Family in Fifty: Mississippi

When our family took the unplanned path toward adopting Collins this year, we knew a big summer vacation wasn’t in the budget.  But we didn’t want to abandon our #familyinfifty goal of visiting all fifty states as a family.  When our dear friends moved to New Orleans last fall we knew we wanted to visit.  It was drivable, we were missing our friends, and they were kind enough to offer to host us in their home.  It was the perfect way to check Mississippi and Louisana off our list.  We looked at the calendar and found a long weekend, Thursday through Monday, that I wasn’t scheduled to work, and made our plans to head south.

Three kids-check!

Coffee-check!

DVD playing in back-check!

At Home in the World on audio up front-check!

We were ready to go!

Rather than taking the interstate all the way we chose the scenic view of the Natchez Trace Parkway.  Beautiful views and no traffic!

Goodbye Tennessee…Hello Alabama!

Then on to Mississippi!

One of our Family in Fifty rules is that we actually do an activity in each state, not just drive through.  We have been to Tennessee and Alabama already so we just trucked on through.  But Mississippi was new for us.  Our first stop…Tishomingo State Park.

After a long day in the car we were ready for a hike.  Notice sister in the background was too impatient to stop for the photo.

This old suspension bridge was beautiful, but there was a definite lack of safety measures.  I was convinced one of the kids was going to fall off.

Creek bed rocks are always a hit.

A family that explores together, stays together.

Three little monkeys, sitting in a tree.

She loves to explore.

And she also loves bugs.

We made it back to the trail head.

Back on the bridge.

Successful hike with three kids in tow.  We were happy campers.

We spent the night in Tupelo, Mississippi.  Tupelo is the birthplace of Elvis, and they like to remind you of that everywhere.

With all of the car lovers in this family, a visit to the Tupelo Automobile Museum felt like the perfect outing.  We were told it is the private collection of a car enthusiast whose goal is to have 10 cars from each decade.  The cars are displayed in chronological order which is fun to see how they evolved.  The brilliant staff at the museum gave us this little car to push Quinn around in.  What a smart idea to corral the littles and to to keep hands off of the cars.

The oldest car was from 1886.  My favorite part was the old signs decorating the walls.

After the museum we strolled down the main street of downtown Tupelo.  We stopped for lunch at Kermit’s Outlaw Kitchen.  It is a delicious farm to table restaurant that did not disappoint.  If you find yourself in Tupelo we highly recommend checking it out.

Look at all of those gorgeous fresh ingredients.

After lunch we strolled down the street and popped in to a few cute little shops.

Then it was time to jump back into the car and make the final leg of our journey to our friends in New Orleans.  Louisiana, here we come!

Linking up our favorite way to spend our weekends-TRAVELING-with Erika and Shay for Working It Wednesday: Weekends.

Magnolia Market

We’re back today for Friday Favorites with part three of our spring break trip to San Antonio and one of my FAVORITE adventures from our vacation.  Our trip to the silos and Magnolia Market!

Day Five

Like a lot of the gals I know I’m a huge HGTV and Fixer Upper fan.  So after a great week exploring all of the family friendly activities in San Antonio, we had a day for mama and loaded up the rental van for a road trip to Waco, TX.

The kids were pleasantly surprised to arrive and find the lawn full of balls, frisbees and other fun activities for some outdoor play time.

A very serious game of corn hole ensued.

And then sister took off with the bean bags.

Somehow it turned into a game of chase.

After spending some time playing on the lawn we decided to check out the food trucks for some lunch.  The lines were pretty long, but the food smelled so good.

We landed on some yummy bar-b-que.

While Shane stood in line for food, there was a rare moment of sibling cooperation with some adorable swinging.

Look mom!  We’re sharing!

There are a ton of picnic tables around, but it was very busy due to the lunch time crowd.  So we decided to have a little picnic on the lawn. (I think it is worth noting that Anderson is drinking a rootbeer 😉 )

They have these fun chairs sprinkled around.  Somehow little miss snagged the chair.

With lunch finished we took a few pics in front of the famous silos.  I would love to know the number of photos taken at this place each day.

Finally it was time to head inside and do a little shopping.  I love all the men in the background sitting on benches while the women are inside shopping.

Look!  My name on a place card.  It’s like JoJo knew I was coming in today.

This was my favorite corner of he store.  I love the tile, the scale, everything about this little space.

Since we were flying home and I’m currently saving up for adoption expenses, we just left with a couple of small items.  If you purchase anything large, there is a FedEx shipping desk right in the store.  Aren’t the shopping bags fun?

While I was shopping Little Man was outside relaxing.

