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!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Back to School 2017-2018

Back to School felt VERY big for our family this year – both kids are finally at the same school. One drop off, one pick up, and nooooo more daycare bills. Hooray!
Anna and Will First Day of Second Grade and Kindergarten 2017-2018
We have entered a new stage of parenting!

Now that we are 3 weeks into the new school year, I can safely say that Will is rocking kindergarten. He has transitioned seamlessly. I am sure having Anna there helped, but I am also positive that the reason why Anna is also doing so well is because she has Will. In time like this, I am so glad that they have each other to depend on and watch over each other.

Our schedule looks like this: I drop the kids off at before-care at around 7:20am and meet them back at school for pick up at 4:05pm. GET THIS -- at drop off, I don't even get out of the car anymore. I push a little button and the minivan door slides open, both kids get out, walk into the building and classroom, wave me goodbye at the window and I drive off. A-MAH-zing.

Anyway, through some nudging on my part, Will has Anna's old kindergarten teacher, Ms. R, who I love. For some reason, she especially adores Anna and when she found out that Will is on her class list, she excitedly emailed me to let me know. This was BEFORE we got the classroom assignment in the mail. haha. I have no doubt that this is going to be a great year for Will. He says that his favorite part about school is "playing with Ayaan" and least favorite is quiet time :)

As for Anna, second grade seems to demand more academically. When I asked, she said that second grade is "okay", no longer "easy" like she had said about the previous years. I guess I will just need to gather all my patience superpower and work on things with her at home.
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^^The school theme for this year!^^

Here's to a great school year! I hope to have many happy news to share as we journey through the next 9 months!

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Dairy Days at Sully Plantation

A couple of weeks ago, I took the kids to Sully Plantation in Chantilly (VA). It was another place I have long wanted to visit :) My plan was to just walk around and visit the buildings (nearly all original from the late 18th century), such as the main house, dairy house, smoke house, etc. I knew there was a special event, Dairy Days, happening that day, but at $7 per person, I was planning on skipping it.

However, once we got there and the kids saw that they could make their own ICE CREAM, they begged to do it. So, thanks to their generous grandma (who was along for the trip), they did :)

On top of hand-cranking their very own vanilla ice cream, they also learned the process of churning and washing butter and played some historic games.
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Haha, for some reason, we were the only ones there for the special event. I guess it wasn't all that popular ;) Since the kids were the only participants, they did all the muscle work. The two of them took turns going between ice cream cranking and butter churning and did all the work. The end result was extra sweet.
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I thought Sully Plantation was very nice, but on its own, the kids probably wouldn't have gotten much out of it. Hopefully, with the hands-on activities from Dairy Days, they will have some kind of recollection. Maybe next summer, we will do the house (above) tour during Camp Mama. I can't wait :)

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

summer stories

I couldn't bear to throw these cute stories away, but I also don't want extra papers around the house. So what to do? Scan them and post on the blog! :)
WilliamsburgStory_Anna
(by Anna : age 7) 
Translation: We went to Williamsburg with Mama's family. We played with Andrew our cousin. He had lots of trains. Me and Will played with his trains. It was fun. We also went to Busch Gardens and Water Country. It was so much fun there. We miss Williamsburg, but we like home too!

CampStory_Will
(by Will : age 5) 
Translation: I love camp because I like it because we play zip zap.

[+/-] Extra Sugar!