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Old 07-12-2012, 07:45 PM   #1
BlueEyes78
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3rd Trip: With 3 kids and an Entourage **3/24 Update - Final Thoughts

Less than a month to go till our THIRD family trip (Aug 4-11) and we’re counting the days!

You can find our first two trip reports below – our first trip was just the 4 of us in August of 2009 – our oldest son Caden was 4, our younger son Connor was 21 months old.



We stayed on property at Fort Wilderness cabins, and other than DH (Shawn) battling a lung infection all week, an encounter with a tree frog in our toilet, and a paralyzing introduction to “moving floor rides”, we had an AMAZING trip. DH had never been to Disney and loved seeing it the first time with his kids – I had been a few times for one-day visits here and there as a child, and loved seeing it through their eyes for the first time! Knowing it was “peak season” and that we still had one child who needed a hefty afternoon nap, we researched our butts off to get the biggest bang for our buck every morning in the park. We used every rope drop, Dumbo dash and parent-swap to the max! We had always planned to go back in the evenings but never needed to – which was good since we had two very wiped out boys!

Our second trip was a “surprise” that we planned for the boys in November of 2010. Our oldest was 5 ½ and in kindergarten, and the youngest turned 3 the week that we got home. We went with my parents, brother and sister-in-law (and my unborn niece), and all stayed in a Romancing the Mouse property very close to the World. During that trip we learned about the joys of off-site properties (a LOT more space, MUCH cheaper, and your own pool!), the equally amazing joys of going in the off-season (gorgeous weather, no lines), how to navigate the World with a large group (the key – a good mix of “together” activities and “everyone do whatever you want” days), and that snow in Florida tastes like soap!



Aren't family pictures less sweaty and gross in the winter?
Naps were “iffy” at that point for our younger son (as in, he NEEDED them but getting him to take them in all the craziness was difficult), and I’m happy to say we don’t need to worry about either boy napping this time around.
HOWEVER, there’s been a big change in our life since our 2nd trip which means we’re not done with naps yet! The Christmas morning after we returned from Disney I was able to present DH with THIS:



And EXACTLY nine months later (only “due date” baby I ever had), I was able to present him with THIS:



I am still stunned and “tickled pink” that we have a girl. Some people who like to do math have asked us if she is a “souvenir” from our last Disney trip, and as fun a story as that would be, she’s actually a “yea we survived the trip” baby!

So…how did this trip come about, and what challenges will we face this time? Stay tuned….
__________________
First Family Trip TR 8/7/09-8/15/09: "Will it Hurt when you staple the mouse ears to my head?"

Surprise Trip for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party: 11/13/10-11/20/10: "We Fly Down in 10 hours...The kids are in bed and have NO IDEA!"

3rd Family Trip: 8/4/12-8/11/12:We have an Entourage (just like the Gosselins!)


Last edited by BlueEyes78; 03-24-2013 at 04:18 PM. Reason: Update in title
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Old 07-12-2012, 07:56 PM   #2
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How exciting to be going to WDW in less than a month.

Your kids are just precious. Can't wait to hear more about the plans for your trip with you little girl in tow.
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Old 07-12-2012, 08:29 PM   #3
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Thanks! I'm 75% excited, 25% nervous about the whole baby-at-Disney thing. We've made a ton of plans to make this work...hope it's not a case of men planning and God laughing!
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First Family Trip TR 8/7/09-8/15/09: "Will it Hurt when you staple the mouse ears to my head?"

Surprise Trip for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party: 11/13/10-11/20/10: "We Fly Down in 10 hours...The kids are in bed and have NO IDEA!"

3rd Family Trip: 8/4/12-8/11/12:We have an Entourage (just like the Gosselins!)

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Old 07-13-2012, 11:55 AM   #4
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Thanks for inviting me to your trip report!! Can't wait to her all about it!!
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Old 07-13-2012, 01:34 PM   #5
BlueEyes78
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Quote:
Originally Posted by schriverl View Post
Thanks for inviting me to your trip report!! Can't wait to her all about it!!
Glad to see you again! Hopefully I'll have a lot of good writing material again. We're going to try to surprise the boys in a couple of weeks and tell them where we're going. More to come!
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First Family Trip TR 8/7/09-8/15/09: "Will it Hurt when you staple the mouse ears to my head?"

