Thursday, September 27, 2007

Why yes, that IS a new cast I am wearing

So since I know I am going to get asked a hundred times (since people have already commented that they are surprised I am still wearing a cast) I figured I might as well get it out of the way here.

I went in to the doctor this morning after spending the last 9.5 weeks in a cast (and 12 weeks after the date of injury, July 4th) with the hope and expectation that I would finally be free from it's wretched clutches. Oh how wrong I was.

The doctor informed me that yes my bone was healing, and I am making good progress, but that unfortunately it wasn't completely healed. He said I could go home without a cast today if I wanted, but it was a 50-50 shot on me being back in his office in 6 months with the bone completely fractured again and restarting the whole process over again. It was either that or I get re-casted for another 4 weeks and in 4 weeks I can have the cast removed confident that my bone will be completely healed. Weighing the options and knowing that if I did re-break my wrist I could have a lifetime of arthritis in my wrist (a great option for someone who types daily as their main job duty), potential surgery to put screws in, and another 3 months in a cast... I decided to live with 4 more weeks (I have already made it this far, I am used to the cast, really whats 4 more weeks...)

But in the spirit of the upcoming fall holiday (also known as Halloween) I deviated from my normal. The last 2 casts have both been a baby blue color. I decided to go a different route and go for a Halloween color. It's not black. It's not orange. It's the third official Halloween color that you don't think of as the official Halloween color but when you hear it you will know what I am talking about. Yes, I have a glow in the dark cast. I figure Maddie will think it is pretty cool, and it's a bit festive, and I will now have a night light to read by.

October 26th, 10:50 am, you can't come soon enough...

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Gain from Pain

As many know, I am a BIG TIME sports fan, I follow pretty much any and all sports there are out there.

In the last few weeks there have been some pretty major sports stories circulating around, between OSU Coach Gundy verbally attacking a reporter in a press conference after his team won, to Cameragate where Bill Bellicheck got caught for doing what we all suspect every NFL team does in stealing signs, to finally Buffalo tight end Kevin Everett being injured and possibly paralyzed from a hit he received on the field of play.

This last story is actually the one I want to highlight, not because of the tragedy of the situation but actually the restoration of a man's body and how little coverage this has received in main stream media. When Kevin Everett was injured it was covered everywhere but already in a few short weeks it has been relegated to 2nd or 3rd page news and is tough to find any information on.

While perusing some of my normal sports sites I ran across this article in the Boston Globe: "Gain from pain." I won't cover the full article here, but I would HIGHLY suggest anyone who wants a "feel good story" to go and read that article pronto. But I will copy some excerpts here and provide a little commentary.

On Oct. 26, 1985, 19-year-old Citadel middle linebacker Marc Buoniconti suffered a dislocation of the third and fourth cervical vertebrae and a severe spinal cord injury while making a routine tackle. Now 40, Buoniconti has spent more than half his life in a wheelchair. Two weeks ago, Buffalo Bills tight end Kevin Everett injured the same two cervical vertebrae while making a routine tackle. Doctors say Everett will walk soon.
First of all how scary/exciting is to to know that you suffered an injury that put another man in a wheelchair for life, and yet because of advances in medical science a mere three weeks after suffering the same injury you may soon walk again.
Buoniconti did more than that. He decided to use his fame to raise money for a cure. He and Green founded the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, the world's largest comprehensive spinal cord injury research center, at the University of Miami.
The trio worked tirelessly, and to date they have raised more than $200 million for research. There are now 200 scientists, doctors, and researchers working under one roof
I find it amazing how underappreciated so many individuals in our society go unrecognized for their amazing contributions. Here is an athlete probably no one under 40 has even heard of (Buoniconti) and even if you are over 40 you have to be a die hard Miami/New England fan to know who he is (defensive players and linemen are highly under appreciated and under represented in the football hall of fame). Yet utilizing his limited fame he has raised over 200 million dollars for research. 200 million! Thats a lot of cash!
"It was less than 15 minutes after Everett hit the turf," Green said. "It was a bold decision - the first time a paralyzed patient or any patient following any kind of a brain or spinal cord injury has received this therapy within 15 minutes of a catastrophic injury. The results are amazing. And because of it, Everett will walk again."
Again it's only through God's providence that the owner of the Buffalo Bills is also a big supporter of the Miami Project (the above referenced charity) and because of his connections and support was the proper care able to be immediately administered to Everett. Not only is this going to revolutionize how injured football players are treated immediately following an on field injury, but has HUGE ramifications for on site emergency care at car crashes, constructions accidents, and a million other occasions where one could injury their spine. It's medicine being developed and utilized in sports that will have MUCH LARGER implications as it is applied throughout the entire medical community.
According to the National SCI Statistical Center, 11,000 new cases of spinal cord injuries occur in the United States each year. Human trials will start next year at the Miami Project on a healing treatment for chronic cases like Buoniconti's.
Think about how many individual lives are being transformed here. Not just the 11,000 spinal cord injury victims, but their families and loved ones who now go from having to care for a highly dependent person to having their mother/daughter/dad/son back in full health. Absolutely amazing.
"Let me tell you what he said in his Hall of Fame speech [in 2001]. 'I've had many accomplishments. Two Super Bowl championships, the unbeaten perfect season. I would trade this ring in and all my individual accomplishments if one thing could happen in my lifetime. As a father, I would like nothing more than to walk by his side. I'd give it all up to walk with my son again.'
How great and awesome is a father's love for his son. We are such imperfect beings with an imperfect ability to love when compared to our creator, but much even as a poor reflection of him, how awesome is that level of love!

This story is one of tragedy turning into redemption. It's about taking a horrific injury and finding a remedy through years of pain and suffering.

The only tragedy in this story now is that when you turn on your local news tonight, you won't hear a thing about it. Thats the real shame, because not only is it a feel good story of victory over adversity but it is a radical medical breath through that will impact tens, if not hundreds of thousands of lives, possibly even one close to you.

PSA of the Day

I am not even sure how to properly describe this video. I suppose they had the right intentions, but in terms of implementation... wow this is about as bad as it gets.

I think perhaps if you were offering the PSA to kids who were high or something they might get it, but other than that...

Also, it starts of a bit slow. It's weird but kind of slow, but I promise you if you watch for 2 minutes, within the first 2 minutes your jaw will hit the floor. Lets just say you will feel like you got blindsided by a banjo playing psycho.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Making a stand

I am just gonna edit this post, while attempting to be "funny" about a very tragic news article, I think it perhaps just came off a bit crass and confusing.

So yeah, I am just gonna remove the original post and state that the world has some pretty serious issues and needs Christ's love and mercy.

I love Settlers

But dang, I can't imagine EVER spending $400 on a board game.

Some people must just have WAYYY to much disposable income on hand.

(Although, if someone with that extra disposable income wants to get me something for Christmas... well I wouldn't complain :p)

Chinese Biological Warfare

Shalisa and I are both almost finished dying.

We went to Olympia Tuesday for the ultrasound, bought a used freezer, and then decided to go out to dinner.

We ended up eating at probably the nastiest, greasiest, scariest looking chinese restaraunt in the world.

