Vacation’s End, Day 4

Our last day was supposed to be relaxed, but started a little stressful since the monorails were down. We waited a half hour for the boat which we thankfully didn’t have to fold uĀ  our stroller and take kids out of when it was time to ride.

About an hour after our original plan to arrive, we got to Magic Kingdom. We all had some Starbucks to recover, and then we headed into Adventureland to meet Jake from Jake and the Neverland Pirates.



Then, Brian and grandparents took Jameson up to visit the Swiss Family tree house (there were a lot of stairs, so Coraline, Tyler and I hung out waiting).


Then we rode the magic carpet ride, which is just like the Dumbo ride and Dino ride from Animal Kingdom but still fun!

Jameson continued to insist on riding the “helecoaster” ride which was the rollercoaster from the day prior, but Brian and I had to ride Splash Mountain first. Have I mentioned Brian had never been to Disney before? We definitely couldn’t leave without riding that classic ride. After we rode it and Jameson watched with Uncle Tyler, Jameson bravely told us he wanted to ride it with us, and that our hair was all wet! I was so excited that we got to ride in front.




Uncle Tyler and Meemaw and Grandpa went to visit his apartment then while we went into fast pass the Barnstormer and ride the carousel one last time and have lunch at Pinocchio Haus, known for their flat breads.


We rode Barnstormer twice, one each with Jameson, before heading back to the room aka “house” as Jameson called it and swam in all three water areas: the Splash pad, beach pool, and all day swim and fountain pool. Coraline just loved it, smiling and occasionally laughing while splashing the water and kicking feet. Jameson even braved an underwater dip, just once. He was so cold! The day was overcast in the 80s but not sweltering like the day before, so we didn’t spend much time in the pull.


Loves water

Water slide

The rest of the gang arrived for some last minute shopping before dinner at Crystal Palace back in Magic Kingdom, and we got to meet Piglet, Eeyore, and Pooh and Tigger again.








A great finale! We even got a photo in front of the castle, despite a very squirmy tired Jameson. The sky was just beautiful. If you catch the photo with the guy in the cape in it, that is because Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween was going on. We didn’t participate (too young for our tired kiddos) but it looked fun!




Brian and I went to the Epcot food and wine festival for a couple hours after bedtime which was wonderful despite the brief rain shower. Meemaw and Grandpa watched some sleeping children and Uncle Tyler dropped us around back at one of the hotels, which was great so we could bypass waiting for monorails. It was so fun to be able to spend some time together alone! Within 15 minutes, we each had a little drink sampler in hand, and we walked away after our 2 hours there thinking that we definitely would need to return.

Date night

It was such a great vacation, and I think that we could’ve spent more time there and not been too overwhelmed actually. Everyone did wonderful.

The return flight home wasn’t too bad. Jameson got a little Disney airplane as a surprise after we boarded which he liked, and watched movies on the iPad again. This time he sat in the center, because we were in the very back of the plane and there was no window anyway. Coraline fell asleep for about half the trip which was great, but I was feeling a little claustrophobic this time. We were relieved to return home, and even though we would’ve had fun with more days in Disney, we were happy to have all day Sunday to recover (and do laundry).

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Epcot, Day 3

Thursday we hoped to sleep in a bit since breakfast wasn’t until 8:15 right in our hotel, but Coraline and then Jameson both woke at 6:30. Oh well! We were so thankful Coraline actually slept through the night with minimal pats on the back.





We had a buffet style character breakfast at 1900 Park Fare and for to meet Pooh, Tigger, May Poppins,Alice and the Mad Hatter. Jameson was definitely not sure what to make of the ladies who could speak to him and concerned about the Mad Hatter who was hilarious.





We headed out then to Epcot where it proceeded to downpour when we arrived, so we stopped first in Spaceship Earth the ride in the big Epcot ball.

