Disney World 2017

While in Florida this past February, we spent 2 days at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Ada is so obsessed with the Disney Princesses that I knew this would be a perfect trip for her right now. And since I’m still trying to get her familiar with the idea of travel, I want to make sure they are trips she is excited about. I know she probably won’t remember the details of the trip, most people recommend going when they are a little older, but I figured that since the family is in Tampa, its a perfect time to visit them and give her a little taste of Disney.

2 days is definitely not enough, but at the same time, it was plenty! There was obviously only so much we could do in 2 days, and being that she is still so young we wanted to make sure we hit up the things she was most excited about.

Our first (half) day there we didn’t have tickets to the parks, so we checked into the hotel and played at pool all afternoon.

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I then, neglected to make any dinner reservations for the first night, so we were left scrambling to find something. We thought about heading to Downtown Disney, but it just didn’t seem worth the hassle to pack everyone up and take the bus out. Instead we hopped the monorail and headed to the Polynesian Resort, where I wish we would have stayed. I remember staying there as a kid and so I wanted to show Dan, but we foolishly thought we could just walk up to a restaurant. Of course everything was booked. We were informed that the Kona Cafe had a first come, first serve bar seating area, and we somehow managed to nab three seats there.  After dinner we walked around, grabbed a famous Dole whip (the only place you can find them outside of Adventure Land in the Magic Kingdom), and we were able to catch the fireworks from the beach at the hotel. All things we just happened to stumble upon and probably couldn’t have planned any better.

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Chopstick fight at Kona Cafe inside Disney’s Polynesian

I booked this trip 30 days out, and apparently that was not nearly soon enough. When booking the “Magic your Way” tickets and staying on a Disney property, reservations for restaurants and fast passes open up 60-180 days out, so everything I really wanted to do like Cinderella’s Table or Chef Mickeys, etc. was completely booked up, we had to be a little flexible. The only character dining I could get our first day was lunch at Hollywood & Vine inside Hollywood studios, which changed our plans quite a bit. Hollywood Studios wasn’t exactly on my itinerary this time around, but it ended up working out for the best. There was a lot more in that park for younger kids then Epcot, which was my original plan. The only reason I wanted to do Epcot was for the Frozen ride, but instead in Hollywood Studios we started our day with the Frozen sing-a-long, which was a perfect alternative. She got to see her princesses in real life, and it even “snowed” white foamy bubbles at the end, which was super exciting for her!

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After the Frozen Sing-a-long, we did the Voyage of the Little Mermaid, this only had a short wait time and by the time it was over it was lunch time. That show was alright, she was excited to see Ariel live, but honestly in my opinion its time for Disney to update the theatrics, it seemed a little outdated, but to a 3 year old it was just fine!

Hollywood & Vine has the Disney Junior characters. So we saw Sophia the First, Doc McStuffins, Jake the Pirate and Handy Manny. They all make their way to your table at some point during your meal and it had a pretty decent buffet for lunch. She was just so excited the whole time!

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After lunch we debated trying to catch the Disney Junior Live! show, but decided that it was getting hot and we just saw half those characters so we headed back to the hotel for a nap. We did get to see Donald on our way out!

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That evening, we had Fast Passes to Enchanted Tales with Belle. So after we were all refreshed we made our way into the Magic Kingdom for our first glimpse at the Castle!

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5:00 was a perfect time to head into the park because I think everyone was at dinner so we didn’t have to fight crowds to get to Belle on time. We did it right away at the early side of our Fast Pass time slot, and this was probably the cutest thing we did our whole trip and made such an impression on Ada. Belle is her most favorite princess right now, so I think she was literally star struck. The whole attraction though was just perfect for her, it was with a small intimate group, so you could really take it all in, and I felt like she actually got some cute, quality time with Belle up close.

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After, we had some time and there was only a 20 minute wait at Ariels Grotto, so we waited a little bit for her to meet her second most favorite princess right now, Ariel.

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We did a quick-service dinner and then it was time to get ready for the fireworks. Grandpa had sent her a gift card in the mail before our trip so we let her pick out a light up toy to play with while waiting for the fireworks, and then we caught the Wishes Nighttime Spectacular. So glad we got to see this since its coming to an end in May! She loved the fireworks despite thinking they were too loud!

