Thursday, October 30, 2008

Another good "new house" possibilty

Our house still hasn't sold, but it has only been about a month, and many, many properties in our neighborhood have been on the market much longer. We are cautiously optomistic, but with the economy the way it is, I just don't think too many people are even thinking about buying right now.

This house has been on the market since July or August, and we saw it at an open house soon after it came on the market. At the time we weren't ready to buy and our own house wasn't on the market yet. We were still in saving and planning mode. Once our house did go on the market, this one disappeared from the MLS and we thought it had probably sold (it seems reasonably priced for the newer, nicer neighborhood it is in.) Yesterday I was looking through the listing again and up it came. Looking through the pics, it looks like the owners have moved out and perhaps stopped marketing it for awhile while they moved??

Anyway, this house is in an ideal location, blocks from both the (gasp!) high school Alex will attend next year, and blocks from one of the acceptable Elementary schools for Katie to attend (gasp again!) Kindergarten next year. Aside: Gosh my kids are growing up fast!!

It is newer than the other house we liked and would need a lot less updating. This newer home appears to have less square footage, but that isn't really true because the aprox. 2200 listed doesn't include the two rec rooms and full bath on the basement level. Yes, yes, this house has plenty of space for get togethers too! Another Aside: I've already informed Sean that if we are lucky enough to sell our house and buy another, I'm definitely hosting a get together after we're settled.

The only negative is that Sean isn't really happy with the yard. It is much more open to the neighbor's yards (though not as bad as many newer homes I've seen) and smaller than the other house. There are some trees, but they are less mature. I don't mind as much because although it isnt' as nice as the other yard, it is acceptable to me and less yard and fewer trees equal less yardwork! Sean does do most of the yardwork though, so I'm inclined to allow him the bigger yard if the house on it works for me.

The price tag plays a role too - this one is more $$. BUT, we'd probably easily spend the difference on updating in the older home, just over time instead of up front. The bank will approve us for much more than either house is listed for, but we want to try to stay in a range where we can afford to put down our 20% and keep our payment lower - the newer home is pushing it on the 20% down, but I know we could still do the payment.

It'd be fun to renovate the older home to be more our own, and it is a very interesting house with some nice features you cannot just in every house - but I know home improvement projects get old, and time-consuming, and draining too.

So anyway, lots to ponder IF we ever sell our current home.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Disney Diary - Day 9

Our little princess
August 31, 2008

Day 9, our last day began at 6am. We had packed most everything the night before but had to pack the last of it in the morning to accommodate packing toothbrushes, hygiene supplies, pjs and the like. As soon as we were all done dressing, showering and packing we took everything down to bell services and checked it with them. Since checkout at the hotel is 11am, and our plane wasn’t leaving til 7:20p, and we planned to go to Magic Kingdom during the day, this worked out nicely. We kept one carry-on bag with us that had our ponchos, some snack food, our sunscreen, the camera and a few other essentials I’m forgetting right now.

So this was the day of the much-anticipated Cinderella breakfast in the castle. Katie was very excited. She got to wear her Cinderella dress and meet all the princesses. Her excitement however did not inspire good behavior. She was a real bear by the last day of the trip and although she did not have a major meltdown, she was cranky extraordinaire. It was almost comical to watch her whining at us, and then smile and hug the princesses a moment later. I just chalked it up to the long trip and lack of sleep and we rolled with it for the most part. She did have to sit a time out or two later in the day (yes, we do timeout even in public if necessary) for the attitude, but we all survived unscathed (mostly). I do wish we could have done the Cinderella breakfast earlier in the trip because I think she would have had a better attitude all around. The way the reservation system is set up though, getting the reservation I wanted was much easier for the end of the trip rather than the beginning. They take reservations 180 days out, but if you are staying onsite, you can book reservations for your whole trip 180 days out from the first day of your trip. So since I was actually booking 189 days out for the breakfast, there weren’t as many people trying to book for that day yet (their 180 day mark hadn’t happened yet) so I could get in for the first breakfast seating on that day, but would have had to settle for mid morning on another day which would have screwed up our touring plans.

