Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Magical Days!

Wow – so much has happened since my last entry! I had every intention of blogging before we left for our very first Family Vacation, and since I seemed to be in denial that we were leaving right up until the day before, I should have had plenty of time, but as usual, the difference between “should” and “reality” was vast.

School was busy before we left – Gracie started her morning computer sessions, and seems to be doing well with it. Donuts for Dads was one Tuesday – the girls were so excited to have their Daddy go to school with them. He stayed for the Charge-Up – that’s their weekly pep-rally type assembly. Between the two of us, we were at the school every day that week – I got Campbell’s flyers out before the holiday cooking season heated up on Wednesday, helped in the Library on Thursday, and with the Book Fair on Friday. The next week was Turkey Bingo (Bingo with frozen turkeys as some of the prizes) and Thursday was Oklahoma’s centennial. There was a school-wide assembly and each grade did a song and skit about Oklahoma. The local news channel filmed it, but we didn’t get to watch the news to see if the girls were shown or not.

Since our big trip was taking us out of town for Thanksgiving, we headed to Mary Jo and Jerry’s house for an early turkey dinner the weekend before. I didn’t realize that it was (my) Jerry’s first trip to Texas since we moved to Oklahoma – I’ve made the trip so many times in such a short while but he didn’t make it across the border once! We got up early on Saturday and had pancakes and went to see the Bee Movie. That was the first time I’d been to the cinema in my old hometown – it was actually very nice inside under that plain-looking exterior. We also stopped and stocked up on Caffeine-Free Dr. Pepper, since it isn’t available in Oklahoma, and then did our usual feeding of ducks and eating of Tex-Mex. Sunday before our dinner, Uncle Larry was kind enough to repair my messed-up hairdo. I guess I’m just not cut out to be trendy. At least I feel presentable again! Bill and Jimmy drove out for the day, and we all had a great meal a la Mary Jo, (Her stuffing is my favorite – sorry Grandma!) and watched the football game while we visited. The highlight of the trip was Gracie’s loose tooth – everyone wanted to pull it for her! Pepaw even offered her $100 if he could pull it, but she decided to wait until we got back and have Daddy do it. It was a stubborn tooth – he had a hard time getting ahold of it, but he eventually got it out and she put it under her pillow – the tooth fairy gave her $2! For such a tiny tooth, it sure left a big gap in her smile!

The weather turned a bit cooler, and the leaves are coming down in droves. Gracie was totally pumped about making a leaf pile, since we have never had a yard that had a tree big enough to produce enough leaves to make one. While Maggie was at scouts, Gracie decided our mommy-daughter activity should be to make a HUGE pile of leaves, and I got some great shots of her flying into it. Maggie also made a pile when she got home – she named her leaf pile “Blush-Bottom” from a book that she’s reading at school.

Finally, the day before we were supposed to leave, I started freaking out about not being ready – I printed out boarding passes, confirmed our Disney Dining reservations, and tried to leave my type-a personality behind. We got us packed, and were ready to go, and out the door early for our flights to Florida. We made it without incident, and got settled into our hotel suite, got a few groceries for breakfast and purchased our Disneyworld tickets. Now we were ready!

We tried the strategy of starting with the most boring (from a kid’s point of view) park, and working our way up, so our first day we went to Epcot, since it’s more educational. We stopped to meet characters first, since Gracie said the thing she wanted most from our trip was to meet Minnie Mouse, and she was there, along with Mickey, Pluto, Goofy and Chip & Dale. We did the Seas, which the girls liked, and Crush even picked Maggie out of the audience to talk to at Turtle Talk with Crush. Next we went over to the Land, and the girls really enjoyed touring the greenhouses, and then we tried a new ride – Soarin’. We all liked that a bunch! We spent the rest of the day leisurely taking in the attractions, and then moved on to the world showcase in the afternoon. We found us a good vantage spot for the light show, and left with the crowd after that. We all slept very soundly that night!

The next day we visited the Animal Kingdom. We enjoyed looking at the animals, especially on the safari, and also in the Hippo tank. The hippos are very graceful under water, but you usually don’t see them that way! The girls rode their first big roller coaster – Everest – and they liked it right up until they saw the animatronic Yeti. I kind of wondered if we would get them on any more coasters after that, but Maggie tried the Primeval Whirl in Dinoland, and loved it (Gracie didn’t meet the height requirement.) Both girls loved the triceratops twirl (three times!) and had a blast in the play area with all the slides. We weren’t sure we’d ever get Gracie out of the area where you “dig” up fossils. She was well on her way to uncovering the entire mammoth skeleton by herself when we dragged her away. This park closes earlier, but we went to dinner afterwards, so we didn’t get home until late.

The third day was our first day at the Magic Kingdom. It was PACKED! We made it through Adventureland, Frontierland, Liberty Square, and half of Fantasyland. The girls really liked the Big Thunder railroad. We were running out of steam, so we found a good spot for the 8:00 parade, and sat there for awhile until the parade came by. Then we went to Fantasyland to use our last FastPASS and watched the fireworks before we left the park. Whew!

The fourth day was the pinnacle of the trip – the day we met the princesses! All my effort to secure us a table at Cinderella’s castle would finally pay off! The girls dressed up in their princess costumes and we headed back to the Magic Kingdom. We took the train around to Mickey’s neighborhood and saw his house and visited him in the Judges tent. He danced with the girls, and they gave him a kiss on the cheek. All the cast members around the park addressed the girls with the name of the princess they were dressed as or as "princess". Then came the big moment – we went to the castle and had lunch with the princesses! First Cinderella came out to greet us, and then we went upstairs to eat. As we ate Jasmine, Belle, Snow White and Aurora each came around to our table to visit. The girls got to talk to each of the princesses, although they were pretty shy with most of them. After lunch we finished up Fantasyland and Tomorrowland and headed back to our hotel for sweet princess dreams.

The next day we relaxed in our hotel for the morning, and then headed to Downtown Disney to see the new movie, Enchanted, and get our shopping done. The next day was Thanksgiving, so we headed to the Old Key West resort for our dinner, and then went back to Epcot to ride Soarin’ again. Before we left the park, we decided to ride the monorail around to the TTC and back to Epcot. On the way back to Epcot Jerry asked if we could sit up front, and we could! The girls got a monorail co-pilots license when we left.

The next morning we very reluctantly packed our bags and headed to the airport, back to cold Oklahoma and away from our Magical vacation. We had a great time though, and the girls and I are looking forward to making a scrapbook so we can remember it always! In case you want to see more pictures (we took more than 600!), they are at our family picture website, just e-mail me or leave a comment if you need a password!

Hope your day is Magical!

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