Thursday, June 24, 2010

Disney Vacation Day 3 - The Big Pool

After the park we met up with Rene again to hit the pool. We had a great time. Her daughter is really funny and she's a smart little bugger. I asked her if she wanted to go on the slide. Of course she did, it's a really cool slide. (and would you believe I don't have a picture of it?) ME of all people!

I spoke to Rene and we both agreed that I would go down the slide first to wait for her daughter so I can be there when she hits the water. This is the same little girl that cleverly got me to hold her 2 years ago at downtown Disney. Story Here.

First trip down the slide, no problem. Second trip down...slight problem. She wanted to go down the slide first. The conversation went a little something like this:
ME: I know you want to go first, but I have to go first to make sure the coast is clear.
Daughter: But I want to go first. It's OK. I went down first the other day.
ME: Ok, here's what we'll do. You can climb the stairs first, but I go down the slide first.
Daughter: But I go down the slide first. OK?
ME: I have the perfect plan. I'll go down the slide, but then you go down first after me?
Daughter: But I want to go down first.
ME: You'll be the first one after me. That's pretty good. That's probably better than going first.
Daughter: yeah. OK.

She's a smart kid. I know she didn't buy that, I just think she saw me squirming and felt bad for me.

Now the other daughter, whose name I know..and can spell, but for security reasons, I wont say, had fun with Ben in the pool. Since neither of them can really talk all that well, take a look at how I think their interaction went down.

A Pretty girl and a handsome boy are sitting on the beach, looking out over the water.
Girl: Hi, Do I know you?
Boy: Hey...How you doin?

Boy: Wow, your skin is really soft.
Girl: Oh thank you. My mommy uses Johnson's baby soap.
Boy: Cool, my mommy does too. So, where are you from? How much longer are you on vacation?

Girl: Oh, I'm from New York and I go...
Boy (interrupting): WHOA! What's that? Look what I found! Is that a light saber? I think that's a light saber. VVVVRRROMMMM CHACHICHNGCH VROMMM. I'm gonna grab it.

Girl: UUUUGGGHHHHH!!!!! Why are boys so dumb!

Boy: Don't get upset pretty lady. It's not a light saber. It's a pool noodle. I got it for you.
Girl: For me?

Girl: My Hero!

And scene!!! I'm waiting for the Oscar people to call me any minute now.
It was a great vacation and even though we live in Orlando, when you go to Disney World it really does feel like a vacation. Forget that my house is 30 minutes away, you feel like you're in another world.

Thanks to Rene and her family for letting us crash their family vacation. Hope we can do it again soon.

Disney Vacation Day 3 - The Big Cheese

Sunday started the way Saturday was supposed to. We woke up early, had breakfast and caught a boat to Disney's Hollywood Studios.

It was Ben's first boat ride. I don't know where he learned it, but he was singing cool boat songs. What's a boat song? You know, Yo ho ho- a pirates life for me. And of course the classic Boats and Hoes. ;)

We didn't wait long for the boat and it took us straight to the park. I know I'm over protective and paranoid, I think it's a good thing, but one day it will get me into trouble.

As soon as we got aboard I started looking for the emergency exit and the life belts. The next thing I looked for was who I needed to fight through to get Ben and Allison to the exit should the boat sink. There were two ways I could go, but YOU, yes you in the Flyers jersey...if it comes down to it, I'm coming right at you.

Anyway, we got to the park safe and sound. We didn't realize that along with Gay Days it was also Star Wars weekend. Coincidence or smart planning? That's a discussion for another blog.

There were storm troopers patrolling the line. They pointed at me and asked for my identification. I played along, but they punked me. As soon as I showed my ID, they said "We don't need to see their identification. These are not the droids we're looking for" It was pretty funny, but I felt like an idiot.
The plan was to go straight to the Playhouse Disney show, but we were early and decided to see if Ben could meet some characters. We went inside the character area and got the schedule. Pluto was going to be out for another 10 minutes, then Mickey Mouse was coming. That's right! The big cheese himself in just 10 minutes!

We got in line to meet Pluto. This could go either way. Either Ben will LOVE the characters or he will scream bloody murder in about 3 seconds. Ben saw Pluto and he immediately though "That dog is much bigger that Molly (our Boston Terrier) Where are his toys? I want to put them in my mouth." He was very interested in Pluto.

