55 Things to Remember About Disney World 2012

  1. Matt’s excitement over going on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad with his kids
  2. Jonas refusing to have any fun Monday morning until he saw Woody, went on the Toy Story ride, or got his Mr. Potato Head toy (none of which happened until later in the week)
  3. Jaden grinning at and hugging every character she met
  4. Maranda nearly crying when we entered Disney World, arrived at the resort, and during the Magic Kingdom opening ceremony
  5. Jonas passing out at the dinner table our first night
  6. Pressed penny collecting
  7. Looking for Magic Mickeys
  8. Jaden meeting Merida and Merida completely surpassing all expectations and saying Matt should be King Fergus for Halloween.
  9. Woody scolding Maranda for wearing an Evil Queen shirt
  10. Buzz trying to shoot his laser at Jonas’ shoes until Woody convinced him they were not laser shoes
  11. Kids laughing with glee and wonder during Sourin’, Star Tours, and Mickey’s Philharmagic.
  12. Amazing bus driver from Hollywood Studios
  13. Restful and beautiful resort: Port Orleans Riverside
  14. Matt’s persistence in making sure his kids got to go on the rides and see the attractions they wanted to
  15. Jonas having a 20 minute melt-down starting in the resort gift shop and ending in the bathtub because I hurt his feelings by not buying him a second Mr. Potato Head.
  16. Both kids fighting over the stroller
  17. Walking through Andy’s playroom on our way to the Toy Story Game
  18. Jaden suggesting having a special “Daddy Day” after Matt had a rough ride on the bus, starting with getting up early and surprising him with coffee in bed.
  19. Upper 80s and 60% humidity the entire time until the weather broke Saturday when we left.
  20. The special surprises left in the hotel room by the princesses: arranged stuffed animals, towel animals, recorded story books
  21. Seeing the Ewok Village; rather, Matt’s boyish glee at seeing the Ewok Village
  22. Maranda singing the Timmy Time song with the kids in line (“Aaay-ooh-ooh, we-er, we-er, we-er-er.”)
  23. Jaden and Matt’s Agent P Secret Missions in Epcot
  24. The completely lame Maelstrom Viking ride
  25. The morning safari in Animal Kingdom and the kids asking if they were real animals or robots like the Jungle Cruise in Magic Kingdom
  26. Jonas giving Jake one of the gold doubloons he got during the Disney Junior show.
  27. The Princesses at the Akershus Castle lunch:
    1. Snow White’s voice and blowing Jonas a kiss
    2. Cinderella admiring Jaden’s headband
    3. Ariel playing with her hair like Jaden
    4. Belle wishing us a happy anniversary and commenting on Matt’s “Beastly Beard.”
  28. “In the tiki tiki tiki tiki tiki room.”
  29. Both kids jumping in the pool and not being afraid to go under the water.
  30. Filling the Giant Mr. Potato Head with pieces
  31. Getting a sneak peak at the New Fantasy Land attractions: Beast’s Castle, Gaston’s Tavern and Fountain, The Little Mermaid Ride and meeting Ariel in her Grotto.
  32. Jaden helping Matt get breakfast for everyone every morning.
  33. Matt throwing drinking straw wrappers at the kids then laughing hysterically at my reaction.
  34. Jonas and I getting drenched on the Animal Kingdom Rapids ride neither of us wanted to go on
  35. Jaden making a deal with us to go on the Haunted Mansion, trying to back out of it, crying during the ride intro and then yelling at Matt afterwards. Jonas laughing at the ghosts.
  36. Playing in the resort arcade: digital bowling, skee ball, photo booth, crane game, Jonas playing the basketball toss, Matt playing off one credit on some carnival video game for 20 minutes and Jaden placing 9th in the motorcycle racing game.
  37. Seeing Captain Jack Sparrow give a pirate class.
  38. Four people in one day complimenting Matt’s Muppet shirt he bought at Hollywood Studios.
  39. Boat ride to Downtown Disney.
  40. Jonas fully embracing his four-ness, both good and bad.
  41. Jaden playing with the jumping fountain at Epcot and the mini-splash station in Downtown Disney
  42. Epcot fireworks show and Jaden not needing the ear plugs
  43. The electric parade at night and seeing Woody and Jessie in the Celebration parade.
  44. Our collection of desserts from all the meals we could not finish
  45. Lizards that moved like a blowing leaf all over the resort
  46. The kids surviving “It’s Tough for a Bug” and looking at real spiders  at Animal Kingdom without freaking out.
  47. Great seats for Finding Nemo the Musical. Got to see Dory and jellyfish up close.
  48. Getting the kids names embroidered onto their hats at a discounted rate. The embroidery ladies being impressed with Jonas’ eye-rolling skills.
  49. Tapes N Tapes hipsters. “That guy was wearing a Tapes N Tapes shirt!”
  50. Being able to get onto Splash Mountain with no wait time
  51. Turtle Talk with Crush
  52. The Festival of the Lion King
  53. Breaking the bus and needing to transfer coming back from Animal Kingdom, and in turn canceling our reservations at Downtown Disney
  54. Matt and Maranda lying next to each other every night discussing what fun we had that day.
  55. Laughing. Lots of laughing.


