Friday, February 28, 2014

Painting with my boys

The other day, while J-Bear took her morning nap, the boys and I got out the paints.

We haven't painted much this year. The easel is still in the basement from last summer.  I loved painting with E-Bear and G-Bear when they were little, and we used to do it quite often.  Time to bring it back.

Buddy Bear experimented both with fingers and brushes.

E-Bear stuck to the brushes.

Buddy Bear discover that if you put too much paint in one place, it makes a hole.
But it sure looks lovely.

 Lovely, indeed.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Growing Buddy

Guess who is suddenly tall enough to turn on the light switch by himself?

Guess who is bussing his own dishes after dinner, 
putting on his own snow boots,
and sitting on the potty.

Guess who helps me by bringing J-Bear's diapers downstairs,
matches the silverware,
and passes out cereal bowls at breakfast?

Guess who goes out to the car and climbs in his seat,
sings 'Finding Nemo' songs and 'Jesus take my all' as we drive,
shovels the walkway and colors me pictures?

Guess who processes, "carrying the cross" around the house,
blesses his bread at meals,
and says sweet prayers each night before bedtime?

That's our Buddy Bear.  He's not too big, he's not too small.  He's just right.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Disney Delights 2014

I posted the teaser and our first dinner out.  Now, for the real deal.
Three weeks ago, we were in Disney World.

The Happily Evers in the Happiest Place on Earth

We were so excited in the days leading up to our trip.  As I mentioned before, we planned our trip on relatively short notice (we booked it only about 8 weeks out).   To moderate the anxious anticipation, we told the kids with about a week to go.  We still enjoyed an epic countdown.

As in trips past, MoMo, Papa and Nana graced us with their presence.  We like Disney best when we do it with the Grands!

We actually had more adults than kids, which doesn't happen very often for us!  It was wonderful to have extra hands to help when height limits limited the little Bears from riding rides or someone got tired and needed to return to the hotel.  We all piled into two adjoining rooms at the Polynesian (love those discounted February room rates!), which allowed us to spread out a bit more and even stay up in one room after the kids had gone to sleep.  We couldn't have been more thankful for Nana, Papa and MoMo (or had more fun with them!).

On this trip, we definitely enjoyed some old favorites,

like the Dolewhip stand in Adventureland,

 but we also experienced so much for the first time. 

G-Bear found Tangled's Tower!

 T and I love getting to watch our kids experience the parks, whether it's for the first time 

or in a whole new way.

 E-Bear had a particularly exciting moment during this trip. 

The last time we visited Animal Kingdom, he was crushed to discover that he was too short to ride on Expedition Everest when G-Bear was able to ride.  A cast member gave him a special ticket to use when he returned tall enough to ride, which would let him go to the front of the ride wait line.  We have saved that ticket through cross-country moves, countless desk cleanings, and brought it with us this time just in case.  Guess who was tall enough to ride this time?

 E-Bear was so proud to present his card at the line.  He and I went straight to the front!

I wasn't sure he would like the ride, but it turned out that he LOVED IT!  He even went on it a second time with T.  He was one delighted dude.

 With four kids ages 6.5, 5, 2.5 and 9 months, there are plenty of dynamics to balance on any vacation, much less a Disney trip.  There were plenty of magical moments,

 but, it's important to be realistic with expectations.  
After all, with little kids, attitudes can turn on a dime.

We slowed our pace this time around.  We spent a few mornings and afternoons just enjoying the pool at the Polynesian, which allowed the littles to catch a quick nap and the older kids to beat the afternoon heat.  We tried to remember and embrace the fact that there really is no reason to hurry.  Sometimes, many times, less is more.

Who would have guessed that the Polynesian waterside would become one of our favorite rides of the whole trip??  Buddy Bear bravely tried it once.  That was enough for him.  E-Bear and G-Bear must have gone down 100 times each. 

A few highlights from Epcot included the Mission Space ride, which E-Bear and G-Bear loved, 

a morning at the Seas with Nemo and Friends, 

and dancing with Dad on the Piazza in Italy.

 Personally, I loved taking Buddy Bear on Spaceship Earth (the ride in the ball) while T took the older kids on a few bigger rides.

Another highlight for us was meeting up with our dear friends, the G's of G-ville!  

The Bears with our friends the G's!
 We celebrated together with a wonderful barbecue dinner at Whispering Canyon Cafe.  There is nothing whispering about Whispering Canyon, which made it the perfect spot for our crew.

There were, however, horsey rides during dinner!  Hi ho, Buddy Bear!

J-Bear got to meet her Godparents for the first time.  What a treat for us to be together again!

Of course, no Disney trip would be complete for us without meeting a few of our character heroes.

We couldn't wait to meet Buzz and Woody at Hollywood Studios.

The kids were each dressed for the occasion.

Buddy Bear didn't want to leave.  He wanted to play with Buzz and Woody "for a long, long time!"

Outside, we met the Army Men.  They were delighted that E-Bear was dressed as one of them!

 Goofy was another one of Buddy Bear's favorites.  It helped that Buddy Bear loved the new Great Goofini roller coaster and had just been on it about 3 times.

Minnie was a charm.

 On our last day, T waited in line while we went to lunch so that the kids could meet Peter Pan and Wendy.  Now that is a father's love.  Buddy Bear was in awe.  He had waited so long for this moment.

He had so much to say!  His older siblings were a bit shy, so he took over the conversation :).  They talked Neverland and Captain Hook for quite some time!  Buddy Bear said at the end, "Daddy, Peter Pan and Wendy were pretty nice.  I would like to play with them for a long time."

J-Bear was happy to be introduced as well.

At the end of our trip, we asked each of the kids about their favorite part of the trip. G-Bear replied, "I have so many favorites I have trouble thinking."

The Great Goofini roller coaster, Expedition Everest, Mission Space, meeting Goofy and Peter Pan, and even the Carousel of Progress (G-Bear) came up in the list of favorites this time.  My favorites were the moments like this one:

and this one:

It doesn't get any better than that in my book.

We knew it had been a good trip as we walked out of the park on our last day.  Buddy Bear said,
"I stay here?  I don't want to go home.  I want to stay in Disney World."