Countdown to Walt Disney World 2015…by taking a look at 2012…WDW Day #1

Saturday July 14, 2014

We flew out bright and early and landed in Orlando @ 9:50am.

001 Jack and Daddy on plane

DS(9) & DH

002 Grace and Mama on plane

DD(15) & Me!

As soon as we landed, we were immediately immersed in the “Disney Magic”.

004 Daddy and Mama with the Mouse

We quickly found our way to the Magical Express area and got ready to board the bus to Caribbean Beach Resort!


Ready for the Magical Express!

On our way!

On our way!

Our home for the week!

013 our home for the week

In the lobby getting checked in.

015a lobby

After we got all checked in, they gave the kids some fun items.  I love that they aren’t too old or too cool!  They were such good sports all week, I mean, after all, they were just as excited as I was to be there!  We were all given buttons that said “First Visit”.  So every time we wore them, all week, people said, “Welcome Home!” to us!  It was fun!

016 1st visit pin

017 Pirate and Princess

Since DH’s birthday is at the end of July, they also gave him a “Happy Birthday” button.  We loved that…we got lots of free desserts and some extra attention all week.  He was embarrassed to wear it didn’t love it so much.  So we may, or may not have, taken turns wearing it for him throughout the week!

We got to our room.

018 our room

075 our window

Decorated Window

019 our room

020 our room

021 pirate ship beds

022 our room

023 our room

024 our room

025 our room

026 our room

027 our room

028 our room

030 our room

We loved the room!  It was a great fit, nice and clean, and we seriously were only in it to sleep…

Then we headed to the Animal Kingdom Park for lunch at Tusker House for our ADR.

036 AK entrance

037 Tree of Life

Tree of Life

041 AK lunch

Our first Character meeting!  Donald was so friendly!  I even got a kiss!

045 with Donald

047 Mama with DonaldWe were so hungry and that food was so good that I only took one picture of our food…

060 yummy foodBut everything was yummy.

We all loved the characters.

054b Grace with Mickey

058 Jack with Daisy

059a boys with Mickey

062 kids with Goofy

063b Grace with Daisy

And DH even got his first birthday surprise!

066 birthday cupcake

DH’s first Birthday surprise! Free cupcake!

Then we headed out to explore a bit.  This was the only day we went to Animal Kingdom so we made sure we did the things we knew we HAD to do…

068 Kilimanjaro Safari

100 Nemo

We went to the Finding Nemo stage show…it was amazing! I mean, I was expecting it to be good…but it was far better than good!

101 Jack with Aladar

Of course we had to ride Dinosaur!

105 Kids with Mickey Mouse Ice Cream bars

Our first Mickey Ice Cream bars!

Overall, for our first day, it was a great day.  We didn’t stress out about killing ourselves doing absolutely everything we could.  We knew the basic things and just had a good day.  We ended up getting back to our resort early enough to walk to the Old Port Royale Centertown, the building with the food court, shop and main pool to check things out.  It was a nice leisurely walk along the beach.  DD was excited to see the “real” ducks…

108 graces ducks

All in all, it was a great first day.  We got to bed fairly early so we could start Day #2 bright and early!

Countdown to Walt Disney World 2015…by taking a look at 2012…prep at home

Yes, it’s finally here.  A Disney post!  We went to Walt Disney World in July of 2012…I’m ashamed that it’s been three years and I never posted about that trip.

I have no good excuses, so I’m not even gonna try.  But since I didn’t blog about that trip at the time, I thought a fun way to get myself and the fam ready and excited for this trip coming up, I would post about that trip.  Maybe even share some things along the way that I’ve learned from that trip and will be doing differently this trip.  Who knows!?!

When we got home from that trip, we had to recover from an awesome week and then suddenly we were buying a house and needing to get the other one ready to sell.  Time just slipped by.

So…here we go…

We decided way back in February of 2012 that we would go that summer.  We booked our trip with a local travel agent, who is also a long-time friend from youth group and school.  And I began the researching.  I cannot even begin to tell you how many hours I spent online reading through other people’s blogs of their own trips and what they did and didn’t do, what worked for them, where to stay, where to eat while there, what to do in each park…I’m sure it was HUNDREDS of hours.

I wanted to make sure that trip was as magical for my hubby and kids as it was for me when I went some 26 years ago with my parents and siblings.  I did quite a bit of prep at home before going.

