Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Our Week - The One with Poker Night, a Sleepover, Golf, and Doing All the Things

I can’t believe it’s already time for another weekly recap… the weeks are just flying by!

Monday, April 22

Monday morning, I dropped the kids off at school and then I headed to Walmart and Publix to do my grocery shopping for the next couple of weeks.  After that, I got the groceries put away at home, and I settled in to work all day. 

At 3, I grabbed the kids from school while listening to TTPD on repeat, and then we headed home… we had nowhere to be!  This school year has been so nice in that we have one free weeknight with no after-school activities.  Mondays have been the best this school year!

When we got home, I chatted with Olivia for a bit, helped her with some homework, and then I did a Bible study while the kids played outside. 

We had an early dinner of beef and parmesan pasta with zucchini and our favorite Cheesecake Factory brown bread, and then we all headed back outside to spend the rest of the evening.  I pressure washed for about 30 minutes while the kids ran around, and then Brian came out and took over because 30 minutes is about all I can do before my neck starts to hurt and my hands and arms get shaky. 

While he pressure washed, I headed out for a run, and apparently I run faster when I listen to mad songs by Taylor Swift.  Haha.  My pace was significantly faster than usual.  I did keep the run short, though, because I was tired from pressure washing, and I wanted to get in an arms workout, too.

After all of that was done, I headed inside to shower and get in PJs.  Then I wrapped up my to-do list – well, almost – and then I spent some time with Olivia in her room watching a YouTube video of some crafting that’s she’s been loving to watch.

After we got the kids in the bed, B and I watched some of American Idol from Sunday, and then we headed to bed early.

Maui waits at the bottom of the stairs for me every night after we put the kids to bed, and Brian snapped her picture and made this meme because... UNCANNY.  Haha.


Tuesday, April 23

Tuesday morning, I ran by Fresh Market to grab chicken, and then I gassed up the car, and then I headed home for a long day of blog work and various other tasks.  My master to-do list (that you don’t see) is just overflowing right now as May-cember is right around the corner, so there are so.many.things.to.do. 

After school, I got the kids home so Olivia could tackle her homework before dance.  She had quite a bit Tuesday – more than usual – so she ended up spending the whole hour on homework until it was time to go to dance.  While she did that, Jacob tinkered on his piano, and I did my Bible study and wrapped up my blog work for the day.

After Jacob and I dropped Olivia at dance, we headed straight back home so I could start tackling as many of the tiny tasks as I could – I finally tried on the clothes I’d received from my birthday, got the tags off those and put the clothes in the laundry bin, I sent some emails about the school dance, I RSVPed for an upcoming birthday party, I got some gift ideas for said birthday girl, I sewed the string back on that had ripped off of our chaise lounge during some bad storms a couple of weeks ago, B and I rolled out the third and final rug for the back porch and got it into place, I put away some toiletries that had been sitting on the bathroom counter for days, I tidied up my closet floor (it was a hot mess which is unusual for me), I ordered Olivia’s school class picture, I organized my computer desktop, I tidied up the pile on my office floor, I returned some text messages that I’d gotten behind on, I started browsing items on Amazon for the upcoming 7th/8th grade dance I’m planning, and then after I got dinner in the oven, I got in a strength workout.


When Brian and Olivia got home from dance, we sat down to parmesan chicken, mashed potatoes, steamed broccoli, and more of the Cheesecake Factory brown bread that we love.  It comes two loaves to a package, so we always have to have it twice when I buy it.

By the time dinner was over, it was late, so B and I got the kitchen cleaned up, and then I went to get ready for bed while Olivia showered.  Then I finally opened my new Taylor Swift vinyl and pored over the pages of the book inside for a bit.

By the time Olivia was ready for bed, it was time to get the kids to sleep, and then B and I watched some more of American Idol before heading to bed.  I started a new book, but couldn’t keep my eyes open, so we ended up turning out the light a little early.

Wednesday, April 24

Wednesday, I had no errands or meetings, so I dropped the kids at school and headed home to work all day.  I also had to start getting organized for Olivia’s upcoming dance recital as well as the 7th/8th grade dance I’m planning. 

The day flew by, and before I knew it, it was time to pick up the kids.  Jacob had gone on a field trip to Providence Canyon, and they’d been gone all day hiking and walking the canyon, and he said that they’d had a great time. 

Jacob and I dropped Olivia off at dance right after school, and then he and I headed home for the evening.  He didn’t have any homework, so I let him have some computer time, and then I got my Bible study done and tackled the remaining tasks on my to-do list.  Much of that was deep cleaning the house.  On Wednesday I tackled the toilets, cleaned the mirrors, and did some dusting, because the house was looking rough.  I also started working on deep cleaning the countertops, but I didn’t finish all of them.

