Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Surprise...we're not going to Texas!Our 9/10-9/15 Trip.

Last year we started something we are hoping will be a family tradition. We gave the kids the option of going on a family weekend trip, in lieu of having 3 seperate birthday parties with all of their friends. We still celebrate with immediate family, and close friends but we just don't do the big party...well they jumped at it. Last year we rented a cabin at a state park and went "camping" and this year we gave them the same option and they again all jumped at it. So we had planned to go to the Great Wolf Lodge in Dallas for a night or two...that was until I was on the internet and I ran across "Free Dining" at Disney. Most who know us know we are big Disney lovers, we spent Spring Break there last year and had a great time. So in passing I said to Rhett "For less than 1500$ we could do Disney" to my surprise he said "Let's do it" I did alot of summer camps this year, so we were able to swing it...but we decided not to tell the kids...so it was a complete surprise. The next few posts will be our Trip report, I like to journal about our trips to be able to remember all of the little details we may otherwise forget!
We planned each day with a seperate occassion in mind. Our first day is Rhett and I's day. The second is Aiden's day. The Third is Aly's day. and our last day is Ethan's day. The activities/restuarants etc. we have picked have been with each of the kiddo's in mind. Rhett and I have had fun planning this!

Leaving town went fairly well. We took everything we would've taken if we were evacuating for a hurricane with us, since when we left on Tue we didn't know where Ike was headed. Right before we all got in the car Rhett says "Bad news guys we lied to you we're not really going to Texas" the kids all said whatever and went to the car... We drove to Tallahassee and got in to our Econo Lodge around 2am Florida time. We were up at 7 and in no time flat we were in the car headed for the World. The kids all slept the night before, so we were wondering how long it would take them to realize we weren't in Texas...well it was the weirdest thing, none of them seemed to look out the windows all morning...it really was strange and not like any of them! Aiden slept most of the morning, Ethan read and Aly did, whatever it is Aly does (talk mostly). We were 55 miles outside of Orlando when Aiden woke up and noticed a green road sign, and said "Hey, where is the Great Wolf Lodge" we said it's in Dallas, he said "then why are we in Florida, theres a sign for Orlando?" Rhett says, "Oh, its Orlando, Tx...just like lafayette,la and lafayette, indiana" Aiden says "Ok" and then gets involved with the toy on his lap, no longer looking outside the windows, or seeing the "FLORIDA Visitors station "signs I swear every mile or so. Why oh Why are there so many FLorida signs in Florida! As we get closer and the WDW road signs start Rhett distracts kids by tickling, jokes, snatching toys etc...anything he could think of!It's 11:22am and we're getting near the famous Walt Disney World arch, and I say "Well guys I have some bad news, yesterday when Daddy told you we weren't going to Great Wolf Lodge he wasn't lying he was telling the truth! Why don't you look out the window and see if you can figure out where we are going"So they all look out the windows, and Ethan says, Disney World as he sees the sign, and we say"yep that's right, were going to Disney World" and heres the reaction we got...that we've waited for forever....Ethan says "Ah man I wanted to go to great wolf lodge not some Disney hotel in Texas." Poor boy still didn't realize we were in Florida, he still thought we were in Texas...so we said, it's not a Disney Hotel, it's Disney World...WE're in Florida! Aiden says "You LIED to us...(with about a 10 second pause)do we get to ride the rides?" We replied "yep , just like our spring break trip same hotel, the parks etc." Aly says "Can we ride the buses" We say "yep" and then they all become all smiles, clapping their hands, and bouncing up and down in their seats. As we walk into Port Orleans Riverside to check in, they continue to build their excitement.So as we are walking in the parking lot to Port Orleans Riverside I see a Magic Express bus, I say to Rhett, run...get in front of the bus crowd...he asks no questions and takes off in a jog to get in the checkin line...we beat the Magic Express crowd and were greeted by a friendly cast member within seconds...then she said the magic words "Your room is ready!" I was Shocked!!! it was not even noon yet! We get our Keys to the World, maps etc...and head back to the car. We do a quick check of the room, change clothes, walk to the bus stop and at 12:23 we were on the bus on the way to Epcot!We walk through the gates, stop at the first photopass photog for a family ball shot...and we were greeted by the sweetest photog, she joked with us all, talked to the kids, really was just awesome! We got our photopass, headed on our way...we went into the Land building, fastpassed Soarin, and went to grab lunch. We shared a plate of noodles and rice and chicken and veggies, as well as a sandwich, and a strawberry shortcake, and a choc. asian cake. Then we headed to SOARIN,
just by luck we got the front row, and as the burst of air from take off hit our faces Aly exclaimed, "Mommy I m flying, I can't believe it we're flying!" and as sappy as it sounds, I got that warm fuzzy feeling, and the reminder of why we LOVE these trips so much!Next up...will our day end as good as it begins? Will we all wish we were in Texas?

