Life with Twins

Posts tagged ‘travel’

Crazy Planning a.k.a. 180 days til Disney!

NOW:  We are in the midst of planning our trip.  This is probably the most-planned trip we’ve done….although not by much to be honest!

We are DVC members so we are staying in a suite, using our “points”.  For more information on how DVC works, leave me a comment or send me an email!  It’s the most awesome thing we’ve ever done…..and it’s not just for traveling to Disney places either.

Anyway.  Our “home resort” is Animal Kingdom Lodge so we can book a vacation there up to 11 months in advance.  So we called back in August and booked.  But we didn’t really want to stay there.  We love it there, don’t get me wrong, and we have stayed there before and it’s beautiful and wonderful!

But for the purposes of this trip, we really wanted to stay at the “new” Bay Lake Towers.  It’s a new DVC resort that’s connected by a walking bridge to the Contemporary Resort.  So, it’s EXTREMELY close to Magic Kingdom.  We usually spend the majority of our trip in MK anyway and with the twins we figured that would definitely be the case this time more than ever.  Plus, the Contemporary is on the Monorail so it’s convenient to get to some other resorts where we wanted to go for dinner (Polynesian and Grand Floridian) as well as easy to get to EPCOT.

We can’t book at different DVC resorts until 7 months in advance.  But we didn’t want to end up with NOTHING, so we booked at AK Lodge just to be safe because we had the 11 month advantage there.

In December, I was able to call and transfer our reservation to Bay Lake~YAY!  It was kind of a pain because you can only move 7 days at a time, and then our other 3 days I had to call the next day and the next day and the next day.  During work.  Oh well.  It was nerve-wracking but I got the job done.

Then, you can make Dining Reservations 180 days in advance.  You used to have to call day after day after day, but now they let you make your first 10 days of reservations all at once starting 180 days from the day you check in.  So that was good news.  This is an advantage of staying at a Disney Resort.  Also, they have a new online reservation process that starts at 6 am.

So I had called and they calculated 180 days for me and I could go online or call January 11th.  Tim and I skipped exercising and set the alarm so that we could go online starting right at 6 AM.  Well.  The first reservation we got just fine.  The rest?  Nope.  Wouldn’t recognize our Resort Reservation number.  I had to rush to get ready for work so that I could call the reservation phone number at 7.  I wanted to be all ready in case I got stuck on the phone for a while.

Good thing.  I was mostly ready by 7, and called.  I was on hold for a short amount of time, but then the time it took to make all of our reservations, give her all my information, and get all of the confirmation numbers took almost a half-hour!  By then, the twins were up and calling for me, my dad was showing up, my hair still wasn’t done, my coffee wasn’t poured.  These kinds of little things stress me out a little.  And I was already worked up because I was stressed I wouldn’t be able to get a reservation at the places we wanted.  I don’t know why; we’ve NEVER had an issue.

Plus, I still had to call Victoria and Alberts.  But there’s is a separate line and it didn’t open until 9 AM.  And I still had to stress that I wouldn’t get THAT reservation!

You all may be thinking we are crazy.  And we are.  But, it’s who we are and it helps us keep our sanity.  In some ways.  Once, we planned a trip a mere 2 months ahead of time.  Boy, that was stressful to the millionth degree!

I get all the reservations, complete with confirmation numbers and I double-check them all online.  My dad helps me get the twins ready so that I can do my hair.  Plus, I had to go to the bathroom……why is it that nature calls at the MOST inconvenient times?

At 9 I called V&A…..the most faniciest restaurant in WDW.  At first I couldn’t get through so I left a message, but kept calling and calling anyway.  See, we really wanted to sit at the Chef’s Table.  And there’s only one seating for the table a night.  And we really wanted it on that certain night because all the other dining reservations were already in place and I didn’t really want to have to change everything around again.  But, I got through, and got what we wanted.  YAY!!!

Plane tickets are bought, room (2-bedroom suite for us, kids, and my dad) is reserved, dining reservations are made.  Now, the packing lists will begin!  You think I’m kidding?

Wanna know where we’re eating?

Chef Mickeys – Contemporary resort – buffet dinner with Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, and Pluto!

Tuttoo Italia – Italy pavillion in EPCOT

California Grill – very top floor of Contemporary resort

Mama Melrose – Hollywood Studios – Italian food

The Wave – Contemporary resort

Crystal Palace   – in Magic Kingdom – lunch buffet with Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore and Piglet!

Victoria and Alberts – fancy schmancy!

Ohana – in the Polynesian resort – they serve food off of GIANT skewers

Chefs de France – France pavillion in EPCOT – best escargot I’ve ever had!

