Sunday, February 20, 2011


Stella looked especially winter chic today at church, so she happily agreed to pose for some pictures afterward. I use the term 'pose' loosely here considering that she actually wouldn't, and these are just some pictures of her playing in the snow.

Stella does lots of adorable things these days. Mostly though she surprises us each day with new phrases and insights. Like a few days ago I said that I loved one of her movies called Ponyo, and she told me: "Mommy, you don't love Ponyo, you love Daddy."

She will also take our orders now and prepare us food. She calls her kitchen the "chicken." Not sure why, since she can say the word "kitchen," she just does. She also makes us laugh how she calls Barnes & Noble "Bawns 'n' Bobo." We also love when she asks for "chalk-co-milk." Pretty much everything she says sounds freaking adorable.

She is still totally obsessed with her movies. She has yet to watch a movie that she hasn't liked. She loves watching movies with her dad. The other morning they watched some classic Mickey Mouse cartoons while Stella was holding her Mickey doll and she said to the doll: "Look Mickey, it's you!"

She also has this thing where she always wants me to be wearing my glasses. In the morning when I go to get her she will say: "Hi Mom, where are your glasses?" or "Hi Mom, you are wearing your glasses." I have no idea where this anxiety comes from, but it consumes her each day.

Over all, she is still very sweet most of the time, and we just love her to pieces.

Thursday, February 10, 2011


I often dread sitting down and working on a long vacation post. You can go through so many average weeks and then a week comes where you go out of town and so many memories happen. Since I am memory-obsessed, I feel compelled to get them all down. It is always worth it to me in the end, so here goes a long post dedicated to the magic of Disney World. Several days before we left Stella would ask if we were going to see Mickey Mouse. On Monday I told her we were going on a plane to see him tomorrow. "Oh, yeah! I am so excited! Mickey Mouse!"

First off this story cannot be told without sharing how cute Stella looked as a little traveler. I had her in her Old Navy jumpsuit (5 bucks total), and she had her princess suitcase. These pictures don't do her justice, because she would swing her arms and walk with such a purpose it was so freaking adorable. Everyone in the airport stopped to look at her and comment. (Well not EVERYONE, but a lot people.) "Oh, she is so cute!" "Oh, look at her suitcase." "She is so serious about being a big girl." Anyway, I know Stella has waited a while to put her suitcase to good use and she loved it.

After a bumpy but uneventful flight we arrived at the darkening skies of Orlando. Because my dad is crazy for their pecan waffles, we headed to the Waffle House. Stella's meal came with a hat, and she was crazy for the food.

The next day we just hung out and relaxed, preparing for our first big day at The Magic Kingdom. And Thursday we were on our way and Stella was really excited. So excited in fact that she became very serious about the whole thing. As Cinderella's castle was in sight I wanted to get a picture of me and her with the castle in the background. She wouldn't have it. She WOULD NOT take her eyes off of the castle to stop for thanks...she was headed toward Cinderella's house, and no one was going to stop her!

I didn't want to take Stella on a scary ride first, but what do we do? Head straight for the scariest ride in the kid area...Snow White's SCARY Adventure (emphasis on the scary). Stella covered her eyes the whole time and now if you mention Snow White she will tell you that it was a scary ride. After that, she wanted to head over to the "horses." Which she loved.

Then Stella set her sights on Dumbo. Can you believe after all these years of going to Disney World, I have never been on Dumbo? I don't know, it never looked that fun or worth getting sick over. However with Stella it was really super fun.

OK, now here was the big moment--we went to meet the princesses. Stella loves the Disney princess movies as I have blogged about before. She loves the dresses and the big romantic kisses that save the day (heaven help us). So when we walked into a quiet room with Cinderella, Belle, and Aurora, Stella's eyes got huge, and she was what you would call starstruck. Each princess was so cute with her, calling her "your highness" and telling her how good she looked in blue because of her eyes. And Stella just stared at them--she almost couldn't breathe, I think. It was totally priceless. As soon as we left the room, normal Stella returned and she was all giddy from the encounters.

Now, I love Mickey Mouse and so does my daughter. Daddy and Stella have also watched several of the really old classic Mickey Mouse cartoons too so she is really an educated 2-year old. As we walked into the room to meet Mickey and Minnie, Stella declared, "I have waited for this my whole life!" The ladies working with Mickey heard her and said that that was the cutest thing they had ever heard and were sure to tell Mickey that he had a real fan on his hands that day. Here was Stella's face waiting to meet Mickey:

Mickey is the BEST!

Then we spent some time in Tomorrow Land relaxing on the People Mover, enjoying the Carousel of Progress, and meeting Buzz Lightyear.

