Thursday, March 5, 2009

So where have we been?

Wednesday, February 18th

* Very much enjoy playing with our new GPS (thanks, Mom!)
* Drive over 500 miles and visit PA, MD, VA, NC, and SC
* Eat at Outback where waitress is dripping with southern hospitality, y'alls, ma'ams, sirs and where there are still smoking and non-smoking sections (Tobacco country, I guess)
* Stay in relatively inexpensive, nice hotel thanks to GPS

Thursday, February 19th

* Drive about 500 miles again, this time visiting SC, GA, and FL
* Stop at a citrus stand in FL where we try pecans, fresh OJ (delicious!), boiled peanuts (odd, but good), and alligator on a stick (delicious!)
* Visit Scott and Lindsay (we hadn't seen Scott in 8 years and we hadn't met Lindsay yet). We had SO MUCH FUN enjoying talking, dinner, several games of Farkle, a little bit of The Office, dessert, and more talking (until 2am) -- P.S. I highly recommend that link since they've got pictures and Lindsay has written a great post all about our visit

Dinner and games and talking

Friday, February 20th (my Dad's birthday)

* Eat a big breakfast in our jammies (see Lindsay's post for more pictures)
* Enjoy a lazy morning after staying up so late to talk
* Try to catch Geckos outside
* Visit Scott's law school campus (beautiful) -- it was so fun to get a personal tour from Scott
* Visit the BEACH in Siesta Keys (windy and cold, but warmer than here and the beach nonetheless!!) WHITE SAND beaches!! SO neat!
* Visit my cousins from the Azores (Lucy, Tony, Melinda, Keith, and their families) for pizza and root beer and ice cream (I'm so glad we got to eat pizza on my Dad's birthday--I quietly savored that)

Sleepover fun, snuggles, and reading K's stories

Looking for geckos to catch! They're very fast!

It's a really beautiful campus and it was fun to get a personal tour

Is this not the trippiest bridge?! SO creepy the way it looks like it drops off up there!

Our kids total disregard for the whole "cold and windy" thing.
Ocean? Water? Waves? Jump in!

Playing with cousins -- these are the the grandchildren of my oldest cousin

Me, my oldest cousin Lucy, her daughter Melinda (who's older than I am), and Melinda's youngest baby (who our daughter adores)

More snuggles back at Scott and Lindsay's

Saturday, February 21st

* Because we just couldn't get enough of one another, Scott and Lindsay came with us to Orlando and we spent the day at the Happiest Place on Earth . . . Disney World! We visited Magic Kingdom and had SO MUCH FUN (reference Lindsay's post)
* Check into our hotel at the Caribbean Beach Resort--Jamaica baby!
* Most everyone had to use the bathroom once we got there, so I stood on Main Street taking in the magic of that place, hearing the happy music, looking at the castle, and quietly crying because I missed my Dad (he had wanted to go to Disney with all of us)
* We had a wonderful day at the park and loved spending it with Scott and Lindsay
* The fireworks were spectacular and so magical (Wishes!)
* We were seriously sad to see Scott and Lindsay go. It was so easy and comfortable and fun to be with them. We REALLY like them.
* We briefly saw my mom, Jim, and my eccentric Uncle Joe at the hotel restaurant before retiring to bed tired from a full, fun day

Check out the sunny, blue skies! Us at Magic Kingdom!

Watching the awesome fireworks

Sunday, February 22nd

* Spend the day at Animal Kingdom along with Mom, Jim, and Joe
* Enjoy a really great safari ride, the Lion King show, and awesome 4-D bug show, and learn that Thing 1 has a thing for thrill rides, including (gasp!) Expedition Everest
* Learn that the state of Louisiana escapes for the whole week of Mardi Gras
* Enjoy some fun arcade games (where the kids won several stuffed frogs) and go on a CRAZY ride in DinoLand that made Jim feel a bit queasy
* Meet awesome, fun characters like Lilo and Stitch, Pocahontas (who wondered that Thing 1's arms must be sore from all that rowing from PA), King Louie and Baloo (I love Jungle Book), Safari Donald, Safari Goofy, and Safari Minnie
* Have more fun with Thing 1's contortionist abilities (Scott and Lindsay LOVE that)
* Get some fun stuffed animal souvenirs (our kids are big into stuffed animals)
* See some fireworks from the bridge paths by our hotel
* Enjoy a late night dinner as a family at a fancy restaurant at our hotel
* Collapse into bed from exhaustion and fun

Us with the whole gang

Our family with Jim

Just for you Scott and Lindsay--Thing 1's contortionist abilities. She can walk like this, too!

