Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Disney World - Grand Gathering 2014

I love Disney World. It really is the happiest/most magical place on earth. The very first time I met Mitchell's family there was talk about a Disney trip the following year. Me, the unmarried, unengaged, fairly new girlfriend said I was in. Sign me up. Before we went on that trip we got engaged and married. Less than four weeks into marriage, we went to Disney World on the first ever Grand Gathering.
Grand Gathering 2011
It took us three years to get back but Grand Gathering 2014 was just as fun and magical. And we had a new person to introduce to the magic of Disney - Logan!

We stayed at the brand new Art of Animation resort. It is a value resort but with the way Disney does everything, I mean everything, at such high quality, you would never know it. It was incredible! With our Disney dining package you get a refillable souvenir mug and my favorite way to start the day was to wake up before Mitchell and Logan, grab my Magic Band and mug and walk up through the resort to the restaurant and get myself a *free* cup of coffee. It was so calm and peaceful at 6:45am and felt refreshing to start what would be a very busy day that way.
Swimming in the Nemo pool
Our section - The Little Mermaid
Hakuna Matata
It's the ciiiiircle of life!

Day 1: Hollywood Studios
It was snowing!! (Frozen Summer Fun)
Toy Story Midway Mania with Grandpa & Gram
Morning nap on Daddy
Dinner at the 50s Prime Cafe
Aerosmith's Rockin' Rollercoaster
Day 2: Magic Kingdom
Here we go!
In line for Winnie the Pooh 
Nap on Mommy during it's a small world 
Be Our Guest Ballroom - AMAZING!
Us with Disney, Mickey and the castle
Splash Mountain!
Argh matey!
Love the castle at night!

Day 3: Epcot

Day 4: Animal Kingdom
The Tree of Life
Sleeping through the safari
Meeting Rafiki!

The "mom, I'm done" face
We had such a great time. In my experience, when you have a kid, life gets more challenging. It just does, I'm not being negative. It's not as easy to go on a vacation, fly on an airplane, sleep in a different place so it's tempting to just skip out on things because it's going to be hard. But I have tried to not let that stop us. Just because it's going to be hard on me and tiring for me doesn't make me not want to do it. I feel we would miss out on too many awesome experiences. I hope I can keep that attitude as our family grows. Disney was definitely one of those things that was not as easy with a kid as it used to be but the time with family, the memories made and the fun we had was WELL worth it.

Here are some of the things I learned about doing Disney with a one year old:

1. No matter how many blogs you read on ways to do Disney with a kid, it's not going to be the same as when you did Disney without a kid. There's no matter of preparing and planning that's going to make it easy. You have to move at a different pace. You have to spend time taking care of the baby rather than just wandering around care free. So just mentally prepare yourself for that.

2. USE the baby care centers. Each park has a baby care center in it with a private nursing nook, changing tables, high chairs, AIR CONDITIONING. I was shocked at how empty these centers were when I was in them.

3. Be fair to your kid. We stayed in the park all day, every day. By the end of the trip poor Logan was tired and was done with being in the stroller or being held. The boy wanted to run free and explore. Next time we will be going back to the hotel for naps and a bit of play time. As the parent, you will appreciate this time too.

4. Unless you're fine missing all the night time shows and rides, don't go by yourself. Mitchell and I were so blessed to have Logan's loving grandparents and great aunt take him back to the hotel for the night so that we could enjoy Disney for a bit without a kid. Unfortunately we were bone tired by then too (haha) but still appreciative. We got to see Fantasmic because of this and that show is my favorite thing at Disney World.

5. Enjoy seeing Disney through their eyes. Logan was surprisingly enthralled by all the rides, shows and parades. He was mesmerized.
Watching Nemo
on The Little Mermaid ride
We had a great time and can't wait to go back! Well, some day.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Logan turns ONE

At one year old:
Logan weighs 25 lbs, 2 oz and is 31.5" tall. 
He is walking, as in "see ya later, mom!"
On his birthday he was not saying any real words yet. (Although that has now changed.)
He sleeps 11-12 hours at night with two naps during the day.
He loves to be outside playing, exploring, climbing, opening and closing things, flipping through books, and pulling everything out of a bin or off a bookshelf or out of the cabinet, etc. He is completely okay with a mess and being messy himself. Pure boy.
He loves his Momma and Dada. It brings me so much joy when he drops everything and runs to Mitchell when he gets home from work.

Our ONE year old
Turning one is kind of a big deal. That's a major milestone in one's young life. Consider the changes this kid has gone through in such a relatively short time frame...

From this little baby...
to this big boy!
This requires quite a bit of celebration!

Our first celebration was with our wonderful play group friends. We had them over to play in our living room (pure fun chaos!), read a birthday book and had cake!

We got to celebrate with a few of Mitchell's coworkers with a fun dinner and swim!

Since we were visiting family in Texas on his actual birthday, we got to celebrate with both sides of the family. First was with my family. My generous brother and sister-in-law offered to host Logan's birthday party at their house. Aunt Kenzie had decorated the house in a circus theme for the birthday and Uncle Ricky grilled delicious hamburgers.

The highlight of the evening was the smash cake. Logan did not disappoint. He was double-fisting the cake to get as much in as possible.

Shortly after this celebration, we went to spend time with Mitchell's family. On Logan's actual birthday, we went and visited Grandpa at work where they were waiting with balloons and a sign. Logan loved getting to meet everyone!

Birthday breakfast!

Gram hosted a lovely cake and ice cream celebration that night with their friends. Logan had round two of smash cake and enjoyed it thoroughly.

Lastly, we traveled to Disney World two days after his birthday. Logan had a "Happy Birthday" pin button waiting for him at the resort when we checked in. Unfortunately babies and sharp pins do not mix well so Mommy wore the pin for a little bit in the park and it was on the backpack for a bit. Many cast members wished Logan a happy birthday!

Meeting Tinkerbell!
We are so thankful to all the family and friends who helped us make Logan's first birthday special. Our first year with Logan was FULL. Full of trying times, full of learning, full of joy and mostly, full of love.