 Chef mickeys breakfast – Again.  This time for breakfast

Raglan Road – Irish-style pub in Downtown Disney

Le Cellier – Canada pavillion in EPCOT.  Home of yummy Beer-Cheese Soup

Tony’s Town Square – Magic Kingdom – Italian

OK…….so maybe it’s less of the Type A personality…..and more just super-duper excited!!!!!  Either way……it’s planned!  All we do now is wait.  And save money.  And pack (No, not yet.)

Speaking of beer-cheese soup – check out my husband’s venture into the Blog World!  The first recipe he’s going to blog about is the very one from the Canadian Pavillion in EPCOT – yummy beer-cheese soup!  This is now.

THEN: I prepared myself to go home on Thursday morning.  The first thing I wanted to do was take a shower.  I hadn’t had one since the previous Thursday.  I had asked…..but before the delivery none of the nurses were “sure” if I was allowed to take a shower or not.  After the delivery it wasn’t an option at first because of the surgery.  I had gotten permission to take one Thursday before I left.  First I had to walk all around the floor of the hospital trying to find the darn place.  I either hadn’t gotten good directions or I wasn’t really listening.  I finally got to the room, set my things down and turned the water on.  As difficult as it was to manuver myself; it was probably the best shower I’d ever had in my life.  I felt a million times better and cleaner and happier and even a little less sore.  By the time I was done and back in my room though, I was exhausted!  Luckily I had about an hour before my discharge time when my parents would come get me.

They forgot to order me breakfast.  I thought it would be in my room when I got back, but no such luck.  I called a nurse and she wasn’t sure what happened but arranged to get some food up to me as soon as possible.  I was starving!  It wasn’t exactly what I would have wanted, but it was fine.  The hospital food wasn’t as bad as sitcoms would have had me believe.  I watched some TV and I was ready to go.  I was nervous though and anxious.  First thing I wanted to do when my parents showed up was go down to the NICU.  I would have gone earlier but I really really needed that shower and my late breakfast.

I forced myself to be patient and finally it was 11:00.  My dad came up to get me and my mom was waiting down in the NICU already.  I didn’t have to take a wheelchair out because I wasn’t leaving the hospital yet.

I walked (shuffled) down to the NICU.  I went to see my beautiful babies.  I suddenly really wanted my parents gone, but of course I didn’t want to upset or offend them by asking them to leave.  I went to Will first.  He reflexively grabbed my finger with his hand as all babies will do.  He sighed in his sleep and listened to me talking to him about what had happened that morning.  He still had his CPAP machine on and because of the mask, he couldn’t open his eyes very well.  I didn’t even know what color they were.  I listened to the steady beep of the machines and listened to the nurse update me on his status.

I walked over to Ariel after tearing myself away from my son.

“Do you want to hold her?”  Shock.  “yes” I breathed, so quietly because I wasn’t sure I had heard the nurse correctly.  But I had.  She carefully set me up in a comfy rocking chair right next to Ariel’s heated bed.  First, she had to clip Ariel’s feeding tube to my shirt because it was time for her to “eat”.  She maneuvered the cords and wires so that they didn’t get pulled out while she was in my arms.  Then, she handed me my daughter.  I couldn’t breathe.  I was afraid to breathe.  She was finally feeling like mine.  I could actually hold her.  She had to be VERY VERY VERY wrapped up in blankets because she was no longer on her heated pad, which was helping her regulate her temperature.  But I could see her hand.  Her hand couldn’t be covered because of the IV needle in it.  So I stroked her hand.  And her head, which had to have a hat on it.  Again, to help keep her warm.

It was surreal.  The nurse had to help put her back right after she was done “eating” because the very act of digestion was making her very tired which meant her body was maintaining it’s own temperature even less.  She needed to get back to her heat.  And sleep.

The best thing for them was sleep.  Their fragile little bodies used up too much energy doing anything else.  The nurse told me not to be surprised tomorrow if I came in and was told Ariel had lost a little weight…..just from me holding her.  When they slept, they grew.  So sleep was the best thing for them.  And frequent family visits of course.  Talking to them.  Letting them know they were loved.

I felt so guilty after holding Ariel.  Because I couldn’t hold Will.  It’s not like it was my fault or my choice.  I guess I just felt bad for him.  And a little for myself too.  But I was also on cloud 9 after finally getting to hold Ariel.  Like she was real.  Like she was really mine.  Like she was a real baby.  It’s a little dramatic, but true.  And it made me feel a hell of a lot better about going home later that morning.  That was then.

William

Ariel

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It’s the Renaissance!

NOW: Ok, so this is kinda my No-Twin Tuesday.  But it is a little late.  Sorry.  I’ve just been so behind, and it’s hard to get everything done when my only free time is naptime.  There’s a lot I’ve wanted to do this summer around the house and I just kept putting it off and putting it off and now it’s August.  So the blog has gone by the wayside a little bit.  I started typing this yesterday, but my internet went down.  So there you have it.

