Hayden’s first “school” experience

A few weeks ago, I was asked if I’d like to participate in the Pharr Chapel VBS program as a photographer for their “Spotlight Drama.”  It was such a great program and so much fun!  Basically, I had a script every night with a list of photos that I needed to take.  The photos coordinated with the lesson of hte day and was shown at the finale every night.  Each night was a different group of kids and they LOVED having their pictures taken and being  put on the “big screen.”  I really enjoyed meeting all the members of the church and I’m lookign forward to hopefully becoming a member myself.  I feel like this experience came at a time in my life that I really need it and it just feels “right” to be there.  I am going to start attending their services on the weekends that I’m home and we’ll see how it goes!

The VBS was every night from 5:45 – 8:45, for 5 nights.  It was kind of a long and late night for us and really messed up our schedule, but I think it was worth it.  I was really excited / anxious for Hayden to attend because he’ll be starting PreK in the fall and I figured this would be a good “practice run” for that.  He really seemed to enjoy the individual classroom activities but wasn’t too keen on the large group gatherings where everyone sang and danced.  The first night he told me he didn’t like “the singing parts” and that he didn’t want to go back.  He kept telling me about the fire bush (they learned about Moses and the burning bush) and that the lady said “ouch” when she touched it.  It was so funny to hear his interpretation every night of what they were teaching them.  I asked him to try it another night and even though he said he didn’t want to, he didn’t give me any trouble going.  After the second night he said “I tried it and liked it, but if I go another night I might not like it.”  LOL

The rest of the week went mostly like that … he would say he didn’t want to go back, but would go anyway.   Towards the last couple of nights he even danced a little at the group gatherings and he’s walking around singing all of the songs.  Any time I went in his class to take pictures, he was having fun, though.  There was a time when I walked in and he was standing on a chair looking out of the window … then another time when all the other kids were sitting down and he was looking at stuff on shelves, so who knows how he actually behaved.  He also wasn’t very good about sitting in church … he was either sitting when everyone was standing, laying in the pews or (I had to step in for this one …) UNDER the pews.  I told mom that yes, he was one of THOSE kids (she complains about her students that can’t sit still in church)

Anyway, here are some snapshots I grabbed of him throughout the week:

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Chunky Monkey

Wade has been asking me to take pictures like these for months … I agree that it would have been MUCH more appropriate 3 months ago when she was quite a bit chunkier, but I wanted to wait until she was more interactive, which she definitley is!   I can’t believe my baby girl is already 9 months old … where has the last year gone???  I plan to take some other 9 month photos as well that showcase all of her new talents!

chunky007

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Our Disney Trip

I don’t think I’ve mentioned yet on my blog that FINALLY, after 2 years of begging, we’ve got a trip to Disney booked!  My original plan was to go in mid-October for Hayden’s birthday so that we could do the free park admission on his birthday.  How cool would it be to celebrate your birthday in the Magic Kingdom???   Then Disney announced the free dining package and the last date to book it was October 3, so we decided it was too good of a deal to pass up and booked our trip for the last week of September.  So we’ll be spending 5 wonderful free dining days at All Star Movies, woohoo!  I wanted Pop Century, but it was booked, so ASMo was my next choice because I know Hayden will be completely amazed by the resort.  I can’t wait to see his face when he sees all the larger than life Toy Story characters!

Disney World quickly became an all-consuming obsession!  I’ve been listening to podcasts for months now and soon found several forums to check out.  The podcast that I listen to most is Lou Mongello’s WDW Radio and the forum I visit often is Disboards (in case anyone is interested.)  I soon realized that one of the most important parts of a Disney trip these days is the dining and if you want any chance of eating at decent sit-down restaurants, you need ADRs – advance dining reservations.  Since we’ve got the free dining plan which includes one TS (table service) meal per day, I had to make sure we had ADRs for the TSs that we wanted.  This meant waking up at 4:45 exactly 90 days before our check-in date to get online and book the ADRs.  I was very excited that I got everything I wanted!  It took me at least 2-3 weeks to plan which restaurants, which meals and times to book … I had to figure out which park we would do each day.  It was pretty complicated and all I talked about for a couple of weeks!  At first, I was pretty ambitious with the dining, but I soon realized that this trip is about the kids and I want to make sure that they not only enjoy their meals, but that we don’t spend a ton of time sitting in restaurants, waiting for food.  This meant lots of buffets and lots of characters … I also planned for lunchtime sit-downs so that we would have a definite break in the middle of each day.  In the end, we wound up with these:

Monday – Magic Kingdom – Crystal Palace Lunch (Pooh and friends character meal)
Tuesday – Epcot – Akershus Storybook Lunch Buffet (Princess meal)
Wednesday – Studios – 50’s Prime Time Lunch
Thursday – Animal Kingdom – Tusker House Buffet Lunch
Friday – Ohana’s Breakfast – Lilo and Stitch!! (taking the morning off and doing Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween that night)
Saturday – Chef Mickey’s – our departure day :-(

So that’s our Disney plans so far.  I have touring plans printed out for each day and although I’m hoping we don’t need them because September is supposed to be low-crowds, it seems like the free dining has drawn a lot of people.  If Pop Century was booked, that’s not a good sign!

On top of that, I’ve just decided that for Hayden and Emelyn’s joint birthday party, which will either be the weekend after we get back, or the one after that … I want to do a Mickey and Minnie party.  I wanted something for boys and girls that they woudl both enjoy but that would also coordinate … I don’t want to wind up with a cake that is half Spiderman (or whatever) and half princess.  Plus they’ll already ahve super-cute Mickey and Minnie outfits from Disney and I hope to get them some customized Mickey / Minnie ears :-)  So now, its off to look for party supplies!

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