Sunday, July 10, 2011

Disney's Animal Kingdom with the kids

We were blessed with an opportunity to spend the day at Disney's Animal Kingdom. The kids were so very excited! We got up early and planned to arrive early but had an adventure along the way. Oddly, Keith asked me to drive (which I never do when we go out as a family). So here I was zipping down I-4 just before the Princeton St. exit, when we saw cars that had just bumped each other and were pulling off to the side of the road. As all the surrounding cars were slowing down, Keith shouted for me to brake. I hit the brakes as he jumped out of the minivan. There was an injured kitten under the truck beside us. Keith swooped it up and got back into the van. Lots of people honked and gave us thumbs up. We brought the kitten to an animal hospital along the way and they let us know the preliminary injuries were likely at least a broken leg. At this time, the kitten is still in the animal hospital convalescing, but they are actively looking for a home for it.

Now for the rest of our day...

The ride on the tram from the parking lot. The kids were just giddy with anticipation. They had never been to Animal Kingdom before and this was only their second time going to a Disney park.

Notice Keith is wearing an Expedition Everest t-shirt. It was quite a conversation starter with the Animal Kingdom workers. Everyone wanted to know if he ran the race.

We entered the park and went straight to Camp Mickey Minnie. There were so many cute things to see there! This is definitely a slow-down and enjoy your walk kind of park.

Daisy and her boys out for a hike through the woods.

Mickey and the guys fishing.
Donald caught a shoe!

After we walked through that area, we went to the Lion King show. It was fabulous! The kids loved it. The acrobatics were amazing and the music was awesome. Daniel, ever the safety-freak, was very uncomfortable with the pyrotechnic part of the show and climbed up into my lap.

After the amazing show, we stood in line for about 15 minutes to say hello to Mickey and Minnie.

As we were standing in line, the rain clouds started to come in. Joshua helped Daniel fold his map up really small and put it in his pocket.

Mickey and Minnie, as usual, were fantastic! The kids couldn't help laughing and smiling the whole time.

It started to sprinkle as we were walking away from there, and so we decided to venture off for someplace to sit inside and eat lunch. Keith and I both agree that we would rather do a theme-park in the pouring rain, then to do it in 100 degree/100% humidity, usual July weather. So our apologies to all of the other Disney guests that day, but we secretly had hoped for rain, and the sky did not disappoint us!

We had lunch at the Yak and Yeti. Our waitress was so wonderful. She was describing all of her favorite animals on the safari and gave us some tips on the kid-friendly areas of the park. After we finished lunch, the sprinkling had stopped, and so we were off again to walk around. We came across a rickshaw and the kids immediately knew what to do, even though they had never seen one of these before.

One of the things I loved about the park was that the cast-members were so great about explaining things to us. This lady was telling Daniel all about the monkeys and how to tell which ones are boys vs. girls by their coloring.

While walking along one of the trails, we saw lots of tigers. Daniel said, "come here mom, very quietly so you don't wake up the tiger."

A group shot on one of the walking paths.

I liked this sign and find it to be true of both wildlife and children. :)

Once again, the rain picked up, only this time there were no light sprinkles. This was a full-on deluge. We could see it coming our way, and so we make a run for the Dinosaur ride.

I was thinking 5 year old dinosaur fan + ride about dinosaurs = happy 5 year old. Well, fortunately, while standing in line for the ride, there were some loud noises and Megan decided she was just done, she was full-on sobbing that she was afraid (she doesn't like loud noises). Keith said he would take her outside and Daniel decided he was going to go with Daddy, too. At this point, I still thought this was a mild ride about Dinosaurs. Joshua and I were ushered into the first row in our car and then we were off. About 2 seconds into the ride he was cutting the circulation off of my hand. Another 2 seconds later, he was screaming. So, the end result is that Dinosaur in absolutely no way is a little kid ride! I was so glad Daniel did not ride the ride with us, as he probably would have needed a change of clothing mid-way through the ride.

Joshua and I met up with Keith and the littler kids at the end of the dinosaur ride. It was pouring raining outside, so we put on our foul-weather gear.
Daniel was so cute! Just a little face sticking out of his poncho.

