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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Magical World of Disney

One would think that nine family members spending nine days together in one of the most humid areas in the U.S. might be a recipe for disaster. (Oh yes, did I mention one of the nine was sixteen-months-old at the time?) Indeed, when I told friends we were traveling to Walt Disney World for over a week during peak tourist season and peak temperatures – they thought we were crazy. But, we did it anyway. It had been my Mom’s dream for seven years, and sweat or not, it was going to be a reality.

I’m very glad to relay that although my family is a bit crazy (we’d all admit it anyway) our trip to Disney World was magical – it truly was!! Alexa exceeded our expectations in every way, and we managed to laugh during the stressful times (well maybe all of us except me) and get rest when it was most needed. We definitely made many memories that will last a lifetime. And . . . we still love each other and hope to plan another fun getaway next year. Many thanks to Mimi & Pop for sponsoring this incredible trip and for Holly who was our travel planner extraordinaire!
I know I’ve been so slow at posting. I’ve been stumped as to how I can come close to capturing our time in Disney World without posting oodles of pics and videos (there were only 890 to sift through). Luckily, I already shared some of them with you in Alexa’s post. I’ll do my best to share the highlights. And, if you are still interested in seeing the “rest of the story,” I put a photo book together for my family that you are welcome to check out at the link below. You can click on individual pages to make them larger.

Click here for Disney Picaboo Album

We all look unusually chipper after leaving mom and dad’s at 5am to fly to Orlando via DFW airport. This was Rylen and Layton’s first commercial flight so it was a big deal!

Rylen checking out the view from her window seat.

Dad (i.e. Pop) standing in front of our resort – Pop Century. Our first stop.

As the sign says at the entrance to Magic Kingdom, “Let the Memories Begin!”


The family in front of Cinderella’s Castle in Magic Kingdom. I have to admit, seeing the castle for the first time was pretty amazing. It is absolutely beautiful – straight out of a fairytale! A little girl or a grown-up girl’s dream.

I enjoyed capturing different viewpoints of Cinderella’s Castle.

My favorite image of Cinderella’s castle. This is from the side – there isn’t a bad view.

Magic Kingdom at night. If you ever go, the laser show before the fireworks is unreal!


Dining at Cinderella’s Royal Table, which is actually inside Cinderella’s castle. Definitely a highlight for me and the kids (The princesses come to visit you during your meal and take pictures with you). The food was delicious! Luckily, my sister made reservations for all of our restaurants in February so we could eat in high style.


The kiddos (Layton, Rylen & Alexa) set to ride “It’s a Small World.”

Alexa’s favorite ride, without a doubt, was Disney’s classic Dumbo the Flying Elephant ride. You can see her peeking out behind Dumbo’s green hat.

A view of Space Mountain before a crazy rainstorm caused us to seek shelter inside.


Breakfast at Chef Mickey’s. This was called a “character” buffet because Disney characters come by and greet you, give autographs and allow you to take
pictures with them during the meal. The kids loved it. It’s an electric atmosphere.

The kids met several characters at breakfast including Minnie Mouse. Alexa was checking out Minnie’s nose. She loved grabbing the character’s noses.

Chris and I standing in front of Mickey’s sorcerer’s hat at Hollywood Studios.

I will get in trouble for this later but Mimi was ready for her nap with Alexa. I love all of the accessories – water bottle, fanny pack and diaper bag.

The infamous Tower of Terror. Speaking of terror, I was terrified to ride it but it was my absolute favorite ride – especially at dusk. Mark about lost his backpack on the first drop and subsequent others – it made for a great memory. Unfortunately, I don’t think he enjoyed it quite as much as I did.

At the Prime Time 50’s CafĂ©, Dad drank his first Coke in 8 years!! It was delish! I loved this restaurant. Every booth was decorated to feel like a dining room in the 50’s.

At the entrance to Epcot. Did you know there’s a ride inside the big golf ball? There is no way I can possibly share all there was to do at Epcot. One word – amazing! 

My favorite pic of the Kennedy three. Don’t you love Alexa’s “squinch!?”