Apparently the cat they served us (it might have been dog) was tainted with some form of biological warfare agent.

Needless to say for the last 48 hours Shalisa and I have been in the process of taking the entire content of our "insides" and putting them "outside" through various methods your body uses. I will let you draw your own conclusions.

I actually didn't go to work yesterday because I felt so crappy. For me to take a day off of work because I don't feel well is pretty rare. I could have a limb chopped off and would only take an hour or 2 to get the stitches and be back to work, I HATE using my personal time off for anything that is not "vacation."

We both woke up today feeling a bit better, although I have limited my intake to uhm, Jello, frozen ice, a banana and am just now contemplating stepping up to this yogurt I have... I am not sure though. Hopefully by tomorrow I will be back to eating greasy hamburgers and Taco Hell.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

February 7th, 2008

That's the date we've been told our little baby girl will want to make her debut.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Bah, I have been duped

I even suspected it before I posted (hence why this post is so quickly after the one I just posted) but to show that even internet super geeks like me can fall victim I won't delete the previous post.

Yes, thats right, is a hoax.

I kinda suspected it, but was so enraged that I made my post FIRST and then immediatly decided to do some research. What I SHOULD have done is bothered to research it first, as the very first result for my google search (marry our daughter snopes [for those that don't know, snopes is the urban legend reference database]) did indeed provide all the info that this was a hoax.

The snopes link is here:

I feel somewhat embarassed that I fell for it but at least I had the smarts to double check my facts before just ranting and raving without doing any research. So I will leave my original post up to show that I am an idiot and to show the importance of not believing everything you read on the internet.

Man, I still can't believe I made a internet newbie mistake... /me shakes head. I do take a small amount of relief in noting that the snopes reference is from the 12th of September, so this hoax is less than a week old. So at least I am on the cutting edge of internet hoax's :p

Next thing you know I will be ranting about bonsai kittens... (and if you don't get that joke, I provide you with this link:

Wow... this is disturbing

Okay, so first a disclaimer: I am about to post a link that while none of the actual content is "wrong" (it isn't sexually explicit, no foul language, no violence or anything) the content is, for lack of a better word, disturbing. If you easily get angered I warn you to maybe just skip the rest of this post and come back tomorrow when we have something bright and cheery to talk about.

So if you are reading this, you either decided to ignore my disclaimer or like passing a bad accident you just can't turn away, so I will give you one more chance. Stop reading this post, it will make you angry, I promise.

Okay, you asked for it, here is the link and then I will provide my commentary on it below:

So justin and I have joked before about setting up/pre-arranging Maddie and Judah and I often joke about trading my daughter for 20 camels or something... but I had always considered that idea and topic so prepostereous in this day and age that I assumed everyone KNEW I was joking. After viewing that site, I think I may need to scale back on joking about selling off my daughter as apparently some people here in the US still take that seriously.

I don't even know where to begin. While I hold to a biblical view of marriage (man is the head of the household) I would never go so far to view my wife, much less my daughter, as some sort of "property" to be traded and sold. I know in olden times pre-arranged marriages happened, and I know pre-arranged marriages still happen (and can even be successful) but this isn't even pre-arranged marriage. This is auctioning off of young girls to a high bidder... thats the definition of slavery pretty much in my book. To think as a parent that you are so brainwashed into a cultish thought process that you would be willing to give away a child for monetary gain is just unthinkable. I would do pretty much ANYTHING to protect my daughter from harm.

The other thing that disturbs me so much is that this just reeks of "pedophile online shopping store" type website. What stops some pervert with lots of cash from buying some 13 year old girl to be his "bride"... uses her for a few years, and then discards her to buy his next victim. Not only that, but it would be completely legal from everything I can tell, and there would be no recourse to put some scumbag like that behind bars. Thats just what I want for Maddie let me tell you! Lets sell her for a couple of thousand dollars so she can be emotionally scared for life! Seriously, who buys into this type of thinking? And on top of that, as a parent, even if I believed in pre-arranged marriages who in the world would be willing to sell their daughter to some faceless internet stranger. Sure you might meet him and chat a few times before you give your daughter away, but really what do you know about the guy. The whole point behind pre-arranged marriages was the joining of families and what not, that you were giving your child away to someone you in theory at least KNEW so you could hope for a safe/happy/healthy home. There is NONE of that here.

Finally, the fact that peppered throughout their site is claims of "Christianity" and "following biblical principles" and other stuff makes me even more sick. To think that I get grouped in with these sicko's and whack jobs when someone talks about "Christians" only makes it 10x more infuriating.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Chocolate Rain - Internet Phenomenon

So I don't know how many people have had the experience of listening to Tay Zonday's "Chocolate Rain" on YouTube (or you may have caught him live on Jimmy Kimmel). It's actually been about a month since he was on Jimmy Kimmel.

Anyway, if you haven't seen/heard it yet you can find it here: "Chocolate Rain"

Well on Best Week Ever on VH1 John Mayer did a freestyle parody using the beat of Nelly Furtado's "Say It Right" and I have to say... this is seriously one of the funniest things I have ever seen.

+10 Awesome points for John Mayer

Thursday, September 13, 2007

I know it's not the end of the world

but it sure feels like it.

I know 99.9% of my readers could care less, and the one person that would care (my brother) is the one that sent me the info.

But seriously, the Blazers draft Greg Oden, my life couldn't be better. He never even suits up for a pre-season game and now he is out for the year (but more likely 2, as microfracture really takes 2 years to recover from).

And the worst part is this just feels like another Walton's Feet, Bowie's Leg, Sabonis's knees, and every other "Big Man who comes to Portland and immediatly has career altering injury."

Ugh, I missed work yesterday because I was physically ill. I feel like leaving work today because I am emotionally ill. Seriously, I actually feel like crying right now.

At least we will get to see LaMarcus and Frye work together, but boy don't most Blazer fans wish Randolph was still in town about now.

The other thing, so many Blazer fans that I know have been rooting for Darius Miles (who had the EXACT SAME SURGERY) to not be able to come back from his surgery so that he would retire and his salary would come off the books. Heck I was one of those people wishing he would retire. Now Greg Oden has the same surgery and everyone and their mom (especially my mom, a huge Blazer fan) is now praying that Oden can come back quickly from this surgery. I don't know what you call it, and I know a lot of Christians don't believe in it, but karma is a bitch ain't it.

Monday, September 10, 2007


So I am at the airport and heard from my dad the link in the last post was broken. So try this one:

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Last full day

So it's our last full day... I am a bit sad to leave, ending a vacation is always not much fun. But on the same hand I am just about ready to sleep in my own bed, have Maddie in her own room and have some nice home cooked food instead of another resteraunt meal.

This vacation has been about perfect in terms of both length of stay (if we had left today I would have been sad, but I am okay with leaving tomorrow) and how Maddie has performed. She has had her meltdowns and whiny moments and all the other things you expect from an 18 month old... but she has those at home as well. She has been mommy and daddy's little princess and both Shalisa and I have commented that we are glad we came.