Monday, February 23rd

* Spend day at Epcot (first part with Mom, Jim, and Joe, second part ourselves)
* Ride awesome rides like Mission: Space (Thing 2's favorite) and Test Track (a favorite of Thing 1's)
* Enjoy a fabulous interactive show with Crush from Nemo--it was animated and TOTALLY interactive and HILARIOUS
* Meet Mickey, Pluto, Minnie, Donald, and Goofy
* Visit Canada, Great Britain, France (where we met Beauty and Beast), Morocco (where we ate great food and enjoyed a Moroccan rock band), Japan (fun shopping), the USA, Italy, Germany (where we saw Snow White and Dopey), China (where we met Mulan and Mushu), Mexico, and Norway on foot and by boat
* Enjoyed a fabulous fireworks show over the lake (Reflections)
* Collapse into bed from exhaustion and fun

Hey, check it out! We're in London!
And Paris!

Tuesday, February 24th

* Spend the day at Hollywood Studios along with Mom and Jim
* LOVE the feeling of walking around the streets of Hollywood and various movie sets
* Enjoy some awesome Star Wars rides and shows
* Enjoy a live Indiana Jones Stunt Show
* Visit Pixar Studios
* Meet Lightning McQueen and Mater
* Eat at Pizza Planet (how cool is that?! We LOVE Toy Story!!)
* Meet a guy from Fogo, Cape Verde, West Africa (it's so fun to meet people from all over the world)
* Learn about Walt Disney
* Enjoy a great sunset performance of Beauty and the Beast
* MAJOR highlight of the day--attend the finale show of American Idol Experience and help vote for the winner (who gets to go to the front of the line at auditions next year). This show was SPECTACULAR!! The set was awesome, the warm up guy was hilarious, the judges were funny, and the singers weren't half bad--it was great!
* Enjoy a delicious dinner with Jim and my Mom at another hotel restaurant
* Collapse into bed from exhaustion and fun

Vavo and kids in front of Hollywood Studios

Getting ready to ride Star Tours (the first of many times)

Grauman's Chinese Theater -- R2D2 and C3PO's footprints

See how far back that road goes? Yeah, way back there is a backdrop--they have them all over the place. It feels like a big, huge studio lot.

Eating lunch at Pizza Planet!
Mark and the kids in front of an AT-AT

Inside the American Idol Experience (We LOVED this!). When we heard this was opening in early 2009, it affected when we wanted to visit Disney World!

Wednesday, February 25th

* Spend the day at Magic Kingdom along with Jim and my Mom
* Enjoy a VERY funny, animated interactive show at the Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor where they featured Thing 1 on the screen in a funny way
* Meet Buzz LightYear, Cinderella, Princess Aurora, and Belle again
* Cry on the "It's a Small Ride" ride since it's my Dad's favorite
* Enjoy the super fun Disney parade from the ramp of the Cinderella Castle
* Climb the Swiss Family Robinson's awesome treehouse
* Enjoy the Jungle Safari ride (same ride Gary used to work back in Disneyland, CA) - we got to ride the "Z" boat (Zambesi Zelda), have a girl from Portugal as our guide, and have the kids help drive the bus and earn Jr. licenses!
* Meet Captain Hook and Mr. Smee (who flirted with my Mom)
* Meet Peter Pan
* Space Mountain (yep, you guessed it--Thing 1 again)
* Enjoy the magical fireworks again
* Feel stuffed beyond capacity due to the gigantic amounts of food on the meal plan and my distaste for waste (UGH) . . . I later threw up that night.