Anyway, here are some pics of Katie and the princesses. Sorry, you'll have to tilt your head, for some reason blogger won't let me turn them. We also got a 5 x 7 one of Katie and Cindy that was included in the breakfast. I don’t have it digitally, and my scanner is being cranky so unfortunately you don’t get to see it. Sean kept saying he liked Jasmine the best. Hmmm.. wonder why. He better watch it or I’ll start showing my navel to everyone too. That might be kinda scary though… but I digress.

Here is a pic of the food in case you are interested. Definitely do not pay for this meal for just the food. Nothing was bad, but it definitely was not worth the price tag. I’m glad we had the chance to eat in the castle, but I’m pretty much over that now and if we ever do another princess meal we’ll probably do the one at Grand Floridian or the one in Norway at Epcot. Better bang for your buck with regard to the food, and I’m told Ariel sometimes appears at the one in Norway, which is Katie’s favorite princess anyway.

So after breakfast we decided to do as many of our favorite rides as we could. We did Space Mountain, Dumbo, Carousel, Buzz Lightyear, Peter Pan, Mad Tea Party, and the Indy Cars (probably not in that order – I don’t remember). I do remember that both Peter Pan and Buzz broke down while we were on them. I think Disney was protesting our intent to leave, but Sean just rolled his eyes at me when I said so.

As I mentioned earlier Katie was kinda cranky during all of this and we had a few time outs on benches while we waited for her to decide to adjust the attitude. During one of these incidents a cast member that was empting the trash cans saw Katie’s scowly face and came over to talk to her and tell her how much fun she was gonna have and call her a princess, etc. etc. I appreciate what he was trying to do, but in my opinion there was way too much of this at Disney. It happened to us several other times during the trip. Pretty much anytime we were trying to discipline her, someone would come up to try to make her happy. I have nothing against her being happy, but sheesh – sometimes when a kid is acting up they last thing they need is a CM undermining the parents timeout with “happy time” – I don’t feel I’m explaining that right, and I probably sound like the worst scrooge ever, but it just seemed impossible to get her to take us seriously with everyone seeming to line up to make her happy 24/7. We were trying to teach her she gets to do the “happy time” when she is behaving, not no matter what – and oh if you pout we’ll just try harder to make you happy.

We ate lunch at Peco’s Bills which was a complete zoo by the time we decided to eat. We waited a little longer than usual and didn’t start hunting for where we were going to eat until almost 12:30. Since we just did Pirates again, and were in the general area and hadn’t tried it yet, we headed for Peco’s Bills. The food was good and I’m sure the atmosphere would have been fun if you could have moved in there. Probably would have much nicer things to say about it if we had come an hour earlier or so. As it was we had to circle the place with our tray trying not to bump into anyone and finally we snagged a table as some other family was getting up. There was a live performance that was just finishing up – so people were probably crowding in for that. We left there feeling harried.

After lunch we were already pretty tired. We walked around some feeling sad that it was almost over and I was already starting to feel nervous about the plane ride home. I don’t remember whether we did any more rides except that I know we did the train ride all around the park one more time before we headed back out of the park and rode the boat back to Wilderness Lodge at about 3pm. We had to get on the bus for the airport at 4:30p and we cashed in a few more snack credits at the roaring fork so that we’d have some snack foods to take with us on the plane. We sat in the lobby of Wilderness Lodge for a little bit too and watched some old-time mickey mouse cartoons, while we waited for our bus to come. This was a great veg-out activity for Katie, who really, really needed the down-time.

