Monday, September 29, 2014

St. Patrick's Irish Picnic -- 2014

It wouldn't be Summer without St. Patrick's Irish Picnic.

It's the biggest event in our area. People come from out of town to attend and often use it as a good excuse for a family reunion.

This year they had a bouncy house that was perfect for little kids. Rosie really liked bouncing her whole body on the blow up turtle.

The Fishing Pond is always a big hit with both my kids. Obi worked really hard at it.

Rosie enjoyed it too... they like catching the fish more than they care about the prizes.

I think they'd rather stand there and just fish and not care a bit if there was a prize.

Our most favorite booth is the duck pond.  We always spend the most time scooping up duckies at the Duck Pond.

I have a picture of Rosie at this booth for the past four years.

Look at this picture and then go HERE and see how much she's grown since our first Irish Picnic in 2011.

 Obi took scooping up the ducks very seriously.

My little Duck Pond Darling
 After the Duck Pond Obi fell asleep so Rosie and I went to play the other games while Obi and Nana when to sit and listen to the band.

This year Rosie was much bigger and got to play all the big kids games.
I walked around with her and let her try any of the games she wanted.
I even let her try dart throwing game.
The girl working the booth was a little scared for her safety.
It was Rosie's first time throwing a dart and she aim was a little crazy.
 Much to the chagrin of William I let Rosie play Gold Fish game too.
I really didn't think she'd win so I didn't think there was any worry of ending up with a gold fish.
Boy was I wrong! 
She won on the first toss!
And we were the happy owners of this little gold fish.
She was a very happy girl.

William worked the Knights of Columbus funnel cake booth.
Look how official he looks in his Knights apron.

Rosie REALLY wanted this bunny and kept playing the Soft Ball Toss until she finally won. 
Or rather... until the very sweet person working the booth "helped" a little.
They were very kind to and Rosie was a very happy girl for the rest of the day.

And since we were winning so many great prizes and playing so many fun games it was time for some ice cream.
 Happy ice cream face.

When Obi finally woke up he wanted to play some more. So back to the Fishing Pond we went.

As always the Irish Picnic was wonderful. I think I enjoy it more and more every year.
It's so much fun to see the kids grow each year and be able to play the bigger games. 

This was the first year that Rosie won so many prizes!
It will be fun to see Obi next year and see how many of the ball tossing games he can do. 

It's also much more fun now that we've been part of the community here. 
Our first year we didn't know any one, but this year we were stopping and talking to everyone and we know almost everyone at all the booths we stopped at.

The St. Patrick's Irish Picnic is always a highlight of the Summer for the entire community.
I know Rosie looks forward to it all year long and so do I.

Posts about the Irish Picnic from previous years:
2011 Day 1 and Day 2

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Cute Kids in Downtown Disney -- July 2014

I don't even remember what day of our vacation we did it, but one of the days we took my dad to dinner in Downtown Disney.

They have this amazing Irish Pub called Raglan Road there that I really wanted him to try. The food is amazing and it's got the best dessert menu of any place I've seen in Disney World.
Unfortunately I always forget that when I order food there! Next time I'm starting with dessert!

On the night we went they had Irish dancers. Rosie really loved watching them and trying to dance like them.

I didn't take any pictures of our food or of the restaurant. You'll just have to trust me that the Gluten Free Soy Free fish and onion rings were amazing!

I did however get these adorable pictures of the cutest kids I know.

They are sitting on a bench outside the pub next to Patrick Kavanagh, the famous Irish Poet.

We didn't spend much time in Downtown Disney because it's a lot of walking for my dad with the broken we and just all eating SO MUCH we just wanted to go to bed.

But Rosie wanted to stop by the T-Rex Restaurant before we left. They have a gift shop there that she loves to go to.

They also have this AWESOME kids' archaeological site.  It's basically like a huge sand box with dinosaur bones in it.

They have a bucket of paint brushes and any one can grab a paint brush and start dusting off bones.

It's fun for the whole family!

We actually stayed here for quite a while just dusting around in the sand and clearing the bones.

