2.  Magical Spooktacular Trip, Florida & More…October/November 2018

Day 7 10.28  
What an awesome way to begin the day!

Claire loves so many of the Disney charactersthey go to Disney a lot!  What a lucky girl.  She was excited to have her photo taken with the two Frozen princesses this morning.

Today’s big adventures would take place off the boat on Disney’s own island called Castaway Cay.  Sara was off the boat early & by herself to run the 5K (she’s run this everytime she’s done a cruise).  After breakfast, we all packed up, walked off the boat & into Disney paradise.  There’s a huge water slide & right off the bat, Kevin & Claire & I headed there.  I was pretty surprised Claire was going down the slide all by herself…she is fearless & loves being active…but it was a big slide.  Kevin went down the slide next to her, so he would land in the water a minute before she did & I was behind her.  But she had no qualms when she took off zooming down & around & around with a splash.  She’d end up doing this 5 times…here’s the photo of when she went with Danny.

The day was filled with activity but the highlight was the splash pad.  Sara had run into some friends of theirs on the ship & Claire is also friends with their daughter so she had a blast playing with her.  I couldn’t believe Emma’s willingness in the splash pad…Kevin just plunked her down with water shooting up all around her & she loved it!

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The day went fast & we were about the last group off the island with a few minutes to spare as we boarded the ship.  We had another wonderful dinner, then all went to bed.  We sat on the veranda reflecting on what a fun cruise it had been.  Tonight was our last night.

Day 8 10.29  
Wed packed the night before & set our bags outside our rooms.  They magically disappeared in the nighta super efficient system for sure.  We disembarked the magical boat & took off in our two cars up the coast to pick up Phyllis.  After visiting with her cousins for about an hour, we all headed back to Orlando.  It was afternoon when we got back, time for naps & unpacking.  We got a little playtime in during the afternoon.

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We went out to a really yummy place for tacos called Tin & Tacos…it was soooo good!

The funniest part of the day….Claire has been potty trained for awhile, but hasn’t figured out the whole internal notification of needing to pee sooner than later, so everyone is always asking her if she needs to go to the bathroom.  But tonight, as Sara & Danny & I were sitting at the table, & could over hear Claire & Kevin in the bathroom, the chuckles started.  Claire was trying to pee standing up…successfully get most of the pee where it needed to be.  Guess you had to be there, but it was hysterical listening in to the conversations going on between her & her Kevin.  Sara was trying so hard not to bust out where Claire would hear her…it was a moment for sure.

Day 9 10.30 
Kevin took Claire out to breakfast & Sara went for a run to start their mornings.  Sara & Kevin were taking Phyllis & Claire to Animal Kingdom for the whole day.  It would be a special Great Grandma day & we were hoping to maybe meet them at Disney Springs later that day.  We enjoyed a quiet day with Emma. She is so sweet & such an easy going little baby.  She eats & sleeps whenever it’s time too.  She gently laughs & just goes with the flow which can be like giant waves in this super busy active family.  She plays hide & seek with her hands, crawls at warp speed, can find the teeniest piece of anything off the floor & walks along the edges of the couch & fireplace.  We love Sara & Kevin’s neighborhood & all the neighbors we’ve met & they love love love Claire.  We took Emma on a walk around the lake a couple of times, played outside & enjoyed the perfect weather.

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It didn’t work out to go to Disney Springs, but Sara said they were having a blast at Disney.  I’d wanted to get a couple of outfits for the girls & especially a Halloween one for Claire to wear to school tomorrow.  So, while Emma took her afternoon nap, I ran out to find something for Claire.  It was just from Target, but I loved it…an I-Spy Halloween shirt & some Halloween leggings.   Sara & Kevin got back later that night & both Phyllis & Claire were super tired, but I know Phyllis enjoyed being pampered for her special day with the family.

Day 10 10.31  Happy Halloween!! 
I got to ride with Sara to take Claire to school & then run some errands with Sara.  This was such a wonderful couple of hours for me.  We went to the grocery store, grabbed some coffee & another stop or two, but it was the time spent with Sara.  Just doing her normal stuff, but getting to spend it with her was great.  I never take these moments for granted…they may seem ordinary & not special to those of you who get to see your kids all the time, but for those of us who don’t, we wouldn’t miss a minute of it!

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When we got home, Danny & I gave Claire & Emma their treat sacks from us.

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It was nap time for the kids & time for last minute preparations for the Halloween Party we were all going to tonight.  Sara was making some yummy chili to take.  This is the third time I’ve been so lucky to be here to celebrate Halloween with Claire & now for Emma’s first go at this super fun holiday.  Their friends all get together at one of their houses, which happens to be within walking distance of Sara & Kevin’s house & it’s an absolute mad-house with all kinds of wonderful kid fun craziness.  Miss Rose would be joining us to add to the Toy Story theme & I had made Phyllis a costume too.  Around 4:30, we all took off…them walking but me driving so Phyllis could go.  Here’s the photos I took amidst all the Halloween fun!

The kids at the party had so much fun re-arranging Mr. & Mrs. Potato Heads parts through out the party….of course, we had a blast too!  

The bounce-house was a hit!

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Sara’s best friend, Marcy & her “Beauty & the Beast” family.  

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Quite a feat wrangling all these kids in one photo!

We’d always hoped to make our children proud…this is the moment.  

