Saturday, February 15, 2014

Back Into the Swing of Things

I'll chalk last weekend up to a complete loss.  C and I felt like we were in coma's for much of the weekend.  Monday approached like wild fire.  I was glad J1's teacher had sent work along for him to complete while on vacation.  Although he had completed everything, our vacation extension meant he had missed several extra days of work.  I knew he was going to have to catch up quickly.  J2 is in preschool, thus no homework.  He was, however, going to have to jump right back into full swing.  Josiah hadn't had therapy in three weeks (2 weeks in Florida, and sick the week prior to leaving).  Monday was going to be a test.

After getting J1 and J2 off to school on Monday, we headed to play group with Josiah.  It was like we had never left.  Over the weekend, we noticed that Josiah seemed more independent.  He seemed to be exploring more.  In Florida, the tile floors made exploration difficult.  We thought maybe he was just happy to be in environments conducive for small children.  Here, in play group, he was definitely acting more independent.  He was crawling up (and down) the stairs to the climbing structure.  He was suddenly taking more risks (but not dangerous ones).  Little man....

Monday afternoon brought out the EI worker (whom Josiah hadn't seen in weeks).  She was accompanied by her supervisor and Josiah's PT (an occasional co-treat is not uncommon).  Well, that didn't go so well.  For the next 60 minutes (or so), Josiah cried like nobody's business.  He didn't want to stand.  He didn't want to walk with the walker.  He simply cried.  He sobbed.  Yes, it was not his finest hour.

Tuesday morning, he returned to Speech & OT (after his three week hiatus).  What a difference a day makes.  He stunned the speech therapist.  He made more sounds than ever.  He signed more, all done, yes, and no.  The speech therapist was elated (he is usually quite stubborn with her).  OT was just as successful.  He used the same signs with her.  He even said "bye-bye."  OMG!  This kid is amazing!!!  Thursday's sessions were about the same. Josiah is vocalizing more sounds.  More exciting than that (for me), he is finally using some signs.  

After feeling like we were never going to be able to wean him off baby food, we have finally accomplished the impossible (or so it seemed).  We have gone the better part of the week without baby food.  Josiah has happily eaten pork chops, rice, pot roast, potatoes, mac & cheese, tuna fish, chicken alfredo, onion rings, bread, and beef stew.  His first week without baby food!!!!  Yay Josiah!!!!

I feel like Josiah has turned a huge corner this week.  He is vocalizing more.  He is FINALLY signing (even if just a few words).  He's imitating a LOT!!!  He's more engaged in active play.  And, he's eating big people food.  He never ceases to amaze me.

I love my life <3.


Disney Day Ten & Eleven

We slept until about 8:30 on Thursday.  I immediately started laundry.  It was time to think about packing.  The big boys spent the morning in the pool.  At noon, we left to visit a friend.  The 'quick' trip took longer than expected.  We were headed 'home' at 6:30.  We stopped for dinner, but the four year old got sick - so we headed back to the house.  I think it was sheer exhaustion (and maybe a little car-sickness).  Luckily, everyone was ok for the remainder of the night.

C and I didn't go to bed until about 11:30.  I didn't fall asleep until 1:30.  The 3:30 alarm, came far too quickly.  We managed to finish laundry, pack, and get out the door around 5am.  We were at the airport by 5:30; we arrived at the gate at 6:40.  It was only about 10 minutes before we were allowed to board the flight home.  By 7:20, the plane was taxi'ing down the runway.  Our trip to paradise was over.  We had all survived (C and I needed to get home - we were exhausted lol).  We were so proud of our three boys.  They were amazing little men.

My sister met us at the airport, as promised.  We arrived back at our home by noon.  We were pooped.  Later in the day, we ordered pizza and had friends over.  It had been a lovely trip but we were glad to be home.

Dorothy was right....'there's no place like home.'

Here are a few pics from the last leg of our journey....

Disney Day Nine

We woke Wednesday to a beautiful day.  It was our last day to visit the parks.  We were headed to where it all began....the Magic Kingdom.  Mom and Dad were joining us for the day.  It would be a wonderful day.

After arriving at the parking lot.  We procured a manual wheelchair to assist Dad in getting to the Ferry.  In the parking lot, we had noticed a large camper.  Outside of it, several adults were standing around a stretcher.  They were traveling with medical equipment.  We didn't make a lot of it; we simply noticed.

After a half an hour wait for the ferry, we could see the boat approaching the dock.  A woman gently hollered to gain the crowd's attention.  Her announcement indicated that a child from 'Make a Wish' was amongst us.  The request was simple: let him be the first to board the ferry.  The crowd was more than willing to accommodate this simple request.