We got to Pluto and Ben had a ball. He immediately smiled and laughed and grabbed Pluto's nose. He reached out for Pluto to hold him, but Allison held onto him. I don't think the characters are allowed to hold kids, and even if they could, the probably shouldn't. Ben kept smiling and pointing at Pluto's nose. It was really cute and I got very excited at the whole thing.

Even when we posed for a group picture, you can still see Ben is mesmerized by Pluto.
We said goodbye and got on line to see the big guy. The head mouseketeer. We waited for about 15 minutes and there he was. MICKEY MOUSE. Ben watches Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on Saturday and Sunday mornings. They go way back. And of course you know Allison and I go way back with Mickey too. He came to our wedding remember?
There were about 6 or 7 people before us and then we got to meet Mickey Mouse. Ben looked a little confused, but Mickey knows how to handle that. He did this "jazz hands" wave to Ben and kept moving his fingers closer to Ben's face. Ben responded by trying to bite Mickey's fingers. It was pretty funny. We joked that Ben could smell the cheese on his fingers and was getting hungry. Ben liked Mickey, but he enjoyed Pluto better. I took video of this encounter, so I only have group pix. Once I figure out how to transfer the video online, I'll post Ben trying to snack on Mickey, but in the meantime, here's the group shot.
After this we went to check out the Playhouse Mickey show. It was HOT and we got sweaty and disgusting pretty quickly. Handy Manny and one of the Baby Einstein guys walked by, Ben just look at me like "DAD! DID YOU JUST SEE THAT! THAT WAS HANDY MANNY"
I was a little upset that Special Agent Oso wasn't there, but hopefully they'll add him soon. Don't know who Special Agent Oso is? Check him out, but be warned...the Three Special Steps song is VERY VERY dangerous. Once you hear it, it gets stuck in your head for hours. 2:50 mark.

The show was fun but I think Ben was too young to fully enjoy it. He jumped when there was music, but when bubbles and leaves fell and when everyone was supposed to clap and stomp, he really couldn't do that. In a few years, he'll love it.

There was a Star Wars parade on the way out. The coolest part about it and the coolest part of any parade was Billy Dee Williams. It doesn't get cooler than Billy Dee. R2D2, Chewy, the Ewoks and Darth Vader were there too. What a day and it's only noon. Come back for the next and final post about the Disney Vacation. Day 3 - Return to the Pool.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Disney Vacation Day 2. Saturday, In the park (Not Really)

Saturday was day 2 of our Disney World vacation. The plans were as follows:
  1. Wake up early, eat breakfast, go to Disney Hollywood Studios
  2. Go to the pool w/ Rene & family
  3. Showers, downtown Disney, dinner
Line items 2 & 3 were pretty much fine, but line item 1, never had a chance. We slept in. We slept until 10:15. It was incredible. I used to sleep into the afternoon all the time. It was great. I slept my day away, but I stayed up all night. I don't bust your chops for missing the whole night, so don't bust my chops for missing the whole day! (sorry early 20s aggression still working it's way out.) 10:15 was the latest I've slept in years. I could go for that once a month.

We missed our window for Hollywood Studios, so we put on our swim gear, and headed to Picabu for breakfast. It's an overpriced cafeteria style 24 hour restaurant at the Dolphin hotel. The food is really good, just over priced. I had an excellent blueberry cheesecake 2 nights in a row.

After breakfast we headed over to the Beach Club. We got ID'ed and were granted pool access. It was better than awesome. I don't even know what word to use. There was sand like you were on a beach, but you were in a pool. There was sand on the bottom of the pool! What Disney Magic is this?? It was awesome. And if that wasn't enough, they had a pirate ship water slide! This thing really moved too. I bottomed out a few times, I had that much speed.

It was hot, so I decided Ben and I were going to get into the pool while Allison went to get us some drinks. We were splashing around, having fun, playing with sand, then at about the 15 minute mark, Ben started getting really upset. I tried all my tricks to make him smile and nothing worked. I needed reserves...MOM!!!

When Allison got him she immediately started laughing. She knew what the problem was. We never switched Ben from his regular diaper to his swimmy diaper. The diaper was so full that it looked like it was about to burst. No wonder he was so upset, he was getting squeezed like a push-pop. Sorry buddy!

I thought he was good to go. I didn't even think to check if he was wearing a swimmy or not. Well now I know for next time.

