Friday, April 24, 2015

We went to DISNEY WORLD!

Ellie, DeDe and I just returned from a whirlwind trip to Disney World!  I had been dreaming of taking our little family for over a year now, but knew that Miller needed to be much older for us to fully enjoy ourselves.  About 3 weeks ago, I got a very random text from my mom asking if she could take Ellie to Disney.  I first about fell out of my chair and secondly thought "not without me!"  HA.  It all snowballed from there and we soon  found ourselves on a plane  headed to the happiest place on Earth.

At first I thought planning a trip to Disney 2 weeks in advance would be a nightmare and we wouldn't get to do anything we would really want to do.  I was SO wrong!  We got lucky and found dining reservations to pretty much every hot spot on the property, had minimal wait times in lines, and fast passed and rode all of the most popular rides.  We had THE BEST TIME!  I knew I would love it (I hadn't been since high school) and to see it through Ellie's eyes really was magical!

Our flight arrived around 2:20 on our first day.  We got to our hotel around 5 and hit the ground running HARD until midnight that night!  We went straight to Magic Kingdom and landed in the middle of a show first thing.  We had the memory maker picture package and made sure to take advantage of all of the Disney photogs all over the parks.  We soon found ourselves front and center at the Move it Shake it Sing it parade.  Ellie's face was priceless!  I will try and let the pictures do the talking...


At the airport bright and early! 




The Magical Express took us from the airport to our hotel, The Wilderness Lodge.  And I just have to add...Disney service is top notch.  The "princess" was treated like one all week long.  Every employee was so nice and friendly and happy to be at work.  They treated the kids like royalty!  Ellie got stickers as we loaded the bus.  Disney is a well oiled machine.
Once we unloaded at the hotel, we made a bee-line for the hotel Mercantile store to buy an autograph book and pen.  This girl was ready to go!
We have arrived!


First of many pictures on Main Street USA
 We rented a stroller that delivered to our hotel the day we arrived and picked it up the day we left.  Best money spent all week!

 Move it, Shake it parade.  SO fun.  Look at that face!

  We immediately hit up Dumbo, the teacups and the carousel.


 It is hard to choose...but this may be my favorite picture from the entire trip!!!

After we got our fill of a few rides, Ellie was ready to meet some princesses. We were still learning and navigating our way but managed to find the list of times and locations for character meet and greets.  We found Princess Tiana and waited for about 20 minutes.  She was our first princess and did not disappoint!


We had fast passed a few rides but missed them due to arrival times.  We found a Fast Pass+ Kiosk and rescheduled a few things.  We managed to add Tinkerbell and kept our Enchanted Tales with Belle.  Both were awesome!


We had a late reservation at 9 for Chef Mickey's.  If I ever saw an open reservation for any of the top character meals or restaurants, I just grabbed them no matter the time.  We ate at strange times but it never seemed to matter!





After dinner, we went BACK to the Magic Kingdom and shut the park down at midnight.  We were dead tired and maybe a little crazy, but we had a blast for our first day and met so many characters!  We even found a 20 minute wait to meet Elsa and Anna at 11:30 pm.  We hopped right in line and saw them both in no time!  This was one character meet that I had already prepared myself to never happen.  I can't believe we actually did!  Everything just always seemed to work out perfectly for us everywhere we went.  That Disney Magic is something else!




We were a tad bit slower moving the next morning, but that didn't stop us from having a jam packed day!

Friday, January 30, 2015

Visiting Santa

We managed to visit Santa Claus two times this year.  The first visit was at Bass Pro Shop on Black Friday.  I pretty much knew Miller was at the age where Santa was the scariest man on earth.  My favorite Santa picture of Ellie is when she was almost two and we can't even see Santa's face because her entire arm is covering him!  This may sound awful but I secretly love a screaming Santa picture.  Memories for sure!

Miller really surprised me and did not cry this first time!  He has a petrified blank stare on his face and did not sit long, but long enough to snap a picture.  I thought it turned out precious and the Santa at Bass Pro was great!


We went up to the Greenfield Bank a couple of weeks later and tried again.  I think we have a winner this time!

 Miller says:  I will high five you all day long but I do not want to sit in your lap!


Of course Miss Priss was all about Santa and made sure to tell him all about the American Girl Spa chair she was asking for.
We survived both visits and pray Miller likes the jolly old elf a little better next year.  Bless his heart!

Christmas Festivities


Since I am on a blogging roll, I thought I might try and start recapping our Christmas season.  December flew by in a flash (as always) but we were able to do some fun things and make more memories!


We hosted a Christmas Tea for our little church girl friends one Saturday.  The girls decorated Christmas tree ice cream cones, ate snacks and made ornaments.  It was a fun morning with some very sweet girls.


Thursday, January 29, 2015

Family party

On Ellie's actual BIRTHday, we had cake and ice cream with a few family members.  It was very laid back and quick but Ellie received some very nice gifts and we all had fun visiting.  I of course had to do a little decorating and had our favorite cake lady make us another yummy cake.  It was all perfect!


Peeps and DeDe came up the night before to keep the kiddos while I worked that day.  It was a huge help and we of course loved having them here.