The previously-noticed stretcher was wheeled onto the ferry first.  The young boy appeared to be between the ages of 7-10.  Numerous adults accompanied him, some wearing 'make a wish' buttons.  They traveled with tubes, oxygen, and the like.  People were teary watching this young man board the ferry to his dream come true.  We didn't know we would share space with a little king <3.

The Magic Kingdom was sensational.  We spent a better part of the day in one section of the park.  It rained, intermittently.  No one seemed fussed by it.  Before we knew it, it was nearing sunset.  It had been a beautiful, long, day indeed.  It was time to head 'home,' and so we did.

Thursday, we would focus on packing.

Friday, we were going home. 

Here are a few pics of our day.....

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Disney Day Eight

Tuesday was another beautiful day.  We were excited about going to Epcot.  I couldn't wait to stand with my Dad, and watch the Illuminations fireworks/laser lights show at 9pm.

Unfortunately, Dad had overdone it the day before.  His foot was sore.  He made the difficult decision to stay home.  He hoped to join us for the Magic Kingdom, on Wednesday.

We were out the door by would be a late night.  We were prepared, and excited! 

Epcot was as I remembered it.  We started out in the Epcot ball.... the adventure into space.  From there, we headed to the Dinosaur ride.  I wasn't concerned about the many reminders that "This will be a 37 minute ride, so if you feel like it may be too much for any member of your party, please exit now."  Piece of I thought.

About 7 minutes into the ride, Josiah had begun to fuss.  The bag of Nilla wafers would have helped.....but I had mistakingly left them in the bottom of the stroller, outside.  Pat-a-cake and hugs weren't working.  We were about 15 minutes into this dark ride; Josiah was now screaming.  He had crocodile tears!

C was frantically pawing through the diaper bag looking for any hidden treats.  Josiah took one sip of his water, then promptly threw it.  The Dorito was even less of a hit.  As I frantically tried to quiet Josiah, I looked around at Epcot's guests wondering how badly we'd be hated when the ride ended.....another 20 (or so) minutes away.

I'll tell you....when your child is screaming & disrupting other people (at a very expensive location), and you can neither exit nor stop them, tension starts to rise.

Due to a plastic spoon & a jar of baby food, I was able to feed Josiah (in the dark).  Though I missed most of the sights and sounds, I knew the glares would be minimal, at the end!  Lol.  I was never so grateful for a ride to end...

We went to lunch hoping to put Josiah in a 'good place'.  It was 3pm and Illuminations was 6 hours was the thing I looked forward to the most.  Josiah went into complete melt-down mode, during lunch.  I couldn't eat....too stressed out.  It was 4pm.  I announced, "It's time to go.  I can't deal with this!"

I was sad.  We made our way out of the "World Showcase."  We had eaten lunch in the USA so we were at the furthest point from the exit.  As we were crossing from the World Showcase into the 'front' part of the park, a kiosk caught the eye of our 7 year old.  Josiah was quiet (finally) so we agreed to stop.

The two older boys were given a play cell phone & asked to help save the world.  They were promoted to "secret agent" status and agreed to complete their assignment.  Josiah was still quiet and I remained cautiously optimistic about seeing the later show.  So.....we headed back into the World Showcase.

The boys had a great time traveling to the different countries, completing tasks (dictated by cell phone) along the way.  They had a blast!!!  We were so glad things had taken a turn for the better.

By 8pm, we staked out a good viewing location.  We hit the gift shop & returned the cell phone.  The big boys passed time playing with a third child.

At 9pm, Illuminations began.  It was everything I remembered & everything I hoped it would be.  Josiah was being an angel.  I was watching the show I had been anxious to see.  Yes, I was blessed.

By 9:30, we were heading for the car.  It had been a long day.  Everyone was tired but happy :)

Here are a few pics....

Disney Day Seven

Monday morning ushered in pure, and unadulterated, sunshine!  It was our originally-scheduled-travel-home-day.  I couldn't be happier that we were there to stay.  We were headed to the Animal Kingdom & Mom and Dad were joining us!

Upon arrival, we successfully procured Dad an electric scooter.  He was delighted!!!

We enjoyed great rides, fantastic atmosphere, and superb shows!  By 2pm, we were hungry.  Josiah was starving!  So, we headed for the gates.  The 4 year old had been asking for days; now it was happening.....Rainforest Cafe for lunch.  This would be the second, and final, time.

We enjoyed a leisurely lunch and browsed the gift shift.  Despite the early hour of 4pm, the thoughts of home (and the pool) proved too tempting.  We bid adieu to the Animal Kingdom, and headed home.

Tuesday, we were going to Epcot!

Here's a few pictures from our day....

Monday, February 3, 2014

Disney Day Six

We were up at 7:30am.  It was very foggy but free from rain!  We were headed to Hollywood Studios!  It would be just the five of us, again.  Mom & Dad were staying in.

