Monday, June 28

throwing my name in the hat...

i found this cool giveaway at and one of the ways to gain extra entries is to blog about it.  for a free, fun, trendy diaper bag?  you say jump, i say "how high?"
isn't it cool?

it's from this cool website:
wish me luck :)

Sunday, June 27

Our Key to the World...

Nevermind the fact that we went on this Disney Cruise way the heck back in January, it was so much fun, i would post it even a year later! My problem was that i couldn't decide which photos to post because there were so many parts of the trip that i wanted to include, and i didn't want to go overboard where it would take forever to scroll through them {let alone the time it would take to upload!} then a good friend shared a website that does these awesome mosaics which allowed me to include as many photos as i wanted! problem solved!

Our trip started at the airport where it was slightly reminiscent of the crew in "Home Alone"...there were 16 of us all together! Jake strapped Emma to the rolling suitcase and it was so cute to see her rolling through the airport--she loved it :)
We gave Alec his very own "Guitar Hero edition Nintendo DS" that morning and he was SO excited to be one of the "big boys" playing his DS on the plane. {all the boys sat together trading games, etc.}
The magnificent view of Mt. Rainier...
Arriving at port canaveral and checking in--upon check-in they issued us our "key to the world" card which we used to purchase anything onboard and to exit and re-enter the ship at port...
and finally boarding!
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Once we got on the boat we all ate at the lunch buffet and then went up on deck for the cast-off party. it was so much fun...they handed out streamers to all the kids and had music and dancing and made it really exciting overall.
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That night i snapped a picture of the sunset from the deck

Overnight we sailed to Nassau, Bahamas and the shipped docked in the morning. Grace was excited to get her hair braided there. They have outrageous prices posted, but they will actually do it for a fraction of the cost. According to the sign, her hair should've cost around $200, but we paid $50! It took an hour and a half to finish, but was well worth it because i didn't have to worry about her hair the rest of the trip {swimming/chlorine/tangles, etc.} Taylor got hers done too. After they were done with the braiding, we went to the straw market to buy some souvenirs and then headed back onto the boat.
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Disney has 2 AWESOME kids areas called the Oceaneers Club and the Oceaneers Lab. It was basically like "camp disney" with counselors and games and activities {like making Flubber} and they LOVED going there! they could go from 6am throughout the day till 2am {though WE never left them longer than a few hours at a time...}and we were given a pager in case they wanted to be picked up...but that wasn't the case...we basically had to drag them out! On the last day they even had the kids learn a fun song and dance called "Friendship Rocks" that they performed for the parents on the big stage.

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This was our stateroom. We actually booked later than the rest of the family and all they had available was a room with a window--which was really cool! we could look out and watch as the sun rose or set, and also as we pulled in and out of port. One of the kids favorite parts was the towel creatures that housekeeping would leave--everyday they would run in to see what it was. this day it was a monkey hanging in the corner.

The boat had AWESOME shows every night! but the only one i got pictures of was Toy Story--The Musical
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After the Bahamas, we spent a day at sea. The kids spent a lot of time in the pool, especially the Mickey ears hot tubs {and there was a cool waterslide that i thought i got a picture of, but must have just got it on video.} The kids loved being able to go order their own food and drinks since it was all included.

The next day we docked at Castaway Cay--Disney's private island. Once again they had a kids area called "Scuttles Cove" where you could check them in and then take off to the "adults only" beach called "Serenity Cove". Emma was so adorable in her swim cover-up...One of the highlights was the "Flying Dutchman" from the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. When they were done filming they brought it to Castaway Cay where it makes for a pretty COOL photo!
{and check out mom's "all-terrain" wheelchair they issue!}

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Dinnertime on the boat was a show in itself! Every night we experienced a different dining room with a different theme, but our 2 waiters stayed with us, so we always knew them. They too, were awesome....after the first night they set the kids and adults at separate side-by-side tables and totally took care of their dinners, drinks, etc.
And the meals! i ate things i've never had before and that i'll probably never eat again {unless i go to a 5-star restaurant and order escargo} but it was the coolest experience to try all these new things...everything tasted wonderful, especially the desserts :)

Here's the kids at their table when we ate at the "Animator's Palate"
and it was Brett's birthday a couple days prior to the cruise, so they brought him the coolest piece of cake with a chocolate cruise ship on top!

Some of our yummy dinners and desserts!
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The last night was themed "Pirates IN the Caribbean" {get it? we were IN the caribbean :-} so all the characters had on their pirate attire. that was one of the most fun parts about the cruise. the kids got to see characters and take pictures constantly cause they were always out and about, especially around the dinner hour. Of course alec had to have a picture with his namesake...
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The boys hanging out....

The pirate party up on deck was so much fun! they played the Pirates of the Caribbean movies on the big screen and had music and dancing with all the characters and a cool show! then a huge midnight buffet with a fireworks at sea. it was loads of fun.
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But alas, our trip came to an end and it was time to leave....ahhh! we didn't want to leave! we could have stayed for much longer :) but we all promised we would be back cause it was too much fun not to go again! we packed so much into the days we were there and made so many fun memories. the kids still talk about it and ask when we are going to go again :)
If you ever have the chance to go--I highly recommend it!
This was our farewell photo....
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and last of all, this is the photo of the sunset i snapped through the airplane window on the way home

Monday, June 21

What time is it?...Summertime!

So school is out for the summer, and lucky for me--most all the other kids in the country got out before we did--so i saw some pretty fun ideas on some other blogs. I saw this idea here. Like i said, lucky me, cause this is not something i probably would have thought of on my own, especially since my thoughts lately have been focused on heartburn and ankle swelling {but that's a different post altogether.}
I was going to do a basket for them each individually, but then decided it would be better to put it all in one and there would be less conflict that way. I found that Michael's has a really great {i.e. "cheap"} kids section with lots of fun, crafty, artsy things. all the stuff my kids love....and after i left Michael's i headed over to Dollar Tree for some treats, where i also picked up the basket and balloon.
Here is what i put in the basket o' fun:
Water guns
Modeling clay
Glow bracelets
Wood jet gliders--boys
Charm bracelet kit--grace
Grab-a-bubbles {bubbles you can hold in your hand}
Dry erase game board--for car trips
Candy necklaces
Watermelon twist gum
Airheads, Puckerooms, & Funtoos

I would have given it to them when they got home on the last day, but when i picked the kids up we went to Chuck E. Cheese with some cousins and then to a family dinner at my mom's, so it worked out better to give it to them the next morning. they were super excited to play with all their new stuff, and my favorite gave me a chance to sleep in a little!
p.s. {extra points if you can name the song the title of the post comes from!}