Nov 17, 2014

Disney: Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique!

When  we were planning the trip, Jarrod was kind of persistent about booking Riley an appointment at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique.  He'd heard great things about it from friends, and while it sounded awesome, I also wasn't sure if it was worth the money when we were already spending so much.  Welllll...I ended up giving in and I am SO glad we did.  Such an amazing experience.  Ready for picture overload?

I didn't want to pay for the dress package at the Boutique, so I surprised her with a new Cinderella dress that I packed in our carry-on (with her glass slippers) and when we got to the Boutique after dinner that night, I showed it do her and got her all dressed.  She was so adorable in it, and kept thanking us for it.  She even said something about not having another hanger for it in her dress up area.  Isn't she precious?

So, then we got to meet her Fairy Godmother, Taylor.  She showed her a few pictures, and Riley got to pick the style she wanted.  Definitely not the style I was hoping for, and I tried to change her mind, but Riley decided that she wanted the Pop Diva Princess style.
The whole time she was in the chair, Taylor was talking to her as if she were a princess, calling her Princess Riley, asking about her Queen and King at home, and so on.  It was so adorable.  Riley even told her how her Daddy does her hair for her at home. <3 font="">

She got four adorable Mickey Mouse clips in her hair that we got to keep, and quite the extensions!  Of course, to add to the effect, she chose Rainbow...

Then, it was time for nails and makeup.

I love how she sat with her hands out to let her nails dry while her makeup was applied.

No Princess makeover would be complete without some glitter in her hair! 

Now, the makeover was complete!  It was time for the big reveal.  Another part of the experience that was awesome was that we purchased the Memory Maker Photo Pass and the photographer was there and ready to get her reaction when she was turned around to see herself in the mirror for the first time.  She was in awe!  {And Gavin was quite impressed, too.}

Fairy Godmother Taylor worked her magic and turned our Riley into a beautiful 
Pop Diva Princess Riley.

 And she even asked for Riley's autograph. <3 br="">

I'm so glad we did this for her.  It was incredibly magical....a night I hope she'll always remember (if we're lucky, right???  She is only 3...)  Two regrets of mine - I didn't get any full length pictures of her afterwards to show off her gorgeous dress.  AND, I found a card later that they'd given us at checkout that we could have taken her to a little 'studio' afterwards for her picture, but it was hectic in there when we were leaving and she was so exhausted that I didn't even look at that until the next day.  :(  Oh well...look at all these memories we did have captured!

More Disney magic to come!

Nov 12, 2014

Disney: Day 1!

Disney - here we come!  We were so excited for this trip.  Jarrod and I have been talking about when we'd take the kids to Disney for quite a while.  We had planned to take them last winter, but decided Riley wasn't quite ready for that, so we postponed the trip and on a whim, booked this vacation in May when we heard about a deal they were offering the week of Gavin's October break this year.  We finally told the kids in August that we were going, and together, we worked to plan and prepare for this trip (though I'm not going to lie...I did most of the work.  Haha!)  Let me tell you - planning a Disney trip is really like a full time job.  There is so much thinking ahead of time that needs to be done to make sure you make the most out of this trip, because let's face's an EXPENSIVE trip!  Finally, our morning to leave was here!

The kids did great on the flight, despite waking up at 4am!  We never even had to break out the iPad.  Talk about impressive.  They took turns on the first layover napping on me, which I just ate up.  There's nothing like rocking your almost-3.5 year old to sleep in an airport.  <3 font="">

We finally made it to Orlando and took the Magical Express to our resort.  Staying on Disney property has all sorts of benefits, like not having to worry about transportation or our luggage!  How nice.

We were all giddy when we arrived on property, and then we entered our resort, Wilderness Lodge, to see this gorgeous place...

We were absolutely in awe.  It was breathtakingly beautiful.  This resort honestly wasn't even on our list of potential properties when we started researching because it's considered a 'deluxe' resort and was out of our price range.  But, because of the free dining special they had, it ended up costing the same as the moderate resorts we were looking at that didn't offer free dining, so it was a no-brainer to go big!  Now, of course, we will be spoiled and want to stay in 'deluxe' from now on, but this place definitely had its perks.  

We ended up calling the day before and upgrading to a room with bunk beds to surprise the kids.  When we originally booked, we opted not to because it was more.  By the time the trip rolled around, I think we'd already spent so much that we just said 'screw it!' and decided to go for it.  The kids were so excited when they walked in. 

We were less than thrilled by our 'woods' view at first - but it ended up being exactly what I wanted.  We could see the fireworks from Magic Kingdom each night from our room, just over the trees.  It was awesome.

We didn't stay in the room long.  We went right down and took the bus to Downtown Disney to explore.  It was nice because we were able to meet up with Jarrod's cousin, Steve, and his family.  We hadn't seem them since Steve and Heather got married, and so we got to meet their little girl, Taylor, for the first time.

We definitely didn't experience all the Downtown Disney had to offer, but of course, we hit up the Lego store.  Gavin was so excited, yet so sad that I wouldn't let him spend his souvenir money on more Legos.

