Pages

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Hannah Kate

This girl.  I don't even know where to start.  She was literally the BIGGEST surprise of my entire life.  If you were to ask me what in my whole entire life has surprised me the most, I would say the day I knew I was expecting a baby that we had not "planned" for.  We were in the midst of moving to a new state, a new place, a new start.  Not only was she the biggest surprise, she is also one of my best GIFTS from the Lord.
Hannah Kate is one of the kindest, most compassionate children I know.  And I'm not just saying that because she's my daughter.  I'm saying that because she is, because it is God's beautiful work in her.  She's not my most outgoing child, and most people think she is very shy, reserved and quiet.  Outside the haven of our home, she is.  And because she is shy in a sense, I've noticed many times that it seems like she isn't necessarily part of "the group," or she is always "in the back," or she is off "to the side."  But lately I've begun to notice that's not the case at all.  She's looking for the one who needs a friend.  She's looking for the one who needs a little extra encouragement.  She's looking for the underdog.  She wants everyone to feel welcome and included and like they have a place.  Her teacher at Sequitur even told me this week that she has observed this very thing.  She described Hannah Kate as living with an "open heart."  She said Hannah Kate has gotten to know all of the girls in her little class, befriended all and not just one or two.  There have been so many times that my Momma heart was concerned because I feel like she "doesn't have any friends."  I mean, we homeschool.  The church we go to is super small.  She's the only girl in her Sunday School class.  She's known the girls in her dance classes for several years, but most of them go to school or church together so they already have their group.  I was so encouraged this week to hear her teacher say this.

Hannah Kate is also very sensitive, tender and thoughtful.  I can always tell what she's feeling.  She wears it all over her.  She's independent.  Always had been.  She doesn't want my help.  She wants to do it herself.  And, let me tell you, she can definitely "do it herself."  But sometimes I just want to help!  She had a little art project to do last week for science.  I never once saw it until she was completely finished.  She never asked any questions, never asked my opinion about anything, never needed any kind of help.  I was really impressed when I finally saw it.  

She absolutely loves "school," loves learning.  She is THRIVING at Sequitur.  She said the only thing she doesn't like about it is that she wishes she could go everyday and not just two days a week.  School comes so easy and so natural for her.  She enjoys her work, and I can tell she's sometimes disappointed when she's finished for the week because she just wants more.  She loves to read.  As a matter of fact, I cannot keep enough books in this house for her.  For her upcoming birthday and Christmas, she just wants all the books!  And a Lego set.  She is very artsy and loves to draw and craft and glue and use scissors.  She loves to write, especially in cursive.

Hannah Kate is the best big sister.  She has doted in Ellie since the day she was born.  She is so patient with her.  She helps bathe her.  She helps her get a drink and a snack.  She plays what Ellie wants to play.  She helps Ellie pick up her toys.  She also shares her own toys and doll clothes and dress up clothes with Ellie.  She also helps me teach Ellie numbers and letters and such.  Ellie is so blessed to have such a wonderful big sister.

Hannah Kate also loves Mason.  Those two.  The bond is special.  They were whispering back and forth today while we were doing errands.  I kept asking them what they were talking about, and Mason said it was a secret.  Hannah Kate will do anything her brother asks her to.  She will keep his secrets.  Those two don't particularly like it when the other isn't here.  Hannah Kate is also the mediator between her brother and little sister.  She is definitely the voice of calm.

Within the haven of our walls, Hannah Kate is loud!  Yes, she is!  She dances and sings constantly.  She laughs deeply.  She jokes and teases and makes silly faces.  She will still let me put big bows in her hair when we go somewhere, but she always wears her hair down when we are at home.  She loves to play outside.  Her favorite color is turquoise (notice her tennis shoes).  She loves helping me in the kitchen.  She eats broccoli and Brussels sprouts and carrots and strawberries and all the really healthy, yummy things.  But her most favorite is spaghetti and meatballs.  But you know what she doesn't like?  Blue jeans.  Yes.  She refuses to wear denim!  I mean, that will totally bring her to tears.  I am not at all kidding.  I tried last year, and I found out very quickly it wasn't worth it.  But do you know how hard it is to dress and almost 9-year old in play clothes during the cooler months when she won't wear jeans?  I mean, Ellie is so cute in those little cotton dresses and tunics and leggings, but it gets a lot harder the bigger they get.  I have to be honest though.  She probably gets it from me.  I have only one pair of jeans in my closet.  

