Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Tree

I kept meaning to post a picture of our tree this year. Eric redecorated it with LED lights. Santa left quite the haul around our tree this year!

Then last night, I messed up with my camera and accidently snapped this very modern art looking shot of the tree. Kind of cool.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Kicked Down Christmas

I thought this Christmas would be bittersweet, wonderful for the boys but sad because my mother wasn't talking to me. I miss my Mom. If she's out there stalking, I do miss you!
It was bittersweet, not seeing my mother, I really expected some sort of Personal Contact and didn't get any; she really doesn't want to be around me. But I didn't miss the drama this year. I was pleasantly surprised at how the holiday season seemed a lot less stressful. Sure there was fun we missed out on, but we also got to just sit back and let the boys enjoy more.
1. First, I didn't sing in the choir this year, for the first time in ages. There weren't any frantic practices, nor any mad rush to get to the church early for practices or performances, or scrambling with what to do with the kids. Normally we have Chris in the nursery, and we grab him for communion and he runs amongst the choir ladies. He didn't. This year, he joined Sunday School, and I figure that means a boy should stay in the sanctuary. It's hard during sermons, but he's getting better. It's just rough to juggle Chris and Sam, who is getting less lump-like as the months progress. So, this year, we sat in the pew. I even forgot the diaper bag and it was all OK! Now of course, Eric was not going to just sit back. He directs the bell choir, and the bells played for during 5 o'clock service and the beginning of the 7 o'clock. We dropped Eric off at 5:30, came home, fed Sam and met Daddy at church to sit in the pews with him for the 7, he ran up, directed, and came right back to us. They did great! Choir normally sings for the 11 too, and we didn't have to do that. We were all home by 9 something. Madness! We weren't in bed at a reasonable hour, but the boys were, then we had much preparation for Santa.
2. No hosting. Since Chris was born we've hosted Christmas for my Mom and sis, and we didn't this year. Cooking? I didn't cook anything. Normally I make some great meal, but Christmas breakfast was honey flakey biscuits for Chris. And lunch was cookies and leftover cake. I didn't make a birthday cake for Chris, or Jesus, or anyone, as I intended, and though I was a bit disappointed in myself, it's been nice to relax. We went shopping on Chris's birthday and haven't been in a store since. Sure, we're running out of stuff, but it's refreshing to not be around the madness.
3. Taking our Time. Christmas Eve, we tried something new with the Willman Clan. a gift exchange. It was nice, went really well. The kids didn't know, they were certainly pampered! Honestly, that's what it's all about for me, enjoying the kids. I did miss being able to find Perfect Gifts for all my extended family members, but it was more fun to sit and watch the kids open and enjoy their presents without trying to open our own too. Really we were able to Take our Time This Christmas. Chris likes to open his presents and Play with them for a while before actually moving on to the next thing. He played with every toy he opened Christmas morning, AND Mommy and Sam were able to squeeze in a nap before heading to my father's.
4. We made it down to Christmas dinner with my father. We're invited every year of course, but we don't often get to make it. What a Spread! And the Spoilage, and the Pampering. I was TRAPPED on the couch by packages for the boys, and it took me so long to open for them, my toes went numb! I'm not kidding. It was quieter there too, my vocal and most argumentative grandmothers weren't able to fight with each other because one passed on to a MUCH Better Place. My other (the most sane) grandmother was in town from the Buffalo area, and there wasn't the drama. And she's really sweet and couldn't get enough of the boys. Sure it was noisy, but it was all (mostly) happy Christmas with Children insanity.
5. Video Games and Movies. Daddy got a Lego Star Wars game for his wii from the boys and I, which he loved and he was able to hop right on and play it, for a few hours! And I was able to watch It's A Wonderful Life while wrapping up on Christmas Eve. We've watched movies and played video games most every day and I think Eric is really enjoying his Christmas Vacation. It's more of a vacation to just be able to veg out, to just kick it down a notch and just hang with our boys, let the boys play with their toys. I never thought I'd be a video game girl. Eric and Chris aren't exactly good at sharing the games, but it's kind of nice to see them play together, or have Daddy teach the boy, or just have them all together doing the same thing in the same room. It's been really nice.
Chris was eager to hear The Christmas Story, and we were able to take the time to tell him, and read it, and play with the nativity (he noticed right off that Baby Jesus had been added). That was what it was all about. Really enjoying each other and our beautiful precious time together.