Rosie was in little nerd heaven.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Pool Days -- July 2014

Our view of the pool from our hotel room
One of the things about the kind of work my mom and William do is they get to collect hotel points. If they save them up for long enough we get to stay in really amazing places for vacation.

That's how we got to stay at the Hilton Bonnet Creek in Orlando. A whole week on "frequent flyer" hotel points.

It was amazing.

The main reason... ok maybe the only reason we picked this hotel was for the pool. It's the only hotel in Orlando with a lazy river. I do love a lazy river.

We had a view of Epcot and Hollywood studios from our hotel room. Every night at 10 pm we would watch the amazing fireworks show in Hollywood Studios from the comfort of our room.

In the evenings the pool area hosted a movie. You could sit in the chairs or float in the water and watch a Disney movie. Rosie was pretty excited about that.

Every morning the hotel staff would leave messages with the towels for us. We could see them from our room.
It's the little things that make me smile.

As usual we planned our vacation around the pool with lots of time to be in the pool. The kids loved being in the water and since my dad had a broken foot it wasn't good for him to be doing much else anyway.
The pool was so big that every one had their own floatation thingies.

You could just sit and let the current take you around the lazy river or you could stay in one of the big pool areas at the center of the river.
The kids actually liked staying in the main pool area because it was a "zero gravity" entrance pool (like walking into a beach. A gradual depth increase with no steep drop off).
They liked that they could touch the ground and walk around on their own if they wanted to.
Plus the lazy river made Obi tired. 
It was really relaxing.
He took a nap with me in the pool for a while.
Papa could float around too.
With his Disney bag wrapped around is leg...
... and a floaty just for his leg. 
He was the king of the pool.

Rosie really loved being able to touch the ground in the pool... and do her "mermaid dancing."
Obi was a pretty happy baby in the pool too... despite never smiling for pictures.
Sometimes, being Florida, it would rain or lightning. 
If there was lightning the alarm would sound and everyone would get out until we got the signal it was past.
One time it POURED rain but there was no lighting. 
Rosie and I were in the pool then. 
It was funny watching everyone run out of the pool to stand under umbrellas. 
Rosie and I didn't get out. I figured we were wet anyway. Why get out?
We stayed for the whole rain storm and had the lazy river almost all to our selves. 
That was super fun.
Look at them. Aren't they beautiful?!
Me and my babies.

Our first day in the pool we just put our stuff on the chairs provided and hung out. It was nice. We ordered pool side food and drinks and it felt very fancy.
But then Dad spent the night throwing up from sun stroke and the really bad sun burn he got. 
So then we decided (ok... mom decided... she's my hero) to get a cabana. 
At first we couldn't see how it would be any better than just hanging out in the chairs.
Oh but it was...
Dad lounging and reading
Not only did we get extra comfy chairs, and shade in our own little tent. But we also got food and drinks.
And a TV. 
We got to watch the World Cup Soccer game.

It was SOOO relaxing and comfortable.
When we needed a break from the pool and the sun we got out and ordered drinks and snacks.
And the kids got the relax and play together in a safe place.
Actually I think that was the best part for me.
I didn't have to worry that they were going to wander off into the pool or get in some one's way or trip one of the servers OR get a sun burn!
They were happy and content and had plenty of space to play if they wanted to. 
And since I didn't have to worry I got to read and take a nap. 
I think we all took a nap that day.
We stayed in the cabana or the pool all day that day. I think it was 9am till 9:30pm.
It was the most amazing and relaxing day of any vacation ever.
I think it's pretty safe to say that Dad had a pretty nice birthday.
We all had a pretty fantastic time.

Playing games on the iPad

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Our Epcot Adventure -- July 2014

 Epcot is our second favorite park at Walt Disney World.

This was the park we had planned for our trip to really focus on. Since my dad lives in Southern California he can visit Disneyland any time, which is a lot like the Magic Kingdom but a bit smaller.

But they don't have and Epcot there so we though we'd take my dad there. Plus Epcot is WONDERFUL to eat in.

Our first stop is always Starbucks. It's a great first stop to start the day with extra energy and icy drinks on hot days.

 Then it's off to the pavilions.