Surprise Trip for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party: 11/13/10-11/20/10: "We Fly Down in 10 hours...The kids are in bed and have NO IDEA!"

3rd Family Trip: 8/4/12-8/11/12:We have an Entourage (just like the Gosselins!)

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Old 07-14-2012, 03:18 PM   #6
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Old 07-16-2012, 10:29 AM   #7
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Here was the plan – our babies are on a pretty regular schedule, and I breastfeed for the first year, and that just seemed like a lot to contend with at Disney. We knew we would definitely need to go back before our boys grew out of the “magic age” and take our Princess for the first time. So we had penciled in a trip sometime in the fall of 2013. Whenever the boys would ask about going back, the answer has been “2013” (which was invariably met by sighs and moony eyes about how FAR AWAY that is). We did have a trip planned this year, for August of 2012, to a beach condo, just a week away for the five of us in Florida.

But DH got antsy. Personally I think he was watching WAY too much of the Wolf family videos (our kids know the music by heart now). THEN they came out with a “Disney-fy my back yard” contest (prize included a free trip), and he made an awesome video trying to win that but we weren’t selected. Then, right around the time the baby was born, the “Good Life” Disney commercials came out. The boys would mope around wistfully when they came on TV. I think that was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Secretly he began planning to switch out our condo week in August for a week in Disney. My birthday is July 27th and he planned to tell me about the switch then. He knew I’d have a bunch of “issues” with a Disney trip with a baby who nurses 4x/day and naps 2x/day, so he decided to have some back-up ready.

Issue #1 – Because I am not the type of woman who relishes the idea of being cooped up in a van for 12+hours with a baby who has just discovered mobility or of trying to nurse aforementioned nosy baby in a hot rest stop parking lot (what, you are? Here’s a medal for ‘ya!) – he decided we were going to fly. Problem solved, right? Well, except for another of my endearing little quirks. I’m painfully, but in what I’d like to think of as a charming way, cheap. Luckily DH is a thinker and has devoted an entire portion of his brain over the last 12 years to getting around this little personality trait. He got a credit card that has an airline miles perk plus a huge point bonus when he opened it and began putting all our major purchases/bills on that card. It didn’t take that much time to rack up the points for 4 tickets to Orlando (hurdle #1 – CLEARED).

Issue #2 – OK, after Issue #1, this one was for rookies! DH knew that I may put up a bit of a fuss about losing my beach vacation (and – ahem – the deposit – please see aforementioned ENDEARING personality trait), so he spoke to the real estate agent who we’ve worked with before, and moved our rental to 2013 so no money lost there (for those of you keeping score at home, hurdle #2 – CLEARED).

Issue#3 – This one was a doozy. I mentioned the baby’s nap/feeding schedule. He knew this would take the most creative problem solving. There are no credit cards (that we know of) that somehow keep your baby at a Disney-approved level of happiness when she is napless, hot and hungry. If you know of one, send me a private message!! He decided the only way around this was to keep her well-fed and on her schedule as much as possible – but kind of tough when the first nap is at 10 am! How to accomplish this – why, we’ll take a page out of the Kate Gosselin book and get ourselves an entourage!! He first lobbied TLC for our own reality-show but I guess he couldn't convince them that I can yell “SHAAAAAAWN!” as horrifically as Kate, so he was turned down flat. But DH was not willing to give up. He recruited a dear friend (we like to call each other “framily”) and her 13-year old daughter to come along with us as supernannies.
DH was set. He’d vaulted over three hurdles and found himself nearing the finish line.

Then he started feeling some heat from well-intentioned family and friends who told him that since I am a Type A planner, he better tell me we were going to Disney more than 7 days before we left!