Day One-- Part Two

After SOARIN we headed to Living with the Land...we are geeks...we LOVE this ride. While we were inside, it had began to sprinkle...Rhett and I realized on the drive over that we had forgotten our ponchos, the kids had their wind/rain breakers in their camelbacks...anyways the point, it was raining and Rhett and I had no Ponchos... the kids pulled their jackets out, and we decided to tough it out..it wasn't raining hard enough to get us very wet. So we all headed to Figment.Ethan held his nose the whole time, in anticipation of the skunk smell. Figment is one of my favorite characters.So far everything was basically walk on, even though we had fast passed Soarin, we could've walked on...we decided to use the fastpasses out of principle..:).Heading out of Figment, we decided to head to the Character Spot. The characters were all inside because of the rain, and the lines were moderate we waited about 5 min to see all of the characters. The Photog that had taken our first Epcot pic of the day was in the character spot, and remembered us...even asking where my other child was when he was in the bathroom. The Character interaction was great, all were playful and sweet....I couldn't have asked for more.

With the rain and the low crowds our pace was very relaxed...dinner reservations weren't until 8:10pm, so we really just took our time. After the Character spot, we headed over to Spaceship earth, I haven't ever been on this ride since I guess it was refurbed eons ago...anyways, it's a cute ride, and all of the activities in the building are fun too. It was nice not to feel rushed and just to experience whatever came , and wherever the kids kinda migrated to. We then hit Mission Space, the Green side. Test track was closed due to the rain. So we headed to world showcase. We ran into more characters along the way...`Our kids all carry camelsbacks which have water in them, but have pockets for their autograph books, rainjackets etc. Well Mulan was fascinated by them, she asked the kids "What is this," Ethan says "It's a camelsback" Mulan says "that's funny you look nothing like a camel." Ethan said "Im not a camel, that's just what its called..it holds water so you can have a drink even when your walking" MUlan says "Mushu we must get some of these strange contraptions for our army so they are not thirsty...I still don't understand the name though, they look nothing like camels." It was so funny they had like a 5 minute conversation about the backpacks. Right when we were done Mulan and Mushu took a break, so I was thankful for that little bit of pixie dust! We just kinda wandered the World Showcase...and to fuel the notion that I am truly the Worlds Meanest Mom, who makes their kids carry their own things in theme parks I submit this pic...not only do I make them carry their own bags, but encourage them to push each other in the stroller as well.I found myself walking hand in hand with Rhett, the only thing I was carrying was our keys to the world which were in a lanyard around my neck, Aly was pushing Ethan and Aiden was just kinda tagging along. The kids were begging to push, and the crowds were SO low that we weren't endangering anyone by letting them!We had joined the stroller swap, but weren't going to get it until the next day. So we decided just to be safe to rent a single stroller and the kids could take turns...really this is our best bet, we're not ready to be completely without the stroller just yet, but don't need a seat for all 3 either.Around 4 or so we stopped in Germany and got a Brat, and an apple fritter...YUMMO is all I can say, I love spreading our CS out around the whole world showcase! We actually only used 3 CS out of our 5 on our first day!(Sidenote: as a part of the disney dining package (which was FREE this trip) we got 5 CounterService(CS) meals, 5 Snacks, and 5 Table Service meals per day. Counter Service is any of the fast food like counters in any of the parks or resorts and Table Service is any of the sitdown, or buffet meals on Disney property I think there are more than 100 to choose from, a snack is basically any item in the park under $4.00.)

For Dinner, we had chosen to dine in Norway with the Princess'. Aly was in heaven, and the boys enjoy it too. We saw Belle, Aurora, Ariel, Jasmine, and Cinderella. We have some great pictures, but the best ones are on our Photopass CD so I 'll post those when we get it!

Day 2 Disney's Hollywood Studios!


I had a wake up call at 7:35, I had showered the night before and laid out everyone's clothes...today we were celebrating Aiden's birthday and were headed to DHS(MGM)...so Jedi Mickey T-shirts for the boys Rhett had found the artwork, and I had their shirts printed at Vista Print...I think they were around $5.00.
We got out to the bus stop around 8:15 and were in plenty of time for rope drop. Rhett headed straight to FastPass ToyStory, and we followed behind, jumping in the standby line and riding it...our wait was about 12 minutes.