And Quinn was swinging.

Next we wandered over to Magnolia Seed and Supply.

They had a tub full of baby chicks for sale that belonged to the Gaines’ daughters.

A nice lady that had just purchased some chicks let us hold them.  I thought I might be buying her a new one when Quinn suddenly launched her chick across the yard.  Thankfully, baby chick seemed to be ok and the kind lady didn’t seem to mind my less than gentle three year old.

After lunch time, the crowd really thinned out and there were much less people around.

Can you believe that before this trip Mimi had never heard of Fixer Upper or Chip and Joanna????  Apparently I have failed as a daughter.  So in preparation, she read The Magnolia Story (which I happened to have on my kindle app) and we watched two episodes of Fixer Upper on my iPad in the hotel before we headed to Waco at the end of the week.  She is now a Fixer Upper convert 🙂

DudDud wasn’t feeling well, so he stayed back for the day.  I have a feeling he wouldn’t have been as impressed by my day of fandom anyway.  Ha!  But we made sure to remember him on our next stop…The Silos Baking Co.

Yes, that is the line around the building to get in.  While the crowds were significantly smaller in the late afternoon, apparently everyone was ready for an afternoon sugar high.

Thankfully the line moved fairly quickly and soon it was our time to head inside.

Someone skipped nap (again) and was just ready for a cupcake.

While you wait in line you are given a menu card so you can make your selection, then when it is your turn you just hand your card to the cashier and they box up your order.

We took our cupcakes and headed out to a picnic table to enjoy our treat.  Notice that Owen has eaten almost his entire cupcake before I even took my first bite.  The carrot cake cupcake was delicious!

One final photo before loading back up into the van.  I was shocked that we ended up spending over five hours at the silos.  We had plans to visit some other shops and sites in town from Fixer Upper, but we really needed to be heading back to DudDud and San Antonio.

As we pulled out of the parking lot we turned in the opposite direction of how we had come in.  When I asked Shane where we were going he said he had looked up the address for Magnolia House and that it really wasn’t much out of our way to swing by.  And that, my friends, is why I love this man.

The sun was extremely bright and in a terrible location for photos, but the Magnolia House was so adorable.  There were guests staying inside that we could see through the windows.  Can you imagine hanging around on vacation and see random people pop out of their car to take photos of your house?

Another nice couple was also Magnolia stalking and offered to take our photo.

And that concluded my Fixer Upper fan day.  JoJo, call me!

If you are thinking of making a visit to the silos, here are a few things we learned:

  • Go early in the morning or late afternoon.  Around lunch time was the busiest.  (Although it was kind of fun to see a crowd and everyone was incredibly friendly.)
  • Don’t forget the sunscreen!  We spent several hours just simply hanging out on the lawn people watching and playing.  I was glad I had a small tube of sunscreen tucked away in my purse because I did not think about it ahead of time.
  • If you want to purchase a large item, you can ship it!  Or you can just order it online when you get home 🙂  It’s more about the experience than the actual merchandise in my opinion.
  • Don’t let the bakery line intimidate you.  Yes, the line was long but it moved quickly and the cupcakes were delish.
  • The town of Waco itself is not exactly picturesque.  It was strange to see these beautifully re-done buildings in a neighborhood that is not necessarily in the best shape.  I love that a couple like Chip and Joanna are trying to infuse some love into their home town.

Day Six

Our bags were packed, the rental van returned, and we made it to the airport for our flights home.

Here I need to say an enormous thank you to my mom and dad.  They are so very generous and treated us to this amazing trip.  We are so very thankful for them and that we get to experience such fun adventures with them.  Thank you Mimi and DudDud!!

That’s it for our spring break in Texas.  If you are looking for a family friendly vacation destination other than the beach, I would highly recommend it.

As usual I’m linking up with Erika, Narci, and Andrea for Friday Favorites.

P.S. If you are interested in supporting our adoption and helping us bring Peanut home, feel free to do your Amazon shopping through our blog affiliate link. It costs you no additional charge and we will earn a small portion of your purchase in commission. All earnings will go into our adoption fund to bring Peanut home. Thank you for supporting our family!

To start your Amazon shopping, click here.

San Antonio: Part Two

I’m back today with more of our visit to San Antonio for spring break.  Make sure you check out Part One  if you missed it.  We left off last time after spending the morning at the Alamo and lunch and boat tour on the Riverwalk.  After our boat ride we decided to walk to Market Square.  On our way we stumbled upon something super fun.  They were setting up to shoot American Ninja Warrior!

