Saturday, September 28, 2013

My big little girl

This picture is a perfect description of my sweet 5 year old.  Clare is ALL girl, loves drama, dress up, and princesses.  And for her birthday...she wanted a party!  Since we had just gotten home from Disney, I knew I did not have the energy and daddy was NOT going to go for a party.
So, we settled on a porch party!  Thankfully I have the worlds most gracious neighbors and they happily participated in this little event.

All of our neighbors came and hung out while Clare opened some presents, sang happy birthday and ate some cupcakes.  Best. party. ever. 
Clare was very cute, because she was highly concerned about the decorations.  I kept telling her I had it taken care of, but she needed to approve of all of it.  On her way home from preschool she asked if I would please call the guests and tell them it was a dress up party.  After I informed her that no, that would not be happening, we decided she could dress up on her own.

(Mo and Cole are having a stare down)

Grandma and Grandpa had brought her some presents and Grandma had the perfect party dress.  And it is quite grand!  I honestly thought she would get shy or embarrassed, but she walked around the yard in her high heels and party dress the entire time.

This is the crew of Clare's "friends" consisting of all big kids, most of them being in middle or high school and they were all sweet enough to participate in Clare's fifth birthday.  It was really sweet.

Then, the next day was Clare's REAL birthday, so I brought cupcakes in for her to enjoy with her class.
Yes, this girl is going to need a detox after Disney, grandparents and a birthday week!
Happy Birthday sweet Clare Bear!  You are a joy to our home and a light in my life.  I am so blessed and proud to be your mommy!

Our trip to the happiest place on earth

I am so excited to be able to post about our trip to Disney.  Disney World is one of those crazy places that you plan forever (and ever and ever) and the anticipation is great to see all of your planning to come together, the trip is an exhausting whirlwind and you come home and cannot believe it is here and gone. 
That said, we had an awesome time!!
I decided early on to leave Cole at home with LD's parents who graciously came and stayed at our house with him.  It was the best decision...ever.  During this trip I realized Elle is still really little and she needed to be the baby of the trip.  She was very exhausted and required lots of TLC.

LD had found amazing flight prices so we flew down on Thursday, went to Epcot and had dinner with the princesses, went to Hollywood Studios Friday to meet Princess Sophia and had dinner that evening with Cinderella and her family at Grand Floridian.  On Saturday and Sunday we went to Magic Kingdom and flew home Monday. 
The best part of this trip is that we went during "free Dining" which means, yes, all of our meals were free...totally free, and it even included character meals.  We all had 4 sit down meal tickets, 4 counter service meal tickets and 4 snacks for the trip.  And yes, it was a LOT of food, but when we came home we had spend a grand total of $165 the ENTIRE 5 days including all of our souvenires.  I think we will always plan to go this route!

Our biggest goal of the trip was to see as many princesses as possible.  Both of my girls LOVE princesses, and watching them meet and interact with them was the highlight of our trip.  My favorite line of Clare's after having dinner the first night with all the princesses was "Mom, you never let me pray for the princesses, but I told you they ARE real and now I can pray for them."  I mean how do you argue with that.  So yes, now we pray nightly for Aurora, Snow White and Tiana.

The other great part is that we have read all of the older Disney stories like Alice in Wonderland, Pinocchio, Peter Pan, Lady and the Tramp, and I highly recommend doing that before going.  When the parades or shows were going on, the girls knew all of the characters and that made it so much more fun. 

A big surprise to us was how much both girls LOVED rides.  We have never been to any kind of theme park at all so we had no clue how it would go.  Elle was too short to ride any big rides, which was a bummer and caused a few total meltdowns.  But, both girls rode the Pirate ride, Haunted Mansion and every other ride that doesn't require a height limit.
Clare rode the test track at Epcot, Splash Mountain twice and Thunder Mountain Railroad THREE times.  She loved it.  She told LD the first time halfway through she almost spit up, which had him panicked...but she made it!

As with all things Disney, the interactions with the princesses was so cute.  Clare carried on real conversations with them about different characters and Snow White told her that Dopey had taken all of her jewels and Clare was seriously concerned.

Also funny...Clare would not look at, interact or even acknowledge any prince.  This picture totally cracks me up because she would not even set down her chicken leg for the picture.

I hope we go back again in a few years so Cole can go with us.  We already have mentioned it to family to start saving so we can all go together.  Never did I think I would be a huge Disney person, but yes...I fell for the trap.  It really is -

the happiest place on earth!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Big weekend

We like to end in style, so the Jackson's had a pretty big last weekend of summer!  Two of our favorite families ever were in town (the Kirks from Boston and the Watts from Missouri), so we had a LOT of playtime!

Friday with everyone in town we had scheduled a playdate.  Thankfully, everyone was up for my super crazy idea to head 2 hrs to the Columbia zoo with 7 adults and 8 kids (3 which are under a year).

Cole got to hang out with his best buddy Henry, who is just 2 day younger than him.
And my girls were thrilled with just having friends around.
Cole and Henry were hilarious grabbing at each other's paci's, shirts and toys.
And Elle was thrilled with a little more time with her sweet friend Mae.  They haven't seen each other since January and picked right back up where they left off...just like true girlfriends!

Jude is a riot.  He talks in HUGE complete sentences and has great expressions.  He was the only one brave enough to feed the giraffes and he loved it.  I mean his hand was just about in the giraffes mouth!

My two girls (the OLDEST two kids) loved the luxury of extra unused strollers and extra adults willing to push them around.

And I was reminded why I am not taking Cole to Disney world.  He didn't bat an eye, but not happy in his stroller.  He desperately wanted to be held and thankfully everyone was willing to pass him around.

Then early Saturday morning we had a massive two year old play date for everyone to get more playtime with Jude before he headed back to Boston.

Followed by the first Michigan game of the year and the first Michigan game ever that LD was able to share with his sweet.  I know LD is already excited to one day take Cole with him to the Big House :)

Monday we were invited over to friends to hang out more with Mae Mae and baby Henry before they had to head back to Missouri.

There were lots of sweet little babies to play with and everyone had such a great time!
Now...we are truly ready to get back to school and into the fall routine after such a fun weekend!!!