To top it off yesterday and today have been Jammie days. Chris threw up this morning so we cancelled our plans today, now he's fine, content to watch TV and play video games all day. Again. I don't know if I could do this for long, and I miss People, but it's been a refreshing change.

*Pictures to Follow.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

This Night

May you feel the Joy of Christmas through the eyes of a child.

Merry Christmas from Chris and Sam.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Reindeer

Couple years ago my father got a singing light up Rudolph for Chris. I hate that light up musical moving stuffed animal crap. Guess what? Sam loves it.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Crazy Cousins

You know how a while back I wrote about the Cousins in the Bond? Well last night we had a Cousins Christmas Party. 5 sets of Parents from Butler. 10 crazy kids. Yeah, they all acted just as crazy as the kids at any family reunion. But the kids were absolutely adorable.

We had a gift exchange amongst the kids. And the kids had a great time. Chris's friend Bryn had picked out her presents All By Herself for everyone. Chris did a fair amount of picking on his own this year too. The boy can really pick cute stuff for his girlfriends, a skill he inherited from Daddy that will be very valuable in the future. ;)

Chris wanted his friend Bryn to know how happy he was with the present she picked for him too! PG Photo of course. ;)

And Sam looks like he's inherited the same sweetboy skills. He was very interested in the gift he picked out for Hailey...Still. He's cuddles with it at the store were seemingly, not enough. He really enjoyed giving it to her...and getting it back to chew on just for a brief moment. Then the jingle bells that Bryn gave him, though we thought we had something to worry about, as long as he had the pacifire in his mouth, we weren't worrying about any chipped teeth...until he so sweetly shared with his new girlfriend.


Holy Cow, these kids are Stinky Cute!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

What Santa asked

This is what Sheer Christmas Joy looks like. This Joy was brought about by a trip to ride The Polar Express. I could go on about details of the trip, but that is more Chris's story, as he got the most out of it. Chris loved everything about the Train.

I was surprised I Got so much out of it. When we went to the Polar Express on Saturday night, I was amazed that the Santa Clause appeared on the Train. Not only did he appear, but he Sat Down with every child, and gave them each their own special bell.
We were in the back (or front) of the car, the first people that Santa came to when he got on the car. First my niece FLIPPED OUT! She tried to bury herself into Lisa's armpit, no easy task. So Santa asked Lisa what she wanted. Lisa made a joke about a calm child, I think.
But when Santa came to us, he asked Chris what he wanted for Christmas. He told Santa point blank, A Red Car. He's been asking Santas all over town for that. He asked Eric, who joked, I want a new house.

Then Santa turned to me and asked me what I want for Christmas.

I had no answer. I could only think I've got it. I'm sitting on a train in the middle of nowhere with my my family and my two healthy boys. Last year at this time, I could only remember that Christmas when Chris was born, and was not Healthy. All I wanted last year was a healthy baby boy. I prayed and prayed for a healthy baby. And God gave me that. Not only did He give me a healthy Sam, but he threw in a much healthier and growing Chris too!
I could only look at the boys, and be speechless (I know Rare right?!). My sister quipped that I'd like Daughter. Sure I would. I've always said, I'd be much better with a daughter than a son, but God laughs and gives me sons. On the other hand, look at these amazing sons I have. I don't have to have any more kids and I'd be perfectly happy.
I sat there looking at Santa pondering, what do I want for Christmas? I have it. I don't need anything. My boys are healthy. They are happy. All I want for Christmas is their happiness, and I was having it.
I pondered, Golly Santa, what do I want? I'm so Blessed that if I really NEED something, I can go to the store and get it. I'm so Blessed I can GIVE others what they want. But I am really having trouble with What do I want?
I felt like Dumbledore thinking all I want was a bag of white socks with no ankles. I briefly toyed with wanting to fix things with my mother, but honestly I don't think I want that either. I don't think I want to fix things with someone who can't stand to be in the same room with me.
I came away from the whole experience Teary. I couldn't remember the last time Santa had asked me what I wanted. Maybe I was 8 or 10, so like 25 years ago. Yipes. Now, I've been asked, what do I want. My family wants me to give them suggestions. I'm terrible at making lists of what I want. This year my list was of what the Boys would want/need. Because what I want most is my boys to have their heart's desires. I want my boys' to be happy and when their family and friends shower them with their love and make an effort to give them their time, well that's what I want. I want that for them.
I want them to be so surrounded by Love that they don't miss what's missing. But after this weekend, just visiting with friends and extended family, they are getting that.
So even though I couldn't articulate the words, Thanks Santa for giving me what I wanted for Christmas.

