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The one with perry, peter and tink

Thursday, October 31, 2013
Happy Halloween!

Last night we had some sweet family time while carving pumpkins. Emily and Matt carve awesome pumpkins every year that go along with the kids' costumes. Our pumpkin would have sat uncarved on our front porch without their encouragement and company. But we had a lot of fun carving and admiring the finished product, and have probably set a pretty high precedent going forward.

We decided to carve a perry the platypus pumpkin to go along with P's costume for the year. Designs always look misleadingly simple on paper. Poor Andrew I think had second (and third) thoughts once he got started and saw all the tiny places he had to carve out. I just had to do the messy prep part of getting all the pumpkin "guts" out.

But it turned out awesome! Good job Andrew! Our little "pumpkin" liked his pumpkin.

Here are the three kiddos and their 2013 pumpkins (carved by their parents). We were lamenting last night that it is sad you put so much work into a carved pumpkin for it to spoil and get thrown out a few days later. But at least they will live on forever in the blog.

Hope everyone has a safe and fun halloween!

The one with one last barn dance

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

To take a brief hiatus from the vacation posts in effort to not get behind posting about "real life," we hit the ground running when we got back in town late Saturday night. We had to be up at church bright and early Sunday morning to help with hospitality. Then we went back to church Sunday night for the annual church barn dance. I have to admit it is one of my favorite church events...because it is festive and fall...not because of a hidden love of square dancing.

It is fun to have an excuse to wear plaid. We dressed Perry up just as western as we could...found a pair of denim overalls and plaid button up tucked back in the recesses of his closet. We had a great time eating yummy chili and desserts and spending time with sweet friends.

By looking at him, Perry could pass for a country boy right? Maybe not his daddy though...he has a real lack of plaid in his wardrobe.

Perry took some lessons in how to pose in overalls from Travis

And got to dance with a whole circle of doting girls

It was great to see Adrienne and Chad and get caught up after being gone so long. Look at Perry's cheesy smile in that picture...I just love it.

The church barn is about to be removed to make room for an additional children's building to be constructed. Sad to see the barn dances come to an end, but excited for the next chapter for Rivertree and the Starting Point (children's) ministry.

The first one at sea

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Sunday, October 20th. First day at sea.

Days at sea are so fun because you can sleep in, relax, and enjoy everything there is to do on the boat. The first thing we did this morning was give Perry a bottle out on our own personal verandah. So lovely.

After a slow-paced breakfast, we went to "Wake up with Disney Junior" - a time for preschoolers and their parents to sing and dance to Disney Junior songs along with some cast members and disney characters. This morning, Goofy came to play. Perry enjoyed watching the other kids dance and listening to the music from the safety of our arms.

After Disney Junior time, we ran into Daisy and stopped for an autograph and photo op. Lines for characters were not too bad most of the time (except for Jack Sparrow....his lines were crazy), and we only got in them if they didn't look too long. There were multiple times to see each character during the week (often multiple times per day).

Then Andrew and Perry rested while I got a haircut in the spa onboard. I had been meaning to get one before we left, but there is just not enough time in the day for that. So it was perfect to get it done while we had time off and Andrew could keep little-bit.

Then it was time for the first of two "Jack Jack Diaper Dash's" while we were on the ship. The diaper dash is a contest to see whose baby can crawl the fastest amidst hundreds of yelling spectators. It is one of those times that you would like to think parents are in control...but we aren't...and there is nothing you can do to make a kiddo crawl when they don't want to. :)



Yeah all those pictures were taking during warm ups. During the actual "heat" Perry didn't really move. He sat and looked at all the people watching and yelling and pretty much just basked in all the attention. Haha. Maybe he has less of a competitive spirit than his mother. We will see. Regardless, he won a Disney Cruise Line bib for participating which is far more functional than the plastic mickey medal you get if you win. And it was fun to meet all the other families with little crawlers.

The highlight of the day was getting to meet Phineas and Ferb. The characters from the cartoon called not-surprisingly "Phineas and Ferb" who have a pet platypus named Perry. We decided a long time ago that Perry would be the platypus for Halloween and so we were super excited to dress him up in his costume to go meet his cartoon owners. While we waited in line, Perry and I hung out in one of the big cushioned porthole windows. Are those pictures with Phineas and Ferb not the most precious things (I know there are a bunch...but I love the progression? Such a sweet memory.

Notice those last two pictures of just Perry? One of the photographers fell in love with Perry when he saw him getting his pictures made with Phineas and Ferb and asked us to wait around in the atrium until he got done with his session, after which he came over and spent about 5-10 minutes following our baby around taking pictures of him. It was very sweet of him (totally unsolicited and off the clock) to do and several of the pictures turned out really cute! P got quite the reputation for his costume and for the rest of the trip lots of the cast members would refer to him as "Perry the platypus."

