Sunday, September 30, 2012

Disneyland ~ Day 2 ~ California Adventure

Day 2!
Day 2 of our trip started off bright and early, as the parks opened at 8:00 AM.  We caught our shuttle at 7:15, so that we could get in line at California Adventure.  We really wanted to get to Carsland before the lines got too long.  I figured waiting with a latte before things opened was better than waiting in line in the heat of the day.
We were all excited and ready for a full day of fun!

A quick photo op

Oh Kennedy and her maps...she was so funny.  Before we went, my friend Shannon (who had gone to Disney the week before) gave us some maps so that we could discuss the rides with the kids.  Kennedy was so certain of where she wanted to go.  "first we'll see the princesses, then we'll go on Small World and then we'll go on the roller coasters."  She was pretty obsessed with maps while we were there too.  Each day she insisted on getting a new one and would often plot our course.  She's so intense and  her little voice is so cute.  I love this about her.

Waiting for the big ride in Carsland.  
This was the only ride in either park with a long wait all of the time.  Even the line for the fast passes (which were usually gone within the first hour of opening) was huge.  We followed the crowds, led by Lightening McQueen and Mater, through Radiator Springs right at opening and got into line.  We ended up waiting only 20 minutes and really enjoyed the ride.  It's a faster coaster type ride, and it was done really well.  It was a ton of fun and I wish we would have had the chance to go on it again.  No one seemed willing to wait the hour in line, though.

Fresh and ready for some fun!

Waiting at Luigi's Flying Tires
Possibly the worst ride that we went on the entire trip.  We had to wait 40 minutes, not the 20 that the sign had said, and the ride was pretty much a dud.  It was boring and no one seemed to like it much.

The best part of the whole thing was while we were waiting in line, Luigi was speaking Italian while giving instructions.  It was cute and I could listen to Italian all day!

The idea was kind of a hover craft/bumper car ~ you had to lean in the direction you wished your tire to move.  It didn't work too well and we just kind of inched along.

Then it was the big time...California Screamin'!  Carter was so excited!  Maybe a little nervous, too, but he did his best not to let it show.
I loved riding this with him and we both squealed and laughed the whole time.

And then here's our other adrenaline junkie...she couldn't get enough of the big roller coasters and would yell "everybody in my whole family, put your hands up!"
These pictures were taken on Goofy's Coaster, which we went on three times in a row. 
Getting ready

Going up

That's pure joy and fun right there.  Oh how I loved being with Kennedy as she was thrilled on these rides.  They both had so much fun and to experience the joy through their eyes was such a gift.

Carter joined in on a parade of the green army men from Toy Story.   He marched and followed orders and then they put on a great little drum show.  These little impromptu shows were so much fun for the kids.  They really could get up close and personal with the characters and feel a part of things. 

It was such a great way to spend the first half of our day.  We left a bit after lunch and headed back to our hotel for a quick swim and nap.  We had dinner with the characters at Goofy's Kitchen that night and then planned to stay up for the fireworks.  After an early start, it was a wise choice.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

We are finally here ~ The Happiest Place on Earth!

We spent such a magical five days at Disneyland ~ it was a absolutely fabulous trip, sunny and hot, and we enjoyed every minute of it.  We had a lot of time, so we never felt rushed (well, that's a stretch of the truth and my mom might disagree...I tend to rush everyone.  It's hard for me not to be in a hurry, as I didn't want to waste a second!) or overwhelmed.  The kids loved it!  They loved the rides, the characters, the parades and the shows.  They did great, too, which if I am really being honest, I would have thought we would have seen more fits.  I was pleasantly surprised by their positive attitudes and general good natured-ness.
I have literally been looking forward to this trip since the day that Carter was born ~ I love Disneyland and have been so excited to share the magic of it with my children.  I'm not sure they fully grasped the wonder of it all, but they really had a fantastic time.  They seemed to both be at the perfect age to enjoy it fully.  Carter was tall enough to go on every ride...his favorite was "Screamin' California."  Kennedy was just over the 42" requirement, so she was able to do everything but Screamin' California.  She was our little adrenaline junkie and had so much fun on all of the roller coasters.  She loved Tower of Terror, too.  Our crazy kiddos!
The task of wading through the 500+ pictures from our trip has seemed a bit overwhelming.  I'm afraid that I may never get the chance to blog about our amazing adventures if I don't just start somewhere.  So, the pictures are largely unedited and may seem a bit random, as well.  But there are stories to tell and they're always more fun to read if there are pictures to go along with them.
On our way...
Kyle sat up in first class while we slummed it back in coach. 
He had never ridden first class, so we had talked about it before we got to the airport.  I was supportive until  about mid way through the flight when the kids' excitement was about ready to push me over the edge.  I changed movies about four times, read books, got crayons out, then markers, then a different coloring book, then the iPad.  They were pumped and I'm thankful it was only a two hour flight!

It became our tradition to take a picture each morning as we waited outside for the shuttle...
here's day #1!
They were so excited to get to the park ~ we arrived early enough on Saturday and were able to really enjoy the day at Disneyland.

We're here, we're here!
I wanted so badly to take a nice photo with the train station in the background, but it just wasn't happening.  Just about the time we got settled (and trust me when I say the kids were not happy about delaying our start for a picture!), another family scouted into our picture.  The kids were complaining about the sun and this is what we ended up with.  Can you even tell we are at Disneyland?  Bummer.