A Trip to the Museum

Also known as the Saturday 16 ;)
Last weekend, we found ourselves with little to do on a Saturday morning before the holidays. We opted to go to the Children's Museum to take the boys to see Santa. We were there when they opened, and among the first in line, so for those of you just interested in seeing some of the boys seeing Santa, here you go.

However, the Children's Museum at Christmastime is SO Much more than just visiting Santa. The boys were festive the minute we rolled through the door, as was the entire Museum. I love that place!

We just got back from Disney World, where Chris got to become familiar with meeting lots of Characters. And when he saw the Children's Museum mascot, Rex, Chris couldn't wait to go give him a hug! It was very sweet.

As soon as we got in, we realized that it was an hour to see Santa, so we rode the Yule Slide. Sam was very excited to wait in line (he's getting good at it) for the slide and just to be surrounded with such joy.

Chris was FINALLY tall enough to ride down all by himself. And Sam was allowed to ride down with us. It was a Race! We tied!

They had a little area for babies, much like the BabyScape, where the Sam could play a bit and not get tackled by older kids. Sam found great joy in a stuffed penguin.

Wow Wow Winter Wubzies!

Chris was tiny enough that he could get into the baby area, but he didn't want to stay. He's been into cookie making lately, so he Had to go into Santa's kitchen and make few cookies.

Then we Waited for Santa. We waited. It wasn't too bad of a line, but Sam started getting fussy. That was the beginning of the meltdown. Sam was NOT a Fan of Santa. (Which I find odd since he loved all the Disney characters.) And even less of a fan of Mommy stepping away so a Picture could be taken. It was a good thing we didn't pay for the fancy package, and just took our own pictures.

Then Chris did a little "ice fishing". Although he often cheated and put the fish on the hook, then pretended to catch it.

A new addition was a Sock Skating pond. Chris took his socks off, and ran back and forth to "Skate". There were a lot of kids, and I was just happy he didn't get knocked down.

Then they kicked it up a notch by starting a "Snowball Fight". It was actually really adorable. They had the kids on the 'ice skating pond' put their shoes back on, and they tossed out a bunch of puffed snowballs. Very lightweight, and all Fluff. Couldn't hurt anyone...yeah!

Of course, with a sport like indoor snowball fighting, one must have a Referee. Chris only wanted to toss his snowballs at her. Smart really. He's learned we don't throw things at other kids, and the Ref WANTED snowballs thrown at her, so he did. He kept wanting to put them into the basket, very handy during clean up time. But once he realized that they were done, oh we had a serious Meltdown on our hands.

We left the snowball arena and went to ride the Carousel. Here's my boys, getting ready for the ride.

It was Baby's First Carousel Ride. (sniff)

We hadn't been with Daddy in Ages, and he wanted to stop and see the Star Wars Clone Wars exhibit. So we HAD to go check it out. The boys really enjoyed it...and I mean all 3.

Check out my son doing his best Yoda impression. Cracks me up.

