Thursday, April 30, 2015

Thankful Thursday

This week I am thankful for:
1. Our king size bed.  I loooooooooooooooooove crawling into our bed at the end of the day. PS Anyone else have a body pillow `dividing' the bed?

2. Texting.  So easy to communicate with a few key people!  Gary adds a tagline to his texts so last week all of his texts ended with `love you' and this week it's `you're hot'.  Hopefully he removes the tagline when he texts other people!

3. Sunny evenings.  We took the kids to the park to play some baseball.  It felt like summer!

4. Gary including the kids in meal preparations.  Nya loves spending time with daddy in the kitchen.

5.  Watching the Canucks game with my boys.  They lost but it was nice to watch together (and awesome that it started at 6 pm instead of 7 pm!).

6. A husband who thinks I give good haircuts.  Oh man, if I didn't cut it, he would never get it done. So, he's stuck with me!  Saves us $$$ :)

7.  Good books to read and time to read them!

8. Listening to Nya sing as she plays.  The boys never sang like her so it's such a sweet sound!

9. Encouragement from Alissa to become a foster parent.  I lived with Alissa in 2004 in Kenya.  We were the only two mzungus (white people) in the whole village.  This is 8 minutes long but a wonderful story. (PS Our final safety check is this week!!)

BEAUTY FROM BROKENESS from Central on Vimeo.

10. Playground equipment.  Our yard is small but the parks are aplenty.

I hope you are having a wonderful week.  Please let me know what you are thankful for today!


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Epcot {Walt Disney World}

Part of winning the Walt Disney World trip prize was that we were expected to attend the two live tapings for Breakfast Television.  We were picked up from our hotel at 5:30 am with about 300 people total.  This includes all the winners, the crew, and their families.  We were bused to Epcot and arrived around 6 am.  

Epcot is the prettiest park, especially as they currently have the Flower & Garden Festival on right now.

We were given a quick breakfast and then set up along the water for the taping.

Breakfast Television is celebrating it's 25th anniversary which was the reason for the trips that were given away through BT and West Jet. 

We were encouraged to wear blue because that is a West Jet and Breakfast Television colour.

It was BT Toronto that was hosting so I wasn't really familiar with them.  Only Dawn Chubai, the reporter from BT Vancouver had joined us on the trip.  The cool thing was that many characters were there for the taping and during the commercial breaks, the kids could get their autographs and photos.

I got to meet Brad Smith (Bachelor Canada) who is currently an entertainment reporter for City TV. Totally enjoyed his season.

These are all of the kids from the taping as they were being set up for a promo shot.  Nya was tiiiiiired.

Nya loved meeting Pluto.  He gave her a kiss :)

There were snacks for us and you could hang out in the `West Jet Lounge'. 

The kids don't actually know who Chip and Dale are but they were excited to get more photos.

We were at the taping until 10am. Yes, 4 hours of cheering, dancing and watching early in the morning.  Once we were free to go, we decided to spend the day at Epcot.  We first did the Test Track where the kids could design their own vehicle and see how it performed next to other people's creations.  You get to ride the simulation car and the boys did it first with Gary and then with me.  It isn't very thrilling but they loved seeing how their car performed.  

We then did the Mission: SPACE ride.  Well, just Gary and Koen did it as Kai wasn't feeling 100%.  It's a space launch on a shuttle simulator.  You can see the Buzz Lightyear Topiary in the backyard.  They were all over Epcot. 

During these rides, Nya would just explore the gift shot (handily located at the rides exit) and declare that she wanted everything on her birthday list.  These two made the list.

One of my favourite parts of Disney World is the free wifi and My Disney Experience website.  You can find wait times, locations of rides/characters/bathrooms...everything!  So handy!

Bathroom trips with Nya were always hectic as she liked to take off every time it was my turn to go. Various women stopped her and on this particular time, I didn't hang my camera up properly and in the rush it fell to the ground :(  My 24-70mm lens.  It seems to be mostly aesthetic damages but still not good.

Next we went to the Sea Base area to see all the fish, sting rays, sharks and dolphins.  We also did the Nemo & Friends ride. We didn't stay too long as I feel that the Vancouver Aquarium is pretty amazing back here at home.

We then did the Soarin' ride.  Thankfully we could use our Fast Pass. I did it with the boys while Gary did Living With the Land with Nya.  Soarin' was okay but not as great as I had hoped.  I think FlyOver Canada is better.  If we did not have the kids with us, Gary and I for sure would've walked through all the countries pavilions and tried various food but the kids were pretty done.  There were not a lot of things for younger kids to do there (in regards to characters and rides).  There were the fewest families there of any of the parks.