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We went back to the hotel that night and somehow the girl was wired still, so we let her go run around in the splash pad until about 9:30, at which point we threw her in a warm tub to clean up and she passed out in about 30 seconds.

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The next morning we got up early and made it to the Magic Kingdom again right at 9am when the gates opened, it was great timing as the lines were not yet too long and once inside, the park felt pretty empty. We even got to see Minnie as she was walking out! Perfect timing! (Main Street doesn’t look empty below, but the rest of the park really was!)

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Our first stop was Fast Passes to meet Repunzel and Tiana. I’d read a lot about saving your fast passes until the afternoon, but there somehow was already a 50 minute wait and so I’m glad I didn’t take that advice and just got the Fast Pass for 9am. We were in and out in about 15 minutes and she was in her glory meeting both!

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I had called Disney on the phone before our trip  to help me find restaurant reservations after I was becoming frustrated at the the fact that everything was booked.  Someone actually managed to get us into Chef Mickeys at 10:30am, it wasn’t in my mind the most convenient time but I really wanted Ada to dine with Mickey and Minnie, so we took it. (I think someone worked some magic because we were guests of the Contemporary Hotel, which is where this restaurant is located.  I can’t confirm this, but I don’t know how else we would have been booked there, when everything said no availability).  This is why we got to the park so early though and what prompted me to book a fast pass, I wanted to get something in before 10:30 breakfast. It involved some back and forth, park hopping, which with the convenience of the monorail made this not the worst scenario. When we left the park the gates were mobbed!! Never try to enter the park around 10:00-10:30 it was crazy! When we came back into the park again after breakfast/lunch around 12:30 the gates were dead again!

Chef Mickeys at this time was also actually a blessing in disguise. Because it was the tail end of breakfast, as people cleared out, no new guests were coming in because they were getting ready to turn over for lunch. So because there were fewer and fewer people, the characters we’re actually starting to come around again.

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We spent the rest of that afternoon in the Magic Kingdom again, and it had gotten crazy busy and super hot! We had fast passes for the Monster’s Inc Laugh Factory, which was super cute and felt amazing inside because it was all air conditioned. We grabbed some ice cream en route to the Haunted Mansion and when we got there, the Fast Pass line was longer then the regular line and we almost skipped it. Luckily, we found a shady spot for about 15 minutes and when I went back the line was down again and so we did that. Ada loves scary things so she was super pumped for the Haunted Mansion. I think she got a little nervous once we were inside but quickly got excited again and she loved it!

When we came out the afternoon Parade was just starting so Ada took the best seat in the house and we watched that before heading out!

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Dad looks super mad because the Internet crashed on the East Coast that afternoon and he was trying to deal with that mess back at his office while fighting crowds and heat in Disney World = Not Happy! But Look at the smile on Ada, if only we all saw the world through a child’s eye!

She fell asleep in the stroller rental we had shortly after that, so once we got to the gates to leave I had to carry her all the way back to the hotel, that was suuuper fun! We had already checked out of our hotel, so we just grabbed a shady lounge chair by the pool and let her nap. I ran up to the hotel shops to get some souvenirs and then we let her run around the splash pad again for about a half hour before jumping in the car to drive “home” (Back to Tampa). We got in around 7pm and she talked Grandma’s ear off about everything we did!!

All in all it was a great way to add to our Florida trip! Next time we plan to stay at the Polynesian Resort and actually just take some time to enjoy the hotel and some of the things around that don’t even require park tickets. There is just so much to Disney World without having to pay hundreds of dollars to go to a park and since we have the family in Tampa and go down so much, its not one of those “once in a lifetime trips”, we can actually just do small bursts of Disney a little at a time, which I think is totally the way to do it!

My Baby is THREE!

How the heck did that happen? I can’t even go into it again about how fast time flies, or how amazing it is to watch her grow into an awesome little person! Being a mom is seriously the best! What I will say is that I plan to start traveling a lot more with her, now that we are passing that infant/toddler craziness and she is becoming a little more rational (sometimes) and more patient with things (sometimes), now is our chance!  When we took her to Tampa this past spring, I have never seen her smile so big or her eyes lite up as much. They are like little sponges and they just want to soak up all life has to offer, and at this age they just want us to be part of everything with them.  Ada never wants me to leave her, I have to sit on the bed at night until she falls asleep, she wants me to play dolls with her, she wants to help me cook and clean. She always wants to give me one more hug and kiss. Now is the time in her life when I should just be spending every second I can with her, take her everywhere with us and experience everything amazing through her eyes. Because before I know it she’s not going to want me around all the time. She’ll want to do things by herself, she’ll want privacy, she’ll prefer to travel with her friends over her parents, and I don’t want to let this amazing time get away from me!

