Thursday, July 31, 2008

Swim Lessons

On Monday Gabe had his first swim lesson - with Mommy of course. FYI - for the entire month of June Ben had swimming lessons and did great! Gabe complained to me numerous times - "I wanna go swimming wessons." (verbatim). So, I enrolled him in class 2 evenings/week. I never know when the "two year old" is going to kick in. Those who have two year olds know what I am talking about. Even though the child is excited about something, for some reason a stubborn wind hits and it is "bye bye" cooperation. Gabe goes to the pool all the time and loves to bounce and jump and play in the water. But all of a sudden he is clinging to me like his life depends on it. "Gabe, jump to me!" "Let's splash the water!" "Blow Bubbles!" All of this is said in the sing-song mommy voice that usually gets results, but now sounds a little desparate. All my excitement is met with firm resistance. Finally the teacher hands out little rubber ducks and his resistance melts. The rest of the class went by smoothly. The funniest part is that I found myself comparing Gabe to the other kids - and I am sure I am not the only one. I know that every parent is thinking to themselves "Oh, look how good my little _____ is at kicking his/her legs." "My little _____ scoops so well!" Then we all look expectantly at the teacher willing her to congratulate our child on their excellent bubble blowing. Rather pathetic. I hope I will grow out of it.

Sunday, July 20, 2008


Our first day in FL on Sunday, playing in the park. What fun awaits us!

Posted by Picasa

Trip to Florida

On July 5 - 12 we packed our bags, locked our front door and headed to sunny and humid Florida. The boys were really good on the plane - a 2 and a half hour flight helps. Once we got there, I instantly started sweating. The combination of heat and humidity does something horrible to my body. I start to puddle and melt. Not a pretty sight.

On Sunday we went to church, hung out at the pool and got ready for the upcoming week. It was a good way to start our vacation.

On Monday, Mike, Ben, Gabe, and I went to Animal Kingdom at Disneyworld. (The rest of the family went to Universal Studios). We had a blast!!! We hit the kiddie area first and the big hit was Triceratop Spin. We went on it about 5 times. Then we went to the Safari Ride. It was fun! The boys were so cute. Their eyes were big and very fascinated by the Rhino's, elephants, giraffes, lion, hippos and many other African animals. The jeep ride is exciting too. My bum completely lifted off the seat a couple of times. Didn't feel good when I landed. Then we went on the River Raft ride - 4 times total. Gabe declined so Mike and I switched off. After lunch Ben decided he wanted to go on Everest - a big rollercoaster. He barely hit the height requirement. The ride was fantastic..... for me. Ben was having a great time until he saw the scary snow monster trying to rip up the tracks. Then there was the zooming around the tracks in pitch black. When the ride ended he jumped out and yelled, "I HATED THAT RIDE! IT WAS STUPID! I NEVER WANT TO DO THAT AGAIN!" Of course I couldn't resist - "Do you want to go on the ride with Dad?" See previous reaction for his response. I asked him later if he like the roller coaster part - which he did. He just didn't like the monster and darkness. I was pretty impressed that he wanted to go on a big rollercoaster ride. He's my little thrill seeker. Eventually it got a little too hot and nap time quickly approached so we headed home for some pool time and R and R. We went back later and rode a couple more rides, but we were mostly steamed out. It was a really fun and successful day, though.

I just have to say, if anyone is going to Disneyworld, they need to go to It had the best advice as to how to get through Disneyworld successfully.

On Tuesday we went to Cocoa Beach. It was a nice afternoon. The water felt great and the waves were lots of fun. The boys had a blast making sand castles and just getting sand all over themselves.

On Wednesday we went to Seaworld. It was HOT!!! The "Believe" show for Shamu was really good and we were very glad we got to see it. We hit all the fun rides for the boys, had lunch, and went to one more show - with dolphins. What stands out the most was HOT. I think we all felt like we were roasting in the sun and by 3:00 pm we were DONE! Besides we had to get back to get ready to see Blue Man Group. Grandpa graciously bought tickets for everyone (except Gabe and Owen) and Grandma and Grandpa stayed home to watch the two little ones. It was fantastic. We all sat in the 2nd and 3rd rows - the splash zone. Ben and I had banana all over our rain ponchos. Ben loved the show and it was so much fun to watch his reactions. It was like a big party and Ben was yelling and screaming and having a grand old time with the rest of us. It was too cute. After the show we decided to go to Downtown Disney and hit Lego Land. IT WAS CRAZY BUSY! I never thought I would see so many kids out at 10:00 pm! McDonald's was a madhouse (we had to wait 20 minutes to get our dinner and we were starving and cranky!) Mike accidently dumped his coke all over the cashier and by that time he was so irritated that he said, "Great!" and then walked away. The cashier yelled back, "Have a nice evening sir!" Later Mike suffered guilt over his ill-mannered behavior. Crowds+hunger+fatigue = cranky Mike, cranky Jill, cranky Ben. However, the Lego land brightened our evening. We managed to add to our current Lego collection. Ben was such a trooper. He didn't get to bed til about 11:00 that night and he was pretty cheery for most of it.

