Sunday, September 25, 2011

Orlando Trip Part 2

So Magic Kingdom was Tuesday.  Wednesday my aunt and uncle were otherwise obligated so I thought Elijah and I would go swimming in the hotel pool in the morning and then take the shuttle from the hotel to Downtown Disney, which is basically just a bunch of shopping, so there's no admission fee.  Both things got kind of kinked up.  First of all, the hotel shuttle to Downtown Disney only runs after 6 p.m.  So instead we decided that Mike would take us on his lunch break in the rental car and then pick us up at his afternoon break.  (I could not drive the rental car since it was for the government employees only.)

First, though, we went to breakfast at the hotel buffet.  Basically you go in and order the buffet and they say "Okay, that will be your right arm."  It costs $15, which in my opinion is just an insane amount for a breakfast buffet.  Kiddos eat free, fortunately, so I loaded Elijah up.  I would have loaded myself up, too, but I can only eat so much before I start feeling sick and worrying about my thunder thighs, but he can eat as much as he wants since his fat is cute.

After breakfast we headed out to the pool.  Mike's mom had bought for us a little innertube-type baby floaty thing (was that description clear enough?).  It had an inner blow up/float thing and an outer one.  (This really will make more sense when you see the pictures.)  But you apparently have to have turbo lips to blow the stupid thing up because I was blowing into it so hard I was about to pop a blood vessel in my eye and it still wasn't inflating well.  Plus, I was by a pool with a one year old who doesn't like to sit still.  So it was not going well.  Also, we brought his yellow sippy cup which still had milk leftover from breakfast in it and he managed to smack it hard enough on the concrete that it broke and started spilling milk out.  That was the first cup he learned to drink out of.  *sniff, sniff*  I was going to have it bronzed!  (Yeah, that sounds like me.)  So it had to go in the trash.  Fortunately, I did bring 2 sippy cups so we weren't totally screwed there.  And I did finally at least get the inner inflatable part of his floaty blown up.  But then when we tried to get in it, he was fighting me putting his feet through the holes and I was freaking out because we were in the water and he's all slippery.  So, yeah, it wasn't going well.

I did finally get him in the floaty but by that time he was crying and not happy to be in the water with me.  So I figured we'd give it a few minutes and try to get him to cheer up but if it didn't work, I was going to give up and just take him back to the room.  However, he did finally cheer up a bit.  Here are pictures from our trip to the hotel pool.

Both blue sections are supposed to inflate but I only had enough breath to inflate the inner one.  It says not to use an air compressor on it, but that's eventually what we used when we went to my Uncle Ron's house on Thursday and swam in their pool because I don't see how else you're supposed to get it all inflated.

Anyway, after that Elijah took a nap and when Mike was ready for his lunch break, he took us to Downtown Disney.  While we were waiting for Mike to come get us, I got the picture of Elijah with Mickey ears that I'd promised Mike's mom.  The Mickey ears cost $15, which I really think is too much for a pair of plastic mouse ears, but oh well.

And they're off... he hates things on his head.

So went to Downtown Disney.  We ate lunch with Daddy and I rented another $15 stroller--this one I actually had to put $100 deposit down for because it's an open shopping area and you can just take the strollers if you were so inclined, I guess.  I don't know why you'd want to.  I'm sure you could get a better stroller than that for $15 on craigslist, but whatever.  You get your $100 back when you return it and I had to have it since I wasn't going to walk around carrying Elijah the whole time.

After lunch we went around looking at the shops.  We were going to go to this Harley Davidson shop and see if there was a Christmas present in there for Papa but that store was closed because they're doing some kind of construction.  So we didn't get to go there.  However, we did go to the lego store.

These statutes are made entirely out of legos.  Neat, eh?

I think Elijah had the most fun at the lego store playing with the legos outside.  I'm sure most people are cringing that he put the legos in his mouth considering that God only knows how many other filthy hands have touched these legos, but oh well.  He was having fun.  So much that he even let me put the Mickey ears on him for a little while.  (By the way, he did not build that huge tower, it was already there.  He did, however, knock it over before we left.)

We checked out some more fun sights like the dinosaur bones outside the T-Rex Cafe and the boat and hot air balloon you could see across the water.

We stopped at Ghirardelli and shared a chocolate milkshake.  (We were on vacation, okay.  He normally eats a lot better than this.  Don't judge me!)