After that, it was time to work on dinner.  Jacob helped me chop the sausage and veggies for sausage, peppers, and onions tacos, and then when Brian and Olivia got home, we ate dinner together.  Olivia had hoped that she’d be bringing home her costumes for her recital last week, but they didn’t get them.  Should be this week, though!

After dinner, I quizzed Olivia for a test, and then I got in a stair stepper workout while the kids got showered and ready for bed. 

After Olivia was ready for bed, she and I hung out in her room for a bit listening to the new Taylor Swift album – the clean version :o) – and we worked on tidying a bit, too, because her room was out of control.

While we did that, Jacob practiced some piano work.  He found the sheet music for some of the songs from Minecraft, and he’s been teaching himself to play one of them. 

After we got the kids in the bed, B and I finally got all caught up on American Idol, and then we watched a couple of skits from an old episode of Saturday Night Live, and then we headed up to bed early, at like, 9:30.  Haha.  I read for a while, and then we turned out the lights much earlier than usual.  It was nice to get almost eight hours of sleep!  That never happens on weeknights.

Thursday, April 25

Thursday morning, I dropped the kids off at school, and then I headed straight home to work all morning.  I had lots of blog work to do (Disney posts!), and also lots of non-blog tasks to tackle, so I got in the zone and worked hard for a solid 3.5 hours before it was time to run a couple of errands – Target and an appointment with my therapist. 

By the time I was done there, I had just enough time to run home, choke down a quick lunch, and get back in the car to go pick up the kids from school.

They both had music lessons after school, and then we headed home for the evening.  I did a Bible study while they did homework, and I was so excited to start the Book of Proverbs.  My very favorite Bible verse of all time is from Proverbs, and it happened to be in my reading for the day, so I spent some extra time illustrating it in my journaling column. 

I found that verse 14 years ago after my miscarriage with our first baby, and it has stayed with me since then.  It carried me through all of that pain of losing a baby, and brought me to our rainbow baby, Jacob, so I’ve loved it since then.  That verse has been framed next to my desk in my office for years, and it serves as a good reminder for me, since I always feel the need to control everything.  And when I can’t control things, I always need an explanation for why things happen the way that they do.  That’s obviously not how life works, so that’s why I cling to this verse.

By the time I was done with my Bible study, Brian was home from work (and I was on the struggle bus because I had so much left to do), so we made breakfast for dinner, and then got the kitchen cleaned up.  I had wanted to tackle a few more things on my list, but Olivia asked me to play with her outside, and I wasn’t going to say no to that, so we ended up taking a family walk together.

After that, I walked an additional couple of miles solo, and then I came home and watered all of my plants before heading back to my office to finish up a couple of things while the kids finished showering.

Jacob had a very loose molar, so Brian ended up pulling that right before bed, and then B and I retreated to the couch to watch the NFL draft while I did some more work from my phone.

We ended up going upstairs early and getting to bed early again, and it was nice to be well rested once again.  Even though, honestly, it still doesn’t make waking up early any easier. 

Friday, April 26

Friday, I dropped the kids at school, swung by Publix to grab a couple of things, and then I headed home to work all day on blog stuff, life stuff, and house cleaning.  It was a busy one, but I was able to knock out a ton of tiny little tasks that have been piling up, so it was productive!

At 3, I grabbed the kids from school and then we headed home.  Olivia had plans to spend the night at a friend’s house, so she started packing while I did my Bible study, and then I ran her over to her friend’s house around 4:30. 

We had friends over for poker night Friday night, so we had pizza and cheesy bread delivered, and my friend’s husband had made homemade brownies.  We topped them with caramel swirled vanilla ice cream, and it was delicious.  My friend, Khristina, had also brought some ice cream treats that look like fried chicken (LOL) and the kids thought they were so funny.  They were covered in cornflakes, and they really did look like fried chicken.  Everybody thought they were tasty, though.

We played cards all night while the kids hung out, and then everyone left around 9:30.  B and I got the kitchen cleaned up, and then after Jacob headed to bed, we watched one episode of The Chosen and then headed to bed. 

Saturday, April 27

Saturday morning, we had cinnamon rolls for breakfast.  I usually make waffles on Saturday morning, but that’s Olivia’s favorite thing, so I saved that for Sunday since she wasn’t home.

The boys headed off to play golf with some friends after that, and since Olivia still wasn’t home, I had the house to myself.  I got some stuff done in my office first, then I got in a mixed cardio workout, and then I got lots of things done around the house.  I also finished editing all of the pictures for my Magic Kingdom post that went live yesterday because I was so behind on blog work.