Since I didn't post last night here is a quick recap of yesterday afternoon. We showed up at the Magic Kingdom right at 3:00 right as the parade was starting (we thought it started at 4:00, good thing we showed up early) and literally walked out from under the railway station right into perfect parade viewing seats. Once again Maddie was absolutely THRILLED with the parade and loved everything about it (we took tons of photo's). Right near the end of the parade it started to rain (first rain we have had all week) so we whipped out the rain cover for the stroller and the umbrella we brought along. As we started into the park comfortable and dry as hordes of people were abandoning the park to avoid the rain. We walked over to Pirates figuring it would be a nice indoor ride to wait out the rain. Unfortunately the line was too short (we got right on) and by the time we got out the rain was still going strong [also as a side note, Maddie did fabulous this time around, never once even crying].

The rain had actually picked up a bit and was a full fledged Florida thunderstorm, so we dashed across the walkway under our umbrella and walked over to the Country Bear Jamboree. After we got done there it was STILL raining, so we walked under the covered walkway over to the Dole Whip station where we ordered 2 more dole whips and sat under the awning enjoying our Dole Whips (it was still like 85 degrees out, even while dumping rain). From there we hiked back under the awnings to the Enchanted Tiki room and watched that show. This was our first time in the Tiki Room and Maddie really liked it (although she got a bit scared when it was dark by the end she was literally dancing on the floor).

By that time our ADR was due and we went and had dinner at Liberty Tree Inn. This was one of our most favorite meals, Maddie absolutely LOVED the characters and was dancing with them, hugging them, kissing them, and as the park was closing early (night of joy) we were one of the last people to leave the resteraunt so she got TONS of attention and was yet again a little star for everyone around us to watch.

Although the park was closed to us (we didn't have a wrist band) we really wanted to take Maddie on the carousel. We walked over and asked the guy running the entrance and he looked around and said "sure, why not" so that was a treat to get on. Maddie was even able to ride the special horse (Cinderella's, for those that don't know, it's the one with the ribbon on the tail).

We left the park, came back to the room and went to bed.

Today we went to MGM where we started off with dad riding the Tower of Terror. I never understand WHY I ride that ride, I don't really like it, I never have much fun, and I am always left a bit queesy when I get off for about 10-15 minutes. But I rode it anyway, stupid me.

After that we treked over and rode the Great Movie Ride. It's an older ride but still fun. Maddie got a bit scared during the loud gunfight, but by the time the munchkins in the Wizard of Oz were all singing she was fine again. After that we went over to the Honey I Shrunk the Kids playground. Maddie absolutely loved yet another playground, and rode down probably the biggest slide she has ever ridden. The best part is she did it all herself, when she would get to the bottom she would climb all the stairs back up to the top and ride it with just mom and dad sitting back and watching her. It's exciting to see her express her independence and do things on her own, but a bit sad as well. After an exhausting run in the playground for 20-30 minutes we went over and rode the Backlot Tour. It's one of those rides that is fun the first time, but I don't know why I keep riding it. It never changes and Catastrophe Canyon is alright, but the ride takes like 30 minutes so meh... maybe next time we will skip it, but I doubt it. After that we ate lunch and then headed out of the park.

Maddie took a quick hour and half nap (while dad watched football) and then we headed out for one last romp in the pop jets. She played in the water for about 30 minutes, we went back to the room to change, and then headed off for Epcot.

The first thing we did in Epcot was get our picture taken in the Innoventions Plaza. Every Disney Visa Card Holder that has their picture taken there gets a free 5x7, so hey, free is a good price. After that we headed over to Mission Space. I wasn't going to ride it (it's a big spinny ride after all) but decided to give the "Green Team" (Disney's code word for non-spinning wuss version of the ride) a try. It's basically the same ride, only instead of spinning you around they just have the motion simulator lean further forward or backward to create the effects of liftoff and zero G and what not. I have to say, I was very pleasantly surprised. The non-spinning version of the ride still felt very realistic when you blasted off and what not only with 100% less vomit inducing naseua! After the ride I met up with Shalisa and Maddie in the pavilion where they were playing around. Maddie had found this tube thing for kids that you can crawl down (think ball pit tube thingy's) and she was hooked. I even took her up to the "big kid" version which was up some stairs and went through it with her. It took us like 15 minutes to crawl through the whole thing, my knees may never recover, and I think I knocked myself in the head about 50 times but it was SOOO worth it, she laughed and giggled the whole time and absolutely loved it.

Exiting Mission Space we headed over to Mexico to walk around the worlds in Epcot. We enjoyed looking at each of the nations and finally got to Germany where we ate dinner. The food in the biergarten was really good, Maddie loved the live polka band that was playing, and we enjoyed talking with our server who was from Munchen (Munich) about our trip to Germany last year. After we exited Germany we continued around the world, picked up our free photo near space ship earth (the lady even gave us a second free photo, of Maddie kissing Mickey since she said it was the cutest picture ever and we had to own it but we had chosen the family portrait instead, so that was really cool) and then rode the Monorail over to the Magic Kingdom. At MK Maddie hula hooped in the street with some other little kids while dad ran over and bought her her first Mickey Ears. We bought them in the kid size (not infant size) and had them embroidered with her name. We bought them late since we knew she wouldn't wear them (she goes in and out of hat phases, she is currently "out" of a hat phase) and figured it would be a fun thing to bring back in the future.

We rode a bus back to the resort, picked up some ice cream for everyone, and then finally made it back to the room. Maddie is sleeping now and dad is just getting ready to watch Sunday night football as soon as I finish this post.

Because I want to watch football, and this internet connection is like the slowest thing on the planet, I am going to cheat.

Here are a TON of photo's for you to enjoy of Ryan, Shalisa and Maddie in Disney World, courtesy of PhotoPass.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Nearing the End (Shalisa)

We only have 1 full day of Disney magic left. A little sad, seeing everything at a slower pace with time to enjoy the resort pools I think gives a longer tolerance for how long they can vacation here.

We've pretty much seen and done everything and enjoyed it all so very much. Yesterday we stopped off at Animal Kingdom in the afternoon to enjoy the parade before we headed to Boma for dinner. Maddie thoroughly enjoyed every part of the parade sitting high on Daddy's shoulders. Ryan and I actually have never watched an afternoon parade on any of our trips together. We choose to ride the rides while everyone else in the parks is busy watching Mickey cruise by on some fanciful rig. But with Madeleine in tow, we thought she just might enjoy a fun parade, and I have to say it was an enjoyable even for everyone.

Boma was delicious as always. For those not familiar, it is a restaurant at the Animal Kingdom Lodge featuring mostly South African foods. It's a "grazing" restaurant, and I especially love their fried plantain corn salad, falafel, fufu, and banana bread pudding. We had a really great server, which we decided helps make the food taste better...not that Boma needs any help with that! And Maddie, our little hollow leg eater, ate 2 plates of mac n cheese and fries...she munched and munched and munched!

By this morning I had the "sickness". But I'm doing pretty good, and everyone else is pretty much over it all. It's a short lived cold, which is nice to know. And it seems to respond fairly well to cold medicine.

We headed to Epcot today to see a few things we hadn't gotten around to yet. We still have several countries to explore tomorrow, but used fastpasses to ride Soarin' and Ryan was able to just walk onto Test Track. We tried out Figment again with Maddie, which she again thought was great till the very end when they blast you with lights, wind, and noise. It scares me too.

