Saturday, January 21, 2012

Disney Trip Day 1

On December 17th we left our house before sunrise to make the 7am flight from Pittsburgh to Orlando.

We were originally scheduled for a flight that didn't depart from Pittsburgh until 8:30pm, so we felt blessed to be able to fly stand by on a flight so much earlier in the day. This would give us an extra half day to explore Disney World. Kerriann did so well during the flight and all of the other passengers loved her. Since we flew on stand by, we ended up in the very last row of the plane. She definitely kept everyone company as they were waiting for the bathroom-haha! 

The journey from the airport to the hotel took much longer than we anticipated. By the time we got to our hotel and freshened up it was late in the afternoon. Though we were all tired (especially Kevin, he wasn't even home 24 hours before we left for FL) we were running on adrenaline and decided that we would check out the Magic Kingdom before dark.

Before boarding a shuttle bus, which was our main form of transportation during our stay, we posed for a few photos with the patriotic Mickey statue in the lobby of our first hotel, Shades of Green.

We loved staying at Shades of Green, and we definitely would like to go back one day. This hotel is for military personnel and their family and they really took great care of us during our stay. The rooms were spacious, the hotel was beautiful (especially decorated for Christmas), and the food in the restaurants was amazing. The chef was even very helpful in helping select gluten and dairy free meals.

After a ride on the shuttle bus as well as the tram connecting the bus stop to the Magic Kingdom gates, we were ready to do some exploring. We made it into the park just in time for a parade in front of Cinderella's castle.

The parade was the perfect way to kick off the visit. Kerriann loves parades, and all of the characters. You could tell that she was in awe.

A tip for those visiting the park and watching the parades... make sure you are on the outside of the parade, rather than trapped on an "island" inside. This will be extremely helpful if you want to leave before the parade has ended. It will also get you out quicker even if you choose to stay for the duration. People start lining up for parades up to 30 minutes in advance and they are PACKED! For this one we just happened to be in the right place at the right time, but we were prepared for the other parades that we saw over the next few days.

Once the parade was over, we decided to walk around and try to plan out what we would do the next day when we came back. The park was extremely packed because it was the Saturday before Christmas. This was probably the worst day we could have chosen to be there as far as crowds. The lines were too long to really do anything but sight see.

As we were walking, we noticed that the line to meet Tinkerbell was only 45 minutes long (which was pretty short on that particular day), so we decided to wait it out. This was Kerriann's first character meet and greet and she did awesome!

I think it helped that Tinkerbell was a real person, rather than a person in a costume. Either way, she had a great time. She got to meet Tinkerbell and another male fairy, though we're still not sure what his name was!

Look at the mark Tinkerbell left on Kerriann! We thought this was so cute!

After our visit with the fairies, we headed back to the castle for another parade. This one was geared towards music and dancing.

Kerriann could hardly contain herself once the music started. She was ready to get down and DANCE!

As the sun set and the parade ended, we all directed our attention to the castle for a skit. Minnie, Mickey and a few of the other characters were dressed in their Christmas gear, ready to light the castle.

The castle was so beautiful once it was lit with the Christmas lights. I have been to Disney at Christmastime before, but I have never seen the lighting ceremony or even the lights at night. It was definitely a memorable experience, and I'm so glad that I was able to share it with Kevin and Kerriann.

After that we headed back to Shades of Green to rest up for day two!

End of Week Recap

The past week has been another crazy one for us. Last weekend was a three day weekend because of Martin Luther King Day on Monday, so Kerriann and I spent a quiet few days at home. We don't do that very often. I originally had planned to visit my parents, but the weather was looking a little questionable, and I was pretty worn out from the first week back at school, so I decided it was best to lay low.

Though I enjoyed spending quality one-on-one time with Kerriann, I was ready for her to go back to school Tuesday. My professors wasted no time assigning us homework and readings, and I was feeling a little nervous about starting the week feeling so unprepared. 

Tuesday was a normal, but busy, day for us. Kerriann went to school and I attended class all day. We got our team assignments for my capstone class which was the highlight of my day. I'm going to be working with a few of my classmates on an awareness campaign for the WVU Center for Civic Engagement. I know that this campaign is going to require a lot of work, but I know it will be worth it in the end when I have a great project to showcase in my portfolio. I love Morgantown and the WVU community so I'm really excited to do something that I know will benefit the area.

When Kerriann woke up Wednesday morning I could immediately tell that something was wrong. She was cranky and just looked miserable overall. Her nose was a little runny, but nothing too major. Since I only had one class that day I decided to keep her home. Aunt Christiane was nice enough to come over and stay with her for an hour while I went in. She seemed ok when I put her to bed Wednesday evening so I planned to take her to school as usual on Thursday morning.

When she woke up, she felt a little warm, but knowing that I had an extremely busy day ahead of me I sent her to school anyways. Probably not my best mommy moment, but at the time I didn't really see another option. After my first class I got a call from her school that she had a fever of 101, so I would have to come pick her up. This also meant that she wouldn't be able to attend school on Friday because they have to be fever free for 24 hours before coming back. I ended up missing a team meeting with my capstone group, but Christiane was able to watch her for my third class. I am so lucky to have her help!

So for the past few days I have just been trying to focus on getting her healthy again (while trying to keep myself healthy). I'm hoping I'm in the clear at this point, but only time will tell! 

Today Kerriann, Christiane and I met up with my dad and Chris for lunch as they were passing through town on the way to a hockey game in Pittsburgh. It was so great to see them and visit! I just wish they could have stayed longer. I persuaded them to come back to our house and do a few manly tasks for me which I really appreciated. My garbage disposal is still broken and my dishwasher is leaking but I guess those will have to wait for professional help on Monday!

So that's the boring, but necessary recap of our week. I'm really hoping that once I get Kerriann healthy and catch up on school work that I can get back to a better blogging routine. I really miss writing and I still have so many photos to share from Kevin's visit!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Christmas Day in Photos

We spent Christmas day at our house in Morgantown this year.  My immediate family joined us for a big lunch and more gifts, and my Aunt Sherrie, Uncle John and cousin Chris stopped by for a few hours as well.  It was so great having that time alone as a family, yet still being able to share part of the day with a few of our loved ones.  Kerriann got completely spoiled by all of us and is still loving all of her new toys!