Last Saturday, my dad and I went to the Sterling Renaissance Festival.  We go every year, and have been going every year together, just us, for a few years now.  In fact, that’s been his birthday present for a while now; tickets for the festival, and a gift certificate for either breakfast, gas, or dinner.  I love that this time is reserved every summer for just my dad and I.  No one else around us really loves it as much as we do, which works out just fine in my opinion.  Perhaps one day we will start bringing the kids – but then we’ll have to go twice, once with them and once without. 

If you’ve never been to a Renaissance Festival, I highly recommend going at least once.  It’s a pleasant escape from reality.  It’s so much fun watching the characters throughout the day as they interact with each other and the guests.  The shows are always great and the food is excellent! 

My dad and I almost always stick to the same shows.  We started this year with Johnny Fox (it’s a stage name…..his real name is John Fox).  He’s a sword swallower.  For Real.  It’s funny because we practically have the show memorized, but we still cringe or laugh when appropriate.  The mark of great entertainment.

We like to make sure to see all of our favorites, so the majority of our day is spent sitting and watching shows.  Some people choose to wander more, and catch more impromptu performances, but we’ve never done it that way.  We headed over to Dangerous Dan next.  We don’t see him every year because his show freaks me out a little.  He’s an acrobatic performer and balances on high tables, ladders, etc.  I don’t like heights, even when it’s other people.  And he acts as though he doesn’t know what he’s doing so that scares me even more.  I know it’s just part of the show, but I still get nervous that he will fall.  My dad got picked to help him out with a trick this year.  He’s standing on the right.

I always have a turkey leg for lunch, we split salt potatoes, and my dad had a chicken shish-ka-bob with rice.  Yum!  A lot of Renaissance Fair is about the eating.  And the beer!  But my dad doesn’t drink since he was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, so I don’t get beer either.  It’s too bad because I really wanted one this year but no big deal.

We never miss Emery Fleet and his Rat Extravaganza.  This is my favorite show.  Again, the jokes are the same every time.  Every show.  Every year.  But we still laugh.  Every time.  I even bought my own pet rat to take home this year.  It was free with every $10 donation.

This year we tried someone new.  A hypnotist.  We left after 15 minutes of his show.  It was just boring.  We would have left sooner but we kept hoping something would happen.

We went to an early dinner so that we could catch Don Juan and Miguel’s Weird Show.  They have four different shows throughout the day but the last one is called the Weird Show.  It’s basically always the same every year, but they do some different jokes.  They whip things and sword fight, too.

We never ever ever miss the Final Pub Sing.  We even bought the CD a few years ago so that we could learn some of the songs and sing along because it seemed everyone else but us knew the words.  🙂

So it was just so relaxing and fun and nice.  What a great tradition.  This is now.

THEN:  I knew I had to stay in the hospital at least until Saturday afternoon because they wanted to monitor the proteins in my urine for 24 hours.  On Saturday morning, the texts started coming.  Tim had gone to the draft the night before and of course, had told all the guys what had happened and that I was in the hospital.  They, of course, went home and told their wives.  The wives, my friends, started texting me as soon as it was appropriate in the morning.  I’ve said it before.  I am so lucky to have such a great group of friends.  It made me feel so loved to get all of those well-wishes and concerns and thoughts and prayers.  Then, because so many people had found out what was going on from word-of-mouth at the draft, we figured we better let a few other people know, those who weren’t there.  Steve and Mariah were out of town, and we also let my friends Melanie and Deanna know what was going on. 

I still wasn’t really worried.  I figured I would just leave and be on bedrest starting that night.  No problem.  So even though I was touched at the outpouring of thoughts from our friends, I didn’t even feel that it was justified.  I was fine, I knew everything was going to be ok.

Tim’s sister called that afternoon also.  She’s always so helpful, and wanted to know if anything could be done around the house that I didn’t get to do because of being stuck in the hospital.  At first I brushed it off, but then I suggested the laundry.  She was going over there to let the dogs out and feed them anyway.  So she does a couple loads of laundry and then decides to take a shower while she’s there.  After her shower she goes back down to the basement and finds…..a flood of dirty water.  The stationary sink had backed up and between the washer pouring into it, and the shower going…..it had overflowed.  She didn’t know what to do!  She was mortified that she had tried to help and I was going to come home to this.  So she called her dad who suggested just calling us.  It had happened before, so I told her just to call Roto-Rooter.  She was so upset that she even had to call and bother us.  It actually was better this way.  She and her dad took care of everything.  If I had been home, I would have had to deal with it!  I told her that and she laughed and felt better.

