Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

And the school year begins...

Anna, my 4th grader
Claire, my 7th grader
Meghan, my (sob!) high school senior    
Good luck this year my smart, beautiful girls! 

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Summer Songs

The unofficial end of summer is upon us here in Texas.  School starts on Monday, and with it comes the end of late nights and lazy days.  Sigh.  It went too fast.  It always does.

The girls and I have had a tradition for the last few years to pick out our song of the summer.  Whenever we hear our song (usually in the car), we have to turn it up LOUD, shout "summer song!" and sing along at the top of our lungs.  It's fun because when we hear a song from a past summer, we immediately remember the summer it's from and reminisce about it.  Like, when we hear Metro Station's Shake It, we all go: "Awwww, remember when mom turned this up super loud on the home stereo to wake us up at 5 in the morning to head to DisneyWorld with our camper?"  That kind of thing.  It's fun.  And it's a riot when all four of us are in the car and our song comes on and we are bouncing around singing.  So anyways, I thought I'd share our songs so far:

2007: Hey There Delilah by Plain White Ts

2008: Shake It by Metro Station

2009: I Got a Feeling by Black Eyed Peas

and drumroll.............

2010: California Gurls by Katy Perry

(Yeah, we know, everyone else picked it as the song of summer.  But the McAfee girls did it back in May!  We are cutting edge like that...ha.)  A couple disclaimers about this song: 1) The video is a little out there.  Anna hasn't seen it, so please don't think I run a free-for-all, hippy-dippy summer camp around here.  2) Meghan never got fully on board with this song...she would probably like you to know that.  Oh and 3) Claire can sing Snoop Dog's rap part in it's entirety.  I know...lyrics!  But, I still love it.

And as long as we are talking about music, I have a current obsession that I just have to share with you.  You all know the Blues Brothers, right?  And remember Hanson?  Put them together and you have this super awesome song and video that I can't stop watching.  Really, just try not to bop your head and smile while watching:

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

DisneyWorld 2010!

Earlier this spring, we began thinking about what we wanted to do for our summer trip 2010.  Last year we flew to Southern California and went to Disneyland, Sea World, San Diego Zoo and Huntington Beach.  We decided that it was time to camp again and Jack and I began talking about a week in the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee.  Having never been to Tennessee before, we sent away for the big Tennessee tourist book and poured over the pages.  We figured it would be a good two day drive from Houston with the national park being on the eastern side of the state.   We also figured Pigeon Forge would be a good place to base our trip.  The more we investigated though, the more this area seemed like Branson, Missouri which is where we camped summer 2007.  We loved that trip!  It was so much fun.  But, Pigeon Forge shares many of the same attractions and parks as Branson, and we just didn't feel like rehashing that trip again, only much further away.  While the Smokey Mountains attracted us, we would much rather see them in the fall when color abounds, as opposed to oppressive summer.  It didn't take Jack long to voice a second opinion: DisneyWorld.  (Except said in Jack tone: DisneyWorld! DisneyWorld! DisneyWorld!)  As soon as that option was on the table, the girls expressed their agreement and it wasn't long before I was begrudgingly booking another week long trip to the World.  (Mind you, I love DisneyWorld as much as the rest of my family, but we did Disneyland the summer before, and DisneyWorld the summer before that.)  I just didn't want a lackluster vacation because we have become so accustomed to Disney.

Well, I should not have feared that, because it was another absolutely magical, fantastic trip.  We are just a Disney family, I guess.  The magic is always there and we never fail to have anything other than a near perfect trip.  I had booked a week at a Disney's Beach Club Resort in the Epcot resort area.  We had never stayed there before, but it accommodated the five of us in one room and I had read good things about it.  Well, we were blown away by this resort complex.  The pool, Storm Along Bay, is the best and biggest of all of Disney property and it lived up to it's reputation.  Our room was spacious and beautiful as was the resort itself.  Epcot was less than a five minute walk from our room!  That was awesome!  There were movies on the beach at night and the Boardwalk hotel (with actual Boardwalk and accompanying entertainment were just a 10 minute walk around the lake.  In short, we LOVED it.  So much to do and see.  It was hard deciding whether to go to the parks, or hang out at our resort.

We visited all four parks that make up Walt Disney World....some more than once.  We ate many great meals and took the girls to see La Nouba one evening.  Everything was wonderful.  Yes, it was hot.  And yes, the parks got quite crowded at times.  But by getting to the parks right at opening and taking advantage of Fast Pass, we rarely waited in any lines longer than 5 minutes.  We went back to Storm Along Bay every afternoon and/or evening and cooled off in the gigantic pool complex.  It was so much fun.  Try as we might, we just can't not have fun at DisneyWorld.  It holds magic for us and we get to all act like kids.  Jack was on a giddy high the entire week and that was just contagious. 

Our arrival at Beach Club
The lobby of Cape May Cafe restaurant
 A giant rainbow when we first arrived!
The grounds and a very small part of Storm Along Bay
The lobby of Beach Club Resort
About to wake Anna up on our first full day! She slept on the daybed.
A little of the room decor.  Claire is grabbing something out of the fridge in the room.
Our first day: Magic Kingdom of course!  First castle picture of the trip.

Jack floating in the lazy river part of the pool
Claire and Megan hanging out
Anna coming out of the wading pool.  It was huge and only about 2 feet deep...great for playing and sitting in the sand bottom.
The girls lounging
More pictures of the pool area
Looking back at our hotel from the pool
Another pool picture
and another

Another pic of our room...Jack and Meghan ipad-ing & texting
Claire and Jack in front of Jack's favorite place.....the quick food shop at our resort
Anna with her Angel and Stitch purchase with CB
This is the view of our resort's courtyard at night
This is the view from the courtyard looking across the lake to the Boardwalk Resort
and this is the view of the Yacht & Beach Club Resort from the Boardwalk
Anna ran into Baloo during our day at Animal Kingdom...
...while her sisters rode Expedition Everest (the first of 4 times that day!)

The girls in front of the Tree of Life
I think I will leave the animal pics for a separate post, but these tigers were amazing!
The Jammin Jungle Parade
Meghan enjoys her refreshment in "Africa"
Claire checks out the Stitch pins.  I cannot tell you how many she has collected!

You may have noticed the lack of captions after the first day.  I have somehow messed up the formatting and I can't figure out how to caption the rest of the photos.  I will try to figure it out (Honestly, I am the only person alive who can't blog on a Mac.)