On that note, we surrendured for the day. And on that note I wish you many festive tidings, from Santa and Yoda.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Chris lined up the Wise Men to hold hands...just out of reach of Mario.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Being Tagged

I've been tagged

I’ve been tagged by Kathy. I am supposed to write about 5 things that make me a True Authentic Mommy.

1. I went to Disney World and didn't ride anything ending in Mountain because my kids couldn't.

2. The term "Mommarazzi" applies to me.

3. I consider it a personal offense when I go someplace advertised as "Family Friendly" and yet they don't have a Changing Table. On the same vein, I consider it a wild night out when I go to a bathroom in a restaurant that doesn't have one. Though going to the bathroom all by myself is equally wild and crazy.

4. My worst nightmares are the ones where my kids are taken away from me. Like the one where the men in the white coats take me from Sam and Chris, or the one where the Riley hospital nurses snatched Chris and rolled him away in his incubator, there was much running through halls. I Still get the willies about that one.

5. I ask for Help. From God. From people. I no longer have any modesty or pride when it comes to motherhood, I am not afraid to ask for help.

Now I am supposed to tag 5 other moms.

Amy, Andrea, Lisa, Carrie, Carla

Friday, December 11, 2009

Last Christmas

What is it about this year, that every time I hop on the Christmas radio station, there is a remake of the Wham! hit Last Christmas? It was an OK song, but why remake it? And badly.
Tonight on the way home from the grandparents, once again we find ourselves listening to some Pop Princess remake of Last Christmas. I turn to Eric, and just say, "If it's not Wham! It's Crap." You know, just like in that Mike Myers movie.

Well, from the back seat. Chris asks, "Is it Wham?"
"No." I simply say.
"Then it's cop." He asks tentatively.
"Yes." I couldn't Not acknowledge him. So yeah, I'm also a terrible parent. At least he isn't quite pronouncing it Crap. Maybe his teacher won't notice.
"It's Cop." Much more definitive this time. He's sure. It's Crap.
"Yes." It was the only word I could get out before dissolving in laughter so strong that not only did I forget to breathe, but there were tears. I did manage to keep fairly silent, so as to not egg Chris on too much, but between Eric and I laughing, it was impossible.

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Link

So there are these guys all over Disney World taking pictures for PhotoPass, where you give them a card, they scan it, and take our pictures. Then they post them on the internet, in a handy dandy slideshow, buy which ones you'd like, or get them on stuff. If you'd like to take a look.....Enjoy!

Photopass Slideshow

I took a few hundred pictures, but luckily, so did they. I do plan on integrating the two, but that's going to take a good couple whiles. In the mean time, there's lots of fabulous cuteness of the boys to enjoy.

Disney, Day 6

Friday was our last day in Disney World. When we woke up we scrambled to pack, and since we had a park hopper pass, we figured we'd let Chris choose what he wanted to do on our last day. He told us he wanted to Ride Buzz, that mean ride Toy Story Mania again. We had gotten fastpasses last time, but we figured we wouldn't make it in time for them again, so we'd have to wait through. We went and the line was 40 minutes long. But Chris loved that ride, and he had a great time.
Oh did I mention that as soon as we got on the bus to Hollywood Studios it started to rain. And Rain. And RAIN. The rain got harder as our day progressed. I was thinking about sticking around Hollywood Studios until lunchtime, but Eric mentioned that he'd really wanted to see the recently revamped Pirates of the Carribbean. So we hopped on over to Magic Kingdom and rode it. In the Rain. The boys loved it. Mommy and Daddy broke out the ponchos at Hollywood studios, we thought the boys were safe in the stroller, but we noticed Chris's pants were starting to get wet. So when we got to Magic Kingdom, Chris got his very own "Special Poncho" with Mickey Mouse on it, and on him the youth poncho was as long as a dress. He was Thrilled, he should be, our ponchos were like $1, his was $7.50. The Motto of the Day was "A rainy day in Disney World is still better than a sunny day at the office."
It didn't matter to us that it was raining, we were having a great time. We got good and soaked finding our way across the park in the downpour. Really only the few and faithful will continue on in Disney in the rain. We were they. It was a fun adventure.