So he decided to tell me in a really fun way. He made a story and printed it out, about a King and Queen and two princes who really wanted to go to the Magic Kingdom but they had a beautiful little Princess who was a bit needy, but how they could make their dream come true by flying and by taking Supernannies to the Kingdom with them. I could not even believe it was for real, I had to keep reading it over and over before it sunk in. And then I was like, “THIS WOULD HAVE BEEN THE COOLEST BIRTHDAY PRESENT EVER!” So I said in exchange for losing my surprise I wanted to try to surprise the boys again. It would be hard since we pulled it off out of the blue once (and now, every time we’re going anywhere, including the grocery store, and I say “Ok, boys we have somewhere to go!” Caden replies “DISNEY WORLD????”). But I just keep reminding them every time it comes up how it’s just not going to happen financially until 2013. Not sure if they believe us or not, but we plan to do a BIG REVEAL the Wednesday before we leave (Aug 1). More on that later.

Up next - THE PLANNING CHART. This is crucial since I swore off ever going in peak season again. How will the new Dumbo Dash change it all?? Coming soon!
__________________
First Family Trip TR 8/7/09-8/15/09: "Will it Hurt when you staple the mouse ears to my head?"

Surprise Trip for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party: 11/13/10-11/20/10: "We Fly Down in 10 hours...The kids are in bed and have NO IDEA!"

3rd Family Trip: 8/4/12-8/11/12:We have an Entourage (just like the Gosselins!)

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Old 07-21-2012, 03:07 PM   #8
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For our first trip, we used the Unofficial Guide to Disney to become touring plan experts. We also used Tour Guide Mike and recently have been relying on easywdw.com touringplans.com to get crowd calculators and most recommended park days. Using those, we came up with this plan for our Aug 4-Aug 11 trip:



Now there is only one day on which our two websites disagree, and that is the 5th. And they wildly disagree - touringplans says DHS is the LEAST recommended park and Josh on easywdw says it is the MOST recommended park. Sunday was our ONLY planned trip to DHS and we wanted to get a lot done, so after writing Josh and hearing his rationale, we're going to stick with this plan. We'll have to let everyone know how it works out!

Some of this is very "subject to change." For instance, if we get our must-dos at MK done on Tuesday, we may not go back for rope-drop on Wednesday, instead trying to sleep in (ha. We'll see how the boys do on that one!).

We really want two Epcot days - it is SUPER crucial that we do Soarin' and I'm afraid of leaving it till Saturday just in case the ride is down or something, but we do have a POTENTIAL rest day built in on Thursday if we don't get one on Wednesday. We're really hoping to keep baby girl on her regular nap schedule as much as possible, so our Super Nanny will be taking her home for a morning nap on most park days after the first hour of touring (which we know is most crucial crowd-wise).

We have 4 ADRS this time - Chef Mickeys for us and the boys, Sci-Fi for all of us, Ohana for everyone but me (I'll stay home to put the baby down and enjoy a book and the hot tub!), and a final celebratory dinner on Friday night at Boma, which I have been wanting to try for YEARS.Oh, and a date night at California Grille since we're coming up on our 12th anniversary. The rest of the meals we'll either do bag lunch or cook a quick meal at the condo.

We're staying at one of Romancing the Mouse's condos - the 4-bedroom in Windsor Hills. Last time we were in Windsor Palms, I'm anxious to see how they compare. Mark and Holly are just phenomenal and we were just recently reminded why we will be forever loyal and why it is so much better to work with them than a rental company...we had originally booked a flight with a layover but then after the time being screwed around with multiple times (Thanks, DELTA ), we talked them into letting us switch to a direct flight (out of Cincinnati, not Dayton, which is actually a teensy bit closer to our home). This is GREAT news, except our return flight now leaves Orlando around 6, and we have to check out at 10...leaving a baby with no place to nap for an entire day. We wrote RtM about our predicament and they said that another family was checking into our condo around noon, but they had another condo that would not be used until 4 and we could use that house for the baby to nap. What incredible service!! This just made my entire day.