He wasn't hurt and it was hilarious. I swear the diaper weighed close to 10 pounds. After that we all splashed around in the pool and on the slide. I walked Ben around on the BoardWalk to get him to sleep, then as it got cloudy, we eventually to just head back to our rooms to get changed for dinner.

As I was about to jump in the shower we got a call from Rene. She needed to get a new supply of sun screen for the girls. I guess the one they had wasn't protecting them properly. So we planned to head out to WalMart. I hate Walmart, but they sell everything and it was off property so prices would be close to normal.

I picked them up and we were on our way. I don't know what it is about the people in Walmart, but clothes never work harder or scream louder anywhere else on Earth as they do in Walmart. There was some scary sights. We also saw a baby as red a tomato. That guy needed to buy sun screen for his kids too. I hope he did.

I dropped Rene off and called Allison I figured why take the bus when we can drive. I already have it out of the parking lot. She thought it would be nice to take the bus. Oh joy of joys! I was a little pissed, I hate waiting around for the bus, but it's no big deal, we're on vacation right?

I parked at the Beach Club and decided to walk back to the Dolphin. It was a hot day and a decent walk, so for safety reasons, and safety reasons alone, I purchased a Mickey Ice Cream Bar. You have to stay cool on those hot hot days! It was awesome. I really shouldn't have had it since I'm not supposed to have chocolate, but it really hit the spot.

We caught the bus and were on our way to meet up with Rene and her family again, this time at Downtown Disney. We got lucky and we were able to get a table for 8 at the Rain Forrest Cafe with no wait. Actually if we would have taken another 2 minutes to get to the restaurant they would have given our table away and the wait would have been 2 hours.

Ben and Rene's older daughter really loved the fish tanks. Ben was watching all the fish and was smiling, jumping and trying to touch the glass. Rene's daughter was in love with this one big silver fish. She named it Sara. I know I took pictures of this, but I can't find them. We'll have to go back and recreate them I guess.

We hit a few stores after dinner and then all hell broke lose. Ben got cranky, Rene's daughter fell asleep standing, it was going downhill quickly. We all headed our separate ways to get the kids to bed. As we were approaching the bus stop, we saw a bus pulling away. I'll give you one guess which hotel it was going to. That's right! The Dolphin. I said some choice words and tried to remain calm. My dinner didn't fill me, so I was hungry and cranky to begin with. This didn't help. I had my mad face on, but another bus came no more than 5 minutes later. Thank God for that. It could have gotten really ugly.

As soon as we got on the bus Ben perked right up and was happy again. We put him to bed and he went right to sleep.

9 Month Checkup

Ben had his 9 month checkup today. I wasn't there, but I hear he did well.
He got a shot in his leg and they had to prick his finger to get blood. He was a trooper and I heard he was having fun with the Garfield band-aid on his finger.

Ben was 20 1/4 pounds and was 29 1/2 inches tall. The doctor said he is a perfect size and he is perfectly healthy. He hasn't started teething yet, but the doctor said there is nothing to worry about until 18 months. If no teeth by 18 months, he'll have to get x-rays to track those teeth down.

The doctor also told us that Ben can start eating real foods and dairy. My first question when Allison said this "Can he have ice cream?" He can, in small doses. You know that that means right? Twistee Treat & Friendly's here we come! I can't wait to give him ice cream. Grammy and Poppy must be just as excited about it since that was the first question they asked too.

I started a box on the right hand side to keep track of the foods Ben likes and dislikes. I think the fun level is about to go from a 10 to a 12 and the poop stinky level from a 5 to a 20.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Disney Vacation - The weekend in review (day 1)

Two weekends ago our good friend Rene (who we recently found out from her daughter is family) came down with her family to Disney World. Allison, Ben and I decided that meeting up with them was a great idea, so we booked a Disney World vacation too.

Rene and her family stayed at the Beach Club Villas. We aren't high rollers, so we had to search online for deals at other hotels. ; ) We found a great deal at the Dolphin, which ended up being perfect because the two hotels are walking distance from each other. But I'm getting ahead of myself here. Let's do this in order.

Friday started at Ben's survival swimming class. I talked a lot of trash leading up to the class. I was planning to jump into the pool and drop-kick the teacher like Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka if I didn't like what she was doing to Ben. That wasn't an issue. Ben was a champ. He cried a little bit, but every time she put him into the water, he kicked and spun until he was floating on his back. Good job little man! I was very proud of him. The teacher was really nice and I felt bad for ever wanting to drop kick her in the face.