It was so fun to see the obstacles in person.  We chatted a bit with the crew and found out that it takes almost a week to set up and that they begin filming after dark and usually film all night long.

By the time we made it to Market Square it was WAY past Q’s nap time, so she had a little nap on DudDud while the rest of us walked around.

The boys chose Icee’s as their special treat of the day.  Perfect for a hot afternoon.

For some reason, Anderson had really been wanting tic-tacs lately.  Mimi promised to buy him some on spring break, and finally his wish came true.  Thumbs up for tic-tacs!

While browsing thru Market Square we spotted a playground across the street.  A great place to let the kidlets play after a full day of sight seeing.  This fella loves the monkey bars.

Shane can be a bit of a monkey too 🙂

After running off a lot of energy and making new friends at the park, we headed out in search of some Texas BBQ.  It did not disappoint.

We headed back to the hotel to drop the men and Anderson and Quinn off to do a little evening swimming.  Owen chose to go with the girls to the grocery.

We have a little vacation tradition in our family.  It’s known as “vacation cereal”.  We typically try to keep most junk out of the house and that includes sugary cereals.  But on vacation, all bets are off.  Each kid gets to pick his or her very own box of junky cereal.  Whatever their little heart desires.  Owen takes his vacation cereal decision very seriously.

(In case you are wondering, he chose Cocoa Puffs and Anderson sent us to the store with his pre-chosen selection of  Trix while he stayed back to swim.  Quinn, she ate some of both.)

Day 2

It was supposed to rain most of the day, so we chose to check out the DoSeum.

It is a museum filled with all hands-on, mostly STEM focused activities targeted toward kids ages 2-10.  We expected to spend the morning there, but ended up spending an entire day.  It was a big hit.

They have a specific area for the younger kids that includes a grocery store (complete with working registers), bank, food truck, gas station, vetrinarian office, and airplane.  Even my big boys had fun.

Building creations to test on different activities.

Even though the forecast called for rain, it ended up being a beautiful day.  We were thankful because the DoSeum has some great outdoor spaces as well.

Anderson was obsessed with the tube slide.

We had a blast at the DoSeum.  If you are in San Antonio with younger kids, I would definitely recommend checking it out.

Day 3

The next day we decided to check out the San Antonio zoo.  Q is a huge animal lover so we thought the zoo sounded like a great idea.

Tip: We have a membership to the Louisville Zoo so we were able to secure a 50% discount on admission at the San Antonio Zoo for all seven of us just by showing our Louisville zoo pass.  Always check for reciprocal programs to other zoos and museums if you have a membership.

Anderson and Quinn were all about petting the snake.  Owen decided to pass 🙂

Brushing the goats was a highlight for little miss.  (Sometimes I just can’t quite get over how beautiful she is.)

Ganging up on the poor goat.  Thankfully, they were very tolerant.

I didn’t take many pics at the zoo, but we were shocked at how active all of the animals were.  Typically I feel like zoo animals just lay around and sleep all day.  Almost every animal was walking around and very active.  It made for a great zoo experience.

After the zoo we had a delicious Mexican dinner at Rosario’s, where I apparently took zero pictures. Side note – If you like a margarita with a little kick order the La Piña. We then walked to the HemisFair park where we we went the first night for more playing and a movie on the lawn.

They had a huge outdoor movie screen set up and everyone brought blankets and lawn chairs.  The movie for the night was Nacho Libre.  It wouldn’t have been my first choice of movies, but the kids found it hilarious.  It was the perfect night for a movie in the park.

Day 4

Sunday had us heading to Sea World!  San Antonio may not be anywhere near a sea, but they have a Sea World.  Random, right??

Check us out in the back row.  Hands up!!!  The boys were obsessed with this ride.  What you can’t tell from this pic is that there is a huge lake of water at the end of that drop.  I’m not a huge fan of water rides that don’t involve wearing a bathing suit, but in the pursuit of being a fun mom I took one for the team and rode with them as many times as they wanted.  For the record, wet tennis shoes and undies are the worst.

Enjoying some cotton candy during the beluga whale and dolphin show.

There was one roller coaster that neither boy was tall enough for, but Owen was tall enough for the Steel Eel.  He waffled back and forth and in the end decided to go for it.  He and I are somewhere in this pic loving it.  I was so proud!

When you are too short for rides, you get dip-n-dots instead.  She didn’t complain.

Waiting on Shamu.

Notice the crowd in this pic.  It was not busy at all.  We were able to walk right onto most rides.  We only had to wait on one.  There was plenty of seats during the shows.  Apparently we timed our visit well.  The week before had been the local spring break in Texas and apparently everywhere was crazy busy.  We were thankful for the small crowds.