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In honor of her birthday, I asked her a bunch of questions so I could document her thoughts at three years old. Her answers were so adorable and proves how much she just wants us there. I think I will do this every year on her birthday! (Until she is too cool for it). We will love to look back at her innocence and her beautiful little heart as she gets older! I’ll also re-cap her birthday party in another post!

What is your name? Ada Magacheffy

How old are you? Three, holds up her three fingers every time. 

What makes you super happy? When mommy comes back to pick me up

What makes you sad? When mommy leaves

What is your favorite song? Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star and the Itsy Bitsy spider, I like both favorite songs.

Who is your best friend? Abigail and CJ

What is your favorite thing about school? Playing with legos and housekeeping, and too much friends.

What is your favorite food? Oh, mac n’ cheese!!

What is something mommy always says to you? Goodnight Ada

What is daddy really good at?  Doing puzzles with me

What is your favorite color? Red…. and yellow and the rainbow

What do you want to be when you get bigger? Doc McStuffins

What else do you want to tell mommy? I like to read and eating chicken nuggets too!

And just for fun I wanted to write some other things that I always want to remember about my little (big) three year old:

-Her favorite thing I make for her right now is peanut butter and cheese sandwiches, weird but she loves it!

-Give the girl some lemons and she is a happy camper, I’ve never seen anyone suck on lemons the way she does.

-She LOVES dip, anything and everything as long as she has dip she’s good. When we don’t have dip I sprinkle a little tastefully simple mix into sour cream.

-She sleeps like a champ most nights, (as she always has). I rarely hear from her, with the few exceptions of when she wakes up somewhere between 2am and 4am and wants to get up to play. Not Cool. Sometimes its to go potty, in which case she won’t even open her eyes as I carry her in and out of the bathroom and she’s back out seconds later.

-She has been potty trained since Christmas break, which is amazing! 27 months of diapers isn’t too bad! We tried when she was 18 months and she was just not into it at all, but when we tried again (when she was ready) she easily trained in about 2 days. We rarely have an accident.

-She loves watching these silly YouTube shows of grown-ass adults playing with toys, and while I really hate them and didn’t think there was much educational value to them, I’ve found that its actually teaching her how to play, and she now loves her kitchen, dollhouse and baby dolls more than anything. But the Surprise eggs? Is everyone else’s kids into these damn things too? How crazy that people spend so much time making these videos, and even crazier that kids love them so much! 

-Her favorite thing to tell me is that she is getting big, but that I don’t want her to get big, I want her to stay little (which is true!) I must have said it once and now that’s all she remembers.

– “Why?” She must say this 1,000 times per day and sometimes, I just don’t have the answer, I love her curiosity and trying to explain the most basic things to her, but holy cow it gets tough!

And that’s my little Ada, a fireball, a sweetheart and one smart cookie. I can’t get over how much of a friend and person she is to me now. She’ll forever be my baby and I miss holding her in one arm, but I sure do love watching her grow before my eyes and becoming the sweetest little girl I could ever imagine!

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How daycare is going

Yesterday we started our third week of school. You heard all about the first week here (link). It was a little rough but in general it was exactly what I expected.  It’s been getting better and better everyday.

Last week, the drop offs were all a little iffy, sometimes she would even start crying at home or in the car as soon as she figured out where we were going, but once I left she was fine all day. The teachers all said she is doing great, and all her end of the day reports were exactly normal behavior for her.

I think it helps a lot that she goes to my parents house on Monday’s because it starts the week out on a good note. She is comfortable and familiar there. This Monday she actually walked up behind me and pushed my legs and said “go to work mommy”! Well okay!

Yesterday, we didn’t talk about where she was going at all while we got ready, so she wasn’t thinking about it. As soon as we were in the car she cried all the way there after she asked where we were going and I said school. (When I say all the way to school, this is about a 3 minute drive) When I dropped her off though she was a little hesitant but went to Miss Kim easily and she walked off with little tears.

