  But she got over it and then was all the more excited for the dance. 

I heard that it was loads of dancing, jumping, sweaty fun.  I wish I could have been there to take pictures but mommy's were not allowed and with good reason.  I would not have wanted to take away from Paul's time with his girls.  I think they all had a real good time.  I am glad Paul was able to spend this special time with them and they with him.  We are a very fortunate family all around.

They all got corsages from dad.