Monday, December 26, 2005

The Big Day!!

On Christmas Eve we left for Disney World. We checked into the Caribbean Beach Resort where I had stayed with Gail all those years ago on the holiday when Michael and I first met. As we checked in we tried to book a restaurant for that night in Downtime Disney. The House of Blues (where we actually met Michael) was booked as were most of the restaurants at the park so we decided on the Rainforest Cafe which takes walk-in traffic only. Going into a room identical to the one we had stayed in 8 years ago was really strange and brought back some really fond memories of my sister... There was quite a wait to eat at the Rainforest Cafe but the meal was fantastic. The restaurant has moving animals and simulates a tropical rainforest thunderstorm every 20 minutes. We sat by a tropical fishtank in the Gorrilla room and shared a famous 'Volcano' dessert which was impossible for the 3 of us to get through. After dinner we went back to the room and put out Maddy's stocking so that Santa could find us OK. Michael put out the usual carrot for the reindeers and hot cocoa for Santa and we went to sleep... In the morning Madison was thrilled that Santa had left 'too many' gifts!...a topsy turvy princess, cabbage patch pony and a whole lot more. We had got her a portable DVD player which she loved too. I was really happy to finally hold my new purse (of course no surprises here - I had gone to the store to make sure I got the right one...).
Michael was really happy with his Bon Jovi tickets...
After a few hours we headed off for the Magic Kingdom. When we arrived (at midday) we discovered that all of the major rides were down due to power failures and they had made an annoucement that we could use our tickets at any park that day. Since the smaller rides were still working, the lines were horrendous, an hour plus for most of them. It took over a half hour just to get popcorn - the whole park was heaving. Apparently Christmas Day is the busiest day at Disney World which we hadn't planned on at all. Maddy was miserable not being able to go on anything and it was really difficult just to get around with all of the crowds. We gave up and left at about 4pm. We did get to see the Christmas parade with Santa (who Maddy said should have been resting).

We got back to the room to find a bouquet of balloons and a Happy Anniversary card from Mickey Mouse which was really nice. (We had mentioned the fact that it was our anniversary when we were trying to book dinner).
We took a much needed family snooze and tried to go back to the park again at about 7pm. It was much better and we got to do the rides with very few lines and see the Spectromagic parade. Main Street USA had fake snow and really beautiful lights and decorations. The fireworks over the castle were absolutely amazing. They have had the whole castle redone and it lit up to coordinate with the music. Madison sang along through the Nutcracker songs and loved it when Tinkerbell flew across the park. After the fireworks the park really opened up since most people left. It closed at 3am but we were long gone at that point and sleeping off a really fun Christmas Day!

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Christmas party at the Earlys

The day before Christmas Eve we had a family party with Jen, Rich and Mya, Richard, Sue and Sara, Nana, Lizzy and Matt. Mya came dressed to impress...
Nana cooked garlic shrimp with sugar snap peas (which was delicious). The girls watched Nestor the Long Eared Donkey and we all exchanged gifts. Lizzy and Matt got the '80s game...
Jen and Rich got their S'mards (!) maker...
Clare and Mike loved their sushi set...Richard and Sue got Nutcracker Christmas ornaments...

Maddy made jewelry in her new Kim Possible jim-jams and both girls got framed pictures of each other ...

Then the game of Guesstures began. Despite Richard's efforts...
And Mike and Rich's thoughtful approach...
and Sara's athletic display...

The girl's won!!

Saturday, December 17, 2005

The Nutcracker

Madison's school put on their performance of the Nutcracker Suite on Thursday. Madison was in the choir and worked really hard to learn all of the words and actions for the performance. She was a little nervous as we arrived...

Mya and Jen came to the show and gave Madison flowers afterwards. Madison - we are so proud of you!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Christmas Shopping

The Christmas shopping is still not done but Maddy has her 'Simpsons'-style pajamas ready for the big morning...

Holiday Party

Today Bill, Lisa and Sami had their annual Christmas party. Face painting, scavenger hunting, Christmas craft-making, lots and lots of food and drink, football and friends. Maddy hit Santa up with her list (baby horse, snow globe, soft princess, something arts and crafts related, a musical instrument) and made sure that he knew how to get to DisneyWorld for the big day. Bossy and organized...wonder where she gets that from... Santa gave Madison an art set at the party and everyone had a great time!

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Thanksgiving Weekend

We had a great time at Thanksgiving. We went over to Jen's for the big day and Rich prepared a 29lb turkey. The food was awesome! We were up at 4 a.m. for Black Friday. Maddy got her Nutcracker doll and ornaments for her tree...

Mike got his 42" plasma screen T.V which he loves very much...