So, anyway, back to touring plans...our plan at DHS is for DH to run solo to TSM and get FP while the rest of us ride ToT (will DS4 be brave enough...hmmmm, jury is out) and RnR. We'd also like to hit up ST and the Indiana Jones show in the morning, and possibly backlot tour. If we can do all that I'll be thrilled.

In MK we plan to do most of fantasyland and then focus on Adventureland. There's not much we need to do in Tomorrowland except Buzz and Space Mountain and I'm hoping we can score FP for those. Our new Fantasyland plan is to get FP for Dumbo and ride PP right away since those are the two time-suckers. If my plan works out the way I hope, we'll finish Fantasyland a full hour before we did on our first trip, when we did the Dumbo Dash and STILL waited 20 minutes to get on it!

In AK, definitely Everest, FP for the safari, Kali River Rapids, and potentially Dinosaur. DS7 has been insisting that when we go back (NEXT YEAR) that he needs to ride this. I'm told it will scare the pants off him, and possibly me. Me, I can live with. Don't want to ruin the trip for him! Here is my big time-saver from our last two trips to AK - NO BONEYARD. See my last two trip reports for why. I've had two trips there and NEITHER went well. Ugggh, that is a parent's nightmare.

And finally, Epcot...well, beyond Soarin' and Spaceship Earth, not too much that we HAVE to do there. The boys have never been to WS and we know they'll love Pokemon shopping in Japan. And I plan to snack around the WS cause they are such adventurous eaters.

We also have two special adventures planned - a first haircut for DD (we have the cutest little Minnie dress - no, not a mini-dress - for that) and the Pirate League for the boys.

If anyone has any tips on any of this, please weigh in! I'm very interested to hear how all the Fantasyland changes have effected touring plans.
Up next - we've decided on the big reveal details. This will be EPIC.
__________________
First Family Trip TR 8/7/09-8/15/09: "Will it Hurt when you staple the mouse ears to my head?"

Surprise Trip for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party: 11/13/10-11/20/10: "We Fly Down in 10 hours...The kids are in bed and have NO IDEA!"

3rd Family Trip: 8/4/12-8/11/12:We have an Entourage (just like the Gosselins!)

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Old 07-26-2012, 03:00 PM   #9
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Well, after much deliberation and brainstorming, we have decided how to surprise the kids. They know WHEN we're going on vacation, we just keep telling them we don't know WHERE yet. Kids don't grasp the mechanics of flight reservations, accomodations and budgeting. This is in our favor.
So after a think tank session between us and the super-nannies, here is what we came up with.

On August 1st, the day we will tell them - and we decided to tell them a FEW days in advance so they could do some planning and weigh in on the must-dos, etc. - when they wake up in the morning, the laundry room will have caution tape on it, and a sign saying "Travel Gnomes at Work. Do not Disturb." The night before DH and I will fill it with balloons and all the various and sundry Disney accessories we've purchased over the last few months - sticker books, their old mouse ears, the latest kids guide to Disney, etc, with a big banner. That night when DH gets home from work we'll take them out for ice cream. Then the supernannies will arrive and add some more mouse-shaped balloons and hide out inside WITH camara equipment (I haven't mentioned that Mom Supernanny is an accomplished videographer and I can't wait to see what she puts together after the trip!). We'll come in, let them in the room, and start recording!

After we got it all figured out, DH took it up a notch and decided that the travel gnomes should come into play sooner rather than later. Every three days or so the kids have been receiving letters from Travel Gnomes Incorporated as our personal agent, Gary Gnome, is doing his best to figure out what vacation destination will be perfect for our family. Here is an excerpt from the first letter:

"At Travel Gnomes Unlimited we strive for excellence in our vacation adventures. It is our understanding that our deadline for picking the perfect vacation package is August 1 and we will definitely have everything ready by then. By the way, we do monitor our clients and will be watching you to make sure your behavior proves that you can handle an amazing vacation. Being very good will get you a great vacation, but acting bad may mean you just go to Meijer for several days in a row. So be good!"

