I AM SO EXCITED to blog about this trip! There is so much fun stuff to cover, it may take me two days to finish it all!
To start, I was so apprehensive about this trip, simply because Mason HATES the car. I thought we would be driving with him screaming the vast majority of the way. So, I was meticulous in finding fun things for the kids to do in the car. With a 6 month old, this is tough haha. So, here are a few things I came up with for my 2 year old:
DVDs (of course)
Several NEW books, especially books that tell a longer story
Disney sing a long music (again, of course)
"busy bags"- ziplock bags that contained various items: stickers with stickerbook, pen and pocket calendar (she loves to write in one for some reason), dry erase board and markers or crayons, mini play doh, mini dora characters, mini doll w bottle and change of clothes, and several different snacks. Bridgette is really into miniature things right now.
IPad movies (because he has to face backward for 6 more months)
a large calculator that lights up (a hit)
a night time wall light display (plays music and displays a scene on the wall) We had a TON of fun with this one--we made shadow puppets, made the scene tiny, then really big, etc.
picture board books
a maraca that he could slam against something and make lots of noise
teethers of course.
Tad the singing frog (never leave home without it for roadtrips)
All in all, pretty good planning on my part that equaled ONE (that's right) meltdown by Mason. I am pretty proud haha. Of course I was in charge of entertainment and Travis was in charge of getting us there safely--and he did a terrific job.
Moving on, we broke up the trip into two days each way, spending the night over half way. The first night Bridgette was unhappy in an unfamiliar place. She cried and said she wanted to go home, please. "Where are we? I am scared", etc. Kinda heartbreaking. We tried several different sleeping arrangements during the trip, all of which ended up being mistakes, hahahhaa. I have no idea what would have worked, short of packing several different beds/cribs, etc. Eventually she settled down, but it was a LONG night. We wearily began our second leg of the journey to Orlando.
Nina and Marshall (Trav's Mother and Step father) have a time share condo in Orlando (very nice) that they shared with us for the first two nights there. We stopped there, unloaded, picked them up, then headed straight to Epcot. Bridgette had not napped at this point and was pretty tired, but determined to stay up to see "Disney". She liked the Nemo ride and the 3 Cabelleros (sp?), but mostly just needed a good nap, so we strolled around the world (hehe) and she slept, as did Mason. This is a good time to point out that we took a double stroller (sit and stand that had two seats) and this was very nice, but terrible for napping. UGH. So we carried them a lot when they slept. A learning process.
Anyway, as she had a mini meltdown during dinner due to exhaustion, a German band began to play some polka music. And because I am an awesome polka dancer (right), I grabbed her and took her to the dance floor. The next 20 minutes were the funniest and most light hearted moments--she danced so hard, kept yelling "HEY" with her hands punching the air, and found some "big girls" (4 year olds) to dance near. This was super cute.
On our way out of Epcot (so we think)
we see the Character Spot with Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Donald, Daisy, and Goofy. 45 minute wait. I think NO WAY. Bridgette says PLEASE I want to see Minnie!! So, with Mason asleep in our arms, we wait in the line. The entire time I am thinking that she is going to hide behind my legs once we actually get to see the characters. Boy was I wrong! I will admit that seeing her sprint to Minnie Mouse with her arms wide open, huge smile on her face, then not wanting to leave her, but just staring adoringly at her, was one of the best moments of my whole life. I wanted to laugh and cry at the same time, because it was SO precious. She was so happy and so awe struck that she was actually seeing these characters! She kissed and hugged them ALL! And then asked me where “Pete” was! How funny- she wants to see the villain. It was worth every second of waiting!
On to day 2, Magic Kingdom
I always feel so exhilarated walking into the Magic Kingdom. Travis and I have always loved coming here together and we were especially excited for Bridgette to see Cinderella’s castle. She had been telling us for weeks that she was ready to go and see it! J We finally got there and rode all the rides in Fantasy Land. I think she probably liked Winnie the Pooh best. Then we had lunch at the Crystal Palace with the Pooh characters. I will say this was the biggest hit with the adults. Nina and Marshall and Malerie graciously accompanied us to help with the kids (and enjoy Disney!) and we all agreed that this food was fantastic! Bridgette was very happy to meet the characters, too! We really had a great time. Unfortunately towards the end of the day, rain came and we all got soaked. Then we had a hard time leaving the park, but all in all, a terrific time!!
From Orlando, we headed out to St. Pete to get ready for Malerie’s wedding. Bridgette LOVED the sun and sand. Mason, not so much. The wind was really upsetting him. Needless to say, I didn’t make much showing on the beach L. One of those things you don’t really hear much about is that when you have young kids, vacation isn’t quite as relaxing haha. I did have some MOH duties with Mal anyway, so I had a great time with that. It was really fun having the entire family down at the beach. We had tons of help with the kids. We really missed Granddaddy Reid, though, who was back home recovering from a stroke, and doing much better.
Here is where I am going to talk too much about the cute kids and funny things they did and said. J A precious girl, Allie McNabb, latched on to Bridgette first thing. Allie is about 7 years old and just loves kids. Bridgette felt like she was a “big girl” because Allie was playing with her. Seriously the happiest I have ever seen Bridgette. Keira Thatcher played with them too and all three were the cutest girls!! I told Bridgette that she would be a big girl like them someday and she replied with full sass “We ARE big girls together, Mommy!” Allie cared for Bridgette like a mini Mommy. How cute.
Then there were Robert’s nephews, Cooper and Anderson (ring bearers). Anderson was the older and would just sling his brother wherever he wanted him. Both seemed enamored by Bridgette she was with them! She and Cooper held hands a lot and even kissed!!! Bridgette was the flower girl and went down the aisle pretty well, but stopped halfway and dumped out her flowers…turned over the basket and just shook it. It was hysterical. Anderson tackled Cooper coming down the aisle, because he was starting to veer off. The ceremony was beautiful and very sentimental (as was the reception). The real fun began at the reception. Our Gommy (Margret Smith) turned 90 and they honored her. There was an “Oldest married couple contest” that my Sparks Grandparents won. There was so much fun. I overheard Anderson tell Bridgette, “Cooper has something he wants to ask you!” Then quickly followed up with, “He wants to know if you will dance with him.” How cute is that? She danced the night away, but would NOT dance with any grown ups. Ah- she is getting so sassy J. I had a blast at the reception, and being the great daddy he is, Travis took the kids to the room and let me stay awhile longer.
All in all, a fantastic trip! Lots of memories and laughs. So happy for Malerie and Robert!!! And now, SO GLAD TO BE HOME!