So, I'll try to go back and recap the last two months, with a few photo highlights.
The biggest event was my parents' visit. They were here for ten days and we had a fantastic time. We did a little bit of everything, from ice creams at the Twistee Treat...
...to a visit to Palatlakaha Park, complete with lots of photography...
...to mini-golf at Fantasia Gardens (a much better experience than the last time we went)...
...to a fun dinner at Friday's, where I caved and allowed myself to be photographed...
and even to a trip to the Polynesian Village Resort for dinner, then a boat ride to the Grand Floridian Dock to watch Wishes, then a monorail ride back to the Poly.
We also took my dad to Animal Kingdom Lodge to photograph some of the animals (Mom wasn't feeling well, so she stayed home). Fiona brought a notepad so she could draw the animals.
We stopped at the Mara for snacks and silly selfies. Most everyone opted for the peanut butter brownie...
But I went for the Zebra Domes. Mmmm.. so, so yummy.
After my parents left, we went to the Magic Kingdom to cheer ourselves up. This was our first trip to MK with just one adult, and I goofed. I got us Fast Passes for the Barnstormer, among other things. When we got there and started scanning our Magic Bands, the Cast Member asked if we had another adult to ride with the littles. The cars only hold two people, and both Fiona and Niall are too young to ride by themselves. I realized right away that I had screwed up and waved Colwyn and Lachlann through, telling them I'd meet them by the splash pad (the kids had worn swimsuits to try it for the first time). Fiona and Niall were super good about it, didn't whine or fuss or anything, but their faces fell and they just looked so sad. The CM felt bad and asked if someone was joining us later or something, and I said no, that it was my mistake, not a big deal, we'd go do something else. Well, she told us to hold on a minute, then gave us one of these babies.
With this magical yellow slip of paper, we would get to ride any one ride as a Fast Pass, for all five of us. She was also quick to point out that this would work at the Mine Train (which is very difficult to get Fast Passes for), and that they would let Fiona and Niall ride next to each other, with me right behind them (it has a similar set-up to the Barnstormer, but for some reason they'll allow that on the Mine Train). So we got to ride the Mine Train! Oh my god, the boys were so excited. Fiona was nervous because she had never ridden it before, and Niall balked at the last minute because he wanted to ride with me, but we managed and everyone had a good time! Oh, and the splash pad was pretty fun, too.. we'll definitely have to do that again.
The next day we went to Epcot. Ho hum, right? Well, we also got to meet up with some of our very best friends from Beverly there! We did a few things on our own (Test Track, where Lachlann lost his phone for a short time), Ellen's Energy (which we'd never done before, and which freaked Niall out.. guess he won't be riding Dinosaur any time soon!), and Spaceship Earth. We met up with them in Sunshine Seasons so we could have lunch. We let Colwyn, Lachlann, and their friend Jack ride Journey into Imagination by themselves while the littles and I hung out in the gift shop, and while our friends took their littles to World Showcase to try an Agent P mission. We spent a few minutes at the playground, then checked out the butterfly house, then met up with our friends at Club Cool.
We were all hot and tired by then, so we drove back to their resort, Port Orleans, to go swimming. I know, I know.. resort guests only and all that.. but it was pretty quiet and nobody minded that we were there. The boys had an amazing time swimming with their friends.
Fiona and Niall swam a bit, too, but then Niall got tired and actually fell asleep on a lounge chair for a good long while. When he woke up, he and Fiona just watched videos on my phone.. they were too tired to go swimming again.
It was so wonderful to see our friends, and such a bummer to have to go back home! But we'll be heading north in August, we hope, so we'll get to see all our old friends then.
In other news, this is Whitman:
No, he's not ours. He's one of the dogs we pet sit. I found this awesome site that connects pet owners with dog sitters, and even includes insurance for each booking. We've watched a bunch of dogs so far, and had a couple of repeat clients. It's such an easy way to earn money, and it's lovely having a dog around again.. even if just for a short while. We are planning on getting another dog soon.. probably after finishing our next pet-sitting gig.
So.. this new job that I'm doing. It's a night chaperone job for student groups. Basically, I show up to a hotel around 11-11:30, introduce myself to the tour group, and wait for their chaperones to get all the kids in their rooms for the night and make sure everyone is where they're supposed to be. Then they go to sleep, and I make sure the kids stay in their rooms. I get to position a chair where I can see as many of the rooms as possible, and read or play on my phone (or however else I want to entertain myself), and make rounds as often as necessary. Sometimes, if I'm watching multiple floors that I can't see, I do rounds every 15 minutes. Sometimes, if I'm just watching a small number of rooms that I can see easily from my chair, I just walk around once an hour or so. Around 5-5:30, I go home and go to bed.
It's really not a bad job. It pays better than Downtown Disney, I get to sit and do pretty much whatever I feel like. I can have snacks/drinks, and I can use the bathroom when I need to. I'm a night owl anyway, so it hasn't been difficult to stay awake. The kids are old enough that they'll let me sleep until 11am or so, maybe later, with minimal interruptions. I told Colwyn and Lachlann that I'll pay them $1 each for every hour I get to sleep without getting woken up. I can pick and choose whatever days I want, so I've been doing 2-3 days per week. We'll see if I like it over the longterm, but so far, I like it a hell of a lot more than Downtown Disney.
And last but not least, today the boys started free homeschool classes at the Microsoft Store at the Florida Mall. They opted for the Minecraft session first, mainly to see if they like the set-up. Hopefully they'll do one of the coding ones next.
The littles and I explored the mall. I am not a mall person by any means, but we had a good time. The highlight for Fiona was definitely finding the American Girl Doll store. She was in heaven! Even as we were just entering the store, two women coming out said, about Fiona, "Now that little girl is excited!" We also checked out the Disney Store, Gamestop, Claire's, a toy store, and Children's Place.
The class was from 11am-1pm, so despite giving the kids granola bars on the way there, the littles got hungry. I'd told the kids that we'd get fast food after class (a rare treat), so I figured we might as well go crazy and split an ice cream at noon. Fiona and Niall were very impressed.
We also found a little play area that the littles really liked. I think next week we'll spend more time there, and less time browsing shops. We're also going to have to reassess lunch, because stopping at three different fast food places on the way home was ridiculous. Packed lunch it is!