Our older son has taken great pleasure in reminding his younger brother that "Gary Gnome is watching!" when he is misbehaving! So far Gary has sent them a silly survey and revealed that he has ruled out all destinations with the letter "A" and any place that is cold. Next he'll reveal that we're flying to our destination. Looking forward to that!
__________________
First Family Trip TR 8/7/09-8/15/09: "Will it Hurt when you staple the mouse ears to my head?"

Surprise Trip for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party: 11/13/10-11/20/10: "We Fly Down in 10 hours...The kids are in bed and have NO IDEA!"

3rd Family Trip: 8/4/12-8/11/12:We have an Entourage (just like the Gosselins!)


Last edited by BlueEyes78; 02-18-2013 at 12:51 PM.
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Old 08-03-2012, 09:35 PM   #10
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We leave tomorrow! We leave tomorrow! Woot-woot!!
We told the kids Wednesday night as planned - our Supernannies were visiting family last week and missed a connecting flight on the way home, so instead of getting home Tuesday, they didn't get home till Wednesday. They barely had time to stop home and unload before coming over for the Big Reveal. They are such good sports! Here is the video link:
Big Reveal
The boys have been very excited since then which is good and bad. DH took the day off today and we spent the whole day packing, cleaning, laundry, all that jazz. We went out for dinner around 5:30 and DS7 kept asking if it was time to go to bed! He said he needed to be in bed before 7 to make tomorrow come faster (this from the kid who routinely pushes his 8:30 or 9:00 bedtime to 10 or later). As soon as we got home he took a bath and put himself to bed. He was actually asleep by 7:30!!
But it was short lived. He popped his head out of his bedroom near 9 and was like, "It's 8:51!! Why didn't you wake me!?!" He was very disappointed to learn it was 8:51 PM. It's going to be a long night!
__________________
First Family Trip TR 8/7/09-8/15/09: "Will it Hurt when you staple the mouse ears to my head?"

Surprise Trip for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party: 11/13/10-11/20/10: "We Fly Down in 10 hours...The kids are in bed and have NO IDEA!"

3rd Family Trip: 8/4/12-8/11/12:We have an Entourage (just like the Gosselins!)

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Old 08-04-2012, 09:12 AM   #11
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Wow. You may be the Type A Planner of the family, but your hubby must average at least B+. I would have looked at that trip with a nursing little one and said, "Nope. Not gonna happen."

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueEyes78 View Post

So far Gary has sent them a silly survey and revealed that he has ruled out all destinations with the letter "A" and any place that is cold.


The best part -- "No destinations with the letter "A". Although if the boys were a little older, and into code breaking like I was in grade school, they'd know that kicking out the letter "A" really narrows your options, and Disney would seem a lot more likely.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueEyes78 View Post
[SIZE="4"]our Supernannies were visiting family last week and missed a connecting flight on the way home, so instead of getting home Tuesday, they didn't get home till Wednesday. They barely had time to stop home and unload before coming over for the Big Reveal. They are such good sports! Here is the video link:
With that link, your Supernannies are blowing me away already, and you haven't even gone yet.

How sweet are your boys? The younger one looked more excited about going with the Supernannies than about Disney, but I expect it's because he hadn't processed the Disney part yet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueEyes78 View Post

But it was short lived. He popped his head out of his bedroom near 9 and was like, "It's 8:51!! Why didn't you wake me!?!" He was very disappointed to learn it was 8:51 PM. It's going to be a long night!


I had one of those. He's now a teenager who thinks five hours of sleep a night is sufficient -- and it's a lot harder to enforce bedtime when they get taller than you and don't seem to suffer from that lack of sleep. I was like that, myself, so I know he'll learn eventually. When he has kids of his own, if not before.
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Old 08-20-2012, 03:14 PM   #12
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So glad you enjoyed the video! I am normally equally Type A with hubby, but he had me beat this year in the vacation plaaning department! I didn't really start looking closely at our touring plans till July - meanwhile he is like sending out memos each week!! Now that the trip is over, he's movd on to Christmas shopping!