No time for lolly gagging, we headed into Adventure Land and started the fun!
Being my tradition (from my last 5 trips to Disney), we rode on Thunder Mountain Railroad first.  
The kids loved it and I seriously got so much joy from seeing the smiles on their faces.  Kennedy had her hands up the whole time and squealed with delight as we twisted and turned.

We had a few minutes before we could return with our fast pass for Splash Mountain, so we rode the Winnie the Pooh ride first...again, I thought this would be a cute place for a picture, and again the sun was too bright for cooperation (at least for one of my darling subjects :).

Probably the best thing about this ride was the fact that it was cool and air conditioned...the weather really was hot, but with cool rides and lots of shade, we did great.

Haunted Mansion
The park transitioned to their Halloween decorations the day before we arrived, so the Haunted Mansion was decked out in "The Nightmare Before Christmas".  I actually thought it was less scary than I remembered.  As we were waiting in the big elevator at the entrance, Kyle grabbed Carter and said "boo!", I think that was the scariest part!  The two guys next to us jumped so high!  It was hilarious!  Kyle's the biggest kid of them all.

Waiting for Star Tours with a "treasure."
I was really afraid that the kids would suffer from bad cases of the "gimmies" while we were in Disneyland.  But, again, they totally surprised me and didn't ask for much.  They were satisfied with the few "treasures" and just enjoyed their time at the parks.

Kennedy had been talking incessantly about getting a scrapbook and having all the characters and princesses sign it.  This was her first treasure and it kept her happy for the entire trip!  I think it was the real motivation she needed to approach the characters ~ she really wanted them to sign her book.  I'm not sure she would have removed herself from my leg without it :)  She was so proud to show it off when we got home and it has been a constant companion ever since.

It was such a gift to be able to share this trip with my mom, as well.  The kids loved having her there and it was so helpful to have an extra set of hands.  She loves Disneyland, too, and was game for going on all the rides.  Kennedy chose to sit with her on nearly every ride and was her constant companion.

Star Tours
My mom was laughing so hard during this ride, because she got to sit next to Carter.  He was so into it!

Carter got chosen for the Jedi Training Academy
He was one of the last children picked and was so excited (although in Carter's typical stoic, serious excitement).  He took the whole thing very seriously, listened intently and was aggressive in his fight with Darth Vader.
Practicing the moves with the Jedi Master

The Jedi Master leading the show was so funny...I loved his commentary as the kids fought Darth Vader.  As Carter got up, a few of the comments that were made were:
"ooh, you're serious about this."
"that's a lot of intense anger!"
"you're really going to take his head off"

He did great in battle

Very proud to be a Jedi

Such a great way to cap off our first day at the Magic Kingdom. 

We only spent about 6 hours at the park this day, because everyone was tired and we had a late night planned for the next night.  
But it was the perfect start to our trip!
*I had a second to reread and edit this post - my apologies for the poor grammer and spelling.  I was distracted and rushed which isn't a good combination when trying to write.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Soccer (times 2)

With both kids playing soccer, it feels at times like we are living at the fields.  But it's been a really fun start to the season and they both seem to be enjoying themselves.  Carter is on a new team this year, and it's great!  The boys want to be there, pay attention and are definitely a bit more skilled.  He seems to like it a lot more this year.  His coach is high energy and really intent on physical fitness.  I think it's great!  Kennedy's team is co-ed this year and it's also really great.  We know each of the other five players, either from school, friends or gymnastics, so it's a ton of fun.  She gets a little shy at times, but seems to be having fun during practice and really got into the game.  Kyle is the assistant coach, so that helps a bit.
Carter is on the Blue Zombies and Kennedy is on the Swarm

I'm not a huge soccer fan in general but for this age, I really think it's the perfect sport.  They learn about team work and get to be a member of a group, they get to have a ton of fun, it's not really competitive and they get a lot of exercise.

Thumbs up and ready to play her first game!

super stars :)

Kennedy and Lauren are playing together on the same team.  Nick is the head coach, so Kennedy is very comfortable at practice.

Carter's game was first ~ he was out on the field at the start and was directing his teammates here.  It just made me laugh, because this is so Carter.  Not only did he play the game, he took it upon himself to coach and ref too.

game face
He's pretty serious about the games, as he pays attention to the score and definitely wants to win.  
(they don't officially keep score, but all the kids know)
He really had a lot of fun and scored two goals, so he was a happy boy. 
(and his team won about 20-1)

happy girl?  
not so much.

getting in on the action
he really did play a great game and we were very proud of him

Andrew is still on our team and they have so much fun playing together.  

oh that face
someone didn't want her picture taken

they just had fun and I loved watching it

And then it was Kennedy's turn...
I was so proud of my girl ~ she really got into the game and tried her best.  She handled the ball a lot, kicking it down the field.  She definitely got a little flustered as the other players all bunched around her, but she did great and played hard.  
Way to go Kennedy!

Taking it to the goal...

and it's in!
She scored a goal!!!
She didn't really get too excited, because I'm not sure she knew she scored.  But after the game, Kyle and I made a pretty big deal about it and she was really happy.

Can you tell the look of concentration on her face?
She had her tongue out and a serious look on her face the entire time she had the ball.
It was so adorable.

perhaps a little nervous, too?
the picking of fingers is an obvious sign

It was a beautiful, sunny day so the boys ended up shirtless and red cheeked.