Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween 2010

Just a quick post to share a few pictures from tonight's festivities. Thanks to an invitation from our friends Dave and Hilary to join them (and their boys) for Trick or Treating, we didn't feel funny bringing a 15-month-old out to get the goods!

We only hit a few houses since bedtime creeps up fast when you're a toddler (and go to bed at 7pm), and she wanted nothing to do with the stroller and got WAY too heavy to carry around, but it was fun while it lasted! She quickly figured out what her little bucket was for, and was hanging onto it for dear life - even pitching a fit when I tried to help her carry it!

So here are the pics.... Michaela the ladybug!

She was totally fascinated by Dave and Hilary's jack o' lantern... probably because we didn't get around to carving our pumpkins so it was the only one she got to see up close. It was too cute to watch her bend down to get a better look!

Happy Halloween!!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The last of Disney

... I promise. This is the last of Disney. At least until next year. Yeah, we'll probably go back... they're offering a military deal for cheap tickets and it goes through the first week of the Food and Wine Festival. So we'll see where that goes. I'm a glutton for punishment.

Anyway, this will be the last time I mention Disney 2010 - well, at least this will be the last time it's the focus of a post. I might have flashbacks later, so I can't make any promises that I won't mention it at all!

I'm keeping it simple... enjoy a movie! (My first attempt at using iMovie, putting clips together and actually adding music. Plus, like I said on Facebook for those who saw it there, I edited out Michaela's obnoxious parents trying to coax her into high-fiving and kissing Disney characters. So there's a bonus!)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

What I learned about taking a 14-month-old to Disney World

Don't do it.

That is all.

Ok, not really, but even with a week at home since the trip, I guess the memories are still a little too fresh to look at the it through anything but reality-colored glasses. To say we had no fun at all would be a lie, but it definitely wasn't the fun we were hoping for!

First, let me start where I left off... with Michaela getting a bit sick the first night at the hotel in Orlando. Little did we know, she wasn't done with that before-bed occurrence. And, sadly, we're not getting any awards for "World's Best Parents" since we ignored her little cries all night (she does that a lot - we can't even get out of bed before she's asleep again), only to find her covered in vomit in the morning... poor baby!!!!

We should've known that things weren't going to be great when we started with that.

So, here's what I learned about taking a 14-month-old to Disney World (or, Orlando in general for vacation):

1) Do NOT plan a park visit the day you arrive, unless you get there first thing in the morning with a well-rested child.

2) Do NOT overschedule your week. We thought we were doing well with having a whole day with nothing planned, which is unusual for us. We're not the people who just take a couple days to hang out at the hotel pool. We'd rather see and do it all. That's great if it's just two of you and you can manage your own tired-ness level. That does NOT work with a 14-month-old who has been taken off her nap schedule.

3) If your 14-month-old is still taking two long-ish naps a day, don't take them to Disney World. You will feel a compulsion to spend as much time at the parks as possible - after all, you spent a lot of money on that ticket! - so you will try to adjust your child's nap schedule. This will result in a cranky, over-tired kid who no longer sleeps through the night, even though she's been doing that for MONTHS.

4) DO limit your time at a park during the day. This we did kind of right. We left when it seemed to be getting to be way too much for her. We also kept meaning to go back later in the day, and never made it back on any of the days we went to the Disney parks. We went back to Universal, and that was well worth it because Michaela LOVED the rides there, and we went back to SeaWorld.

5) About SeaWorld... don't bother with the Clyde and Seymour show (my favorite). A 14-month-old needs stimulation, not corny jokes and silly sea lions. Blue Horizons was a big hit, though. She "oooh'd" and "aaaah'd" at that one. Go to Shamu instead of Clyde and Seymour. And it's fun to listen to your kid say "sh, sh" over and over again.... every time she sees a fish.

6) On your day "off," don't spend the whole day shopping at the outlets and Downtown Disney (though she was sleeping there) and then spend only a little while at the pool before running off to meet friends for dinner. Take the day OFF.

7) Train your child to sleep in a stroller. Ours will not, as long as there are things to look at. EPCOT was the one major exception to this, but that was probably because it's boring to any child. However, she chose her stroller sleeping wisely, and erased some of the bad nights we had by sleeping in the stroller there and allowing us to enjoy the Food and Wine Festival for a couple hours without having to worry about a bored and tired kid!

8) Bring a grandma and use her mercilessly. Uh, I mean, invite a grandmother to come along with you and enjoy the experience of your precious child experiencing the wonder that is Disney World! Yeah, that.

9) Don't expect to actually get a full night's sleep without a child - who has been sleeping in her own crib since she was 7 days old - in your bed.

10) Don't take a 14-month-old to Disney World. Wait until the kid is a little bigger, sleeping a little less during the day, able to handle the heat a bit more, and able to go on more of the rides and play areas. 14-months old is an awkward stage - old enough to be interested in what's going on (unlike, say, a 6 month old), but not old enough to do enough.

Follow these tips, otherwise you'll end up like us... and people will look at you funny when they see this:
(Disclaimer... she did NOT drink the Diet Coke. It was Jason's. The empty bottle kept her happy.)

I'm sure, in time, I'll forget all the bad. But hopefully I'll remember to look back at my own advice in case a second child ever graces our family, and we'll wait longer to take that one!! It wasn't all bad - I'll post more of the good in the next couple days - but it was a challenge!!! We're still thinking about going back again next year - armed with this knowledge, and maybe a grandma or two!!