The boys loved the Pirates ride. It strikes me as strange that this ride inspired the movie, so they took parts of the movies and spliced them back into the ride. Weird, but whatever, it's still a neat ride. Sam's favorite part was the dog that had the keys that the pirates are trying to call.

Eric had decided that if Chris asked Nicely, he'd buy him a Pirate's Hook in the gift shop. Chris did. It didn't take him 30 seconds to spot the barrel full of hooks. Sam on the other hand ended up with the stuffed dog with keys in his mouth. Sam chews on it constantly.

It was pouring down rain, but that didn't stop Chris from wanting to ride Aladdin's Magic Carpets. So we did, rode in the rain.

Then we decided to go back to the hotel and grab a quick lunch before boarding our bus which arrived at 3:30 to take us to the airport. We made it just barely. Didn't have time to eat our desserts though. ;(

The busdriver was cracking us up, telling us we were there on one of the three days in Florida when it rains all day, Day #2 was going to be the next day. Oh well, it wasn't too bad to us, we were wet, and it was chilly out, but we were still in our short sleeves. Our plane got slightly delayed at the airport, but the boys were so tired by that time they just conked out on the plane. One minute I was telling him he'd have to wait to take his seat belt off, the next moment he was out. Sam slept more fitfully, he pooped during takeoff, and because of turbulence (ie rainstorms!) they wouldn't let us take him to change his diaper. Once done, he was in a great mood.
When we landed it was 19 degrees. Brr. But Eric's Dad had the car ready and warm to pick us up, and it didn't seem so bad. In fact, as we drove down the street coming home, it seemed good to be ending our trip and returning to cold. Folks Christmas lights were on the trees, and it seemed we were leaping from one great celebration into another.

Disney, Day 5

On Thursday, the boys and I went to Animal Kingdom. We didn't think we'd be spending the whole day there, but we did. Turns out that place is so much more than just a Zoo. It's lush and green and really quite an escape from the other concrete jungles. And both the kids LOVED it!

We arrived and went to the Finding Nemo the musical, though we had an hour to wait. We waited. During our wait, Daddy grabbed Fastpasses for the Safari, and then there was still enough time to take Chris to meet Pooh, Tigger, and Eeyore! They were all bedecked for their Christmas Vacation too!

Finding Nemo the Musical was worth the wait, it was like a Broadway show packed into half an hour. The characters were great, they went right along with the movie, and the costuming was amazing. Being there so early, we got awesome seats, we were right along the aisle that ran down the middle, and the characters often walked right passed us. At one point Bruce the shark got his nose down within 3 feet of us, and Chris started to flip out, but he was gone just as quickly, and after he was a safe distance away, Chris was fine. At the end, Marlin came down and dipped his fish down about 2 feet away, and he smiled right at Chris. Chris thought that was the coolest thing ever. Chris said he was saying goodbye, and now Marlin is his favorite character. (Prior, he never even knew Marlin's name, he called all clownfish Nemo.) I wouldn't be surprised if they lengthened this show and put it on Broadway. I'd go see it.

From there we zipped down to the Safari, which was cool, it's a rather bumpy ride through a zoological park. Not entirely natural, the lions are kept away from the deer, but there isn't much between us and the animals, but we kept moving.

The boys enjoyed the ride. Chris got to see some animals we don't have at our local zoo, like crocodiles and hippos.

Sam just enjoyed being in the Jungle.

From there we grabbed some lunch before continuing on to see the Festival of the Lion King show. Eric and I had seen it before, but it was different with Chris, who is really a big fan of that movie. He really enjoyed getting to see Timone and Pumbaa. I bet he really would've flipped for their autographs. It proved too much stimulation for Sam who screamed his head off the last 15 minutes of the show, luckily, since we were right in the middle of the finale, no one noticed. Sam conked out shortly thereafter, which prompted Eric to get a wild idea.

