Sunday, February 24, 2013

The New Dog

We got a new dog!

Her name is Coco "Puffs" Conner. She is a Jack Russell Terrier like Penny, but with wirey coat.

Lots of surprise when we announced that we adopted a 7 week old puppy, on the day that we got back from Disney World.

But Jeff and the girls have been wanting one for awhile. And when my sorority sister posted on Facebook that her dogs had given birth, and that a JRT puppy needed a home-- I felt like it was the right time.

Penny is not impressed with Coco. She is some-what tolerant, but not interested.

Coco just wants to play. Luckily, she has lots of willing volunteers.

Maisy especially enjoys her. She talks to her all day long, tucks her in bed, pretends to be her mother. Coco is a good 'little doll'.

Potty training is going well, as long we take her outside frequently. After a few rough nights, she now sleeps all night long in her cage without any fuss.

Our little 4 pound friend is a welcome addition to the family.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Disney World 2013

We had the best time at Disney World!

We planned our vacation for February because the last time we went, the parks were empty and the weather was great. This time, there were a lot more people there, but the weather was amazing. For most of the trip, we had sunshine and warm temps.

**DISNEY TIP: Bring a change of clothes in a backpack for your princess, eventually she will get tired of wearing that dress.
Maisy always started the day in Princess dress. I brought a change of clothes for her in a backpack because by lunch she was ready to be in something less itchy :) 
My travel agent and friend, Stephanie plans trips to Disney (email me if you would like her contact info)-- she provided us with a great plan of action. I don't know about you, but the whole "Disney Planning" is kind of intimidating. This time, I had no stress.

**DISNEY TIP: Use a travel agent to plan your trip. This service is provided at no-cost to you, they are paid by Disney. It is helpful to have an expert on your side! 

The New Dumbo Ride
The New Dumbo Ride
Our trip was Sunday thru Thursday. We spent a day in each park-- and two days at Magic Kingdom. We got  to see the "New FantasyLand"- which was pretty cool. The new Ariel ride there was a hit with my girls, it was similar to the "Finding Nemo" ride at Epcot. We weren't able to eat at the new "Be Our Guest" restaurant, it was already booked up when we tried to get reservations.

*DISNEY TIP: Bring a stroller, even big kids get tired of walking all day. 

We brought our own strollers, and even though my first grader is very independent, we brought a stroller for her too. I was happy to have it-- there were a lot of people there and we did a ton of walking. It was nice to have both girls safe in their seats as we meandered through the parks.

For this trip, we gave the Disney Dining Plan a try. I had heard some people say that the dining plan included too many desserts/junk food. But I think we actually ate pretty healthy on our trip. We simply requested to trade our desserts for fruit or veggies, chose water over sodas, skipped chips/frys, and took advantage of the salads, wraps, and grilled items. (And of course, at dinner we did have our share of our desserts- just not at lunch-time!)

**DISNEY TIP: Make the Dining Plan work for you. Trade fries, desserts, chips and sodas for veggies, fruits and bottled water. 

We stayed at the Wilderness Lodge. I loved this resort! It was a fun atmosphere, with lots to do. The girls even swam a few times.

**DISNEY TIP- Bring a swimsuit! We didn't expect to swim, but the pools were heated and February in Florida can be warm. 

 Each evening we hung out in the lobby where the girls danced and played while Jeff and I relaxed.

One of the girls favorite things about Disney is the autographs. We made our own autograph books from spiral art journals and decorated the fronts.

**DISNEY TIP: Bring an autograph book and a sharpie marker- the kids love collecting autographs and the marker is easier to the characters to hold.

We used the daily schedule, passed out in each park, to find out where/when our favorite characters would be signing autographs.

Since Maisy was too short to ride some of the bigger rides, we took advantage of the Rider Pass, which allowed Jeff and I to easily switch out riding with Afton (without having to wait in a long line).

We took the girls to two character meals. Chef Mickey at the Contemporary Hotel was adorable and the food was really good. You can't go wrong with Mickey waffles.

On our last day at Magic Kingdom, we ate at Cinderella's Royal Table. I was really impressed with the food and 'fanciness' of this meal. The staff really made the girls feel special.

The only draw back of the trip was that Maisy got sick on Thursday and Jeff on Friday. They both ended up with the flu. I guess with that many people in one area, it is bound to happen. Good thing it was at the end of the trip, not the beginning.

My favorite part of the trip was soooo much quality family time with the girls (they will only be little once!). Even though it is a 'kids trip', Jeff and I had a lot of fun too. When else do you get to hang out with your hubby for a week straight?

Coming back was kind of hard. Life at Disney is so sweet and magical. Why can't the real world be more like that?

See our family video of the trip here: 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Mardi Gras in Shreveport 2013

If you ever get the chance, take a road trip to Louisiana around Mardi Gras.

When you get there, find out where the closest parade will be held. When you find out where the parade is, you might want to go visit the parade floats the night before it actually rolls.

Take a few small children with you, so you have an excuse to act like a child too. Then stay up late and eat lots of King Cake.

The next day, when your small children wake up at 6am and are hungry, just go downstairs and eat breakfast at the hotel. While you are eating breakfast, you might notice that there are a lot of little girls dressed up in formal wear. That's when you realize that TLC's Toddlers and Tiara's is being filmed right in front of you!

After you are done watching a live reality show, head out to the parade route. While you are at the parade route, you might notice that your kids can't really sit still for 5 hours while waiting for the parade. So, let them run around and have fun talking with friends and family.

When the parade finally starts, catch as many beads as you can. Scramble for cups and get knocked in the head by miscellaneous throws. Wave your hands in the air and yell, "Throw me somethin' mister!"

After the parade is over, you might realize it's way past dinner time. So go pick up Chicken Express and head back to your hotel. When you get back to your hotel, spend the rest of the night letting your kids jump on the bed and watch tv until they fall asleep with big smiles on their faces.

The next morning, when your small children summon you, pack up your things and head back home. On the way home, stop and eat fast food while enjoying the fact that you are 'technically, still on vacation'.

Once you get home, unload all your beads, trinkets, and cups onto the driveaway. While you are sorting them, you might notice you brought home way too many 'treasures' from the parade. So, you might want to organize them into ziploc baggies and give them away to your children's friends.

Then go inside, do two loads of laundry, and look at the photos and videos you took with Instagram and Vine on your trip. Looking at your iphone will remind you that despite all the laundry, you really did have a lot of fun.

And chances are, when Mardi Gras rolls around next year, you just might take another road trip to Louisiana.

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