Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Disney, Day 2

Amazingly, we got to Animal Kingdom just in time for the opening ceremonies in front of the Tree of Life where macaws fly out over the crowd. I don't like birds, but this was cool to see. It's always fun to be at the parks for rope drop.

Kim, Kurt, and the rest of the gang weren't at the park yet, so we decided to ride the Kilimanjaro Safari and see what animals were already out and about. The stand-by line moved quickly and we were on our way in no time. A giraffe was quite close to the road, but we also saw a black rhino, hippos, crocodiles, birds, and quite a few other animals. The heard a lioness roar was which pretty impressive as well. I had made the conscious decision to keep my cell phone in my bag and just enjoy the scenery.

When we exited the ride, we met up with the rest of the group and rode the safari again using our Fast Pass. This time we got to see a hippo out of the water, which our guide said was highly unusual since they typically stay in the water to stay cool. The lions were sleeping on this pass as well.

There's not a whole lot to ride, especially for someone Seth's age, but Animal Kingdom is big on experiences. We had a Fast Pass for the Festival of the Lion King show which I thought was amazing. I would definitely see it again, and I highly recommend it. From there we saw the Finding Nemo show that was good, but not on par with The Lion King. Had we seen Nemo first, I may have enjoyed it more. The girls felt the same way. The costumes were amazing in both shows.

Emmy decided to try the Expedition Everest roller coaster with Sal and the boys (row 2, pic 1). She loved it, which shocked me, especially because for part of the ride you zoom backwards. They rode it later in the day as well. We also rode the train around the park which was nice, although seeing cars in parking lots detracted from the experience.

We had dinner reservations at Tusker House, a restaurant I'd been wanting to try. Sal didn't love it, but it ended up being my favorite meal of the trip. The food is infused with African flavors, I highly recommend the maple curry chicken, and the atmosphere was exactly what I was expecting.

This was also our first character meal. Seth was a bit skeptical of the characters that kept coming up to the table, but he didn't cry or scream. He rolled with it, although he preferred keeping his distance. We met Donald, Daisy, Mickey, Minnie, and Goofy. Sarah and Emmy loved it. Unfortunately we had left our autograph books in the room, but we took lots of pictures. I've included a few in this collage.

We saw Rafiki, but didn't stop. Later in the day we passed Baloo walking down the street, and I gave him a high five.

We left the park around 6 and were back and the resort and in bed by 9. As soon as the lights were out, everyone was fast asleep.

Our first park day at Disney was a resounding success, but I cannot wait to be at the Magic Kingdom tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Disney, Day 1

We got up early and headed to the airport. We arrived and got through security in plenty of time. We had breakfast at TGI Fridays (row 1, pic 1) and then we boarded our flight. This alone was part of the adventure for Sarah and Emily. They loved take-off and we had packed activity books and Mad Libs. We also had a coloring book and crayons for Seth. He fell asleep midway and woke up when we landed.

We rode in the people mover from the terminal to the transportation area and when I saw the palm trees and beautiful sky outside I thought, "I'm home." I've always loved Florida. It just feels right to me.

Anyway, we boarded the Magical Express (row 2, pic 2) and 30 minutes later arrived at our resort, Caribbean Beach. We found out we were placed in the Aruba section and couldn't wait to check it out. This wasn't an "island" I had selected as my preferred area, but I decided to roll with it. 

The room was bigger than I expected so that was a pleasant surprise. While it's not close to the Aruba bus stop, it was close to the walking bridge to Old Port Royale, the main building with the food court, and fancy resort pool. This location worked well for us because we could grab breakfast at Old Port Royale and then hop the bus from that stop. Bottom line, I'd recommend Aruba at CBR, but we plan to try a different resort next time. Anyway. . .

We set up Seth's pack-n-play and changed into our bathing suits. We decided to stay at the "village pool" (row 3, pic 3) just outside our room until it was time to dress for dinner.

We showered and then caught a bus to Disney Springs where we met up with Sal's extended family from Massachusetts. We strolled through the World of Disney shop (row 2, pic 4) and through Legoland (row 3, pic 2).

We had dinner reservations for 6:45 at T-Rex. The animitronics are kind of amazing, albeit loud, and Seth seemed a little anxious at times. However, once his food arrived, he was oblivious to the world around him. He ate one and half chicken breasts for dinner and some green beans. I was quite impressed.

I ordered the Omnivore's Delight with Grilled Chicken for $18.99. That seemed expensive to me for a salad, but when it came I realized what we were paying for. It wasn't just lettuce in a bowl with a handful of toppings. Every bite had every flavor in it. Delicious, and totally worth it.

It would have been fun to spend more time in Disney Springs, but we had had an early morning and the kids needed to sleep so we could be up early for Animal Kingdom in the morning. We made our way back to the resort and it was lights-out. Everyone crashed.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Father's Day 2016

Going to Cleveland for an Indians gamed seemed like the most perfect Father's Day gift. Sal's been wanting to go to a game anyway so he and I sat down and figured out which seats would be best for us. I wanted something shaded, mostly for Seth's comfort. We ended up with really good seats on the third base line in section 169. While we started out in the sun, by the third inning we were in the shade which was perfect.

It wasn't the most exciting game for the first nine innings, but they did win in the 10th in a most exciting finish. To beat game and Cavs watch party traffic, we left just as the 10th was starting and zipped out of the parking lot and onto the interstate. We listened to the rest of the game on the radio.

We got home uneventfully, and then the Cavs game came on. I had given Sal the most perfect Father's Day ever, until LeBron James handed Cleveland their first championship in 60 odd years. He totally stole my thunder so thanks for that.

Friday, June 17, 2016

In Stitches

Waiting for surgery
I've been a mom for nine years now, and today I got to experience my first stitches. Seth was running across our patio, something he's done a 100 times and ran smack into the chair I was sitting in. I was out of it before he had even hit the ground. I picked him up and we ran into the house. He was screaming the whole way. Sal noticed a cut on his forehead and I cleaned him up before realizing he had bled all over me too.

Seth's cut looked very similar to one Emmy received when she fell into the baby gate when she was about the same age as Seth. I've always wondered if I should have taken her for stitches. She has a scar, and I decided to run Seth to the pediatrician to see if he should have stitches.

Just as we were getting ready to walk out the door, Sal leaned down to pick Seth up and pulled his back. I sent him to the chiropractor instead of coming with us. We leave for vacation next week and his back needs to be in good working order.

The pediatrician gave Seth a good look-over and sent us to Children's Hospital where he did get two. I also had him check his ears, and they're perfectly clear, which is excellent news.

I feared a long wait in the waiting room, but they took us back almost immediately and got the process started. The nurse practitioner was wonderful with him. She washed the wound really well and applied a gel to the cut to numb it, a process that took about 45 minutes. When she returned, she swabbed Seth's nose with a medicine to calm and lightly sedate him. He was wrapped up like a baby burrito and another nurse held him down so I didn't have to be the bad guy.

I watched the nurse as she stitched him up, and thought it was actually a pretty cool process. She took a fish hook type needle and pushed it through his skin and then worked with the threads to tie the cut together. Knowing he couldn't feel anything made it a whole lot easier to watch, and blood never has bothered me. I might have been a decent nurse if not for the vomiting aspect.

Anyway, he was quite groggy following the procedure, but he did drink almost a full carton of whole milk and took about two bites of pretzel before falling asleep. The nurse wanted to make sure that stayed down prior to discharging us. She let him rest for about 30 minutes and then let us go. He was awake for the car ride home, but was falling asleep in high chair while I was feeding him. We put him in his crib and that was the end of that.