We were out the door around 11am.  We headed to the New Balance outlet store - Mama needs new shoes!!!  Lol.  Fifteen minutes in the store, and Mama had new sneaks!  Off to Hollywood Studios!

The park was a lot of fun!  The big boys rode a Star Wars themed ride with Daddy.  The highlight for the four year old was his encounter with Woody & Buzz Lightyear.  I enjoyed seeing the Wicked Witch of the West appear & disappear in a ball of fire and smoke!!!  Fun times :)

We shopped, ate, walked, and rode.  We stayed right up until closing.  At home, the boys swam in the pool & we all relaxed!

I was so glad we weren't leaving yet...

Disney Day Five

We woke Saturday morning to raindrops falling on the pool cover.  Luckily, the forecast wasn't calling for a washout.  It would clear by noon.  Mom and Dad were planning on staying in, to nurse Dad's foot back to health.  We were headed to Universal Studios!

We arrived there around noon.  The lines were long, and slow.  It rained intermittently.  It took over an hour (and more money than I care to admit), but we were finally passing through the gates.

I had last visited Universal about 20 years ago.  Back then, there was one park.  Now there are two: Islands of Adventure & Universal Studios.  Not sure of the difference, we headed to Islands of Adventure. 

We visited the worlds of Harry Potter, Jurassic Park, Dr. Seuss, and various super heroes.  We ate at a comics cafe and dodged raindrops.  It was 5:30pm by the time we headed to the 'other side.'  Yes, that was the Universal I remembered.  With only an hour until closing, we rode ET (twice) & drank milkshakes, before seeing the 7pm fireworks show.  A real rainbow even appeared in the sky before being swallowed by darkness. 

By 7:15pm, we were headed to the car.  It had been a long, expensive, day.  We had fun!  We would hit Hollywood Studios (formerly known as MGM) on Sunday.  I was so glad we extended our vacation.

Here are a few pics of our day.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Disney Day Four

I don't suppose it would come as a big surprise to say we woke to rain on Friday.  Sadder yet was the forecast predicting no let-up before Saturday.  This didn't help my obsessive thoughts (which had begun on Wednesday).  We were leaving Monday and didn't have enough time.

So, I did something I have never done before.  I figured out the logistics, went about gathering detailed information, then implemented my action plan:

Confirm our ride home from airport can accommodate a change, check! 

Change flight home, check!

Email elementary school to inform them of 1st grader's extended vacation.

Call preschool to inform them of 4-year old's extended vacation.

Cancel Josiah's PT with EI.

Cancel Josiah's OT & Speech through rehab.

Cancel karate for extra week.

Extend house-sitter.

Extend baby rental gear, check! Mama is happy lol.

With that resolved, we proceeded to plan our day.  We enjoyed lunch at home & the boys played in the pool, in the rain.  I found a place called Wonderworks; they were open until Midnight.  We would head there.

Mom & Dad stayed home.  We headed out.  Wonderworks looked very cool.  I looked forward to seeing it.  The legend goes something like this:

Wonderworks began as a top secret laboratory in the Bahamas.  Scientists were involved with many projects, one of which was capturing high speed winds.  Something went horribly wrong!  High winds enveloped the building, picking it up off the ground, and catapulting it through the air like a tornado.  It eventually landed upside-down, on a red brick building, in the city of Orlando, Fl.

That is where it sits today.  The experiments remained intact but are upside-down (just like the building).  Upon entry, guests pass through an inversion tunnel in order to defy gravity & enjoy the 3 floors of hands on exhibits.

In the end, I wasn't overly impressed.  However, seeing the building was great; time with family never wasted.  Mama no longer feels like we're running out of time.

The building IS pretty cool, isn't it?

Disney Day Three

Thursday was a lazy day at Disney.  We awoke to cold rain.  It was mid-50's with no indication of sunshine.  I was already yearning to stay longer :)  With Dad's injured foot, and inclement weather, it was going to be a chill out kind of day.

Josiah caught up on some much needed sleep.  The boys played in the pool.  Everyone enjoyed extra relaxation.  We nibbled for much of the day.

In the late afternoon hours, we get ready and headed for Downtown Disney.  Our destination: Rainforest Cafe (and perhaps, a little shopping lol).

When we arrived, Dad sat in the van while we shopped in a Disney store.  Then, off to the Rainforest.  Given the 70 minute wait time provided for the family ahead of us, we were delighted to be seated immediately..... it must have been the party of 7 that was to our benefit.  As always, the food was excellent!  The company, unrivaled.

We couldn't leave Downtown Disney without stopping by the LEGO store.  There were a lot of expensive choices thus we were ecstatic when the boys picked LEGO keychains.

We were quickly in the van and headed home.  The boys enjoyed another dip in the pool, then bedtime commenced.  Oh, Monday was coming to quickly....we haven't done enough yet.