Tuesday, November 23, 2010

On the move

I'm way behind on my blog posts, but I will try to catch up if I get a chance this weekend.

Chase turned 7 months old at the beginning of November and is sitting, pulling himself up to a standing position, clapping (which is the cutest thing ever!), and crawling.

He started crawling a couple of weeks ago and is really getting fast now. We have to keep a close eye on him! We still have some baby proofing to do, but the stair gate is in. It ended up being way more complicated than it should have been but after we had installed the first gate we decided it wouldn't work because there was a metal bar that ran across the bottom of the gate and it happened to be 4 inches above the top stair. You had to step over that bar every time you went up or down the stairs and I knew someone was going to trip over it and break their neck falling down the stairs. So Derek tried moving it down closer to the floor. The screws ended up getting stripped and he had to do some major alterations just to get the screws out. He was almost done installing it in the lower position when we found that one side ended up being in between the top of the railing and the thick part of the railing and it wouldn't stay in place. So that gate was uninstalled, and Derek put in our old gate with the help of a stair railing kit. We thought we were set until Derek ran to get the door for trick-or-treaters and the gate got caught on his pants. It swung open wider than it was supposed to and one of the attachment plates cracked in half and the top of the gate came off. So we ended up getting yet another gate. While he was installing the third gate one of the screw heads broke off in the railing and ended up being impossible to remove, so he had to move the gate over a bit. It was unbelievably complicated but we finally have the gate installed and workable. Now we just need to put in cabinet latches, outlet covers, etc. Maybe we'll finish baby proofing before he learns to walk!

Chase loves hanging out with his big brother and sister. They can always get him to laugh!

We had to move the crib mattress down because he's pullling up on everything now. One of his favorite things to do is crawl to the foot of our bed and use the railing on the footboard to help him stand up. It's a little bit short for him so we really have to watch him closely.

He now eats three solid food meals a day, though he isn't happy about it the past few days. I think his bottom teeth might be close to coming in because his mouth has been extra sensitive.

Tonight Derek was watching a BYU basketball game and Chase started hollering at the tv. I guess he's watched his Dad watching a few games on tv and knew what to do, lol.
He definitely adores his daddy!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Florida Trip part 5: finishing off our trip

There is a little nature preserve right around the corner from Buzz and Susan's house called Castaway Island, and we usually stop by there and walk around on the different trails.
We decided to visit the day before we left. The mosquitoes were out of control so I ended up leaving early with Chase.

This is the owl Julia got at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Ethan and Julia with Grandma Susan

At the preserve there is a boat launch area. At low tide you can see all kinds of little creatures including fiddler crabs, it's really interesting.

That night we visited the beach one last time.

The kids and Grandpa Buzz

The gorgeous sunset on our way back

The kids did great on the plane ride home.
Chase did have a blowout on our second flight--
luckily we had a change of clothes in our bag ready to go,
and we changed him right there in our seats.
We had an entire row plus a seat across the aisle
so it all worked out OK.

Hello Utah!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Florida trip part 4: Universal Studios & Wizarding World of Harry Potter

While we were planning our trip we were trying to decide which park in Orlando we wanted to visit. We really wanted to visit the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal but we had heard crazy stories about how crowded it was. Waiting in line for 3 hours just to get into the Harry Potter area did not sound appealing. We had pretty much decided that we'd have to wait until our next trip to go there, even though the kids really wanted to go as soon as possible. But right before we left we researched it again and found out that after the summer had ended the crowds had gotten much smaller, so we decided to chance it.

We went on a Monday trying to avoid the weekend crowds. I think we still got part of the weekend traffic because it was more packed than we had hoped, but we did get to do everything that we had wanted.

We started out at the Harry Potter section even though we had heard it's most crowded in the morning. The reports were correct, it was super crowded so we did the rest of the park and then went back to the Harry Potter area a number of times. For this blog post I'm going to combine the Wizarding World of Harry Potter photos, and then do the rest of the park.

At Harry Potter we started out at the most popular of the 3 rides there, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.

The line takes you through parts of the book, like the greenhouse pictured above.

And then it takes you through the castle.

There are some talking paintings here that look SO much like real paintings, I don't know how they did it.

The ride was super fun. It takes you through the castle, past giant spiders, past a fire breathing dragon, and it makes you feel like you're really flying through the air.
Derek's parents both went on this ride too. We used a different area for wheelchair access and they got to ride with the kids and then Derek and I got to ride with the kids. Lucky Ethan and Julia got to do the ride twice in a row both times we went on it.

The village area was really cool complete with crooked smokestacks and snow dusted roofs.

Hagrid's hut

The next ride was the Flight of the Hippogriff
It was a milder roller coaster.
the Hippogriff

Flight of the Hippogriff ride

This was a fun ride, and the line was really short. The ride was over really quickly though.
This was the only ride that didn't have a special area for us to wait when doing a "parent swap."
Every other major ride had a special waiting area for people with babies or children too small to go on the ride, and the kids always got to do those rides twice-- once with each parent.

Ethan loved the butterbeer . The rest of us liked it too.
We tried to make it when we got home from a recipe that says it's exactly like the butterbeer at the park,
the first smell and sip seemed really close, but it definitely wasn't as good.

In front of the Hogwarts Express (no, there wasn't a ride that used the train even though it seems like a given that there would be)

Inside Honeydukes

Honeydukes again

The front window at Honeydukes-- you can see the chocolate frogs

We would have bought a chocolate frog here but the line was crazy, it went around the entire shop so we decided not to buy anything there.

More of the village.

One minute before this picture was taken Ethan and Julia were fighting, and then they were "best buds" again

These inside shots were in Zonko's Joke shop.
This is where Julia got her owl.
The kids also each got a wand from a "street vendor"
because the line at Ollivanders was huge.

There were such authentic touches everywhere we went, it was so fun!

The rest of Universal was fun too, even though the Harry Potter section was really the highlight.
Chase did so great in the park and didn't slow us down a bit.
Some diaper changes, sunscreen applications, and naps were done in line for a ride.
Buzz and Susan had brought an extra wheelchair in case he ended up needing it
sometime during the day (he ended up pushing Julia around in it half the day at her request).
In one particularly long line (Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey)
I sat in the chair and nursed Chase with the nursing cover over me.
It was the best way we could think of to not waste time, lol.

Derek and I also did the Dragon Challenge roller coaster a few times before we left. There was no line at all so we went on it a few times in a row. It was a more extreme roller coaster and we totally loved it. Ethan was barely tall enough to go on this one but he didn't want to do it, it probably would have been a little too rough for him.

Chase took all of his naps in a carrier and did great!

X-Men Storm Force Accelatron ride, similar to the teacups at Disney

Ready for the Super Hero parade, we had a great view!

The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train ride

In line for the Cat in the Hat ride

On our way out of the park through Suess Landing

We had a great time and plan on going again, hopefully when it's a little less crowded.