It is an honor and a JOY to be this girl's Momma!  Really and truly, she has been my encouragement and my strength during the hardest of days.  She has picked me up so many times.  She makes being a Momma so easy!  She amazes me every single day.  I have to admit that I am just so excited to watch her grow up into a young lady.  I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God has big plans for this girl, and I just can't wait to see it and be a small part of it.  I can only give Him the praise and the glory for who she is and for what He has already done in and through her.  She tells me all the time that she loves me more.  I can never convince her otherwise.  But on the day she becomes a Momma (if that's God's plan for her life), she'll finally understand and know that's not true at all.  I love her more!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

What's Up Wednesday: The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Oh, Wednesday.  You are the longest day of my week.  But we're going to get this thing done!

WHAT WE'RE EATING THIS WEEK
Fall is my most favorite time of year for cooking!  I would make soup every single day of the week, but my people would not like that.  At all.  This week has been simple, mainly because I'm just too tired by the end of the day to spend a lot of time in my kitchen.  Monday night we had spaghetti, salad and my favorite garlic bread.  Last night we had one of those one pan chicken and veggie dinners.
You know, they're all the rage on Pinterest. And there's a good reason why.  Super easy, super simple, minimal clean up, good for you and really yummy.  It's also really easy to mix it up a bit by changing out marinades, changing out veggies depending on what you like.  This is one from last week.  I mean, talk about eating the rainbow!  I just love pretty food (never mind the raw chicken).

Tonight we had ham and cheese sliders (because dance).  Tomorrow night is taco salads.  I'm not sure about Friday yet.  I have some shrimp in the freezer so that's what I'm thinking about right now.

Last week I had butternut squash ravioli.  It was divine!  Really!  No, I didn't make it from scratch.  I purchased the pasta pre-made at Trader Joe's and then made my own sauce.  Last year I made a delicious butternut squash risotto.  That's coming up on the menu soon, too.

WHAT I'M REMINISCING ABOUT
We had the BEST time at Disney.  One day at Hollywood Studios, one day at Epcot, three days at Magic Kingdom (here, here and here).  The kids are STILL asking when we're going back.  Who can blame them?  It's the happiest place on earth!


WHAT I'M LOVING
Finally, finally, FINALLY it's not 90 degrees anymore!  Fall has arrived in the way of the 80s and leaves turning brown and falling off the trees.  That's the best it gets in Louisiana.  But, at this point, I'll take it!  I even wore long sleeves to church on Sunday.  Not that it was cool enough, but it wasn't too hot.  It's since warmed up, but it was nice while it lasted.

Now that it's not so hot, I've been enjoying my back porch.  We didn't use it at all this summer because it was just too hot.  Mason and I sit out there every afternoon and read.  I sit and watch the kids play in the backyard.  It's just so nice to do some back porch sitting and thinking and reading and talking.

And online shopping.  I mean, I've always loved online shopping, but I love it now more than ever.  It's just not a fun experience taking the kids shopping.  For any of us.  And since we homeschool, well, they are ALWAYS with me.  So, if I want to go shopping or need to go to the doctor or to get my tired rotated or ANYTHING, they are with me.  Most of my Christmas gifts were purchased online, and I even bought a lot of their fall/winter clothes online.   

WHAT WE'VE BEEN UP TO
Obviously we took some time off and away to Disney World.  But now we're back to our regular schedule of homeschooling and dance.  

I finished all of the window treatments for the breakfast nook.  That was a huge accomplishment!  I'd had the fabric for nearly two years, and I sewed the first two last February!  They aren't at all perfect.  I didn't use a pattern, which is totally out of character for me.  But they're growing on me.  Now I need to fill my bread bowl.
I finished purging the kids' closets and organizing what was left.  Except for only two people on my list, I finished Christmas shopping.  I love finished projects, and it seems like there's a lot of that lately.