The boys picked up Olivia on their way home from golf, and then we all had lunch together when they got home.  We did some pressure washing at the top of the driveway, and I had to admire the middle section that we'd done earlier in the week.  Just look at the difference!

After lunch, the kids got their laundry and chores done, and then they showered and had some screen time late in the afternoon.  When B went in to make sure Olivia was ready for church, he found her asleep in her bed with her laptop on her chest.  She had stayed up until 1 AM at her sleepover, and she just couldn’t hang.  Bless.

We all went to church at 5:30, and Olivia ended up falling asleep on my mom’s shoulder… my mom had to hold her little head up so it wouldn’t fall.  Staying up late really did a number on her this time!

After church, we went with our usual crew to the local pub down the street from church, and then Brian and the kids wanted Blizzards from Dairy Queen afterward.  We blasted Taylor Swift all the way home, much to Jacob’s dismay, but Olivia and I were happy campers.  ;o)

B and I watched another episode of The Chosen after the kids went to bed, and then we called it a night. 


Sunday, April 28

Sunday morning, I made homemade waffles, and then I got my planning done for the week (and month) ahead.  I had hoped to watch the sermon that I watch every Sunday morning, but sadly, their livestream wasn’t working, so I wasn’t able to.  I did do yoga, though.  Then after that, was a Bible study.

Brian had been out mowing the lawn all morning, so once he was done, he got me all set up with the pressure washer, and I knocked out most of another section of the driveway.  Brian came out and finished up when my arms and hands got tired, and I headed inside to make grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch.

Slowly but surely, we’re getting the pressure washing done, but man, is it a BIG job.  At this point I think we’re probably about halfway done, so we still have a long way to go.

We ate lunch outside because it was such a beautiful day, and then, I took 30 minutes to lay out in the sun and relax. 

After that, I headed inside to shower, and then I spent the rest of the afternoon finishing up my Magic Kingdom blog post.  That one took hours and hours to do.  Most people don’t realize how much goes into one blog post – all of the writing, editing, selecting photos, editing photos, uploading and putting all of the copy and pictures in the post, adding links, adding tags, making Pinterest graphics, etc.  It’s a LOT.  But I love it.

While I worked, I watched The Wedding Planner (because of course I did), and that was a nice way to spend the afternoon.

We went to my parents’ house for Sunday dinner, and my mom had made a chicken pot pie with a couple of sides + some chocolate crinkle cookies that we love so much.  We hung out there for the rest of the evening, and then B and I watched some of American Idol before heading to bed early!  And that was our week!

And now for a few current things…

Currently Reading

This month, I finished Only Love Can Hurt Like This by Paige Toon.  It was just okay for me… a bit slow.  I had pretty high expectations for it, so maybe that’s why I didn’t love it as much as I thought I would? 

I also started and finished None of This is True by Lisa Jewell.  This one was fantastic, and I couldn’t put it down, but then the end rolled around and… meh.  I wasn’t that impressed.  I ended up giving this one three stars just because the ending wasn’t great.  Was it worth the read?  Yes.  But I just wasn’t blown away at the end like I had expected. 

I also started Divine Direction: 7 Decisions That Will Change Your Life by Craig Groechel, and I’m loving it so far.  I read his book Winning the War in Your Mind last year, and it was phenomenal… he has such a way with words.  Every time I read one of his books, I’m constantly amazed at how many great takeaways there are.

And, of course, I’m still reading New Morning Mercies: A Daily Gospel Devotional by Paul David Tripp as it’s a daily devotional.  It is truly one of the best devotionals I’ve read. 

And I’m also still working my way through The Bible and The Bible Recap… I just finished up with 1 Chronicles, and I’m also nearly done with Psalms.  I recently started 1 Kings, 2 Chronicles, Song of Solomon, and Proverbs as those are all read in conjunction with each other (assuming you’re reading the Bible in chronological order, which I am).  I’m on day 158 today, so I’m 38 days ahead!  I was 48 days ahead last month, but I lost a big chunk of my lead since we were at Disney World for a week in April.


Currently Watching

With B:  This month, we’re watching American Idol on network TV.  And we’re still throwing in SNL and Shark Tank every now and then when we have time.  For streaming, we finished The Watcher (I did not love the end), and now we’re making our way through The Chosen, which I’m loving so far.

With the Kids:  We really didn’t watch a whole lot this month… they finished up A Series of Unfortunate Events, and that’s about it.  Now that it’s staying lighter later, we’ve been spending more time outside after dinner, and therefore by the time the kids are done showering and getting ready for bed, it’s time to get them in the bed.