We spent a few minutes exploring "Nemo's Reef" in the afternoon - the water play area for diaper babies. It had a soft floor for crawling around, and best of all - was completely covered so there was no need for sunscreen or the fear of sunburn. Perry loved it. I think one of the things that surprised me most about Perry this trip was how much he loved the splash areas...absolutely no fear of the water...and was totally ok with it spraying him in the face or falling on his head. He smiled and laughed the whole time he was in there.


Dinner was in Enchanted Garden on night two, it was a really cool restaurant that made you feel like you were dining in a garden outside. The lighting and art on the walls transition through the meal from daytime to dusk and the lights are shaped like flowers that slowly open and shut.

This was formal night. One of my favorite things about cruising is the expectation to dress for dinner. I love dresses and wear them pretty much all the time on cruises (even when I could get away with capris and a blouse). There is a 7-8 year old version of myself that wore nothing but athletic shorts and t-shirts who would have a fit to hear me say that today. But we had a great time getting all gussied up and going first to meet-up with friends in one of the adult areas (while P was playing in the nursery) then on to dinner. We met up with Mickey Mouse on the way from picking up Perry and heading to dinner.

When we got back to our room we had our beds turned down, a towel folded into a swan and chocolates appropriately donned with Sleepy the dwarf.

This picture is just for fun...look what sits on top of the elevators to tell you what floor it is on?!? A mickey hand! I know based on this blog post it sounds like we never sat down...but we really did have a fun, slow-paced relaxing day that included two naptimes. :)

The one on a boat

Saturday, October 19th. Embarkation.

We had not ever cruised Disney before this trip, so there were so many unknowns and new things to experience and explore. We had an absolutely fantastic trip. It was so nice to have a vacation with no email/work/contact with the outside world and just hang out as a family.

We took the Magical Express from the Animal Kingdom Lodge to the port. Doing so meant we didn't get on board as early as possible, but it took all the stress away. And the best part was the fact that they picked up our luggage inside our hotel room and we didn't see those four enormous bags again until they magically appeared outside our cruise cabin door that afternoon.

Since we had some time to kill in the a.m. before the bus came at 11, we had a nice leisurely breakfast at the sit-down african restaurant in our resort, Boma. It was really good. The food was a pretty standard Disney style breakfast buffet, with more options and food than you could possibly eat. They also had a juice mixture concoction called "Jungle Juice" that was quite tasty. We filled up since we knew it would probably be mid-afternoon before we could get settled on the ship and get lunch.

Disney Cruise Line buses picked us up about 11 and we were off to the port.

It is so exciting to pull up to port and see your home for the next week!

Embarkment went really smoothly with very little waiting. Before we knew it we were on board. Our cabin was not ready until 1:30 so we killed time by eating some lunch up in Cabanas (quick-service buffet on the pool deck). I also made a mad dash to the specialty restaurants to book a brunch at Palo for Andrew and I, which were sold out online before we (first-time disney cruisers = low man on the totem pole) could book. Success.

As soon as the clock struck 1:30, we were off to check out our room. It was great! The area where the coffee table is was the perfect place for Perry's pack-and-play. And the curtain came across and divided P's area from ours so we could watch TV, get ready, etc without waking him up during naps/bed. Perry was a fan of our new digs for the week.

The first order of business once in our room was to order the first of many Mickey ice cream bars from room service. The classic snack that will run $3.75 in the theme parks is totally free via room service on the boat (plus a tip for the ice cream courier). Yummy!

Then we went to explore the pool decks and give Perry a bottle. We had a planned meet up with a bunch of folks we have gotten to know over the past year on our cruise's facebook page. It was really cool to get on a boat and recognize and know (virtually atleast) a couple hundred people.




P eventually had had enough excitement and passed out on Daddy's shoulder and slept through the Sail Away Party.


This is the chandelier that hangs in the atrium of the ship, with a subtle nod to the peacock.

Like most cruises, the food is amazing, in both quality and quantity. Disney does things a little different from other cruise lines we have been on in that there are three main restaurants you rotate through, but your table-mates and servers travel with you. It is really pretty cool. We specifically requested the rotation that started in Animator's Palate (so we would eat there 3 times instead of 2). Each restaurant has its own unique atmosphere and really breaks up the monotony you might get eating in the same place 7 nights.  Here is a picture of our table in Animator's Palate (post-meal). Notice the two on each side of the table. We got to eat dinner each night with a sweet family from North Carolina, who had an 11 month old little girl. It was awesome to get to know them and the kids loved getting to interact with each other across the table. I hope we will stay in touch long even know that the cruise is over.

Characters were everywhere aboard the Fantasy. Pretty much any given time of the day you could find a character somewhere or another. Day one we ran into Goofy after dinner. And Perry got to get his wiggles out crawling around the atrium.

This was Perry's first real "kids meal" of mac and cheese, peas and fries. He also ate a lot of bananas, sweet potatoes, beans, yogurt, applesauce, oatmeal, etc on the boat. We took some of our own baby foods from home and used them some...but found things on the boat for him to eat most of the time. Our incredibly social baby mostly preferred to play with his food and pay more attention to all the people around him than actually eat.

Oh the desserts. They were everywhere. And they were amazing.

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