What if we didn't go home for naps...what if we stayed in animal kingdom through naptime, until they closed at 6, then went back to the hotel and got to bed early since Friday, our last day was going to be a long one with no naps. It sounded tempting, the not napping, staying at Animal Kingdom a little longer, so as to go to bed early. While we thought about it, Chris got a Pirate Mickey tattoo, and we snacked on Mickey ice creams. Feeling sufficiently refreshed, we decided to gave it a go.

We headed over to the other side of the park, and visited the Tree of Life, and saw the Bug show, It's hard to be a bug. Chris got scared at the appearance of a bad bug, we sat close to the door just in case we had to make a run for it, but once the bad bug was gone, Chris calmed down quickly and enjoyed the show. From there we took a walk and scoped out seats right along the rope for Mickey's Jingle Jungle Parade. Chris LOVED that. There were some characters from Lion King, Jungle Book, as well as Mickey and his crew in it, that was pretty cool. Afterwards, we headed to Dinoland, and rode the Triceratop ride, that was pretty much the same as Dumbo but on Triceratops instead. Chris liked it. We figured on that note, we'd head out. It was 5.
Upon deeper thought, we thought we'd "Pop" over to Hollywood Studios to Meet Buzz. Chris had been asking to Meet Buzz since he'd seen them giving autographs the day before. So we did. We figured, we'd meet Buzz, see if we could find Mater and Lightning and maybe see these pretty Christmas lights that were rumored to line the back lot. When we picked up the time chart, we found we had 10 minutes to get to Mater and Lightning McQueen before they closed. Eric got there and was the second person from the end of the line before the closed it. So the boys got their time with the Cars. As we were waiting, we noticed a crowd gathering down the street, it was for the Christmas Lights. Turns out it wasn't just a pretty decoration thing that the gal on the bus had mentioned to me, it was the "Osbourne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights". 5 million lights. These people had all these on their house, carousels, trees, a rotating globe, and Disney put it all on 2 streets that met at a corner. It was beautiful. I snapped a couple photos, and we moved on to Meet Buzz and Woody (Or Buddy and Wooz as I had miscalled them in my exhausted state, and found it so funny we kept calling them that.) We waited about half an hour to see them, but they had little spots along the way to take photos while we wait. Pretty cute. Sam was really digging Buzz, and Chris wouldn't let go of Woody's hand...perhaps costume ideas for next year?

As we left there, and proceded to head back to the hotel, once again we walked down the pretty street of lights. Not avoiding the crowds. But there was a photopass person there, and I wanted to get my picture taken, thought the pros could do it better than I, and as Eric pointed out, might make a nice Christmas photo. So we stood in line. As the person in front of us, went and stood in front of the photographer, ALL THE LIGHTS WENT OUT. It was kind of spooky. They came on and told us about how the Osborne's had all these on their house, and how they'd prgrammed it to music. We were standing in the center of the square when they started blasting Trans-Siberian Orchestra's Carol of the Bells, and the Lights flashed in front of us, all around us. It was Powerful. Words don't do it justice. And here we were in the center of it. It was Awesome. If you go down at Christmas time, you have Got to see this light show.

Yeah, that was a good note to end on our last night, so then we went back to the hotel, stopped for some food at the hotel 'cafeteria' (another word that doesn't do it justice), and went to bed. Eric wanted to be in early, we were eating at 9, but in bed by 10 which by vacation standards actually was early. We were going to bed most nights about 11:30 and the boys were up every day at 6:30. We're getting more caught up on sleep now that we're home more than when we were on vacation.

Disney, Day 4

Wednesday we headed for Hollywood Studios, formerly known as Disney MGM studios for those who don't go more often than once a us. Tell you what, I like the Changes, both Christmas-y and not. We also did laundry Tuesday night, so we could all wear our shirts again. I tell you in the crowds, it really helps to be all wearing the same thing, especially when it's bright yellow!

Frankly, when we were headed there, our only plan was to the Playhouse Disney show, the Toy Story Mania, and the Star Wars Gift Shop, but that place had lots more that went along with it. First we sent the boys to the back to get FastPasses for Toy Story Mania, the newest ride, while Mamas and kids went to get in line for the first Playhouse Disney show of the day.