Next stop, we sat down for dinner at an Irish restaurant where you could see Irish dancers dancing on the tabletops - except, too bad for us, they put us in the back corner in a separate room so you couldn't see anyone dancing.  We weren't too thrilled with the food there, but it was still nice to sit down and catch up with Steve and Heather.  Riley was ready to fall asleep at dinner and kept asking if we could just go back to the hotel.  But, little did she know, we had one more surprise for her that day...
 Last stop for the night was World of Disney, where we did a lot of 'adding to our Christmas wishlist.'  She wanted everything, of course.  They had this adorable 'magic mirror' that was really neat.  When a girl walks in front of the mirror, it magically shows them wearing the different princess dresses.  I snapped a quick pic of each dress before it moved on to the next one.  Not great quality, but you get the idea.

 We were then chauffeured into the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique for her surprise makeover, which deserves a post of its own.  :)

Nov 5, 2014

Too long!

Holy cow-amole!  {Riley's know, holy cow and holy guacamole...just combined.}  Thanks, Tori, for the gentle reminder that I haven't blogged in a while.  I did NOT realize it had been two months.  So sad.  :(

Not blogging and keeping up with this will end up being something I greatly regret, I realize that.  And I have to make time for it.  I will make time for it.  It's important to me to document these memories that we're so busy making.  I may not have time to blog four times a week like I did when Gavin was an only child, but I will blog and I will record these precious moments that are passing way too fast.

Let's go into 'Christmas letter' mode and give you the update on everyone.
 Gavin: First grade is treating Gavin nicely.  He just brought home a Perfect Attendance certificate yesterday for first quarter, something we didn't see at all in kindergarten, and ironically, he's home sick today.  His first report card was awesome and Mrs. R is quite impressed with his progress.  He makes us very proud.  {Bragging moment - he's reading at a 4th grade level already!}  He and Jarrod joined Cub Scouts this year, and he really seems to be enjoying it.  I love that it's something that they do together each week, and the life skills he's working on - fire escape plans, phone manners, etc.  He does want to try soccer though in the spring, and I believe the times conflict so Scouts may end up being short lived.  We'll see.  Tennis still fills his Saturday mornings, and he's doing really well.  I think we'll end up moving to some private lessons at some point for him.  Finally, he's growing and fitting into some more age-appropriate sizes, and I love how he will just walk by and give me a hug without prompting.

Riley:  Everyday, I notice Riley is more little girl and less baby.  So bittersweet.  She's doing great in preschool.  Absolutely loves going to school and we haven't had a single tear at drop off.  I'm anxious to hear what the teacher has to say at her first parent-teacher conference later this month.  I am pretty proud of her for writing her name independently already!  She learned sooner than Gavin.  Jitterbugs is also quite popular around here (her dance fitness class she takes after school once a week) and singing is still a passion for Riles.  She belts them out without a care in the world.  This crazy little girl has the best facial expressions, is quite strong-willed and loves changing her clothes multiple times a day.  Thanks for the laundry, Riley.  We're in Princess Overload around here and loving every minute of it.

Jarrod: Over the summer, Jarrod started in a new position with Sam's Club as a planner for outdoor living {think patio furniture.}  He is loving the challenge and working hard.  Working closely again with a friend he met here years ago also sparked a new interest.  The crazy guy is training to do a half Ironman now.  I think he's nuts, but if Jarrod is anything, it's passionate...when he gets an idea, we all know he goes all out, so he bought a new bike {crazy how much a BIKE costs} and he's out riding every Saturday morning, running every Sunday morning, and still lifts weights Mon-Fri after work.  He's crazy, and inspiring, all at the same time.  Proud of him!

Me: Oh, my life never slows down and I love that.  I spend many days playing taxi driver (Thursdays I put 40+ miles on my van all before lunch...crazy!) and that's exactly what I want to be doing.  I am really loving my new business, AIM for Happy, and love working with other women and moms like me on a daily basis, focusing on finding happiness and getting healthy.  My Tastefully Simple business has shifted to all online work as it was getting more and more difficult for me to set aside time for evening parties.  I love that I get to volunteer weekly in Gavin's classroom right now, reading with the kids and doing sight words and math facts.  It lets me have just a little taste of teaching without all the added responsibilities that I don't miss at all! Haha! 

And as a family, we just recently got home from our absolutely AMAZING vacation to Disney World!  Aside from our weekend road trips, I think this may have been our first real vacation just the four of us.  I never thought I'd be a 'Disney person' and assumed we'd go this time and then maybe once more when Riley was a little older, but it is so difficult to even describe how magical this trip was.  If it weren't so darn expensive, we'd definitely be going back soon.  I can't wait to plan another trip, especially now that I know what to expect. prepared for an influx of Disney vacation posts and pictures.  I definitely want to document them all here, but we have close to 600 photos from our week there that I need to sort through and tons of memories to relive and write down.

Thanks again, Tori...blogging today was just what I needed!