Jameson observed but wasn’t thrilled about anything in particular on it but the video they release to you at the end is pretty funny. By the time it was over, it was sunny out and we got some Starbucks and headed to The Land and Sea buildings. Jameson enjoyed our boat rides and the Nemo ride. He told us the fish swimming with the manatee were baby fish and he was the big fish (a mellow, apparently shy manatee)


Coraline screamed through the Nemo ride, unusual for her, because she was exhausted, and then slept through the rest of our visit to the sea. She’s a heavy baby to carry around for extended periods like that! We then did the Imagination ride and happened to catch Chip and Dale with minimal line which was exciting since they were not part of the characters we were expecting to see.



Chipmunk cheeks!



We had lunch at the quick service in Living with the Land and then used our fast passes to ride Soarin’ while Meemaw, grandpa and Tyler saw Duffy, Mickey Mouses teddy bear character. Jameson didn’t smile for his picture with Duffy, but the little Duffy teddy bear Meemaw bought him quickly became a hit and went through quite an adventure on his first day with us.

Jameson and Coraline were beat and Coraline slept for a couple hours in the stroller after lunch like that; it had become the most hot and humid day for us yet.


While Meemaw and Grandpa rode Soarin’ in turn, Brian and I took the tired kids to World Showcase and Brian got to have some beers during the soft launch of the Food and Wine festival (which officially started the following day). Jameson started falling asleep a bit with the fan in his hand but perked up with some lemonade that caused a big accident later that day. After meeting up with everyone, we rounded World Showcase and woke Coraline up to eat before doing some quick shopping before dinner sans kids, just Meemaw and I, while the boys and Coraline rode the Mexico boat ride, which Coraline loved.




We ate at the Biergarten which was phenomenal. Coralne was a champ eating puffs for most of dinner. The boys got pints of beer which were huge, and I enjoyed a Dr looosin Riesling which was excellent. Everything from food to entertainment was wonderful here. Duffy had at this point an incident with milk and urine from the prior accident, poor thing.




We ended our evening at Test Track but on our way there lost Duffy. Luckily we “found” him again and at least he was clean this time. We managed to hold on to this one and the bonus Meemaw bought just in case. Coraline was exhausted and crying when we came out after dark but fell sleep for the entire ride back which was wonderful.

The days, while exhausting, were so much fun. We couldn’t believe the next day was our last for this trip!

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Magic-al Kingdom, Day 2


Wednesday, we started our day at the Polynesian Resort eating at O’Hana for a family style character breakfast with Lilo, Stitch, Pluto and Mickey.


Coraline was all ready to go in her Minnie Mouse outfit I had been saving for the occasion! She did much better that night, needing only a little back patting for settling. She seemed to have broken through her tooth thankfully!



Jameson wasn’t sure about Stitch in particular (he hasn’t seen the movie), but he loved seeing Mickey again and getting to meet Pluto the doggy.



The rain held off again even after a foreboding forecast again and we enjoyed the cooler weather and clouds in Fantasyland all morning. We rode all the rides on my list, beginning with walking through the castle to the merry-go-round.



Jameson came off that ride running to Brian and Uncle Tyler yelling “I rode on a horse!”. We ended up riding that one a couple times.

Carousel at Disney


Since everyone was doing so well, after lunch at Be Our Guest (where we were guinea pigs for a new reservation system during the lunch hours), we decided to stay in the park instead of going back to the hotel for a break.


Coraline got the hang of napping on the go, loving walking with me holding her against my chest and even passed out in the stroller for a while. I exclusively nursed her all week with just a little bit of solid food (we weren’t good about feeding her proper dinners but that’s okay), which was a great experience. She was very good nursing and really enjoyed playing and eating puffs during her times in the high chairs.


Other favorite rides included the Barnstormer Coaster (he sat in front with dad!) and the Speedway Cars all of which he rode twice. We used fast pass for Buzz Lightyear in Tomorrowland, Peter Pan, and the Barnstormer.

Coraline loved watching all the kids rides like Under the sea and Monsters Inc Laugh Floor (I think she even giggled). She was pretty out of it during the Philharmagic show but Jameson really paid attention and commented that Donald Duck fell at the end.