Let’s play catch-up, shall we? Well, the last week at least.


Guessing Game

A couple months ago I asked Jaden if she had any guesses as to where we were going on our Super-Secret-Special Trip. She guessed the Science Museum to which I replied, “Dream big, Jaden, dream big.” In my most encouraging tone, of course.

The other night at bedtime I asked her if she had any new guesses since we’re getting close to The Trip.


I busted out a, “HA!” and thought, “Well, I told her to dream big.” Now, I’d originally told her I wasn’t going to say “yes” or “no” to her guesses but that it’s still fun to guess. However, I really couldn’t let the girl think we’re going to Paris so I said, “Oh, Paris would be wonderful but it’s a little out of our price range.”


“Honey, we would love to take you kids to Hawaii but that’s in the same price range as Paris. Meaning: out of ours. One more guess?”


“Wow. Ok, no. We’re going to stay in the Continental U.S. So, in this country but not Hawaii or Alaska or Puerto Rico or any other U.S. territory not attached to the main bulk of the country.”

“Is Montana in the country?”

“Yes, Montana is.”

“What about Europe?”

“No, sweetie, that’s a whole different continent across the ocean and Paris is there. I think you’re done guessing for tonight.”

The next day Jonas guessed New York City and Jaden guessed Washington DC. Is it weird that neither of them has guessed Disney World yet?



Last week Jaden made the comment that she doesn’t get to wear her sandals anymore because it’s getting colder out. I gave her a clue about the Big Secret Trip: “You’ll be bringing your sandals with.”

The next day Matt called me while I was driving home and asked why Jaden and Jonas were digging through closets and bins of shoes looking for sandals and why Jaden was crying because they couldn’t find them.


Matt and I are having a hard time keeping this thing secret. Ok, mostly I. I’ve slipped a few times when the kids, luckily, weren’t listening.  I really want to tell them something. I thought I was alone in this until Monday when Matt tried again and again to give Jaden challenges to pass so we could tell them something:

1)     If she got another 20/20 on her spelling test.

  1. Matt couldn’t wait until Tuesday and he gave her a practice test. She got 19/20. So…

2)     At dinner he told her if she spelled “vacation” correctly.

  1. She was VERY close but forgot the “t.” I was willing to give it to her because seriously, English is so effed up, I’m surprised she got that much correct. Matt wasn’t quite as ready but gave her another shot. He spelled it out for her twice and asked her to repeat it but, again, she forgot the “t.” Then he got desperate.

3)     “If you can tell me one amazing thing that I’ve never heard before, we’ll tell you something.”

After a mere second or two of thought, Jaden said, “Today, I petted a unicorn.”

“Really?” I asked, genuinely interested, “Where did this happen?”

“At school,”she said simply, “There’s a petting zoo there with all kinds of animals that don’t exist. There are unicorns and pegasi and colored ponies.”

4)     At this point I looked at Matt and mouthed, “Pegasi?” and was (again) ready to give it to her right there for using an awesome plural form of Pegasus. Matt was not. However, he agreed that this was indeed an amazing thing he’d never heard and asked Jaden what’s the difference between a Pegasus and a unicorn.

“A Pegasus can fly and a unicorn has a horn.”

“OH,” Matt said, giving me a significant look, “So you’re saying Pegasus can fly? Hmmm… I wonder what else flies.”

Because god forbid Matt just come out and tell them plain. After some ideas from both kids, I finally stepped in, had them clean off the table and told them we were taking a plane.

They are both very excited.



Jonas has a blanket that he got for his 2nd Christmas when he was just a year old. It’s well-loved, to say the least, and Gramma has mended it several times. Finally it got to the point where we had to talk about replacing it. Jonas wanted another brown and white striped blanket. This is when I found out my mother –in-law, the same Gramma who mended the original blanket, can knit and I asked her to knit him a new brown and white striped blanket.

This morning, I told the kids to get their shoes and jackets on because it was chilly. Jonas did not want to wear his jacket. I held it out to him and said, “Here, just put this on, ok, buddy?” He dashed off to his room while I wasn’t exactly paying attention and came back with Old Brown Blankey. “I’ll bring this and I’ll be nice and cozy.”

