Archive for the ‘Vacation’ Category

Disney World Day 6

November 23, 2016

Day 6 was our last full day at Disney and the day one of the events Jillian was most looking forward to… Breakfast at Cinderella’s Castle. It did not disappoint. This is the best character meal by far because the food is excellent and it’s not a buffet. Jillian LOVED meeting the princesses and was over the moon ecstatic to meet her favorite princess in pink, Aurora (Sleep Beauty). We also got to meet Merida before leaving Magic Kingdom. Mommy and Jilly were both big fans. Merida and Jilly talked about how their brothers pestered them. Ha!

We finished our last day back at Hollywood Studios. Owen got to make a light saber and the kids got fun light up drinks at the 50’s Prime Time. Great restaurant.

Oh – and as you can see in the one picture, Jilly is crying. She was sad it was her last full day at Disney. She said she wanted to stay for 100 days. Bless her heart!

Disney World Day 5

November 22, 2016

Day 5 was a hot one in Florida. We spent the day at Magic Kingdom, took a break and went swimming in the pool at our resort, then went back at night. This was quite an experience because we were able to see Magic Kingdom turn from Halloween to CHRISTMAS!  I’m not a huge Christmas person, but there is just something about being there at that time of the year that totally gets you in the spirit.  And this is going to sound silly, but when we went back at night, we were able to see them light up Cinderella’s castle for Christmas and it was breathtaking. Like, it gave me goosebumps and and my jaw dropped. Nothing much “wows” me in my adult like, but that certainly did.

Oh – and we had a small brush with a famous football star.  I was having Mike take a picture of Jilly and I in about the same place as our last visit when she was a baby. We noticed there was some production event going on behind me and it was Charles Woodson with Mickey and Goofy filming a segment of some sort.  Pretty neat!


Disney World Day 3

November 20, 2016

Day 3 at Disney was a full day at Hollywood Studios followed by a nightcap at Epcot. Our first Fast Pass that morning was Star Tours. Jilly was very apprehensive, but her brothers, Dad, and I assured her she would love it. Once the ride started her face lite up like the sun. She was hooked. I think we rode it 7 more times that day. We got to see all kinds of Star Wars stuff and meet Chewy and Kilo Ren. Jillian was very excited to meet all the Disney Jr characters and all the kids (and PeePaw) thought Pluto was pretty cool.

It’s no secret that one of Jilly’s top favorite Disney movies is Frozen. The Frozen Sing along was great and very very funny. Elsa even sprinkled us with snow, in Florida! Jilly and I also got to meet Olaf. What a pal.

Owen participated in a side show with the green army men. They liked his red hair and called him “Copper Top”. He was a very good cadate and showed he does indeed know how to follow directions so he has no more excuse not to listen at home! Ha!

The kids enjoyed our Halloween themed dinner at Hollywood and Vine and really soaked up getting to meet Minnie and her pals in their Halloween costumes. The dinner even came with special seating for Fantasmic!

The best part of the evening was riding the newer version of Soarin’. IT.WAS.WONDERFUL! I was totally amazed. It’s beautiful, fun, and relaxing. And the aromatics during the ride are the best. I kept saying they should turn them into candles. I wish I could ride it weekly!

Disney World Day 2

November 19, 2016

Day two, which was Halloween, started out at Animal Kingdom and ended past midnight at Magic Kingdom at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. I mean, what better way to spend Halloween night than at the happiest place on earth at the funnest Halloween party ever dressed as a family of super heroes! The party was so great. Very very crowded at first, and a little dicey, but after the fireworks it started to clear out and it felt like we had the park to ourselves. We walked right on rides, got TONS of candy, and had a special character meet with Belle at Gaston’s Tavern. It was the very end of the night and we saw the line was short to get pictures so we hopped in line. We were told we were the last for the night. Whoo… well Jilly was afraid to go up to Belle b/c Gaston was there too and he’s a villain. Jilly doesn’t like villains. Well, Belle walked over to her, knelt down to her sitting in the stroller, and coaxed Jilly over. She took her hand and it was so sweet. Belle took her time and they had a nice, special moment. Definitely a memory I won’t forget.

Disney World Day 1

November 17, 2016

At the end of October went headed to Disney for a fun filled week. Jilly was always promised she’d get to go back to “Rella’s Castle” when she was the “number 5”, so off we went.

We flew out pretty early in the AM and were up at 4:00, so it was a long day, but we enjoyed ourselves at Magic Kingdom. Benny didn’t say much about the trip leading up to it, but he was up first and so exited to leave. His exact works were “I’m as excited as heck to go to Disney!”. We road the Mad Hatter Tea Cups, Buzz LightYear, Tomorrowland Speedway, the carousel, the People Mover, the Ariel ride, and got to meet 3 princesses… Rapunzel, Tiana, and Ariel. Jillian was shy at first, but as the week went one she loved meeting as many characters as she could. We ended the say with a yummy dinner at the Liberty Tree Tavern. Jilly was at her limit by that point and fell asleep at the table. Our little sleeping beauty.


