Monday, March 30, 2015

P is for Princess

Kate was very excited about having a few days of princess fun.  I helped her transform the letter P into a princess.

We watched The Princess and the Pea on the computer and read a few books that stem from the classic tale.

I couldn't resist checking to find out if Kate is in fact a real princess.  I placed a pea on the floor and piled up a few couch cushions.  She could feel the pea and she was very excited about it.

This Haba princess and the pea game is one we have owned since Reagan was about Kate's age.  I don't know if we have ever played the game following the directions; Kate just likes to tell the story with the pieces.

To end the princess fun, Kate completed her first color by number.  Honestly, she didn't love it.  I think she thought that it stifled her creativity!!!

Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure - Part Four

We spent our fourth and fifth days going between the two parks revisiting our favorite rides.  Here are a few random pictures from those days.

It was considerably cooler the last two days (only in the 60s), and I wasn't thinking clearly when I let the girls run through the Curious George splash park.  At one point, a boy pressed a button that made a HUGE bucket of water dump out all over Reagan and Kate.  They were freezing, and we had to go back to the hotel to change.  On the way, we saw Woody Woodpecker and Curious George, so we stopped for pictures, but you can tell that Reagan was cold!

We all had a lot of fun during this trip.  It was a very quiet week and because we stayed on Universal property, we had fast passes for everything but the big Harry Potter rides, so we were able to go through both parks without much waiting.

Some random observations:
  • The parks were very clean, even the restrooms were clean and well stocked whenever I used them.
  • I'm sure the timing of our visit had a lot to do with this, but the park was never overcrowded when we were there; that was very nice!
  • I ate a lot of churros (we all did).
  • The parks are definitely better for older kids who like big thrill rides, but there was enough there for Kate to enjoy.
  • There are a few characters for photo ops, but not many.  This was fine for us.
  • If you're looking for a good parade, go to Disney!  The parade was very short and there was no wow factor.  
  • We didn't watch any of the shows; none of them appealed to us.
Favorite rides:

Tom - Hulk Coaster
Grandma Susan - Transformers
Tyler - Dragon Challenge
Collin - Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
Reagan - The Mummy and Rip Ride RockIt
Katelyn - She has a few favorites:  E.T., Flight of the Hippogriff, and One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish are the three she mentions most, but she also mentions the Simpsons and Spiderman regularly; she loves rides!
Me - Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts

Food:  It's an amusement park.  We don't like to spend too much time eating when we are in amusement parks.  For us, we are there to enjoy the parks, not sit down and eat.  We ate quick breakfasts in our hotel and grabbed something quick for lunch (usually pizza or something else fast) in the park for lunch.

Once we ate lunch at Emeril's restaurant, and we LOVED Emeril's Tchoup Chop (at our hotel) so much that we ate dinner there twice.  The food at Tchoup Chop was fantastic, really so very good, but the service was over the top.  I think it was the best service I have ever had at a restaurant.  The waiter cut Reagan's steak for her!!!  That meant she got special treatment (right up her alley) and Tom and I got to just sit back and enjoy our meal without having to cut the steak ourselves.  The second time we ate there, we sat at the kitchen bar where we could watch everything going on in the kitchen.  The kitchen staff were 100% cool and collected and incredibly organized; there were no Gordon Ramsay type moments!!  The chefs gave us treats and talked to us and it was a very nice experience!  Reagan had a few flavors of this Ramune soda at Tchoup Chop, and she loved them. She also liked the experience of the beverage because you have to push a marble down into the bottle before you drink it; it was just different and fun for her.

Overall, it was a great vacation and we would all love to go back someday.

Friday, March 20, 2015


And so begins Reagan's last year of single digits.  It's amazing how that happens.  One day I was holding my nine pound newborn, and the next day she turned nine.  At least it feels that way.

Reagan was very excited about her birthday.  She woke up bright and early, got all dressed, and came downstairs for her birthday muffins.

She received a lot of sibling love.

Collin had a special hug for her.

I could come up with one million things I love about this sweet girl, but for this birthday, I gave her nine.

Kate picked out flowers and a balloon for Reagan while we were out today.

Reagan chose to celebrate with dinner at Agoro's.  It was a very nice night out for everyone.

Reagan certainly is loved.


Happy Birthday beautiful girl!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

St. Patrick's Day

Kate made a rainbow with a puffy cloud for St. Patrick's Day.

I drew shamrocks on a few coffee filters, and put them on a tray with droppers in cups of blue and yellow liquid watercolors.  Kate loves using droppers, and this was a great opportunity to work on color mixing; blue + yellow = green.

Don't they look pretty in the window?

Edible rainbow necklaces were also great for fine motor skills practice!  

I gave all of the kids a little extra Irish love.

And, of course, even though we never got around to making a leprechaun trap this year, one of those mischievous little creatures still stopped by to turn our toilet water green, knock over some chairs, write on our bathroom mirror, and leave behind a shamrock trail to the annual gift of Lucky Charms.

I did my best to balance out that sugar with the very best rainbow treats.