We all loved this ride, it was so much fun!

The whole park heads to this attraction at rope drop, so fastpassing it and riding other thrillers may be a good option too!

After finishing up Toystory, we headed to the Tower of Terror and Rockin Rollercoaster. Aly isn't tall enough for RR, but TT is one of her favorites.  Rockin Rollercoaster is alot of fun.  Rhett and I were cracking up at how creepy some of the Cast Members for the Tower of Terror ride appear.

This ride was great as always, and Aiden we discovered is quite the screamer....I don't remember him being so vocal last trip, but this time he screamed MAMAAAAAA quite a few times!!! But was overcome with excitement when the ride was over!
After doing the two thrillers we headed to Jedi Training... Ethan was the first one chosen out of the crowd....I was so scared Aiden wouldn't get picked, and was envisioning how heartbroken Aiden would be if Ethan got picked and Aiden didn''t especially since we were celebrating Aidens Birthday on this day....but the Jedi Master quickly put my fears to rest and choose Aiden as the second one for the stage. For others wondering, they were wearing Jedi Mickey t-shirts and jumped up and down like fools!! I was so impressed with the interaction in Jedi Training, they really go all out..and this was a highlight of the trip for the boys!!! Here are a few pictures of that, but the photopass guy got some exceptional ones, I ll post those when I get my CD!

Our reservations were for Sci Fi at 4:15pm...I had tried and tried to get a better time before our trip, but was never able to. Well while we were at Jedi Training I called and was able to get us in for lunch at 11:25 so we headed straight from Jedi Training to lunch. It was good and the kids enjoyed the atmosphere. After lunch we went and hit some of the character stops...last trip we missed the power rangers and this was a big priority for Aiden.

And because I know your all dying to see Power Ranger Pics I ll gladly post those when we get our Photopass CD :)

We then went back and used our fastpasses to hit TOy Story again, we tried to get one more ride on TSM in, but the wait was 45min...we don't do those kind of waits!
After wandering a bit, and doing a few more rides we went and watched Beauty and the Beast, what a great show this was.
We followed BB with Little Mermaid, I could do without the little mermaid show, but the kids loved it and it was dry and cool!

About this time the skies opened up and the rain began, and this was not a small downpour. We hit Prince Caspian, the drawing class, and star tours during the monsoon. Luckily we had bought ponchos at Epcot, and the kids rain coats held up like champs! After star tours we waded over to TT and RR again, and took turns riding RR with the boys, I think we got in 3 more rides and then rode TT twice more. All the rides were walk on. On a side note, with it raining there were several large groups from other countries, I think some were from Brazil..anyhow, several of the older women simply removed their shirts and were walking around in their bras with the Disney clear ponchos on...it was so odd!

We ate dinner at the ABC commissary, really MGM/DHS has the worst park food...but it sufficed! We hung out and crossed our fingers that Fantasmic would not be canceled....luckily it wasn't! Around 7:50 we went and got seats, DH got seats in the 7th or so row from the bottom, and it was AWESOME! The kids loved the show, and we enjoyed it more without the kids whining like they did last year! This was a commando day, we had never spent 12 hours in a park, but it was a good day. We did have periods that we took slower...but it was a great day! We left after fantasmic and went to bed as a happy bunch!

Day 3 Magic Kingdom and Halloween Party

Day 3 - Our Magic Kingdom Morning

We got out to the bus stop around 8:00 and got on the first bus to Magic Kingdom. We arrived at Magic Kingdom around 8:25, and we waited for rope drop which was at 9. The kids hula hooped, picked up pixie dust off the sidewalk, and played happily while we waited

At about 10 til the train came around, and we got to see the opening show. It was nice that the crowds were light enough that we didn't have to worry about our position, we just relaxed and watched.

When the rope dropped we walked straight to Dumbo. Since this was just going to be a half of a day we left the stroller at the hotel, so we walked down Main St towards the castle together
We were on the second ride of Dumbo that morning.

