Friday, May 27, 2016

Five Things for Friday

1. The last day of school was on Wednesday and the boys are so glad that summer vacation has begun! I always kind of missed school after the last day since I like familiar routines, schedules, learning, and all that good stuff, but they don't miss school at all, especially John!

I bought Bunch o Balloons so they could have a water balloon fight with two friends. This is one of the best products I've ever bought. Filling up the balloons was so easy and quick and I didn't have to tie a single one. In my opinion, this is the only acceptable way to do water balloons!

2. Since Wednesday was the last day of school, yesterday was the first official day of summer vacation. It started out in dramatic fashion when my friend came over to go for our exercise walk and she couldn't come up to the front door because unbeknownst to me there was a really big snake stretched across the front walkway!!! It was by far the biggest snake we've ever seen here, and we haven't even seen that many. It was so creepy, and I only got a glimpse of a part of it as it slid away. She saw the whole thing stretched out in its terrible glory. It disappeared into a hole right at the side of our front steps, which means I can't use our front door and walkway for a long time. 

Now let's fast-forward to this morning. The snake emerged again (I'd been keeping an eye out for it from the safety of the house), and this time we saw all of it, much to the boys' delight, to my horror, and to Boo Boo's excitement. It appears to be living right near the front steps under the walkway! Aaaaugh!! I sent Sam out to follow it so that we can have an idea of where its "hot spots" are. I'm so afraid that Boo Boo is going to try to kill it. I think I'm as afraid of that as I am of the live snake.


Impressively, Sam knew that it was a rat snake and that it's a constrictor. After googling it, I confirmed that he was indeed correct, and much to my relief, that they're not poisonous and many people keep them as pets. Phew! 
So Sam got his pet snake! It's going to be an outdoor snake. Ha ha.
And unfortunately, I'm pretty sure there's more than one. :-O 
I don't know what to do about this!

3. Another thing that happened yesterday, and this one was much more fun and wholesome, was that I took Sam to Build-A-Bear Workshop for the first time to pick out a stuffed animal to make. It was his end-of-the-school-year gift (John's was the water balloons). It was adorable and he loved the whole process and the finished product. 

4. Since I've been talking about my kids, I thought I'd share these funny parenting things I saw recently that involve two characters I've liked since childhood: Mary Poppins, and Miss Hannigan from Annie. I got an e-mail from Power of Moms that said this, and it cracked me up:

 Do you ever start the day as Mary Poppins but end it as Miss Hannigan? 

Yes! That's the story of my life as a parent! My parenting holy grail is to get through the entire day as Mary Poppins!

Also, I saw these little gems on Facebook recently:

I feel like that bottom picture with the raptors is especially true for me with my two boys!

5. We got our tickets this week for the Philadelphia Temple Open House in August. We're so excited to return to Philadelphia with the kids, to see this beautiful temple (which has a fantastic location right downtown in the middle of everything), and to go back to Penn, where we met and fell in love. 
We love Philadelphia!

Happy Memorial Day Weekend! I'm bummed that we're not going anywhere fun for it. Well, the kids and I aren't going anywhere fun. Peter is--he's going to The Hague in the Netherlands for a business trip. It will be his first time ever going to Europe. Meanwhile I'll be at home with the kids, trying to finish up editing a client's book manuscript while attempting to be a Mary Poppins-type of parent and not devolving into Miss Hannigan. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Thanksgiving Week in Orlando

In November of 2014 we spent the week of Thanksgiving in Orlando, Florida, but not for a Disney vacation. It was one of the most fun trips we've ever taken, despite the lack of Disney! These are some of my favorite photos from the trip.

Universal Studios was so much fun for our whole family. We went on three different days, including on Thanksgiving. 
I love this picture of the boys. It's the picture on our desktop computer so I see it all the time.

Pretending to be in England. I wish!

This guy looked and sounded just like the real Captain America in the movies!

John having a Spiderman moment.

Speaking of which, Spiderman was hanging out in a gift shop and obliged us with a picture.

This cute baby dinosaur looked, sounded, and felt like the real thing (not that I'd know!). 

And of course, this post would be incomplete without a few pictures of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which was amazing. In the past I would have done at least two or three blog posts about this alone!

We spent a hot but fun day at Legoland at the beginning of the week. It had fun rides and a really cool playground that John was able to do some American Ninja Warrior training at. :-) My personal favorite was this big section of the park devoted to elaborate Lego structures. I'd never seen anything like them!

Kennedy Space Center is an amazing place. I loved it! And I'm not giving it the attention it deserves in this post!