We're going to try and see the Magic Kingdom afternoon parade today and then eat a nice meal at the Liberty Tree Tavern with Goofy. I'm really looking forward to seeing Maddie interact with more characters, she seems to thoroughly enjoy them.

Friday, September 07, 2007

My Return to the Game

So my 1 day on the injured list seemed to do me well. While I am still a bit congested my nose has stopped running and I am feeling pretty good. Still a little "tired" feeling but I figure give it one more day and I will be tip top. Thanks to Shalisa for covering for me yesterday.

So today we woke up bright and early at 7:00 so we could take advantage of another Little Ones Magic Hour at Magic Kingdom. We arrived a bit later than we had planned (our bus took FOREVER) and so we didn't get into the park until about 8:20. The first thing we did was head on over to Dumbo. The line was SUPER long and Maddie and I ended up having to wait like... 8 minutes or something horrible like that. The good news is Maddie seemed to LOVE flying in Dumbo, she smiled and waved the whole time... although I am not sure if that is good news, as this means on any return trips chances are high I will be dragged back on to that horrid ride. I find it funny that everyone hates It's a Small World yet I am the only person passionately opposed to Dumbo. I mean at least It's a Small World has air conditioning, there is NEVER a line, your floating on water so you can kind of rock yourself to sleep... yes it has a really annoying song but thats why God made ear plugs. Dumbo on the other hand is out in the blazing sun, the line queue has like no shade, the line always takes like an hour on a typical Disney day, the ride lasts all of MAYBE 40 seconds, and all you do is spin around in a circle and make yourself sick... doesn't sound like good times to me. ANYWAY....

After Dumbo we went and rode the carousel again, which Maddie of course loved again. After we got off that we went over and on Grandma T's advice we decided to try another 3D movie. We tried out Mickey's Philharmagic. The movie was louder and darker than I remembered, but surprisingly Maddie did really well in it. She loved hearing all the musical instruments and nothing was so intense (except for maybe the water, for a girl who loves to play in water she hates being surprised with it splashing in her face).

From Philharmagic we left the theater and walked down by the Tea Cups. While we were there Tigger bounced on by and Maddie was entranced the whole time pointing at him and jabbering away. When we arrived both Alice and the Mad Hatter were riding the Tea Cups so Maddie pointed and laughed at them. Then Shalisa took Maddie on a ride on the Tea Cups. Now understand I don't actually ever get sick on Dumbo but it isn't a huge stretch of the imagination to think that I COULD get sick on Dumbo. So the chances of me getting on the Tea Cups are about zero and none... barfing up breakfast doesn't sound like a "Magical Moment" to me. So Shalisa and Maddie rode the Tea Cups, which I am glad to say both seemed to really enjoy and both were able to walk straight when the ride finished, so I don't think any permanent brain scrambling went on.

After spinning ourselves sick (not really) we headed down to Tomorrowland and picked up a sweet cream cheese pretzel... wow was that good! We hopped on the TTA People Mover and rode it around for 10-15 minutes and Maddie really did seem to enjoy the ride.

After that we disembarked and headed straight into Buzz Lightyear where this time I jumped into a car by myself right ahead of Maddie and Shalisa. This way I could snap some pictures of both of them driving around fighting the evil forces of Zerg. Sadly, I spent so much time shooting pictures of Maddie and Shalisa I didn't fare so well in fighting Zerg. I only scored about 300,000 points, which is a far cry from the 999,999 points I have scored before to be a "Galactic Hero." Although I am proud to say that even with being distracted by taking so many pictures, I was the highest score of anyone around me... which really speaks to how BAD everyone is at shooting Z's, not how good I was (both Kyle and I have been Galactic Hero's with 999,999 on previous trips. My parents ALSO have gotten the 999,999 score, but in fairness they cheated, the ride broke down on them and they were trapped in the room for like 5 minutes just racking up points, both Kyle and I scored it legitimately).

After Buzz we headed over to Main Street and had our picture taken as a family in front of the castle a couple of times. One of the things we got in our package was a free 5x7 photo so we figured we would have a few pictures taken and then we would pick out the best.

We went down main street, out the exit, into the monorail and over to the Contemporary Resort to eat at Chef Mickey's. This is both Shalisa and I's first "breakfast" at Disney and I must say... I would definitely do that again. The food was great and having the characters wandering around was really fun as well. I think Maddie is starting to get used to the characters as she actually engaged them this time, gave them high fives, hugs, and even kissed Mickey right on the nose.

Well we are back in our room letting Maddie sleep, and I only have 3 more episodes of Lost to go, so I need to end this post, Have a great day, see you real soon.

This picture is for my co-workers, I just want them to know I was thinking of them while in Disney:

Thursday, September 06, 2007

From Shalisa

Ryan is currently getting our lunch at the resort food court, so I (Shalisa) decided to start a new blog post for everyone. I brought Maddie straight to the room for her nap this afternoon cause she really needs as much sleep as possible. She has a bit of a runny nose, and Ryan has been feeling a little off since yesterday. He keeps saying he's not sick...but I think both of them have tiny colds. I'm just thankful it's not me (yet).

So, last night we ate dinner at the Coral Reef restaurant which is in Epcot's Living Seas pavilion. There are giant viewing windows into their main tank...which is where Ryan took his dive on Tuesday. I was pretty excited about this restaurant. A lot of people really enjoy the food, and the atmosphere of being "under the sea" was very appealing as well as what I assumed would be fun for Maddie. I have to say though, I've been a tad disapointed in some of our dining experiences this trip. Perhaps it's just that I'm battling a 1 year old who primarily want to be seated on my lap or crawling under the table, but I think that Ryan will agree that service from restaurant CM's has been a bit lacking. Last night the server was not terrible, but nothing to write home about. She really only paused long enough at our table to comment on how much pizza Maddie ate. She was certain we had eaten it for her. (THIS is why she is on the dining plan!) Anyway. Ryan's food was pretty good. My entree was Mahi Mahi and I had been looking forward to this dish, however it was very bland. And their version of couscous is what I call fish eye pasta.

On an up note...Maddie had a blast for the second time in the pop jet pool. I was able to snap some pretty great pictures.

This morning was a nice slow start as we didn't need to be anywhere till 9, and we're moving a little slower with not feeling well. We've seen a good portion of the attractions, and I think that is helping us relax a bit more and enjoy taking things in. We headed off for Animal Kingdom. And for the very first time we didn't have to wave goodbye to the bus as it drove off without us. We decided to try for 2 shows back to back, and since Maddie likes birds we took her to "Flights of Wonder" which is a bird show. Ryan and I have never seen it either.

The show was very good, the birds very active (hawks and bultures and other birds swoop right over your head) and it was actually a pretty funny show as well. Unfortunately I think Maddie just wasn't feeling well so I don't think she enjoyed it as much as she could have. She REALLY loves birds and when they were flying about she did glance at them, but she spent the majority of the show trying to crawl into my lap when I set her down and trying to crawl out of my lap when I picked her up... she wanted to be wherever she wasn't.

