Friday, May 28, 2010

What we've been up to

We've done a lot of hanging out these last couple of weeks. Chris was in South Carolina all last week for work and I was so glad to get him back Friday night! I have so much sympathy for the single parents out there who do it day in and day out; I had a hard enough time doing it for five days. Plus, I'm kind of a scaredy-cat when it comes to being here by myself with the kids at night. It probably doesn't help that there have been several break-ins and attempted break-ins in our neighborhood in the last few weeks (two just this week!). At the first sound of anything, I am wide awake and sitting up in bed, deciding what escape route to take. haha! Anyways, I was so glad to have him home and so thankful to Mark and Cheryl for coming up on Friday to take care of the kids while I went to work.
We kept ourselves busy through the week with a couple playdates and lots of fun outside. The sand and water table is a huge hit- even without the sand! These pictures are from before Ella realized she could dump dirt from my flowerpots into the water and make mud. Cade was covered from head to toe in it!

This week was JAM Days at our church. JAM stands for Jesus and Me, and the program was just for preschoolers. Ella made lots of new friends, learned some new songs, and couldn't stop talking about "Jonah and the big fish" and all the fun she was having. I was helping out in the nursery and didn't get to watch anything until the closing program yesterday. I wish so much that I had grabbed my camera as we ran out the door. She stood right up there in the very front row and just sang her heart out. It was so precious!! She knew every word and motion to every song, and every few minutes would look over at me, smile, wave, and say, "Hiiii, Moooommmm!!" then go right back to jumping and singing. She said her memory verse perfectly. I couldn't help but get tears in my eyes, it was so sweet. She has come so far! A year ago, no way would my shy, little girl have stood up there in front of such a big crowd and do what she did yesterday. I am so proud of her!!

Ella loves to write words that are important to her and the names of all her family members. This is her favorite "list" to write at the moment:
She will draw this and say, "See? Ella and Cade are the kids. Mom and Dad are the mom and dad, and we're a family." =)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Vacation: the last of 'em

Too many additional cute ones not to share! We had dinner one night at Ponce Inlet Harbour, where the ocean meets the St. John's river. It was beautiful!
During dinner, several dolphins swam up really close to the deck of the restaurant. It was absolutely incredible! Of course, my camera was never fast enough to get a picture, but the sunset is gorgeous anyways.
The day we left the beach, we went to eat at Vince Carter's new restaurant for a late lunch (per Jared's request).
And what do you know? Vince Carter just so happened to walk in about ten minutes after we sat down! We were pretty much the only table in the whole place. Jared was in heaven!!
We spent the day Friday around the pool. Our resort in Orlando was fabulous and had all these fun, little fountains for the kids.
My little pool boy =)
While we were swimming, we looked over and watched the Atlantis shuttle launching from 48 miles away. Pretty amazing stuff!
Cade taking a break with Pappaw. Look at him waving- what a sweetie!
Dinner at Benihana's. Chopsticks, anyone?
It was such a fun night. Ella and Cade both loved the food and Cade said, "Woooowwww!" the entire time the chef was cooking. We were all cracking up. They even brought Ella and Dad ice cream and sang Happy Birthday in Japanese.
Pluto in hand and ready to fly the open skies...
Already an old pro at flying. All she needs are her sweet-tarts and an iPod and she's good to go! =)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Vacation: Disney World!

Magic Kingdom- here we come!! On the ferryboat, waiting for the castle to come into view. We were all so excited!! The birthday girl getting a birthday button
No way was Cade going to be seen in Mickey ears! haha!
Getting our first glimpse of all the magic. We spotted Daisy Duck, Pluto, and Pinocchio right away!
On the train riding to Mickey's Toontown Fair. Ella was insistent that we meet Mickey first thing, and, hey, it was her special day, so she got to call all the shots. =)
Meeting her best pal, Mickey. What a special moment for Ella! Cade kept flirting with Minnie Mouse. It was super cute! =)
One happy, little girl here! Riding Cinderella's Golden Carousel with Pappaw
Wearing our 3-D glasses before Mickey's Philharmagic
Goofy's Street Party The day was just starting, but poor Cade was already ready for a nap!
Family pic
Dad, Jared, and Katie on "it's a small world"
Ella loved this blue hippo!
Cinderella's Royal Castle during the day
Walking around the castle with Pappaw
The 3 o'clock parade! We had front-row seats and Ella couldn't get enough of Mickey and Minnie! Cade was in awe, too!
Beauty and the Beast
We met lots of characters after lunch. Ella was napping in the stroller by this point, but they signed her autograph book for us anyways! Cade didn't mind getting all the attention. He started squealing and pointing when he spotted Pooh and Tigger.
Honking Pluto's nose
With Chip 'n Dale (or Chicken Dale, as Ella calls them =) Once Ella was refreshed, we headed to AdventureLand! First up, the Magic Carpets of Aladdin! Waiting in line for Pirates of the Caribbean. It was such a neat ride, but we weren't allowed to take any pictures. Ella didn't like it, because it was "dark and too scary", but it was one of our favorite rides.
Walking through the Swiss Family Treehouse
Spinning in a teacup at the Mad Tea Party
In front of the fireplace at Minnie's Country House
The perfect nightcap to the perfect day- ice cream!
The Royal Castle lit up in Ella's favorite color
Watching the light parade on Daddy's shoulders
Cinderella's carriage in lights
Watching the fireworks with Gram and Pap. What a fun place to celebrate birthdays of all ages- Ella's 4th and Dad's 60th!
We were there pretty much from open to close and managed to take in 15 different rides and attractions, watch 3 parades, and meet 7 characters. I thought that was pretty good, considering the crazy amount of people that were there. We were told before and during our trip that May is the best time to visit, because it is the slowest month of the year. If that is truly the case, I would hate to be there during the busy months! Granted, we didn't wait more than 35 minutes for any one thing, but there were times we were pushing our stroller and literally walking shoulder to shoulder with other people.
Anyways, we had mapped out the park before we arrived and managed to take in all but three rides that we wanted. There were all these adorable, little princesses walking around that had been pampered in the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, but Ella was absolutely uninterested. I tried to talk her into at least a little glitter in her hair, but she would have none of it- "No, I'm fine. I just want to ride rides!" And as much as she loves all the Disney princesses and was looking forward to meeting them, when we headed back to check on the wait for the second time and found it was still 60 minutes, she declared, "It doesn't even matter!" Instead we headed to the Barnstormer roller coaster and ended up getting to ride it three times! She decided that and the teacups were her favorites of the day.
It was so fun to watch Ella enjoy the day. She's at the absolute perfect age to get wrapped up in all the magic and excitement of Disney World. Cade rode a few things, but was more entertained with all the parades and music and lights. It was so nice to have my parents along. I know they treasured getting to experience this with the kids, plus they were such a huge help. I'm not sure the two of us could have coordinated lines and rides and meals and naps all by ourselves, at least not without losing our minds! Jared and Katie were so great, too. I mean, how many college kids would want to follow us around and ride kiddie rides all day? We kept telling them to go off and do their own thing, but they stuck by our sides all day and were as excited to watch Ella and Cade as we were. We were lucky to have them with us. What a special, special time to share as a family. We are already excited about going back in a few years, maybe when Cade is Ella's age. I already can't wait!!