Exhausted Jameson wanted to ride the cars again!


We saw the big Celebrate a Dream Come True parade in the afternoon and the tail end of the Move It! Shake It! Celebrate It! Street Party parade as well. We had ice cream during the big parade, though Jameson was exhausted by then and pretty antsy. It was Pirates Week so Jake from Jake and the Neverland Pirates came by in his float along with Captain Hook, his crew and more pirates!







Coraline just loved her foam fan, watching and trying to touch it.



Surprisingly, Jameson did well at dinner contained in a high chair, and even Coraline, having a good number of naps, did well. It was our calmest meal yet at Tony’s (the Lady and the Tramp restaurant right on Main Street).

Grandpa had to work and was a little bummed he didn’t get to hang out with us all day but he made it for dinner.

Jameson, Meemaw and daddy took the boat back to the hotel, and I stayed back to ride the monorail with Coraline so I could get some photos of them leaving and some great shots of our hotel, the Grand Floridian.



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Meeting Mickey Mouse, Day 1

We started our very first family vacation by sending Jameson away to Aunt Melissa’s overnight so we could pack the days before; it took us all day (literally) and I’m so glad we were able to do that.

The final packing and getting ready in the morning was also stressful, right up until we were in the car… Actually, right up until the plane landed in Orlando. Jameson did wonderful on the plane. He wanted his headphones on as “earmuffs” like he wears to protect him from loud noises most frequently on the lawn mower with daddy. He also wanted to hold daddy’s hand for about an hour after take off. He wasn’t completely frightened, but certainly not relaxed either. He LOVED watching the Lion King on my iPad.

Champion flyer held daddy's hand at take off and landing! First flight

Coraline had a restless sleep the night before we were supposed to leave, which we speculated due to teething or gas, which didn’t bode well for our trip. Nothing better than a screaming baby in a hotel room all together, or a plane even just for two hours! We were pretty concerned about how the trip was going to go right up to and through the first full day there.

Coraline was a bit more trouble in the plane than Jameson; we were thankful that another passenger moved so we could all sit together so occasionally I could give her to daddy if I needed to get something. She didn’t want to sleep at all. She didn’t cry the entire time or even more than five minutes at a time, but she was restless and cried on and off the entire 2 hour flight.

We made sure to feed both Jameson and Coraline food for take off and landing to get that swallowing motion and protect their ears, which thankfully worked fine. Coraline finally passed out LITERALLY as we were landing, puff crumbs on her face and all.

Passed out with puffs on her face literally as we were landing. First plane ride

We were so worried about the rain then the following day because when we arrived Monday evening, not only was it pouring rain, but the forecast had changed and was now showing rain all day Tuesday and Wednesday too! I was swallowing my disappointment and trying to remember that Jameson wouldn’t care a bit, even if it would make the while trip more difficult and less fun for the adults.



As it turns out, Tuesday was a great day with very little rain. We were so excited to have Uncle Tyler there as “tour guide” and Meemaw and Grandpa as an extra set of hands.

After a rough start with Coraline who had a pretty difficult night, we started my itinerary at Kilimanjaro Safari in Animal Kingdom, and the light almost drizzle and (relatively) cooler weather made it perfect for active animals.





We saw rhinoceros right up next to our truck, and a baby giraffe moved toward us through the tall grass as I imagine would occur in the wild. Jameson was thrilled the truck went through some shallow standing water like a pond.




Coraline even fell asleep in Meemaw’s arms holding her tight like a swaddle though we were jostled and bounced around in the truck.


We did the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail nearby afterwards to see a few more animals close up.



Then headed to breakfast with Jameson’s first character experience! He was tired from getting up with Coraline around 6, but was great meeting the characters. He met Daffy first, then Donald and Mickey. I thought he might be afraid, but he quickly got over fear and was just a little shy but happy to give hugs to a couple of the characters.



Mickey was great with Coraline, coming over to give her some extra attention and pose. We got to see Daffy then again, and he even gave her a hug on his own! Last we saw Goofy just before leaving our table to move on to see a show.