We investigated the area a bit, and found that next to the Disney Animation presentation (which the kids would NOT Have sat through) there were some character meet and greets. We got to meet Russel and Karl from UP!

The kids were hypnotized once the characters appeared, but by the end Chris was dancing. Sam was entertained by the lenscap from the camera until the show began. Then we got to see Mickey again, this time he was all festively bedecked in his Fantasia garb, which was cool too. Very Cool.

When we left we were able to go meet Jojo and Goliath. Apparently Jojo is a girl, I made the Disney employee snort when I told Chris to "Go sit with him, her, her him, Jojo." Then we headed towards Toy Story Mania with our FastPasses. We bumped into a Green Army Man walking down the street, and I stopped for a photo and autograph op. Totally unprompted, the green army man, put Chris's arms up in Strong Boy pose. That got me crying again, because even the Green Army Man got what a strong brave boy I have.

From there we hit Toy Story Mania, it's like an arcade ride, where you have a 'gun' and you spin around and it stops and you shoot. The waiting area was cool, as we're surrounded by giant sized toys. Eric did well one handed with Sam, but I was helping Chris hand over hand, and he got it eventually. But All My Boys LOVED that ride! Oh yeah, and it used 3D glasses. A big hit with the kids!

From there Chris spotted Buzz and Woody signing autographs but the line was atrocious, and we were hungry, so we went to Pizza Planet (from Toy Story) and were actually able to avoid the crowds a bit, and I got a super yummy veggie pizza. We did a bit of shopping for Christmas ornaments, then headed off to Star Wars. Of course, the kids were too little to ride, so we just hit the gift shop and the photo opportunities.

But Chris was melting down in the gift shop, so we left to go home for naps.
This was the Julius clan's last day, so they stayed a bit longer. Their plan was to meet us at our room, so they could change, and pick up a few goodies. Chris was sound asleep when they arrived, and it was so sweet. He woke up to Emily appearing by his side, that was a Great Wake Up call for him. We had a bittersweet goodbye, and escorted them to the front of Port Orleans.

As we left them at the bus stop, we couldn't quite decide what we wanted to do with our evening, so we decided to take the next bus that came along. It was Epcot. So we went there, we hadn't been able to hit any of the World Showcase the day before, so we headed there. But after hearing about how much Emily loved her Secret Mission, and being a Special Agent on missions around the 'world'. We decided to sign Chris up too. He LOVED it!

They gave him a special cell phone, and when we'd reach a spot, either something would happen to that area, like in a gift shop, or it would send us on. He even got a free golf ball, for conquering the bad guy in the U.K. and he blew up a bad robot in the gift shop in Japan. He had a great time, but Mommy was So Tired. Once we hit Japan, we opted to stop for supper, a little sushi. We had no reservations, but there wasn't a bad wait for people who just wanted sushi. Chris even got 'chicken on a stick' aka yakitori, the chef put his teriyaki chicken on tiny sticks just for Chris. Chris was singing along when he heard the birthday song, so we told them his was coming too, and he got them to sing to him and bring him a cake.
Our lovely evening went downhill as our dinner was coming to an end, the Fireworks show began. From inside the restaurant, Chris started getting worked up, we went outside only to find it had started raining, and there were loud fireworks. We were going to have to get closer to them to get out of the park. We made a mad dash for the 'back door', I remembered an International Gateway that opened to some stuff behind. We thought we could take a boat to Downtown Disney. Um no. The boat went to a couple resorts behind. The fireworks had ended and the crowd was with us, half divided to the boat, half walked on, so we rolled on. We kept glancing in the map, but we were totally confused as to how to get home. We rolled into the Yacht Club, to ask directions. Boy talk about Swanky! Chris fell in love with the giant Gingerbread Carousel they had going in there.

From there we hopped a Bus for Downtown Disney (the only park still open), and got on the bus from there to Port Orleans. Oy.