Monday, October 30, 2017

October Happenings

Happy Halloween Eve!

Now that tomorrow is the last day of October, it's time for a photo dump.

First, I got this cute picture of Mango and the pumpkins :)
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We are loving having Mango around more than ever. Simply put, he's a small dog with a big dog personality. He's cuddly, yet super playful and chill at the same time. Just a few minutes earlier, he was playing with his squeaky toys and making a ruckus, but now he's sleeping on my lap as I blog. Luke gives him the best haircut (we get "who's your groomer?" a lot) and the kids just think he's the cutest!

Anyway, this month we spent a lot of time on the soccer field, although missed a couple of practices and a game too because Will has been sick and coughing.
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We have been lucky with the mild weather so waiting for Will on the sideline while he plays has been rather enjoyable.
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We got our free pumpkins at the annual Halloween on the Green event in the Town of Vienna. This is a must-do event on my Fall bucket list.
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Other activities included crafts, games and prizes, moon bounces, face painting, balloon art, and cotton candy & popcorn.
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I love this local event!

Will got to dress up as a firefighter on our visit to Vienna Fire Station
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and also got to put out a fire.
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We also joined in on the celebration of Vienna Little Library birthday bash.

Unfortunately this cake didn't taste as good as it looked.
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At the celebration, Anna read books to a dog :)
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and the kids played some old-fashion games.
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We don't live in the Town of Vienna, but sure glad to live close by so it's easy to get to these family-friendly town events!

As promised, we went back to Fall Harvest Days at Frying Pan Park.
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On the ride over, I managed to convince the kids to try their hand at milking a cow and they said they would (!), but when we got there, the milking station was already closed. Next year for sure!! I won't blog in details like I did last year, but here is the link to our first visit. Lots of the same activities...but they did change a few things to keep it fresh. Can't wait to return!

No fall colors yet, but after visiting several open houses (yep, we are casually house shopping!) one Sunday afternoon, we went to Meadowlark Gardens.
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School-wise, kids are doing well. I can't believe the holidays (& winter) are almost upon us. Pretty soon, it will feel like the kids hardly ever go to school.

Luke chaperoned a Kindergarten field trip to Cox Farms
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and I took the kids to two school events -- Family Science Night
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and Halloween Fun Night.
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^^Getting her fortunes told.^^

We also brought Chick-Fil-A and had lunch with both kids at school!
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We carved pumpkins.
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Luke did a great job of carving the kids' pumpkins based on their original designs.
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 All without using proper pumpkin carving tools!
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And tomorrow, the kids will dress up as Eevee and Charmander for ToT!

October has been full & fun!

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Friday, October 13, 2017

Disney World Trip Report 2017

Last month, we took a family trip to Disney World!
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It had been 3 years since our last visit and we all very much looked forward to it. We left on a Wednesday after school & work and caught an evening flight out. By the time we checked into Pop Century, it was around 10:30pm.

We stayed at Pop Century again for budget reason but also for nostalgia. All the kids know about Disney resorts is Pop Century and it’s their happy place :) We got a room on the ground level of a building in the 60s. It was convenient to the pool, transportation and food court.

One evening they had props out for pictures. Of course we had to do it :)
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Even though we said again and again that we won’t do Disney Dining Plan again, we did. This time, though, we only had Quick Service, so at least no dining reservations to adhere to. It was great! I didn’t think we overate until the very last day when we were hurrying to use up all the meal credits.
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^^My all-time most favorite meal at Disney!^^

I thought September would be less crowded but I was wrong about that. Boy, don’t kids go to school?? ;) It was also very hot. In a way, it was good that no hurricanes blew through while we were there (Irma had just happened days earlier), but still, the heat. The kids were troopers though -- no strollers, walked in the heat and waited in lines like champs.

But truthfully, it didn’t feel like we waited a lot for rides. For the most part, we used FastPass+ to bypass the lines. For anyone going to Disney World, I am sure you all know that you can make 3 FastPass+ reservations in advance, but did you know that after you used up all 3, you can make more one at a time? That was amazing. One night at Magic Kingdom, we did just that and we were able to just walk-on on soooo many rides!

We experienced some new-to-the-family rides. To name a few: Tower of Terror, Expedition Everest, Space Mountain, DINOSAUR, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Frozen Ever After, Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular.

Some rides I didn’t want to get on because they make me sick, like Mission Space, so Luke did it with the kids while I rested.
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After years of wanting to eat at Be Our Guest, my dream finally came true. I started attempting to make dining reservations as soon as I was able to (180 days out), but had no success. It was actually Luke who somehow miraculously got us not one, but two last-minute breakfast reservations!

So one time, we sat in the ballroom and the next time in the West Wing.
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It was pretty cool to finally see the inside of the castle :), even though on both visits we had a kid throwing up. Yes you read that right. Sheesh!
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Having taken the kids at 2 years, 4 years and, most recently, at 5 and 7 years old, I think to myself, why did I take them when they were younger? I mean I have fond memories of those previous trips, but dealing with diapers and naps couldn’t have been much fun. This time, the kids were able to understand and appreciate, but still young enough to buy-in on the Disney magic. It was perfect!
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We had so much fun on our vacation and miss it already. We plan to return - 2020!

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Monday, October 2, 2017

monday morning catch ups.

I can't believe I only blogged twice in September and neither of those posts were about events that actually happened IN that month.

Here is a short catch up:

/1/ Will started back up with soccer. Now that he's in U6, soccer is twice a week -- practice on Thursday and game on Saturday. Practice is at 5:15pm, and luckily it's right at the elementary school so there is no traffic getting there. That was my biggest worry when I signed him up so I am glad that it's working out OK. Will continues to like soccer a lot, which is great to see!
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/2/ More on Will...he's doing so well in piano too. He learns quickly and likes to practice. A very good combination :) Practicing with him is rather pleasant, as oppose to practicing with the other piano player we have in the house. Although to be fair, Anna is making good progress too. I think Will is rubbing off on her and sometimes I will find her practicing without me having to say anything.

/3/ We finally bought the kids bikes (w/ training wheels). Now that the weather is getting cooler, it will probably be next Spring before they really learn, but so far they enjoy it, although paddling for some reason is really difficult for both. 
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/4/ No apple picking this year, but we did pick pears from Grandpa's pear tree.
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That winter melon? INSANE.
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/5/ We have a new favorite series -- Captain Underpants! Kids just dig all that potty talk :-/ We are on book 2, but I can already see us finishing the series soon. The hardest part is trying to find them at the library. I think the books have gotten very popular since the movie, which we watched and the kids found it hilarious .

/6/ Finally, Disney World!

We just got back last week! It was our first trip in 3 years....a new record. Looking forward in sharing pictures and stories sometime soon.
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[+/-] Extra Sugar!