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Halloween weekend of fun!

Madison was awarded her gold belt for Karate this Saturday at a graduation ceremony at the school. The ceremony was amazing, all of the students (from 5 to adulthood) who were moving up a belt, graduated on the same day. We got to see some amazing moves, kicks and fighting - it was really awesome!

After the graduation, Maddy got into her Halloween costume to go to a birthday costume party for one of her friends. The party was great with a bouncy castle and inflatable slide. Then we went to the pumpkin patch for our new family Halloween tradition which goes like this.... First we buy the pumpkin...
Then Michael takes out the insides and makes a Pumpkin Pie and bakes the seeds... Madison and I make a Jack o' Lantern... then we all camp out in the family room with blankets and tell scary stories.
This year Maddy told the story of the Pumpkin Castle. Clare's story was about the albino ghost horse, "Moonshine". Michael had the two scariest stories, one about a child who lost his finger when he stuck it out of the window of the school bus and the other about the 'Man with the Golden Arm'. Michael's stories involved George Lucas-style special effects (not) like ketchup and a fishing line that made a ghost appear in the kitchen. Madison thought the ghost was hilarious and spent the rest of the story shouting 'it's just a stinkin' shirt!' It was a blast...and Michael's pie was edible this year too.
Halloween itself was fun too. Maddy loved trick or treating in the neighborhood and it was as busy as ever. Happy Halloween to all of our family and friends!!

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Our special day...

Madison's school was out on Friday so we decided to spend a special 'mommy-daughter' day together before I start my new job on Monday. Madison had not visited Universal Studios before so we got up nice and early, got Dunkin' Donuts for breakfast and headed off. Madsion was amazed when we arrived in the 'Downtown' area which is now in between Universal Studios and the Islands of Adventure. It is full of restaurants and stores and has really developed since we last visited for the July 4th fireworks a couple of years ago. Ticket prices were the scariest part of the day despite the fact that we are in Halloween Horror nights season ($60 for kids and $70 for adults with no Florida residents discount) although the two day passes and park hopper deals looked much better.

First stop (and most important to Maddy) was E.T. Although she was a little scared and covered her eyes in places, this was her favorite ride of the day. Afterwards, we visited the Curious George playground, the Ball factory, Woody Woodpecker rollercoaster and went to the Animal Planet stage show.

For lunch we went to a fantastic seafood restaurant and got to sit by a massive fishtank which Maddy loved. After lunch we sent to 'Earthquake' which was way too much for Maddy. She didn't like the fire and said it was way too bumpy. We did E.T. and Woody Woodpecker again before trying something else new. Once Maddy's courage was restored we went to Shrek 4D which was really cool. 'Fear Factor Live!' was really gross just like the real show. A woman from the audience had scorpions on her head and they had people eating bugs!
The weather was perfect (high 70s) and we hardly had to wait in line all day. Universal has changed quite a bit (Kongfrontation and Hitchcock are no longer there) but the new rides were excellent. There were several that were PG13 or had height restrictions so it we will be a whole new experience next time I'm sure!

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Fort de Soto

The weather has finally calmed down a bit so we headed off to Fort de Soto today to try out Maddy's fishing rod from Poppop. We caught 3 fish and had a really great time!

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Might for Right!

Madison received her second stripe on her white belt at karate today. She had to do a front punch, back punch, front kick, back kick and side kick to pass. Mr. Heimberger commended Madison for her focus and hard work. Well done Maddy!

Night Night Pop Pop

Death is nothing at all
I have only slipped away into the next room
I am I and you are you
whatever we were to each other
that we still are
call me by my old familiar name
speak to me in the easy way
which you always used
put no difference in your tone
wear no air of solemnity or sorrow
laugh as we always laughed
at the little jokes we enjoyed together
pray, smile, think of me, pray for me
Let my name be ever the household word
that it always was
Let it be spoken without effort
without the trace of a shadow in it
Life means all that it ever meant
it is the same as it ever was
there is unbroken continuity
why should I be out of mind
because I am out of sight?
I am waiting for you
somewhere very near
just around the corner
All is well
"I am glad that we all know each other"

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Digging for Treasure....

Madison received a letter from her friend Justice a couple of weeks ago that was very exciting. Turns out, Justice found a real treasure map in the bushes by his house. It appears that there is treasure buried at the back of his grandma's house! Since he had a birthday coming up, he thought it would be a great idea to invite his friends over to help him dig for the treasure at his party. A real pirate was there to help the kids with their quest....

Getting ready to go with Lindsay...

Is it down here?

X marks the spot!

Sharing out the loot... can I get a diamond back here?

Look at my treasure!

What a great party!