The whole entourage trick or treated through the neighborhood, but as we got in front of Sara & Kevin’s house, Claire shouted, “Come on everybody, come to our house for candy…Come on!”  So, they all came into the house, played in the playroom & ate candy then said their good nights. (The next morning Emma would get her first taste of a random M&M she found on the floor….Yikes!….Kevin quickly got out the vacuum & began sweeping the whole house after he was the one to dig it out of her mouth!)

As the rest of us were getting ready to turn in, Sara was off to work overnight at the hospital.I truly dont know how she does it.  I was hoping it would be an easy night for herbut I tend to think Halloween night in the ER is probably pretty crazy.

Day 11 11.1  A first… 
Today would be another super special daySara & Kevin would be flying to Chicago this morning, staying overnight & coming back late tomorrow nightthe first time theyve left the girls.  Sara has been a fan the play Hamilton ever since it opened, but shes never been able to work into her schedule to see it.  So, when the whole cruise came up, the idea for them to have a little trip to see the play & to have a little couple time also came up.  Danny & I were more than happy to stay with the girls & so glad they had the opportunity to go.

Although, we weren’t exactly sure how it would all go with the kidsespecially Claire.  Shes super attached to her parentsespecially since Emmas arrival.  But she was fine as they hurriedly packed that morning, then taking lots of time to say good bye as they dashed to the airport.  

One of the things in Claires treat bag we gave her, was a shrinky dink Halloween kit.  Most of you know I had an entire ‘jewelry’ business for 6 years…all made from shrinky dinks….so I was super stoked to do this with Claire.  She loves making things, kits, art & creating stuff & we had a good time.  She made a necklace for herself & one for Miss Rose.  She wanted me to send this picture to her Mom & Dad…it’s probably the best picture she gave me during the whole trip.

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The girls were pretty perfect for us & we had a great time with them!  I’ve mentioned to Sara several more times how I think she & Kevin should do this more often…”Will travel to babysit” is our motto!

Miss Rose had a project for Claire to do with Phyllis.

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Claire & I walked to the lake & enjoyed the wonderful weather.

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After Claire’s nap, we made Halloween cookies.

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Later in the afternoon, Danny surprised her with a new toy…Mr. Potato Head!  Emma got a home made Mr. Potato Head doll (which I tried to make friendly looking…hoping it doesn’t give her nightmares!)  Danny & Claire were going out on a special dinner date to a local outdoor restaurant in their neighborhood.  Claire got out her backpack, loaded up Mr. Potato Head, grabbed Danny’s hand, & off they went!  It was precious!

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While they were gone, I fed Emma & gave her a bath…such a sweetie!

When they got home, I gave Claire a bubble bath then she asked if I would blow dry her hair with her Moms blow dryerI said YES! as long as I could find one.  It was so much fun!  (pretty hair pic below)

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It was time for bed & this was a crucial moment.  Claire struggles with bed time a lot, so we wondered how it would go without Mom & Dad around.  If you read my in-between blog, you know I have a monthly pillow case project for Claire.  She’d been sleeping on her first one, a Halloween case since mid October.  Tonight I gave her Novembers, which it pilgrimed-hat-covered turkeys…she liked it & went to sleep wonderfully & slept great all through the night!  Score one for the grandparents!

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Day 12 11.2
The next day was a school day & Miss Rose took Claire right after breakfast.  

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We would be spending the day alone with Emma, as Rose had planned a special day just for Claire & Phyllis.

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Danny & I walked around the lake with Emma a couple of times & enjoyed as much time outside & inside playing with her.  Right on schedule took naps & her bottle without any fuss.

The day went fast & Claire was tired when she got home.  We managed a little time to play with a new sticker book I’d brought.  Claire really really really loves stickers…but not as much as she loves Minnie Mouse.

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We tucked both girls in & they were asleep before Sara & Kevin got home.  It was fun to hear about their fast but fun time in Chicago!  PS:  Sara, if you’re reading this, we’d be happy to come back anytime you two want to go somewhere!!

Day 13 11.3  Fun Fair…
The fun never stops in this family.  Today’s Claire’s school is having their big fundraiser.  So, we’re all headed there this morning.  Big Blow Up Slides, Bounce House, Pony rides, Train rides, games, bake sale, lunch, balloon animals & more.  The weather was perfect for a day to play outside.  Several of Sara’s friends came & Claire loves playing with her friends.  It was so much fun to watch her interact with her friends…we mostly see Claire & Emma at home.  So, seeing her with her friends on Halloween night then today is great!

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somebody was getting sleepy….

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It was nap time for the girls & time for us to begin packing up.  For dinner we all went out to Mellow Mushroom & I was feeling the sadness descend having to soon say good bye.  

It’s been a wonderful super special time with all of them!  We usually only stay 4 days when we come, so you’d think it wouldn’t be hard to say good bye.  But, its seeing how fast Claire is growing up & missing so much of Emma’s time too, knowing it will be at least a couple of months before we see them again & just wishing to be part of all of their lives on a regular basis & it would be awesome be here to help out Sara & Kevin more.  Kevin has a big wonderful close family, but they all live in South Florida & one in Alabama…so no local family help.

I said good bye as Claire & Emma’s bedtime approached trying not to cry in front of them.  Then we all packed up (which was a bit of craziness), I loaded up the car with as much as I could….tomorrow would be a very early day.

But, before I end this part of my journal, I’m going to post some last photos (as my eye leakage takes over).  Oh I love love love love this funny wonderful girl!

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she’s wearing my necklace!

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And, no one loves their grand babies more than this guy!

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