The best seats in the house (according to our waiter) at the Coral Reef Restaurant. Notice the shark right in front of us. There was so much to see in this giant aquarium.

Chris excited to eat his yakisoba and practice his Japanese in “Japan.” He spent a year in Japan as an exchange student.

Sitting in “Canada” at Victoria Gardens. Can I hire that landscaper, eh!?

The fam in front of the Tree of Life at the Animal Kingdom. We hadn’t arrived yet. Hottest day I could remember. Thankful we got there around noon.

Posing with the cast of “Finding Nemo – The Musical.” Mom knew one of the main characters so he gave us VIP seating and let us go backstage after the performance. Loved it and definitely ranks as one of my favorite moments and performances.

Chris picking the monster’s nose at Downtown Disney and Legoland. Our last stop before heading home. (Yes . . . he is made entirely of Legos – the monster, that is).

Yes . . . entirely made of Legos too. Wish I could show you all of them.

Unfortunately, our time at Disney had come and gone. Look at all of those suitcases and look at Dad’s poor shirt. It does get pretty warm in Florida this time of year.


My precious niece and nephew entertaining Alexa Hope while we wait at the gate.

Per my father-in-law’s request, we took one last photo before heading our separate ways. A bit weary (and weighing a bit more) but still smiling. Thank you so much for the memories!! I’d love to tell you more if you ever want to listen. As they say at Disney, “Have a magical day!”

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Seriously . . . a fleece jacket!?

Again, I must apologize about the delay in the Disney World post. The greatest reason is that I’ve immersed myself in the writings of Charlotte Bronte - Jane Eyre – to be exact. Her writing is brilliant!! Anyway, when Alexa is finally in bed for her night’s slumber, instead of posting, I’ve been escaping to Thornfield Hall and enjoying the dynamics between Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester. Such an intelligent novel!!
All of that to say, the “magical world of Disney” post is coming . . . for those of you who have been wondering. There are only 890 pictures to swim through!!

However, back to this post. So, the past two days, Alexa has insisted on wearing this 6-12 mos fleece jacket. (I know – I desperately need to go through her winter/spring clothes and put them in storage – another hopeful summer project). She discovered the jacket when I was fishing a toy out of her closet and she hasn’t wanted to part with it since. She’s says “tackit, tackit!” Oh the delight in her eyes when she puts it on.
Keep in mind, the heat in Oklahoma has been record-breaking. The first day she wore it accompanied with shorts alone. Yesterday, she wanted to accessorize her sundress. Here are some pics of Alexa sporting her fleece after her nap (don’t you love that post-nap hair)?
I love the look Alexa is giving me. It’s saying, “Yeah, I know it’s hot inside and out, but you gotta admit, I make this look GOOD.” Just look how short the sleeves are!

Another thing we are working on is teaching Alexa to sit on her bottom in chairs. She is obeying – halfway. Notice she is squatting/sitting on the 1st lumbar support of the recliner.

Ahhh – now we have landing. Perhaps it was more ladylike to squat on the 1st lumbar support. Hmmmmm . . .

Yesterday evening, Alexa (mind you, still wearing the jacket) wanted to go “out.” Chris tried and tried to coerce her into removing the “tackit” with no avail – only sadness on Alexa’s part. So he decided to take Alexa to the backyard to play. It was, after all, 103 degrees and Chris was afraid DHS would take her away if they saw her in the front yard wearing the jacket. Luckily, I captured this image without the fleece. It took lots of distraction. It was so sticky inside, I literally had to peel it off of her arms.

A darling pic of Alexa climbing up the slide with her sippy and Daddy in tote. I guess she still needed some form of comfort so the sippy cup had to do. We’ll see if she “needs” the jacket today. I may resort to hiding it. I suppose it is a catalyst for me to work on storing those clothes.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Oh yeah . . . I’m seventeen-months-old!!

Three days ago, our little Miss Alexa turned a whopping 17-mos-old. We’re sorry for the delay in posts. We returned from Walt Disney World a week ago, had visitors last week, and have simply been getting life back in order. A Disney post is in the works. But in the meantime, here’s a glimpse of Alexa’s last month.