Now we're off to Disney. Ben slept in the car during the 35 minute drive there. Our room was ready when we arrived, so we brought everything upstairs, unpacked and headed out to the Magic Kingdom, but not before they hit us for 2 tips. First the guys help you unload the car, then they hand you off to someone who brings the cart up to the room. I can already tell this is going to be an expensive weekend.

We took the bus to the Magic Kingdom then upgraded our "Give a day, get a day" passes to seasonal w/weekend passes. If you are looking for us, this fall & winter, check Disney World. If you really need us and we don't answer at the house or our cells, just call the main Disney World number and have us paged. Oh, also, if we don't answer at the house...don't steal our stuff. Thank you.

We called Rene and decided to meet in front of Cinderella's castle for a show. There was a cool dance party going on when we reached the end of Main Street. Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy and maybe even Chip and Dale were dancing in the streets, doing a conga line and just going crazy. At one point the MC started singing "the roof, the roof, the roof is on fire.." He stopped before the next verse, but I was really tempted to be "that guy" that sings the inappropriate lyrics.

We found Rene and her family. It was good to see them. Her little girls got so big and cuter too. Rene got me a "Happy Birthday" pin. It was pretty awesome until I sweat so much that my name wiped off the pin. Here is the pin and it's replacement. Yes, I do realize I'm a big baby. Thanks Rene for getting me those pins.

The show started. It was pretty cool. Ben was confused. He just looked around at everyone. It was cool watching him trying to figure out what was going on. Eventually he started smiling and wiggling, trying to reach out to touch other people and the characters on stage.

After the show the seven of us walked around the park for a bit. When it was time for lunch Rene and her family went back to the room to make sandwiches. We spent over 20 bucks in the park. In hindsight, after getting our credit card bill, sandwiches may have been the better way to go.

Once we finished lunch, Allison took Ben on his first ride, Dumbo. I must have looked like a big dumbo running around with the camera and video camera trying to capture it. He didn't have too much of a reaction, but I think he was just too hot and tired to care.

After cooling off and a nap(for Ben), we hit the carousel. Ben LOVED the carousel. He was all smiles and screeches. After the ride ended, Allison said "I'm not getting off" I made an inappropriate but hilarious "that's what she said" joke and started testing out other horses so I could capture some good action shots on the next go around. I took video and 36 pictures. I say that's just being a dad. I was told that was definitely not regular dad activity. Either way, sorry Charlie. You're stuck with me and my overactive trigger finger.

We hit It's a Small World and Winnie the Pooh next. We were lucky. It poured both times we were on those rides. We stayed dry, but the cold rain really would have helped cool us off. We played around in the Pooh store and ate ice cream until the storm was over. Ben enjoyed both rides.

We met up with Rene and her family again and we used fast pass to go on Splash Mountain. The girls didn't want to get splashed, so I got to go on with Rene's husband and oldest daughter (4 3/4 years old.) She was excited. I can't remember everything she said, but she's a really funny girl. She comes up with some hilarious lines.

I always forget how long Splash Mountain is once you get inside the mountain. It was awesome watching her as we went down. I was partly watching her to see her reaction, but mostly watching her to make sure she was OK. I think of her as my niece. She was born exactly one week before my real niece. I worked and lunched with Rene all through her pregnancy. So I feel really close to them. (There's also a story about Rene trying to convince me to make a move on Allison that I'll tell you another time.) She loved the ride and asked to do it again. Look for us. Don't blink or you'll miss it.

We couldn't ride it again because we had to get a good spot for SpectroMagic and Wishes. We found a spot by about 8:25 for a 9:00 parade. Next time I think we should start looking for a spot by 8:00, it was a mad house. I thought we were going to get into a fight with the 2 crotchety old hags standing in front of us. Nothing went down, but there were lots of dirty looks between her party and our party.

The parade was cool but again, Ben didn't quite get what was going on. He did enjoy it towards the end, but mostly he was just looking around like "what the hecks going on? this isn't my bed. It's nighty-night time guys"

It was fun watching Rene's oldest daughter. She loved it. She said afterward "I waved to Minnie, but she didn't wave back. She signed my book earlier" I said "I'm sure she remembered you, but she had to wave to other kids who's books she didn't get to sign." She replied "yeah, that's right. she had to wave to the other kids. that's probably why." It was really cute. I think her youngest daughter fell asleep.