We got on the bus uneventfully, and checked in for our flight, also uneventfully. Once we were checked we meandered toward our gate thinking we had plenty of time left (It was only 6:15ish – flight leaves at 7:20p). I was shocked when they started boarding the plane at 6:35p! We waited until the last possible call to get on because I knew Katie would have trouble keeping entertained while we were just sitting there, but we were still on the plane by about 6:50p. So we sat for a half an hour at the gate before we moved, and it was really hard to entertain her. Mostly because we couldn't put the tray table down for her to do the coloring or puzzles that I brought. Instead I read to her, and finally we did take off and she fell asleep as soon as it began to get dark in the cabin - probably a half hour into the actual flight.

That is about all there is to tell, uneventful flight, baggage pick up and 30 min. drive home. A nice vacation I'd say. :)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Mini Middy

I did this piece as a replacement for Autumn, since her RR was one of the two that went MIA in the most recent Mira RR. Finally some stitching on this blog, huh?

Friday, October 17, 2008

*Sigh* I want this house

Sean and I promised ourselves that we weren’t going to go getting attached to any potential new houses until we’d sold the one we have now. We know with the way the market is now, it might take some time to sell, and it is possible that we won’t even be able to sell at a price that would make sense for us.

However, our realtor suggested, and we agreed to see houses in our price range so that we would be prepared to act quickly if/when our house does sell. Last Saturday we saw this house. Despite all our best intentions, I think we are both pretty set on it if we are fortunate enough to sell our current home. We keep talking about all the things we want to do to it and where all the furniture would go and all the stuff we could do there. Silly, stupid, putting the cart before the horse kinda stuff.

We love that this is sort of a quirky home and does not fit into any real standard floorplan. It isn’t the sort of house you see 15 of every day. Although I really like the polish and convenient features of the newer homes – they are all the same or nearly the same it seems. Also this house is a more affordable option for us than some of those newer homes, though there is quite a bit we’d like to update, which will add to cost over time. Although nothing is falling apart or needs to be updated immediately, there are a lot of things we’d like to upgrade to really make it nice and our own. Of course we can do those things as we can afford to do them rather than paying for everything up front like you do in a new house.

Among the things we are already thinking of doing:
-Update both fireplaces to gas – sorry I’m not a splitting wood kinda girl.
-Finish the rest of the main level (there is no real basement – the “main” level of the home is sort of functioning as a basement and has a family room, a bedroom, a half bath, a laundry room, and an unfinished section with a full window. This room is quite large and houses the furnace, water heater, etc. The drywall is already up (except around the mechanicals), but you could probably add flooring and drop ceiling without a huge investment and then use that space as a third living/family room.
-Put Aluminum or vinyl siding on the whole house – we aren’t much into the Tudor look
- bump out the Master bedroom into the backyard a bit so that we can have a larger Master bath and a big walk-in closet. There is ample closet space throughout the whole house except the Master bedroom. There is one decent sized regular closet there now, but the big closets are the one thing I’d really miss not having a newer home.

So yeah, we’re attached.
I feel almost guilty wanting so badly for our home to sell knowing that many Americans are in much worse situations than we are. We are lucky in that we have a good chunk of equity in our current home and moving to us is really just a luxury right now. We aren’t being foreclosed on, we haven’t bought another home already, so really we are in a good place. If our current house doesn’t sell, we’ll be disappointed, but that is all, no big financial loss. Also although we are cramped, our current house is in a nice area with good schools and everything we really need. I keep reminding myself of that – but it doesn’t stop me drooling over the house we now want.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Disney Diary - Day 8

Here Comes the Rain
August 30, 2008

As I noted earlier we didn’t have near as much rain as we thought we were going to listening to the weather reports before we left. This day was the exception though. It rained pretty much all day – sometimes pouring, and other times just drizzling, but rainy and yucky for pretty much the whole day. The plan called for us to sleep in as late as we wanted, so that is what we did – I think we slept until almost 9am, which is late for us even by weekend standards. We ate cereal and such in the room as we were trying to use up the food we had brought since we didn’t want to be taking much with us back home.