I tried to explain to him that Old Brown Blankey is very fragile and suggested he bring New Brown Blankey. This did not go over well. Back and forth we went. I was standing my ground because this is why we have the New Blankey, to protect the Old Blankey. He did not see it this way. I took the blanket and showed him all the stitches that had been made to fix Old Blankey’s boo-boos. He stormed off to his room and faced his door with his arms crossed in front of him, not looking at me.

“Come on, bud, we gotta go. Please put your arm in,” I pleaded holding the jacket open for him.


“Jonas, honey, we’re late. Come on.”

There was a pause and then he turns to look at me with this look of triumph in his face and says with the smallest of smirks,

“I’ll put my jacket on if I can bring Old Brown Blankey.” The sentence was laced with threads of “I got you now, woman.”

Long story short, while I commended his efforts I came out ahead in the bargain by way of promising the last banana if he put his jacket on and took New Brown Blankey.

3 minutes later he tripped on my sister-in-law’s drive way and skinned his knee and was happy to have any blankey he could get his hands on.



Pandora is awesome for setting the mood for those intimate moments with your lover. Except for when an ad for Kraft Macaroni in Cheese Bowls comes on with the tag line, “Perfect for nights like tonight.”

Sweet Music

Sassy Cowgirl

When we were visiting my cousins in Montana in July, the girls (me, Cuz and J) went shopping one afternoon. After we spent too much money at the local candy store, toy store and book store, I decided I wanted to get the kids cowboy hats. Cuz took us to a few places but I didn’t see anything that a) wasn’t less than $50 or b) wasn’t made of cheap straw. The last place we looked Jaden found the perfect hat. Only it was $20 and made of plastic. She modeled it for me as a compromise. (See above picture)

See that juice bottle in her hand? While I was walking around looking at all the western themed trinkets and talking myself out of buying an adorably over-adorned belt for Jonas, Jaden was trying to blow into that bottle to make music. Well, she succeeded: “Mommy!! I was blowing into my bottle so hard that I farted!” then she ran to Cuz on the other side of the giant open area we were in and I hear, “Yeah, I heard you tell your mom.”

She spent the rest of the time in the store trying to re-create the moment, but some moments are once-in-a-lifetime.

Into parts unknown (at least by us)

My cousin and her husband (I never know how to refer to him. I usually say “cousin” but if I’m referring to the two of them as cousins that makes us sound all Appalachian.) moved to Montana ages and ages ago. I honestly can’t remember when but it was after Jaden was born but before Jonas was and before Matt and I got married so, let’s say… ages and ages ago.

They’ve been kind and gracious enough to make several trips back to Minnesota since they moved (forever ago, did I mention?) and Matt and I have been wanting to make a trip out there but things kept getting in the way (wedding, house buying, second baby, European honeymoon, etc.). FINALLY FINALLY we are making the trek out to Montana. In the car. With two young children. Total round trip time: 39 hours!! Or something close to that, I need to redo the map. But still, almost two days in the car.
We won’t end up not speaking to each other, I’m sure of it!
I’ve spent the last few weeks planning car games, buying car treats/activities, checking out audiobooks, making lists and more lists. In fact, I’ve planned the car part of the trip so much that I kinda spaced out on the actual Time In Montana Visiting Cousins part. Which is why I sent a frantic email to my cousin this morning: “So, um, what was all that stuff you mentioned that we could do while we were there? I kinda need to make yet another list.”
All dramatic LONGEST CAR RIDE EVER anxiety aside, I’m pretty excited for our first family vacation. The kids are excited, too, probably because they cannot conceive in their little minds exactly how long we will be in a car. We’re going to be camping for the first time with them as well. (OH! Must add “Jiffy Pop” and marshmallows to the shopping list!) Matt set up the tent this weekend to make sure there weren’t any giant gaping holes and I set up the ground rules for tent use:
1) Remove all shoes before entering the tent
2) Close all doors behind you upon entering tent
3) No running around or wrestling once inside the tent
4) If any of the above rules are broken, you will sleep outside with the bears.
“But, mommy, I don’t like bears! Bears are mean!”
“Oh, they’re not mean. Just don’t bother them and they won’t bother you. OR! Just follow all the rules and you won’t have to worry about it.”

Even after all that, they’re still excited so that’s a good sign.
I’ll have all kinds of fun stories and pictures from the trip that I’ll try to remember to post because regardless if anyone but me ever reads this, I’m gonna want to look back on this with a smile.