After Flights of Wonder we headed over to the Finding Nemo Musical. This is a new show to Animal Kingdom since we last went, so it was another new show for Ryan and I. This time it was in an air conditioned building and we got out Maddie's sticker book, so she did quite a bit better. Once the show started Maddie was a lot more interested in paying attention than the last show. The Finding Nemo Musical is 40 minutes long so having her pay attention the whole time is a pipe dream, but she did exceptionally well and really seemed to enjoy the show.

Afterwards we decided to just head out of the park and get everyone some rest. As I said before both Ryan and Maddie are feeling a bit under the weather (it is nothing serious, I think those two just get too excited at places and don't sleep well, they need a day off). We will see if we even go back into the parks today or if we just bum around the hotel for the rest of the day.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

A Magical Morning

So everyone woke up bright and early at 7:15 this morning and started to get ready for the day. We ended up arriving at the park at around 8:15, about 15 minutes after it had opened. We headed straight for Fantasy land to ride some of the rides.

The first ride we did was Winnie the Pooh. Both Shalisa and I were a little concerned that Maddie would get scared during the dream sequence when the hephalumps and woozles were all around. It turns out, that was Maddie's favorite part of the ride! She was waving at herself in the mirror, pointing at the hephalumps and generally having a grand time. We ended up riding Winnie the Pooh twice, both times we were able to just walk on to the ride with no wait.

We then headed over to Peter Pan and hopped in our pirate ship for take off. Maddie never got upset during the ride, but she didn't really seem that interested on anything on that ride either. The ride is sort of dark so it is harder to see things, and it is more "realistic" than cartoony like Winnie the Pooh, so we only rode it once since Maddie didn't seem that interested.

After that we walked over to the carousel and Maddie mounted up on a horse. This was no doubt about it her favorite ride. I think she knew what was going to happen because of her previous carousel rides and she was very excited to get on the horse. We rode around once (with Goofy riding along behind us) and Maddie did not want to get off. I don't think we even had to get off (there was only like 4 people in line when the ride ended) but we decided to follow the rules and exit the ride. We then promptly got back on and let Maddie ride around once more. I am sure before the week is out we will have more trips on the carousel.

After that we looked at riding Dumbo but the line was pretty long (at least a 5 or 10 minute wait) and being the line snobs that we are (anyone that has been to Disney just chuckled at/hates me for complaining about 5-10 minute wait on Dumbo) we decided we would do it another morning when we know that it will just be a walk on ride.

So at 9:00 the rest of the park opened up so we headed down to Tomorrowland. We all jumped on Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin and took a shot at taking down the Evil Emperor Zerg. Again both Shalisa and I were surprised at how much Maddie enjoyed this ride and it is definitely something we will do again.

Once we got off Buzz I headed over to Space Mountain while Shalisa and Maddie stopped to pick up a snack and ride the Tomorrowland Transit Authority People Mover. Space Mountain was... Space Mountain. Nothing exciting (it's not my favorite ride) but I always feel obligated to ride it at least once a trip, especially since it was another walk on ride (no line). When I got off I found Shalisa as her and Maddie were just exiting the People Mover and Shalisa told me Maddie loved it and that I will have to ride it with her at a later time.

We then headed over to the Monsters Inc Laugh Factory and watched that show. It was a definitely over Maddie's head (although she did join in with clapping and raising her hands when everyone else was doing it) but as both Shalisa and I had never been to the attraction before it was a treat to do for a first time. I have heard mixed reviews of this show but Shalisa and I were in agreement that it was definitely a good show and we would recommend it.

After we exited the comedy show we headed up to Mickey's Toontown Fair and wandered around Mickey and Minnie's houses. Maddie had a fun time crawling on chairs, pushing buttons and playing around on all the houses. We spent about 20 minutes in the Toontown Fair and then headed on our way to get lunch.

We decided to eat at the Columbia Harbor house, but on our way we decided to stop at Small World figuring Maddie would like it. She didn't seem all that interested or excited about Small World, so thankfully Shalisa and I have no plans to re-ride it. We then ordered our lunch, and then headed out of the park right at 12:00. It seemed like we were the only people headed out and many people were actually still headed in. We got on the bus and while driving to our resort it just started to sprinkle on the bus window (first rain we have seen this trip) so we figured today was an excellent day to make an early exit of the park and avoid getting soaked.

Maddie is napping now and when she wakes up I think we might hit either the pool or the pop jets before heading over to Epcot. Hope everyone has a Magical Day!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Dive Quest

So I don't have a lot of pictures for this post, mainly because for a majority of the last 5 hours I was either backstage at Disney (no photo's allowed) or underwater (no underwater camera here).

Dive Quest, was in a word: AWESOME. Seriously to any divers out there that are physically able and headed to Disney World, I think I would rate this as a "must do." I was a little nervous about going, mainly because it has been a while since my last serious dive and I was handicapped (cast and all that).

The Dive instructors were great, if you have dove in the last... 10 years you should have very little problem at all. Heck, not to toot my own horn or anything but I was one of the best divers in the group, holding neutrally bouyant, using a reasonable amount of air (I had 800 lbs of air left when we were done, most everyone else was at 200 or below and one guy had to refill mid dive!) and moving through all zones of the water (most everyone ether just hugged the floor or swam an inch below the surface, I was moving all over the place in there).

I got to see a TON of fish, I was literally nose to nose (maybe a foot seperated us) from an 8 foot shark. I would have played chicken but the dive instructors told us that we weren't allowed to touch the animals so alas, I had to move out of his way... but it was pretty cool/creepy being that close to an animal of that size. I could see his teeth and everything... FUN TIMES! There were also tons of rays (one nice sting ray with about a 3 foot tail), turtles, and other numerous fish that I had no clue what they were.

Despite all that, my favorite part of the dive was actually interacting with the guests on the other side of the glass. I had an absolute blast entertaining the people. There was one little girl, probably 2 or 3 who was on the other side of the glass who seemed a bit scared of all this people floating around. I waved at her and she cautiously waved back, while hiding behind her mom. I then took out my regulator and stuck my tongue out at her, everyone on the other side of the glass started laughing real loud and she even laughed and came up to the glass to stick her tongue out at me. Then I swam over to the Coral Reef (the restaurant under the aquarium) and got to interact with several of the diners. They all seemed to love seeing the divers swim by, and I even performed a few tricks for them. I floated by while standing on my head, so I was upside down the whole time. I played peekaboo with a little boy, I turned myself upside down and then would stick my head down from the top of the glass. All in all a completely wonderful experience that I would do again in a heart beat.

After Dive Quest we had just enough time to run over the the Garden Grill in the land where we had a reservation. Something went wrong and we ended up having to wait about 40 minutes to get seated. It wasn't the worst thing in the world, but since we plan on waking up early tomorrow morning we had to eat real fast once we were seated to make sure we could leave right away so Maddie could get some sleep.

