The Epic Beauchamp Family Disney Vacation

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Posted by Candy | Posted in summer fun | Posted on 05-08-2012

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Disney 2012Finally getting around to sorting through all the photos from our Disney vacation. In June, we loaded up the van, hit the road and spent 8 days in Florida and then drove up for a very quick visit with my family in Charleston, SC. I set up everyone’s phone to automatically upload photos to a dropbox and bought the somewhat overpriced Disney Photopass and took a lot of photos. There’s nearly 600 of them and you can see them on my Flickr page. Enjoy. I’ll share a few of my faves below…

It was QUITE the vacation. I’m SO glad we went through a Disney travel agent. She was free and she was available to me via text or phone. She went through things with me, answered my 900 questions and helped with the general planning. Even better, she watched out for discounts and ended up saving us around $500 by rebooking our vacation when the prices came down. It was pretty awesome. So I will give a huge shout out to Amanda. Email her if you’re planning a trip. I wouldn’t have been able to do this and not worry hardly at all without her. Her email is amandag@mei-travel.com. Trust me.

Disney 2012 Mobile PhotosOne of our favorite things was the Ohana character breakfast. Both of my kids are huge Stitch fans (especially Cassie). Getting to meet Stitch was truly a highlight. The food was wonderful and the kids were made to feel like royalty. Tom and I were able to relax, enjoy. I do wish they had more time with the characters. There was just enough time for them to walk by, pose for a photo and autograph for us. Not bad, but it did feel rushed at times. We did the photo package there as well and Cassie, of course, brought her stuffed Stitch (which she also carried all over the parks). They were so cute and made sure her stuffy got a lei along with the rest of us. That huge smile says it all!

Our favorite ride was the Peter Pan ride as a family. They did an amazing job with it. Really, all of the rides are total events. We also really enjoyed Soarin’ (which we did twice). I’m glad we did 8 days. We were able to do Magic Kingdom and Epcot for two days each and took a day off for a Water Park.

The really bad part was the quick service food. It left a lot to be desired. Very fast-food type and really not all that good, with a few exceptions. We had table service for dinners and that was much better and the food was really good quality. I had an amazing soup at Marrakesh, a Moroccan place in Epcot, but the rest of my party said that it was pretty bland, otherwise. We absolutely loved T-Rex in Downtown Disney, the food was really great and the atmosphere was amazing. We ate in the ice cave and it was really awesome. I have several food allergies and each time, one of the chefs came out to talk to me about them and made sure that what I ate was safe for me.

Disney 2012One of the things that Disney excels at is their set up for kids with ADHD and anxiety disorders. Jamie has a really tough time in crowds and we knew this vacation was going to be a challenge. I knew they would make accommodations, but I was floored by how far out of their way they will go to make sure the kids have a great time. We did several things right (and a few things wrong), but overall, it was amazing. I was expecting them to just save our place in the massive lines and put us somewhere quieter but… We brought a doctor’s note and they gave us a pass that allowed us to basically walk to the fast pass lines. It meant we didn’t have to get a fast pass and then try to get him back through the crowd again just so he could go on a ride. It really didn’t save us much time over anyone else being there because we also found we had to get him out of the park at least once per day and back to the hotel. The buses take a while so it was a good chance for him to decompress. We found the lunch food at the hotel to be tolerable, so we would eat there, go cool off in the room and then head back to the park in the late afternoon. We only had a few major freak outs with him (one was towards the end of the big fireworks in Magic Kingdom. I really wish I had asked about a quieter place for him because I think that ruined that experience for him a bit).

Disney 2012 Mobile PhotosMy biggest piece of advice for people heading to Disney is to come with a plan, but be prepared to toss it completely out of the window if needed. We tried to stick to our Touring Plan, but ended up ditching it except for the list of rides we wanted to try to hit. We just weren’t able to stick to a timetable with the other challenges we had. Also, bring blister bandages. My sister ended up with huge blisters  and I wish we had them in hand instead of having to go out searching for some the second evening.

There are also a lot of hotels. If we go back, and I hit the lottery, I would probably want to stay somewhere on the tram line. We opted to stay in a family suite at a value resort which was phenomenal though. We had a bedroom, a living area, a small kitchen and TWO BATHROOMS. With five people, it made it so much easier to get everyone showered and in bed at night.