June 26, 2016

For an end of school year celebration, we booked a 2 day trip to the new Kalahari resort in the Poconos. So much fun. Our room was amazing. We stayed in the Royal Hospitality Suite which was HUGE. Double doors, kitchen area with island and 8 person table, a living room area with a fireplace, 2 pull down Murphy beds, a separate bedroom and bathroom for Mike and I, and a bathroom for the kids. So worth the extra $65 for the bigger room.

My kids LOVE pools, water parks, and water slides. Indoor water parks are great because it’s not too hot and no sunscreen. Jilly was a champ. She had no fear and rode all the big slides. Ben not so much, but we got him to at least ride one. He’s making progress on expanding his horizons to more than kiddie slides. We’ll definitely go back. The water park was big, but they aren’t done yet. It will be 2/3 bigger by 2017!

New York City

March 17, 2016

We have been meaning to get to New York City for probably over a year. We finally had a free weekend with basketball over so off we went. We went to Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty, Times Square, Nintendo World, Rockefeller Center, American Girl, and Central Park. It was great. It was Ben and Jillian’s first time to the city. They thought it was really neat, although the boys first observation was there were soooo many banks. Like on every street corner. We are already talking about going back. The fam wants to see a Yankees Game and Jillian wants to go to the Zoo (we only peeked in from outside of the Central Park Zoo). I also want to go back and see a Broadway show. I’ve never been to one. It’s on my bucket list.

Oh – and so I don’t forget this Benny Funny from the trip.

I preface this by saying their were a lot of Asians on our tour of Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. Ben says “Wow… I’m surprised so many people came all the way from China to see the Statue of Liberty.” The way this kid’s brain works and how he observes the world is so unique. Only Benny!

The boys excited to be at the City…well, across from it.

Benny helping Jillian see if the Ninja Turtles are in the sewer.  HA HA!  He knows they are fake but he played along b/c he knows how much his sister LOVES them.

Ferry time to Ellis Island.

Ellis Island. Such a neat place.  Kind of surreal to think of how it was 120+ years ago when the immigrants passed through those same halls.

Jillian asked for this picture. She wanted one of just herself in front of the Statue of Liberty.

The nicest park ranger EVER!  She gave us great info, stamped these brochures for the kids, gave them Jr. Park Ranger stickers, took Benny in the back room for a drink of water, and gave Jillian her banana!

It was very windy!

Such an amazing view and perspective of the city. One I hadn’t had before. And it was a beautiful day!

Just after we crossed into the city, we saw an NYPD Precinct.  Police cars were just randomly parked out front.  Totally different life in the city.

Cool mural in the lobby of the hotel.

View from our room.

Whenever this girl finds a pen and paper, she scribbles and doodles.  She could do this all day.

First time in Times Square.

She loved the gift shop.

She got excited about every pink souvenir she saw.

Benny and Jilly’s desert from John’s Pizza of Times Square.  Great brick oven pizza!

We found the Yankee store in Times Square. Owen called this a Giant Booger Picker… such a boy!

Jillian found Hello Kitty!

The M&M Personality Scanner in M&M World.

Owen got pink… because he’s a sweet as sugar!

Benny got Mega Mix.  Perfect for this crazy boy!

She was praying for pink. When it came up pink she gasped with excitement and turned around.  It was so cute. Everyone around us was smiling and laughing along with us.

Nintendo World!

Every handheld Nintendo game ever made.

Each main game console from over the years.

Playing Mario Kart on a HUGE screen that filled the wall.

Rockefeller Center

The Met Life Building.  Owen and Mike said it was Blue & White for the Yankees!

Benny thought this little snack store in hotel was the neatest.

Jillian’s first time at American Girl!

St. Patrick’s Cathedral

We just missed the Today Show hosts on Saturday Morning.

Neat creations at the Lego Store.

Rockefeller Center made of Legos!  Pretty cool!

A quick stop back at Nintendo World.

The boys finally got their hot dogs from the street vendor they begged for!

Radio City Music Hall… aka where the NFL draft is.  At least that is all my boys cared to know.

Central Park!

The boys got a kick out of this. Protesters against Donald Trump…they were chanting “Dump Trump”!

Central Park Zoo…the seals (hard to see from this far away in the picture).

Riding the carousel in Central Park.

Selfie at the request of my husband!

The Little League baseball fields.  It would be so cool to play baseball there.

Not quite like Shaeffer Field.

Owen spotted a framed Jeter Jersey when walking the streets and had to have is picture taken by it.

Benny wanted in the action too.

Subway Selfie!

Cool tile design in the Subway.

Jilly wanted to sit by Ben. They are buddies.

Was looking for the Ninja Turtles in the Subway too, but no dice.  She was really hoping to see them since they live in NYC.

Moon Palace – Cancun, Mexico

November 28, 2015

To celebrate Mimi’s 60th Birthday, we went a few weeks early to Cancun, Mexico – all 12 of us to mark the occasion. We stayed at the Moon Palace and it was such a great resort for kids of varying ages. Lots of stuff for the little kids to do and enough to keep the big kids entertained. The pools were amazing, the boys LOVED the Wired Lounge (a big arcade and video game room), the food was good, and the kids drank their fair share of strawberry daiquiris, no wine! HA! We even went up to Beach Palace, a sister resort to Moon Palace, for the day. That was a nice change of pace. Jillian and Ben LOVED the water slide there. Jillian must have gone down 50+ times. On our last full day there, Owen did a scuba diving lesson in the pool. That was a neat experience for him.