Alone:  I’m still watching The Wedding Planner while I work on the weekends, but during the week, I just listen to music.


Currently Listening To

I think y’all know the answer to this already, but in case you don’t, The Tortured Poets Department by Taylor Swift.  I have literally not turned it off since it came out last week.  I want to learn every single word to every single one of the 31 songs so I can sing along.  It’s phenomenal.

Happy Tuesday, y’all!

Monday, April 29, 2024

Our 2024 Disney World Vacation, Days 5 & 6 - Magic Kingdom & Home

It’s the sixth and final installment of my Disney World vacation series here on the blog, and this one is a BIG one, so settle in, friends. 

Friday morning was Magic Kingdom day, and it was also… my birthday!!!!  My birthday fell during our Disney vacation on our list trip, but we didn’t plan accordingly, so I ended up spending the day in Animal Kingdom, which is my least favorite park.  (Although, no day in Disney World is a bad day, right?!)  But this year, I wanted to make sure that I planned to where we could be in MK for my actual birthday because… does it get more magical than that?  I wore my birthday shirt and my birthday pin, and I was wished a “happy birthday” 30 times by Disney Cast Members, random people, and a few special characters, too.  ;o)

MK Day is always our longest, craziest day because there is just so much to do there.  Rope drop was at 7:30 AM for people staying in the parks, so we were up bright and early at 5:45 AM yet again, walking out the door by 6:45 AM, and walking into the park by 7:15 AM. 

While we waited for rope drop, we took some PhotoPass pictures at the castle.  They have numerous Disney photographers lined up all the way down Main Street to take castle pictures, but we made sure to go to the photographer all the way at the end of Main Street, closest to the castle.  You get the best pictures there, and shockingly, the line is always the shortest there.  I think a lot of people don’t realize that there are multiple photographers taking those same shots, so they just stop at the first one they see on the way in, so the lines for those are always long, and the pictures aren’t great because you have so many people in the background.  #TheMoreYouKnow

Since we walked all the way to the last one, we only had one family in front of us, and we were able to get some ah-mazing pictures without crowds and crowds of people in the background.  Since it was my birthday, I also requested to take some pictures on my own, and they popped a little bit of magic into them for me.  ;o)  Also, ya gotta love those cheesy poses they got us to do.  ;o)

By the time that was done, it was time for rope drop (they actually dropped it at 7:25 AM instead of 7:30!), and we were off and running to our first ride of the day… Peter Pan.  Brian and I had secured lightning lanes for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Space Mountain since those are currently the most popular, and Brian had also gotten Tron for Jacob and himself. 

Since we had some time before any of our lightning lanes, we decided to try to knock out as many rides as possible before those were available.  Peter Pan always has a super long wait for some reason, so that’s why we ran there first.  The wait time already said 30 minutes by the time we arrived, but I think we only waited about 15-20 minutes. 

The kids used that time to eat their breakfast bars, and I popped into the Disney app to look at our pictures from the castle.  When I opened the app, I was DEVASTATED to find that the pictures for the family in front of us in line had been loaded into our app, and our pictures were nowhere to be found.  Brian told me not to panic because he was sure they could fix it, and spoiler alert, I did panic a little, but they were, indeed, able to fix it.  More on that later.  ;o)

By the time we were done there, it was 8:00 AM so we ran to Haunted Mansion as it opens at 8.  I’m not sure why it opens later than the rest of the park, but it was perfectly timed for us because we were in the very first group to get on the ride.  The ride snaps pictures of you at one point, and I laugh every time I look at the pictures because all of our faces are so weird.  It’s very obvious that none of us knew it was coming.  Haha.

After that, we were right near Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, so we decided to go ride that one next.  The wait was super short – maybe 10 minutes? – so we were on in no time.  I was very hesitant about riding a real roller coaster since I’d avoided them the whole trip, but I figured since it was our last day there, why not?

I ended up doing well on it, but there was one part where you go in a circle (or two?) really fast, and towards the end of that part I thought to myself, “Oh no, why did I do this?” because I could feel my brain starting to swirl from my vertigo.  But just as I started feeling yucky, the circle ended, and we straightened out, and my brain did as well.  :o) 

I did feel like I was rocking on a boat for a good hour or so afterward, but I was happy to have been able to ride one without feeling too bad!   

Also, while we were waiting in line, look what I captured...

Y'all.  My heart swelled.  This was completely unprompted, and they were just standing like this all on their own.  We had just told them they were both big enough to ride without an adult next to them, and they were soooo excited that they could sit together, so they wrapped their arms around each other.  They truly love each other and I love that so much.

