Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Christmas Pictures

I've been wanting to take pictures in front of the Christmas tree and attempt to get the beautiful light bubbles (bokeh) in the background.  Here's my attempt:
 







 
Best I could do without someone (aka Daddy) in the background dancing a jig to get them to look at the camera and smile at the same time!  I'm still working on getting the skin color to look better in pictures, but I'm excited to be able to get some pictures with pretty Christmas light bokah with my camera.  Next year, I hope to work on skin color issues and learn to edit with better software.
 
Merry Christmas!


Past Weeks

Many of these pictures were taken weeks ago, but I wanted to post them!
 
The first few were taken at a Christmas thing at the park.  They had rides and stuff that the boys enjoyed. 
 
I love this picture!



Kyle, of course, had to do the pony ride.

I just LOVE this picture!  Their faces are so cute!
 

Connor wanted to do the mechanical bull ride.  He's done one before, so we stood in line for a long time for him to do it.  Well, of course, Kyle wanted to do it, too, but I told him that I thought he was too little.  When we got to the front the lady asked if they both were going to ride and I asked if Kyle could do it.  She said that he could and that she would just do it really slow.
 

Connor liked it.  Kyle LOVED it!  And, I had to pry him off!

Not a technically good picture, but such a sweet exchange captured on camera!

And, a few more from recent days.




Thursday, December 13, 2012

Disney World

Last week, we spent a few days a Disney World with Sunshine and Granddaddy.  It was a "magical" vacation!  We were so blessed to get to go on this trip with them and to show Connor and Kyle "the most magical place on earth!"  We had a blast!
 
I have to say how impressed I was with my parents.  They kept up with our two wild boys so well!  They rode every ride that the boys rode.  Daddy was able to climb in and out of rides even with his newly replaced knee.  After the year they had (meningitis for my mom in January/February that took months to recover from and knee replacement surgery for my dad) and since it has been almost 25 years since they've been to Disney World when we were kids, I didn't expect them to do all of the rides, especially the hard to get into rides.  But, they did!  And, they had a great time!  You would never have known that my dad could hardly walk 6 months ago and that my mom had spent months regaining her strength.  I'm so glad that we got to experience Disney with them!
 
We drove down to Orlando last Wednesday.  My parents had gotten a deal at a condo a few miles from Disney, so we had a nice two bedroom, two bath condo.  Actually, it was a very nice condo.  The master bathroom was super fancy!  When we were inspecting everything, Jeremy said, "Where is the faucet on the tub?"  So, we looked and couldn't find it.  I told him to turn it on and we'd see where the water came from.  Well, it sure did surprise us!  The water came in a stream from the ceiling!  I'd seen something like that on HGTV before, but I was shocked to see it in the condo!
 
At night, from our condo, we could see the fireworks at The Magic Kingdom at a distance.
 

 
We were only a couple of miles from Downtown Disney, the outdoor shopping, eating, and entertainment area of Disney.  It is outside of the parks and anyone can go there.  We went to dinner there the first night and ate at a sandwich place and then let the kids ride the carousel, train, and play at the Lego store.  The Lego store was huge and had bins of Lego's out front for kids to play with.  Connor had a great time building cars to race!
 




Kyle checking out the giant Woody from Toy Story made out of Lego's.


 
On Thursday, we got up bright and early (thanks to two excited little boys) and headed to The Magic Kingdom.  We explored about half of the park that day.  The first ride that we rode was Peter Pan and that was a mistake.  The ride is dark and for two little boys (especially Connor) who do not really like dark places, it was a little too scary.  We learned our lesson and tried to avoid dark rides after that.  Other than Peter Pan, we did It's a Small World, Dumbo, the Barnstormer, the race cars (Kyle absolutely loved it!), the Buzz Lightyear ride, and the tea cups. My parents took the boys on the Astro Orbitor spaceships while Jeremy and I went on Space Mountain.  We saw the Monster's, Inc. Laugh Factory show (which the boys loved!).  And, rode the train half-way around the park.
 







 






 
After several hours of rides, we headed to Main Street to watch the afternoon parade.  We loved watching the parade!
 


 
This was our attempt at a family picture on Day 1.
 


 
 Family photo #1 did not go so well!
 
After the parade and a little Main Street shopping, we headed back to the condo to rest for an hour or so before dinner.  Then, we headed to Downtown Disney again for dinner at The Rainforest Cafe.  The boys really enjoyed it!  Kyle did not want to get near the animals, but he loved looking at them, especially the elephants. 
 
The next morning, my parents took a day off, and the four of us headed to the Magic Kingdom again. 
 
 
We headed to the other side of the park that we had not explored yet. 
 