After Dumbo we did all of the rides in Fantasyland(Pooh, snow white, peter pan, small world etc)
all the rides were walk ons with the exception of Peter Pan...Rhett was Appauled at the 2 minute wait!
After knocking out Fantasyland, we went to Haunted Mansion...this was our first ride on it since the refurb..wow they really did a good Job! Adventureland was next, we rode Big Thunder three times, and Splash once. It was about 10:35 now so we got on the train and took it to Toontown, then we took the back path to Space Mountain. This was Aly's first time on Space Mountain, and she wanted to ride in the front. She loved it, and wanted to go again. We wanted to get back to the hotel for a mid day break, before Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP) which was a surprise for the kids. The bus took about 20 minutes, we got back to the food court at the hotel around 11:45, and ate lunch. Headed back to the room and laid down for a short nap at 12:50.
Stitch called to wake us up at 1:55pm and nobody but me moved. I started waking the kids up, and we told them the surprise. Aly was going to Bibbity Boppity Boutique in the castle for a Princess Makeover, and we had her Belle dress for her to wear to MNSSHP, and the boys had storm trooper costumes to wear. They were all thrilled, Ethan said "I didn't know Mickey had a halloween party, and I get to go how cool!"

So we threw the costumes in a bag and headed back to Magic Kingdom. We went to BBB at 3 and DD enjoyed a princess makeover!

Aly really enjoyed the Princess Makeover and her "Fairy Godmother in Training was very sweet" The actual boutique is decorated beautifully, and was just perfect for our little princess.
We spent the rest of the afternoon riding rides, we headed to adventurland stopping on the way to try our first Dole Whip which is pineapple whipped softserve served floating in pineapple juice, WOW, what a great treat on a hot day. We walked on most of the rides throughout the afternoon, but space mountain was down for a bit.

Around 6pm we went to Cosmic Rays and got a few Cheeseburgers, we each had about a half of a cheeseburger. Then we went to the rose garden to get our wristbands, and treat bags and Maps. We just decided to make the circle around the park ending in tomorrowland hoping that by then SM may be back up again.

We enjoyed the characters that were out...

But all night we were looking for Snow White and the Dwarfs, we got told all sorts of stories about where she was...but finally we found them, all of them! Aly had been wanting to see Dopey her favorite Dwarf!The character interaction was great. And the lines were not long at all to see the characters!

We stopped to watch Hallowishes, and I have to say it was an amazing fireworks show!! Disney really goes all out for it! We rode a couple of rides after the fireworks, and then found a spot right in front of Caseys on Main Street to watch the parade! We got everyone a hotdog and cracker jacks, and enjoyed the parade! The parade was hands down the best parade I ve ever seen!

Everyone was wiped, but Rhett really wanted to see the villians mix and mingle, so we did that before we headed back to the hotel!!! All of the villians were out and about, so that was fun to see!

Our Last Day, Epcot!

Day 4

After our late night, we didn't even get a wake up call. We all woke up around 8:30 and showered and took our time. It was about 10am before we got to Epcot. Since we had already spent half of the day at Epcot we didn't feel rushed to get anywhere. So we asked Ethan where he wanted to go. We hadn't done the Seas area on our first day so we headed there. Our first ride was Nemo, and then we went upstairs and enjoyed all of the aquariums and the Dolphins. Our lunch reservation was at 11:10 so we went to find the restaurant when we realized that I had made our reservations at a restaurant that was not even in Epcot. I still have no idea how I did this, I really thought the restaurant was in Epcot...so I quickly, said well there is a restaurant below the aquarium let's go see if we can get in there... now keep in mind you can book reservations up to 180 days in advance, and this is during free dining which means most restaurants were booked ages ago! So we go into Coral Reef and I see a sign saying they don't open until 11:30 (It is 11:10 at this time) but pick up the white phone for dining reservations...well no luck, no openings at Coral Reef. The nice lady on the other end says where else can I try, and I say Canada kinda laughing because Le Cellier in Canada fills up at 160 days out alot of times....when she says "are you in the park?' I say "Yes, Ma'am" and she says she has an opening at 11:30. Wow, how lucky Rhett and I both wanted to eat there forever, but neither of our last trips could we get reservations. Also, this was Ethan's second place in Epcot he wanted to eat because there are french speaking parts of Canada. So we get to the restaurant and the poor couple in front of us had no reservations and were being told, they were unable to seat them today, tomorrow or any other time during their trip...they were booked solid. The meal was amazing. The kids all had Cheddar Cheese soup, steak, and a chocolate moose (it was mousse shaped like a moose, the ears were maple leaf cookies). After lunch the kids wanted to go around all of the worlds and get their Disney Passports stamped, so after riding Test Track and Mission Space that's what we did. We took our time and went through almost all of the countries in the world showcase. We ended up in France around 5:00 and that's where our dinner reservations were. We had a very sweet older gentleman for a server who took the time to speak in French to the boys. We all enjoyed that experience as well as the food. After dinner, we went on Mission Space one more time, Rhett decided to stay behind and get a bottle of water. As we walked into the ride a Cast Member approached us and asked us if we would be the Family of the Hour. We of course said yes, so we got to go into Mission Control and the kids got to see how the ride works, flip all sorts of switches and then we got escorted to the front of the line for the ride! It was really cool, I couldn't believe Rhett missed out on it! I have some great pics of this day too, I ll work on uploading them soon. After Mission Space we asked Ethan what he wanted to do and he said "Swim" so we headed back to the hotel, and to the pool. My Aunt came and visited with us for a while, and the kids were fish for the rest of the night. It was a perfect ending to a much needed getaway for our family. Every time we take trips there are things that stand out in my mind, this trip is no different. We're already looking forward to the next time we get to escape "real life" for uninterrupted play time!

