Our Kids' Blog

Brief Stay In Washington DC

September 23rd, 2013 by Mommy


Our trip took us through Washington DC on our way south and we took the opportunity to give our girls their first introduction to our nation’s capital. We only had one evening and one morning to explore, so we packed as much in as the sun would allow. For the evening portion of the visit we went to the Smithsonian’s American History Museum until close and then explored until sunset. This took us by the Washington Monument and White House. The next morning, we were walking around more monuments as the commuters made their way into the city. We saw the Jefferson Monument, World War II Monument, and Lincoln Monument. The rest of our visit was spent in the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum.


While everything around the mall seems close, it is farther than the girls could cheerfully walk so we rode around a bit stacked up. You would think they would be grumpy, but they were so glad to not be walking anymore. The sun shade was a bonus when it decided to rain and both girls could hide from it.


Emily decided to be quite a ham for the camera while we were in town. Lots of smiles from the big girl.


Emily assisted Robby in giving a presidential speech. When we picked the exhibits that we felt would be most interesting to the girls, high on the list was the First Ladies Exhibit. It was a hit! In fact the idea of the presidency was something the girls seemed to understand a lot better because of the visit. We walked past the White House, we visited several presidential monuments, we toured some exhibits, and talked a lot about the job.


When you don’t get your nap, stay up late, need a snack, and are tired of dealing with your family, it is hard to keep grinning for the camera. At least you get a cool view of the world.


daddywithgirls jeffersonmonument


Some “monumental” moments – the monuments were interesting to the girls. We would have liked to walk over to the Jefferson Memorial, but had to satisfy ourselves with a cross-lake view. The other monuments we visited sparked a lot of opportunity to discuss what they were and some historical perspectives.

cartoonsairplane     upsidedown

The Air and Space Museum is a bit overwhelming for a little person. There are things everywhere! Hanging from the ceiling, sitting in the walkways, and through doorways. We moved fast trying to introduce different experiences and ideas. Emily enjoyed the solar system exhibit because it was something her class studied in school last year, so she had some perspective. In the early air travel area they found a video with cartoons and didn’t want to move. But we weren’t there for cartoons, so we moved on. Julia seemed to enjoy most the things that allowed her to touch or interact.

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Summer Vacation 2013

September 5th, 2013 by Mommy

from the steps of lincoln

What did you do for your summer vacation? We really hope someone asks Emily this question when she starts school in the fall because she has a lot of cool things to pick from. We combined visiting two sets of family into one vacation and a few sightseeing things between them.

First we drove to Connecticut to visit cousins. We did lots of swimming and a few sight seeing adventures including the Statue of Liberty. After leaving Connecticut we spent an evening and morning in Washington D.C. taking in a two museums and several monuments. Then, we caught a train in northern Virginia and travelled to Florida, sleeping one night on the train. The next part of our vacation took us to the kids’ Grandparent’s house in Miami and a visit with more cousins. We made one trip into the Everglades between rain showers. The last stop of the trip took us to Orlando to play and swim a bit more.

In total we traveled for two and a half weeks and saw 14 states and cousins. Julia traveled through two states for the first time. The best thing we collected in our travels were great memories of time that we spent together.

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Happy Easter!

April 29th, 2013 by Mommy


We celebrated with a morning at church followed by a family time at Grammy and Granddaddy’s house. After lunch and Easter egg hunting we spent the evening watching NCAA basketball games. That would not be the normal tradition for Easter Sunday, but when you team is playing you fit it in too.


Grammy and the grand-girls


Granddaddy with the girls too!


It was a wet day outside so the egg hunt had to happen inside. It is a new experience to look for eggs hidden among pillows and toys, but they enjoyed it a lot. Since Easter, Julia has made her chocolate stash a place she likes to visit before Mama gets up in the morning. After three mornings of not eating her breakfast Mama finally figured out Julia’s morning routine. Julia seems to have inherited Mama’s sweet tooth.