Well, we are back now, and with school starting it's been too crazy to sift through my notes, receipts, pictures and video footage, but someday soon I'll have Chapter 1 published!
__________________
First Family Trip TR 8/7/09-8/15/09: "Will it Hurt when you staple the mouse ears to my head?"

Surprise Trip for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party: 11/13/10-11/20/10: "We Fly Down in 10 hours...The kids are in bed and have NO IDEA!"

3rd Family Trip: 8/4/12-8/11/12:We have an Entourage (just like the Gosselins!)

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Old 08-24-2012, 08:45 PM   #13
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Can't wait to hear all about your trip!!
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Old 08-24-2012, 08:53 PM   #14
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I'm in! I'm enjoying your trip report.
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Old 08-27-2012, 11:51 AM   #15
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Well, the baby is down for a nap and DH took the boys out against their will to run errands. Let's take advantage, shall we!
I hope you all enjoy being along for the ride. Now that the trip is over I'm going to introduce a couple of alternative titles, though I'm officially keeping the original one so as not to confuse...

The Things They Carried

THe Unofficial Guide to Disney's Lost and Found

OK, so let's do a quick cast introduction for any new readers. First - ME (AKA Rebecca).
Here I am stylin' in my bull horns at Mongo's on my birthday:



34, 80% Stay-at-home Mom, but also work two days a week OUT of the home at a small nonprofit college in the enrollment department. I love BOTH my jobs and they both have their challenges, but in solidarity with my stay-at-home mom sisters I'm going to have to say being at home is harder. Also, at work, I never have to scrub poop out of the carpet. I feel like just as I get used to one routine at home, something new happens like preschool or another baby! But I love being there for all the important moments, and making dinner for the family so we can spend quality time together each night. I'm pretty darned happy with my life right now. I'm definitely type A but I feel like having three kids has mellowed me out. Except on the clean house front. I'm a stickler about everything being in its place and having three kids and a non-stickler DH is like immersion therapy for clutter-phobes. It's not working for me. When I am not picking up after someone, I LOVE to read, always a stack of books on the nightstand (a neat stack, I promise), and watch old episodes of Arrested Development (may it RIP).

Next up - DH (aka Shawn).



Are you noticing a Viking Theme? Haha, actually we're both Scotch-Irish. ANYWHO, DH is also 34 and is a systems analyst and for the past year has worked at the same school that I do - and it's small enough that we actually work on stuff together and are occasionally in staff meetings together. So now he has a honey-do list at home and a different honey-do list at work since I'm one of his clients. Good thing we like each other! He is Type A+ (see above about all of his trip planning). He enjoys all things research (Google is his best friend besides me), the man is addicted to learning. And tech toys, though he's trying to scale it back (hey, maybe he can put the extra money aside for more Disney trips??). He also loves to get involved in stuff with the kids - right now he's the den leader for Caden's cub scouts and really enjoys getting into all that scout stuff. He's completely addicted to Disney and wants to go as many times as we can before the kids outgrow it, and I think he had as much fun planning this trip as he did taking it!
ANd now the kids:

Here is DS7 (Caden) on our first trip, and now.





Caden is little DH. He is a thinker and inhales information at an incredible rate. Most of the time this is good, sometimes he needs to just chill. He reads constantly and is really into video games and Pokemon. He has an intense personality, a really strong sense of fairness and rightness and can be hard on himself if he doesn't feel he's done what he should. He's very excitable and wears his emotions on his sleeve and is extremely articulate. He throws a curve ball in our direction just about once a day, and is definitely the child that will keep us on our toes! I love spending time with him and hearing about all the stuff rattling around in his busy brain, but sometimes have to remind myself that he is in fact just seven - he's like a little adult!

Next up, DS4 (Connor). Here he is on our first trip, and now.






