Life on Cottage Hill: PAGES

Monday, April 17, 2017

he is RISEN!

We've been really lucky the past few years with beautiful weather on Easter, making for a LOT of crazy fun hunting eggs, playing baseball, flying kites, you name it... these three did it. They played hard for two days straight, first at Nanna's and then at Mamaw's. Unfortunately this marked yet another holiday with Dan working, but we're still thankful and I'm especially thankful to have a husband who always has such an attitude of gratitude- never complaining, just happy to get little snippets of updates from us and a facetime debrief each night. Celebrating the love of Jesus is especially special on Easter weekend, but we try to live out his ways every day of the week which made his absence less hard and the adventures we have in between the "big days" are just as special and fun and all the more sweet when we can all five be together. 

Thursday, April 6, 2017

The Happiest Place on Earth With My Favorite People on Earth

After relaxing at the beach, we were off to the happiest place on Earth!! I was cautiously optimistic about Disney... last time we were there Jonah was NOT a fan and I quite honestly had no desire to go back anytime soon. But, for some reason I just knew this time would be better. Going from 2 to 3 made a huge difference- he could ride more rides, wasn't stuck in his stroller the entire time, the weather was amazing, we were germ-free and he went from being terrified of the characters (which was still cute) to LOVING them... "I will give Micky da biggest hug in da world!" So, so fun. 

We woke up super early Saturday morning to drive from the beach to Disney, wanting to arrive as early as possible to maximize our day and to make sure we made it for Audrey's esteemed appointment at the Bibbity Bobbity Botique on time :). The drive was easy- we went straight to our resort to park our car and hopped on one of the busses to the Magic Kingdom, making it just past the park opening. We hit up some rides and then I took Audrey to her appointment at Cinderella's Castle! 

We then spent the next two days at The Magic Kingdom- hopping from ride to ride from morning to night, meeting princesses and characters, eating a LOT of treats... and even hanging out with friends (The Rademachers) a couple of times which was so fun to see them there... On Sunday Jackson broke his KidBit record, logging nearly 28,000 steps! 

On Sunday afternoon we had lunch at Cinderella's Castle- this was a highlight on our last trip and it was again...  getting to walk inside, up the spiral staircase and into the dining room with ALL the princesses. The peanut was in heaven for sure! As much as Jonah loved the characters, he was quite shy around the princesses which was pretty adorable. 

This was one of Jackson's highlights- getting to drive Audrey and I in the race cars. He was a cra-zy driver and his biggest goal was to scare us... we played along :) but in all honesty it was a pret-ty bumpy ride. 

At our resort we had an amazing pool area- as much as the kids LOVE Disney, they also just really love swimming. We took a break from the heat at the parks Sunday afternoon to swim before going back to spend the evening at Magic Kingdom, closing down the park and swam again the next day after leaving Hollywood Studios. 

On our last day at the parks we went to Hollywood Studios- it was also Nanna's birthday hence the massive cupcakes... this was our first time at this park. Audrey LOVED the Frozen show (Elsa made it snow!) and there was a lot for Star Wars which Jackson enjoyed along with the Indiana Jones stunt show. It was more a half-day place for us- which left plenty of time to go back to the resort and explore and hit up the pool. 

After swimming we finished off the night with the outdoor movie- every Disney resort does this every night... it was the perfect ending to our trip, relaxing under the stars before packing up and heading home the next day. 

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

a little getaway...

A couple of months ago I spontaneously decided we needed a vacation. To somewhere warm. ASAP. 

After changing jobs + a LOT of work travel + Dan's new crazy, crazy work schedule + the coffee business... I just needed a break. Unfortunately in the spring it's too hard for Dan to get away so instead my parents joined the kids and I for a Spring Break trip down South. Little did I know at the time how much we would need this at the very moment we left- after a few weeks of going through some really hard stuff. 

I knew we wanted time at the beach and after learning that flights were MUCH less expensive into Orlando versus directly to a beach because of Spring Break timing, we decided to do half beach-time and half-Disney World time. It was the perfect combination of relaxing with no set plans at the beach and then the magic of Disney that also comes along with a lot of go-go-go. It was a very good decision and one we'll replicate for sure if (when?) we ever decide to do Disney again.

Thanks to the pure awesomeness of Air BnB, the ease of booking with Disney and finding some flight deals, my spontaneity turned into a fully planned trip in less than 48 hours. 

A few memories from the first part of our trip at Siesta Key...

These three are airpot pros at this point, fully realizing that the trick to any successful flight is to pack three times as many snacks as you THINK you might need. 

I loved this sweet little path to the beach from our Air BnB and why walk to the beach when you can RUN!?

Of course any solid vacation comes with a LOT of treats... we rotated between the mini donuts stand and Olaf's Ice Cream, sometimes hitting them up multiple times in a day. No complaints from these little monsters...

These three. They would dig on the beach ALL day. Dig, search for shells, dig some more, repeat... 

We would normally hit up the beach in the morning/early afternoon and then relax around the pool in late afternoon while Jonah napped. It was the sweetest pool at our Air BnB and felt like it was inside a secret garden. We were the only ones who used it throughout our stay, making it basically private to us. 

In the evenings we would walk to the village for dinner and then back to the beach for sunset. I'm a big BIG proponent of vacations where minimal driving is needed and what I loved about this particular spot was that we could walk everywhere- the beach, breakfast, coffee, dinner, shops... and of course at Disney we didn't need to drive anywhere either since we stayed at a WDW Resort.