I didn’t get any photos, but there was a great area for younger kids called Sesame Street Bay of Play.  They had several rides, a splash pad, and a huge climbing area.  Mimi and DudDud took Quinn there to play while Shane and I rode the big rides with the boys.  Huge shout out to Mimi for climbing through tunnels and giant rope nets with Q for over an hour.

We left Sea World at closing time and made our way to dinner.  Quinn played until she dropped and spent most of the dinner snoozing away.  I would call that a success.

That’s the end of day 4.  I’ll be back tomorrow to finish off our vacation recap with our road trip to Waco and Magnolia Market.  Fellow Fixer Upper fans, you won’t want to miss it!

P.S. If you are interested in supporting our adoption and helping us bring Peanut home, feel free to do your Amazon shopping through our blog affiliate link. It costs you no additional charge and we will earn a small portion of your purchase in commission. All earnings will go into our adoption fund to bring Peanut home. Thank you for supporting our family!

To start your Amazon shopping, click here.

Show and Tell Tuesday: Steal vs Splurge

Kicking off this year’s Show and Tell Tuesdays link-up with Steal vs. Splurge.  What our family saves on and what we feel is worth the splurge.

I would say the main theme of how our family approaches what to save on and and when we choose to splurge can easily be summarized by this:

We like to save on the little things day to day, so we can splurge on the big things that count.

A few ways we choose to SAVE:

  1. Make coffee at home


I shared my coffee rule on my #everydayelsbury2017 post yesterday, but I’ll mention it again.  I limit myself to buying coffee shop coffee to only on the days I get my hair cut/colored.

Not only do I save myself $5 each day by making my own coffee at home, but I’m also saving on a lot of extra calories!

2. Pack lunches

Each night both Shane and I pack lunches for work and the boys each pack their lunch for school. (We love these insulated cups for school and these reusable containers for the kids.)  Eating out for lunch at work every day can add up to an insane amount of money each month.  We skip it and pack our own.

3.  Beauty

There are some beauty products that I don’t believe you should skip on (hello good skin care!) but I am not a gal to go to a nail salon.  About twice a year I get a pedicure with a friend but otherwise it’s mani/pedis at home.  My favorite combo is this neutral polish with this quick dry top coat for every day wear and if I need a manicure to last I’m still loving this at home gel system.

4. Snacks

Everywhere we go I always pack snacks along.  If someone is hungry we don’t need to swing thru a drive-thru or hit up the snack section in a store.  And don’t even get me started with the insanely priced snacks at places like the zoo or museum.  This mama is always ready with snacks from home to save a few extra dollars.

How we choose to SPLURGE:

  1. Vacations

As I said before, we tend to choose experiences over things for our kids.  We love travel and vacations and want to make it a priority for our family.  So we try to make good choices in our daily life so we can later do fun things like vacations.

2. Entertainment

Museums, movies, shows, sporting events.  We love these fun family activities.  And do not even ask me to go to a movie and not buy popcorn.  Not going to happen!  (But I will sneak candy and drinks in my purse for the kids 🙂

3. Home

Our home is our space in the world.  We love doing home projects and making our home our own.  This is an area where we often splurge.  When choosing a tile that we will have to live with for years to come, we want to choose the one that we absolutely love.

We live in our home every day, so we choose to make an investment in our space and the place we are choosing to raise our family.

What a fun topic!  How does your family choose to save and to splurge?  I’d love to hear!

Disney World Day 5: Epcot (Last Day!)

Here we are revisiting our last day in Disney World.  It was a day full of character visits and re-riding the same favorite rides over and over.  But before we hit the park we had breakfast with some very important people.

We had originally planned a character breakfast at O’Hana for this morning, but the thought of trekking across property for an early breakfast and losing some park time didn’t sound ideal.  The night before our reservation a 7:30am  spot opened up for the character breakfast at Cape May Cafe and Shane quickly snagged it.  Cape May Cafe was right in the lobby of our resort so we decided it was a much better option.

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Our first visitor was Goofy!

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Who is goofier?

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Not only are characters exciting, but Mickey Waffles are pretty special too.

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Donald stopped by to say hello.

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DudDud does the best Donald Duck voice.  Even Donald himself was impressed.

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Minnie is Quinn’s favorite.  Remember in our first day at Magic Kingdom when she didn’t want me to take a photo with Minnie?  Well that feeling continues as she was not too happy that her brothers were cramping her moment with Minnie.  Owen’s face says it all.

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Still trying to push them out of the frame.

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Finally!  She has her all to herself.