WHAT I'M DREADING
I still need to make an appointment to see my ophthalmologist.  I was supposed to have already done that because I'm over-due for my annual check-up.  But now it's even more imperative to get that done.  I was so tired a few weeks ago that I accidentally washed my contacts down the sink instead of putting them in!  And I had only one pair left.

WHAT I'M WORKING ON
Next week we will finish shopping and filling our shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child!  We're all looking forward to that little missions project.  And I'm also working on our Christmas card.

I finally had an opportunity last week and weekend to plant my fall garden.  I'm actually harvesting tomatoes right now!  I planted a few plants the week before the flood.  Only three survived.  The plants themselves look terrible, but the tomatoes are much prettier than the ones I had this summer!  Seriously, this tomato came out of MY garden!
I just wish the rest of them would hurry up and turn.  I'm ready to pull the plants up so I can finish my garden.  If not, I see a lot of fried green tomatoes in our future!

I'm trying something new this year.  Strawberries!  They require a little more fuss than I'm used to so we'll see what happens.  They're in the bed on the bottom left so that's why it looks like there isn't anything there.  To the right are my broccoli, cauliflower and kale.  To the back left is my cabbage.  And I have green onions and Brussels sprouts waiting for those tomatoes to come out of the ground.  I plan to sow some carrot seed, too.
WHAT I'M EXCITED ABOUT
Right now is my most favorite time of the year.  So that's what I'm excited about.  It just seems like it's going by all too quickly.

WHAT I'M WATCHING / READING
This month I read The Glass Castle, Bridge to Haven and Shakespeare's tales (Mason and I read that together).  I have to tell you.  I'm still not sure how I feel about The Glass Castle.  It was beautiful, it was heart-wrenching.  But, most of all, I really think it was haunting.  Not in a bad sort of way.  Just wow.  I do love Francine Rivers, and I definitely enjoyed Bridge to Haven.  I've never been more glad to finish a book than I was to move on from Shakespeare.  But at least I can now say I've read more than just Julius Caesar and Romeo and Juliet!  I am currently reading The Undoing of Saint Silvanus by Beth Moore.  Mason and I are reading The Hobbit.  Now that's an entertaining book!

WHAT I'M LISTENING TO
Lately, in my "spare" time, I've been listening to sermons by our pastor at our church in Mississippi.  He just started a new series on the book of Jonah.

WHAT I'M DOING THIS WEEKEND
I'll be taking the kids to a fall festival and then I'm coming home to watch the Georgia/Florida game.  I mean, I guess at this point it just doesn't matter a whole lot anyway.  It's been disappointing, for sure.  New season, new coach, young team, lots to work on.  But, like my friend always says this time of year, there's always next year.

WHAT I'M LOOKING FORWARD TO NEXT MONTH
So much!

Next weekend we're going to Houston for Avery's senior band night.  Yes.  Avery (my nephew) is a senior.  I can't even.

We're going to Georgia for Thanksgiving, and I can't wait!  We didn't get to make a trip over the summer so I haven't seen my friends and family in a year!

Thanksgiving.  Did I mention Thanksgiving?!

Yes!  The most wonderful time of the year!  

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Mason

This guy.  Because I can't call him a kid anymore.  He's 11 years old.  He's in the 6th grade.  Middle school.  So is he a tween?  Or is that only for 12 year olds?
Several weeks ago, he and his Daddy went to the LSU/Mizzou football game.  He's quite festive, don't you think?  I mean, he's nothing if not LOUD.  In personality and in dress.  But I guess you can say he was dressed for success.  The Tigers won that game.
He and I have been through a lot together.  He was the first one who made me a Momma. A couple of weeks ago, his teacher at Sequitur and I were talking about one of his recent grammar assignments.  It was a bit difficult for him, and I mentioned how proud I was of him and how far he's come since those long days in early elementary school trying to figure out how to overcome being dyslexic.  She questioned me.  She was also his teacher last year at Sequitur, and she said she didn't remember that he's dyslexic.  Well, that's because I didn't tell her.  I was ready to leave all of that behind.  I mean, I guess you can't really leave it behind because it's always there.  But I no longer wanted that to define his schooling as it had for so long.  She then told me that she never would've known he's dyslexic had I not said something.

