Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Peter's Sixth Birthday

Peter had a birthday last week, and he's six! It's not all that hard for me to process this birthday, because he's been "almost six" for so long. He's also been ready for kindergarten for for-ev-er. Peter is such a delightful, exuberant kid, and he has a strong desire to do what is right. 
I wasn't too worried about him starting kindergarten this year. I thought he might act out if he ever got bored, but apparently he's one of the very best behaved kids in the class. I hoped to be able to have a little friend party for him (I still might, just late), but I'm not sure who we'd have over. He's the kind of kid that takes a while to warm up to people, and he's just now starting to talk about his new friend Jeff. So we might do something fun with a smaller group. 
Peter is a storyteller with a fantastic imagination. Here, he was telling me all about the rides he'd just been on with Dad at Disney World. Obviously, it required a big demonstration!
He is always making forts or other giant messes. :)
I found a snow cone machine at Target a few weeks ago exactly like the one I had growing up. I decided to get it for Peter's birthday, and he seemed to like it. He is the most set about what he's going to be when he grows up out of all my kids. The others will change their minds frequently, but he's consistently said (for well over a year now) that he wants to be a chef. Whenever we go out to eat, he is analyzing their process and atmosphere and food and thinking about what his is going to be like. He also loves making food with me in the kitchen.
I also got him a canister full of two-piece Legos from the Lego Store at a nearby mall. Nora helped me pack them in, and I think we really got our money's worth! ;) These are probably the most versatile pieces, and so great for a creative kid.
When the guy at the Lego store found out it was for my son's birthday, he gave us a free pack of "birthday cake" Legos. Peter built that one right away!
Peter wanted a cake with a green and yellow striped snake. He even drew me a picture of what he wanted. After some thought on how to approach this challenge, I found a recipe for marshmallow fondant (which, as it turns out is pretty good!) and made his dreams come true. (Glad I could do that once this year! I'm thinking back to Nora's sad ice cream cake the day after we got back from our trip, and Benjamin's cupcake "8" we had the week before our move. And I don't even have any pictures of that one.) It was way more simple than I thought it would be, so it might just inspire future creations...
Peter requested spaghetti and meatballs, a spinach and cucumber salad, and Orangina for his birthday dinner. He's easy to please!
It is a little crazy that he has to use TWO hands now to tell his age. He's a big boy now!
I had to include his costume that he came up with for Halloween. I told the kids that we were going to try to use what we had, and maybe make a few simple things for our costumes this year. He wanted to be a gnome so he can go around and say "give me a treat or I'll do mischief in your garden." :)
Probably his favorite present was a new sketchbook and markers (thanks, Grandma!). He's already filled many of the pages with elaborate drawings of bridges...
...and castles in the clouds...
...and "mean old" giants.
We sure love having Peter in our family. It would be pretty boring around here without him!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Our Trip

We're back, and I'm feeling so much better about everything. It was so nice (and needed!) to just step away from all of my responsibilities for a few days, and just be in the moment. I would not have taken this trip if it weren't for Paul. He had a business trip to Orlando, and suggested that we join him there. The practical planning side of me would have hesitated too long to make it happen, but Paul emailed me the plane ticket confirmations about a month and a half ago as a surprise. I'm so glad he did.
We had a few days on our own while Paul was attending a conference, so I had to decide what to do with our time. I didn't want to spend too much time in the parks on my own, because it would have been a little overwhelming to have four kids of varying ages and interests. So we went to the beach. It was a bit of a hassle making it happen, but I think the kids really enjoyed themselves, and I did too. I think Benjamin was only a few months old the last time I had a real beach day (where you could actually get in the water). I love the ocean, and I miss it.

The next day, Paul had a half day, so he joined us at Epcot in the afternoon. I spent the morning with the kids there visiting the countries and doing the rides that we could all go on together. Lydia's naps were non-existent on the trip, so she had her moments. ;) But all in all, it worked really well and we had a great time.

