Better late than never

So here I am 3 months late on posting.  I just cannot blog daily.  Too much going on in daily life.  I know, I know, I need to put it on my daily calendar like I  do everything else  but do you really want to know what I do every day?  If you do I can sum it up for you here –  wake up kids, feed kids, chase kids, chauffer kids, shop for kids, clean for kids, do laundry for kids, run dishwasher for kids, therapies for Riley, bathe kids, put kids to bed and I literally pass out.  See, now you are in the know on a daily basis.  If you don’t believe me  ask Karl, Nanny Joan or the dog. 

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Disney- it can be done with 4 kids under the age of 6

Well, we did it but it was a lot of work.  We would have never done this trip if it weren’t for  mom & vits meeting us in Orlando and helping with the kids and helping us push 3 strollers. If they hadn’t had met us we would NOT have done this trip – no way.  Karl and I have not been to Disney since our honeymoon 14 years ago. We did a 2 weeker:  1 week in Disney and a 1 week’s cruise and believe it or not we wish we would have stayed at Disney that second week.  It really is the most magical place on earth.  To see Riley and Reese’s faces when they saw Mickey, Minnie, Woody, Jesse, Cinderella etc. was priceless.   I think the highlight for me was when Tinker bell flew off the castle (on a zip line) to start the firework show – truly fabulous! 

Traveling with 4 kids under 6 was an experience. Now I know why we went to Jamaica instead of our yearly family beach vacation this past summer. Traveling with infants is tough and although the boys are not infants anymore it was still tough.  I think I was on my knees turned around the whole time I wasn’t driving with my grabber tool.  If you don’t know what a gopher grabber tool is here is the link: http://www.asseenontvguys.com/gopher-tool.aspx .  Best thing ever! I had this when I was pregnant with the boys because it was hard to bend over and pick up anything and it’s a great toy picker upper   We brought it along in the car to hand stuff back to Riley and Reese since they sit all the way in the back and when the boys would drop their cups etc. it was truly a lifesaver. Whoever told me it takes 6 hours to get to Disney from Alpharetta is out of their mind…  it took us 9 hours with 2 stops. 1st stop was 1.5 hours and the 2nd a ½ hour.  Colin was pretty cranky the whole way due to an ear infection (he was on antibiotics and motrin) but totally understood.

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Magic Kingdom – Day 1

Walking down Main Street and seeing the castle is truly a treat and those of you that have gone know what I mean.  Reese & Riley were in awe!  In the weeks prior to going to Disney we were watching Disney Movie’s at home and in the opening of the movies you would see the castle. We would tell R&R we were going there and once they saw it for real they were mesmerized. Reese could not wait to see Cinderella and give her a great big hug.  We spent the 1st day at Magic Kingdom riding all the popular rides: Dumbo, Buzz Lightyear, the carousel, Mickey and Minnie’s house (pictures with Minnie & Mickey), Move it! Shake it! parade etc. We went back to our hotel that afternoon to let the kids swim and nap because we knew we were going back that night for the parade and fireworks which as I mentioned above, was truly fabulous!  Before the parade and fireworks we had plenty of time to see other stuff and to find the princesses.  We found them under the red tent in Toon Town: Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Ariel. Reese was on cloud nine and I don’t think she knew what to do.  Reese is very verbal like her mom  and she didn’t say a word.   Truly a fabulous 1st day at Disney. 