We had a plan to head over to the safari and then go home. Well, the safari was all the way across the park, and we had to pass the Tree of Life to get there. The boys noticed a show about bugs, and so inside we went. What could be more fun than a 3-D show about bugs hosted by Flik? The first part was adorable with 3-D butterflies, but then Hopper the giant grass hopper comes out and tells the audience that the bugs have had enough and are going to exterminate the humans. So then the auditorium goes dark and fills up with fake fumigation, which sets Daniel into a near panic attack. The gigantic spiders descend from the ceiling and there is a loud buzzing which causes Megan to bury herself into my chest. The show ends on a positive note and then when Flik excuses the audience, there is a sensation of bugs crawling on the seat between your bottom and the seat itself. Megan was not pleased with that at all. Joshua thought it was pretty cool.

From there, we went over to the Safari. Riding the safari in the rain is awesome! The animals are all out playing in the rain. It was so cool! We sat in the back row and the kids absolutely loved it. Megan pointed out the animals and then found them on the placard hanging down from the top of the jeep.

The excitement of the safari.

We had an awesome day! The kids were so well-behaved all day. We learned a lot and saw a lot of really cool things. The kids were wiped out by the end of the day and they were all asleep in the van on the way home.
Some of our animal friends from the safari...

Look at the baby flamingos! They are so cute!!

The elephants loved the rain!!

It was an awesome day! We are so glad we went.

Happy 4th of July!

Our original plans had me working on the 4th of July. That is, until the phone rang at 5am putting me "on call" for the day. I was glad to be able to stay home, but I didn't really have anything planned. So I went to the grocery store with the rest of the last-minute non-planners. It was a zoo!

When the sun started to go down, we went outside for some sparkler fun. Daniel is afraid of sparklers, and so he was our water boy - watching over our bucket of water.
Here's our fire marshal Daniel with his trusty bucket.

The sun was setting and it was time to have some fun!

Daniel liked the snappy-things that are thrown to the ground and make a "pop" sound.

Dueling with their sparklers. My crew can turn anything into a light-saber.

Throwing more pop-its.

Lilly was getting mad that she wasn't invited to the party, and she got stuck in the front gate trying to make an escape.

A quick hula-dance (for no reason at all), then it was off to bed.

Hope everyone had a Happy 4th!

Do you know how to make a gummy bear grow?

Earlier this week, we learned about osmosis.

First we measured our gummy bears. Then we put them in a bowl of water overnight. Before going to bed, we predicted if the gummy bears would shrink, stay the same, or grow larger.
Our gummy bears grew about 25% larger, in fact, one of them exploded! Using osmosis, we were able to grow our little gummy bears into larger gummy bears.

Brown's Gym

Last week, Megan and Joshua tried out their "free class" at the gym down the street from our house. Megan wanted to check out a gymnastics class. Forgive the poor-quality pictures - they were taken through the observation glass.The coach has the girls work out with some sit ups as they warm up. Megan is in the middle wearing pink (of course).

There she goes! She is hopping down the long trampoline.

A view of the whole gym. Once Daniel saw the gym, he wanted to sign up for gymnastics, too. So we'll have to see what they have for his age. He might try a 30 min karate class that then becomes a 30 min gymnastics class.

Joshua tried out an indoor soccer class for kids ages 5-8. Unfortunately, there were mostly 5 and 6 year olds in the class, and so it just wasn't a good fit for him.
Megan all smiles, and loving her time in the gym.

Our newest addition...Pepper

Sadly, our beloved Meow-meow passed away in the middle of the night a couple of weeks ago. She was howling and flopping about in the dining room and before we knew it she was gone. Fortunately, all of the kids were in bed and did not witness the sadness.

Keith and the kids buried Meow-meow the following morning, while I was at work.

We went a few days in deep discussion about looking for another feline to add to our family, and decided to look on-line at a local shelter and we came across this little sweetheart. We picked him up a day or two later and he has fit right in with our family.

Pepper is just a few months old, and shares Megan's birthday.

June Fun!

Summertime in Florida means hot, sticky days. When it's not hot and sticky, then it's thunderstorming. With the mix of rain and then sunshine, one would think that my front lawn would look fantastic. Unfortunately, that is not the case - there are quite a few weeds that seemed to have come out of nowhere. I enlisted the children for help with pulling weeds out of the flower beds, and instead turned around to find them all amazed by the bugs.

Lilly loves to come outside to work on her tan. She cries and cries at the door just waiting for someone to let her outside to bask in the sun.

The kids have been working on their basketball skills.

Megan drew a picture for our anniversary.

Daniel has not learned to not stand under the basketball net.