Sunday, November 17, 2013

"And when it's over, I want everyone to remember that it all began with just one mouse." - W. Disney

We just disembarked from a 4 night Disney Cruise.  It was an absolute blast!  Dirk and I wanted a vacation that would capture the magic of Disney without the long lines and hectic pace of the theme parks.  And let's be honest, our little shorties are not tall enough to go on most of the rides anyway. The Disney cruise offers time and exposure to the Disney characters, great musical theater productions, fun-in-the-sun, water slides and swimming, easy room access for naps and downtime, and the  availability of adult beverages from multiple vantage points.

Cullen and Simone both enjoyed meeting their favorite characters from the Mickey Mouse gang.  Although Simone looked very stoic in all of the pictures, she smiled from ear to ear was we walked away.  And Cullen acted to-cool-for-school as we approached the characters, but as he came close he was the first one to run up with hugs.  On the ship, Simone enjoyed her first mani and pedi and swimming in the 2 1/2 feet deep Mickey shaped pool.  Cullen loved goofy golf, shuffleboard, the interactive detective game and the Aquaduck waterslide.  The theater shows at night were awesome. - musicals featuring stories and the best-of characters and songs.

The third night on board was "Pirate Night".  I had read about this in the itinerary, but was amazed at the lengths that the crew and some guests went to dressing the part.  As we came in from our swimming adventures, there were 4 Mickey Mouse bandanas on our bed.  And after Dirk came back to the room from an errand, he said "Boy there are a lot of people dressed like Pirates!".  So we decided that we had better put on our bandanas and head out.  The vibe on the ship was filled with such great energy.  Everyone was so excited.  The agenda featured a Pirate Party on the top deck at 6:45 pm (presumably for the young ones) and fireworks at 10:30 pm.  After dinner, we headed up to the early Pirate Party and a stage was set up.  Mickey and the gang came out singing and dancing.  They asked for some audience participation (dancing and singing).  Cullen and Simone were really into it and helped Mickey fend off Captain Hook.

Another highlight was going to the waterparks and aquariums at Atlantis Resort in Nassau, Bahamas.  Even for a toddler, the waterpark was awesome!  And Dirk and I both found a few minutes to sneak away and try the super fast grownup slides.

My apologies for the large volume of pictures.  It was just so hard to edit!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Little Spitfire.

Simone has been busy with gymnastics, swimming (lessons through daycare at the Y) and soccer.  She was hit and miss with her love of soccer - sometimes preferring to pick up the orange cones and use them as hats instead of goal lines.  Gymnastics seemed to be more of a fit - what toddler doesn't like climbing, tumbling, jumping, etc. For some reason, there was only one other little one in Simone's gymnastics class so she hardly ever had to wait for the teacher for help in the various activities.

However, it seems that Simone's real love may be in the performing arts.  She is constantly singing - mostly made up songs and playing dress-up.  She also likes to give "concerts" to her family.  These concerts consist of watching Simone sing, dance and play various instruments (piano, harmonica, drums and guitar).  Stop by if you are in the neighborhood and I'm sure she will be glad to entertain you!

Little Hobgoblins

Happy Halloween!  Cullen celebrated this grand holiday dressed as Captain America and Simone dressed as Sweden's beloved Pippi Longstocking.  We extended the celebration by attending the local "Enchanted Forest" walk through the nature preserve the weekend before Halloween.  The day of the great pumpkin was capped off by school parties followed by neighborhood trick-or-treating.  Simone only made it to about 6 houses before she decided it was cold and she wanted to pass out candy instead.  Cullen ran 100 yards in front of the pack to lead his crew and parents around the neighborhood.  As Dirk and I try to phase out the candy (mainly so we don't eat it all!) the kids are already talking about what to be next year.