Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Disney Dream Vacation

We are back from a fantastic, fun-filled 6 night, 7-day vacation to Disneyworld. Our trip couldn't have gone better. The flights were great, the kids were great, the weather was great, the food was great and the entertainment was great. Did I mention we had a GREAT time? Peyton did wonderful on her first flight and the two of them kept themselves busy watching DVDs.

When we arrived early evening Tuesday...we headed to Magic Kingdom to give the girls a taste of the fun ahead. We went on a few rides (including the tea cups, of course), and stayed for the "Wishes" fireworks display at Cinderella's castle. Gorgeous! Our first full day was spend at Hollywood Studios where we caught some amazing shows like Beauty and the Beast, the Voyage of the Little Mermaid and High School Musical. We had lunch at the Playhouse Disney Play and Dine where the girls met the first of many characters. Mommy found her new favorite ride -- the Rock-n-Roll Roller Coaster. Totally awesome, dude! Barrett also decided to brave the Tower of Terror. For those of you not familiar...this is a ride made up of ghost, darkness and elevator drops from hundreds of feet up. Not a good decision for a 5 year old. The only thing I remember of the experience is holding Barrett's stomach (so it didn't fall out) and hearing her yell, "when is it over, when is it over?" Oh well, we couldn't go back in time, and the only repercussion was before each ride thereafter, Barrett always asked "Is this one dark?" The darkness is what got you????

The next day we all awoke bright and early at 6:30 am to get to Cinderella's castle for our appointments at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique where the girls were transformed into little princesses.

Then the girls spent the day gallivanting around the Kingdom from attraction to attraction. A few of Peyton's favorites were Philarmagic, Peter Pan's Flight and It's a Small World. While Barrett's preferences were Splash Mountain, Thunder Mountain Railroad (both which Peyton couldn't join us) and the Haunted Mansion. Barrett's favorite favorite was Soarin' at Epcot, where she's never been so happy to be 40 inches!
The girls met many princesses throughout our trip at character spots, storybook princess dinner and dinner at Cinderella's Round Table. Here were a few of their favorites:

We spent a full day at the Animal Kingdom, where none of us have ever been. We had a perfect breakfast at the Tusker House, an adventurous safari and, those of us tall enough, braved the Mount Everest roller coaster where we witnessed the Yetti. Thrilling!
Later in the week, we had a fabulous character dinner at Chef Mickey's in the Contemporary Resort. The food was extraordinary and we had a chance to celebrate Grandma Nancy's birthday (who was with us on the trip along with cousin Ashlynn and cousin Marcus). All the greats were there including the Big Cheese and his girl.

Now we are home and it's back to reality (and lots of laundry), but it will be quite some time before I forget the fun and family time we had together. It was a vacation to remember...but until next time, our little castle in Ballwin will have to do -- where I am the Queen!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Ode to Mom...

Dear Mom,

Every chance you get, you send compliments and praise my way for my abilities and choices as a mother. However, it's you, dear mother, that has the true noteworthy mothering skills. Whenever I find myself at a loss or circumstance that I'm not quite sure how to handle involving my girls, I always find myself wondering what you would have done in each of those circumstances. Why? Because when I look back on my childhood I have not ONE memory of any struggle or any doubt in your parenting decisions. You, somehow, always knew just what to say and just what to do. AND, I think I turned out pretty good if I do say so myself. So "you must have done something right!"

As I go through different stages of Barrett and Peyton's lives, it never ceases to amaze me that you went through all these same phases and issues as a mother all on your own. It has taken being a mother to realize the incredible mother you were (and still are). Your strength as a single parent is incomprehensible to me. Even though I was missing a father in my life, your love and care were so complete -- I never sensed an absence.

Mom, you are such a kind and giving person, you are an inspiration. You spend your life taking care of others selflessly...for that I have no doubt that God will take care of you.

You are so beautiful inside and out. You are smart, you are funny and you are so very generous. In a word, you are rare. The time we spend together is so valuable to me. I am blessed to have the chance to grow closer and closer to you. Something I wish you would have had a chance to do with your own mother. She would have been beyond proud.

My girls are very lucky to have the chance to spend time with such a wonderful grandma. It means the world to me for them to able to know you and to love you. Our Wednesdays together are priceless to me -- and someday will be to them as well.

You are a wonderful mother and grandmother and I would like the whole world to know! I wish you the very best Mother's Day...this year, and every year. I love you.

Jennifer Rose

Monday, May 5, 2008

Early Mother's Day Celebration

What a gorgeous day we had on Sunday in which to do our annual Mother's Day celebrating. The girls and I got to spend a great day hanging out with Grandma Judy, cousin Elaine, Rachel, Richey and Matt and aunt Ruth. We began with a fantastic lunch at the Pasta House where we all ordered our favorites and the kids ate like champions. What a great start!
Then, we headed over to Grant's Farm to see the animals. We couldn't have asked for better weather! The highlight for the kids was feeding the baby goats (even though they weren't very hungry.) The tram ride was delightful and we took in a cute Animal Encounter show.

After we parted ways, it was time for the girls and me to head home to pick up daddy from his weekend retreat. We had big plans to give him big hugs and big "we miss you" wishes when he came out. Instead, Brad found this: