Adelie and Staley's World

Adelie and Staley's World

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Disney: Traveling and the Resort

I'm not sure how to do this.  I don't know how to blog this trip so that I remember it all.  I don't know how to choose from my over 250 pictures (which I've already trimmed down from close to 500) to best portray this trip.  I don't know how to include all the little things, like how the table in our hotel turned into a bed (super exciting!!), without leaving out any of the big things, like meeting every single princess.  I'm not sure how to do this, but I'll try.

We were in Disney for about a week, flying out on Saturday and flying back on Friday.  Before we even got to Disney, we had the excitement of FLYING in an airplane.  Both girls were thrilled about this.  And all 3 kids did great traveling.  They loved watching a movie in the car on the way to the airport (in Chicago), riding the shuttle bus at the airport, flying on the plane, riding the bus to our hotel,...  Even all the bus rides we took to and from the theme parks every day were fun for the kids, as they had a great time meeting new people.  I think we made new friends every single time we rode the bus!  And Briggs traveled like his usually Briggsy self.  He napped a little, played a little, snacked a little, and loved smiling at everyone he saw.

So excited to be on the shuttle bus from the parking garage to the airport terminal.  They were seriously giddy with excitement about this little bus ride.

I packed the girls' backpacks with airplane activities and snacks.  They amused themselves throughout both our flights doing art activities, playing with figurines, singing, and snacking. 

Briggs did a little of this on the plane...

...and some of this too.

And although waiting in line to go through security at the airport was a little trying (standing still in a long line is not really Adelie's strong suit), the girls LOVED the escalators, elevators, and moving walkways at the airport.  Especially the moving walkways.  Talk about hours of fun for the whole family!!

One of our many bus rides to and from the theme parks each day
Once at Disney, we stayed in a family suite at Art of Animation in a 'Cars' themed room.  The suite was great.  There were two bathrooms, a bedroom, a living room/kitchenette area, and a little dining area.  And, as I mentioned before, the girls thought it was AWESOME that the table turned into a bed, so we could eat breakfast in the same place that Staley slept each night.  (Adelie slept on the pull-out sofa in the living room and Briggs slept in a pack and play.)

The super exciting bed/table.
Disney doesn't do anything halfway.  Our room (and the entire resort) was totally themed out.  Our room was wall-to-wall 'Cars' themed.  The carpet had traffic cones imbedded, the artwork was scenes from the movie, the dressers looked like toolboxes, and the lamp shades were traffic cones.  Even the shower curtains were 'Cars'.  And the girls loved discovering all the little Disney amenities, like how the soap wrappers had Tinkerbell on them and how the shampoo had Mickey ears.

The toolbox dresser was Zach's favorite.
The whole resort was themed for 4 various Disney movies, and each area had its own amazing d├ęcor.  The Little Mermaid area had huge (like 3 stories high) statues of the main characters.  The Lion King area was very Jungle-y.  The Nemo area had all the Nemo characters, and also had the biggest pool.  And then the Cars area had life-size replicas of all the cars in the movie.  Mater was right outside our building, and the girls wanted to take pictures with him just about every time we came and went from the building.  But they loved walking through the resort and checking out all the other areas as well.

Staley with Mater

Adelie and Guido
We went back to our resort for nap time on 2 days.  But since neither girl could calm down enough to nap at the resort, I took them swimming while Zach and Briggs got a little mid-afternoon shut-eye.  Our resort had 3 pools, so we tried out 2 of them.  Of course, they were both a big hit...because who's going to complain about swimming outside in a heated pool in the middle of January??

Other resort highlights:  We could see fireworks from several of the different theme parks from our resort, and even our hotel window.  The employees were all super friendly and gave our girls lots and lots of stickers.  I could call guest services and they'd come through with whatever it was we needed--a pack and play for Briggs to sleep in, extra blankets, a box fan,...  Our bathroom had a really big shower, and the girls had the best time taking a shower together in there.  They showed movies on a big screen outside several nights of the week, complete with popcorn.  (Staley REALLY wanted to do this, but the night we stumbled across it, the movie was almost over--and just getting to the "scary" part.)  Buses ran directly from our hotel to each of the 4 theme parks, and there was never much of a wait to get on the bus.  Our hotel had a cafeteria-style restaurant where we ate 2 nights.  It was a little slow, but they had a make-your-own-pasta station which Staley chose both times we ate there and declared her favorite meal of our whole trip.  Disney even picked up our bags at the airport and delivered them directly to our room, and then we were able to quickly and easily check our bags and get our boarding passes at our hotel so that our return trip was much less stressful.  (Well, except for trying to keep Adelie from touching everyone's luggage and climbing on the rope dividers while waiting in the long security line at the airport.) Disney definitely has this costumer-service thing down.  Everyone we encountered went out of their way to be friendly and helpful and to make things as easy as possible.