Today was our best day yet. I avoided talking about it at home again and just got her and I both ready as usual. All the way to school I just talked to her. We talked about Aunt Lisa and baby Savannah coming for dinner that night, about Santa Clause and Boo the Elf (her elf on the shelf) who arrives next week. We talked about the houses we drove past and the clouds. Anything to distract her. When we parked I got a small whimper about “no school”, but she walked in with me easily. When we saw her friends sitting around the table eating breakfast they all yelled “Ada!!” like they were so happy to see her. Miss Kim took her and Ada actually reached out for her. And that was that. No tears at all!

Next week is a short week because of Thanksgiving, but she’ll still go twice. I suspect by the beginning of December she’ll be a pro. She’ll also have grandma back once a week and we can get used to our more permanent schedule.

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Read all about the first week here!

First Day of School {daycare}

Starting daycare as a toddler (yikes)

Ada started school this week (aka daycare)! Grandma is going to Florida for the whole month to visit Dan’s brother who is expecting their first baby in March. They just bought a house, so she’s going down to help them get all set up. Since she watches Ada 3 days a week it was time to look into daycare. It was just as well, we have been spoiled with 2 years of free childcare, and I really felt like it was time for Ada to start school in a more structured and educational environment, make more friends and of course pick up tons of germs!

She was so excited because her friends Abby & CJ go to this school. I don’t think she knew what it was entirely, but she was excited anyway!

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The drop off went really well on the first day because I don’t think Ada understood that I would be leaving her there all day. The teachers said she was on and off with being happy and sad all day. She threw a couple fits throwing herself on the floor, which isn’t typical behavior for her and she wouldn’t really nap or eat much. All very normal for such a huge change. They warned me the second day would be worse dropping her off and it was. It was an all out kicking and screaming shit show trying to leave. They just pulled her off of me and basically kicked me out. I cried a little once I hit the car. When I came back to get her Miss Kim said she was like a different girl, she participated in everything, she napped, she ate all her lunch. She only had a hard time at the very end of the day when the other kids moms and dads were starting to pick up. Today, the drop off was still rough, she cried a lot but the kicking and screaming subsided. The end of the day report was great though, she had another great day playing and learning.

To reward her for finishing her first week I made her favorite dinner (spaghetti) and then we went to White Rabbit for some FroYo, which she loved because they had red Mickey Mouse sprinkles, which obviously is the best thing ever!

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I’ll report in a couple weeks as to how the transition is going. I’ve been reading a lot about starting school at this age and most comments are very similar. Its a huge change for a kid at this age, I just tipped her world upside down, removing grandma completely and forcing her to stay with strangers all day long. After a  few weeks they start coming around, some kids take longer than others, but I am hoping that since she has her two friends Abby & CJ with her that she’ll get used to it quickly. Time will tell!

 

Halloween recap and lots of photos

We had a lot of fun celebrating Halloween this year! Ada picked her own costume and I made it myself, which you got a sneak peak of from the Boo at the Zoo. Since she was Cookie monster, she wanted “Baby Vanna” to be Elmo and since they were coming over to trick-or-treat with is on Halloween my sister had me make a costumer for her too. They made the cutest little Cookie monster and Elmo I’d ever seen!

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We’ve had week filled with Halloween stuff, we painted a pumpkin for the kitchen table and made a special snack to share with our friends. Ada was so proud to walk them down the street and deliver them.

 

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We also carved our pumpkins the night before Halloween, which Ada loved, for about 5 minutes, then I had to do the rest.

 

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My sister’s fam came over on Halloween night and we met up with our friends and took them all trick-or-treating. The kids really got the hang of it by the second or third house, so it was a lot more fun this year.

 

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We concluded our night by staying up late in anticipation of daylight savings and hoping that we wouldn’t have to wake up at 4:45am on Sunday. Ada helped Uncle Dan give Savannah her bottle before calling it a night! Happy Halloween!

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Weekend Recap

We had an extra long weekend thanks to Mr. Columbus! Saturday we took the kids to the zoo, for Boo at the Zoo and they got to wear their halloween costumes and trick-or-treat at each of the different exhibits. It was a beautiful day so luckily we didn’t have to wear coats over our costumes. The kids really enjoyed getting treats and handing over their card to get a punch at each stop, and then we got to look at the animals.