 On Friday, Paul had the day off, so we went to Magic Kingdom together. We did smaller rides in the morning, then split up for the rest of the day. I debated all morning if it was worth it to brave the Anna and Elsa line, which fluctuated anywhere between 75 and 120 minutes. That was the one Nora had most wanted a Fast Pass for, but obviously, they weren't available when we started planning our trip last week. (Darn early planners!) We had the perfect window between some of our Fast Passes that allowed time to stand in that line, so I took Lydia and Nora and went for it. It was definitely not the 75 minutes as indicated. We were in line for over two hours, but by the time we realized how long it was going to take, it was too late to turn back. We had come too far! Anyways, the girls were troopers, and it was worth it. When it was our turn to see Elsa, Lydia started cautiously backing away, saying "Cold! Cold! Cold!" She would not go near her. She must understand the movie more than I thought? :) Nora had a nice little chat with Elsa, and a sweet time with Anna as well. Anna told her that she used to wear her hair just like Nora's, and that they were twins because of their red hair. Nora was in heaven.
Lydia was obsessed with these purse things. Everywhere she spotted them, she would gather stacks of them on each arm.
I think her record was eight! :)
The last day we were there, we got her a Minnie one, and "Minnie" became her newest word she now says.
Benjamin was still recovering from whatever he had the previous week. He was coughing and tired and short of breath for a lot of it, but had a great time regardless. Poor kid. It would have been a lot nicer if he'd been feeling himself!
We stayed at the Contemporary Resort (for free, because of the conference). It was so nice!
We headed back on Saturday afternoon. It was a nice, quick trip, but filled with so many fun memories. I let the kids each document some of their favorite parts here. I think they about covered it!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Ben's Side of the Story

I've been looking forward to going to Florida forever. When my Mom and Dad told me we were going to go somewhere fun, I guessed we were going to Florida because we had a chain counting down from 28 days. I started saving money so I could buy something cool. Dad had a business trip to Orlando Florida, where Disney World is, and he said he could bring us.
We're here at last! We found a huge fish in the fish tank in Florida's airport. 
Magic Bands make it magical time because you don't have to keep track of a card. 
We went to Bongo's on our first night. Bongo's was SOOO good!
Legos can be amazing! Legos can be so many cool things.
We had fun at the beach. I got a little sunburn on my face, and Peter got a lot bigger one. I made a cool sandcastle. 
Epcot was a blast! We went to a lot of countries.
 We went to Japan, Canada, Brazil, United Kingdom and France.
Hope the blue cutting team wins!
 I still can't find what I want!
 Test Track is so fast! My car was pretty good. It won second place.
 First time we ate at the Cafe, I got a cupcake!
 The dolls are going to kill me! I'm reading Kingdom Keepers, and "It's a Small World" is a really creepy ride in the book.
 Front row seat in Splash Mountain! So we got wet.
 Tigger was my favorite character to meet.
Waffles are good at breakfast. And French toast with syrup.
My favorite part was the Magic Kingdom. I bought a red light saber and a Duffy (the Epcot Bear) pillow pet at Downtown Disney with my Dad. Our trip was fun.

Nora's Disney World Story

We were driving on the buses, and then we were flying.
When the airplane was getting everyone off, we waited.
I loved meeting Cinderella
 and Rapunzel
 and Tinkerbelle.
And I loved going on the Magic Carpet ride.
And Dumbo.
We went on the Teacups
and the Carousel.
We went to "It's a Small World."  You go on a boat. That's the most funnest part, and you meet little things.
And I loved meeting Anna and Elsa.
And I didn't like the LOOONG line.
We went on Little Mermaid when Lydia was asleep. We went in the Haunted Mansion, but I didn't like it. I loved the Peter Pan ride.
We saw sharks at Nemo!
And manatees.
We bought a Merida bow and arrow.
I met Merida, and I loved drawing my Merida picture.
And I loved meeting Alice
and Mary Poppins
and Winnie the Pooh
and Tigger
and Piglet
and Eyeore. I loved meeting them, but they couldn't talk. We marched around in a parade with them.
We didn't go on Winnie the Pooh ride. It broke.
I met Mickey Mouse
and Goofy
We went to different countries. I loved meeting Jasmine.
I took my picture.
It's too bad we didn't go on the Snow White ride. The lines were very long. I loved riding on Soarin'. There was nothing to be scared of at Soarin'. 
We went to the beach, and that was fun. I didn't like to go in the waves because Mom went too far. I got salt in my mouth. It was yucky. I didn't like it. 
I liked making sand castles with sea shells and making me into a mermaid.
I loved going in the Monorail. The Monorail was in our hotel.
I got a spiderweb cupcake. And the spider was yummy too.
Florida was really warm and it was not cold one single bit!  The princess castle was fun.
I love Disney World!