This meal was also Maddie's first "up close" encounter with a Character. Maddie seemed to LOVE the characters, as long as they were about 3 feet away. Once they got any closer and she started getting worried they were going to eat her or something and just got sorta clingy to mom. Then the character would walk away and Maddie would spend the next 5 minutes trying to crawl up the side of the booth so she could get a glimpse of them. Then she would see another character coming, get real excited, wave and smile at them, and then when they got close she shied away. She did this about 5 times, but we have heard it is actually quite common for children of her age to have that exact reaction.

Well we got back at 9 pm (a really late night for us) but the good news is that by 9:15 Maddie was conked out. We will see when she wakes up tomorrow morning, we are planning on doing the Little Ones Early Magic hour, but figure we may end up leaving the park as early as 11:00 tomorrow morning so she can get a nice long nap in.

Hope everyone has a wonderful evening, I am done with this post cause I have some episodes of Lost to get watching :p

Day 3 (and the end of Day 2)

First of all I apologize for not getting a post up last night. I would like to claim that we were kidnapped by aliens or Maddie had a terrible time sleeping or we were spending a night in the Castle, but sadly the truth is much less exciting. Shalisa and I brought along all of the episodes for the last season of Lost to watch while Maddie was sleeping, and well... Lets just say we hit a really interesting part and I didn't want to stop watching and so you my readers suffered. For that I apologize.

So to quickly recap the 2nd half of Day 2: after Maddie woke up we headed back over to Epcot. When we arrived we decided to head over to the living seas. First we rode Nemo into the living seas, which Maddie really liked. During part of the ride we hopped on the EAC (East Australia Current for you non-Nemo loving fans) which was just a big tunnel with lots of bubbles spinning on the wall. This was the only part Maddie was a little afraid of, and I think it mainly had to do with it being dark and a bit loud, but she made it just fine and then enjoyed all the fish in the Living Seas pavilion. As we were getting ready to leave we saw that Turtle Talk with Crush was just about to start so we ducked in. Maddie seemed interested at times, but as the attraction is geared around kids interacting with Crush on screen it was just a bit out of her range. Both Shalisa and I thought it was a great attraction, and if you have a 4-5 year old it could possibly be the highlight of their trip.

We then headed out to the monorail, rode it to the TTC (Ticket and Transportation Center) and then from there walked over to the Polynesian resort. There we had dinner at Ohana's. It was probably the meal I was most looking forward to besides Le Celier just because our last visit it was such a great meal. This time... meh. It wasn't "bad" but it definitely didn't live up to my expectation. I think mostly it had to do with our server, who I think was busy trying to do anything other than you know... serve us :( Oh well, one so-so meal does not a trip make and the food was still good. At least Maddie really enjoyed her hot dog (2nd one and counting) and dipping her fries into her ketchup.

After dinner we headed back to the Pop, swam in the pool for a bit, put Maddie to bed, and then episodes of Lost commenced, not the most exciting end of the day (unless you really like Lost, then in fact, it was really exciting!)

This morning Maddie woke up at her usual 7:15, I am amazed at how quickly she figured out this new time zone and is up at her usual time. It works out well though as we were able to eat breakfast, shower, get ready for the day and make Magic Kingdom for park opening.

The first thing we decided to do was get some of mom and dad's rides out of the way. Since we intend to go to "Little Ones Magic Hour" (basically the park opens an hour early only for WDW hotel guests with children under the age of 9) tomorrow morning where we will get to ride all of the Fantasy Land rides with no wait. So we headed over to do Splash Mountain first to avoid the lines later in the day. First of all I would like to state that I have broken my personal record for "lowest ride attendance on a major theme park ride while I rode it" today. I walked up the line for Splash Mountain and literally did not see another soul. I then walked into the queing area, which was completely empty except for cast members. I then jumped on a boat... I was the only person on the boat. I could only see 1 boat ahead of me, but it was completely empty, and I could see the 2 boats behind me... also completely empty. It literally felt like I was riding Splash Mountain all by myself... For comparisons sake this ride during the height of the summer season typically has a 90-120 minute wait due to lines.

I got off Splash Mountain at which point Shalisa jumped on. Sadly for her she did not get quite as empty of a boat as me. She was the only person on her boat and then at the last minute 2 other people jumped on her boat. The boat behind her was empty, but she had riders on her boat, so she isn't as cool as me :p During this whole time while Mom and Dad were riding one of us was sitting with Maddie down in "The Laughin' Place" which is a playground for little kids whose parents are riding Splash Mountain. Again Disney is so good at this stuff, they know little kids won't ride, but their parents will want to, so they provide a minor attraction within the confines of the major attraction to keep the little kids busy while the big kids are having their fun. +1 awesome points for Disney.

We headed from Splash down on over to the Jungle Cruise. Maddie really enjoyed the Jungle Cruise, pointing out all the "animals" that she saw and waving at the head hunters who were shooting blow darts at us from the shore. I don't think she quite understood they were supposed to be trying to kill her, she just thought they looked really pretty.

After Jungle Cruise we hit up Pirates of the Caribbean. Two things I want to comment on here. First of all this refurb they have done on this ride since the movies came out are REALLY cool. To start off the ride you literally drive through Davey's Jones head (which is an CG animated face projected on a cloud of mist being sprayed down through the ceiling). It's hard to explain, but trust me it's very cool and just a bit creepy (Maddie screamed at it, but I can't blame her for that one, it's a pretty trippy effect, even the 9 year olds in front of us got a bit spooked by it). Having Captain Jack "hidden" through out the ride and popping up at different places is also fun, and really takes the ride into the next century. Not that Pirates really needed an update but Disney made an already great ride even better. The other point is this ride is a LOT darker than I remember. Maddie screamed at the afore mentioned effect and then also screamed when the boat went plunging down in complete darkness. Again I can't really blame her but I do feel bad that I had forgotten that part (although I am sure I still would have taken her anyway). Overall she did great, she got a little shaken up but quickly recovered as mom and dad pointed out the kitty or the birdy or some other animatronic that arose in the next "scene" of the ride.

After pirates we jumped back to Frontierland and watched the Country Bear Jamboree. I am not a huge fan of this attraction, to me it's nothing more than a 15 minute break in an air conditioned room (although there are times when this is the single thing I want more than anything else). That being said, hands down no questions asked this so far has been Maddie's favorite attractions. She clapped and danced along with the bears, she was never startled or frightened a single time and had the wonderful look of amazement on her face during the whole show. So while dad up until now thought that the entire attraction was just a waste of valuable real estate inside the Disney park, I have rethought my position and realize just how perfect this show is for the younger kids. (Also as a side note, look at how many people are wandering around in that picture of the park, I love coming to Disney this time of year).

After the show we walked into Pecos Bill's for an early lunch. Dad had a double bacon cheeseburger with fries and a peanut butter brownie, mom had a turkey wrap with fries and a cup of yogurt, and Maddie had chicken strips with grapes and applesauce. Wasn't our best meal, but wasn't the worst either, typical park food which can hit the spot when you are hungry.