When we were ready we leisurely headed out to the bus stop and headed to Epcot. We made the mistake of picking the very back of the bus to sit. There are 4 seats across the back of some buses, and this was one of them. Do not sit in these four seats unless it is a cold day and you want to be warmed up – definitely do not sit here near the end of August when it is hot, hot, hot! The engine or something from the bus is on the other side of those seats and they get very warm. Color me stupid because we had discovered this on an earlier ride and I still sat there without remembering/thinking about it. It hadn’t started raining yet, but the air had that real humid feeling it has when it is hot outside and it is going to rain. Sitting in the hot seat – literally – was not one of my bright bulb moments for the trip. We couldn’t move either because by the time we remembered (because we were burning up!) the bus had filled up with people, and there was no where to move to.

Anyway, we arrived at Epcot and since it was already 11:30am, we went right for lunch at Sunshine Seasons. Another good meal using 3 credits instead of 4. I shared the butterfinger cheesecake dessert with Katie and it was oh so yummy! My only real plan for the day was to get our picture taken at the Disney Visa both in Innoventions West. I have a Disney Visa on which I earn rewards points to help pay for our trips and one of the other perks is that you get a free 5x7 photo taken with the characters at Epcot. By this time it was raining pretty good, so we decided to just do stuff in the Innoventions buildings until 1:30p when the picture taking station opened. We did lots of fun games and interactions – like a game where you identify fire hazards, and an interaction where you get to move a large robotic arm. There were lots of hands-on type things that Katie could do too – like assemble an emergency kit for extreme weather. Very educational but fun field trip kinda feel. We finally did get in line for the Visa picture and that line was way longer than I imagined – we probably broke our 20 min. wait rule – it was probably a half hour or so. Katie did pretty good in the line though, and I was impressed considering this was day 8 of an exhausting trip. Here is the pic I had the cast member take on my camera while we were posing. We got a nice glossy one too – but I’m too lazy to scan it in when I have this one that is almost the same.

After getting the pic taken, we had to wait in the park for about an hour for it to be ready for pic up at the camera place at the front of the park – sorry the actual name of the place is escaping me right now. We did some more Innoventions stuff including Club Cool again before heading to the front of the park. I was so disappointed to find out that our pic wasn’t ready yet. You have to pick it up the same day – only at Epcot, and we weren’t planning on returning later – had other plans. I explained the situation to the cast member and she just bent over backwards to make sure I got my picture. I said several times, that it was okay and I had one almost like it on my camera and she called up the chain to several supervisors to get approval to have me pick it up later at our hotel. Thank you Jan in the photo place at Epcot! So now I have my glossy 5x7 too! So we headed out of the park all wet and soggy, trying to stow our wet ponchos so we wouldn’t get the bus all wet on the way home.

For dinner Sean and I had a date night planned at Narcosse’s. Katie went back to the Cub’s Den for dinner, which she was really happy about and we fed Alex from Roaring Fork and sent him to the Arcade with a $20 bill. 13 yr old bliss for him. Narcoose’s is at the Grand Floridian, another hotel on Disney property. A very expensive hotel from what I hear/read. We had figured out that several buses are shared between WL and GF, so we hopped one that was going to Downtown Disney, knowing it would stop at Grand Floridian first and got off there. There is no official direct route between Wilderness Lodge and Grand Floridian, so we felt pretty satisfied with ourselves for having figured that one out. We saved so much time that we were almost 30 min. early for our ressie. We wandered around the grounds for a little bit admiring how pretty the resort was before heading into Narcoose’s. Once inside, there is a counter where you can see the chefs preparing the dinners. On the counter they had a live lobster just sort of wandering! Had to snap a photo.