Breakfast was over and we all agreed that we liked the Cape May character breakfast better than our visit at Chef Mickey’s on our last trip.  It was much less busy, not nearly as loud, and the characters got to spend quite a bit of time with us.  Goofy even stopped by twice.  It was also SO convenient that it was right at our hotel.

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Happily walking to Epcot.  She carried this pine cone around forever.  It was awesome to be able to walk to Epcot from the Beach Club.  We headed strait to the boys’ favorite ride: Test Track!

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For months the boys have been talking about the cars they were going to design for Test Track.  They made a special request that a pic of their first two cars make it onto the blog 🙂

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Their love for cars runs deep so it is no surprise that Test Track is their favorite in all of Disney World.  From designing your own car, to the ride on the track itself, to the competitive component of comparing how their cars tested to others.  They absolutely LOVE it.

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Possibly a bit gun shy after being beat up by their sister during the Minnie encounter.  This time they gave her some space for her first time meeting the big guy himself.

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Mickey! (Anderson told me right after this that he was making his “creepy face”)

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Best Friends.  I hate that the photographer’s flash ruined this, but I just had to include it.  It’s a perfect capture of her excitement.

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This time everyone was allowed in the pic.

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We spent a lot of time in the aquarium area.  Such a fun place to explore.

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Why ride in a perfectly good stroller when you can hitch a ride on daddy’s shoulders?

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Princess time!  I have been to Disney World three times and the only Princess I have ever met was Snow White (the boys’ favorite).  Well, I finally have a daughter and thought I deserved to meet some princesses!  (I might have been a bit of a diva about it.)  Anna and Elsa, or “Go” as she calls them, are Quinn’s favorite princesses.  Anna was so chatty and just delightful to talk with.

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Please notice that Anderson is not in these pics.  Apparently he is too cool for Anna and Elsa.

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I love how Elsa took time to talk to Quinn for a while even though she isn’t the best conversationalist 😉

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A hug for her favorite princess.

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While walking around the World Showcase we spotted this mug in the China pavilion.

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Even the too cool man Anderson couldn’t resist his favorite Princess.  Even if he was a bit embarrassed by her attention.

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We love Snow White!

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Snow White and our Sleeping Beauty

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Who’s the fairest of them all?

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Crazy in the World Showcase.

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Catching a ride with DudDud.

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Just riding in a clam shell with my girl.

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I asked her to pretend the shark was eating her and she gave me this.  Perfect!

We ended the day with rides on Soarin’.  There was no wait so they didn’t even make us get off the ride.  We just stayed in our seat and rode again.  I wish I had a video of Anderson’s enthusiasm during this ride because it was absolutely amazing.  He was hilarious.

Our Epcot itinerary looked like this:

Test Track (rode twice) (FastPass) (Rider Swap)

Character Spot-Mickey, Goofy, Minnie (FastPass)

Turtle Talk with Crush

Aquarium

Finding Nemo Ride

Lunch at Seasons

Frozen Ever After (FastPass)

Meet Anna and Elsa

World Showcase

Caramel Apple in Germany (a must!)

Meet Snow White

Test Track (twice) (closed due to rain storm while waiting) (FastPass)

Dinner at Coral Reef

Soarin’

Living with the Land

Finding Nemo Ride

Bruce’s Shark World

Soarin’ (rode three times in a row)

That’s it!  Our vacation is over.  And we couldn’t have timed it better.  Our flight left the Orlando airport at 12:30 on Thursday.  They closed the Disney parks that afternoon at 5 and the airport at 8 in anticipation of Hurricane Matthew.

What great family memories were made during this week.  I never thought we would be a family that has been to Disney more than once, but the kids absolutely love it and talk about it constantly. A huge thanks to Mimi and DudDud for an amazing trip.

If you missed them you can check out days 1-4 here:

Day 1: Magic Kingdom

Day 2: Animal Kingdom

Day 3: Stormalong Bay, Disney, Springs and Rest

Day 4: Magic Kingdom

Disney World Day 4: Back at Magic Kingdom

Well, we’ve made it to day four and after a day of swim and rest we are headed back to Magic Kingdom for more magical fun.

On the way in we realized we didn’t yet have a pic of the five of us in front of the castle.

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And of course one of the whole family.

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Another angle of the castle with DudDud.  Plus it looks like we busted out the suckers first thing.

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In line for Space Mountain.  The look on Owen’s face is pure genuine nerves and fear.  He had no idea everyone else was playing along behind him.  This was his first time on Space Mountain.  It also happened to be his last on this trip.  He’s not quite as adventurous as his little brother who rode it twice and declared it a favorite!