 We rode Aladdin, the Jungle Cruise, explored the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse, explored Tom Sawyer Island, watched the Country Bears, rode It's a Small World (again), rode the Astro Orbitor (2nd time for the boys), and watched the afternoon parade again.  The Jungle Cruise was definitely a favorite for all of us.  Kyle loved the elephants and Connor loved the rhino that chased the men up the tree.  It was fun to watch them on this ride!
 














We also took an ice cream break each day!  A friend of mine suggested that we take a cooler with drinks and lunch for the boys so that we save our money to buy all of the yummy treats that are all over the park.  She was right!  We took sandwiches and fruit and snacks for the boys for lunch.  I was actually surprised that the boys didn't ask for more treats.  They didn't really ask for anything, but once we offered it, they were all for it!
 

 
After leaving the park, Kyle fell asleep in the car and continued to sleep once we took him back to the condo, so he got a decent nap that afternoon.  Later, went out to dinner and then, my parents took the boys back to the condo for bed and Jeremy and I headed to Downtown Disney to go to Disney Quest.  Our three day tickets included an extra ticket to Disney Quest (or one of the water parks).  It is an indoor amusement park using virtual reality and video games.  I didn't think we'd enjoy it as much as we did!  It was so much fun!  We did a create your own roller coaster ride where you design a roller coaster using a computer and then you get to ride it in a simulator.  It was really neat!  There were several really neat rides or virtual reality things.  And, there were arcade games throughout.  Everything was included in the ticket price, so you could play the arcade games over and over again just by pushing start.  We had fun doing the shooting game and the basketball shooting game.  It was definitely a fun way to spend a couple of hours together!
 
Saturday was our last day at Disney, so we decided to go for half of a day and then go back at night for the Electric Light Parade and to see everything lit up at night.  I'm so glad we did!  We went back early and rode the Buzz Lightyear ride for a second time.  Connor was scared of it the first day and wouldn't look up during it.  After the dark Peter Pan ride, he didn't want to do any dark rides, but we made him do it the first day and he wouldn't look up.  But, as time went by, he decided that he would enjoy it, so we tried it again.  He did enjoy it! 
 
After that, we headed to the other side of the park so that the boys could ride The Jungle Cruise and Aladdin with Sunshine and Granddaddy and so that Jeremy and I could ride a few rides by ourselves.  While my parents took Connor and Kyle, Jeremy and I headed to Pirates of the Caribbean.  There was NO line!  It was great.  We just walked right on.  The ride was great for the first minute and then, it suddenly stopped!  The boat in front of us stopped and the boat behind us stopped.  After a little while, a female worker in waders came to push us out.  She pushed the boat in front of us up a little to where they could get off their boat on the shore and exit through the back of the exhibit.  She pushed the boat behind us all the way to the beginning of the ride so that they could get out.  Then, she came back for us.  Unfortunately, we were stuck.  Our boat was wedged in a curve and could not move.  Two "higher ups" came and went trying to figure out what to do and she continued to try to get us out.  After many times of shifting all of the weight to one side of the boat and then to the other and all rocking the boat in unison, we finally got free and she was able to move us up to the boat in front of us where firemen were waiting to help us to the other boat and then to the shore where we exited a back door.  We were stuck for 50 minutes!  Jeremy and I had some nice quality time together (well, probably more quantity than quality)! :)
 
Once we exited, they gave us two "Fast Pass" cards each to use on any ride at any time during the day.  We had not had to use Fast Pass at any other time the previous days because the lines were so short.  We had only waited long on the Astro Orbitor and Space Mountain and those were only about 20 minute waits.  All other rides were 5 minutes or less!  December, between Thanksgiving and Christmas, is the perfect time to go!
 
But, since we had our Fast Pass cards, we used it on Thunder Railroad and Splash Mountain.  After those rides, we caught up with my parents and the boys on the carousel.  They had done the Jungle Cruise, Aladdin, the Country Bears show, and It's a Small World while we were stuck and then on the other rides. 
 
Kyle did not want to get off the carousel.  When it stopped, he held onto the horse and refused to get off.  He had to pried off!  So, Sunshine and Jeremy took them a second time.
 



 
We did one last ride on the teacups and then headed back to the condo for lunch and naps.
 
 
That night, we headed back to the park.  And, I'm so glad that we did!  It was so beautiful lit up at night!
 
 
We rode the Astro Orbitor (for the third time!).  We watched a little dance party show and ate dinner.  We did a little Christmas present shopping for the boys and then headed to Main Street for the parade.  At night, Disney does an Electric Light Parade.  All of the floats and characters have lights on them.  It was great! 
 






The night trip to the Magic Kingdom was the perfect ending to an amazing trip!  The boys were amazingly good, even when they were so tired.  They did so great the whole time!  We all had a wonderful time and made wonderful memories.  I am already wanting to start making plans for another trip!