After this we headed back by Cinderella's castle where Mickey was having a dance party parade. At first I stayed back away from the crowd, but soon I noticed that Mickey was dancing in the street and there was some room for a 2 year old and her crazy mom so I was a tad aggressive and before I knew it we were dancing right in front of Mickey Mouse! It was so fun! My mom tried to get a picture of us, but there were too many people. It was so fun though and we were so close, I assure you.

Then we indulged in some Pineapple Dole favorite!

Then we went on a few more rides like Pirates of the Caribbean (where Stella closed her eyes the whole time), Aladdin's Carpet Ride, and the Jungle Cruise (where Stella thought it was all real). We caught the tail end of the light parade and then headed to the kid area where Stella had her first sad cry when they closed the carousel early and she couldn't ride it. BUT we made it on Peter Pan and Small World one more time (both rides were Stella-approved and highly rated by her). As we came out of Small World the fireworks were going off and we were right underneath them and it was a super fun end to a totally awesome day!

As we were leaving, Mom and I risked our lives and went into the Disney logo store. I decided to buy Stella a Mickey Mouse to remember her day. Watching her excitement as she opened the bag to find Mickey was totally worth it.

That night an exhausted Princess Stella went to sleep with her new BFF Mickey by her side and he has slept with her every night since.

The next day we relaxed and went swimming, but NOT without our little mouse friend.

Saturday we tried out Disney's Animal Kingdom which they claim is "not a zoo," but it is pretty much a zoo with a few rides. The first thing we did was wait in lines to meet all the characters. You will find us doing this a lot. We've never made a big effort to meet the characters before, but Stella really loved it and seeing Mickey Mouse and his pals was really the highlight of her park visits.

The main attraction is the safari ride. People were going crazy taking pictures like they were in a real safari and I didn't get it. But I did take one picture that I thought was very nice. Plus, Stella loved the safari and seeing all the animals in their "natural" habitat.

After the ride I was suddenly starving so we stopped for a snack and then began to enjoy what I think is the best thing at Disney World...the Mickey Ice Cream Sandwich. Seriously good stuff and well worth the exorbitant fee. But just as Stella and I were sharing our first bites, the heavens opened and we started getting soaked. We managed to find cover and Stella and I hovered close together as we enjoyed our cold treat before we got too cold from the elements.

After that we were wet the rest of the day, and cold as well. We still had a good time though and I know Stella loved the Finding Nemo theater show the best.

Sunday was spent in the car, driving around getting my dad a new laptop. Then we headed out to the beach to see some properties. Then we went to the beach in the dark. So we didn't really see it, but Stella did collect some shells that she lovingly played with the rest of our stay. We were supposed to go home the next day, but my mom talked me into staying one more day.

Monday we went shopping and I had one of the best shopping moments of my life as I headed into one of my favorite stores, Ted Baker. I can never afford anything there so I almost didn't go in the store. Suddenly I found myself surrounded by recently reduced shoes and clothing that made my heart go pitter-pat. It was so fun--Stella was picking up shoes and having me try them on. I ended up buying four pairs there along with a skirt and jacket. Now that we are home, Stella has not stopped playing with them and calling them "my shoes." I suppose that it is harmless to let her think that I bought them for her.

My mom talked me into staying yet another day, and hey I really wanted to. My only concern was my lonely husband back at home, but the sunny forecast and the promise of more Disney World was calling to me. So we stayed for Tuesday fun. It WAS sunny, but it was cold (for Florida). But this time, Stella was a Magic Kingdom pro and was so excited to be returning to the park.

We were coming in about the time of the parade and so we hung out to see it. Stella LOVED it. After the parade we had lunch, and hit a few favorite rides again like The Dollies (aka Small World). We also went on the teacups (a ride I normally try to avoid) for the full Magic Kingdom experience.

We waited in line to see the Disney Fairies, but let's face it...we were only interested in meeting Tinker Bell.

We spent the evening at Epcot. As we were entering the park I snagged Stella a "1st Visit" pin, and she really loved it. It was cute to watch her walk with it--she would hold on to it like she was afraid it would fall off.

After enjoying a few attractions, we waited in line for one final visit with the stars of Disney. This time Stella was all smiles--she was over being shy. She was giddy after each chance to meet a character and would wave and say goodbye to them all by name. It was pretty freaking cute.

So that was it. Our very fun trip to Orlando. We had to get up the next morning at 4 AM to catch our flight and I have been recovering from our early morning journey ever since. It was totally worth it though. Stella is still spending every night with Mickey and talking about the rides. She sings "Small World" and tells me that the Snow White ride was so scary, and I have also lost count of how many times we have used blocks to build Cinderella's castle. I think we have a full blown Disney addict on our hands. I didn't take that many scenery pictures, but here are a couple to end the post.