What a mess this was.  By Saturday night, they still didn’t really have any answers for me.  Other than I was going to have to stay in the hospital at least one more night.  The proteins were still high, my blood pressure was fluctuating – high sometimes, almost normal other times.  The contractions that I couldn’t feel had basically stopped.  They also had given me two shots – steroids, so that if I ended up delivering, it would help the babies’ lungs be better developed.  I asked if there was anything bad that could come of getting this steroid if I didn’t end up delivering, and they said no.  I was absolutely convinced that it would not happen.  I felt fine, and they all seemed to think this was no big deal.  I suppose they deal with it all the time.  They moved me to a different floor, actually the maternity recovery area, because I was staying more than 1 night.

I sent Tim home again that night.  He was exhausted and I wanted him to stay with the dogs, check out the basement, and just sleep in his own bed.  Honestly, I thought I’d sleep better if I was by myself. 

And actually, he was supposed to work the next day.  He was going to try and call his boss in the morning to take the day off, but just in case he had to go in, I wanted him to be home to sleep that night.  It actually was more peaceful to be by myself.  Even though nurses kept coming in every hour and I was up by 6 am.  I still felt that I had slept better than the night before.  That was then.

Parting is Such Sorrow – Day 4

NOW: On Saturday we had originally planned to go to the park until lunchtime and then start our journey home….hoping the kids would take a nap, at least for a little while.

Well, they had enjoyed the parades so much…..and Tim and I just really didn’t want to leave yet…..so we decided to wait until after the parade.  It was under one condition though – – – – – – coffee stops – – – – – in the park, and all the way home. 

In the morning we ate breakfast in the hotel room again, after Tim took all the luggage down to the car.  We’d have to unpack it to get the stroller out, and then repack it after the park, but that was ok. 

The kids were just so excited to go back to Sesame that we knew we made the right choice in returning for a third day.  We had gotten the free upgrade to the season pass anyway, so why not?

We decided not to deal with water stuff because it took up a lot of time, we’d have to get them changed again, and we wanted to try some things we hadn’t.

We started near the back of the park with some dry rides.  We asked the kids if they wanted to go on the horsies, but both said NO.  Ok then.  We found Elmo’s Flyin’ Fish and asked if they wanted to go on.  At first they both said no, but then Will heard Elmo’s voice coming from the ride and decided he’d like to try.

I gave him his choice of fish as we waited in line.  Zebra.

In line, he was all excited and kept pointing to the zebra fish as it went around and telling me whenever he heard Elmo.  Once on the ride, he kept saying all done all done.  But too late.  🙂  We took off and he was looking at everything and waving to Daddy and Ariel.  He even let me push the button to go up high.

It was a lot of fun…..so when we got off, I asked Ariel again if she wanted to go on, like Will.  She still said no, but when I tried to take her out of the stroller she didn’t really resist.  We started walking toward the line and she was saying no, no, no – in a cute way, not crying or whining.  So, I figured she should go on too.  She wouldn’t tell me which fish she wanted so I picked the angel fish because it was landed near Daddy.  When I first buckled her in, she said all done all done, but I told her it was too late, just like with Will.  She ended up enjoying herself also!

We decided to take a break and catch the Elmo’s World Live show again.  We sat near the middle this time, and no one was in front of us at first, which was perfect.  About halfway through the show someone came in (LATE!) and sat her big-self right in front of us.  I was so annoyed.  And Will was annoyed too, he had to keep leaning around her to see.  But they enjoyed the show anyway.  It was much better than the first day when Ariel was miserable through the whole thing! 

The workers even let us stay back a little bit after everyone was gone so we could get pictures on the set!  They loved looking at shade and door and meeting Dorothy!!!

Then we went back to the rides.  The twins agreed to go on Grover’s World Twirl with Mommy and Daddy.  I think they would have been fine if they could have sat on our laps, but they had to sit on the seat between us and didn’t really seem to enjoy it as much as I thought they would.  They weren’t crying, but they weren’t too thrilled either.

Maybe by the time we go to DisneyWorld next year, they’ll like the rides a little more.  🙂

We decided to go for lunch and then sewttle in for a spot on the parade route, near where we were for the nighttime parade last night.  While waiting for Tim to get lunch, I grabbed my 4th coffee of the day and settled in to wait at a table with the twins.  Tim brought me back a surprise with my lunch!

I shared with the kids, of course.  While we waited for the parade, Tim got us some “IceWater”, which was basically sorbet – he got cherry, which was really, really good!

We saw the parde one last time and then waved bye-bye to Sesame Place. 

As we were unpacker/repacking the car to fit the stroller in, the kids fell asleep in the backseat.  But, we still had one more Sesame Place surprise for them.  When they woke up, we stopped at a rest area (so Mommy could get another coffee) and after settling back into the car…….

Ariel must have thought Big Bird was hungry so she was feeding him some of her fruit bar.  He got his beak quite messy!