After lunch we were SUPPOSED to leave the park but mom convinced me to take Maddie on one more ride. So we walked over to Fantasyland and Maddie and I stood in line for 10 minutes for this ride. Now I have a bit of a backstory to tell here. When I was 8-9 years old my parents took my brother and I to Disneyland. We enjoyed ourselves as much as any 2 kids would enjoy themselves at Disneyland, but there was one ride I was particularly fond of. In fact, when it came time for our family to ride the Matterhorn I didn't want to ride the Matterhorn, I wanted to ride my favorite ride. My parents, like all good parents, didn't want to force us to do anything we didn't want to do and so my mom took me over to my favorite ride while my dad and brother rode the Matterhorn. This sole decision haunted me for the next 15 years as I didn't get a chance to ride the Matterhorn until Shalisa and I returned to Disneyland a few years back. You can bet your last dollar my brother taunted me ENDLESSLY that he got to see the "Abominal Snowman" while I was busy off driving my car.

Yes, Autopia, the dream of every young boy. I could think of nothing in the world I would rather do than drive around in a go-cart on a fixed track while constantly ramming into the car front of me and being rammed by the car behind me. Well Shalisa convinced me that I needed to take Maddie on Autopia here in Disneyworld. So I let her drive the car while I operated the peddles. It was pretty hot, but she really liked grabbing on to the steering wheel and moving it back and forth.

After Autopia we walked back to Adventureland, mom and dad each grabbed a dole whip float (our first of this trip, definitely not our last) and then headed out to the bus stop. A quick bus trip later we were back in the room, Maddie is sleeping, dad is blogging, and everyone is getting ready for dad to go on Divequest in a mere 2 hours. I will make sure to make a post tonight, but it will be later than usual as we have really late dinner reservations, as at 5 o'clock I intend to be somewhere underwater in the worlds largest indoor saltwater aquarium.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Day 2 - Are we having fun yet?

Not sure if you can tell from the picture or not... but I am pretty sure Maddie liked Animal Kingdom.

We took off early this morning to take advantage of the early magic hour in Animal Kingdom where visitors who are staying on property are allowed into the park 1 hour early. The first thing we did is walk over to Expedition Everest where we nabbed a fast pass ticket. We then walked from Everest over to Kiliminjaro Safari's and took Maddie on her first Animal Kingdom ride.

The animals were out in full force, we saw Hippos, Aligators, Elephants, Lions, Ostriches, Zebras, and of course Lions. Maddie was pretty enthralled with all of the animals so it was quite the successful ride.

After that we walked back over to Expedition Everest where I got to ride it for the first time. I thought it was a "good" ride, but I am not sure I could rate it as great. The technology of the track switching and what not so that it allows you to ride part of the ride backwards, part forwards (but not the same parts) is pretty cool, but overall the ride just feels like a supped up Thunder Mountain Railroad.

After Everest we walked over to "Dinoland USA." the first ride we did there was called Tricerotop Twirl. To explain it as simply as I can: it's dumbo only instead of an elephant you ride a dinosaur. Maddie seemed to enjoy the ride pretty well, I think she is still to young to grasp the concept of the joystick making the dinosaur fly higher or lower (dad did an EXCELLENT job of flying our dinosaur if I do say so myself :p). Shalisa chose not to ride, deciding instead to take pictures from the sideline. Maddie never once cried (even when the 6 year old in front of her had a complete meltdown before the ride even started and had to be carted off) and she never seemed to be afraid that mom was missing. She wasn't bored, but she never broke into a huge grin either. We will give Dumbo or Aladdin's Carpets a whirl once we get to Magic Kingdom, but perhaps those rides just aren't for her (I could think of worse lots in life than not having to ride Dumbo).

We then walked over to "The Boneyard" which is a playground themed as a large dinosaur dig site. Maddie practically ran right in and started climbing stairs on her own. Both Shalisa and I were content to hover behind her and sort of let her decide what she wanted to do. A lot of the slides were "tube" slides, which are those completely enclosed slides. I thought for sure Maddie would have little interest in going down them, and that she would be scared to be trapped.... oh how wrong I was. Maddie stuck her head in one, decide she wouldn't die, sat down and away she went down the slide. I ran down to the bottom of the slide and nabbed some pictures of her coming out the end. She really seemed to enjoy it, so much so that while mom was standing at the top of the slide, and dad was standing at the base of the slide, Maddie navigated the ramp back up to the top by herself. She was never out of our sight but it was quite the trek for her to make on her own.

After we got done exploring the dig site, crawling through caves, sliding on slides, splashing in the water fall, we headed over for lunch. We ate at Flametree BBQ (one of our favorite counter services in all of WDW). I had a half rack of BBQ ribs, a cup of baked beans, a side of onion rings a diet coke and a frozen lemonade for dessert. Shalisa had a fruit plate, a side of yogurt, a corn muffin, a slice of key lime pie and some iced tea. We didn't even use a 3rd counter service credit for Maddie since there was MORE than enough between our 2 lunches to share with Maddie. Have I mentioned how much I love the Disney Dining plan yet? After lunch we wandered through some shops, tried on a few hats, and headed out for the buses. Grabbed a bus back and Maddie is now napping. After she wakes up we are debating between going back to Epcot or finally taking the plunge into the Magic Kingdom.

On a side note, you may have noticed we have yet to actually visit the Magic Kingdom. This is intentional for 2 reasons. The main reason is this is labor day weekend and we figured it could be a bit crowded. By hitting all the other parks we hope to avoid the huge lines at MK and have the park to ourselves come tomorrow when all the kids are back in school. The other reason is we know that once we visit with Maddie, as there is SO MUCH geared for her that we won't want to go anywhere else but will end up just going to MK over and over. Not a bad thing, but we figured we should at least get SOME time in the other parks :p

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Day 1 - Part Deux, Fun with water

So after Maddie's nap (it ended up getting cut short when the cleaning service lady [who I may add speaks English about as well as Maddie] misunderstood the "Do Not Disturb" sign and barged in) we headed out to MGM Studios.

So the first thing we did once we arrived was to go see the Voyage of the Little Mermaid. This is a theater type show that involves lives actors, puppets on stage with black lights, and large screen animation all working together, it's one of my favorite shows at MGM. Maddie did really well for the most part, she didn't like it when it started raining inside the theater (they have misters that blow water on you) but once the bubbles started falling from the ceiling right after that she forgot she was upset and stared at the bubbles. She then got a little nervous again when Ursula showed up on stage and started being all mean and scary, but dad held her and she didn't cry, was just a bit scared.

After the success of that show, we decided to try on of the 4D animated shows. Both Shalisa and I love these shows (It's Tough to be a Bug, Honey I Shrunk the Audience, Mickey's Philharmagic and Muppetvision 3D) but we knew that they might be tough on Maddie as they tend to be a bit more intense. We took her to the Muppetvision 3D show in MGM and it started off well. She loved seeing Kermit (who she is familiar with) and other muppets, but once they started shooting off fireworks and canons, having large gusts of air blown in your face, and had the water from Fonzi's flower actually soaking you (they put little squirt gun thingies in the backs of all the chairs) she decided she was done watching. She did cry just a bit in this show, although it wasn't so bad that we had to leave or anything, but sadly I think this means we will have to skip the rest of the 4D shows in WDW. I knew "It's Tough to be a Bug" was out, but had hoped she would do okay in the others... but after this I doubt it (not that we couldn't watch them, but I hate to subject her to something she doesn't like just so mom and dad can watch a movie they have both already seen 10+ times).