After that ride, we walked over to Pirates of the Caribbean since it’s nearby, and we literally walked right on the ride as there was no wait whatsoever.  At that point, it wasn’t even 9 AM and we’d already ridden four rides and taken pictures at the castle!  We were on a roll!


By the time we finished at Pirates of the Caribbean, the lightning lane for the boys had opened for Space Mountain, so we walked over there next.  We had booked it for all four of us, but I decided I didn’t want to do it… a roller coaster in the daylight is one thing, but a roller coaster in the dark where you don’t know what’s coming in front of you is a whole other ball game.  I knew that wouldn’t be good for my vertigo, so I opted out.  Olivia was also on the fence about it, and she ended up staying with me.  She almost rode it on our last trip – she made it as far as the front of the queue – and then she decided she didn’t want to ride, so she and I walked off. 

While the boys rode, Olivia and I went to sit down on a bench nearby so we could eat our breakfast and so I could take my vitamins and vertigo medicine.  When I went to take the vertigo medicine out of my old lady pill box, it slipped out of my fingers, and hit the ground.  And then, as if in slow motion, I watched it roll across the sidewalk, and into a deep crack.  OMG. 

The pills I take have to be cut in half since I only take a half dose during the day (otherwise I will fall straight to sleep), so it was shaped like a half moon.  Well, wouldn’t you know that the curved part went down in the crack first, so the flat part was facing up and flush with the crack so there was no way for me to grab it.  What are the odds?!?!

It was the only pill I had with me, so I knew I had to get it back somehow.  Naturally, I tried using my fingers first, but that didn’t remotely work, and I ended up pushing it down further in the crack.  Sigh. 

I then tried to pry it up with the edge of my Carmex (chap stick) tube… it has a flat end (IYKYK), so I thought for sure that would work, but instead, it just pushed it down along the crack.  Ugh.

Finally, a lightbulb went off in my head and I realized that I had some of those GUM flossers that are shaped like toothpicks in my bag (thanks to my braces), so I was able to wedge one on either side of the pill and lift it up out of the crack while Olivia grabbed it.


The pill was covered in dirt (and who knows what else – barf, I don’t even want to think about it), and although I was relieved to have it back, I was appalled at the thought of putting that in my body because, hello, thousands of people walk through there every day and I am a MAJOR germaphobe.  So, needless to say, it was a hard pill to swallow.  No pun intended.  Hahahaha.

I did wipe it off with a tissue first, and then I poured water from our water bottle over it to “rinse” it off.  Those pills disintegrate quickly, so I’m pretty sure the whole top layer that touched the ground (and the crack) washed off anyway, but I told Brian that if I came down with some kind of illness or disease after the trip, we’d know exactly where it came from.  Hahahaha.

Anywayyyy, I had just retrieved the pill when the boys came back from the ride, so we were good to go ride something else.  Since we were near Tomorrowland Speedway, Brian was able to grab a lightning lane for it, and we walked right on.  

Jacob drove Brian and Olivia drove me, and it was so funny to watch them both.  We had some slowpokes in front of us, and Olivia kept saying, “Step on the gas, people!”  Hahahaha.  They couldn’t hear her, of course, but it was funny that she knew to say that.

After that was done, we stopped by a little souvenir kiosk in Tomorrowland because Olivia wanted to look at souvenirs, but she didn’t get anything.

While we were in Tomorrowland, Brian was able to grab a lightning lane for Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, so we walked over there next.  For that ride, there are two riders per cart, and you shoot at targets all throughout the ride and see who has the highest score.  Brian and Jacob’s cart wouldn’t spin, so we told a Disney Cast Member as we were getting off the ride, and they let us get right back on and ride again in new carts.  We didn’t even have to get back in the queue.

During our second ride, Brian and Jacob’s cart wouldn’t spin again, and they were baffled, but we decided not to worry about it and just move on.  Well, as we were having a conversation about it later, Brian realized that he had no clue that you have to spin your own cart (there is a joystick to control it), so while they’d thought their carts were broken, it turns out that it was just operator error.  LOL.  We had a good laugh about that, and I’ll never let him live it down.  It sounds like something I would do, since I’m the technologically challenged one in the family.  Haha.

Also, on that second round, somehow, Jacob and Olivia each hit a 100,000-point target (Olivia hit it twice!), and their scores were insane.  We’ve been to Disney three times and ridden that ride at least four times, and this was the first time we’d seen scores that high!  And LOL, more priceless ride pictures!!

Once we were done there, we walked over to Fantasyland to ride a couple of rides there.  First up, was Mad Tea Party.  I obviously sat that one out because that would have been a nightmare for my vertigo, so I was happy to observe and take pictures from the outside.  :o)  Then we rode Dumbo the Flying Elephant.  The line for that one was about 30 minutes at that point, so we used that time to Facetime my parents for my birthday. 