We walked around to a bunch of other shops and considered buying Grandma Sandie (Mike's mom) a Mickey ornament for Christmas but I just couldn't bring myself to pay $15 for a little glass Mickey ornament.  (I seem to have a real problem with things costing $15, don't I?)

Mike got us around 3:00 and I went back to get our $100 back from the stroller robbers.  Then we went back and I tried to get Elijah to take an afternoon nap but instead he decided to babble to himself in his crib for two and a half hours.  So no nap, just an annoyed Mommy.  We went to Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner and then back to the hotel for bed.

Thursday my uncle was supposed to come and get us after Elijah's morning nap so we could go hang out at his house for the day.  So we just hung around the hotel room until Elijah got sleepy and then Uncle Ron came to get us about 11:15.  Now, I forgot to mention that my aunt and uncle have a house that is situated right next to a lake.  Also, they have a screened in back porch with a pool.  Have a looksie...

These were taken after it started clouding up.  Later it started raining but when we first got there it was sunny and nice so we got to swim.  Uncle Ron had an air compressor so we actually got Elijah's floaty thing blown up all the way.  Here are some pictures of him and Uncle Ron having fun in the pool.  Elijah had a lot more fun in the pool this time.

My Aunt Patrice had some little windup toys that moved their arms and swam in the water.  Elijah is holding the turtle one in that last picture.

We had fun swimming but then it started getting cloudy and eventually started raining so we had to go in.  They have a very nice house, but, as a result, it's not very kid-friendly so there were a lot of places little guys could really mess stuff up.  Fortunately, we managed to keep it all under control.  And eventually Elijah was getting super tired so we made a palate for him on the floor of their den.  I lay down with him without high hopes or expectations that he would fall asleep, but to my surprise and delight, he did fall asleep.

During his little nap, my cousin Janika came home.  Janika is not Uncle Ron and Aunt Patrice's daughter; they don't have any kids.  She is actually the younger daughter of my Uncle John--my dad's and Ron's brother--who lives in Germany.  So Janika is from Germany.  She is in med school in Germany and it's apparently a six-year program that they do straight out of high school.  They are required to do two observations of doctors in their practices for a month (I believe).  So Aunt Patrice found a cardiologist in Winter Haven who agreed to let Janika come observe him.  So she is staying with them during this observation.  And, like I said, she lives in Germany.  So I haven't seen her in about fifteen years.  Here we are during dinner.

Aren't we cute?  She's 22 and I'm... ahem... NOT 22...

Anyway, so we got to talk some and she met Elijah when he woke up after sleeping for only about 45 minutes.  Mike joined us after he got done with his last conference session of the day.  We had grilled chicken caesar salad and this marble cake with chocolate icing for dinner.  It was delicious.  My aunt is a fabulous cook.

Elijah got to eat some of Daddy's cake.  Here he is with cake mouth.

All in all we had a really good time that evening.  Here's a picture of Uncle Ron, Janika, Elijah and me.


We didn't get back to the hotel until about 9 p.m.  Elijah had fallen asleep in the car and we had to wake him up and get him out and then give him his bath and put him back to bed.  Then I had to work on packing while Mike refilled the car with gas and did some other preparing to leave things.

The next morning we had to get up at like 6 in order to leave by 7.  We were hoping Elijah would sleep later, but alas, he got up at 6:30.  But we got to the airport and I went through security with Elijah by myself.  This time he was a bit better on the plane, but no flight with a one year old is ever easy.  It was partially because there was an empty seat between us and the woman sitting next to us, partially because I let him have his pacifier the whole time, and partially because he was sleepy.  He fell asleep on me for about 30-45 minutes during the flight.  I was glad he slept but your arms start to really hurt holding a 25 pound sleeping kid after awhile.

Anyway, we got back to Kansas City at about 11 and went and ate lunch and sat around to wait for Mike.  His flight didn't get in until 1:40 so we had some time to kill.  The restaurant we ate at did not have the greatest service so after we ate, we left and found a Starbucks to hang out at for awhile.  There we watched a few Veggie Tales DVDs while I tried not to pass out at the table.  It is not fun hanging out in the airport for three hours with nothing to do, but it's even less fun with a cranky kid who hasn't had a real nap all day.