The first pavilion we went to was Norway.

 I had never really been interested in Norway before. But after visiting the pavilion on Epcot it's definitely a place I want to visit in the real world. 
The people, the beautiful country, the food, the sweaters! 
All seem so lovely.

And then there's the hats.

 Oh, and the trolls.  Apparently there's a lot of mythology with trolls.
Rosie loves the trolls.
 But let's get back to the hats. 
The hats were a big hit with the kids.
 And with Papa.
 Obi is an adorable little viking.
 Yes, I bought them the hats. They were just too cute.

 When we first started planning our trip Rosie said she wanted to visit China.
We had been talking about the fact that she was born there (in the real China) and she wanted to see what it was like.
She wanted to know about the food and the buildings.
So we had lunch in the China Pavilion.

 I took Rosie around and showed her things that looked like things we'd seen in China.
 She loved the garden and the bridges and this little pink sun umbrella.
 She also enjoyed hearing me speak Chinese to the people in eating area and the little shop. 
I have to admit it was really nice to be able to speak Chinese with people again.

After exploring China for a bit it was time to meet Mickey. We had a fast pass for this so we didn't have to stand in line.
 It's always fun to see Mickey and it's always sweet to see the kids with him.
 In Epcot you get to meet all the main characters in one place.
 Obi had a fun time with Goofy. He kept tickling Obi.
 Rosie was really happy to see Minnie since Minnie Mouse is her favorite.
 Isn't this a great picture of us all?!

When you travel with a pregnant woman it means you have to stop and eat often. Which is actually good for the kids too. 
So we headed over to The Land building to explore the hydroponic garden and have some yummy food. 

We'd never been to The Land building before and it was actually really nice and quite informative about hydroponic gardening. 
William wants to build a hydroponic garden now.

Rosie's favorite place in Epcot is the Aquarium. It is so huge!
They have a shark and dolphins and even my favorite, manatees.
 They also have tons of other fish and water creatures of the smaller variety.

 The kids always love this shark photo spot.

 We spent a LONG time in the aquarium just taking our time looking at everything.  Obi actually fell asleep at lunch so I got to sit and hold him for about 20 to 30 minutes and watch the manatees. I love watching the manatees. They are so cute.
This was a great place to take a sitting break and it was air conditioned so that was great.

Right about the time we were ready to head to the Great Britain Pavilion it started pouring rain. But it was Summer so after deciding it wasn't going to let up much we just decided to head out into the down pour. 
That was super fun.
It rained the rest of the evening and we didn't mind a bit.
Besides, we were heading to Great Britain, so it seemed kind of appropriate.
My kids love walking in the rain any way.

 My dad had broken his foot the week before so we decided to get him a little go cart. That was very fun too. 
My mom also decided to wrap his cast in a Disney shopping bag to keep it dry.
He looked very festive.

 After playing in the rain in England (I got some pretty funny looks from people as they huddled under the eves while Obi and I stomped in puddles in the middle of the street) and exploring the shops we headed to France.

We had a dinner reservation at my very favorite place to eat in Epcot. Each country as some great restaurants with food from their part of the world. But my favorite is Chefs de France.
I don't have any pictures except this one of my lovely hot tea because we were enjoying ourselves so much.

We had a fabulous day in Epcot. We didn't rush anywhere, we didn't try to see everything. We just enjoyed our favorite spots and then moved on to the next one. It didn't even seem that crowded.
After dinner we were all pretty much ready to head back to the hotel.
There was one more place Rosie wanted to stop though..
 She had seen this fountain earlier in the day but we were headed to see Mickey so I didn't want to stop. But since we were already all wet from the rain, and it was a warm rain, it seemed like a great last stop before heading home.
 So we all stood in the pouring rain while the kids ran around and worked off their left over energy playing in the water fountain.

 Then we headed out of the park. 
We were all in such a good mood from such a wonderful day so we decided to stop for this picture right before we left.
Have you ever seen a bunch of people more happy to be soaking wet?
I know I say it every time. But this really was the best trip we'd ever had to Disney World.

Here's a picture of the kids waiting for the elevator in the hotel.