Friday, January 29, 2016

Magical Moment of the Day

We are home.  Tonight when Uma and Papa stopped by, the girls were beside themselves with excitement as they were telling Uma and Papa all about our trip.  They had so much to tell them about each ride and each character and the meals and the hotel.  They couldn't wait to show them each and every autograph that they got.  It was so fun to see the excitement and joy that they brought home from this trip.  And Staley asked me if I still had each little memento she acquired along the way...her wishing star and her Tomorrowland Speedway driver's license and the little "gold doubloons" from the Disney Jr. show.

I know the trinkets will soon be lost.  I know the excitement will fade.  I know the girls probably won't remember all the magical moments from this trip, or as time passes, even the trip at all.  But I will.  I will remember the way their faces lit up when they got their first glimpse of a princess or character.  The way they jumped and clapped with excitement during the parades.  The way they couldn't wait to try a new ride, or to ride a favorite over and over again.  I won't forget the way Adelie stared in awe at each character she met.  The way Staley was so proud of riding a roller coaster that she couldn't wait to tell everyone all about it.  The way Briggs made friends wherever he went, whether it was with people on the bus or waiters or princesses or characters in costume.  It was a magical vacation, and I won't ever forget it.

Because how can you forget this moment?
This joy?
This face?
I do believe in the magic of Disney, and these magical moments will be forever etched in my memory...and my heart.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Magical Moment of the Day

How Staley couldn't stop jumping up and down and clapping during the Main Street Electrical Parade.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Magical Moment of the Day

Taking time this afternoon and evening to relax and enjoy our resort
Having fun in the pool

Checking out the awesome decor

Catching a surprise fireworks show on our way back to our room after dinner

Monday, January 25, 2016

Magical Moment of the Day

How every time Adelie meets a character, she is so enamored that she is often looking at them rather than the camera.  And how she asks every single one where they sleep.  (Before meeting a character/princess, we always ask the girls what they might want to ask the character.  Our very first character that the girls met was mermaid Ariel, and Staley wanted to ask her where she sleeps.  Now Adelie asks every single character that we meet where they sleep.  :))

Briggs got to take a real nap in a real bed today.  I'm sure he thought that was magical.  :)

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Magical Moment of the Day

Staley and Adelie getting their first glimpse of mermaid Ariel in her grotto

And a super-chill baby who can enjoy being along for the ride is always magical in my book!!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Magical Moment of the Day

Watching fireworks from our hotel window

Disney Quote of the Day

This morning on our way out of town for our Disney trip, we had to stop by the post office so that I could pick up a package.  As we pulled up in front of the post office, Adelie asked, "Is this Disney World?"


Thursday, January 21, 2016

Question of the Day

Staley:  "Are fish sticks made out of real fish?"
Me:  "Yes."
Adelie:  "Are gold fish made out of real gold?"

Monday, January 18, 2016

The Countdown...

Less than a week until we leave for our Disney trip!!

I've been planning for about a year.  I've researched and made lists and bought supplies and borrowed things.  I've been trying to keep us as healthy as possible.  I've been obsessively watching the weather report, both for here (praying for no winter storms that will keep us from flying out) and for Orlando (and imagining basking in the 70 degree sun).  I've already started packing.  This week, I'm taking no chances with unnecessary germ exposure.  (No Sunday School, no pre-school, no library.)  I've done everything I can to plan and prepare for this trip so that hopefully, once we are there, I can sit back, relax, and soak in the magic.  I don't know about my kids, but I CAN'T WAIT!!!!

First Haircut



(Briggs did great!!  He was all smiles the whole time.  He sat nicely on my lap and held still for Miss Brittany.  When he got a little wiggly towards the end, she gave him a big puff brush to hold and he thought that was super fun.)

and after.
(Still holding his puff brush.)

What a handsome boy!!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Slow Down!

Briggs has added "kitty", "sissy", "night-night", and "Grammie" to his vocabulary.  He is a voracious eater, and will sometimes out-eat his sisters at mealtimes.  He loves to play hide and seek.  And now he's realized that he can crawl up the stairs and onto low furniture.