Huh.  Because I remember the days . . . not so long ago and yet so long ago . . . when I thought he'd never read, never experience success in a classroom setting regardless of how hard he tried.  And look where he is today!  He can read (even though he refers to himself as a "slow reader.").  He can write an essay.  He can diagram sentences.  He can comprehend difficult passages and retell.  That doesn't mean it's easy for him.  Because it's not.  He still has to work very hard.  We have to remain very diligent on a daily basis.  But he never gave up.  He never stopped trying.  He never listened to the voices of doubt and discouragement.  Instead, he chose to NEVER give up.  He chose to believe GOD has a plan for His life, and this is all part of God's plan.  And not only that, but God's plan is GOOD.

There are a lot of things I do not think about on purpose.  But I didn't spend some time looking about through some of the posts I wrote during those hard, long days.  The worst of it I didn't not write about because I felt it was necessary to protect those involved in the situation at his then-school.  But this post chronicles the earliest days and what we went through trying to figure out what was "wrong."  There was also the day I realized he'd begun to fly.  There were some funny moments, too.  And then, there was graduation day.  Funny.  That was exactly two years ago this Friday.

So here we are.  6th grade.  Reading Shakespeare.  And other classic literature.  I never thought I'd see the day.  But he did it, and he continues to do it.

He currently loves Star Wars and baseball (his favorite team is currently the Astros) and football.  He doesn't really play with toys anymore.  I'm in unchartered territory here. I miss the little 2-year old towheaded boy running around the backyard and playing on the swing set.  And here he is, almost a teenager!  I'm not quite sure what to do with that.  It's likely I won't deal very well.  It's also likely (actually, a given) I'll make a lot of mistakes along the way.  I've always said parenting the teenage years are the scariest for me.  And here we are.  Almost.  It's become so evident to me more than ever these past few weeks that he is "transitioning" to big kid stuff.  I mean, he refused to ride Dumbo at Disney!  But I also know (and see) that God continues to do a marvelous work in his life, and I continue to pray that he'll be fully surrendered to wherever God takes him.

He's still the pickiest eater ever in the whole wide entire world.  But he's branched out a little in the last year or so.  A very little.  His favorite color is still, and always will be, blue.  He wants to be a dentist (that is, if his professional baseball career doesn't work out!).  He's recently really gotten into Legos.  So maybe he'll be an architect instead (both careers, by the way, are in the top five careers for people with dyslexia!).  He loves sharks and can tell you most anything about them.  He enjoys fishing and hunting and riding his bike and jumping on the trampoline and throwing the football and swimming and, of course, his electronics.

He's a numbers guy (for obvious reasons).  One of my friends really makes it a point to have conversation with him, and she's been talking to him a lot about LSU football lately.  She told me the other day that she's noticed that he doesn't refer to the players by name but by number.  He can tell you about a play and who was involved in it, but he's going to use their numbers.  He can tell you how many yards so-and-so had.  He can talk about scores.  If you mention a player's name, he'll think a minute and then usually come back with, "Oh, you mean number such and such."

He's almost as tall as I am.  I give it another year, and he'll probably be there.  A few weeks ago I was buying shoes for the girls.  While I was at it, I looked for some tennis shoes for him (not that he really needs them right now, but he will soon).  It was a very sad moment when I realized that the next pair of tennis shoes I buy him will not come from the kids' section.  It will come from the MEN'S section.  The men's.  Yes.  I could just cry (and not just because of the cost difference either!).