By the time we were done there, we were all starving, so we walked over to Starlight Café to grab a quick lunch.  They just have burgers and chicken fingers and fries, so it was quick and easy!

After lunch, we walked over to Enchanted Tales with Belle.  Beauty and the Beast is my absolute favorite Disney movie of all-time and it has been since I was nine when it came out, and we had never done that attraction, so I was excited.  The wait was only about 30 minutes, and we got to wait inside Belle and Maurice’s house while we waited.  ;o)

We also got a text from my mother-in-law while we were waiting with a picture of Maui telling me happy birthday!  <3  That just made my day.  We missed our girl so much while we were gone!

Enchanted Tales with Belle is interactive in that you can volunteer to play a role in the play at the end.  Both of our kids are too shy when it comes to doing stuff like that, so they both shrank back as they were choosing the kids to participate.  Haha. 

At the end, we were ushered into Belle’s library, and she came in and everyone oohed and aahed.  She was so beautiful.  And the Lumiere that was sitting on the mantle talked and moved and looked so dang real that it was just insane.  He’s my favorite character in the movie besides Belle and Beast, so it was just the neatest thing.

After the play was over, we were allowed to walk up and take pictures with Belle, and she gave us bookmarks to keep, and she told me happy birthday.  Nine-year old Lindsay would have been elated.  <3


After that was done, we had a lightning lane for Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid, so we headed there next and hopped right on.

Olivia was dying for some ice cream after that, so we walked over to Storybook Treats Ice Cream for some soft serve.  Brian and Olivia opted for the Aurora cup, which is Dole Whip strawberry and “blue” (which is really just vanilla) and topped with those delicious white chocolate crisp pearls that Disney World puts all over everything.  Jacob and I opted for vanilla soft serve because we’re both purists when it comes to soft serve.  ;o)

It was bathroom break time after that so everyone could clean up (the ice creams were soooo messy), and then we walked over to Barnstormer for our lightning lane.  We had wanted to ride it earlier in the day when we were in the area riding Mad Tea Party and Dumbo, but it had been down all morning.

It was finally back up, and we were all able to ride.  That one is pretty tame, so I figured it wouldn’t be too bad for my vertigo, and I was right.

We had some time to kill before our lightning lane for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, so we decided to ride The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh since we’d never ridden.  The wait said 40 minutes, and the kids weren’t too thrilled about riding it as none of us are really Winnie the Pooh fans, but I wanted to do something new, so I played the “it’s my birthday” card and we went for it.  Hahahaha. 

It turned out that we only had to wait about 20 minutes to ride, and the kids ended up loving it because of the bouncing part with Tigger.  Haha.  They wanted to ride it again immediately after we got off, but it was time for to ride Seven Dwarfs Mine Train so we told them we’d have to save it for next time.

I ultimately decided not to ride Seven Dwarfs Mine Train because I was worried about my vertigo.  It was sunny and it had warmed up, so I didn’t want to risk it since my dizziness always seems to be the worst in the afternoon.  I was a little bummed, but still just happy to be there, so I went and found a place to sit in the shade while Brian and the kids rode. 

Brian texted me when they were getting close to getting on, and I walked down to the area where you can see the roller coaster car ride by, so I was able to get a picture and a video of them coming through.  Disney PhotoPass pictures are also taken on that ride (it knows when to snap your picture because of the location on your Magic Band), so we also had a few pictures automatically uploaded to our PhotoPass.


While they were finishing up with their ride, I started to walk back to my seat in the shade when I realized that Pooh and Tigger had just arrived across the way, and people were lining up to meet them.  I quickly got in line, and I figured Brian and the kids could just walk on up as soon as they got off the ride. 

The line moved quickly when I first arrived, but by the time Brian and the kids met up with me, it had slowed to a crawl.  They ended up taking a break right as we were about fifth in line, so we had to wait even longer, and I think that’s the longest wait we had the entire trip besides waiting to meet Woody and Jessie in Hollywood Studios.  But again, we’d never met them, so it was something new to do… and it was more autographs for the kids’ books!  And again, I was really excited because Tigger motioned to my birthday pin and threw his arms up in the air all excitedly to tell me happy birthday.  Those characters don’t talk, so that was the best he could do.  Haha.