For dinner I ordered – what else – whole lobster! We were using 2 table service credits each here, and could order anything on the menu with them, so I was getting my money’s worth! It was very delicious! Sean ordered the Salmon, but our waiter misunderstood him and when he said, “I’ll have the Salmon” the waiter thought he said, “I’ll have the same” and he brought two lobsters. We spoke up immediately and they brought Sean’s salmon out very quickly after that. We both enjoyed our meals and the almond crusted cheesecake there was just too die for – very yummy! I’d eat there again in a heartbeat. We took the slow way back to Wilderness – the monorail from Grand Floridian to Magick Kingdom, then the boat from MK to WL.
Unfortunately there isn’t much else to tell for the rest of this day – we headed back to the hotel for a little alone time while Katie and Alex were still otherwise occupied and then began packing for the return trip home.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Thanks everybody

Thanks for all the kind words of support many of you have posted and messaged me. If nothing else, at least I know I'm not alone in the way I feel. I also want to thank extrememom for her apology and to just say that it wasn't her comment alone, but many comments by several different people that just made me feel like my opinion/voice was not welcome anymore - and neither was the voice of other like-minded people. I think of that community as a group of my friends, and when you are being talked to like that, it is just really hard to feel welcome or liked or like the people on the other end of the keyboard think of you as a friend. Maybe wanting that was too much to expect.

And no, I don't think all Democrats are slimy - in fact most are not. Many, many are good people with whom I disagree. Disagreement is fine and healthy, and I really did appreciate discussing the issues in a civil tone before things turned ugly. It was more the overall tone of several posters coupled with the administrator's self-important agreement with them and her subsequent sanctions that had me throwing up my hands and giving up. They did not want to hear any disagreement, so now they have their own echo-chamber.

I won't be disappearing, hopefully I can use this time to catch up on everyone's blogs and pay more attention to my own (only two more days to do for the Disney trip!). I also might just get to a few of those other boards that I haven't been visiting as much recently - like the Mira board and the rotation board.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Getting it off my chest

I’m not going to be posting at the Wagon for awhile, at least not until after the election. Those of you who read that board probably already know why. I’ve been thinking about this a long time, and as time goes on I’m more and more bothered by the direction the political discussions have gone and by the way the board administration has handled it. In short I feel there is a definite political bias, and I’m thoroughly disgusted at how one side has been admonished for speaking their minds while the other side has been allowed/encouraged to not only speak up, but to spread falsehoods about candidates and their beliefs and in a few cases about my religion. In several instances, I’ve corrected people claiming that McCain, Palin, Bush et. al. want to take away all birth control, or have birth control declared as an abortion, and each time I’m shouted down – not with real facts but with more badmouthing of the candidate in question and an insistence on declaring the above as though it were true.

I’ve also been insulted for my personal choice of birth control, and have been talked to in such a way that I find insulting and demeaning to my intelligence and to my religion. While I’ll acknowledge that McCain, Palin, Bush and most Republicans most definitely are pro-life, and are anti Roe v. Wade, to try to frame the debate in terms of taking away birth control is disingenuous and malicious. I think most who are pro-choice feel that a pro-life position alone is enough to vote for the other candidate - there is no need to exaggerate the position unless you are just trying to smear the candidate. And in my opinion smearing McCain/Palin was the order of the day, and really the whole purpose some people were posting to the thread(s). Despite the self-congratulatory tone about how everyone is/was “learning so much” from the thread(s), it was blatantly obvious to me that many were just looking to have their own liberal sentiments echoed back to them, or to hear the conservative side shouted down.

I haven’t posted in the most recent threads at all – they were locked by the time I read them and a community message was sent out that basically scolded someone on the conservative side for daring to start a thread that approached the debate from a conservative viewpoint. Suddenly anyone making the simplest of statements for McCain or against Obama is told by the board owner to “back up their claims” with links to prove the facts. I see/saw no such requirement or request for those smearing McCain – and that has been going on since mid to late August. When I requested someone back up their claims about the birth control position I was given links to left-leaning statements of the candidates position that didn’t even back up the anti birth control claims (although they did affirm a pro-life stance, which I don’t deny) along with a link to an opinion piece posted on a newspaper blog – hardly factual evidence. Of course when I pointed that out, I was shouted down again and scolded for questioning the opinion piece by calling it a blog (blog or not an opinion piece does not constitute factual evidence). Also the opinion piece didn’t even mention birth control.