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Happy Birthday Daddy!

April 23rd, 2013 by Mommy


Birthdays are a great thing to celebrate! We celebrated Daddy’s birthday with morning gifts, afternoon not-so-surprise at Daddy’s work with snacks, evening Mexican food, and soapillias for dessert. There were cupcakes because Julia couldn’t handle the though of a birthday without cupcakes. Daddy enjoyed his day! We will do it again in a year.

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January Birthday Weekend Getaway

February 26th, 2013 by Mommy


We went to Gatlinburg to celebrate Emily’s birthday. Some of Emily’s favorite things include staying in hotels and swimming, and we were able to make both of these happen. The weather was amazing for January and we enjoyed being outside despite a few rain showers that moved through. In addition to swimming, we played putt-putt, visited the aquarium, rode the trolley, walked the strip, shopped, discovered our way through a mirror maze, and rode the skylift. Emily loved discovering that the hotel had hot chocolate and cookies every night. The trip was fun and it was a delight to share the time with Emily and Julia.


Our little swimmers before they made their big leap in. The water was a bit cold so once we got out we didn’t want to get back in.


Daddy was a great sport and swam with the girls until Julia’s lips turned blue.


During the break in the rain shower we got a game of putt-putt in. The girls wanted us to take turns in the order we played. We only got one ball stuck and didn’t lose any of them. We consider this progress with our young golfers. The rules were treated as suggestions and more than once the hole was bracketed with feet to give a sense of success.


Despite our rule bending both girls successfully made hole-in-ones all on their own. This is Julia celebrating her successful hole-in-one. Quite proud! She hit the ball without looking and was holding the putter backwards, but gravity and some good luck was in her favor on the hole. Emily was not to be out done and made a hole-in-one on a later hole.


The six-year-old has some game and some attitude. Funny!


This was how we traveled this weekend. When Julia got tired of walking we gave her a push. Not a bad plan because one afternoon she gave out and slept for over an hour while Emily kept exploring.


Emily’s first visit to the aquarium had a similar photo to this one, but the fish was bigger than she was. She has now grown longer than the fish!


Dude!! We found Crush!


Mama and her birthday girl!


The girls love the fish bowl and Emily still fits in there. I think the only reason they looked at the camera was that the fish swam away.


While Julia napped Robby took Emily up to the top of the mountain on the skylift. Emily was so brave and the heights didn’t faze her in the least.


Checking out! Emily took charge of all of her and Julia’s clothes and special things. Mama loves the efficiency of giving the stuffed animals a ride on the backpack with a view.


What is a birthday without celebrating it with ice cream for dinner? We did offer other food later, but up to this point it was dinner. Yum! We had enough fun we might do this every year.

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Disney World

January 23rd, 2013 by Mommy


Last October we took a family vacation to the Disney World. We had a great time and it was a magical time. The magic really comes from the excitement of two little girls and their parents. A week of playing and seeing new things together was great. The girls are ready to go back immediately!


How we found our room when we got back one evening.

We stayed in the park at the All Star Movie Resort. It worked well for our needs. The section we were staying in was based on 101 Dalmatians and it created a lot of discussion, mostly from Julia. She called it the puppy hotel. She also gets the name of the movie incorrect and calls it “one Dalmatian puppies”.


If you ask the girls what their favorite rides were they are likely to say one of these: Dumbo, Buzz Lightyear Spin, and the classic It’s a Small World (which Julia called the boat ride). If you ask their parents they would tell you that Julia’s favorite ride was “It’s a Small World” and Emily’s favorite “ride” was finding princesses and getting her autograph book signed. The parent’s favorite ride was Midway Mania at Hollywood Studios. While we waited in line for rides and to see characters Emily would draw in her autograph book. On one page she drew each of the princesses she met at the park.