After that was done, the boys had a lightning lane for Tron, and Olivia and I didn’t want to ride that at all, so we split up.  The boys headed over there, and Olivia and I headed to Guest Services to see about getting our PhotoPass castle pictures corrected.  Well, on the way, just as we were walking by the castle, they started a show called Magical Friendship Faire, and Olivia and I happened to be literally right by the stage as it was starting, so we stopped and watched the whole thing from start to finish.  Olivia got to watch Elsa sing Let it Go, so she was pretty happy about that.  ;o)

By the time the show was done, the boys were almost done with their ride, so Olivia and I continued walking to Guest Services, and the boys met up with us there shortly after we arrived.  Guest Services was, indeed, able to locate our pictures from that morning and pop in them right into our app, and all was well.  WHEW.  I later realized on the way home that they hadn’t put the “magic” in my birthday photos, though, but with a quick email to them, they had included the “magic” (balloons in my hand) and popped them into the app.  I’m telling y’all, Disney customer service is phenomenal.

I asked Jacob how he’d liked Tron since it was the most intense roller coaster he’d ridden to date, and his response was, “Well, it was… thrilling.”  And then he went on to tell me that he thinks he almost passed out.  The pictures that were taken on the ride most definitely back him up on that.  Hahahaha.

We all took a bathroom break after that and refilled our waters (FYI, you can go to any quick service restaurant or kiosk and ask for a cup of water and it’s free and filtered and cold, and they also have various water refilling stations around the parks where you can also refill for free!), and then we walked behind the castle to meet some princesses that Brian had been able to get a lightning lane for!

Olivia had made a bracelet for Rapunzel before we left home, and it was on her wish list to see her.  The day we were there, we couldn’t find her anywhere, but there was a meet and greet with Tiana and a “special guest,” so Olivia was thrilled to find that our lightning lane was for Tiana and Rapunzel.  We’d met both of them on our last trip, but our pictures were taken in ponchos because it had been raining nonstop, and the kids weren’t allowed to get their autographs because – Covid – so it was nice to have a redo.

Tiana was gorgeous – her dress is my all-time favorite aside from Belle! – and Rapunzel was just so kind.  When Olivia gave her the bracelet, she put it on immediately and she hugged Olivia and thanked her, and it was just the sweetest thing.  All of it was captured on camera with our PhotoPass, and the pictures are just precious.  I’m so happy that she hasn’t quite outgrown princesses yet… I know it’ll happen far too soon.

Although, maybe not… I mean, I still haven’t technically outgrown them.  I was giddy when both of them told me happy birthday.  ;o)

Once we were done there, it was time to check in at Be Our Guest for my birthday dinner.  We had a reservation, but we ended up having to wait about 20 minutes past our reservation time because they were a bit backed up.  That rarely happens at Disney, but we were happy to wait because we found some shade and a place to sit down.  These goofballs!!

Unfortunately, we weren’t seated in the main ballroom, so that made me a little sad, and instead we were seated in the “West Wing,” which if you know the movie, that’s Beast’s wing that is strictly forbidden.  The room is dark and dramatic, and the rose stands in the corner while lightning flashes and thunder rumbles every now and then.

I was pretty disappointed at first to know we wouldn’t be sitting in the main room, but I ended up loving sitting in the West Wing.  It was a totally different experience, that’s for sure!  And it was something that we’d never done before… we had lots of firsts on this trip!

The experience there is always really great.  It’s a fixed price for adults and children, and each person gets to choose one appetizer and one entrée.  Then they bring out an entire selection of desserts for each person.

I chose the mixed greens salad to start… it has goat cheese, and I never turn down anything with goat cheese!  *Chef’s kiss*

Then for the entrée, I got the grilled filet mignon with smashed potatoes, Haricots Verts, and sauce au Poivre.

I paired it with a beer (normally I’d go for a glass of wine with a filet, but Brian and I were both in the mood for a beer that night), and it was all divine.  And we got to see Beast!

For dessert for the adults, they brought out a trio of a chocolate tart (which includes “the grey stuff.” “Try the grey stuff, it’s delicious!”), a dark chocolate truffle, and a lemon jam macaron.  Brian surprised me with a candle (and he’d even snuck in a lighter), so they could sing happy birthday to me.  And he gave me a birthday card with my gift inside… tickets to see Usher in Atlanta!  EEK!  I can’t wait!  I’m sure he can, but I sure can’t.  Hahahaha.

For the kids, they got a similar dessert plate that also included a little white chocolate cup that they could paint to look like Chip from the movie.  Both of them tried to paint cute faces on their cups, but they turned out looking creepy, so they couldn’t stop laughing.  And then, of course, they wanted to take some creepy pictures of their cups with their creepy faces in the creepy room we were in.  Haha.

After dinner, we walked around the castle for a bit...