Things were pretty uneventful on the way home.  About an hour past dinnertime there was a pretty good amount of whining coming from the backseat, but we really wanted to make it to the Applebee’s near Syracuse again.  So we carried on.  At dinner, Will was a bit of a terror.  Good thing we won’t be going back to that location anytime soon.  It was understandable to us…..but probably not to the customers….or the waitress who will have to wash the crayon off the wall.  Considering they usually get compliments in restaurants, it was a little out-of-sorts for him, but to be expected.

After dinner we got back on the road, but abruptly pulled off because Mommy saw the first Tim Horton’s sign!  YAY!  Extra-large please.

They fell asleep shortly after, waking up occasionally to cry a little, but then falling back asleep.  Sometimes it was actually good that they were crying because it helped me stay more awake.  I wasn’t falling asleep at the wheel or anything (I would have had Tim drive if I was), but I definitely was tired.  It helped that we had a Muppet marathon going on the iPod, singing along was definitely helping.

We carried them upstairs, got them into their jammies and settled them into their cribs.  We also started unpacking the car a little.  By the time we got home it was about 12:30 at night (morning). 

Worth it. 

Totally worth it.

At one point Tim asked, “is it strange that I even enjoyed the car ride?”  No.  Anytime we spend time together as a family is enjoyable.  Even though part of the time was spent with whiny kids.  And part of the time was spent trying to entertain whiny kids.  And part of the time I wished I could just teleport us home  because I just wanted to be there instead of driving any longer

It was all so worth it.  For the experience.  For the joy.  For the fun and the time spent together. 

If I was only going to go to Sesame once, I might recommend waiting until the kids were a little older.  I definitely don’t regret taking mine because I know they had such a great time.  But they were a little young for some things.  If we do go again in a couple of years, we will probably go for longer and check out other things in the area; the Crayola Factory, the Please Touch Museum, or even Hershey Park. 

And I know they might not remember it.  Right now they do.  I ask them questions and they give me VERY specific answers about what happened on our trip.  But we have the pictures and the video (that they’ve asked to watch every day since we got back) to help them remember.  I remember going to Canada’s Wonderland as a kid.  But I don’t really remember it……I just remember what I’ve seen in the photos.  And that’s ok.  Because I know I had fun and my family must have enjoyed it or they wouldn’t have kept taking me back.

I can’t even express how much we all enjoyed our first family vacation.  My tears during the parades, and while they met the guys, and while they showed us how excited they were, and even now as I type; just say it all.  Tim and I have memories that will last forever – even when our little ones aren’t so little and don’t delight at seeing all their now-favorite guys.

Worth it.

Totally worth it.

This is now.  Soon……….let’s get planning that Disney World trip!!!!

Lots More to Do! – Day 3

NOW: Our second day in the park was awesome!  It was so much more relaxing knowing where we were going, what we wanted to see, what the kids liked and didn’t like so far.  It was hard that first day getting our bearings straight.  Not because it was big, just because it was unfamiliar and we weren’t sure what to expect from the kids.

Instead of taking them down to a breakfast they might not eat, with highchairs that might not be available, we decided to just have them eat Cheerios in the room.  Tim went down to get breakfast for us and also brought up an orange for the kids and I to share, as well as yogurt for them. 

We wanted to make sure to get to the park a little earlier today.  First of all, because we thought it might be a little busier on a Friday, and plus, we wanted to check out the Count’s Splash Castle, which gets busier later in the day.  As we entered the park, we took some pictures with the cool character topiaries.

We waited at the gate for about 20 minutes – which Will was not too happy about, but it was ok.  We got a locker again and then headed to the back of the park.

We ventured into the water surrounding the castle without too much hope.  Too much splashing.  But maybe they’d like it!  Not so much.  I was really disappointed because I wanted to play!  It looked like a lot of fun, but they just didn’t think so. not with all the water squirting and splashing and dripping.  I was tempted to leave Tim with the kids for a little bit and go play, but I didn’t.  🙂

We went back to Twiddlebug Land instead.  Around 11 we “dragged” them out because we wanted to get dressed to see the Elmo Rocks show and then have lunch.  We were trying to stick to somewhat of a plan today because we wanted to make sure they got a nap so we didn’t have a repeat of yesterday.  Elmo Rocks was an ok show.  Some parts dragged a little and the kids got antsy. 

We headed to Sesame Cafe for lunch because it was inside and offered a Roast Turkey Sandwich that Tim and I were interested in.  It was really tasty!  We got the kids a grilled cicken kids meal to share – along with french fries (Count’s French Fry Count; That’s 3, 3 meals with french fries, ah, ah, ah).  Their chicken was kinda dry – we figured it was because no one else was choosing that and it had been sitting for a while.  Oh well, they ate french fries and blueberries and strawberries.   The kids’ meals were a little crazily-priced though.  Adult meals were around $11, kids were $10! 