The birthday girl!

While the guests were arriving, Ellie and Miller serenaded us with a little karaoke.  


Miller made sure sissy had plenty of help opening her gifts.  She received so many nice things!


Singing Happy Birthday to our FIVE year old!





 Miller was in a major cheesing mood.  I snapped some super cute pictures of him before the party started.





It was a fun relaxing night with family.  Can't believe my baby is FIVE!

Ellie turns 5--American Girl Style


For Ellie's  birthday this year, we opted out of doing a big party and decided to take little family getaway instead.  So last Friday after school, we loaded up and headed to St. Louis!  That morning before school we ran into Walmart to get cookies for her class and a birthday doughnut.  We don't really eat donuts very often and Ellie took 3 bites of this one!  But she had a great day at school and was SO excited when all of us picked her up and headed north.

I knew the way to Ellie's heart was American Girl, so we planned the weekend around going to the AG Store and everything we could do in our time allowed.  We have been once before (right before Miller was born) but this trip was even better!  Since we were celebrating a pretty big birthday, I planned a few surprises for her once we were there.  We didn't eat in the Bistro last time, so I managed to get us a reservation and even planned a little birthday party.  It was definitely the highlight of the trip for both of us.

We stayed in a hotel about a mile from the Chesterfield Mall.  Friday night once we arrived, we went straight to the mall.  We walked around the AG store for a few minutes while waiting to eat at the Cheesecake Factory.  Miller loved the store as much as sissy!


 This girl and her "noodles"...
 After dinner, we went back into the mall to walk around and play.  We rode the carousel...
 The Choo CHoo...


  And Ellie did the spider jump!

After we'd had enough mall games, we headed back to the hotel for the night.  Traveling with little ones is never easy.  Our kids sleep in their own beds (for the most part) and Miller has been in his crib since he was two weeks old.  I just don't do well having him sleep in the same room as me.  Which means...hotel sleeping is interesting!  We learned while at the beach last summer that the pack n play fit in the bathroom.  It was dark, we turn on the fan...and BAM we had an extra room for Miller man.  So on this trip after we finally got him settled down and sleepy, he slept great all night in his little room.  The only downfall to him tying up the only bathroom is when someone has to use it!  Ellie NEVER wakes up to potty in the middle of the night...but wouldn't you know she did that night.  So at 1:45 am we threw on our shoes and headed downstairs to potty in our PJ's.  Always interesting and NEVER dull with our crew!

The next morning we were up around 7:30 and headed downstairs for breakfast.
After we were all dressed and ready to go, we checked out of the hotel and headed to the mother ship to begin our BIG day!
Our surprise lunch reservation was at 11:15 so we decided to arrive at the store right when they opened at 10.  That was a great decision because we were able to get a close parking place and a spot at the doll salon with no wait.  We shopped and shopped and had a ball!

Kit had her hair braided...


 And we walked around and found a few goodies to bring home with us!
Thanks to quite a few sweet family members, Ellie purchased the "snack cart" for her dolls and a hair styling accessory kit.  Both are precious and she was so so excited to have them.  She is super protective over them and has played with it non stop.  

 She got new Pj's for herself and for her doll from Mommy and Daddy.  She of course had to sleep in them the night we got home!
After our shopping spree, it was time for our Bistro lunch!  Daddy and Miller opted out of joining us which really was for the best.  I was able to direct all of my attention to Ellie and Miller had a blast in the kids play area at the mall.  I had told Ellie that morning that we were eating at the Bistro but did not tell her that I had booked the "Deluxe Birthday package" so that was another fun surprise!
We each got a drink, a small plate appetizer and an entree.  The package also came with the cutest and yummiest birthday cake!

As soon as we were seated, they gave Ellie and Kit matching birthday crowns, a high chair,  and a cup and saucer that we got to take home with us.  We also got to take home the napkin ring/hair bows.  They really do it up right at the American Girl Store!
  Such a big 5 year old...

 I got the fruit kabob for my small plate... and E had soft pretzel bites.

She of course ordered the "butterfly pasta".  Look at that face.  She was just so happy to be there.  But then again...so was I.

The BEST day with my girl.

Our sweet waitress made a big announcement throughout the entire Bistro announcing Ellie's 5th birthday and everyone sang!  So fun!

She then sliced the cake for us and brought us ice cream in little flower pots.



And finally, she brought Ellie her goodie bag full of fun American girl treats.  Kit got a birthday celebration t-shirt, an American girl balloon, a shopping bag just her size, and stickers.  Everything was so cute and special.  The perfect celebration for our sweet girl!

After lunch we took a potty break and I had to snap a picture of this.  Doll  hangers in the bathroom!  They've thought of it all!

 After we said goodbye to our beloved store, we walked over to meet Daddy and Miller at the mall and then headed to the Magic House Children's Museum for more fun!

We LOVED the Magic House on our last trip and stayed almost 4 hours.  We didn't stay quite as long this time because everyone was wearing thin, but we still had fun and got to check out a few new things that weren't there the last time.


Not 5 minutes after we hit the road to head home, these poor babies were OUT.  Such a fun, fun trip celebrating our big FIVE year old!