After MGM Studio's we headed back to our resort and grabbed dinner in the resort cafeteria. Nothing spectacular, it was typical food, Dad had a cheeseburger, Maddie had chicken nuggets, and mom had some asian Shrimp Noodle salad thingy. But after dinner came the real fun.

At our resort they have several pools (much like any hotel) but they also have this unique pop-jet water mat area. Basically it's a large foam mat the kids can run around on and water shoots up from underneath at random times from random locations. We took Maddie over to it, and for the first 5 seconds she was a bit timid. She got splashed once by a water jet, and then decided it wouldn't kill her and that this was the most fun thing in the whole wide world. She then proceeded to run around like a maniac with all the other kids (who were all AT LEAST a good 1-2 years older) for about 30-45 minutes. Maddie had an absolute blast, purposely sticking her head in jets of water, sitting on water, splashing in the water, running through the water, basically soaking herself head to toe (hey, it's 90 degrees out, who can blame her). After 45 minutes mom and dad decided to take her back to the room to go to bed, which turned into quite the ordeal. She threw one of her first temper tantrums on this trip. We literally had to drag her out of the water jets and drag her along the sidewalk as she screamed and howled wanting to go back and play some more.

While the exit left much to be desired, she obviously enjoyed herself there immensely and it will be a must do for later on. Both mom and dad laughed and laughed as Maddie ran around, and we must have taken 50 pictures and a good 10 minutes worth of video footage of her playing. That experience alone made this whole trip worth it, it was wonderful to see our child have so much joy on her face.

Maddie's First Ride

So we all woke up a bit later than usual, but by 9:00 am we were all awake and getting ready for the day. We unpacked a bit (didn't do a lot of that last night) and then headed out for Epcot.

The first thing of note is that Space Ship Earth (The Epcot globe) is once again "naked." This is actually how I remember it, as for my first 2 trips to WDW there was never anything hanging on it. Some time in 98 or 99 they erected a big "2000" over it for the millenium celebration. Then, later on they converted the 2000 into Mickey's hand holding a wand over the globe. Shalisa has never actually seen it in any other state than adorned, so for her it was the first time seeing it in it's original state.

We headed over to Le Cellier and had our first meal in WDW of this trip. Boy what a doozy! For an apetizer I had duck and Shalisa had some tomato thingy. Then for our meanl I had a Fillet Minion while Shalisa had a New York Strip steak (Maddie had a hot dog if anyone is counting, this is number 1 of what I am guessing will be about 20). Then for dessert I had chocolate "moose" (it's Canadian themed) while Shalisa had lavender (yes, as in the flower) ice cream (which really wasn't that bad and pretty interesting flavor) on top of cherry shortbread.

It was a wonderful meal, and then we decided to take Maddie on her very first Disney ride ever. I decided that I thought Journey Into Imagination with Figment would be a good trial run ride. It's dark at times, has some loud bangs and puffs of air, and is definitely not the most tame ride in the world, while still being what most would consider still a kiddie ride. Maddie passed with flying colors! She got a little worried when it went pitch black, but recovered pretty quick when Figment showed up (she really seemed to like following him around) and then she did scream for a second when there was a loud bang, flash of light, and puff of air at the end when Figment transforms the set. But again, it is meant to be shocking/surprising, and as soon as they got 5 seconds into the song she was smiling and clapping along, so she did GREAT.

This really eases a lot of my concerns, I know there will be rides I will be surprised she has a tough time, and I know there will be rides that will scare her, but I think they will be few and far between. If she can handle this ride she will love 99% of the other rides we plan on taking her on.

We are back in the room now for nap time, which is another interesting chore, trying to get her to sleep while we are in the same room. I will ask for prayer on our sleeping arrangements, both nap time and night time. Maddie seems to get really interested when other people are in the room, so it could be a challenge getting her to sleep, we will see.

Alrighty, so while uploading the images above, Maddie finally fell asleep. It took about 20 minutes to get her to sleep, but thats not horrible. Hopefully in the coming days we can trim that down, but overall things are going great. After Maddie wakes up we are going to head over to MGM I think.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Sitting on the Bus, headed to WDW!

So we have made it to Orlando! Maddie is as wide awake as can be (which doesn't bode well for tomorrow morning) but she has been a great little traveler.

The flight from Salt Lake City to Orlando was pretty uneventful, since they don't offer meal service Shalisa had purchased these freeze dried meals that you just add hot water to. I was skeptical (to say the least) but they turned out GREAT. The stewardesses even thought they smelled good and wanted more info on them, as they are always looking for food they can have on the plane.
There probably won't be another post until mid day tomorrow when we are back from Epcot and Maddie is going down for her nap. I think tomorrow might be a tough day for her as we will be working on getting her on the right timezone (as well as ourselves) but overall I am not too worried. Worst case scenario our little girl sleeps in a bit in the mornings... since that NEVER happens at home, maybe this will feel like a vacation.

Edit to add: Bonus video of Maddie grooving to the music on the bus. Not sure if this will work, but hopefully...

We've made it to Salt Lake City

So I am now sitting in the Salt Lake City Airport. We made it no problem, our stroller wasn't damaged (which was Shalisa's MAJOR concern for this trip, that the stroller would be damaged by baggage handlers), and Maddie had her own seat for the flight. We have been really blessed by the Delta flight attendants as the lady here in Salt Lake City who we talked to about gate checking our stroller checked to see if the seat between us was filled, and then said she would do everything that she could to keep it empty (which is great!).

We are trying to see if Maddie will take another nap in the stroller (I doubt it... but we can hope) as we sit and wait at the gate here. We have another 40 minutes or so before we take off so hopefully Maddie can grab a quick 30 minute catnap to hold her over.

The flight from Portland to Salt Lake went well for Maddie, towards the end she started to get restless (which could be problematic, as our next flight is almost exact twice as long) but overall she had her coloring crayons, her stickers, and the life saver: her portable DVD player.

Sitting in PDX

So Shalisa, Maddie, and myself are all sitting at gate D5 in PDX waiting to board out plane. The first leg of our flight is from PDX to Salt Lake City, we have a 1 hour plane change there, and then we continue on from there to Orlando. So far our little plan of having Shalisa book a window, and Ryan book an isle is working out. There is no one sitting between us, which means Maddie will get her own seat, nothing is guaranteed until we take off, but that would be a great blessing from God if she wasn't in our laps the whole time.

Going through security with my cast was... interesting. First of all we are the Smith's, so we have 47 different electronic devices to check through security, and then because of my cast they want to do a whole bomb/explosive sniffer thing. So I got pulled off to the side to get treated like a terrorist while Shalisa is left with Maddie, 2 pieces of carry on luggage, a stroller, and 47 different electronic devices she has to hurry and stuff back into their bags. Luckily we arrived early so we weren't in any rush, but I think it flustered her a little bit anyway.

I made it through the security check (FOOLED THEM! :p) and now we are sitting at our gate waiting to board. We took Maddie for a stroll and she fell asleep in about 5 minutes, which is another great blessing, as even if it is only a short catnap, any sort of sleep for Maddie will pay off later.