I have many favorite things about my boy, but one of my most favorite is the relationship he has with his sisters, particularly Hannah Kate.  Those two are tight.  He and Ellie get tangled up a lot.  She annoys him, and he gives it right back to her.  He knows exactly how to push her buttons.  I think most of that is because of the age difference.  I mean, he'll take care of her, too.  But he and Hannah Kate are close.  You best not mess with her because I am convinced he will jump you.  They share secrets.  Yes, they really do.  And they will not rat each other out either.  I told Mason from the very beginning that his sister was going to be his best friend.  I told him he had no choice.  Now, at the time, I had my doubts, and I didn't know how to make that happen, but I didn't have to.  It just happened.  Mason has always been the best big brother to both of his sisters.

And another thing.  He loves his Momma, too.  I know he does.  He can tell when I'm upset about something, and he doesn't like it.  He's all the time checking on me, making sure I'm okay.  I had to fight for him something fierce from the time he was in kindergarten up until about 4th grade.  And I'd do it again in a heartbeat.  But he'd fight for me something fierce, too.  I know he would.

There are some days I mourn the loss of his childhood.  Not that it's lost . . . because, oh, the memories!  But we're very quickly moving beyond that now.  For me, this will be a day-to-day-desperate-for-God's-grace kind of parenting thing.  But when I look at him now, I can't help but be excited about the young man he is becoming, the places he will go, the people he will meet.  I so enjoyed him as a little kid, and I'm determined to enjoy him as a big kid, too.  As much as everything in me wants him to stay little, he's not.  But I've recently realized just how much I'd be missing out on if, in fact, he did stay little.  

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Disney Day 6: The Magic Continues

It's now day 6 at Disney, day 8 since we left home.  Needless to say, I think we were all a little tired.  It was another early morning, and we arrived at Magic Kingdom shortly after the park opened.  It was a Saturday so I expecting a large crowd.  Most of our fast passes were for morning and early afternoon.
But no matter how tired one is, a day at Disney is always magical!
We started out in Tomorrowland.  Mason really wanted to ride Space Mountain.  I wasn't exactly looking forward to it because roller coasters just aren't my thing.  But I've ridden Space Mountain several times before, and it really isn't bad as far as coasters go.  So off he and I went.  Seth and the girls waited on us.
Again, I didn't take a lot of pictures.  So I don't remember a lot of what we did.  But I do know for a fact that we headed off to the teacups after this.  Ellie also insisted on riding Dumbo again.  And then I took the girls to meet a couple of princesses.  Seth and Mason went to Barnstormer, I think.  Or maybe Tomorrowland Speedway.

Tiana obviously decided to spend her day at Magic Kingdom instead of Disney Springs.  So this was our second time meeting her.  Ellie didn't mind at all!

We also met Rapunzel.  Again, I mentioned the other day about how these princesses really get into character.  And she was no exception.  She was absolutely delightful!


Hannah Kate decided she'd ride the carousel with Ellie this day (probably because she remembered Momma ain't gonna pay $2.50 for the carousel at the local mall).
The boys went off to Splash Mountain, and I took the girls to meet Jasmine.
Genie was there, too.  As you can see, Ellie is staying as close to Jasmine as she can get.  And as far away from Genie as possible.  I have to give him props though.  This wasn't his first merry-go-round.  She never once tried to hold Ellie's hand, and I was thankful.  She would've lost it!
At this point, I'm not sure if Ellie is trying to stay as far away as possible from Genie.  Or if she's trying to get as close as possible to Jasmine.  Probably both.
And, of course, we had to ride Aladdin's Magic Carpet.  We also rode Pirates of the Caribbean.  After that we went to see the boys coming down Splash Mountain.  I really don't remember how many times they rode during our trip.  I think it was eight or nine times.  They were always in the last seat on the ride.  That's where Seth wanted to be because he didn't want to get wet.  I mean, it's not like you get THAT wet.  I figured he was "requesting" that spot.  But obviously he wasn't.  It was luck of the draw.  But his luck ran out this time.  They were in the very first seat.  If you look close, you can see Mason's bright orange shirt.
As they're coming around the curve, Seth is very obviously picking himself up off the floor.
And, Mason, well, he isn't liking it at all.
I mean, not one little bit.
By this point, everybody was hungry.  We went off to find a shady spot to eat our picnic lunch I'd prepared.  I mean, the goal was simple.  But somebody (I won't even mention who) insisted we watch the Country Bear Jamboree.  Let's just say this person had no prior experience with the Country Bear Jamboree.  So we sat through this most ridiculous show that I do not at all recommend.  Needless to say, said person (who isn't me, by the way) will never again suggest we watch the Country Bear Jamboree.
We found a perfect little shady spot to sit down and enjoy our lunch in Liberty Square.  Mason looked up and noted that we were sitting next to the Liberty Bell, the original of which is in Philadelphia Pennsylvania.  As a homeschool mom who wants to hang children by their toes every time someone asks them what they "did at school" that day, and they answer, "Nothing," it really was exciting for me to hear Mason recognize and remember something we studied last year.  He even asked if I'd take his picture.
After we ate, we stopped across the street at the Hall of Presidents show.  Y'all.  This show was absolutely amazing!  Regardless of how you feel about our current or previous presidents, regardless of how you feel about this year's election, this presentation was a fabulous and stunning visual of the founding of our country and the men who've led our country through the decades.  It was truly inspiring.  I highly recommend this for all adults and all school age children.  Even Seth was impressed, and that says A LOT.  He's usually not at all into things like this.  