I am also sick to death of my religion being thrown out there under the bus throughout this debate. I am a practicing, believing Roman Catholic and if anyone dared try to smear any other religion everyone would cry foul. Say something bad about the Catholic faith though, and everyone seems to cheer and jeer, nevermind if what is being said is actually true or not. In one instance someone claimed that my religion believes all birth control is a sin because it goes against God’s will to create life. When I pointed out this is not true, that the Pope himself encourages Catholics to plan their families responsibly using natural family planning, I got disparaging remarks about this method of birth control and it was dismissed as the rhythm method. Even if you question the effectiveness of this method of birth control, to say the Church believes birth control is a sin even though they clearly encourage at least this form of birth control is an outright lie, told to “strengthen” the smear tactic against the Church. People who say this just want to make others believe the Church would have you raising googles of children you couldn’t or wouldn’t be able to plan for. By the way, Natural Family Planning is basically the method described in the book “Taking Charge of Your Fertility” which is widely acknowledged as one of the best books on fertility available, there is much, much more involved than just counting days (the rhythm method). It is often recommended reading for someone trying to get pregnant too, as knowing your fertility will help you control both when and if you get pregnant.
Anyway, all this is just to get it off my chest I guess. I’m angry and annoyed and I guess I just need to step away from that board for awhile. There are many ladies (some who disagree with my politics) I still count among my virtual friends, and I hope to keep it that way. I figured posting here, those who care what happened to me will find it, and those who would only sneer at it will be spared having to read it. I’m also hoping I’ll be spared having to bear the insults of those who disagree, so if you have nothing nice to say, please just move along – I’m not interested in your comments, and I’ll delete them if you post them. It’s my blog and I don’t have to be diplomatic here. Frankly, I feel I was plenty “nice” to those who disagreed on the boards and basically got disrespect and sneering behavior in return. For that reason, I feel no need to invite discussion into it at this point.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Disney Diary - Day 7

A picture is worth a thousand words
August 29, 2008

We did our usual rope drop routine, this time for Animal Kingdom. Another hot/sticky day. First on our agenda was the Kilimanjaro Safari. The wait was already 40 min. when we got to the ride, so we got fastpasses for it. During our wait we did the neighboring Pangani Trail. Lots of smaller animals, neat to see, but not that much better than your local zoo. Then we did the safari - we did this last year too and it was just as good as we remembered it. We saw lots of gorgeous giraffes, hippos, ostriches, and several other animals – just grazing as if they were really in the wild.

After the safari we headed toward Expedition Everest as Alex has said he wanted to try it. We got fastpasses for 12:40p and then headed over to Dinoland. My plan was for Alex and Sean to do Dinosaur, and Katie and I to do Triceratop Spin. Dinosaur is dark and loud and has dinosaurs that pop out at you and roar and such, so too scary for Katie. Sean doesn’t mind this kind of scary though, so I thought it would be good for them to do together. Triceratop Spin is just like Dumbo only the carts are dinosaurs instead of elephants. Both rides had only about a 10 min. wait. Katie and I are just getting on Triceratop Spin when we notice that Sean and Alex are walking toward us. I ask if they are finished already and Sean shakes his head no. Once Katie and I are done with the ride I ask what happened. Apparently there are signs outside of Dinosaur that say it is like a roller coaster, so Sean won’t ride. I was confused because everything I read said it was definitely not a roller coaster, but I saw the signs out front too.

So Alex and I rode it while Sean waited with Katie. UGH. I hated that ride. It definitely was not like a roller coaster, but it was almost pitch black except for when a shrieking Dinosaur jumps out at you and breaks your ear drum. This happens about every 20 seconds or so. It wasn’t that I felt afraid; I just found it annoying and not enjoyable at all. Sean totally could have handled it, but after my glowing review he wasn’t really interested in trying it out.