Coraline finally fell asleep in her stroller and my parents wheeled off with her for a bit so Jameson, Brian and I could see the Festival of the Lion King, and then we even got to leave Jameson behind and ride Everest. It was great to be able to ride an adult ride with Brian! I screamed like a little girl.

After some time playing in the playground at the Boneyard while Brian and I rode Everest, we went to see Nemo the Musical, which Coraline and Jameson both were fascinated with. Jameson exclaimed over the shark he saw later. Coraline watched the entire show, enjoying the beautiful colors and music.


We headed back into Dino Land and Jameson got to ride the Triceratops Spin then with myself, Meemaw, and Uncle Tyler which was cute.

Disney ride with Meemaw!


Then Jameson finally got to relax (however a toddler actually relaxes) with some frozen lemonade while Coraline napped and Brian and I rode a couple more adult rides including Primeval Whirl and Dinosaur.

The day was perfect, even with the humidity since the sun mostly stayed behind the clouds. We ate dinner at Kona Cafe in the Polynesian Resort which was pretty rough after a long day with exhausted children, though the food was great. We had a wonderful service experience there when Grandpa’s food was delayed. Meemaw took Coraline out to walk during dinner but she was pretty beside herself.

We were concerned that the entire trip was going to be rough on Coraline, but thankfully she settled pretty quickly after her second tooth broke through the following day. Magic Kingdom here we come!

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Coraline Meets Great-Grandma

Have you missed us? We were on vacation last week. I can’t wait to share, but in the meantime, we do need to mention an important update from a couple weeks ago! Coraline met great grandma!



Brian’s Aunt Terry loved meeting her too.

The ride to her house wasn’t too terrible, as seems to be typical for Coraline she cries for much of the way and then passes out when she gives up. She doesn’t seem to be a big fan of the car.


Coraline particularly loved the cat. I’m sure the touch of something so soft, and moving, was fascinating.


The weather was nice enough to hang outside despite the threat of rain. Aunt Melissa and Grandma of course traded off hanging out with Coraline.




Jameson was a crazy dude as usual, running up and down the ramp over and over. He enjoyed playing with the “big kids” his older cousins and their toys.




We did have some issues getting her to sleep/nap even though she was exhausted. She loves to put her fingers in mouths now, which is pretty cute, and just asking to spread those daycare germs!


Great-grandma loved meeting miss Coraline, and seeing all of us. It had been a long time since Brian and I last visited. I am so glad that Coraline has her great-grandma!



We have been explaining to Jameson the difference between great-grandma and “regular” grandma since he has been getting them mixed up ever since we started showing him more photos and talking about great-grandma more in the past 6 months or so since our last visit.

Great-grandma has white hair and lives far away. It’s pretty hilarious now though when we say we’re going to grandma’s and Jameson asks “regular grandma?”

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Grandparents’ Day

For grandparents’ day last Sunday, I made a homemade apple pie with apples from the farmers market and my grandma’s recipe (supplemented with instructions from my mom; I need specifics!) The crust is a shortening crust and came out just perfect. It made an extra crust, so I actually made pumpkin pie the next weekend. It worked very well in the freezer!




We had some facetime with Meemaw earlier in the day, and then grandma and grandpa came over in the evening with Aunt Melissa.



Aunt Melissa hiked up these shorts on Coraline so they reached her chest, which was pretty hilarious. Loving these rolls! It kind of blows my mind, but she’s actually smaller than Jameson was at six months. She’s about an inch shorter, so her weight is distributed differently and I think that’s what makes her have those adorable little rolls I still love.




The weather was perfect for the pup to enjoy some time outdoors too, and I got some pictures of her. She is turning 11 years old in a couple weeks!




Jameson as usual was taking his energy out by running and jumping. I love this midair shot as he is launching himself off our rock! He soaks up the attention from all his grandparents. He and Coraline are so very lucky to have so much family in their lives. We don’t even need a reason to celebrate, but it was great having family over for a cookout (plus as a bonus we got to meet Aunt Melissa’s new boyfriend)


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Pumpkin Time

You know it’s fall when the fair begins!