Sunday, September 21, 2008


Today is Aiden's Birthday.  Although all of our Children are gifts from God, from the day we found out Aiden was a boy I have had a strong feeling that Aiden was sent because Ethan needed him. I still feel that way. They were meant to be a team.

From the time Aiden was itty, bitty he has been strong willed, competitive, persistent, and driven. He also is sensitive, affectionate and passionate.

Here he is at age one.

At almost two.

By age Three Aiden showed Rhett and I how much he loved to paint, draw and do anything artistic.  It's so funny if you gave both Ethan and Aiden a box of markers and paper when they were 3 you would get drastically different results.  Ethan would stack and link the markers together to build something, Aiden would take them out and draw.

Here he is at age 4, he has always loved school, and loves to excel in school.

At age 5 he started kindergarten at the same school as Ethan, and would get so mad when Ethan would wait to walk him to the car after school..."Im not a baby" he would fuss at Ethan.

Although, Aiden is very in tune with his siblings, and very close to both of them...he is never afraid to strike out on his own.  He is a leader, not a follower most of the time.

Aiden is a fun loving little boy who is full of life.

Aiden keeps us laughing.  On our surprise trip to Disney World we realized he is a screamer, on rollercoasters he yell's MAAAAMMMMAAA as the top of his lungs, and then giggles uncontrollably.  He also sings quite a few tunes in the shower.  He is bright, and amazingly quick with numbers. He is fiesty as ever, and keeps both Aly and Ethan on their toes! That's our Aiden, he's seven today!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Hurricane Gustav~~ Part DEUX

The worst is over...and we are all safe, and happy...and barbequeing.

Here's Aly and Na crafting while waiting for the hurricane.

And about an hour and a half after the storm Rhett and I were able to get out and head home to survey our damage....
We lost half of a tree, a section of fence, part of our barn...but everything else is fine.
We have no power, due to a gas leak down the road. We will be staying the night with Ali and Kent, and heading back to start the yard cleanup tomorrow.  Hopefully, the power won't be out for too long. 

We are relieved, and thankful at the small amount of "damage" to our property, and that we all came through the storm safe and healthy.

Please keep those in the Thibodaux/Houma area in your prayers, as most evacuated...but suffered some major property damage and will not be allowed in until roads and down powerlines can be cleared.  

As Gustav continues we pray that tornado's and rain not be harmful.

The Theobald Family, Lafayette, LA 7:21pm

Hurricane Gustav

We are in the middle of Gustav... it is windy, and rainy, but we are all safe and sound watching movies, and the kids are playing.

We left our house early this morning, to come to a friends house that is more central Lafayette. This is a pic of some of the "supplies" we brought.
Most of the day we've been watching the weather...but you can only watch it so long! So right now we re watching Die Hard 3 and the kids are playing with moon sand.

First thing this morning we made a big batch of Honey Nut Cheerio rice crispy treats.... they were yummy!

The winds began picking up around noon, joined by rain. Ali and Kent thought it would be a great time to fly kites.

A little note about Ali's hair~ yes it is teal! September is Cervical Cancer Awareness month, Ali is a cervical cancer survivor...and also a morning co-host for local radio....She's using her hair to bring attention to Cancer Prevention!

Rhett tried out a Hot Tamale Popsicle...he says they are awesome!

The winds are picking up a little more, leaves and stuff are flying...but we still have power!
We continue to wait out the storm and pray for the best!
The Theobald Family 3:39PM