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Shane takes his Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin very seriously.  It payed off because he won!

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Back to her favorite carousel with her favorite DudDud

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Just look at that face.  It must be the happiest place on earth.

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So Mimi doesn’t do roller coasters or rides that spin.  She is perfectly happy to sit back with Quinn.  Well the boys talked her in to riding Mine Train with them.  I think her face says it all…

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In the end she survived and we took a pic to document brave Mimi.

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Outside of Gaston’s Tavern.  Does it make anyone else want to break out into song?

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Small World is a must.  The last time we were in Disney World he missed it because he was napping in the stroller.  This time Quinn was napping.

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After huddling under the protection of Small World while a huge rain storm came thru, we headed over to Frontier Land.  Candy corn cotton candy and a fruit bar for the win!

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Yum!

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Immediately after our snack it was time for dinner.  Oh well, vacation means extra treats.  We had dinner at Be Our Guest and it was possibly our favorite meal of the week.  The Beast even made a little appearance.

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Watch out!  I don’t think he has a driver’s license!

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Wild man!

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About 7:00 we had to head out of the park due to the Halloween Party starting.  We have done the party in the past but decided to skip it this year.  One last photo op before heading out.

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Our itinerary for the day looked like this:

Space Mountain

Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin (rode two times) (FastPass)

Monsters Inc Laugh Floor

Tomorrowland Speedway

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (rode two times) (Fast Pass) (Rider Swap)
Popcorn snack

Prince Charming Regal Carousel

Peter Pan’s Flight (Fast Pass)

Lunch at Pinocchio Haus

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (rode two times) (Rider Swap)

Under the Sea-Journey of the Little Mermaid

Small World

Our daily rain shower-we huddled under Small World for a while

Checked out Frontier Land

Cotton candy snack (hey, it’s vacation!) followed immediately by…

Dinner at Be Our Guest

Prince Charming Regal Carousel

Tomorrowland Speedway

Space Mountain

Mad Tea Party Teacups

People Mover

Had to exit the part due to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party starting

Decided to ride one full loop on the monorail before taking the bus back to our resort

Ice cream and Beaches and Cream

Whew! Another full day.  Just one more day to go.  Next up is probably the boys’ favorite: Epcot!

Check out the other days of our trip here:

Day 1: Magic Kingdom

Day 2: Animal Kingdom

Day 3: Stormalong Bay, Disney Springs and Rest

Disney World Day 3: Stormalong Bay, Disney Springs, and Rest

We are back for day 3 of our Disney World vacation.  If you missed Day 1: Magic Kingdom or Day 2: Animal Kingdom be sure to check them out.  Today we took a day off to rest and regroup before hitting up more parks.

One of our favorite parts of our resort, the Beach Club, was the amazing pool area.  The pool is ginormous and includes a shipwreck, water slide, lazy river and sand area.  I didn’t get any pictures, but the water slide was a definite favorite.  Even Mimi took a few trips down.  We would choose to stay at the Beach Club again simply for the pool area.

Funny (now, not so funny at the time) story.  DudDud decided to stay back and rest while we went to the pool for the day.  On the way down Mimi asked what the name of our pool was.  One of us answered “Hurricane Bay”.  Well the name is actually Stormalong Bay (Hurricane Hanna’s is the walk-up bar and food counter at the pool).    Oops!  Well when DudDud decided to come down to the pool he asked a cast member how to get to Hurricane Bay.  They sent him on a bus all the way to one of the water parks!  Thankfully, once he arrived he realized that this didn’t feel right and took the bus back to the room.  Needless to say he was NOT HAPPY when he got back to the resort.  Lesson learned.  Make sure you know why someone is asking you the name of our destination, then make sure you get the name correct!

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Lunch at Hurricane Hanna’s.  Someone really enjoyed her frozen strawberry lemonade.

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All cleaned up and ready to head to Disney Springs for the evening.

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I asked them if I could take a quick pic and this is the pose they gave me.

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Playing chase while I completed a survey about our restaurant, Frontera Cocina.  It was delicious  and watching Shane sweat while he tried to play down the spiciness of the hot salsa was quite entertaining.

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Strolling around Disney Springs.

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Before our trip Shane had read about the Amphicars.  They are old cars that can drive on land and water.  We knew we had to check them out and that the boys would get a kick out of watching them drive right into the water.

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Of course DudDud wanted to treat them to a ride.  Here they are all suited up and ready to go.

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Until Q quickly changed her mind and decided to stay on dry land with mom and Mimi.

