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Posts tagged ‘vacation’


Back over the winter, we tossed around the idea of a family vacation and figured we could do it!  I searched, planned and booked…then we waited.  I didn’t want to say “I can’t wait” because I wasn’t going to wish away our summer.  But summer went fast as it always does and it was time to go. First time the girls were on a plane!

We flew out on Tues, had a lay over in Atlanta, and arrived in Tampa 10 min early…but there was a bad lightning storm and they couldn’t unload the luggage so we sat around for over an hour waiting to collect our luggage! Finally arrived at our hotel at 8pm.

At BUF airport waiting to board

At BUF airport waiting to board

Day 2 we took a shuttle to Shell Key Island.  We found lots of shells and saw manatees!  Then we headed to Clearwater Beach so the girls could swim in the Gulf!

Day 3 we headed to Orlando…MAGIC KINGDOM!  I am not a huge fan of crowds or amusement parks…so one day at Disney World was enough for me.  Juli is very into the Princesses and couldn’t wait to see her favorite, Belle.  Rae wanted to see Mike and Sully at the Laugh Floor and Nina’s (and mine) favorite turned out to be Space Mountain!  We rode lots of rides, including Thunder Railroad, Haunted Mansion, Splash Mountain (not me!), Pirates of the Caribbean, among others.  Saw the Electric Parade and the fireworks.  It was a very long day (up at 5am and returned to the hotel at 1am).  But, we did everything we wanted to do…including trying the Dole whip!

Day 4- we slept in a bit on Friday! LOL  We started to the day out at the pool, then headed to Honeymoon Island and back to Clearwater Beach.  We hung around at Pier 60 for the little craft show and saw a gorgeous sunset!

Day 5- Today we headed to the Weedon Preserve.  We saw LOTS of crabs and an armadillo!  Then we spent most of the afternoon at St. Pete beach.  A spur of the moment decision had us back in Clearwater to take a dolphin cruise with Mega Bite!  It was fun and we got to see several dolphins!!

Day 6- We headed to Lakeland to the Circle Bar B Reserve.  I found it in a travel book as a good place to see alligators- one thing Nina really wanted to see while in FL.  We headed out on the trails and heard them.  What a weird sound!  Then, I spotted one!  A wild gator!  It was quite the experience!  We ended up seeing 5 of them along the Alligator Alley trail!  Saw lots of osprey too!  From here, we headed to visit our family that lives outside of Tampa!

Day 7- we headed out early and spent the day along the East Coast.  Swam in the Atlantic at Jetty Park (Cape Canaveral), stopped at the Cocoa Beach Pier and drove up to see the space center!

It was a great week and we were able to fit so much in!  I took over 1300 pics and put 907 miles on the rental car!!  I will be updating my photography website very soon with more pics from our trip!  I hope you’ll stop by and take a look!

My Summer

As you can tell from yesterday’s post, our summer was pretty much consumed with softball (not that I’m complaining!).  We did manage to squeeze a few other things in, though!  In May, Juli had Kindergarten orientation- can’t believe my baby is going to school already (she starts tomorrow!).

An exciting day!

An exciting day!


At then end of the Month, I got to go with Nina on her 6th grade trip to Toronto.  We went to the zoo, the Royal Museum, took a tour of the city, and finished with dinner at Medieval Times!  It was a long day, but lots of fun.  (And, for the first time since I started coaching, I had to miss a game.  It was Nina’s 1st game of the season and her, 3 teammates and myself missed the game because of the trip!)

Outside the museum

Outside the museum

At Medieval Times

At Medieval Times

Just a few short weeks later, Nina graduated from 6th grade.  Can’t believe she is starting middle school!!

My "baby"

My “baby”

Receiving her diploma

Receiving her diploma



Juli at the beach

Juli at the beach



Our game end "pep talk"

Our game end “pep talk”







Family Vacation!!!!!!

It’s official! We’re going on our first big family vacation!  Airplanes, hotel, rental car and DISNEY!!!!

We’re spending a week in Clearwater, FL and taking a day trip to the Magic Kingdom.  My 4 year old is obsessed with princesses so this should be the “happiest place on Earth” for her! LOL

While it’s 6 months away, and I certainly don’t want to rush summer, I’m already planning.  Softball starts in about 6 weeks and it’s going to be a very busy summer with coaching 3 teams, and, one daughter also on a travel team. So, I figure I’ll get as much done as I can now!  Reservations are made.   I have a box started and I’m adding stuff constantly.  Lists are made and being edited.  I’m constantly looking for ideas and tips (have a good one?  Please share!).

I found this website – WDW Prep School – and it’s AMAZING!!!  Shannon has a WONDERFULLY helpful site and will even answer your personal questions.  Please pay a visit to her sight if you’re even thinking of going to Disney!  From this site I found a great idea- pressed penny tubes.  Apparently Disney had machines that you can squish pennies into souvenirs!  It’s $.51- 2 quarters and the penny to squish.  So, each of the girls (and myself!) now have a penny tube.  Find great labels here.  I put mine into Word and added the girls’ names before I printed them.  Then just wrap around the tube and tape in place with packing tape!

