Saturday, January 30th, 2010. Another great snow and once again it happened on a weekend. Jackson and his friend Simon spent most of the day outside sledding, playing and hiking. Ben opted to stay inside where it was warm. Simon is staying with us for the weekend and Jackson and he are having a ton of fun. We've had Nerf wars, board games, movies, snacks, snow day food, and hikes. Can't wait to see what day two of our white weekend holds for us (more photos in the snow gallery).
Wednesday, January 27th, 2010. 2nd quarter report cards came home with the boys today. Super proud of both Jackson and Ben. Not only did Jackson get straight As again, he improved his score in all subjects, including his two advanced curriculum classes, Language Arts and Math. And he did this while playing football and basketball. Ben had perfect marks as well, which on his card means receiving an S in all areas. And as Ben informed us, in his school, S stands for SUPER. He is really proud of being able to read. I am amazed daily at the new words that he can sound out.
Monday, January 25th, 2010. Deana took today's photos during Jackson's basketball game on Saturday. Each and every player on his team really worked hard and they were rewarded with a victory against a very tough team. Our family celebrated the win with a trip to the movies (well, actually we were already planning on going.) Later in the evening, Jackson went to a friend's house for a sleepover while Amy went to our friend Lorie's house to play Twighlight Scene-it. Ben and I stayed home so that he could beat me soundly in our new Disney Scene-It 2 game.
Friday, January 22nd, 2010. Sure other things are happening in our life. We have basketball games, science projects, Amy and I moved almost every piece of furniture in the house in order to set the boys back up into their own bedrooms. But I have just one last post to wrap up our trip down the Disney memory lane. Plus I've finally uploaded the last of what I plan on uploading into the Disney gallery. After saying goodbye to Deana and Mo on Thursday, we spent a day at Epcot. It rained a little, but only while we were inside. Soarin' lived up to the hype and we rode the Mission Space ride twice in a row. Eating in the Coral Reef was pretty cool and we all enjoyed the Living With The Land boat ride. Ben also enjoyed the Tres Caballeros boat ride in Mexico. Both boys had fun playing one round of the Kim Possible game in Norway. We stayed for the fireworks that night, then once again crashed hard in the hotel room. We woke on our last full day at Disney to find it raining. So we started a little later than normal and spent an hour playing in the hotel lobby's arcade. We found Magic Kingdom almost empty. The temps didn't get out of the 30s, making it the coldest day of our trip. All of the snack stands were shut down and the lines for the rides were really short. Ben rode his favorite ride, Barn Storming over and over. We hit a lot of inside shows, including one of our favorites, PhilarMagic. That night, following the Spectramagic parade, we had a wonderful, warm home-style meal at the Liberty Tree Tavern with Chip and Dale. On our way out of the park we took lots of photos to preserve our last moments within site of the castle. Amy had us up, packed and on the road bright and early Sunday morning. We stopped for breakfast in Jacksonville and made it home in 10.5 hours. We were happy to find our pets well taken care of thanks to our friends and family. Then on Monday morning we made the difficult transition back into our regular routine. It was especially difficult for the boys who had been out of school for over three weeks. But we finally worked our way back into the flow and have enjoyed watching a continuous Disney slideshow on the new digital photo frame my sister Melanie gave us. Just before Jackson fell asleep last night he said "Do you know what they should name a feeling? Disney. Because there is no other feeling like when you are there."
Wednesday, January 20th, 2010. My mom and sister arrived in Orlando Tuesday night. We picked Deana up bright and early Wednesday morning, eating an Ohana Breakfast at the Polynesian with Lilo and Stitch before catching the monorail to the Magic Kingdom in time to watch Mickey arrive on the train. We hit the park hard, heavy and long that day. I left briefly to pick up mom and return in time to watch the fireworks. Amazing, we were all thrilled with the fireworks display. Jackson had a sleep over at the Animal Kingdom Lodge with Deana and Mo, watching the giraffes and zebras walk just beyond his balcony. Thursday was our warmest of the week, by far, which paired well with our day in Animal Kingdom. Jackson and I even rode the Kali River Rapids, getting SOAKED in the process. Ben loved the playground in Dinoland. He and Amy also enjoyed the Lion King show while Deana, Jackson and I rode Everest. The Safari Ride that morning was another highlight. During our park days with their aunt, the boys saw both of the afternoon parades. We ended our visit with Deana and Mo with a dinner at Chef Mickey in the Contemporary Resort. I've continued to add photos to our gigantic Disney gallery.
Thursday, January 14th, 2010. Day two and three were spent in Hollywood Studios. Three big phases from Jackson and Ben's lives were covered there. Toy Story, Power Rangers and Star Wars. Meeting Buzz and Woody ranked near the very top of our Disney experiences. The green army men were hilarious and spent a lot of time joking with Ben. I was an extra in the Indiana Jones stunt show and was asked, in front of 3,000 people, to laugh like Goofy. The boys were thrilled since that is my only really good impersonation. Jackson and Ben underwent Jedi training and fought Darth Vadar. Personally, I thought that was awesome. The Toy Story Mania 3D interactive ride was a huge hit and we rode it four or five times on day two, which was a coop considering how popular it was. Much to Ben's dismay, we didn't get to ride it any on day one. Amy enjoyed the Beauty and the Beast show. One of my favorite meals was at the Sci-Fi Dinner, where you ate in a car at an indoor drive-in theater. Eating at Pizza Planet was a hit. We left the park on Monday to eat at Planet Hollywood and to shop at the Lego store, then returned for Magic hours. It was way too cold however and we only stayed for an hour before returning to the hotel. The Block Party Bash parade was fantastic. Ben got to hula-hoop in the street before it started and both boys were asked to dance during it. Jackson and I rode the Tower Of Terror. It took me a full day to recover from that one, but he says it was his favorite ride. I think I'll skip it next time. Somehow we never made it to the Aerosmith Roller Coaster, but I think we covered every thing else. Our time at Hollywood Studios ranks very close to the days spent in the Magic Kingdom, it was definitely a favorite.
Wednesday, January 13th, 2010. Our drive to Disney could not have went any better. 9.5 hours, driving straight through on Saturday night, stopping only twice for fuel. We arrived at the All-Star Movie resort at 5AM without a clue what we would do before the park opened at 9. But thanks to the magic of Disney, we were in our room within minutes and taking a nap, a full 9 hours before the 4PM check-in time. It was a cold day, but not terrible, at least during the daylight hours. After entering the gate at Magic Kingdom for the first time, Jackson and I ran to fast pass Space Ranger Spin, while Ben waited in line to get the first of his very many autographs. It was a wonderful day. Highlights include PhilarMagic, the Peter Pan ride, seeing the castle for the first time, meeting multiple characters, Barn Stormer, Thunder Mountain Railroad and just many, many more fantastic experiences. We encountered our most difficult moments of the week later that night, trying to navigate to and from the ESPN Club at the Boardwalk, waiting in freezing temps at the bus stops, accidentally leaving Ben's new camera, temporarily, in the restaurant. But on the whole, our first day at Magic Kingdom was truly magical and we slept very, VERY hard that night. (tons of new photos in the Disney gallery)
Tuesday, January 12th, 2010. We are back from eight wonderful, incredible days at Disney World. Hands down, the absolute best family vacation ever. Perfect, even with the record cold temps in Florida all week. I can't say enough great things about it. I've started working my way through the 1400 photos we took and will be posting them in our new Disney gallery. My sister Deana and my mother joined us during the middle of the week, so you will see them in some of the photos as well. I'll post more details from the trip later, for now I'll just share some of the first photos.