We spent one day each at Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studio. The rest of the time we visited at the Magic Kingdom. Grandma and Grandpa joined us for three days of the visit. It was a great to share the sights with them. Some of the days we visited we pushed Julia’s nap back, some days she took a nap in the stroller as we visited, and some days we bailed and took a nap at the hotel. One day Emily was pretty sick and crashed after lunch. For that evening Robby and Julia returned to Magic Kingdom and enjoyed the park on their own. Being flexible seemed to work well for us.


The longer we stayed at the park the more of the overwhelming feeling seemed to leave the girls. The first day they were just not sure of what to make of it all.  Mama loved how excited the girls got every time they saw Cinderella’s castle as we approached the park, the serious conversations that Emily had with the different characters, the fun names Julia gave things, and the low stress family time we enjoyed.


Julia kept a shyness of the characters through the whole trip. Many of the character meetings required encouragement for her to pose for her photo and meet them. Some she wouldn’t approach at all, some she was brave if Daddy was there, and a few she was so excited to meet that she put her shyness aside and blossomed with complete joy. The most tender greeting were with Rapunzel, Aurora, Minnie Mouse, Daisy, Merida, Tinkerbell and Pluto. Emily was herself with the characters. This meant that she would approach them and give them hugs and made conversation with them. She never was done talking with them. It was like catching up with long lost friends. Overall we saw 25 characters between all of the parks.

Park Highlights:

Magic Kingdom –


  • Julia’s 4th birthday celebration was at Cinderella’s Castle, we were seated for the last seating for the day so we were not rushed out. It was a great end to an amazing birthday day at the park.


  • Julia sang “It’s a Small World” while we rode the ride countless times.
  • Emily had her first 3D experience and loved it. Robby had to catch her before she grabbed the woman in front of her while she was trying to grab the floating gems.
  • Julia called the Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin ride the “shoot bad guys” ride. Mama can see that the name Disney gave the ride might not be real easy for a little kid. She loved this ride, probably because it was so interactive.

Epcot –


  • We met Pluto which was the character that Julia kept asking to see. It was worth the wait for the hug and excitement she had.


  • We briefly toured each of the countries to give the overall experience. Julia fell asleep and was carried for several of the countries.
  • Mama got to meet her favorite character at Great Britain, Mary Poppins.
  • Emily met Pooh and Tigger also at Great Britain. She hadn’t talked much about this meeting and it was not clear that she was excited while we stood in line, but it was the most joy she had at any of the greeting opportunities. She just kept giving each of them such sincere hugs.


  • We kept running into Grandma and Grandpa as we travel the world tour. We traveled the same direction, but went at our own paces.

Animal Kingdom –


  • Julia had been shy about meeting the characters at this park, but when she saw Baloo from a distance she was curious and wanted to meet him. She is not familiar with the story, but stood in line and went right up to see that big bear. She wouldn’t approach King Louie though.


  • Last day with Grandma and Grandpa. Great to see them, but made for a sad day with the girls knowing that we were saying good bye.

Hollywood Studio –


  • The girls loved the Honey I Shrunk the Kids Playground! We let them play there for a LONG time, but they were never going to be ready to leave.


  • The girls had disposable cameras on this day to document their day from their eyes. They enjoyed the activity, but didn’t understand why they couldn’t see the photos right away. I guess digital cameras would be better next time.
  • Mama and Daddy rode the only “adult” ride of the whole trip. We took turns riding the Star Wars ride.


  • If the line hadn’t been so long we could have rode the Midway Mania over and over again. A funny story from this ride was that Emily asked Robby why she had to wear her 3D glasses, because it was not 3D. She thought that things were only 3D when they came toward you, but shooting balls away from the car did not seem to count.


We are looking forward to our next opportunity to return to Disney. It will not be our next vacation, but it will be hard to drive past the park on the way to visit the Grandparents without wanting to stop over for a short visit.


It is almost like Goofy is wishing everyone Welcome or See You Later all a the same time!

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