Wednesday, March 22, 2017

we went to florida! universal studios edition

Our day at Universal Studios was a blast!  We hadn't ever been there as a family, as we were waiting for our kids to be a little bit older to enjoy it more.  This proved to be the right strategy, although half of our kids are still too little for this park, I think.
Bart's highlight of the whole trip, I think...
The first thing we did when we got there was head straight to the Harry Potter land.  It was magical!  I seriously got goosebumps when we walked in and saw Diagon Alley!  I could not believe how real and immersive it was.  Ky and Kade have read all the Harry Potter books, and we recently finished watching all the movies, so to say they were excited would be an understatement.  However, see that large, dragon statue on top of Gringotts?  That thing nearly ruined our entire trip!!!  We hadn't been there for more than a few minutes when it blew fire and scared Krew out of his mind.  I've never seen him so terrified in his whole life.  He was covering his ears, shaking, and screaming.  We had to drag him out of there, and he was completely out of his mind scared of everything for the rest of the day, and still pretty scared the rest of the week.  It made me so sad.
The first thing Ky and Kade did was select their wands from Ollivanders.  They decided to pick one based on their personalities, and not just what they looked like, and I think they nailed it!
Ky selected a Willow wand
Kade got a Vine wand.  This description fits him to a T!

The Gringotts ride was amazing!  Even walking to where the ride starts was so much fun!  
While the twins enjoyed the Harry Potter area, at least one of the adults had to be far away from there with Krew and Everly.  This poor little guy was so scared, that he didn't even want to go on a simple ride that turned slowly around and went up and down. (Think Dumbo).  I knew though, that if he refused to go on that ride, that he wouldn't want to go on any ride all day, and it would be a pretty miserable trip for all of us.  So, I picked him up, ignored the kicking and screaming, as well as all the staring from the other people in line, and took him on the ride with me.  Only a few seconds after it started, he stopped screaming.  By the time the ride was done, he had calmed down.  He didn't love it after that first time, but after riding it 2-3 more times that day, he decided he really like it.  Sometimes us mommas have to be tough and do what we know is best for our stubborn, emotional children, am I right?

All the interactive wand stuff there may be a little gimmicky, and the wands might be overpriced, but we totally loved every minute of it!  Even the adults had to take a turn with the wands.  I'm sad that Krew wouldn't step foot in Diagon Alley again, because it really limited the time we had play with the wands and explore all the shops.

I wish I had a better picture of the boys' shirts, because they were pretty awesome.  They each designed them on the computer and we cut their designs out of iron on vinyl.  They did NOT want matching Disney shirts, but Harry Potter is apparently still cool for 11 year old boys. 

I had to post this picture of Krew smiling as we waited to get on the Hogwarts Express because it reminds me that he wasn't miserable to whole time.

Platform 9 3/4

My parents were such a HUGE help that day.  Plus, they had been there before and were so excited to be there with our kids (especially Ky and Kade), so that made the day even more amazing!

Everly wasn't scared of anything, but there really weren't very many things that she could do there.  Luckily she was mostly happy to just ride in the stroller and play with grandma and grandpa.
And nap.

This is one of my favorite pictures from that day!

Oh, it was such a great day!  I wish we could do it all over again, minus the terrified 5 year old!  Plus, the fish and chips from The Three Broomsticks were delicious, and I could drink the Butterbeer every day of my life and never get enough!!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

we went to florida! part 1

At the beginning of February, we took an amazing trip to Florida.  We'd only been back there once since living there for two years, and that was seven years ago.  So, Krew and Everly had never been, and Kade and Ky don't remember much about being there.  It was so fun to count down the days until we left.  I know some parents like to surprise their kids with a trip to Disney and not tell them that they are going until they are on their way to the airport, but I don't think I could ever do that.  Not that I don't like surprises, because I totally do.  But, I loooove the anticipation and excitement of looking forward to a fun trip like this.

Our flight was smooth, and all the kids did awesome.  What better way to pass the time in the airport, than with airport selfies!  Oh, and don't mind Bart's black eye.  Who said being the Young Men's president at church wasn't dangerous?  #dodgeballtotheface

Our first day in Florida we headed to a park, because when you live in the frigid north, the chance to go play outside in a park, barefoot, in February is priceless!  Plus, since my parents met us in Florida for this trip, playing at the park with grandma and grandpa was more fun than they have all had in months!

 We also found a nature preserve that day, and enjoyed a nice walk.  Krew was so excited to see this baby gator!

 I don't know why I even bother trying to take pictures of all four of my children at the same time!
 One of my favorite things about this trip was getting to spend some quality time with each of my kids, and Bart.  When we are at home, there are always dishes to be cleaned, laundry, homework, cleaning, and so on that need to be done.  But when we were on vacation, especially with my parents there to help out, I felt like I actually got to have fun with my kids without worrying about anything else.  And my kids are all awesome, so that was great!

And, no vacation would be complete without some good swimming time!