Monday, January 30, 2017

Happiest of Birthdays

A very Happy Birthday to a guy who is always up for a good time.


We love you SO much!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Video Wednesday: They’re Ready

There were two bead monsters in our house last weekend. They are definitely ready for Mardi Gras season.


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Happy Wednesday!

Friday, January 20, 2017

2017 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend, Part Three

We decided to stay an extra day in Orlando so we could go to Universal. Dana and Lynn had never been before, and I couldn’t do much of anything the only time I had been, so it worked for everyone. Lizzie and Doug had planned to go that day, too, so we caught a ride to the park with them.


We went to the Universal Studios side first and walked straight back to the new Harry Potter area, Diagon Alley. The Knight Bus was even parked outside of the entrance. Not surprising, the attention to detail was so impressive. And the Escape from Gringotts ride was really cool.


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After we explored a bit, Dana, Lynn, and I decided to go ride a couple of the roller coasters in other areas of the park. We did the Mummy one first, which was awesome. Then we headed to the insane-looking Rip Ride Rockit coaster at the very front of the park. (The big issue with Universal is that no bags, purses, or sometimes even cell phones are allowed on any of the rides, so you have to put everything in lockers near each ride. It was a royal pain, and since we didn’t have our phones, we didn’t take many pictures.)


We ended up catching up with Lizzie and Doug on the Rockit, so we all took a break after we rode it. We went to Finnegan’s Irish Pub for lunch (delicious burgers) and then walked back over to Diagon Alley for a round of hot butterbeer. So tasty.




We said goodbye to Lizzie and Doug after that, who needed to get back to the girls, and went to catch the Hogwarts Express to the other park, Islands of Adventure. So very cool.



We did the Dragon Challenge coaster twice right when we arrived in Hogsmeade. Awesome. And then we finally got to do the Forbidden Journey ride in the Hogwarts castle. It unfortunately made Lynn sick, but I thought it was incredibly cool and very well done. While she recovered, Dana and I hopped on Flight of the Hippogriff, and then we left Harry Potter land.



We walked through Jurassic Park, Toon Lagoon, and finally Super Hero Island. All three of us really wanted to do the Hulk coaster, which did not disappoint one bit. It was incredible.

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After conquering the Hulk, we decided to leave the park and go check out an awesome new restaurant that Jackie told me about: the Chocolate Emporium. We timed our arrival perfectly; it was not crowded at all and we were able to get a table on the outside patio overlooking the rest of City Walk.



Our waitress Lauren was great. We ended up hanging out there for two hours, ordering a couple of appetizers to share for dinner and then splurging for gigantic milkshakes for dessert.



We took our shakes to go and caught an Uber back to our room at Art so we could pack up and be ready to leave the next morning. We got an early Magical Express to the airport and saw Lizzie, Doug, and the girls as we were checking in with Southwest. They were on our flight and were ecstatic about three extra pairs of hands to help them with their stuff and the girls, who were angels on the flight.


I came home exhausted but really excited to see my three boys. Kenny unfortunately had to leave that same afternoon for an overnight trip to Houston, but I got to see him for about an hour before he left. And then I got to pick up the boys from school and give them their presents I brought them. I found a Wall-E and Eve ornament in Epcot!


What a trip. It definitely didn’t go how I anticipated, but we made the most of it and had a great time.

Just don’t be surprised if I end up back in Orlando next January……

Thursday, January 19, 2017

2017 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend, Part Two

We got up on Sunday morning, had a big breakfast in the resort food court, took our coffee to go, and headed to Epcot to see Jeff and Doug finish their marathon. Traffic the whole weekend was crazy, but we arrived in plenty of time to secure a spot near the course. I glanced over at the finish line longingly but then shifted my focus to looking for the boys.



We stood in the same place Dana and I did last year, and I forgot yet again to ask Jeff what he was wearing. Luckily, Erin, who had arrived the day before with Kate, Luke, Kel-Kel, and Skeets, saw him at mile 24 and texted me what to look for. We had no trouble spotting him in his bright yellow shirt, except that Lizzie told me Doug was wearing the same color and they weren’t together at the very end. Jeff apparently picked up his pace to 6:45 once they entered Epcot, in an attempt to beat his time from last year. He ended up missing it by less than a minute, but he ran an awesome race. And he said he still had a few miles left in him; he wasn’t nearly as tired as he was last year. His training definitely paid off!



Doug passed us a few minutes later and then we walked over to the family reunion area to find the two Dopey Challengers. They did it! And Jeff ended up doing it all without his music: his phone unexpectedly died at the starting line.






After chatting with them for a little while, we told them goodbye and congrats and headed over to Epcot, where we spent the rest of the day. I did make Dana and Lynn stop and take a picture of me in front of the official finish line wearing the tshirt I had made for the occasion: “Thirteen Point Freaking One. Done.” I love it!


Once in Epcot, we went straight to Soarin’ to use our fast passes. I finally got to experience that ride and it was really cool. Then we did Figment, Nemo, and multiple character greetings. Then it was over to the other side to do Test Track before we finally made our way into the World Showcase.


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We decided to go straight to Germany for brats, pretzels, and beer. It was 2:30pm at this point and we were all very hangry. (I should also mention that Dana hurt her foot during her run the previous day and was moving quite slowly and painfully.) We packed too much into our morning and needed some downtime. Dana scored us a table so we could sit for a little while and recharge. That also meant we got to witness this lovely couple’s {awkward} engagement photo shoot by the fountain in Germany. Amazing.



After Germany, we walked back to Norway so Dana and Lynn could get their coveted Laila perfume. When they were done shopping, we all noticed a line forming outside of the new Frozen ride. However, the doors were closed, and we discovered that the ride was broken and being worked on. So Dana got in line to wait, while Lynn and I went for more beer. Fifteen minutes later we were chugging our beers and moving inside. We essentially walked right on one of the most popular rides in Epcot. Winning. Although chugging a dark, heavy porter was not ideal. But I made it happen. And the ride was really cool.

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We hit up Mexico next, because Dana and Lynn wanted avocado margaritas from the restaurant there. But Dana made us stop and take pictures with little Mexican sombreros first, and that was our major turning point. Things got pretty silly, especially because my hat would not stay on top of my head, which I thought was hilarious. Good times.








After Mexico we did Canada (eh?), England (where we made a foreign teenager take our picture in a phone booth and then we made him take one with his mom…..also where I made a Dopey Challenger get up and take a picture of us in front of three poinsettia trees and then bought her a beer to say thanks), and France (where I was part of a twin sandwich, we saw the cat lady, and we made friends with Jean and Josh in line for pastries).







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The sun was setting while we were in France and it started to get really cold. I was having issues zipping up my jacket, so Lynn stepped in to help. This would become funny the rest of the night, but this is the only picture I’m showing y’all. Lord.


After that we walked through Morocco and Japan and made our way to the good ole U.S. of A. to get Yuenglings. We attempted to get a single Peroni in Italy so Dana could try it, but they didn’t have any. The food smelled good, though, so we declared ourselves done and ready to go back to England for fish and chips at the Rose and Crown.

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It was super crowded and we didn’t have a reservation, but I found an empty table in a corner. The only problem was the table was a high top but the chairs were low. We made it work, though. We hung out in there for more than an hour, making friends and telling our half marathon stories.


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We decided to leave the park before the fireworks show started so we wouldn’t get caught in the masses. Good decision. It had been a long day and we were cold and tired. And maybe just a little tipsy. I think we all slept well that night!




Last recap coming up next!

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