We spent several minutes in the lobby waiting on the show to begin.  There were portraits of several of the presidents.  Mason immediately recognized George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.  He recognized Andrew Jackson and proceeded to retell the story of the War of 1812 when Jackson led the troops in the victory at New Orleans even though the war was technically already over.  They just hadn't yet received word that the peace treaty had been signed.  There was also a display of dresses from three former first ladies, one of which was Dolley Madison.  Mason was also quick to remember that she was the one who saved many important government documents and a canvas of George Washington before the White House was burned during the War of 1812.  This was another feel-good moment for this stay-at-homeschooling Momma.

After the show, the boys went to either Splash Mountain or Barnstormer, and I took the girls to Enchanted Tales with Belle.  This is one of my most favorite things at Disney.  Children in the audience are chosen to act out the story of Beauty and the Beast (which also happens to be my FAVORITE princess story).  And then who should appear but Belle!  I mean, we're not just a little excited.  
When we were here three and a half years ago, Hannah Kate was chosen to be Chip.  This time she was chosen to be Ms. Potts.  She was so excited.
And Ellie got to be the salt shaker.
Here is Hannah Kate in her acting debut as Ms. Potts.

And then the girls had a picture made with Belle.  She also gave them a bookmark.

But look.  Don't think for a single second that Ellie was the only one in to this whole princess thing.  Hannah Kate was smitten.

We met up with our boys again to decide what to do next.  By this time, it was mid-afternoon.  It was steamy, and it was very hot.  The park was also getting very crowded.  As we were discussing what to do, I looked up to see this.  
Mason had popcorn.  The girls wanted something cold so Hannah Kate got a coke float, and Ellie got ice cream.  We decided our best bet was a ride on the Peoplemover.  Again, this is for Kennedy! 
My two must-have snacks at Disney are a Dole whip (which I actually enjoyed the day before) and a Mickey pretzel.  We hadn't yet had a Mickey pretzel so we got one for everybody to share.
Since we were in Tomorrowland, the kids insisted we ride the Speedway again.  I wasn't thrilled because the line was longer than I wanted to wait in (at this point, all of our fast passes were gone, and I couldn't get anymore).  And it seemed like it wasn't quite as fun as yesterday.  But maybe that's because we'd already rode it like five times.  Anyway.  Who am I kidding?  Of course, we waited in line and rode again.  
And then, just like that, it was time to go.  We went back to the condo and ate leftovers for supper.  I also wanted to finish laundry so I wouldn't have any to do upon returning home.  
We woke up super early the next morning and headed back home while it was still dark.  Between potty stops, food stops, traffic accidents and a detour due to an accident, the ride home took us 13 hours.  Yes.  THIRTEEN.  Was it worth it?  Hands down, ABSOLUTELY! Besides, I had 13 glorious hours to read a book!  That never would've happened otherwise.