Slow down, buddy!  Slow down!!!!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Five Years

Disclaimer:  This is my annual long, detailed post to help me remember who my children are at each age.  Feel free to skip this post if it's more information than you really care to read.  This one is mostly for me.  :)


It's hard to believe that my baby is already 5 years old.  She is growing up so fast!  She now weighs around 40 lbs and is 42" tall.  (I know this because she wants me to measure her almost every night so that she knows which rides at Disney she is going to be tall enough for.  :))  She is wearing 5T clothes from the toddler section and XS (4/5) clothes from the girls section.  It makes me a little sad that she has almost outgrown the cute little sizes and is growing into the big kid sizes.  She is in size 9 shoes.  Staley never, ever, ever naps, although she does "rest time" every day at home, which is basically just playing on her own while her siblings nap and I get some things done.  She sleeps for about 11-12 hours at night, with bedtime between 7:30 and 8:00.  She still has occasional (maybe once or twice every couple of months) night wakings where she has a hard time going back to sleep, but hasn't had any of her night terrors in quite a while.  She remains my opinionated, independent, thoughtful, helpful, sweet, loving little girl.

Likes:  Staley has a plethera of interests.  Current favorite play activities include playing Barbies (and Barbie horses), figurines, putting on shows (dressing up, singing, dancing, playing musical instruments), doing arts and crafts, and pretending.  Always, always, always pretending.  (This morning Staley and Adelie spent over an hour pretending they were going to Disney World.)

Staley and Adelie having a tea party with their stuffed animals

Staley loves going places--preschool, the library, kid's choir, swimming, the zoo, museums,... but is also very content to play at home.  She has a variety of little friends at church (Laynie and June), pre-school (Chloe, Josslyn, Magnolia, Bella, Dylan), for play dates (Kyli, Makinley, Avery), and in the neighborhood (Annalivia, Emmaleise, Daniel, Peter, Brody, Blake), but her best friends are Adelie, Lila, and Liam.  Although of her cousins she is closest with Lila and Liam (who are both her same age), she LOVES all her cousins and enjoys spending time with them.  She also loves playing with, and helping with, her younger siblings.  She and Adelie are two peas in a pod and play together really well.  When I interviewed Staley, she said that Adelie is her best friend.  I love that!!

Staley with her cousins Olivia and Lila

Staley and Avery
(Avery is the daughter of MY best friend, so I love that she and Staley get along so well.)
Staley is an animal lover, especially cats and horses.  And she loves to play with her stuffed animals.  Of course, Yellow Bear (now called Teddy) is her most favorite.  She still sleeps with him every night.  Staley has never been a big doll girl, but she did get an American Girl-type doll for Christmas and has really been enjoying playing with her.  She got a few little doll outfits for her birthday and insists on putting her doll in pajamas every night and then dressing her every day.  (As if getting herself ready each day didn't take long enough.  :)) 

Staley and Jackie, all ready for bed.
Outside, Staley likes riding her bike, playing on our playset, and going to the park.  Doing "big kid" things at the park is a big interest, and Staley enjoys trying things like sliding down the pole and doing the monkey bars (with help).

Being a big helper with Briggs on our play set.

Staley has also started wanting to take showers instead of baths, and gets so excited about them.  Staley is a good eater and eats most everything, although she doesn't really care for veggies.  Current favorite TV shows include Little Einsteins, Blaze and the Monster Machines, Little Charmers, and Paw Patrol.  Favorite movies are generally Barbie movies.  Staley still really likes Disney princesses.  At this moment, Jasmine is her favorite, but when asked, she will often list Jasmine, Merida, and Pocahontas at the top of her list.  (She also likes Ariel and Elsa.)  Staley loves to read!  She has many books memorized and will "read" them to Adelie.  She also likes to make up her own stories and songs...and has gotten quite good at both.  She currently really enjoys reading the Rainbow Magic fairy chapter books (they are awful!) with Zach.  But she's not too picky.  She'll sit and listen to me read books as long as I'm willing.

Staley and Adelie reading together
Staley loves to help around the house with everything from cooking to cleaning to folding laundry to watching her siblings.  She also likes to exercise with me if I'm going running or doing an exercise video. Staley always prefers to pick out her own clothes.  She generally wants to wear a dress or a skirt.  Glittery and sparkly are always preferred.  Or anything with leopard print or cheetah print.  She also still really enjoys matching or coordinating with Adelie.  Given the chance, she loves to pick out what the whole family will wear.  (She's a girl who likes to be in charge!)

Happy about their matching PJs

Dislikes:  Staley is still picky about clothing textures, preferring knit dresses and skirts with leggings.  She will occasionally wear soft pants, but not jeans or khaki pants.  She doesn't like vegetables, except cheesy carrots and corn on the cob, but will eat her veggies when requested.  She does not like to be told what to do, preferring when things are her own idea.  (That's one of the reasons I dread family pictures--telling Staley what she has to wear and how she needs to pose don't always go over very well.)  Staley is still sensitive about "scary things" and will request parts of movies or TV shows with bad guys be fast forwarded, even though we don't watch anything even remotely scary.  (She can't even make it through a movie like 'Toy Story' or the Disney princess movies or even some of the Tinkerbell movies without fast forwarding.  She even closes her eyes at some of the scenes in the super-benign kids shows she watches on Nick Jr. or Disney Jr.)  She is getting better about not covering her ears with the mixer or hand dryers, but still does not like loud noises like sirens and fireworks.  Staley can get a little pouty or bossy when people don't want to play how she wants them to, although I feel like this has been getting a little better lately.