Tom really wants to go back… like now. While I had a truly amazing time, it’s really expensive. We did the Disney meal plan and while I was reluctant about it at first, I’m glad we did. We didn’t think about food or cost or anything like that, we just did whatever we wanted. We ended up with plenty of leftover snack credits at the end of the trip and bought a bunch of Mickey ear rice crispy treats. The whole trip was just crazy expensive. Plus, I’ll be honest… eight days of the mouse and the happy happy joy joy will make just about anyone insane. Add that to the kids being afraid of certain rides and everyone getting hot and crabby and well… he’s been outvoted in favor of a relaxing beach vacation next year! *laughing*

Disney 2012Seriously… it’s the vacation everyone has to take. My kids were 9 and 11 and it really was the perfect age. Oh! That reminds me, careful if you do do the meal plan. Cassie was 9 so she would have had to eat from the children’s menu if we hadn’t have made sure to tell our planner to tell them she was 10. She doesn’t eat “kid menu” food so it was nice for her to also just eat anything she wanted. The portions are HUGE though, so we shared most of the time. We also found that you might want to order one vegetarian meal so that you got some good veggies for the table as well.

The crowds were light in some parks and heavy in others when we were there, although half of the US wasn’t even out of school yet. That whole “just go with it” is super important here. Taking that day off for a beach park day was also perfect. We did the park hopper and while we could have done without it, it was nice to be able to run into another park to check out a show or something if we wanted. We caught almost all of the nighttime light/firework shows and I’m really glad that we did. They were really awesome.

That’s it… we did end up riding most of the rides, we didn’t miss much and we’ll probably go back in a few years… but next year… lazy beach vacation :)

Heard from the Sleepover: The Politician

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Posted by Candy | Posted in Heard From The BackSeat | Posted on 16-03-2012

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It’s Spring Break around here. Which means the teacher husband, the work at home mom and the two Elementary kids are ALL home ALL the time. Add in a technological melt down at the mom’s office and it’s pretty crazy. The kids are basically given free reign as long as they stay out of the way and the parents are surviving on humor and coffee.

There’s a friend over, which means they all want to sleep in the same room. There’s been a LOT of giggling this week as the kids float around with sleepovers and playdates and whatever else there is going on. It’s midnight and I hear an argument between Jamie and Cassie erupt. One of those that is probably minor but loud. The friend (J) is not involved, but is cowering on the bed like “seriously, people, I’m an only child, WHAT is the deal?” I walk in, where they both try to tell me the various transgressions…

Me: “Wait, I don’t care. Jamie, apologize to Cassie.”
Jamie: “Sorry, Cassie.”
Me: “Cassie, apologize to Jamie.”
Cassie: “I didn’t do anything!”
Me: “….” (the look)
Cassie: “Sorry, Jamie” (only a little grudgingly)
Me: “Now, Cassie apologize to J”
Cassie: “I didn’t do anything to her.”
Me: “I said…”
Cassie: “Fine, whatever. Sorry, J”
Me: “Jamie… apologize to J”
Jamie: “I’m sorry, J, for fighting with Cassie over nothing while you were here.”
Me: “Oh, that was a good one.”
Jamie: “Yeah, I know” (fist bump)
Me: “Cassie, apologize to me, please.”
Casssie: “But I…”….. “okay, sorry!!!”
Me: *sigh* “Jamie…”
Jamie: “Yeah, mom, I’m really sorry that we were arguing and interrupted your work and you had to come in here to do this.”
Me: “Oh crap… you are getting good at this.”
Tom: *laughing nearly hysterically*
Me: “Yeah, we have a politician on our hands here”

Santa made a special appearance on Christmas Eve!

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Posted by Candy | Posted in Extended Family, Holidays | Posted on 25-01-2010

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We spent Christmas with my mother in South Carolina. On Christmas Eve, just as the kids were getting ready to go to bed, we hear someone walk through the door… Santa was early! Oh no! But never fear, he just came to bring them one little thing each before getting back on his reindeer. He did come back though!

(thanks, Jamie, for being such a good sport)

Visit to Rockport Aquarium

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Posted by Candy | Posted in summer fun | Posted on 26-07-2009

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While we were on vacation last month, we visited the Rockport Aquarium. Yes, that little town has it’s own aquarium. It only had a few tanks, but it was worth stopping in (it’s free and the volunteers there were SO nice). I only got one picture that was worth keeping, but that’s okay, we had a great time!

Kids at Rockport Aquarium

Marie and Cassie fooling around

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Posted by Candy | Posted in summer fun | Posted on 25-07-2009

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Marie and Cassie wanted to make faces at the camera. I, of course, obliged. They had a great time and it was a great way to blow off some steam after a hectic vacation day!