Hot, sweaty and tired, we decided to spend the rest of the day at the water park.  We had to take 3 buses to get to Typhoon Lagoon.  I was able to snorkel across Shark Reef in the salt water tank with sharks and rays swimming below me.  Totally enjoyed it as I LOVE snorkeling.  Both boys got too scared moments before stepping in the water.  Understandably.  We then did a family tube ride on the lazy river but that slowly turned competitive for the boys and Koen had a melt down.  

We were just an hour into our time there and enjoying the GIANT wave pool (highlight!) when it started to rain.  Hard.  Thunder and lightning.  We had to get out of the pool and we decided to just pack up and head home.  We were very wet and cold but thankfully had our rain ponchos along to help us as we waited for the bus home.  I think the other water park is better for kids (Blizzard Beach) but I really wanted to do the snorkeling.  I wish we had a good full sunny half day there as I know the kids would've loved it, but thunderstorms are common in Orlando so we knew it was a possibility.

We went back to our resort for dinner.  The rain was still coming down hard so the kids had a little down time watching tv.  We went to bed early because the next day we were up again at 5am for the next taping of Breakfast Television.

Epcot was not our favourite park.  It could be that we were just tired but I think a lot of Epcot is similar to what we could do at home (Science World, Vancouver Aquarium and FlyOver Canada).   Maybe we missed out on something huge but overall we found it beautiful yet not exhilarating.

Did we miss out on something huge there?


Monday, April 27, 2015

Our Day in the Magic Kingdom {Disney World}

Our second day at Walt Disney World was spent in the Magic Kingdom and we LOVED it!  It is very similar to Disneyland and has the most rides and characters for the kids.  We arrived about 15 minutes before it opened which was perfect timing.  They had all the characters there for the opening and we were one of the first people on the rides.  

There are photographers throughout the park ready and willing to take your photo with either their camera (and then scan your band for you to access them online) OR they will use your camera to do it.  I love having someone ready to take our photo!  I had them use our camera each time.

Magic Kingdom at Disney World

We went straight to Tomorrowland and did; Tomorrowland Speedway, Space Mountain, Astro Orbiter (Nya could do this one), Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin (Nya loved this one!).  The boys did not like Space Mountain as they thought it was too scary.

Magic Kingdom at Disney World

I LOVE that we had 5 fast passes each that we could utilize immediately.  This was a huge plus as we `just' had four days at Walt Disney World.  Our prize pack included 6 days in Disney World but because two full days were travelling, we could only spend 4 days there. Two additional days would have definitely made it more relaxing as we just had to go, go, go to see everything that we wanted to.  Our usual wait times were 5-20 minutes, it was AWESOME.  

Magic Kingdom at Disney World

We then went up to Fantasyland and did Prince Charming's Regal Carousel, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Ariel's Grotto and Under the Sea.  The boys really enjoyed the Mine Train.

Magic Kingdom at Disney World

Nya did the Carousel twice.  She LOVED it.

Magic Kingdom at Disney World

While there we also met Cinderella and Rapunzel.  This was a highlight for Nya.  We waited about 15 minutes in the fastpass lane which wasn't too bad.  Our kids aren't into Frozen (Elsa and Ana) or we would've waited there for them, too.  The other thing I considered was putting Nya in a princess dress for meeting them but it was just so, so hot.

I am still so surprised that the boys loved meeting the characters too as I thought they would be `too cool' for it!  So glad it worked out that they all wanted to meet as many characters as possible.

We then went back to Main Street for the Move It! Shake It! Dance & Play It! Street Party.  All three kids love Phineus and Ferb so it was fun to dance with them in the street.  It was also very hot and humid!

We then did Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.  While Gary and I took turns taking the kids on those (yay for Parent Passes!), Nya wandered through the many stores adding to her birthday list and enjoyed a Mickey Mouse Ice cream.

As an adult, the rides are not scary but they're perfect for our boys!

The kids all wanted to meet more characters so we went to the Big Top at Pete's Silly Sideshow (air conditioning!) and met four more.  Although they have professional photographers that take your pictures, they are more than happy to see you taking photos or will get a family photo with your own camera.  

We had a wake up time the next day at 5 am (which is like 2 am Vancouver time!) for the Breakfast Television Live Broadcast so we did not stay late at the park.  We went back to the Animal Kingdom Lodge  via the Disney buses.  The transportation system is so handy!!  We enjoyed dinner at the Mara, a marshmallow roast, saying hello to the giraffes, and a swim in the pool (where the boys did the water slide over and over and over again.).

{Jambo means `hello' in Swahili and this is where we stayed}

This was probably my favourite day at Disney was magical :)  We were somewhat rested, we could get an early start on the day, and the kids were able to do everything that was on our `must do' list.  The one downside of having our trip be so last minute is that we couldn't book a character dining meal but that was totally fine with us.  If we had an extra day at Disney World, we definitely would have spent it at the Magic Kingdom. 


PS What's your favourite ride in the Magic Kingdom or Disneyland?