Thursday, November 29, 2012

Family Vacation | Walt Disney World

The day after Thanksgiving we left for the "happiest place on earth."
It was our first trip with our children to WDW.  When we visited Disneyland in California
a couple years ago we had the greatest time.  We decided this was the year to visit Disney World.
We purposely waited until we were out of the nap stage, so we could more fully enjoy the parks.
I know looking at family vacation pictures isn't all that exciting for anyone outside of our family,
but this one is for my memory books! Thanks for indulging me!! ;)

My absolute favorite day was when we went to the Very Merry Christmas Party
at the Magic Kingdom.  It was a "magical" afternoon and evening full of spectacular weather, shorter lines, lots of character encounters, Christmas music, parades, and snow!! {of the artificial variety!}
If you are EVER there during the Christmas season,  I highly recommend
buying the special event ticket. We stayed till 11:00 PM, which is late for
both my boys, but it was absolutely worth it!!

The new Fantasyland expansion had just opened a few days before we arrived.
We spent a lot of time there, including a dinner at the Beast's "Be Our Guest" Castle.
Something I didn't realize was the need for reservations at ANY sit down restaurant in the parks and at the resorts.  Book early!  We got this reservation out of sheer luck.

Charlie was absolutely entranced by every character.  He was especially fixated on seeing Mickey, Donald Duck and a Princess.  He got his wish in a big way!!

My favorite moment of the trip was watching the boys in a skit with Belle.
Andrew was Maurice {her father} and Charlie played the part of The Beast.
{Click here to see the full 6 minute video.  It was pretty amazing.}

We were there for 5 days and told the kids they could choose three parks to visit.
Too many large crowds and long lines make for a tired Mama.
I also think it can get to be too much of a good thing for children too. 
 I'm perfectly fine not visiting every park, maximizing every dollar and missing a few rides.  
We really let the children dictate the pace of this trip and we followed their lead. 
If they felt like taking a dip in the pool, or playing in the sand, or lounging around a bit, that
was more than ok with us too.  I think vacations like these come with pressure to do it all, but 
that doesn't suit our family.  We need a little time to be lazy too. 

The pools at our resort were heated and deserted!

We spent a few hours at Disney's Boardwalk Resort.
A favorite spot of mine that my brother introduced me to when I visited him during
his internship days with Disney when we were in college.

The family bike rental is another must!

Oops we fed the sea gulls our pizza crusts BEFORE we saw the sign asking people not to!

Universal Studio's Islands of Adventure was a BIG hit!

It was a superhero paradise!  The Spiderman ride blew us all away!

Andrew and Charlie both got their very own wizard wands.
The wands are sold all over the park, but if you go, you have to visit Ollivander's shop for
the full experience.  Charlie was convinced he was casting spells all over the park afterwards. 
He is waving his wand in the above picture, reciting some magical words.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter was so well done, I didn't want to leave.  
It was like walking into the book!

Seussville was transformed into Grinchmas for Christmas. 

We had planned to go to Hollywood Studio's but the boys decided they wanted another day
at the Magic Kingdom instead...

Anyone ever tell you that the week after Thanksgiving at WDW isn't crowded??
They are liars! :) haha!!

We finished our vacation with a trip to Celebration 
{an idyllic little town envisioned and created by Disney}

Trying to out run the fountain..

You can see how that turned out...
Andrew didn't make it either.  Thank goodness for spare clothes in the trunk!

All in all though, it was an amazing trip.
We made wonderful memories, ones I hope they keep forever.
It was more crowded than I was expecting, but the weather was incredible, and
everyone was healthy and happy.   {Charlie came down with a stomach bug a day 
after we returned.  A very narrow escape, I say!!}
We will go back one day, but there is something so special about the first time 
you visit that is never quite recreated.  
When we go again, the boys will be older and it will be all about the thrill rides.
Now it's time to start getting ready for Christmas at home!!
Thanks for looking and letting me share our trip!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Pictures of Our Kitchen

Finally!! I'm posting some pictures of our finished kitchen!  Yay!  It seems fitting to post them on Thanksgiving when so many of us will be spending so much time in our kitchens.  Not me though, we'll be celebrating with my parents and my brother and his family. Hence the reason I have time to take photos and write a blog post.  I won't say too much, because I know you'd rather just see the pics, other than I'm absolutely head over heels for the space.  When we moved in this home 5 years ago, I cut my kitchen size down to about 1/3 of what I had in our previous home.  Surprisingly, I've learned that I prefer cooking in a smaller kitchen. It's more efficient, easier to clean up {especially the floors} and you are forced to keep only what you really need and use often.  My dream kitchen would have space for a long farmhouse table in the middle like this one, but other than that, I really couldn't ask for more.  I'm nuts about the paint colors, the fabrics, the lighting, the sink, faucet, counters, gas cooking, and open shelving.  I wanted the finished space feel feel warm and utilitarian at the same time. Like a cross between a cozy English country kitchen and the movie kitchen from It's Complicated.  I feel like I accomplished it! {please excuse my lack of styling.  I didn't notice the wine bottle till I was on my last picture and I didn't have a chance to run to the store and buy pretty flowers, so a handful of parsley in a glass sufficed ~ keeping it real my friends!}


Cabinet Paint: Farrow and Ball Old White
Walls, Trim Paint: Farrow and Ball Off White
Roman Shade Fabric: Lisa Fine Textiles, Samode in Dessert, order through Hollywood at Home
Banding Fabric on Shades: Slubby Linen in Khaki from here
Cabinet Hardware: House of Antique Hardware
Shelf Brackets: House of Antique Hardware
Door Knobs: Look in the Attic
Pendants over island: Circa, ordered through BlueprintBliss
Sconce: Circa
Counters: Silestone in Lagoon, ordered through Howard's Kitchen Design Studio, Cincinnati
Range: GE Cafe Duel Fuel
Counter Stools: Ballard from 5 years ago but I think they still carry them
Window Treatments were made by Interiors by Linda, if you want her number please leave me your email address. She does beautiful work and will ship if you are not local!

And BIG thanks to my dear friend Holly for listening to every detail and caring about this kitchen as much as if it were your own.  :)  I'm not sure I would have gone with brass pendants if you hadn't starting my wheels spinning about this time a year ago...