We spent some more time looking at animals on trails and that was sort of fun – many different types of fish and birds. The birds were loose right in the park and not contained in a cage at all they would land right next to you on a tree limb or right on the walkway.

Then it was time for lunch – we had planned to eat at FlameTree BBQ, which I hear is very good. This idea was nixed though when we realized the eating area was outside with no AC. In fact, most of the places to eat counter service at Animal Kingdom are outdoors. We notice this problem in Disney Studios, and Epcot’s World Showcase too. There were several places I wanted to try out, but just couldn’t face eating outside on such hot days. We needed the respite from the heat more than we needed the food I think. So we ended up at Pizzafari – we ate there last time too and as I remember it – nothing special but okay food. One thing the kids and I both did really like was that they had Minute Maid lemon ice for dessert, very refreshing in the heat and also low-cal.

We didn’t have a very pleasant a meal here – not because of the food, as I said it was fine. We were cranky though – I was cranky, Sean was cranky, and Katie was cranky. Poor Alex was just trying to stay out of everyone’s way I think. Sean and I were arguing in that way we argue in front of the kids when we are trying not to argue in front of the kids. I don’t even remember what it was about really, probably about walking all the way to Flame Tree and realizing we couldn’t eat there because it was outdoors. Anyway, we weren’t saying much, but the tension was there and a few veiled comments were made. We were all tired from all the going, going, going on the trip and all the heat. I somehow managed to get a splinter of wood from the chair I was sitting on under my thumbnail – really far in. A month later I still have the messed up nail to prove it. Ouch! I’m a big baby and I cry easily when I’m stressed or emotional or cranky. A few tears slipped down my face during this meal while I tried to get it back together and shake off the bad morning. It didn’t help that AK is my least favorite park and I wasn’t really having a good time. I really enjoyed the safari, but the rest just doesn’t do much for me. I felt more like I was just hiking around in the heat with a cranky kid (I think Katie felt like I did about this park – liked the safari, not much else) and a big cranky kid (Sean). Turned me into a cranky kid too, I guess.

Anyway, the lemon ice just about got me back on track. Tasted pretty much like sorbet even though it was just cheap frozen lemonade. It was time for our fastpasses for Expedition Everest, so Alex and I did that next. Wow, maybe I’m just getting old, but that one really got my blood pumping. I’m not sure whether you actually go upside down or not, but you certainly feel like you are going upside down in the dark backwards at one point in the ride. Fun, but definitely a once a trip experience!

After EE we headed out of the park to the bus stop. Katie was still being generally cranky and Alex being the sweetheart that he is offered to pick her up while we were waiting. She had asked me and Sean first, but it was so hot and she is about 38 lbs now. 38lbs is a lot to hold in the hot sticky heat, especially when she is hot and sticky too. Alex picked her up, chatted with her, and made her smile. He is such a good big brother. He even poured some of his water into her water bottle since she had drunk all of hers already. I snapped this pic of them together while we waited. The bus came after a few minutes and we all went back to the hotel for a swim, a rest and to shed our crankiness.

We took a little longer than usual break and I think I even slept for a half hour or so. I think the trip was wearing on all of us and we needed a little extra rest time. When we were finally ready, we headed out to Epcot to do the World Showcase. Again we were thwarted by the counter service places having only outdoor seating. We wanted to try San Angel Inn in Mexico as soon as we entered the park, so we walked from the front of the park all the way to Mexico only to find this out. This is the one area that I will definitely research better if we do another trip. I won’t be putting any restaurants that require me to eat outside in the heat in our plan! I just didn’t think to check on that when I was picking places – just went by reviews. As long as we were already in Mexico though, we decided to look around at the shops there and do the Three Amigos ride. The ride was very cute and it was indoors and had AC, so we all enjoyed that. There were beautiful Mexican wood carvings that I would have loved to take home, but they were quite expensive.