Finally, Mike arrived but he was at terminal C.  He needed to go get the car from economy parking but I had the keys.  (We didn't fully think that one through.)  So he came over to terminal B and stayed with Elijah while I took the red bus back to terminal C and then the blue bus to economy parking.  And since Mike had parked the car, I had to search for it.  I was walking around pressing the red button that makes the car alarm honk so you can find the car but was having no success and wondering if Mike wrote the location down wrong.  I was about to throw my hands up and start crying when I prayed "Please, God, just give me a little break here."  A moment later I found the car.

I drove back to the terminal to pick up Mike and Elijah.  Mike had to install the carseat next to the terminal where I'd pulled up and even though there weren't any cars waiting to pull up or any people waiting to be picked up, this traffic control guy pulled up behind us.  He didn't get out of his truck or say anything, which was fortunate for him or else I might have gone medieval on his heiney.  My day had been way too exhausting to deal with that properly.

Finally, we did get everything together and get out of there without a bad encounter with the traffic guy.  And we all made it home exhausted but otherwise okay.  So I will now leave you with a picture of Elijah reading his books and playing with my keys (the ones Mike should have had) in the terminal.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Orlando Trip Part 1

So this post is probably going to be long and include lots of funtastic pictures so I'm breaking it up into parts.  How many yet, I'm not sure.  I will begin at the beginning.  Mike had to go to a conference for his job in Orlando this past week (Sept. 19-23) and we had considered going with him because it's really close to Disney World and you lovely taxpayers paid for the hotel and Mike's flight and food, so it would just be my flight and entertainment we had to cover ourselves.  Also, my aunt and uncle live in Winter Haven, which is about 45 minutes from Orlando.  But alas, we are seriously broke and had decided we could not afford it.  My mom, though, really wanted us to go so my aunt and uncle could meet Elijah so she bought us an early Christmas present (and that's the only one she's allowed to buy or there will be consequences!!!).  So whoo hoo!  Elijah and I got to go with Mike to Orlando.

However, since the U.S. government that we love very much because they give Mike a paycheck every other week and we love our country, etc. etc., is still at times very STUPID, Mike had to take a more expensive flight with a layover.  (It's a long story that at the end of which, you would just say "that makes no sense" and conclude that the U.S. government is dumb.)  So the short of it is that I had to fly with Elijah by myself.  Now I don't know if you've ever tried to fly with a one year old who likes to move around but is supposed to be restricted to your lap--it's not pleasant.  Elijah was squirming and fighting me the entire flight to Orlando and occasionally threw toys that hit the sweet little seven year old girl sitting next to us. *SIGH*  He finally did fall asleep on my shoulder, but only when we were landing.  Also, I love southwest airlines but they let all the people in the A group go on before they do the family boarding.  Note to southwest: it's not really that helpful to let 60 people board the plane before those with small children since all 60 spread out everywhere and make the plane rather crowded already.

Anyway, after the horrendous flight we picked up the car seat that we'd checked and met up with Daddy/Mike.  My back was pretty much on fire by the time we picked up the rental car (that you lovely taxpayers also paid for, THANKS!!) because I'd been carrying Elijah since I'd entered security in KC because I'm also stupid and didn't realize you can take a stroller through security.  A shampoo bottle, no, but a stroller is okay.  Go figure.

So we got to the hotel and checked in and then went to dinner at TGI Fridays.  Elijah and I hadn't eaten since we left KC so we were very hungry on top of being tired.  But the hotel was very nice.  It was the Royal Plaza.  Here are some pictures from the room (and a few cute ones of Elijah in the room).

Goofing around with Daddy.

The view from our balcony.

Our room.  Yes, they gave us two double beds instead of a king like they were supposed to but we were so tired by the time we got there we didn't bother to ask them to move us.

Looking out the window of the balcony.

Unfortunately, despite our extreme weariness, Elijah dd not do well that first night in the hotel room.  He woke up around 10:30, right after Mike and I fell asleep and REFUSED to go back to sleep for hours.  I think I finally plopped him back down in his crib at like 3 a.m. and was like "THAT IS IT!!!" and was just going to leave him there to wail until he fell asleep.  Of course this time, he just lay down and went to sleep.  ::bangs head against wall::  We had tried this same tactic like four other times already so I have no idea what it was about this time that made it work unless he was just exhausted from fighting us or he just heard in my voice that there was no more sympathy from Mommy.  And, of course, he woke up promptly at 7 the next morning, bright-eyed as if everything was peachy keen.  I was propping my bloodshot eyelids open with toothpicks, but whatever.