And then we didn’t have very much time until we needed to get settled for the fireworks, so we hightailed it over to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad one more time since we had promised the kids they could ride it a second time.  B was able to get a lightning lane for it, so they didn’t have to wait long.  I decided to skip as to not press my luck with my vertigo – not to mention I was stuffed – so I found a spot on the fence and waited for them.

After that, we headed towards the castle to get a spot for the fireworks, and OMG, the place was already packed, and it was only 8:05 PM.  Thankfully, we were able to slide in a spot on the sidewalk about midway between the castle and the shops on Main Street.  Olivia had to go to the bathroom just then (such an inopportune time!), but she and I were able to find one that wasn’t too far and make it back to our spot with time to spare.  And the boys were able to hold our spot.  Whew.

The show ended up being delayed for a few minutes, so we played with Snapchat filters while we waited.  We were able to find some very appropriate filters.  ;o)

But once it was underway, it was worth the wait!  It always is.  It’s, by far, one of my favorite things watching that show.  Pure magic.

After the show, the kids weren’t quite ready to leave yet, so we decided to ride The Magic Carpets of Aladdin since B was able to get a lightning lane for it, and by then it was dark, so that was an experience.  We considered doing the Tiki Room after that since it’s right next door (and we’d never done it), but it was getting late and we didn’t feel like waiting anymore.

After that, Olivia wanted to find a very specific Belle souvenir, so Brian took her and Jacob into the shops on Main Street, and I headed to guest services yet again because for some reason our Tiana and Rapunzel pictures hadn’t made it into our PhotoPass app.  They were able to fix it for me quickly, and then I joined them in the shops.

Olivia wasn’t able to find what she was looking for, and by then, it was nearing 10 PM, and she was soooo tired plus her little legs were hurting, so she got a little teary.  Brian took her to sit down, and I ended up purchasing the closest thing I could find to what she was wanting, and then we said our goodbyes to MK for another two years.

The next morning, we slept until 7:15, we got showered and packed, we grabbed some beignets for breakfast at our hotel café, and then we hit the road at 9 AM.

Traffic was awwwwful on the way home, so it took foreverrrr to get home, and we stopped to have lunch at a Chick-Fil-A that was insanely packed with other fellow vacationers, so that added to our time.  We finally made it home in the late afternoon and we were all so happy to be home.

B picked up Maui, I unpacked and did four loads of laundry, and then we ended the night with pizza and wine.

It was yet another amazing trip, and we are already looking forward to going back… hopefully in 2026!

And just in case you want to see our entire day summarized, here it is…



Hours spent in park – 15 (7:15 AM – 10:15 PM)

Rides/Attractions – 18

Shows Watched – 2

Characters met – 6

Autographs obtained – 4

Disney Photo Pass pictures and videos taken – 90

Steps taken – 18,596

Miles walked – 7.40

Weather – Sunny, high of 79 degrees, low of 51 degrees



Wake at 5:45 AM

Walk to bus stop at 6:45 AM

Bus at 7:00 AM

Arrive 7:15 AM

PhotoPass Pictures at the castle (everyone)

Peter Pan (everyone)

Haunted Mansion (everyone)

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (everyone)

Pirates of the Caribbean (everyone)

LL – Space Mountain (Brian, Jacob)

LL – Tomorrowland Speedway (everyone)

Souvenir shopping (everyone)

LL – Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin (everyone)

Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin redo (everyone)

Mad Tea Party (Brian, Jacob, Olivia)

Dumbo the Flying Elephant (everyone)

Lunch at Starlight Café (everyone)

Enchanted Tales with Belle (everyone)

LL – Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid (everyone)

Snacks at Storybook Ice Cream (everyone)

LL – Barnstormer (everyone)

The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (everyone)

Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train (Brian, Jacob, Olivia)

Met Winnie the Pooh and Tigger from Winnie the Pooh (everyone)

LL – Tron (Brian, Jacob)

Magical Friendship Faire show at the castle (Lindsay, Olivia)

Guest Services to correct our PhotoPass castle pictures (everyone)

Bathroom break/water refills (everyone)

LL – Met Tiana and Rapunzel (everyone)

Reservation – Be Our Guest for dinner (everyone)

LL – Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (Brian, Jacob, Olivia)

Fireworks show at the castle (everyone)

LL – The Magic Carpets of Aladdin (everyone)

Guest services to correct our Tiana and Rapunzel pictures (Lindsay)

Souvenir shopping (everyone)

Left park at 10:15 PM (everyone)


And if you missed any of the rest of the days from our trip, you can see them below!

 Disney by the Numbers

Disney Springs

Hollywood Studios


Animal Kingdom/Pool

Happy Monday, y'all!