Our Kids' Blog

Last stop – Orlando

October 4th, 2013 by Mommy


No summer trip to Florida can be complete without a stop in Orlando to play. We spent a little less time this year because of the kids being sick. The sickness gave us only one pool day with all the kids so they made the most of it. On one of the play days we went to Downtown Disney to explore a little. All the kids had a blast checking out the Lego store and riding the train along with the carousel. After lunch we went back to play at the house. They had the most fun just being silly with each other and playing! Good memories!

boys emnatinpoolcarhulk trainlegoplayhouseplay swimminggirlpoohthreeonaraft unsuretent

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A Day At The Everglades

October 3rd, 2013 by Mommy


We wanted to see the Everglades during the summer when it is the rainy season, so we took the shuttle ride in Shark Valley. Because of the extra water in the Everglades the alligators were more spread out and were not easy to see, although we saw a young one by the road and one large one by the observation tower. The biggest difference from our previous visit was that it rained while we were on our tour. The large open spaces allowed us to see several rain clouds around us while we were riding which gave the day its own unusual beauty.


It was a bit breezy for the ride. Sitting with the grandparents made it lots of fun. Grandma shared her camera with the girls to take some photos. Who knows what photographic masterpieces she ended up with.


At the half way point of the tram ride there is an observation tower that we climbed to take a good look at the scenery. Emily decided to have a one-girl race to the top. She won.


The girls took a minute and stopped moving to check out the view.


This is the alligator who greeted us at the observation tower stop. He had found his lunch of a turtle. We watched him for a few minutes from a safe distance and then went to look at other views. After we got to the other side of the road the alligator threw the turtle into the air and grabbed it back as it fell. It is almost like he was showing off for the visitors. We were glad the girls missed the excitement.


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Destination Grandparents! (and cousins)

October 1st, 2013 by Mommy

The next stop on our trip was to visit with our Grandparents in Miami. it has fun people to play, places to visit, and a pool to swim in. The weather was unusual for our visit. There was a lot of cool weather and rain. It changed our activities during our visit, but we still had a lot of fun. It was pretty special to have cuddle time with little baby Daniel.


Uncle Robby with the newest nephew, Daniel!


Emily got a chance to hold the little guy too.


Lizzy is always fun to play with too. Here she is with her favorite toy, Baa.


Julia loved playing with the basketball and goal, Julia made up a crazy card game, lots of opportunities to swim, great play times with Lizzy, and being with Grandma and Grandpa was just icing on the top.


What a sweet little boy!


And he woke up so we could see his eyes.


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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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Last Trip Stop

August 9th, 2012 by Mommy


We stopped on the way home and celebrated a weekend at Jolie’s house. Grandma rode up with us and got to visit a bit longer. Mikayla was sweet to share her room with us. All the girls wanted to do was to play with Natalie and Dylan and swim in the pool. They got to do all of these things a lot. On Saturday Uncle Ken and Aunt Cindy came over for the evening and it was great to visit.


It is great when peer pressure pushes the right way. We had used this visit as motivation for the girls’ swimming class and now swimming with Natalie and Dylan wasn’t just a reward, but more inspiration. Emily enjoyed being able to jump into the pool at any point with Natalie. Julie refused to be left out of the fun and continued to build her confidence at swimming so she could jump in the deep part too. Dylan, being the lovable rambunctious boy he is, was a bit rougher in the pool and would push off of other people. The girls never seemed to mind his pushing and it seemed to make them better swimmers too. One of Mama’s favorite thing from the pool was watching Dylan and Julia swim underwater and be nose-to-nose looking at each other. Just a cute side note – Julia took to calling Nichole, Coaly. It is just her own special name.


Emily, Natalie, and Dylan – pool buddies. It has been so much fun to watch Dylan over the years become more interested in playing with the girls. It is a little tough being the only boy in the gaggle of girls, but he is doing great with them!


Uncle Ken started a game of throwing the little kids into the pool, for which they all lined up to take turns. The game evolved into Jennifer and Brett swinging the kids into the pool in turn. They loved that game too.


This is Julia’s favorite pool game . . . jumping in, getting out, and doing it all over again!


Dylan and Emily bonding over a little tablet movie watching. He was pleased to show Emily a Dragon movie (one of his favorite topics). They sat together enjoying it for quite a while.


Remarkably, Julia has decided that she likes dogs now. It was like some switch was changed and instead of worrying about if Max was in his cage, she was now wanting to know where he was. She liked to go and speak to him in his cage. She even would seek Max out to pet him. She has asked for a dog and has requested two boy dogs. She is quite insistent on the matter too. We will see, but Mama is pretty sure that when a dog comes into our family there will only be one.

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Beach Girls

August 8th, 2012 by Mommy

Beautiful Beach, Beautiful Girls!




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