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Animal Kingdom – Day 2

Another fun day!  I think the most favorite was the jungle safari ride.  This was one the boys could do as they could sit in our laps.  Very cool seeing all the animals and riding through the jungle.  A lot of the rides had height restrictions so there were several R&R could not ride but there was enough they could see and do and overall it was fun. 
That evening we decided to head to Downtown Disney for dinner.  We didn’t get there until the busy dinner hour but thought we would try and find a place – thank goodness the kids had snacks before we left.   We thought the first restaurant we got to that had no wait is where we would eat. That restaurant was Portabello’s.  Colin was still not 100% due to his ear infection and was very clingy and cranky. As soon as we got in and seated I quickly ordered for the kids (I always order for them first as I am sure most parents do ) and started an adult drink order. As soon as that order went in, Colin went into a screaming tirade – so not like him.  I took him outside to calm him down.  I brought him back in and another screaming tirade.  This went on 2 more times.  So instead of upsetting anyone around us and the kids order was already in I left with Colin and told Karl, mom and vits to enjoy their dinner and I would stroll around with Colin. Not a problem, just needed to get him out of there and make sure he was ok.  So he and I strolled around the complex. I found an outside margarita bar that had a cover band playing Jimmy Buffett music.  That calmed down Colin and I ‘drank’ my dinner.  As I walked back toward the restaurant to meet everyone I realized I was in ‘Pleasure Island’.  I laughed to myself as I remembered Karl and I were partying our way through Pleasure Island during our honeymoon and here I am 14 years later strolling through with Colin and a margarita in hand. Too funny!

Magic Kingdom – Day 3

I love facebook for this very reason:   I found out that a very dear friend that I hadn’t seen in almost 20 years was going to Disney at the same time we were.  Alesia and I were inseparable growing up and had lost touch until facebook.  We only visited over lunch for about an hour but we had picked up where we left off 20 years ago.  It was so good to see her and her family.  It’s like we had never been apart!  Last day at the Magic Kingdom was very crowded.  The first day was great but as the weekend went on and it was closer to the holiday it got busier.  Glad we were leaving that day as it was wall to wall people.   We finished up the other side of the park, saw Woody, Jesse, Princess Tiana, and Goofy and headed out around 4 pm to make our way to Venice for Thanksgiving.

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Thanksgiving in Venice

We spent the last couple of days of our trip at my parents house.  Angelo, my older brother, and my sister-in-law Stephanie drove up from Ft. Lauderdale to join us.  The kids swam, we went to the beach and had a typical 15+ family and friends Thanksgiving in the club house in the community where my parents live.  Here are some photos from Venice.

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Fran and Karl’s ‘top 10’ on driving to and doing Disney with 4 kids under the age of 6

  1. Leave earlier than 5 am – Maybe 4 am would have been better. Karl and I don’t drive well at night as we get too sleepy and that wouldn’t be good.
  2. Have plenty of drinks, toys and snacks in the car and make sure they are easy to get to.
  3. Buy and bring a gopher grabber tool – a must have to pass stuff to the back of the car and just to have at home – you will thank me later.
  4. Have strollers for any child 8 and younger.  This tip was suggested to me and highly recommended. You will get through the park much faster and won’t have cranky kids.  You will have to break them down to get on the busses to and from the hotel which is a pain but still well worth it.  You don’t have to break them down for the boats or monorail. If you rent them at the park they do not recline and they are very expensive. I think I saw a sign that said $35 for a double stroller per day.
  5. Bring snacks and drinks into the park. It will save you lots of $$.  If you do eat at the park, either have dining reservations booked 180 days in advance or eat at off times. 
  6. If you have a special needs child get the special needs pass.  This saved us a lot of time.  We never had to wait in line for anything.  And let me tell you, some of the wait times were 90 min plus!  Riley would have never been able to wait that long.
  7. Breathe! Breathe! Breathe! It can be done.  Just need to be patient and go with the flow.  Our attitude was ‘No expectations and whatever happens, happens’ – just like me not having dinner that one night and taking a cranky child out of the restaurant. Not a big deal – things happen – I always say ‘kids come first’.
  8. DVD’s in the car are a must for the drive down – preferably Disney movies to get the kids really excited.
  9. Don’t forget your camera! But also get a photo pass card. Not to worry – they will find you!  I thought the prices were pretty reasonable ($150 for the photo CD so have them takes lots of photos and it’s totally worth it) and after seeing the pictures on line we did buy the CD.  They took great photos.
  10. BENADRYL !
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