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We had a nice picnic lunch that we all brought from home and then it got close to nap time and we had some meltdowns and had to call it a day.

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Daddy has been working a lot lately because he has a big event coming up where he is competing for $1 million dollars for his new start-up company, so he had to work on Monday, my day off. Me and a couple girlfriends took all the kids to a local farm for some good old fall fun!

They had a great time and the weather was perfect. We got to take a tractor ride out to the pumpkin patch and pick our own pumpkins and then we took the horse drawn carriage back to the barn.

 

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The kids all got to have a pony ride, we had a picnic lunch in the small barn and then visited the petting zoo. On our way out we got some popcorn and some beautiful purple mums for our front porch!

 

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Ada had a meltdown when we had to leave and screamed bloody murder almost all the way home, until we were about 2 minutes from home when she fell asleep. (always) So I decided to leave her in the car and drive to my parents house for awhile.

It was a fun, festive weekend for us and we hope this great weather will last a little bit longer!

 

 

Baby Savannah {Newborn Pictures}

I was pretty excited my sister trusted me enough to take newborn pictures of my new niece Savannah and while they aren’t as good as a pro, I thought I did a decent job getting some beautiful pictures! It was a lot of fun playing with her for the afternoon and she did so good, she slept for most of it and was awake for some so we got some pictures of both. We had to stop to feed her once at the beginning, but otherwise Savannah was a little doll. Right up until the end when she pooed all over my fur blanket. Still not really sure how I’m going to get that one clean! Here are a few of the finished edits I did! Enjoy!

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I’m an Auntie!!!

My first little niece finally arrived last night!! We welcomed Savannah Marie into this crazy world at 8:11 pm on September 18th! Just 4 days before my Little Ada’s 2nd birthday, making them almost exactly 2 years apart! I am so happy Ada has a little girl cousin so close in age. It takes a little pressure off me wanting our second baby to be a girl, I wanted her to have a sister so bad since I know how special it is to have a sister you are close to, so at least now she’ll always have her cousin!

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She’s a tiny little peanut weighing only 6lb. 9oz., My sister and brother in law are doing great after 25 hours of labor. Everyone was very tired.

Today was Ada’s 2nd birthday party, (which I’ll catch up on later). Things were a bit hectic at our house this morning as I was preparing to have 10 toddlers, 2 infants and 24 adults in my tiny house. Dan’s Dad was in from out of town and fortunately they were staying with us, so we were able to leave Ada behind and run up to the hospital before her party and meet the baby! My sister was bummed she couldn’t be at Ada’s party, but Ada won’t remember, from now on we may be doing joint parties!

I am so excited for my sister to join the mommy club!! And so proud of her for enduring the longest labor ever!! I had no words of encouragement for her on that since Ada was born in a matter of about 7 hours, start to finish! (I got really lucky), but she did amazing and now she has the most exciting, tiring and rewarding days of her life ahead!

Apparently the pressure is back on me for the next baby again! Dang! Here’s a few more pics I took while we visited!

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Summer Photo Shoot

Earlier this summer we won a free photo session with Shannon Glurich Photography . I was so excited about this for two reasons, I really wanted to do summer photos but Dan didn’t want to pay for them and I never win anything! We had the most perfect evening ever down at Beaver Island State Park. We did it before sun set and the light was amazing. Here are a few of my favorite shots! Thank you Shannon for the great family pictures!

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Weekend recap

It was a fun weekend and really, really hot! We spent some more time playing outside with the hose and in the kiddie pool. The Thunderbirds we’re in town this weekend for the Niagara Falls Airshow. We debated going because it was so hot and traffic can be really bad in and out of the airbase, but we decided to risk it and try to go. My sister is 7 months pregnant so I was worried about her, and of course a toddler in any uncomfortable situation is a nightmare.  We went and had a lot of fun though!

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We had brunch with Dan’s family Sunday and for breakfast we had ostrich egg that his cousin brought. I’ve never seen an egg so big before. We poked a hole in the bottom and drained all the egg out so that we could preserve the shell. da thought it was pretty cool.

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And before we knew it, it was Monday again and we are back to work. Summer is going by too fast but we sure are enjoying it!