Pressed Penny Tubes

Pressed Penny Tubes

I started each of the girls with $3 in quarters- layer 2 quarters and a penny- much easier than digging for the right coins when you find a machine!  The tubes hold several dollars but they’re digging in their piggy banks for the rest! LOL


I’ve seen these on Pintrest and thought they would be a great idea- phone number bracelets. I don’t even want to think of us getting separated but if it does happen, hopefully no one will panic too much and they will remember to find a cast memeber and show them the bracelet!

Phone number bracelets

Phone number bracelets

And with a layover (changing planes) in Atlanta, they’ll be wearing them on the plane too! If you plan on making these, don’t forget your zip code!!

Do you have any great tips about a day trip to Disney?  Please feel free to share in the comments!  I look forward to it! 🙂


Ah, summer is over but nothing has slowed down!  School started a week after we got back from vacation, Rae made the West Seneca Magic Softball team (travel softball), Nina is going to a softball clinic every other Sunday, Girl Scouts started up and Juli’s going to be 4 this week!  (How did my baby get so big????)

So, anyway, I had to post about our vacation.  It started out wanting to take a few days and go to the Herkimer Diamond Mines.  However, other than the diamond mines, there is NOTHING to do there!  So, I was looking around that side of NY and casually mention to the husband, if we’re that far we should go another couple hours and go to NYC and he said “YES!  Let’s!!”.  Wow, really?  I was being sarcastic…but that changed our vacation!!  I booked a hotel in Nanuet, about 20 miles north of Manhattan.  We drove down on Monday and hung out in near the hotel.  Tuesday morning we got up, drove to Tarrytown and took the train to Grand Central Station- the kids were in awe!!  Even me, I walked out onto 47th Street and thought, “wow, I’m really here!” (I was there back in 2006 but have wanted to go back- I love NYC!)

We walked from 47th and Madison to 5th Ave then all the way down to the Flatiron Building.  Then headed up Broadway to Times Square.  Juli was in heaven in the Disney store- she wanted to buy everything and settled on a Statue of Liberty Minnie Mouse and a tshirt!  The girls held the World’s largest Hershey bar in Hershey world.  We took a subway ride downtown to see the 9/11 Memorial.  So sad.  We walked down to Battery Park, saw the Statue of Liberty, then took the subway uptown to Central Park.  Got ice cream from a street vendor. Played in the park.  Walked down 5th Ave and back over to Times Square.  Did some souvenir shopping and took the train back to Tarrytown.  I wish I knew how many miles we walked.  Got there a little before 9am and took the 8:30pm train back.  Took over 500 pics.

On Wednesday we had a nice breakfast and headed to Long Island to spend some time at Jones Beach.  Our first time swimming in the Atlantic Ocean!  However, to get there, I had to drive across the George Washington Bridge (the busiest bridge in the world- over 102,000,000 vehicles cross that bridge every year).  SCARY!!!!  Took us over an hour to cross the brige, traffic was scary crazy.   We made it to the beach but couldn’t really do much swimming.  The waves were huge- we stood there and let them crash into us!  One knocked Juli down and pushed her up the shore- she got up, said “that’s it.  I don’t like this beach anymore” and stayed out of the waves!  The older girls LOVED the waves!

Playing in the waves

Running from the waves!

We headed out Thursday morning and did make it to the Herkimer Diamond Mines- we didn’t find much but just as we were ready to give up I found a rock with a couple bigger diamonds in it!

I drove about 1000 miles in 4 days and paid about $40 in tolls (those bridges we had to cross are expensive!!)….but it was a great vacation!!!

Something besides softball

Ok, I figured rather than try and catch up I’ll just start here.  Last week the husband was on vacation and we had THREE softball games that week so we didn’t get to do anything other than day trips.  Our summer has been busy with softball games but this week we got a little other fun in inbetween games!  🙂  I’ll post more about our softball season later….

One day we took the girls down to the waterfront; we walked the stone wall then walked down to the Naval Park.

On Tuesday, the hubby had to go in for a meeting (but got an extra day of vacation out of it!) so my Mom and I took the girls to Sonnenberg Gardens.  The girls had a lot of fun completing the “I Spy” clues.  We had a lot of fun- I’ll post more pics of the gardens later.





on the horsies

Saturday we decided to be tourists and took the girls to Niagara Falls.  We walked the Cave of the Winds (the older girls LOVED standing on the Hurricane Deck) and took a ride on the Maid of the Mist.

Hubby and the girls- Cave of the Winds

My girls and I- Cave of the Winds

All of us- Maid of the Mist

It was a fun week and it went too fast.  Another vacation is coming up next month…the girls don’t know where we’re going yet…I can’t wait! 🙂




Vacation? Not for me!

Winter break.  That week of no school in the dead of winter.

Sunday- sleepovers for 2 older girls

Monday- 2 playdates

Tuesday- bowling

Wednesday- another playdate

Thursday (#2’s birthday)- ice skating (at 8am!) and more bowling

Friday- shopping and cleaning for the parties

Saturday- TWO birthday parties.  One at noon for friends and one in the evening for family and a sleepover.

Sunday- cleaning up from the party

To say it was a busy week is an understatement.  The girls had fun but I think I worked harder this week than I have in a LONG time!  Ah, the things we do for our kids.  One day they’ll appreciate it- when they’re the ones doing the work!  I know that I never realized how much work my mom put into birthday parties and such events until I had my own girls.  THANK YOU MOM!!!

Anyway, here are just a few pics from our busy busy week.

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