Meemaw and Aunt Holly came up for the fair over Memorial Day weekend! This photo was the best we could do; it’s hard to get two little people to smile at the same time!


We hurried to the pumpkin to get photos before walking the rest of the fair. It’s great to get there early so there’s isn’t a line. This is the first year I’ve had two kids to fill both holes. Two is the perfect number, right? šŸ™‚ See previous years here and here.


Coraline had already been up past her regular naps so she’s wasn’t super inclined to smile for me, but we had to get her sitting next to the big pumpkins. Jameson didn’t want to get up there next to her, but he did sit next to the smaller ones.



Obligatory photos over, we decided it wasn’t too early to eat! (It was 10:30-11) haha. We had some cavatelli with a meatball, our tradition. Jameson enjoyed some from my bowl. Brian decided to eat like a normal person and wait until lunch time proper.


Coraline had a hard time falling asleep and gnawed on her rings, her favorite toy.


Jameson didn’t really want to visit the animals much this year. He was a bit afraid to get close to the big ones! He did like the rabbits and chickens. He wanted to pet the chickens but we wouldn’t let him. Obviously!



What he really wanted to see was the tractors! He asked again and again until we went to go see all the farm equipment. This was probably his favorite.






There’s a baby animal building for kids near the tractors, so we got to hold a bunny again this year. Jameson kept telling me he wanted to hold the other one, because the one we were holding was getting fidgety. We gave it back pretty quickly.



After nursing outside the baby animals’ building, Coraline passed out. I loved her arm flung up over her head. It was so hot that day! We were all sweating like crazy.


After hitting the animal, tractor, pumpkin, and food highlights, there wasn’t much left but to hit the rest of the buildings like crafts, shops, and the old buggy displays. We didn’t do any rides this year or even all the sights; it was a little harder with Coraline who was becoming antsy when she was in her stroller for hours in the heat having trouble napping.

We did stop in the little toys booth and let Jameson pick out a toy. He selected a squeaky frog (which is better than fake poop, thank goodness)


Brian and I left with the kids then while Meemaw and Aunt Holly stayed for a couple more hours. They stayed with us the whole next day though too which was fun!

Sunday, we made my mom’s homemade spaghetti sauce with tomatoes she brought up from the garden; we ate lots of zucchini bread which she baked for us before she arrived; and gave Coraline her first taste of a vegetable: sweet potato.

These final warm days are disappearing quickly, but I do love fall.

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Grandma’s Birthday

We celebrated Grandma’s birthday at our house a couple weekends ago. I was pleased to get this shot of grandma and kiddos together. Coraline isn’t smiling; I can already tell how difficult it’s going to be to get both children smiling in the same photo.


Even Grandpa had some time to hold Coraline! She was observing him very intently.



Aunt Melissa came over to celebrate as well. We gave Coraline a bath and I loved getting a shot of her in her one girly pink towel I have for her. She is really loving her baths lately.



She always seems to have a hand by her face; I guess that is because she doesn’t take a pacifier. At least I’m not always tugging that out of her mouth like I did with Jameson!

Coraline is discovering noises and balance lately. We’ve seen less rolling (a little less; she still rolls a lot more than Jameson ever did) and more activity with hands and sitting. Here she is doing the airplane move!



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Fireworks and Family



Our 4th of July was the most relaxing day (with kids) that you can have. We were scheduled for nothing and barely left the house. I dressed up the kids for pictures (an event in itself, I suppose). Coraline was at the perfect stage where not everything goes in her mouth because she doesn’t have that kind of coordination yet and so I could give her the flag, which she did hold some though she got really distracted looking at it when she did.

Jameson loved waving the flag and sat still with the promise of Pez candy. Yep.

Friday we had some other activities which I will share shortly, but focusing on our Independence Day celebrations, we went over to my Aunt Carol’s for dinner Friday evening and spent time with my cousin Carrie, husband Brian and their daughters.



