Sunday, October 13, 2013


We had been on a countdown for 65 days for our family trip to Florida and now we've already been back for a week.  And I think I actually want to go back worse now than before we actually left!  We had such a great time.

I'm mostly going to let the pictures speak for themselves.

First of all, we thought it'd be best to leave Emmy behind.  And we were very glad that we did.  It was much easier on us.  But I'm sure that this will be an issue someday when she's old enough to understand so we will just have to go again sometime.
Poor Emmy is obviously clueless here or else she would be crying!  But she had just as much fun camping with her uncle Matt, aunt Katie, and cousins (and sleeping in a bathtub!) than she would have had in Florida.

Our kids experienced their first airplane ride!!  They were so excited for this.  Charlie had been asking almost everyday for weeks if that day would be the day for flying on the airplane.  Most of us wore comfy clothes but Ruby had to travel in a dress, of course!!

Natalie and Charlie were quite excited when we were taking off but when I was encouraging Ruby to look out the window, she preferred to keep coloring her princess picture and she would just look me in the eye and say, 'Mom, I know!' like she had done this a million times before!

We got to our 'Florida House', Fantasyland, and went to the closest fast food place.  We were all ready for dinner.  Afterwards, we all got in the water. And by that time, it was dark. The place was so gorgeous at night.  The girls loved the lazy river, all dimly lit, and Charlie loved the pool and splash pad.  We all said throughout the weekend that we will have to stay here again.

We went back to our villas that night and mom and dad had put together Disney goody bags for all the kids, complete with bubble gum, drawing pads and crayons, lipstick, and cash!! 
The next morning, we were DISNEY WORLD bound!!!  All 18 of us had coordinating shirts, again thanks to mom and dad, and the little girls had their princess gowns.  Ruby stayed in hers the whole day at the park until just before we left.

Then a monorail ride into the Magic Kingdom!  Another first for the kiddos which they loved!

Disney was decorated for Halloween!  So fun!  But it made me a little sick, the park was only open until 7p that night with our park tickets :(  From 7p on, more people started pouring into the park for a special trick or treating night.  How fun would that be, too?!

Our kids did amazingly well that day!  We had some teary eyes from Natalie and Ruby after the princess show because neither Rapunzel or Merida were performers.  So we had two girls that were very concerned that their favorite princesses weren't there.  And Charlie was crying while he had to be peeled off of the carousel (which is weird since we can do that at the mall!).  And I'm not going to lie, I had some tears in my eyes as well... but tears of joy of course!  Seriously, I was so excited to be here with our family!!  And I think our kids enjoyed every moment of the Magic Kingdom experience.  We rented a stroller and each kid took turns riding in it.  And it was 90* which also meant we were filling up our water bottles at every drinking fountain we crossed.  We went to the park on a Friday which made for a relatively 'small' crowd of people.  We hardly had to wait any longer than 20 minutes for a ride.  Although the wait times for meeting the princesses were quite a bit longer than that!!

Our family's favorite Disney princesses are Merida, from Brave, and Rapunzel, from Tangled.  It was so cute to see Jordan obsessed with making sure our girls got to meet these ladies.  We went to the Magic Kingdom 8 years ago and we had a much different agenda.  But this year, it was all about our kids!  And meeting those princesses lived up to every expectation we each had.  The girls were starstruck!  It was definitely a highlight to the vacation.  And I decided after meeting them that I, too, want to be a Disney princess.  No joke, I want to work at the park and pose with little kids and act like I'm a real princess.  But that dream will have to wait until the kids are grown up and out of the house.  So maybe the role or Elinor (Merida's mother) or Mother Gothel (Rapunzel's 'mother') will be more suitable?  I'll take what I can get!!

The girls both went on their first rollar coaster rides, too!  And while Jordan and I did those couple roller coasters with them, Charlie went on 'It's a Small World' with grandpa and grandma.  And he can't stop talking about it.  They said it was pretty hilarious how he loved it so much!  It was just such a great day.  

The next morning, we got out to the pool asap.  We got out to eat and Ruby used the bathroom about 15 times that day, but other than that, we were in that water all day long.  I was thinking that I'd lay out, or even just sit on a lawn chair, but I think I was in that water just as much as my kids.  We had so much fun.  And it was a blast just hanging out with all of my nieces and nephews.  They all get along with each other so well.  Even my lazy river rides were always with the kids and not exactly relaxing.  But FUN!  And every time mom went on the lazy river, the grandkids tortured her by pushing her under the waterfalls and making sure the fountains thoroughly blasted her.  We got pizza that night and everyone went to bed 'early'.

And then we were on our way back home.  To the airport by 6:30am and back in Grand Rapids by noon.  Our family slept pretty much the whole flight home and we were able to just chill out the rest of the day.  And now, I'm afraid I want to go back to Disney more than I did before we even went!  Of course, we didn't get to see it all... that wouldn't have been possible.  So we've got to get back to show our kids the rest of it.  The weekend was magical!  Plus, we owe Emmy a trip there now, so we will be back in the next couple of years!!  

Jordan and I have been wondering when and how we'd be able to do a trip like this for the kids (it's so expensive!!)  We have been wanting to go so bad knowing that the three oldest kids are at such perfect ages.  And then mom and dad made it happen.  They are beyond amazing... even if they hadn't taken us to Florida!  We are so blessed by their love and encouragement.  They are young at heart and have such a spirit of adventure.  I hope they enjoyed it even half as much as we did!  We are so thankful!  Dreams really DO come true!!  This trip was magical!!

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