The kids are already asking when we're going to go back, talking about what they want to do when we go back.  We had THE BEST time.  A vacation at Disney is never restful, a vacation with children is never restful no matter where you go!  While I really need rest, what I needed more than anything, what we all needed more than anything, was a change of scenery.  As tired as I've been this week as we jumped right back into our crazy schedule of school and dance and life, it was totally worth it.  And I, too, can't wait until the next time!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Doing Disney Day 5: Magic Kingdom (again)

After a "day of rest," we were up bright and early again, ready for another day at the Magic Kingdom.  We arrived shortly after the park opened.  The weather was absolutely perfect.  Actually, it was perfect during our entire trip.  Storms popped up all around us, but it never rained where we were.  It provided just enough cloud cover to hold back the heat.  As I look back on our trip, I think this day was my favorite.  The park wasn't too crowded, we rode A LOT of rides and everyone just had a really good time.

We headed to Fantasyland first.  And, again, our first ride of the day was the teacups.  I love this topiary of Alice in Wonderland.
Seth and Mason went to ride Barnstormer.  So the girls and I went to ride . . . wait for it . . . Dumbo.
And then, because there was no line, we went right back and rode it again.  Why, cat, why?!  But this time Hannah Kate wanted to ride by herself.  I mean, since when is she big enough for this?!
The boys went to ride Splash Mountain so I took the girls to meet Ariel.

Hannah Kate finally worked up enough courage to ride Splash Mountain.  I was not expecting that one at. all.  And, unfortunately, I missed getting a picture of her coming down.  She said she enjoyed the ride, but that was not only her first time but last time on Splash Mountain.

And then Ellie and I ended up on Aladdin's Magic Carpet.  This was one of, I think, at least three times on this day.
Since all three of the kids rode Splash Mountain, we had to take a picture.
We rode several other rides (I didn't take a whole lot of pictures, and I honestly don't even remember which rides, but I know Winnie the Pooh was one of them) and then went to eat a hotdog at Casey's Corner.  This was Seth's request.  We finished lunch just in time for the dance party.  We had a perfect spot.
Mason and Hannah Kate had a good time dancing.  Until they realized their daddy was taking video of them.
It really was fun and a great opportunity to see more characters.

Ellie squealed when Judy Hopps came around.  She loved the Zootopia movie, and she really likes Judy Hopps.


The boys took a stroll through the Disney store while the girls went to meet Tinkerbell.  This Tinkerbell was the cutest little thing.  I mean, so cute!


And then we met the Mouse.  All of us.  This time I insisted on a picture with all five of us.  Seth is thrilled, as is Mason.  Ellie is upset because she wanted the Mouse all to herself.
As we made our way back down Main Street, we stopped at the candy store.  We paid too much for cotton candy in a Star Wars tub (said tub ended up in the garbage after the cotton candy was gone).  The girls opted for Mickey suckers.
We wanted to ride something, but we also wanted to rest.  Peoplemover to the rescue!  I can never ride this without thinking of Kennedy, my great-cousin.  When they went to Disney last winter, she told Jenn that the peoplemover was her favorite ride.  So we rode in her honor!
At some point earlier in the day, Seth and Mason rode the Tomorrowland Speedway.  Seth insisted that we all go ride.  I honestly was not excited about this at all.  But we did.  Ellie and I rode together, Seth and Hannah Kate rode together and Mason rode by himself. Y'all.  It's been a long time since I laughed this hard.  But this was the funniest thing ever! As a matter of fact, it was so much fun that we rode it two more times.
Ellie had been begging to ride the carousel so that was our last stop.  The big kids didn't want to ride (but you better believe they'll be begging me to pay $2.50 for them to ride the carousel at the local mall here . . . no sir and no ma'am).
Mason couldn't pass up the sword in the stone without stopping for a photo op.

Hannah Kate wanted a turn, too.
But if anyone is going to get that sword out of the stone, it will be this girl.  Hands down.
We left the park and went back to our condo.  We ordered pizza for supper.  It was the perfect ending to the perfect day.