Our family, my Mom, and Jim in front of Cinderella's Castle

Thing 1 and Thing 2 map out our plan

Sleeping Beauty--check out Thing 2's face

In front of "It's a Small World"--my Dad's favorite ride (we cried on this ride)

This one is for Gary--the Jungle Safari Cruise!

The kids got to drive the boat and get Jr. licenses!

Mr. Smee flirted with my mom

Thursday, February 26th

* After days of getting up early and catching the resort bus to the various parks (LOVE the smooth ease of this amazing place--so much attention to detail, everything is all thought out) . . . after we'd visited every park at least once, we had a leisurely morning with breakfast by the pool
* The kids made friends and chased and fed (and protected) very friendly birds that are quite used to people
* Enjoyed another day at Hollywood Studios to ride the VERY popular Pixar ride (the one where FastPasses are gone by 10:30 AM)--waiting in line was cool, though since you feel like you're a toy in Andy's room . . . awesome
* Meet Buzz and Woody (a thrill!) and a green army guy
* Meet Mr. and Mrs. Incredible
* Buy another memory card for the camera to take more pictures!
* Enjoy the fabulous blue skies and beautiful, sunny, warm weather
* Meet Sully and Mike from Monsters, Inc. (SO COOL!)
* Meet some Power Rangers (Fun!)
* Buzz past the tweeners watching the High School Musical Show :P
* Meet Frozone from the Incredibles
* Enjoy a REALLY fun Animation class where we learned to draw pretty sweet pictures of Stitch
* Enjoy a private 20-30 minute conversation with one of the workers (cast members) who told us all about Walt Disney, his dream, his family, his history, his wife and children, his health, his work . . . it was SO interesting. 67,000 cast members work there and it shows--NOTHING is left undone and EVERYONE is happy. It's amazing.
* Enjoy a SCRUMPTIOUS dinner as a family at the Kona Cafe at the Polynesian Resort (YUM!) . . . can't get enough of those creamy Pina Coladas!

Look, we're toys in Andy's room as we wait for this very popular 4-D ride!

I love the look on Thing 2's face

Me and the kids in front of Mickey's giant Fantasia hat at Hollywood Studios

Friday, February 27th

* Enjoy another day at the Magic Kingdom as a family doing whatever we hadn't done to that point
* Had SO MUCH FUN exploring Tom Sawyer's Island . . . I loved it! At one point, I cried (I know, crying in the happiest place on earth!) and said, "I needed this." It was such a fun vacation.
* Enjoyed some fun, Disney ice cream treats (shaped like Mickey of course)
* Met Snow White
* Played at the pool with my cousin Melinda and her family -- our kids had such fun together. The pool had an awesome water slide that was so much fun! Kate stood up to some bully kid in the pool (you go, girl!) to stand up for her brother and cousin and me (the little brat was obnoxious to me, too--he was one of the only miserable people we saw at the happiest place on earth. Oh and that one guy who TOTALLY yelled so hard at his kids as he walked by us at Hollywood Studios that it startled all of us and my wise guy husband quickly quipped, "Bet we don't look so bad now."). Really, most everyone was SO SO happy. It was so nice!
* Watched the fireworks from the beach at the Polynesian Resort
* Enjoyed having Scott and Lindsay with us AGAIN for a REALLY fancy and delicious dinner along with my cousin's family and all of us
* Smuggled Scott and Lindsay into our hotel for the night (shhhhh) where the kids enjoyed more snuggles with their aunt and uncle

Having fun with the cousins

Enjoying our fancy island drinks

My eccentric uncle with his Disney shirt (first day he dressed like a tour guide--he used to be a tour guide in FL for 19 years, second day he wore a very, loud Hawaiian shirt and looked at us and said, "I AM Florida!"). One day he was lamenting about how uptight Disney is for everyone's safety (with good reason) and then he was griping about the food at the parks . . . "Here. Have a magical day while you eat your lunch on styrofoam."

Totally on purpose, this picture.
My SIL is a good foot taller than I am when she wears heels.