Another 30 minute wait and it's time for Wishes. We love Wishes. It's our favorite thing at Disney World. If you don't know what Wishes is, it's a fireworks show at the Magic Kingdom and it's worth the price of admission. I was worried that it would be too loud for Ben and he would cry, but he was fine. He actually watched a lot of the fireworks. We killed some time after Wishes ended, then decided to catch the bus back to the hotel. We all had tired kids and we were very disgusting from our day at the sauna, I mean park.

Stay tuned for the breakdown of Saturday and Sunday of our Disney World vacation. I don't think the posts will be a mega post like this, but I really didn't intend for this to be a mega post, so who knows what you'll get.

Align Center

Thursday, June 3, 2010


After another visit to Babies R Us today, I finally have a 3rd Britax Marathon car seat. It's clean, registration for still attached to the harness and I know it fits perfectly into my car.

I was planning to write a thank you to everyone who wished me a happy birthday and explain how recently I learned a valuable life lesson, but I'm too tired. I'm no spring chicken.

Vacation at Disney World this weekend. I'll write if I can. If not, I'll be in touch Monday.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Every time I think I'm out, they pull me back in

No, I'm not talking about the mob, I'm talking about Babies R Us. The car seat saga continues and there will be another episode tomorrow. Thankfully Jar-Jar Binks has not made an appearance yet, but sadly neither has Natalie Portman. :(
Anyway, car seats. When I was in Babies R Us yesterday, I spoke with two customer service people and a manager. They agreed to re-key in a coupon I used on Sunday and let me return the two Evenflo seats and replace them with two Britax seats. The manager even wrote this nice paragraph and signed it since she wouldn't be on working today. I was excited about that.

I had a looooong meeting with a vendor from about 10:45 - 1:45, so I didn't get to leave for Babies R Us until after 2:00. I went in spoke to the girl at customer service, showed her the note from the manager and we were good to go. I got my two Britax seats and we were doing the transaction.

Being a former BRU-KRU member, I know some insider information. I know if you are having twins, you get a 10% discount on large ticket items. As the girl was doing the returns I started talking to her. I said, "These are the 3rd set of car seats I'm getting and man, they are the most expensive. Do you have any other discounts you can give me?"

She said, "well, we offer a 10% discount if you are having twins, so congratulations and good luck with your twins." I thanked her and played along making a few jokes. I was fully prepared to try that new "Hump day" line I learned from watching Glee last night, but luckily I didn't have to use it.

Fast forward to 6:00 in my in-law's driveway. I take the first car seat out of the box and...son of a bitch...the base is dirty and scratched. They sold me a used car seat! It was scratched up pretty bad, had some discolor to the base and there was dirt and hair all over the base. It's almost like they put the old floor model in a box or a family used it for 3 months then returned it.

Allison called them since I had yard work to do and tomorrow I'm exchanging it for a new one and getting another 15% off. It sucks to keep going back and forth, but after all is said and done, We'll save $110 on this car seat. A Britax Marathon for $170!!! You can't beat that!

Wish me luck. Hopefully as a birthday present to my tomorrow, Babies R Us will give me the right car seat and I'll be done with car seats for a while.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Teething and DUDE!!! I'm so sick of carseats

As you have read in the past 2 posts, we are having car seat issues. I now decided to return the Evenflo Symphony 65 car seats and go with the Britax Marathon car seats. (Which we should have just done from day 1)

I'm sure the Graco and Evenflo seat would have both been fine, but I didn't feel comfortable with them. The Graco moved too much and the Evenflo was at the wrong angle. Their solution, use a rolled up towel or a pool noodle. I'm sure it's safe to use those things, but we just spent $200 for this car seat. It should work without a towel or a noodle. Am I right? Also, I really didn't trust that new slide harness on the Evenflo. I had a knot in my stomach knowing Ben was in that car seat for a day. I can't wait to get it out of my car.

I can't wait to pick up the Britax seats tomorrow, install them and be done with car seats. I must have spent 4 hours working on car seats in the last two days. The only way I got threw it was with this: SERENITY NOW!!! Throwing my hat to the ground and kicking it across the garage helped a lot too.

So I mentioned teething earlier, let me get back to that. Ben is definitely teething, but here's the strange thing, his top teeth are coming in first. The doctor said most kids bottom teeth come in first. He's already cute, I can't imagine how much cuter he's gonna be if he only has his 2 front teeth. I'll post pictures when they come in. Until then, it's drool city.


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