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Ready for launch!  They drove right into the water and motored around the bay for 20-30 minutes then drove right up the ramp and back onto the road.  This was definitely a favorite of the entire trip.

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Next stop was the Lego store!

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Lego car races are serious business.

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Our final stop was the huge Disney store.  Quinn saw me looking at this Minnie from across the store and she came running.  They have been best buddies ever since.

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Now that we were rested up we were ready to take on another park day.  Up next, our second day at Magic Kingdom…

Disney World Day 2: Animal Kingdom

I’m back with the second day of our Disney World trip over fall break.  If you missed my recap of our first day in Magic Kingdom you can click here.

Today we are off to…

Animal Kingdom

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These two started the morning with a little porch time.

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The safari ride was a favorite.  It reminds me so much of the similar safari ride we got to experience at the Chimelong Safari Park in Guangzhou, China.  Although the ride in China was so much bigger with significantly more animals.  That ride is where we first discovered Q’s love of animals.  And her impression of a giraffe’s tongue is hilarious to watch.

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We were very close to our turn on Kali River Rapids when the ride broke down.  He looks a bit disappointed that he won’t get a ride.

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Little miss was upset that she wasn’t big enough to ride, so she talked DudDud into buying her a panda purse.

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She loves her Dud Bear.  She is still sleeping with it and carrying that purse all around.  She’s got DudDud wrapped.

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Day 2, Mickey bar #2

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He opted for a frozen lemonade instead.

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Her first Mickey bar.  (She was sleeping when the boys enjoyed them at Magic Kingdom.)

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Messy face…

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and hands!

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He said Primeval Whirl was his favorite ride at Animal Kingdom.  He rode it three times!  I think he liked it because his brother wasn’t tall enough to ride 😉

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Still sporting evidence of the Mickey bar on the Triceratops ride.

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Meeting Goofy and Pluto.  I’m not sure where Pluto went in the picture?

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All thumbs up for Expedition Everest.  This was Anderson’s favorite from the park.  He rode it four times throughout the day.

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Brothers in the Boneyard playground.  They spent forever in here.

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Super sweaty cheese.

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This is one of my favorites from the entire trip!

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We love that the BOB single stroller can hold two in a pinch.  The foot rest makes a perfect second seat.

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That’s a big tree!

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Owen loves music and musicals.  He loved all of the shows and the Festival of the Lion King was his favorite part of the entire day.  I think there may be some musical theater in his future.

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Back in the room and winding down with some popcorn and apples before bed.

Our day at Animal Kingdom included:

Kilamanjaro Safari (FastPass)

Kali River Rapids (FastPass)-it went out of service just as we were about to get on.  So glad we weren’t one of the people stuck on the ride!

Mickey Bar snack time

Primeval Whirl (rode twice)

Triceratops

Meet Goofy and Pluto

Expedition Everest (FastPass) (rode twice)

Lunch at Yak and Yeti

Expedition Everest (that’s three times)

Finding Nemo – the musical

The Boneyard playground

Primeval Whirl (three times for this one)

Expedition Everest (that’s four times)

Festival of the Lion King Show

We also walked around and looked at many animal exhibits throughout the day

That’s it for day one and day two.  Next up is a rest day where we hit up the awesome pool area at our hotel and Disney Springs.   So much more to share…

 

 

 

Disney World Day 1: Magic Kingdom

Every morning this week Owen has mentioned that he misses Disney World/wishes he were in Disney World/couldn’t sleep because he was sad that our vacation was over/etc.  What can I say?  Transitioning back to school and normal routine this week has been a bit of a struggle.  Who doesn’t wish they were still on vacation?

So in lieu of my typical Friday Favorites from the past week I am going to start hi-lighting our favorites from Disney World.  One thing I quickly realized when looking thru the pictures on my phone.  I have WAY more pics of Quinn than the boys.  This is for a couple of reasons.  1.  She was constantly my side kick and always stuck with me.  2.  The boys were so excited and running ahead of us.

Get ready for a picture dump as we head to Magic Kingdom for Day 1…

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Back packs packed and ready for our flight.

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The poor TSA agent that made her take off her headphones to go thru security.  I was afraid for him.

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We made it!  We arrived at the Beach Club and raced down the hall to our villa.  The first one there gets to unlock the door.

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It was a short stroll from our resort to the Boardwalk.  We had dinner at Trattoria al Forno before heading back to the room to get a good nights sleep before our first park day.  While walking back we were able to see some of the Star Wars fireworks at Hollywood studios.