Saturday, February 28th

* Met an online colleague for breakfast with whom I've worked online for about 6 or 7 years . . . it was fun to meet! We are both Google Answers Researchers Alumni and he is also an guide like Mark!
* Enjoyed a second breakfast with Scott and Lindsay by the pool
* Enjoyed some Arcade time
* Stopped briefly at Hollywood Studios to spend the rest of our gift card money on an American Idol microphone for Kate and a build-your-own 2-blade lightsaber for Maxim (so very cool!)
* Heard there were storms a-coming, so we said our goodbyes to Scott and Lindsay and to Melinda's family (so sad!) and got on the road
* Stopped in SC to sleep (we were so exhausted) and had a rough night of much throwing up on the part of Thing 2 (bug? stress? excitement? all of the above?)

Building his own light saber

Sunday, March 1st

* Woke up to severe thunderstorms and massive downpours
* Turned on the weather channel to learn that we were in the middle of a tornado watch
* Hightailed it out of there
* Drove through horrible rain and spray (UGH!) and tried so hard to get ahead of the storm
* Got to Richmond, VA when the snow started, so we decided to get a hotel for safety's sake
* By the time we got settled in our hotel room a couple of hours later, 81 traffic incidents had been reported in that time
* Called our clients to reschedule our Monday appointments

Monday, March 2nd

* Got a late check out so more snow could move out of the area
* Drove on mainly plowed streets (thank goodness!)
* Got home to a cold house (we'd run out of oil) and ordered oil and got some dinner while we warmed the house
* It's a bit of a blur after that, but a lot of vacation let down and back-to-the-grind feelings.
* Mark runs to the store for milk and juice and such and it's COLD. We check the weather--"feels like -1" . . . that's an 87 degree difference from Orlando that morning. Sigh. We're so ready for Spring.

The view from our hotel in Richmond, VA during their historic snowfall.

IT WAS A FABULOUS TRIP AND WE REALLY, REALLY NEEDED IT!!!!!!!! More on this in a post to come . . .

Now our maps of states visited look like this:


Visited States

Visited US States Map from TravelBlog


Visited States

And this is my answer to people who ask if we have DVD players in the car or anything like that . . . nope, they seriously play pretend, read, play the WHOLE time with very little fuss at all. They're great travelers. (We're so glad). They are hamming it up a bit for the camera . . .


Lindsay said...

I will be the first to comment. I bet you guys are SOO exhausted! That would have worn me right out! Glad that you got home safely. I wish we could have spent more time with you. I would have LOVED to spend the day at Epcot and Hollywood studios. Oh well...some other day when Im not working full time, prego, and poor! :)

emily said...

oh man, that looks like SO MUCH FUN! I love it! It makes me want to go some time to DisneyWorld. It looks bigger than Disneyland. I went there once as a kid but now I can't compare them, it's been too long. Those pictures are so fun. I've never seen Pocahontas out and about like the other princesses, neat!

emily said...

Oh, and I was going to say that Isaac is a good traveler like that too. He just sits there, looks out the window, talks about shapes in the clouds. Noah, on the other hand, is a total nightmare. I'm talking screaming...SCREAMING...from our house to St. George. 5 hours. screaming.

J Fo said...

I'm exhausted just reading about your trip! It looks like it was jam packed with fun, though! I'm dying about Kate's twistie legs. Crazy. That picture of you and Linds next to eachother is super funny. Thanks for "taking" us along with you!

Jagged Rocks said...

You have been very busy!! It looks like you guys have been having a lot of fun. Did you guys get a hand-held GPS?? If so you guys should try geocaching, it is lots of fun!! If you want to look into it, the best website is

Boquinha said...

Lindsay, we're so glad we could spend so much time with you guys. We seriously miss you. I had a married couple come in for counseling and the kids (playing in the backyard) saw them from behind and were SO EXCITED because they thought it was you guys surprising us (the girl has curly, dark hair). :P

Emily, I've been asking Mark how they compare since he's been to both. He says DisneyLand is bigger than Magic Kingdom, but DisneyWorld is HUGE compared to DisneyLand. Did I mention in the post that they hire 67,000 employees (er, cast members)?!?! WOWzers! Pocahontas was AWESOME in the stuff she said, SO in character. And seriously? 5 hours straight? Nothing soothes him? He doesn't fall asleep? Yikes! I bet you guys don't get out much, eh? How was your CA trip that time? This trip was over 2,000 miles round trip!!