Jameson loves the little ladies! He enjoyed spending time with his cousins so much, and I’m so thankful we were able to go see fireworks with them so that they occupied some of his attention in the two hours we spent there waiting for them to start!

Aunt Carol selected a spot far enough away that the boom from the fireworks didn’t generate any vibration and wasn’t too loud for Jameson. We did bring his earmuffs just in case but we didn’t need to use them even after he had initially told us he was afraid.


We were not prepared with bug spray since we usually aren’t out that late with the kids we didn’t think about it. Luckily Carrie brought some and sprayed Jameson down for his very first bug spray experience. I’m not sure it mattered; even with bug spray on and an additional dose, all the mosquitos seemed most attracted to me and I ended up with rows of bites behind my knees, on my ankles and arms. At least there were none on my face this time.

Jameson enjoyed popcorn and visiting the firetruck that arrived. He slowly turned into a little crazy person the further from bedtime we got. He squealed, jumped, ran around and played with his cousins.



Then periodically he would just collapse onto Brian to rest for a moment before he was back at it!



Coraline passed out in the car on the way to the spot and stayed asleep the entire time, I was amazed! Coraline was protected from the bugs with a muslin blanket over top the already covered stroller so there were no openings for them to find and that seemed to work well. Neither of the kids ended up with any bug bites!


They gave out glow bracelets which Jameson enjoyed immensely, and then it was finally too dark for me to use my camera without flash. Which meant — fireworks soon!




Jameson gave us his usual solemn, intent stare face when he saw them which is the face that new things he experiences get.

And then, he became a little maniac again…


The fireworks weren’t too long, so then we were able to head home (with the addition of a new toy for Coraline the cousins outgrew); Jameson passed out in seconds and was home in bed by 11.

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Father’s Day Weekend

For Father’s Day this year we spent Saturday with Brian’s parents and Sunday with family, which was nice and not a lot of pressure to go places and do things! We did wind up doing a lot more than planned when everyone was behaving on Sunday, which is the best way to go about things I think. Set the bar low!




It had been a while since our last cookout at Brian’s parents house, and Jameson loved having Grandma and Aunt Melissa to follow him around and play with.



Grandma even had Jameson’s big boy bed set up there so he could see that Coraline was going to use his old crib; that seemed just fine by him but we’ll see when the time comes for him to actually use it šŸ™‚ Coraline slept like an angel in the crib. However, she did have some trouble with the bottle again which we won’t dwell on too much. Suffice it to say, she did have to skip a feeding because she refused the bottle and I had some wine, so the last hour or so of our visit was less pleasant.




Up til that point though we had a great time and dinner was excellent!

I love that I finally got some photos of some of the things Jameson loves to do at Grandma and Grandpa’s house, which include throwing rocks in the creek and going under the “tree house” looking for pine cones.




Sunday was pure spontaneity. After opening gifts from Jameson and Coraline (ice cream maker was a hit!), we went out to eat about 20 minutes away at one of our go-to restaurants, The Winking Lizard.

Daddy day lunch at the Winking Lizard

The restaurant has a paved trail behind it (the Towpath), so when not only Coraline was well behaved and awake but also Jameson (who actually wanted to sit in a highchair!), well, we jumped at the chance with two happy kids and took them out on the trail walking for another half hour or so.

A lovely day for a towpath walk

Coraline passed out napping and woke back up on our way home but still seemed happy even though it was near her feeding time, so we dared one more stop at a frozen yogurt shop where dads got free bowls. Win win win!

Free frozen yogurt for dad

It was a wonderful day with perfect weather, children, and food. I am not sure that that will happen again for a long time. We are so blessed to have such a happy, content baby who loves to watch and look around.



And… obligatory Father’s Day photos were also a little spontaneous. Jameson didn’t want to take any, so he got tickled. I got risky and stood over them on the bed with the camera, over tickled toddlers and an infant. No one got hurt, phew.



We sure do love you, daddy, and had the best weekend with you!

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