Saturday, September 27, 2008

Disney 2008

M-I-C K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E!!! That mouse sure knows how to show people a good time. We recently got back from a trip to Walt Disney World. As always, the mouse never disappoints. This was Blake and Hallie's third trip to Disney World and Andrew and Daniel's first. My mother(the kids call her Bidee) also went us. We all had a great time.


This time, we stayed in the Caribbean Beach Resort. It was pretty nice, but the pool was outstanding. We found out that the pool had been closed for remodeling and just opened up again a few days before we arrived. We all loved it. The big pool was complete with two waterslides which me, Jaime, Blake and Hallie rode over and over. There was a smaller pool for smaller kids. The water was only about a foot and a half deep, but had a big playground in the middle of it complete with 3 waterslides for the little ones. This pool was probably one of Andrew and Daniel's favorite things to do.

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For the first day, we went to Animal Kingdom. We rode and did most everything in the park. Blake and Hallie were both anxious to ride Expedition Everest. Blake loved it and rode it again, this time with Bidee. Hallie said she liked it, but didn't want to ride it again. At Animal Kingdom, we also attempted our first Disney character meeting. We took the kids to Camp Minnie Mickey to see Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy. We knew that Blake and Hallie would be fine and would enjoy it, but we weren't sure about Andrew and Daniel. Andrew was okay at first. He handed his autograph book to Mickey, but after seeing Daniel being so scared that he cried and cried and screamed and cried some more, Andrew didn't want to get his picture made with Mickey. We kept Daniel away from the other characters and Andrew did a little better.



That evening we ate dinner at the Cinderella Feast. After getting my food at the buffet, I started to head back to our table. Cinderella was kneeling down talking to some kids at a table. As I walked by, she stood up and we bumped into each other. Thankfully, neither of us fell and I didn't spill my food on her. As I got back to the table, Hallie said, "Daddy, you just bumped into Cinderella. You never ever bump into a princess." I said that it wasn't my fault and Cinderella bumped into me. She replied, "It is never the princess' fault!!"


The next day we headed to Magic Kingdom. Breakfast with Pooh, Tigger, and the gang was good, but Daniel was still terrified of the characters. Andrew and Daniel were able to ride a lot more here. Hallie's favorite thing at Disney World was here and it was Splash Mountain. We stayed the all day and even caught the fireworks show, which everyone enjoyed.




The next day we went to MGM Studios. For Andrew and Daniel, we started the day at the Playhouse Disney show. This may have been their favorite thing, with the exception of swimming in the pool. We also had lunch with some of the Playhouse Disney characters such as Leo and June from the Little Einsteins and Jo-Jo and Goliath. Daniel again was terrified, but Andrew just danced to the music.

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Blake had been looking forward to this day since July. Why? Because this park held the Indiana Jones stunt show. He had been saving his money since his birthday so that he could buy a real Indiana Jones hat and real Indiana Jones whip. When the time came, he was so excited that he wore the hat for the rest of the day.

The next day we went to Epcot. It was good, but Epcot isn't a big park for kids so we just did a few things such as Soarin', Test Track, and the Nemo and Friends aquarium. We also saw the Turtle Talk with Crush show. Now this was pretty cool. Crush from Nemo appears on a screen made to look like he was in the aquarium and he talks to all of the kids. He actually makes jokes and responds to the kids questions. It was really neat.

Our final day took us back to the Magic Kingdom to do the couple of things that we missed and ride Splash Mountain a couple more times. We finally were able to ride the Dumbo ride after 3 trips to Disney. The line is always too long to wait with kids. About 4 o'clock, we left the park to drive back home and no one wanted to leave. We literally had to drag and carry the kids to the car and buckle them in.


It was a fun trip and I can't wait to go back.

Friday, September 12, 2008

HAPPY BIRTHDAY HALLIE!!

Happy Birthday sweet girl! I can't believe you are 6 years old today. It feels like just yesterday that you were born. Daddy and I were so excited to have you here. Blake could not wait to see you. Daddy brought Blake in first to see you and he was happy. Later in the night after your were born, I was holding you and you started making the sweetest sounds. I know you were talking to me already, telling me all about your day.

Your first year was so much fun. I remember dropping you at day care for the 1st time, I cried the whole day, but when I got there to pick you up, you were as happy as could be. You loved to chase Blake around, he would run in circles and you would happily chase him around. You loved to be outside right from the start. We would go outside to play with Blake and you would follow along and love to play in the grass.

I love that you love to learn. I love you want to share your day with me. I can't wait until you get the car after school to tell me about your day. I love that every day you come home with new things you learned or discovered. I love that you love your brothers so much and you are such a big help to me. I love that you love to cook and help me in the kitchen all the time. Daddy and I love you so much and hope you have a wonderful birthday.


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Countdown to Disney

Four days and counting until we head down to the happiest place on Earth. You guessed it, I am talking about Walt Disney World. Where else can you walk around wearing a hat shaped like the head of a duck, give hugs to giant over sized characters, meet princesses and pirates, and love every minute of it.

We have been talking it up to the kids for some time now, but it is now time to take the hype to another level. By the time that we are ready to go this Saturday, the kids need to be so wound up that they are chanting "We are going to Disney" all the way to Orlando. Well, maybe not all of the way, but at least until we hit the interstate.

For the last few days, every time that we see the kids, we ask them how many days until we leave. We also ask them if they know what we will be doing in 6, 5, 4 days from now. We have bought them several shirts to wear and, of course, they had to have Disney characters on them. Last night, our dinner was even used to hype up our Disney trip. We ate ravioli, but it was not just any ravioli. It was shaped like Winnie the Pooh and Mickey Mouse's head. Needless to say, we are almost are literally living the phrase "shaking with excitement".

You might think this is a little excessive, but as we see it, there must be a frenzy of excitement before you go on vacation. That is just how the Echolses roll.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Labor Day at the Lake

Over Labor Day, we got to spend a couple days on Lake Martin with some friends. We had a blast.

When we first got to the lake, all of the kids had to try to catch a fish. They asked several questions about the worms as we were putting them on the hook. None of them were too concerned though because they really wanted to catch a fish. Hallie managed to hook the first fish. It was a catfish and she managed to get it to the top of the water, where she could see it, before it wriggled off of the hook.

After fishing, we moved onto swimming and everyone loved that. The older kids jumped in and swam all over the place. The youngest kids also jumped into the water from the stairs, but later decided to ride in an inflatable boat.

After swimming, it was time to take a ride in the real boat. Everyone took turns riding in "Big Blue". Big Blue was a giant inflatable raft, which was pulled behind the boat. Everyone thought it was awesome and it was. The kids got to take turns driving the boat and honking the horn. Andrew especially loved to drive the boat and that is all that he has talked about since.

The next day brought more of the same activities, but it was still awesome, if not better. The fish were really biting in the morning. The kids managed to catch about 8-9 catfish and a bream. They got to swim for a longer period of time and also got more chances to ride Big Blue. During the second day of riding Big Blue, the kids got more courageous and started to do tricks. I know that I said it before, but it was a great weekend.

On the way home Monday night, we asked our kids to tell us their favorite part of the weekend. Blake said that his favorite part was riding Big Blue.




Hallie said that her favorite part was fishing. Andrew said that his favorite part was driving the boat.




Daniel said that his favorite part was jumping in the water and swimming.