Finally, the day had arrived…

Magic Kingdom

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We were unsure what Quinn would think about this entire trip.  She could love it.  She could hate it.  As soon as we walked into the park she spotted Minnie and Pluto.  She was so excited and wanted to run right to them.  I knew right then that she would be a Disney girl.  It took a minute to explain that we had to wait in line to meet Minnie, but then she happily waited her turn.  She never took her eyes off of those characters.

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Finally, it’s our turn!  She ran right to Minnie almost knocking another family down in the process.

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A giant hug.

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One happy girl.

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When I tried to hop in a photo with them, Quinn made it very known that this was unacceptable.  She wanted Minnie all to herself.  Here she is pushing me away from her new friend.  It’s a good thing that the boys did not want to wait and headed straight to their first ride.

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On our way to meet up with the rest of the group she suckered me in to this giant sucker.  I have always said, suckers are her love language.

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They stopped for a quick photo in front of the castle.

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I love this one of Mimi and DudDud with the boys.  It was pretty busy on this day because it was the 45th anniversary of Magic Kingdom.  You can see the crowd in the background.

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Waiting for one of their favorites: Tomorrowland Speedway.  These boys love their cars.

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Owen chose DudDud for his first ride.

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Watch out!  Crazy driver!

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Hi, Mimi!

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The teacups were another favorite.  Everyone likes to spin FAST!

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Cheese!  This little lady loves to spin and she loved the teacups.

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Look at that grin.

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We are going fast!

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They liked it so much we took another spin.

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Quinn’s first roller coaster.  Goofy’s Barnstormer.  Hands up!

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During Enchanted Tales with Belle Anderson was chosen to play the Beast.

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He was so embarrassed and now we are not allowed to talk about it.  Ha!

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Our first princess encounter.  They were both smitten.

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We had lunch at Be Our Guest.  Get the braised pork.  Skip the roast beef sandwich.  This is the best photo we could get outside of the castle.  You win some, you lose some.

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We learned on this trip that Anderson is a roller coaster guy.  Seven Dwarfs Mine Train was a favorite and he was hands up all the way.

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Not the best photo, but Owen loved this ride too.  So much that we rode it twice.  We took full advantage of rider swap when we could.  The standby line was over two hours but with fast passes and rider swap we were able to ride it twice in about twenty minutes.

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All smiles on the carousel.

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Handsome fellas.

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Brave boy Anderson decided he wanted to ride the Haunted Mansion.  I’m going to be honest, I think its scary.  I’m a weenie!  But it’s iconic and a must.  So I put on my big girl panties and in we went.  Anderson loved it!  Owen and Mimi decided to sit this one out.

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While we were in the Haunted Mansion this one passed out in the stroller for a little nap.

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Mickey bars!  They had been looking forward to these for weeks.  These weren’t the only ones consumed on this trip.  They were a regular snack choice.

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Daddy must really love you if he’s willing to share his Dole whip with you.  Yum!

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So around 4 or 5 o’clock we were getting ready to ride Aladdin’s Magic Carpet ride when it started thundering.  They shut the ride down and we headed over to Pirates of the Caribbean.  When we came out of Pirates it was pouring down rain.  We tried to wait it out by milling around the gift shop for a while.  When it didn’t seem to be letting up we decided to run across the street and grab dinner at Peco Bill’s.  After dinner the rain was still coming down in buckets.  There were rivers of water running down the streets.  It was raining hard.  So we decided to pack it in for the night.  We were sad that we didn’t get to see the electrical parade or fireworks, but it just wasn’t in the cards for the night.  We poncho’ed up and headed to the bus.

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Does this poncho go with my castle??

Overall it was a fantastic first day.  The park was crowded with the 45th anniversary stuff going on, but we got to experience so much in our shortened day.

And just so we can remember, here is the order of our activities for our day in Magic Kingdom:

Met Minnie Mouse

Got suckered into a giant sucker

Pics in front of Cinderella’s Castle

Tomorrowland Speedway

Mad Tea Party (twice)

Space Ranger Spin (FastPass)

People Mover

Goofy’s Barnstormer

Dumbo

Enchanted Tales with Belle (FastPass)

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (FastPass)-rode it twice

Lunch at Be Our Guest

Prince Charming’s Regal Carousel

Haunted Mansion

Stopped for a Mickey Bar snack

Country Bear Jamboree

Enchanted Tiki Room

Jungle cruise

Dole whip snack

We were getting ready to load onto Aladdin’s Magic Carpets and it started storming

Pirates of the Caribbean

Dinner at Peco Bills

Pouring Rain and headed back to our resort

Next up we headed to Animal Kingdom!

Linking up with Erika, Andrea and Narci for this week’s magical Friday Favorites.

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