We spent our final full day at SeaWorld. It was a great place, but it was very chilly out that day!

We got to feed dolphins, which are one of my favorite animals. It was so cool (literally, ha ha).

This flume ride was really awesome!

Gigantic Christmas tree outside of our resort!
I like the palm trees for seasonal contrast behind it, and Sam in the front for sizing contrast!

Breakfast on the patio. 

 It was such a fun vacation!
These are three other posts I did that include pictures from this trip:

Monday, May 23, 2016

Spring Break 2015 Disney Cruise!

My DisneyWorld post last week inspired me to put together some posts about a few vacations that I never documented here on my blog. You may recall that in the interest of simplification, I recently decided that I wouldn't blog about our vacations anymore since I make photo albums of our trips, but I'm going to amend that because traveling is a big part of our life and I want to acknowledge it here on my blog. I'm not going to write in-depth about most of our vacations, I'm just planning on doing a post or two that includes my favorite pictures of the trip. And that will be that!

In March of last year for Spring Break we went on our second Disney cruise. We went on the same ship as the first time we went, the beautiful and elegant Disney Fantasy. Instead of going to the Western Caribbean as we did in 2013, this time we went to the Eastern Caribbean. Going on a cruise for the second time isn't as magical as the first time, but it's still just as much fun. We had a great time. We love cruises!

On our first cruise we got a room with a porthole window because we were nervous that John the Gymnast Monkey Climber would launch himself off the balcony and fall down to his likely death to the sea below, which wasn't likely to happen but terrifying to think about. This time we knew the boys would be fine with a balcony, so we got a room with one, and it was so nice. 

Sam was mad for some reason, so he wouldn't pose for this picture with me and John. You can see him in the distance behind us because he had stormed off. Ha ha!

Prince Samuel

With the ship's captain on Formal Night. 

We had lots of family pictures taken that night since we were all dressed up (with someplace to go! Hee hee, sorry). 

The way life was meant to be lived!

 This was so sweet! 
Sam was five years old, the perfect age for meeting Mickey and all of the characters.


"Time for your check-up!" He was excited to meet Doc McStuffins.

The boys loved hanging out in the hot tub up on pool deck at the top of the ship.  
Can't beat that view!

Sam loved Mickey's Slide and went down it many, many times that week.

Peter and I went out for a very nice dinner at Palo, an elegant adults-only restaurant that serves delicious Italian food. On a different day we went to the legendary Palo brunch. It was amazing, unlike any brunch you could ever imagine. We also went to a dessert party at Remy, the ship's very fancy French restaurant that we hadn't been to before. Those were some magnifique desserts!

We went to the Dutch island of St. Maarten. The water was gorgeous!

We went on a semi-submarine ride there, which the boys loved. It's so cool to go under the sea and to be able to stay dry doing it! (I'm scared of scuba-diving and have no desire to ever do it!)

We went on a bus tour around the island. I love seeing seeing how people around the world live.

Check out our sweeeet ride!

The grand lobby.

We also went to San Juan, Puerto Rico. Peter and I had been on vacation here before when John was a toddler. It was so much fun to come back, this time with our kids. We went to El Yunque Rainforest, the only tropical rainforest on U.S. soil.

 We climbed to the top of this tower. It had amazing views that looked out over the rainforest and out to sea.

John was in rock-climbing HEAVEN. Watching him happily climb the rocks at the base of this waterfall is one of my favorite memories of the trip. 

Selfie in San Juan. 
I'd just bought an owl picture from a streetside artist vendor and a knock-off Louis Vuitton bag and was feeling pretty pleased with myself.

Back on the ship. Caught John in mid-air!

Pirate Night is always a fun affair.

"Pirates IN the Caribbean." That's us!

The fireworks at sea that night can't be beat!

A few more family pictures, this time on Semi-Formal Night.

Queen Donna
(This one's for you, Ben!)

The final stop of the cruise was Castaway Cay, Disney's private island in the Bahamas. We had a much better time there this time than we had the first time we went. We went for a nice bike ride around the island and played at the beach. The water was so warm and clear!

See the ship in the background? We biked most of that distance! Well, most of us did. Sam got a free ride in a kid seat on the back of my bike. He would never have made it that far!

Our dinner servers for the week were awesome and so nice! Joseph was from South Africa and Marie was from France. We took this picture with them at breakfast on disembarkation day (the day you leave the ship, i.e., the only sad day on a cruise).

We had so much fun on this trip. I can't wait for our next Disney cruise! (Currently scheduled for next March!)