Alexa telling a big story at the Classic 50’s Diner in Hollywood Studios.

Over the past month, Alexa has been quite a busy bee . . .
-- She spent a week in Colorado with her Mommy, Daddy, Opa, Ama & Gram K.
-- She spent a week in Walt Disney World with Mommy’s extended family. She was a rock star (with the exception of a few meltdowns, but goodness, Mommy had some too). She truly exceeded our expectations and she did love Disney! 
-- She hung out with David, our friend who is back from time in West Asia.
-- She cut her 5th and 6th tooth (one on the bottom and her 1st molar on the top)
-- When you ask “How big is Alexa?” She’ll answer – “So big!” with her arms up.
-- She can say her name – “Lexa” and has picked up many other words & phrases.
-- She learned to sip out of a big girl straw (thanks to Daddy’s frozen lemonade).
-- She’s become an even bigger talker – telling us whoppers in “Alexa-speak.”
-- She has become quite adept at using Crayons and she loves to “coaler.”
-- She drew with chalk for the 1st time & enjoyed getting messy as much as chalking.
-- She asks to “pop” every day – popping bubbles, that is.
-- She has discovered what happens when she goes #2 in her diaper . . . she says “poopy diapee.” We might be potty training soon.
-- She can sing (with assistance) “Head & Shoulders, Knees & Toes” while pointing to the appropriate parts of her body. It’s a hoot to watch.

Here’s a glimpse from the past four weeks . . .

Alexa’s ready to take on the world in Daddy’s shoes – too bad she can’t see it.

We’re trying to discourage Alexa from a career in modeling unmentionables. However, she thinks Daddy’s underwear is pretty fashionable.

Working on her chalk art. I love that look of concentration – such a serious artist.

Such a happy girl after her three hour nap. She likes to jump in her crib now too.

Here are some precious moments from Disney World – more to come!!
Mimi and Alexa getting ready for the flight to Orlando and the magical world of Disney.

Taking a snooze on Mimi during the flight.

Our first day at the Magic Kingdom (Cinderella’s Castle in background).

Mesmerized by one of the many fountains at Epcot. This was her favorite.

Finding Nemo – literally - in the aquariums at Epcot (see Nemo on far right).

Being a “ham” with her napkin at the Corel Reef restaurant in Epcot.

Swimming with Ry-Ry, Lay-Lay & Daddy at the resort. Alexa loves big pools now.

Practicing a bit of drama with Pop and Mommy before enjoying “Finding Nemo – The Musical.”  Alexa loved the show so much and kept saying “Neno, Neno.”

Alexa taking a break from the stroller with her cousins.

Alexa loved playing with her stroller fan (a must for humid days at Disney). Unfortunately, it only kept her cool for two days before it broke. Oh well!

Telling a big story at Wolfgang Puck’s in Downtown Disney. Alexa was such a trooper at all the places we dined – even when many meals took close to two hours.

Since Alexa had never really seen any of the Disney characters it was funny watching her meet them for the first time. Here are some high and some low points . . .

High points with Disney Characters . . .

Enjoying a snuggle with Mickey Mouse at Chef Mickey’s. She loved getting his nose and she was saying “Mickey” the second day we were there. After all, this mouse is ubiquitous at Disney World.

Giving Tigger a high five – whoo-hoo-hoo-hoo!!

Alexa thought Winnie the Pooh was pretty great. She liked his nose too.

Low points with Disney Characters . . .

Apparently, Alexa likes her Mommy more than Ariel from The Little Mermaid.

Alexa does not want any more pics with “Marlin” – Nemo’s daddy in “Finding Nemo, The Musical.” We were able to meet the characters backstage after the performance because my mom had a connection.

And when it was all said and done - she slept . . .
Alexa in dreamland on the first leg of our flight home.

Conked out in the car on the drive home from Dallas . . . what a vacation!

And . . . just for kicks!

You gotta love a gal who can stare down the professional Disney photographer who took this pic for us. Opa . . . I think he was wearing your hat!

More magical moments to come!!