Tuesday, February 22, 2011

It's the most wonderful time of the year....

no, no, no.... I'm not talking about Christmas. I'm talking about St. Patrick's Day! It's almost like Christmas in our house :)

It's the time of year that we celebrate our pride in our Irish heritage (even though in our house we do that every day!). It's the one time of year that I make corned beef and Irish soda bread (which is so flippin' good that I don't know why I don't make it when it's NOT St. Patrick's Day!

The day after Valentine's Day is when I start putting up my St. Patty's Day stuff - well, the things that aren't already up lol And you will hear traditional Irish music coming from the house more often than usual. And at night you can find me and Kian reading a book dealing with St. Patrick's day or Irish Fairytales or Myths.

Even though it's a happy time in our house there are so many things to remember about Ireland. I recently watched an episode of "Who Do You Think You Are?" where Rosie O'Donnell traced her roots back to Ireland and discovered that her family was brought over to North America during the Potato Famine. Whenever I thought of the Famine, I just figured our families scrounged for money and bough passage for themselves to immigrate. Through this episode, I realized how ignorant I was to believe that my relatives actually had money! I mean, they couldn't even feed themselves! Rosie discovered that her descendants were living in communal housing for at least a year - 4 children, men and women separated, babies 2 years old and older were separated from parents, and beds were just lined up in one large room. It really looked like concentration camps - sparse, dark, and gloomy. It was pretty much the last stop for those who had no food, no shelter, and needed help to survive. Her family petitioned to go to Montreal after being there for at least a year and the organization that headed up the work houses provided passage for the whole family to immigrate.

With this knowledge I have a new found pride in my Irish blood. The Irish people were tough! They endured through wars, famine, and persecution. They are fighters strong in spirit and will.

I can only hope that I have gained some of their spirit and will through my genes.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Disney World - Day 2 Highlights

Day two of our trip was spent at Epcot - one of our favorite parks.

We arrived when the gates opened and when walking into the park we saw Daisy (one of few places she can be seen!) and Stitch. As you can see, Kian asked Daisy to sign his autograph book. Each character has their own signature and it remains consistent no matter when you see Mickey - his signature always stays the same and looks very much the same :)

The first ride the guys wanted to do was Mission Space. Kian is standing in front of the ride's sign (super cute photo too!) This ride is a simulator so you can feel what it would be like to be on board a spaceship. I decided to pass on this ride (motion sickness plagues me bleh). Kian really enjoyed it though :)

While waiting to Talk with Crush (the turtle from Finding Nemo), Kian decided to look at the fish in a tank nearby. There were sting rays, small sharks, and this puffer fish who took a liking to Kian. In the photo above you can see him actually looking at him! I know that sounds strange, but he really was! He would swim away for a bit (if you weren't paying attention to him) and would come back to us - it was crazy!

Here comes puffer fish again! I wish we could have taken this guy home with us.

After touring different areas of the park we headed over to the "Country" area called The World Showcase. Jamie wanted to get a photo of Kian and I but Kian said he wanted to take a photo of the two of us. The result is the photo below - pretty good, eh?

Then Kian decided it was time to be silly.... which also included camera switching lol

Then someone standing nearby asked, "y'all want me to take a picture of the three of you." Thankfully we talked Kian into having a "normal" face in this one :) So a special thanks to the southern gentleman ;)

The country area is vast and there is SO much to explore. A fun part for the kids is called "Kidcot." Kids get to color a bear named Duffy and if the have a "passport" (that you can buy at a gift shop in the park) a person sitting at Kidcot will sign it in their native language!

Our first stop was China. The cast member was from Hong Kong and wrote Kian's name in Chinese and wrote out a message to him in Chinese and thankfully wrote the translation under it :) It was fun for Kian to go to each country and find the area where he could get his passport signed! If you have a kiddo and go to Epcot, this is something that you must do :)

For dinner we ate as the newest restaurant in Epcot, Via Napoli in Italy. They are known for their pizzas baked in wood burning ovens. I got my own pizza! Which meant I could try something strange ;) I had what they call Quattro Stagioni. It has eggplant, artichokes, parma cotto ham, mushrooms, mozzarella. Let me tell ya, it was delish!

And if you know me, there is absolutely no way I would leave an Italian restaurant without having tiramisu! This was super yummy too!

Kian's meal (a cheese pizza) came with chocolate gelato. As you can see, he really enjoyed it as well :)

We wrapped up our day watching the fireworks show on the water of the World Showcase. Then it was onto the hotel to gear up for day 3!

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Disney World - Day 1 Highlights

We spent our first day in the Magic Kingdom. It began with breakfast with Winnie the Pooh and friends then it was onto the awesome touring plans that Jamie made for us thanks to Disney Touring Plans.com. We were able to do everything in the park that we wanted and more! If you're going to Disney World or Disneyland, I highly suggest using this site - it's worth the membership.

Anyway, we were able to get on all the rides in fantasy land before the lines grew to over 30 mins long. We were actually able to pretty much walk right onto all the rides! By far I think that Kian and I liked Peter Pan the best :)

it's a small world is located in Fantasy land as well. Which of course we had to take a picture of the representation of Ireland ;)

Kian had the opportunity to meet a lot of characters. He met Frontierland Donald, Woody and Jessie from Toy Story, Prince Eric and Ariel (when she had legs ;)), and Aladdin and Jasmine as seen below.

Aladdin apparently took a liking to Kian and had a pretty long conversation with him! Aladdin challenged him to a carpet ride and of course they had to discuss who would win ;) Aladdin was JUST like he was in the movie - same mannerisms and talking the way that Aladdin did.

At the end of the long discussion, which included Aladdin getting down on Kian's level and motioning with his hands on how fast a carpet would go, Princess Jasmine suggested that they have their picture taken with Kian so Aladdin told Kian to pose with his arms crossed.

And so he did! This was by far the best character meeting that Kian had and honestly, seeing the photos and watching the video brought back a lot of great memories. Big props to the Aladdin of the day :)

One of Kian's favorite rides was the People Mover in Tomorrowland. Do you know what that is? I didn't until we got on it. It's almost like a train ride that's up above the ground and takes you through some of the attractions. It was pretty cold when we were at WDW so this ride was not my favorite since we were moving in the cold air!

We ended our day with a special dinner called Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue. The food is AWESOME and the show is funny and very entertaining. The people on stage portray a group that travels, sings and puts on plays. As you can see from the animated faces it was pretty funny. The other super funny thing was that the actors would do impromptu jokes which sometimes would make the other actors laugh! It was actually my favorite meal of the whole trip.