Skills:  Staley can ride her bike with training wheels, use her two-wheeled scooter (with one foot on the scooter and one foot on the ground), do somersaults, climb most of the apparatus at the playground, and hop on one foot.  When we went swimming on her birthday, Staley was going underwater and trying to swim.  She is left-handed, and does really well with writing her capital letters, drawing simple shapes/designs (like stick people, suns, trees), cutting things out, and doing crafts.  She has a little sewing machine and loves to sew with it.

Staley will spend hours at the table doing craft projects.

Staley is getting really independent with things like getting dressed, tying her shoes, zipping her coat, washing up in the shower, brushing her teeth, brushing her hair, pouring drinks (when the cartons aren't too full), taking her dishes to the counter, and cleaning up her toys.  Staley has a great memory and is very bright.  She can count to 100 (and more), sounds out words, recognizes most of her upper case letters and numbers from 1-30 (she still struggles with B/D and 6/9), recognizes many of her lower case letters, does simple addition, has a number of Spanish words in her vocabulary, and always remembers what she learned in Sunday School, pre-school, through books/TV shows, and at home.  Staley is always thinking and is never lacking for ideas.  "I have a great idea" is something that I hear all.the.time...especially after I've proposed something different.

Staley is very sweet and kind-hearted.  She is thoughtful and loves to give compliments and make gifts for others.  She generally shares really well and plays nicely with her friends, cousins, and siblings.  She has a big heart and a sweet personality, but isn't afraid to speak her mind.  I am so proud of the little girl she is!  My heart is full!!

My big 5 year old!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Birthday Extravaganza

Staley had a fun and full 5th birthday extravaganza, starting on Saturday morning and ending with one exhausted 5 year old on Monday night.  Since Staley and Liam share a birthday, we always divide their birthday week-end when planning their parties.  So Staley's week-end started with birthday fun at Liam's batman party.  There's no better way to start a birthday extravaganza week-end than with lots of cute decorations, fun games, cousins, friends, and cake and ice cream before lunch.

Sending out the bat signal via face paint

The birthday boy and his dad
Even Butters was all themed out. 

On Sunday afternoon, Staley was so excited about her rock star party.  As a girl with many, many plans (and BIG ideas), I worried that her party might not live up to her high expectations.  My heart smiled when Staley ran up to me during her disco ball dance party and exclaimed, "This is JUST how I wanted my party to be."  (Phew!)

Ready to rock!

There were snack foods, hot pink punch, and rock star brownies, cookies, and cake balls.

Staley had a vision of a rock concert put on by all her cousins.  We had a "stage" and 3 groups of kids who each performed a song...complete with rock star gear.

The girls performed an original rendition of Happy Birthday, which was very good.
(Cade and Adelie sang a Barbie song, while Liam sang the theme to Star Wars.)

And then Staley provided a solo performance of her original song, "Singing Happy Birthday."
(Verse 1:  Here sits the birthday fox, singing happy birthday the way foxes do.  Rarrr!  Rarr!  Rarr!
Verse 2:  Here sits the birthday cat, singing happy birthday the way cats do.  Meow! Meow! Meow!
Verse 3:  Here sits the birthday duck, singing happy birthday the way ducks do.  Quack! Quack! Quack!
Verse 4:  Here sits the birthday horse, singing happy birthday the way horses do.  Neigh! Neigh! Neigh!)

And, of course, the birthday girl enjoyed birthday treats...

and presents.

Elliott brought a few magic tricks and his disco ball.  After a brief Elliott magic show, the kids had a blast dancing to princess music in their glow jewelry with the disco ball.
The party was great, but it wasn't the end of the birthday fun.  After the party, Lila stayed for movie night (watching the Barbie movie "Princess and the Pop Star") and a sleep-over.  On Monday morning, we met Liam and one of Staley's little friends for some birthday swimming fun followed by lunch at Firehouse Pizza (where another of her little friends was able to join us).
Birthday swimming fun
The birthday kids
To finish off the birthday fun, both sets of grandparents joined us on Monday evening for Staley's requested birthday dinner of cheeseburgers, cheesy carrots, and grapes.  (Since Staley requested cheeseburgers, Zach grilled out in the frigid January weather.)  Staley opened her birthday presents from us, took a few spins around the living room on her new scooter, gave final birthday hugs, and then collapsed into bed, happy and exhausted.

What a fun time we had celebrating Staley!!