Connor is our mellow son. He is cheerful and makes friends easily and his primary goal in life is to play. He will take shortcuts around most anything else to get to playing. If that means cleaning up a one-inch square area in the time his brother takes to clean the rest of the room, he'll manage it. And quietly. He has taken advantage of being the middle child by flying beneath the radar to maximize his play time! He wears his clothes and shoes backwards most of the time because it doesn't bother him. And he's still gross, for those of you who have read my other reports. Which I'm sure is very normal for boys, just different for me since Caden is so fastidious. Connor LOVES being a big brother. He is a cuddler and a caretaker and he is a very big help with the baby. Most of the time he just goes with the flow. If he's sick or hurt he has to be in a LOT of discomfort to tell us, most of the time he just keeps on going! As for his interests, he loves whatever Caden loves. Caden is just about his favorite person in the world, and the two of them spend a LOT of time playing together. Also, they are completely hilarious. Here are some examples of ways they crack us up:

Shawn: Let's go inside, I'm getting eaten alive.
Caden: By what?
Shawn: Mosquitoes.
Caden: Oh. I hope you don't get yellow fever.

Caden (to other parents when we picked him up from camp): "My mom was a counselor here back in the 1900s. You know, around the time of the Titanic."

Connor, upon emerging from his first visit to a port-a-potty: "My dream has come true! I have peed in a port-a-potty!"

After VBS Caden was singing, "Our God is Healer, awesome in power.." and Connor interjected, "I thought it was STEALER. Like someone who TAKES stuff." Indignantly Caden responded, "God does NOT do crime, Connor!"


On top of being hilarious, they are both completely devoted to their baby sister. Here she is on our last visit:



Oh - wait. He has sunglasses on, so you probably can't see that twinkle in his eye...

OK. Here she is now:



DD1 (Well, close to 1. She had just turned 11 months when we left). Megan is tiny. That appears to be her defining characteristic. She's been through all sorts of bloodwork and testing but is completely fine, just off-the-charts small. But she has a big personality. 90% of the time she's happy. When she's not happy, she makes sure there is no mistake about it! She's got quite the siren when it comes to screaming. She is pretty go-with-the-flow like Connor, I guess it comes with being the third child and spending so much time in the car seat and stroller. She doesn't nap unless she's in a bed, though, so I knew that would have to be built into the trip schedule. But if she's out and about, even if it's nap time she's very pleasant. Her favorite hobby right now is EATING - no one understands how she eats what she does and is still so small. She'll eat off anyone's plate and anything she finds on the floor. She does have a bit of stranger anxiety - mainly men, and that would come back to bite us on the trip! She's a quick learner and has already picked up several words, but wasn't very fast developing when it came to mobility - until just before the trip when she finally started crawling. It seems that she doesn't want to do anything until she's ready to do it well, and I guess I can respect that!

And last, but certainly not least, we come to the Entourage:



We met Shelli at our church when we started there 7 years ago and she was the Creative Arts minister. Shawn loves all things drama and he got to know her when he joined in for several plays over the years. Shelli is just brilliant creatively and a person who you can't be grumpy around - she's just so full of contagious joy and spontanaeity. She left the ministry position a couple of years ago to home school her kids and is now running her own production company at home. Whenever she babysits the kids we usually have a mini-movie to watch about their adventures when we get home. Our kids just love her and who wouldn't want their own videographer on their trip to Disney?
And finally, Audrey, her 13-year old daughter. Audrey works with the preschoolers at church and is really excited to be a babysitter sometime soon - so this trip was GREAT experience for her, living with three kids for a week! Audrey is also into drama and music like her mom, and saved up all her money for close to a year so she could buy a Domo at Epcot! She is really responsible and hadn't been to Disney since she was eight so was very excited to visit again.
OK, that's about all I have time for today. Next up...DEPARTURE DAY!
__________________
First Family Trip TR 8/7/09-8/15/09: "Will it Hurt when you staple the mouse ears to my head?"

Surprise Trip for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party: 11/13/10-11/20/10: "We Fly Down in 10 hours...The kids are in bed and have NO IDEA!"

3rd Family Trip: 8/4/12-8/11/12:We have an Entourage (just like the Gosselins!)

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