On Tuesday we met up with my aunt and uncle and went to the Magic Kingdom.  I brought Elijah's baseball cap and sandals, assuming they would be a lost cause since he usually yanks them both right off when I put them on but my Aunt Patrice used her special aunt/executive powers and got him to at least wear his shoes.

Elijah was big enough to ride most of the rides, fortunately.  To get there, though, we first went to the Grand Floridian (this super fancy hotel) and parked there and took the monorail over.
This is the Grand Floridian.  Nice, eh?

Here's the monorail.

Little Man riding the monorail with my Uncle Ron.

This is the $15 stroller you can rent at Magic Kingdom.  NOT worth $15.  But whaddaya gonna do?  At least it kept the sun off him when he was in it.  It is rather annoying, though, that you can't take the strollers in the lines for the rides.  I mean, in theory I get that the lines are too narrow, but then it makes the strollers almost pointless because you move it like three feet from one ride to the next, pick the kiddo up out of the stroller and hold him for 30 minutes waiting to get on a 10 minute ride.  I guess that's kind of amusement park stupidity in general, but still.  I'd like to complain about it for a moment.

However, my complaint there ends because as we were entering the line for the Winnie the Pooh ride a Disney security guy was leading a girl who couldn't have been more than three around and she was crying because she'd gotten separated from her parents.  I was SO sympathetic to her parents at that moment.  I felt bad for her too because she was crying and upset but at least she was safe and didn't get snatched by the nearest freakshow pedophile or something, which is, I'm sure, the kind of things her poor parents were envisioning.  I said a prayer that she would be reunited with them quickly--before they had aneurysms or went into cardiac arrest.

 Here's little man in line for Winnie the Pooh.

I tried to take pictures in the ride itself but it was too dark to get any decent ones.  But these are Elijah riding the Winnie the Pooh ride.

Next we rode the Dumbo ride.  It goes around and the Dumbos go up and down and you're supposed to be able to control how high your Dumbo is by this little lever in the car but ours didn't work so we were stuck up too high most of the time.  Aunt Patrice tried to take pictures but could only get ones of Dumbo's belly.  So no Dumbo pictures, sorry.  Anyway, then we rode the carousel and Aunt Patrice did get some shots of us on the carousel.

By the time we were done on the carousel it was raining pretty hard so we went to this Disney 3D movie thing where you have to wear 3D glasses.  I wasn't sure if Elijah would be able to enjoy it since I didn't think he'd leave his glasses on his head--he hates anything on his head, hence the lack of the baseball cap I brought for him.  But the real thing he hated was the sudden loud music during the movie.  He started crying and shaking and I had to stand up with him in the back.  Also by that time he was getting pretty tired since it was time for his afternoon nap, but I paid $90 to get myself into the park (Elijah was free) so we were going to get the most out of my $90!  Here are him and Uncle Ron outside the 3D thing playing with 3D glasses.

We also got to see a parade with all the characters but we were far enough away that I couldn't really get any decent pictures.  We ate ice cream for his afternoon snack.  (That's right, I am very into good nutrition for my child.)  Then we went to the It's a Small World ride because my Uncle Ron LOVES that ride and was just DYING to go. ;)  Here are some shots from that.

Elijah riding the Small World ride in my lap.  He seemed to enjoy it the most because there was so much to look at.  It was slightly less annoying than I remembered.

After that we decided we had pushed him to his limit and it was time to head back to the hotel.  Aunt Patrice and I rode Space Mountain while Uncle Ron stayed with Elijah (it is one of two rides that he was too small to ride).  I remember when I rode Space Mountain as a kid I thought it was the coolest thing ever.  I wasn't overly impressed this time.  It seemed a lot darker than I remember.  Like it seemed like there were more stars when I rode it the last time.  But I guess that's the difference in perception from child to adult.  Not sure which is better.

So then we headed out.  Mike was almost done with his conference for the day so we needed to get back anyway so we could have dinner with him.  We rode the monorail back and Elijah fell asleep on Uncle Ron's shoulder.

He was tired!!!  He was a big grump at dinner that night but when we got back to the hotel and put him to bed he slept straight through until morning.  So that was Magic Kingdom.  I will blog about the rest of the week in Part 2.