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Sunday, April 6, 2008

Our Trip to Disney World

We just recently went on a week long trip to Disney World.
On the way back home

By the end of the week, we were all definitely ready to come home.
Swampy Campsite

We left early Monday morning for the long 8 hour drive to Orlando. The kids did great with the drive. Once we arrived, we had time to check in, put up the tent, and then it was off to the Animal Kingdom Lodge to eat at Boma and then spend a couple of hours in the evening at the Animal Kingdom.
Animal Kingdom

On Tuesday, it was off to the Magic Kingdom. Dumbo was the first ride of the day. Because we stayed at a Disney Resort, we got to use the extended hours perk a little bit, where they open the park one hour early and keep it open three hours after closing for hotel guests only. We were able to do all the rides in Fantasyland and Toon Town that morning.
Magic Kingdom

In the afternoon, we went to Epcot. After character dining at the Akershus Royal Banquet, we checked out the Future World portion. The Akershus Royal Banquet is located in the Norway Pavilion and features Princess characters. The surprising thing about all the character dining restaurants that we went to is that they offered adult choices and the food was actually quite good. The Akershus had norwegien food. Ray had some kind of lamb stew while I had a salmon dish. We also had an appetizer sampler of different kinds of herring, mackerel, and beet dishes. Our favorite rides from Future World are Mission Space and Test Track. All the kids really enjoyed Journey into Imagination with Figment. It is a ride that is followed by a few interactive activities the kids can do.
Epcot

On Wednesday, we went to the Hollywood Studios (or MGM Studios) park. We spent the whole day there. Colum and Joella really enjoyed on going the Tower of Terror and the Aerosmith Rock n' Roller coaster rides. We saw a lot of shows on this day, Voyage of the Little Mermaid, Muppets 3-D, Playhouse Disney Live, and Beauty and the Beast. We had character dining at the Hollywood Vine where they served up American fare and Playhouse Disney characters. The foods were good there too. Like I said, good adult choices were always offered. The dessert there was excellent. I really enjoyed their pecan bars and carrot cake. Wow! I think the kids' favorite part of the park was the Honey, I shrunk the Kids play area. They could pretend to be miniaturized and play among the life size grass, cereals, trash, etc. The kids did a good job of staying together and coming back to us after their time was up. Colum and Joella went on the Star Tours ride together because they did not do Rider/Baby swap. We were very surprised at that. It was the only ride at all four parks that wouldn't allow that. I don't know why. We finished off the day by eating at the Toy Story Pizza Factory and playing some arcade games.
MGM Studios

On Thursday, we went back to the Magic Kingdom in the morning to do Tomorrowland and Adventureland. It was also the only breakfast character dining we did. We ate at the Crystal Palace, dining with Pooh and friends. In the afternoon, we were back at Epcot, touring the World Showcase. We started in Great Britain and worked our way around to Mexico. We tried to eat our way through the World Showcase, but after Japan, we gave up. It was just too much food! We thought ordering just one entree per country would be enough to feed all of us. Wrong! There were some shows going on as we traveled through the various countries. We saw some English comedic theater, belly dancing, Japanese drumming, and heard some music. The week ended on Friday with the day spent at the Magic Kingdom going to Frontierland, Liberty Square and Fantasyland.
Saturday, we packed up our tent and hit the road after stopping at Downtown Disney to eat at Wolfgang Puck Express. WOW. The food was excellent and I forced myself to eat the Key Lime pie, even though I was quite stuffed. I can tell you quite honestly I gained 3 pounds in one week of eating at Disney World. The shocking thing is that we had one fast service, one table service and one snack a day.... and it was TOO much food for us!! We had two adults and three kids that we paid for and even with Therese helping Liesl to eat her food, it was still too much!! Definitely get your money's worth when you get the meal dining plan. We did not have to buy any food or drinks while at Disney World since it was already prepaid for.
On the way back home

I think, if one wants to see ALL of Disney World and enjoy it, then one would have to go there for two weeks. It's amazing how big and spread apart everything is. It really makes Disneyland in California seem small and crammed together by comparison.

International Culture Day

The international officers from Ray's class at the Air Command and Staff College, along with their families, hosted an International Culture Day for all the families to attend. Each international officer put together a booth of tasty foods, pictures, brochures, cultural items, and the like.
International Day

We started at one corner of the room and worked our away around the room. About three hours later, we were seriously lagging and could not cram any more food into our stomachs. All the food that the international officers and families had to share were very tasty. There wasn't really anything yucky or scary looking. After about 30 minutes of sampling foods, the kids were tired of it (and full, probably) and went off to bounce in the bounce house and play with friends while Ray and I continued sampling our way around the world. Now I just look forward even more to the day when Ray retires and we can go travel abroad!

Easter 2008

Easter was nice and warm this year. The kids went to an Easter Egg Extravaganza on base sponsored by the Youth Center. They got to enjoy various crafts, activities, and the bounce house. There were also a couple of easter egg hunts for various age groups, from just walking up to 12 yrs old. It worked out great because we could take pictures of the kids hunting eggs one at a time. Hot dogs, drinks, and chips were available. Liesl won a consolation prize for guessing how many jelly beans in a jar. That, too, was broken down by age groups. In her age group, 4 to 5, there were jumbo sized jelly beans in a small jar. I was very impressed when Liesl told the lady, after some deliberation and peering intently into the jar, that there were 26 jelly beans in the jar. Wow! How did a 4 year old decide there were 26 jelly beans in a jar? It was a very reasonable number and logical. Even the lady was quite impressed. An older kid won the contest.
On Good Friday, we spent some time dying easter eggs and decorating them. We took the finished results with us to Disney World and ate them for breakfast the first two mornings.
We also had our own family Seder meal and I did not think to take pictures. Nevertheless, it was a yummy meal. The lamb chops were very good as was the haroset. On Easter Sunday, the kids woke up to a coffee table laden with goodies. Liesl made herself sick eating a lot of M&Ms from the special candy bowl. She spent the afternoon in bed after throwing up once and went to bed early. She was much better by morning and ready for Disney World, thank goodness! Hopefully, that taught her a lesson (not!). That you shouldn't overdo it with junk food! Anyway, the kids looked quite nice in their Easter finery.
Easter 2008

Noni Moves!

Noni started crawling in February.
Noni Moving

I am amazed how quickly she gets around. I spend most of my days asking "Where did Noni go??" and then searching through the house until I find her. She is definitely ready to walk. She can pull herself up and will take a couple of steps. A funny cute thing happened the other day. As the kids were leaving the house to go play at a friend's house, Noni was crawling after them. As they shut the door, Noni sobbed as if her world was ending! I'm thinking, "Uh Oh". We can expect more of that as Noni starts walking and trying to keep up with her older siblings!! Every day, I put her down for a nap in the bedroom. When she wakes up, she comes crawling and looking for me in the school room. She also likes getting into everything. The books, the tupperwares, the toys, the laundry, you name it!

Webelos, Blue and Gold Dinner

Colum earned his Webelos patch in February.
Cub Scout Pack Mtg

The theme of the Blue and Gold dinner was Chinese New Year, hence the decorations. Colum made a rat cake using fondant icing. It looked great but the icing was just a bit too thick so it was not yummy. The cake itself was good, but the icing was terrible!! He needs to roll the fondant icing a lot thinner next time!! I made the dragon myself using directions for making a paper dragon out of tissue paper and toothpicks. Not too bad, eh?
For those of you who don't know much about scouting, now that Colum has earned his Webelos patch, he has another year before he can bridge over to Boy Scouts from Cub Scouts. Colum told me the other day he would like to make Eagle Scout. We will help him make that happen!