After lunch we went back to the car for a nap.  From yesterday’s experience we figured they wouldn’t nap at all (or very well) while in the park.  They were definitely acting tired so we thought maybe we’ll just turn on the car and they’ll fall asleep without even having to leave our awesome parking spot.  We had gotten preferred parking again because we figured if we did have to leave and come back at least we’d be in the closer lot.

Well, we did have to drive around a bit for them to fall asleep.  But once they did, we headed back to the Sesame Place parking lot, got another really good spot, and just left the car running while we sat and read books and they slept.  They got almost a 45-minute nap which was perfect to re-energize them for the rest of the day. 

As part of our package, we had already pre-purchased a 6×8 photo from 1-2-3 Smile With Me, so we headed there after changing into our Sesame Street-themed clothes.  🙂 

We got some really cute pictures with Big Bird and Elmo, and settled on a family picture with Elmo as our 6×8.

Then we asked the kids if they wanted to ride the horsies.  Their first ride!  They said yes, but as you can see from this picture, Will was not too thrilled once he actually got on.  I ended up taking him off and we watched Daddy and Ariel ride.  Ariel wasn’t too sure, but she wasn’t crying either.

We headed over to play Ernie’s Duck Pond, where they each picked 3 ducks and won a prize.  They definitely liked that!

We saw more ‘guys’ in the main area, and so we went to visit again, this time so Daddy could get video.  🙂

Then, it was time for Dinner with Elmo!  We had also pre-booked this as part of our package online.  We’ve done plenty of character dining at Disney and even as adults, really enjoy the interactions with the characters in this type of setting. 

They were so ridiculously excited.  It was so great.  Cookie Monster, The Count, and Abby all came to the table.  Big Bird was seated on a stool in the middle of the room so you could go visit him.  Elmo was seated on a stool off to the side. 

This was our 4th “Disney Does It Better” moment.  Why didn’t Elmo come to the tables?  That would be like sticking Mickey Mouse in the corner at Chef Mickey’s.  I could understand Big Bird sitting still – it was a little hard for him to manuveur.  But Elmo?  We couldn’t figure it out.  

Anyway, we had a blast.  The kids didn’t eat, of course, but that’s to be expected.  We were there for the characters, not for the dinner, if we’re being honest.  Ariel did eat quite a bit of my Tilapia, but that was about it.  They also had chocolate chip cookies and some soft-serve ice cream for dessert.  Well-balanced meal right there.  😉  We also found a little Zoe to buy!  We’d been looking all over for her…..our last character to add to our collection!

After dinner we took them to Ernie’s Bed Bounce, which we thought they’d like because it was like a giant bounce house.  They had to go in alone, though, and they didn’t really like being that far away from us.

After getting out, we asked them if they wanted to go on Big Bird’s Balloon Race with Mommy and Daddy but they said no, so we headed off to see the Abby’s Treasure Hunt show.  It was super-cute, and they really enjoyed it.  Will was on Daddy’s lap, and he was so wiggly and excited Daddy didn’t get any pictures of the show.  But that’s ok.

Then, we headed back to the shops to buy more souveniers but didn’t give them to the kids yet.  We got them a big Big Bird and Snuffy, and each a beach towel with all the ‘guy’s on it.  We also got T-shirts for ourselves, a magnet, and a keychain.  The 30% off for having the season pass was awesome!  We definitely came in under our proposed souvenir budget.

Then, we went back near the front of the park for pictures of “Sesame Street” and more guys while we waited for the nighttime parade.

We waited in line to see the Count and Zoe again while Daddy held our spots for the parade.

Then…………..we PARTIED!!!!  With all the guys! 

We left the park a little after 9:30.  After stopping at the lost and found to see if anyone had turned in the water shoe Will had kicked off at some point after dinner.  Nope.  Well, he’s not sitting in the front of the stroller anymore.  🙂

We got back to the hotel, and got things packed for the next day (we were leaving 😦 ).  Tim and I had already decided we’d at least stay for lunch in the park the next day.  Then, because they had loved the parade so much, we figured, hey, what’s a couple more hours?  So, we’ll be staying for the afternoon parade and then driving home.

After our showers, and the kids’ baths, it only took them minutes to fall asleep (around 11pm).  Thank goodness!  They slept until about 7 the next morning.  This is now.

No Sleep + Little Nap = Day 2

NOW:  After getting the kids and ourselves ready on Thursday morning, after getting very little sleep the night before, we headed down to the free continental breakfast.  First issue:  No highchairs available at the moment.  There were only 3 to be seen and all were taken.

Mommy’s lap it is.

We did eventually get a highchair for Ariel, but then she was all mad because Will was still on my lap.  Another highchair for him opened up soon after.   So that was good, at least I could eat.  Because they sure didn’t.  There was a pretty good selection; waffles, sausage, egg with cheese, bagels, toast, cereals, hard-boiled eggs, yogurt, apples, juice, milk, coffee. 