One of the things I did in preparation was make matching t-shirts for us to wear.  Yes, we were THAT family.  I figured this is really going to be a once-in-a-lifetime trip for our family, while the little kids are still home.  Plus, lots of people recommended it just for the sheer ease of quickly spotting each other in the busy-ness of Walt Disney World.  So, I scoured the internet for ideas.  I came up with 2 different shirts to make.  The others we either already had, or I bought them.

Here is one I saw…


I liked the general look of this, and liked the simplicity of it and felt like I could do a version of it myself.  I have a Cricut machine and a friend who loaned me her Mickey And Friends cartridge.  Then I designed the bow myself to get something that I liked a little better.

Here is my version…

Mine and Lovely Daughter’s have a bow and flower pin, while the Hubby and Little Man’s are just the Mickey head.


I bought the red t-shirts, black material, red polka dot material, heat-n-bond and white thread at JoAnn.  Then I just used the Cricut to cut the Mickey heads and and bow and ironed them on and used the zigzag stitch on my old faithful sewing machine (well, it was faithful in 2012…not so much now.  I had to replace it with this beauty!)  I made two little flower pins to add my mine and lovely daughter’s bows.  Those can be removed for washing!  I felt so clever creative!


Since that one seemed easy, I also decided to do a gray shirt for all of us.  I bought a black and gray marble-y looking pattern material for the boy shirts and a gray and pink material for the girl shirts.


I also made autograph books for both kids.










I made each page a little different.  And I “decorated” a Sharpie and attached it with ribbon so we weren’t constantly searching in the bottom of the backpack for the pen.

I also had both kids decorate M&M’s mini’s bottles.  We then filled each of them with 2 quarters, 1 shiny penny, 2 quarter, 1 shiny penny, etc., so they could do the pressed pennies.  After we got the WDW they each purchased a pressed penny folder.  They are taking them back with them this trip to do more…so I had to got to eat some mini M&M’s so they could have the containers.  😉

I think that’s about all for now.  Stay tuned for Disney day 1 coming soon!



A Chapter Ends…

The lovely daughter will graduate from high school in a mere 10 days.  I feel like that is the biggest, most important (and certainly the busiest) thing happening in our lives right now.  We’ve gone through pictures, memorabilia, etc. to get things ready for the open house that will happen that weekend.  So many memories.  So many moments.  It’s been a wonderful 18+ years having her as my daughter.  She’s really just a lovely young lady.

We had some senior pictures taken of her in the fall, and some more just a couple weeks ago for some spring pics. Our niece is a photographer in Indianapolis and she is truly gifted.  And I’m not just saying that because I’m her Aunt.  She has a gift.

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We ordered the cap and gown back in the fall also and I thought, wow, it still seems so far away, why order it now?  Well… aaaaaaand here we are just 10 short days away!

In April, she went on her senior trip to Washington D.C. and New York City.

grace and white housetimes square

She’s an introvert, so by the end of the trip, even though she thoroughly enjoyed the trip and had fun with her longest-time friends, she was “peopled out” and ready to just be at home.

She went to her Senior Prom and had a great time with that “nice boy” (as we like to call him).


My birthday just also happened to be prom weekend so she and I had made appointments for massages, pedicures and to “git her hairs did”.  We spent a much needed day together.  It was nice to spend time one-on-one with her to celebrate being girls and my birthday.  There have been many many things going on lately in our lives.  I want her last few months at home to be about happy, healthy, good memories.  I don’t want her to look back on these months with regret or sadness or feeling cheated by being focused on negative things.

She’s handing the reins of FCS (Fellowship of Christian Students) off to an underclassman.  She kind of co-led it her junior year with that nice boy, then she led it this year.  It’s been a struggle getting students to attend, but there are a faithful few.  She loves Jesus and isn’t afraid of letting people know.

She felt a call to ministry at a young age.  Over the years, it’s been talked about, prayed about…she doesn’t know exactly what that looks like for her, but she will be attending Indiana Wesleyan University in the fall to study Christian Ministries and see how the Lord directs her.

We named her “Grace” after the gift of grace that God bestowed upon all of us when He sent His Son Jesus to the cross for our sins.  So we have a constant, daily reminder of that grace.  She also just so happens to be graceful.  She’s kind, smart, nice, friendly…She is Grace.

She is loved.