After exploring Mexico we decided we hadn’t better tempt fate any further by putting off dinner. It was already 6pm (we usually eat at 5 or 5:30p) and Katie can get really owly when she is hungry. We toyed with the idea of going around World Showcase looking for a counter service that was indoors, but thought it likely there wouldn’t be much and since we didn’t know for sure didn’t want to keep wandering aimlessly. In the end we decided to go back to Future World and eat at Electric Umbrella. We had eaten there on our previous trip, so we knew what we were getting. It is a bland burgers and chicken fingers kinda place, but we were hungry and it was indoors. Dinner there was uneventful and we all had enough to eat. We ordered Alex the double burger with an extra bun and he then put one of his burgers on the extra bun for Katie. She ate the hamburger just fine and only had about two of my fries so that made sharing really easy with her there. I had read a review somewhere that said the cheesecake (which is prepackaged, small, circular, single servings) was actually pretty good here. Sorry, but I have to disagree. I ordered it for dessert and didn’t bother finishing it. It tasted like nothing and the texture was too grainy. They also had chocolate chip cookies there (also prepackaged) and both kids really liked them.

After dinner we trekked our way back to World Showcase. Alex and I picked up fastpasses for Test Track on our way as we had missed out on getting to do that ride when we were here before. Our plan was to look through as many countries as we could and then go to Beaches and Cream and have some really good ice cream before calling it a night. We got through several, I’m embarrassed to admit I don’t remember exactly which ones. I know we looked through China where I got some pretty glass dear for my mother. We also went through Norway where we tried to get Alex and Katie to make good Viking faces for the camera, but I don’t think Katie really understood. We ended up not spending as much time as I would have liked looking at the exhibits and the shops because Katie is still really hard to take into shops like that. She wants to touch everything and lots of stuff was breakable, so we couldn’t really linger like I wanted to.

After about the 12,345th time telling Katie not to touch I decided no more shops and we’d just go have our ice cream at Beaches and Cream. Sean and Alex were fine with that – I think they were both kind of bored with me looking at “stuff”. They didn’t really get into the educational, interesting aspect of looking at the other countries like I hoped they would, and with me trying to manage Katie’s behavior I couldn’t do much to draw them in. Alex did show at least a mild interest in the Viking exhibits though.

We walked through the International Gateway to the Beach Club resort and to Beaches and Cream. Excellent ice cream shop. We got seats at the counter and after much discussion ended up ordering two Hot Fudge Mudslides to share. These were huge cake-like brownies on the bottom, hot fudge, vanilla ice cream, oreo cookies, whip cream and a cherry. Alex and I ate one and Sean and Katie the other. Sean especially liked his! Yummy – I didn’t care for the brownies at the bottom so much – just too heavy and not as chocolatey as I like them, I guess. Alex felt the same way I did about the brownies and we ended up leaving most of them in the bottom of our dish. We had plenty though with all the ice cream and cookies though. Katie didn’t eat too much, but was happy enough and Sean ate almost all of theirs by himself. He rarely eats sweets at all, but when he does allow himself a treat like this – he really fills up!

After our ice cream, we waddled back through the International Gateway and over to Test Track. Alex and I rode it and it was surprisingly fun – I don’t know why, but I wasn’t really expecting to like this ride. While we were gone, Sean and Katie found a bench with an obstructed view of Illuminations. Alex and I sat down with them and watched the end of the fireworks. It had cooled off outside enough to be comfortable and it was a nice moment all sitting out under the fireworks. After the fireworks we headed out of the park and back to the bus. It was an extra magic night for Epcot, but we weren’t staying. The upside to that was that there wasn’t as big of an exodus out of the park because lots of people were staying. We got on a bus rather easily and headed back to the hotel. Since we were sleeping in the next day Alex and I decided to go swim even though it was already 10p. A nice swim and a 30 min. stint in the hot tub and I went to bed feeling pretty relaxed