I learned a lot about my kids on this vacation. I learned that all three thrive in an environment like this. They were so well behaved and really liked to be able to pretty much come and go as they pleased. I learned that Owen is a social butterfly. He’s not shy or afraid. If he wanted to do an activity, he just jumped right in. He really made the most of his vacation. And all inclusive resorts are great for Benny because he actually tried new foods. And Jillian is a pool girl. We took her down on the beach but she wasn’t a big fan of the water. She was at home in the pool.

And we were so proud of all the kids. Our connecting flight home was delayed and we sat on the tarmac for 2 HOURS and the kids didn’t complain once. All 6 of them were excellent. We couldn’t have asked for more.

It was a wonderful vacation with family. So many memories were made. We will definitely go back to Moon Palace someday. It’s a resort that is perfect for our family.

Great Wolf Lodge

February 15, 2015

The boys had tossed around the idea of having a birthday party at Skyzone. I looked into the cost and it was going to be a pretty penny for a 2 hour party for 20 kids. I asked them if they wanted to go to Great Wolf Lodge instead. When they found out what it was, they were totally on board. And I was happy to spend money on a fun family experience vs a party or buying them stuff they don’t need or the gifts they would get from having a party which again, they don’t need.

Great Wolf Lodge is great. As Owen said, “Mom, this is a paradise for kids. They have everything here a kid could want.” The indoor water park was amazing. So much to do and the one slide was out of this world. Mike said it was by far the best water slide he’s ever been on. The kids were all smiles. I love to see them happy like this and enjoying new places. It was also pretty cool to be inside in swim suits having a blast while it was snowy and freezing outside.

We took a break from the water park to eat dinner. We were going to go out to eat, but there was a pizza place near our room in the lodge that had a decent take out special so we decided to do that instead. It was really yummy. Good pizza, good chicken parm sub, wonderful green salad and garlic knots that Benny could have eaten a dozen of. After dinner we went back to the water park for a bit then went back to the room to get ready to hit up some of the fun attractions in the lodge. We did 9 holes of Glow In the Dark Mini Golf, then played a bunch of games in the arcade. We finished the night off with ice cream.

We woke up, ate breakfast, packed up, and got ready to go back to the water park. We found a good table, got all settled in for the day, and back to splish splashing fun. Owen spent most of his time both days on the big water slides. That is why there are little pictures of him. Not a camera friendly area. The boys and Jillian also loved playing basketball in the pool with their Daddy.

We ate lunch in the park and then decided to give one last go around before we’d head out. The weekend crowds were starting to pile in and it was too many people for my liking. When we go back I will go Tues to Wed or Wed to Thurs to avoid the weekend rush. We said good bye to the Lodge, got packed in the van, then hit up the outlets for some GREAT deals. We weren’t on the road 5 minutes on the way home and all 3 kids were out. I would say that was a sign of a good trip. They are already talking about going back again. Maybe this can be a winter tradition.

Picture by the big fireplace.

We had the “Kid Cabin” room.

It had a TV, single bed, and bunk beds.

The kids loved having their own little space in the room.

Time for water park fun – in February!

Owen giving it a go on the rope course.

Benny’s turn.


This one was in heaven!

Basketball with Dad.

Kiddie water slides!

My favorite picture from the day.  Totally not staged. Just her pure happiness.

Ben gives Great Wolf Lodge two thumbs up.

Power nap before dinner!

Silly Benny.

The boys planning out all they wanted to do by looking at the resort map.

Ready for the fun attractions.  And no, I didn’t make them wear their wolf ears.  All 3 put them on by themselves.

Glow in the Dark Mini Golf!

Posing for a picture by the froggies.

ARCADE.  The boys love arcades.

The game must have been a nail biter.

She was obsessed with feeding the tickets to the counting machine.

Day 2 at the water park.

Mom was suckered into the souvenir cups.

This is what I get when I ask for silly faces.

Look – I was there too!

Jilly’s turn at making some baskets.

Mom – I’m getting tired. I’m going to rest here.

BYE Great Wold Lodge!

The water slide Mike and Owen loved.  The double barrel.  And yes, several slides go outside the building and come back in.

Three tired Thomas kiddos.

Finally made it to DC

October 6, 2014

Last year we were suppose to take my Dad to Washington DC for his 60th birthday present. Well, the government shut down killed those plans, but this year we were able to go to celebrate his 61st.

Mike, Dad, the boys and I had a very nice day. The weather was nice, we saw things for the first time, like the monument and memorials, saw old favorites at the American History Museum, Benny was in heaven at the Natural History Museum, and Air and Space never disappoints as usual. We walked A LOT, 9.5 miles to be exact, and the boys didn’t complain once. We ended the day with a yummy dinner at an Irish Pub in Chinatown and a trip to It’s Sugar for a sweet treat.

It was a great day. Lots of laughs and good time spent with the special guys in my life.