On Thursday we decided to take it easy. The rest of the family went to Cocoa Beach, but we thought we would hang out at the pool and relax. AFter spending the morning at the pool we headed to Olive Garden for lunch. I know it is cheesy, but we don't have an Olive Garden around here (well 45 minutes away) and I looooove Soup and Salad. After lunch we went to the outlets so Mike could look for some shoes - he had blisters on his feet from the previous days. We went into the Nike store and it was CROWDED!! While Mike looked for shoes I stayed by the entrance with the boys and they played with their newly acquired LEGOs. FYI - Lego's are terrible toys to take anywhere outside of the house because they come apart easily and the parts are small. The boys were putting their Legos on a "Used Shoe Depository" - A large plastic container with a round opening at the top to put used shoes in. The fun began when Gabe dropped a Lego guy into the opening and it was immediately swallowed up in all the gross, stinky shoes. Ben is known to throw some pretty dandy hysterics and he went into a full blown panting, crying. hysteric. My inclination is to just walk away and leave the Lego guy to his fate. But, I go against my instincts and start gingerly removing shoes from the pile to see if I can spot the guy. Pretty soon one of the employees asks me if I need something. Of course I don't need the shoes and I tell him the situation. He very kindly starts helping me look for the guy. He starts picking out the shoes with a pen so he doesn't have to touch them. Soon enough Mike comes along and we are all digging through shoes. I think we have a small crowd trying to help us find the guy. Finally we find him resting atop a large smelly shoe!!! YAY!!! The things we do for our kids - is it truly necessary? The employees at Nike were great though. I appreciated their help immensely.

On Friday we went to Disneyworld Magic Kingdom. We followed the route recommended by Tour Guide Mike and we got through every ride we wanted to go on. Some of Ben's favorite rides were "The Haunted House", "Pirates", and "Thunder Mountain". On "Splash Mountain" Ben decided that he had to go pee really bad and I think he would have enjoyed that a little more if he hadn't been wriggling around so much. It's not the best ride to have a bladder attack on because you are surrounded by water and fountains and lots of reminders that you need to go pee. Friday was my favorite day because we were together with all of the family and Magic Kingdom is such a (dare I say it) "magical" place. I'm all fired up to go again!!!

Saturday was departure day. Mike was planning on getting up at a leisurely time and in the car so we would be at the airport about an hour and a half early. I had my reservations about that because I remember seeing the massive amount of people at the airport when we arrived the previous Saturday. We got to the airport an hour and forty-five minutes before our departure time and the line to check baggage was at least an hour long!!!! There was no way we would make our flight. But, Mike pulled a smooth one. While I waited with the boys in the long curbside check in line Mike went to the front and discreetly talked to one of the check in guys. The conversation went something like this -"We really need to make this flight. Is there anything that can be done?" Check in guy - "Well, the line is at least an hour both inside and out so your probably not going to get your baggage on this flight, if make the flight at all. However, we do work for tips." Mike - "Hmmmm, I've got fifteen bucks in my pocket - it's all I have. Is there anything YOU can do for me?" Check in guy - "I'll check you in right now, just be discreet about this, OK?" Mike waved me over and we quickly dragged all our luggage to the front and Mike checked us in while me and the boys ran inside! It was AWESOME!!! We would have given the guy 50 bucks if we had it on us! Our flight was supposed to be over booked and there were a lot of empty seats. That tells you how lucky we were!!

Anyway, we had a great time and I can't wait to go back.

Safari Ride

One of the highlights of Animal Kingdom is the Safari Ride where you get to see some big animals very close up. It was great fun!

Posted by Picasa


Ben and Gabe have found a new career in entertaining crowds with their drumming abilities. Next stop, the subway stations in New York!

Posted by Picasa

Getting wet

It was pretty darn hot during the day and getting wet seemed like a great way to stay cool. The boys got very wet splashing around in the fountains. Anything to keep them happy.

Posted by Picasa

More Animal Kingdom

Gabe and I took some pictures to pass the time while Mike and Ben went on the River Raft ride. Ben went a total of 4 times - 2 times with me and 2 times with Mike. Gabe, being a stubborn 2 year old refused to let himself be measured to go on the ride. He had an intense fear of the footprints that he had to stand on to be measured. He wanted to do the ride, just didn't want to do the work to get on the ride. Oh well, he's 2.

Here's Gabe and I standing in front of the tree of life at the entrance of Animal Kingdom. It is quite a sight, when you can see it.
Posted by Picasa

Cocoa Beach

At Cocoa Beach the boys enjoyed wading in the water and then wading in the sand. As seen in the bottom picture, Gabe created an interesting paste composed of 10 parts sand and 2 parts boogers. It was nearly impossible to remove, and that was even without the boogers. Ben exclaimed later that he had sand in every part of his body.

Posted by Picasa


Mike took some awesome pictures of the whales in mid air. The boys loved the "Believe" show that featured the killer whales and the enormous Shamu. They were mesmerized the whole time.

Ben love the roller coaster at Seaworld. It was on the tamer side, though. He still declared that it was awesome.
Posted by Picasa

Hitting the Rides

Posted by Picasa

Watching Philharmagic

Wearing the cool 3-D glasses below is Ben and cousin Ethan, then below that is cousin Alex, Aunt Vicky, and Uncle Scott. All look beautiful!

Posted by Picasa

Hang Time

In the afternoon we all needed a little hang time with some ice cream. The cousins are sooo much fun - along with Grandma and Grandpa of course

Posted by Picasa

Buzz Lightyear Ride

The Buzz Lightyear ride was "AWESOME" with fists pumping in the air (straight from Ben).

Posted by Picasa

Magic Kingdom

It downpoured on us!! The lightning was a little scary we'd see a huge flash and thunder that coincided with it. It cooled us down, but we ran from the park at 5:00 pm and there was a little bit of fear for our lives. No one was hit by lightning in our group - although on the news that night, there were reports of several people being hit in the area!

While Gabe and Mike watched a little TV, Gabe looked over at Mike and said, "You're a good Dada." One of those AWWWWWW moments.
Posted by Picasa