We took them back up to the room to grab our stuff and I tried to get them to eat some Cheerios (which I brought with us…..gotta be prepared).  They kept dumping them on the floor, so I guess they were just too excited to eat.  Tim ran back downstairs to get ice for our water bottles and in the meantime Will went over to the pack-n-play and asked “nap? nap?”.  Um, no.  Not quite yet.

Then we were on our way!  We decided to put them in swimsuits (and us) because we figured we’d hit the water stuff first.  I suntan-lotioned them up before leaving the hotel to make it easier.  They were equipped with swim diapers and water shoes (which I bought especially for this trip because I had read somewhere that it was a good idea – it wasn’t – it was THE BEST IDEA EVER!) 

We drove about 20 minutes to get to Sesame Place from our hotel.  It would have been shorter, but mapquest apparently didn’t know that you can’t make left turns or U-turns ANYWHERE.  We chose preferred parking ($18) over regular ($15) because it was a little closer and worth the 3 extra bucks.  We got there a little after 10 am – it’s kinda weird that it doesn’t open until 10 because it caters to little kids and little kids are always up early. 

This was our first “Disney Does It Better” moment because most of the parks at Disney are open at 8 or 9 am – at least at the time of year when we usually go.

Our second “Disney Does It Better” moment was entering the park.  At Disney you put your ticket in a machine, it slides through, you scan your fingerprint, you’re done.  Here…..you gave your ticket to the attendant…..they scanned it in the machine…….you put your finger in for the print…….they gave you back your ticket……it seemed to take forever.

But oh well.

After renting a locker ($20, but you got $5 back after you turned in the key at the end) for the new camera and my purse, we headed over to Twiddlebug Land.  There were two larger waterslides, one with a double-inner tube and one with a large float for up to 6 people.  The twins were pretty interested, but we decided to take it a little slower first.  We headed over the the teeny tiny wave pool.  There were spouts of water coming up, and other splashy things. 

We all had a lot of fun.  Ariel fell once, face down, in the water, and got a little scared for a while.  So I had to carry her for a bit, but then she calmed down and kept telling me “deep deep” because she wanted to go back in the deep water (2 feet).

We decided to take a break from the water for a little bit and try out the slides.  They were pretty big.  Will climbed way up, and went down once:

Then he came back around and Ariel was still trying to get up.

By this time, some bigger kids were running and trying to push their way up.  Each of the twins got a little jostled and decided they didn’t want to do it anymore, so I had to help them back down.  Another mother and I said something to those bigger kids – like hello, you should wait in line, and not bump into little kids.  But my kids still didn’t want to go back up. 

Then we headed over to Big Bird’s Lazy River.  The kids needed life jackets and then I put Will on my lap and Ariel was on Tim’s.  They kinda liked this.  Except when they got splashed by any water that was squirting out or spraying down.  So we had to work to avoid these.  Because of this, we decided against going on the other raft/tube rides.  They like to splash, but don’t really like being splashed, if that makes any sense.

By then, it was past noon!  We didn’t realize we had been in the water over two hours!  On the way to the bathrooms we spotted…….ZOE!  The twins usually call her Abby though.  They call all the girl-monsters Abby for some reason.  I held their hands very tightly while we waited in line for our turn.  Then, I just let go and they ran right for her!  I also had her sign the autograph books I had made for them.

After our little chance-meeting, we got the twins dried off and dressed.  It was so great that there were changing stations in EVERY bathroom – even the men’s!  So Tim took one kid and I took the other.  Saved us so much time. 

 We headed over to Captain Ernie’s Bistro for lunch.  I wanted a Chicken Ceasar Wrap and Tim settled on the same.  It was really good!  We opted for a side of fruit, and also got a cup of blueberries and strawberries for the kids.  Tim and I had previously decided that we had to try and eat relatively well on this trip.  We weren’t “exercising” except for pushing the stoller around and walking and we didn’t want to come back having gained a ton of weight just because we had burgers instead of chicken.  We had brought the kids’ leftover pasta from dinner the night before for their lunch.  The twins were getting mighty crabby at this point.  They were way tired.  So we figured we’d just walk around a bit after lunch to see if they’d take a little nap in the stroller.  We also stopped at Mister Hooper’s Emporium to buy them each their first souvenier – a stuffed Telly for Will and a Bert for Ariel.  We thought maybe if they held onto them, they’d be more likely to snuggle up and fall asleep.

We also refilled their juice cups.  I had given them water first but they basically refused to drink it.  I always try to mix their juice half with water, and I figured it was so hot I didn’t really care what they drank as long as they were hydrated.  They just kept insisiting on juice. 

We walked around a bit and then got settled into a spot for the afternoon parade (2pm). 