Silly Kids 4

Silly Kids 3

Silly Kids 2

Silly Kids 1

Shell Beach photos from Key Allegro

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Posted by Candy | Posted in summer fun | Posted on 25-07-2009

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We had a short little walk from where we were staying on vacation last month to “shell beach”. I don’t know that I’d actually go swimming there as the waves break pretty hard, but it seemed to be where all the shells dumped on to. It was a great place to take the kids after dinner… we went several times actually…

I snapped a few photos, of course…

Jamie didn’t pick up just any shell, he had to analyze which one he wanted and why.
Jamie on Shell Beach

Cassie, on the other hand, grabbed any shell that got her fancy. We later went through them and made her narrow down her choices. No need to take ALL the shells from the beach, other families will want some too. (hey, whatever works, she’s 6)
Cassie getting shells at shell beach

The had a great time!
Kids on shell beach

Cassie on wall at shell beach key allegro

Marie at shell beach

Pool photos from vacation

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Posted by Candy | Posted in Extended Family, summer fun | Posted on 25-07-2009

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Just a few more of the pool… I’m behind, as always, in going through photos. Trying to get better about that ;)

This is my nephew… He looks pretty serious about that water cannon!
Jack with Water Cannon

Cassie just hanging out…
Cassie Hanging Out

Tom and his sister doing the sibling thing… I had to get the kids out of the way… Tom is brutal with a pool noodle!
Tom and Jeannine at pool

Another beach visit… tough life, but someone had to do it!

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Posted by Candy | Posted in summer fun | Posted on 23-06-2009

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I found some more photos from the vacation… this is a visit to the beach we made with Tom’s sister, her 2 kids and his mother.

There were tons of marine hermit crabs. The kids wanted to bring them home because we have land hermit crabs, but I had to explain that they really aren’t the same thing (and even if they were, um… no). Anyway, they collected 9 or so and then we released them before we left. We had to play with this little guy quite a bit to get him to stick his head out…

Marie and Beach Hermit Crab

Jamie was busy being a bit of beach bum. He’s also going through a little emo-esque phase. You’ll see we managed to not only find a black swim shirt, but it has a hoodie. SCORE!

Jamie at Rockport beach - Hang Ten Man!

Jamie at Rockport beach - rock and roll dude!

Marie loved the beach and would have gone every single day if we had let her!

Marie at Rockport Beach

Cassie was just a cheese-girl!

Cassie being extra cheesy at Rockport beach

My sister-in-law and her youngest…

J and O

… and her oldest…

Jack

The Tale of the Dust Ruffle

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Posted by Candy | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 21-06-2009

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Tom and I are goofs sometimes…

The two weeks we were at the vacation house (home now, sadly), there was a weird hump running down the middle of our king bed. We figured the mattress was just shot and they’d replace it. It wasn’t a huge deal so we just ignored it.

The last night we were there, I was in the kitchen cleaning up and Tom was in the bedroom unplugging stuff and getting the first of the packing going. I hear a big THUD… followed by Tom sticking his head out of the door and telling me, “Um. I broke the bed.” This, of course, caused peals of laughter from me telling him that I’m SO NOT telling these people that we broke their bed (and yes, we are 12).

So, we started taking the bed apart and it was up on risers. Thankfully, Tom just knocked it over, but not down. AND one of the lower box springs were up on the side rail and THAT is what was causing the hump. We felt a little like idiots, but hey, at least I don’t owe these folks a new bed!

It was a 3 person job taking this thing apart and putting it back together so it didn’t slide off the risers again, so we had quite a fun time actually putting it back together… but then, we noticed that we forgot to put the dust ruffle back on. Crap! It was late and we were tired, we figured we would deal with it later…

… but we forgot… so I got a reply email from the homeowner today saying “Just curious – but why did you take the bed ruffle off the master bed. Really just curious (its no great crime!!Ha)” — surely she thinks we are crazy house people that come and take apart beds for no good reason.

*laugh* I bet they are scratching their heads trying to come up with a good reason as to why in the world we took the dust ruffle off *laugh*

I was thinking I’d not respond for a few days and let them come up with all these interesting ideas as to why in the world someone would take apart a bed and remove the dust ruffle.

Nah, I’m not that cruel.

But they will surely think we’re crazy – at least we got rid of the hump in the bed!

… the things Tom and I get ourselves into, I tell you! But we had a really great laugh and will forever remember the night we broke the vacation home’s bed!

:)

Pool photos

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Posted by Candy | Posted in summer fun | Posted on 17-06-2009

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The kids are loving the pool. We like to take them when it starts to get dark so it’s not so hot and there’s less chance of getting fried out there in the sun. The kids are having a blast!

Cassie in pool

Jamie in pool

Marie in pool