Jessica, you should see her walk like that! It's trippy. Scott and Lindsay were going nuts. That picture of me and Lindsay is much like pics of me and YOU, my dear!!

Kim, I don't know if it's hand-held? I mean it works on battery, too, but I don't think it is. I've heard of geocaching. It sounds really fun. We've looked into letterboxing as well (we even have the stuff for it). I think geocaching is a lot like letterboxing from what I understand.

April (Thorup) Oaks said...

Wow. What a trip! I can't believe what Kate can do with her feet/legs!

Anonymous said...

I am so happy that you got to get away and have a blast with your loved ones! I loved the Toy Story ride at Disneyland. It was so much fun blasting! K & M looked so happy and full of life in every picture. Your Mom looks great. Hugs, Kelly.

Robynne said...

Good for you guys Stacy! What a fun trip! It's so awesome you could do all that!!! I love trips like that! Woo Hoo!! :D

Jillo said...

Okay, this trip sounds like a little slice of heaven. I am totally JEALOUS!!! Your pictures are great and your kids will have such awesome memories of everything. How great!
That bridge you took a picture of? CREEPY!! I have a terrible fear of bridges, which I think comes from watchings some show where a car falls into a bridge and some sort of ghost thingy tries to grab them, while I was 9 months pregnant and my hormones were out of control. I have a really hard time driving or even walking over them. That one might have been too much for me. But anyway.... Hooray for you and a fabulous family getaway. Here's to many more, and soon a cross country trip to our neck of the woods.
From Disney World to Vernal, hmmm.... it's a toughy at which one will be the most exciting.

Swawaeve said...

Oh my gosh! I want to go to Disney World! It looks like you guys had a ton of fun. And the costumes for the disney characters look AWESOME!

katie said...

Hey Stacy,

This is Katie Dahl (Patten). I stumbled on to your blog through Kara's blog link and have enjoyed looking through your posts. What a fun vacation!

Boquinha said...

April, you should see her walk like that!

Kelly, thank you! I love to hear from you. I didn't know Disneyland had that ride--was the line super long there, too? At least you get to wait in Andy's room, eh?

Robynne, so awesome! I heard a rumor about you guys moving closer? Yes? Our kids are emailing these things to each other! :D

Jill. soooo needed and sooooo good. That bridge is totally creepy. Thing 2 wasn't amused either. As for Vernal, we're pretty excited and hope hope hope we can swing it.

Sierra, SO much fun! We'd LOVE to go there with you guys sometime!!

Katie!! It's so nice to hear from you!! Where are you? Tell me more! Tell me more!

HappyWifeHappyLife said...

WOW! What a trip! Which beach did you guys go to? Where in GA were you? I would have LOVED to have seen you if you were close!

And yes, you came back through during our Big Winter Storm! We wound up gettin 3" of snow here (not much by PA standards, but by GA standards, quite a bit!)

The pictures and descriptions were fabulous - looks like you guys had a wonderful, wonderful time! :)

Boquinha said...

HWHL, SUCH a wonderful time.

We went to Siesta Keys for the beach.

We were along the eastern part of GA. It would've been SO FUN to meet, but you're in Atlanta, right?

I saw the snow pics on your blog!

terahreu said...

Okay, that looks like such a fantastic trip! I want to go! The AI stage looked amazing. What fun!

What age would you recommend for going to Disneyland? How old do you think the youngest should be? We are always debating this....

Loved the pictures. A trip of a lifetime for the kids!

Boquinha said...

Terah, it was so much fun! It's not Bali, but still way fun.

I think the youngest should be about 5 or 6. I saw people there with babies and toddlers and they looked exhausted (the children AND the parents). Toddlers are happy to play in sand. Or on the couch. Or in the grass. But Disney? A bit older is better, I think.

We watched a whole bunch of Disney movies leading up to our trip. Seeing the characters was really fun. Staying RIGHT IN Disney World was awesome. LOVE that. I knew we'd like it, but it FAR exceeded our expectations. That place is magical. We love it.

Boquinha said...

If you come to the states to do it, TELL US! We want to see you!!