Here we are, all waiting for the parade.  We had to try our best to keep Will entertained so that he wouldn’t kick his sleeping sister, who was in front of him in the stoller.  But he did pretty well – it was hot – he was sitting still – he had no idea why we were waiting.  But once he found out….I don’t think I’ve ever seen him SO FRIKKIN’ EXCITED!!!  My eyes were welling up with tears.  THIS is why we had come here.  For THIS reaction and this experience.

He kept yelling out the character’s names as he saw them, and screaming “coming coming!”  He was dancing and partying like crazy.  Ariel was still sleeping but that was ok, she woke up near the end. 

And this is our third “Disney Does It Better” moment.  If you’ve ever seen a Disney parade, you realize it repeats as it goes along.  This is for the sake of everyone along the parade route – no matter where you are you see virtually the same “show”.  At Sesame the parade stopped towards the beginning and the show went on and by the time it got to us the show was pretty much over.  The characters were still dancing and singing and stuff, but we decided we had to be up front if we watched the parade again.

We left the parade pretty happy though.  Except for Ariel.  Even with her little nap she was still kinda miserable.  Earlier she had been rubbing her eyes on her arms and got suntan lotion in them.  Her eyes were still all red and puffy even after I rinsed them out with water multiple times and washed her hands.  I thought her nap would have helped, but she kept complaining her eyes were still bothering her. 

Elmo’s World Live!  was starting in a half-hour, so we headed over to get in line.  Ariel was still whiny through basically the whole show, but she did seem to enjoy it.  We figured if anything could help, it would be seeing Elmo.  Will loved it!  He was dancing and laughing and calling to Elmo and Mr. Noodle. 

We were walking back up the main area and spotted Grover! 

Then Count von Count

Bert and Ernie

And Cookie Monster

And this was all with Will still not having a nap,and  Ariel moaning and groaning while in the stroller because she was still so tired.  But every time she got out to hug a character, we could tell she really was enjoying herself, despite her red-rimmed eyes. 

We asked the twins if they wanted to go have dinner, or find more guys.  “GUYS GUYS!” they both shouted.  Tim and I weren’t too sure – it was already almost 6, but we decided to go with what they wanted.  We headed to the back of the park where 1-2-3 Smile With Me was located.  Here, you can see Abby or Big Bird, and Elmo pretty much any time of the day. 

By this time, Will had caught on to the autograph book and was pointing excitedly back and forth to the book and the guy.  He was also saying “thank you” as the guy signed.  What nice manners! 

There was really nobody back there at this time of day, so they got a lot of one-on-one time with these characters.  We went through the “line” twice – once to see Abby and Elmo, and when Abby and Big Bird switched, so we went through to see Big Bird and Elmo. 

We piled into the car at this point to drive a short way to T.G.I. Fridays for dinner.  Before we even left the Sesame parking lot, the twins were asleep.  We decided to just get our food to-go and eat in the car.  Depending on what kind of mood they woke up in, maybe we’d go back to Sesame Place and they could just eat dinner there. 

They slept while we ordered and waited.  Then, just as we started eating, they woke up.  Will was screaming.  Ariel was fine because she realized we had french fries (The Count’s French Fry Count; that’s 2, 2 meals with french fries, ah, ah, ah).

We figured Will must still be tired so we headed back to the hotel.  Well, that was apparently the wrong move.  They were wired from their 45-minute nap.  We should have just gone back to the park.  They ran around the hotel room while Tim and I took showers and got stuff ready for the next day.  We gave them baths and then put them in the pack-n-plays.  Not wanting to make the same mistake as last night, we left one light on so they could see we were still there, but got into bed ourselves, too. 

We had to turn the light off after about 15 minutes of them throwing their toys out of the crib, giggling like maniacs, and asking us to pick them up again.  Better than the screaming from last night.  Even after the light was out they continued to play.  They finally laid down and fell asleep around 10pm.  This is when Tim said we should have just gone back to the park.  But oh well……..they probably would have been acting like that until midnight then. 

They slept all the way through until 7:30 without incident.  Better than the night before.  🙂  This is now.

I’m trying….

NOW:  Ok, things are a little hectic.  I want to post, I really do!  Ariel woke up this morning with a slight fever and she’s been clingy/whiny today so I have gotten nothing done.  And I kinda just want to relax now that it’s naptime.  I really want to re-read the last Harry Potter book before I go see the movie next weekend.  So, I’m gonna do that instead of post right now.  Sorry.  I will update on our trip soon.  I know you all want to know what happened!  I will try to finish organizing the pictures and get a post written tonight.  🙂  Here’s a pic of the twins in the hotel room the first night…..to keep you happy until then……

OH NO!

NOW:  I only have a couple minutes, so just a quick update.  The Wi-Fi at the hotel did NOT work in our room!  ARGH!  So I wasn’t able to blog.  Plus, the children were a little crazy about sleeping in a strange place so I didn’t have much “free” time anyway.  More soon………

Spoiler Alert:  WE HAD A GREAT TIME!!!!!