Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Sleepy Days

I am so tired lately. Absolutely exhausted! I actually made it through an entire movie with King Papa Bear last night. We watched The Grudge. Strange movie and I am not a big fan of the chick in that movie (what's her name again? something Gellar???) but I will admit to jumping in a few parts. Only a few. More comical than creepy most of the time and the freaky thing in the movie looked like a psycho muppet. Odd. But I did manage to stay awake and watch the whole movie.
Last night was Bam-Bam's Parent Info night at school where they went over the curriculum and things in class. We got there early and were the only parents there for awhile so Bam-Bam's teacher Miss M. filled us in on how he is doing and what he is showing improvement on, etc. so that was good. The Professor's parent night is on the 8th. Lil' Michaelangelo had his doctor appointent last week and has finally stopped touching the spots where he got his vaccines. Growing great - tall and healthy! :)
Need to go clean up my very messy house and then start my afternoon duties of picking up the boys from school, homework, etc. On to it!

Posted By Melanie @ 12:45 PM (0) comments |
Monday, August 29, 2005

The Daily

The Professor is home sick today from school. He has a sore throat and cough that sounds nasty. Lil' Michaelangelo is happy to have him home with him today. Someone else to bother and play with other than Mommy. Bam-Bam wasn't wanting to go back to school today, but went anyway with little resistance. I guess he knew he would be missing out on something with The Professor being allowed to stay home. The Professor has set up camp with pillow, blanket and - SHHHH - his bear on the couch watching Space Jam with Michael Jordan and the Looney Tunes. Old movie but still somewhat entertaining I guess. He is eating Italian Ice after Italian Ice saying that it is helping his throat. I know it is somewhat fact and somewhat BS but I am indulging him just the same. He isn't sick often so what the hell. Got my panties in a bunch this morning over an ADHD thread at SSM this morning. It completely annoys me that people who have no kind of dealings with children with issues like ADHD can voice such opinions on the disorder such as suggesting it isn't real. I know watching my neice cry while literally forcing herself to sit still and stare at her book, struggling to focus on reading one page of it is enough for me to realize her issues are real. Yes there are more than likely diagnosed children who should not be diagnosed as having ADHD but that does not discount the ones who actually DO have the issues. People just have no idea what it is like to deal with a child whose behavior issues can not be "controlled" or "handled" through their superb parenting skills but do need other interventions, possibly meds and yes, maybe even a label. But people who do not deal with this could just never understand that being unable to control your child's behavior or even help them to learn to control their behavior could possibly be out of your hands hence labels such as ADHD and others. But your child doesn't have to deal with this and neither do you, right? So how would you begin to have a clue????? Okay I am getting more worked up on the issue than I need to be. Getting off to clean my house and play with my kids.

Posted By Melanie @ 10:41 AM (0) comments |
Sunday, August 28, 2005

I was TAGGED by Amy!!!

1. Name as it appears on birth certificate: Melanie P C
2. Nicknames: Mel, Mellie
3. Place of Birth: NJ
4. Favorite food: Anything Italian
5. Ever been to Africa: No
6. Love someone so much it hurts: Yes
7. Been in a car accident: Yes while a passenger, Never driving
8. Croutons or bacon bits: Both!
9. Favorite day of the week: Sunday
10. Favorite restaurant: Carrabbas
11. Favorite sport to watch: Football
12. Favorite drink for summer: Iced Teas
13. Favorite ice cream: Chocolate Chip Mint
14. Disney or Warner Bros.: C'Mon!!! DISNEY baby!!!!
15. Favorite fast food restaurant: Burger King
16. What Color is your bedroom carpet: Gray
17. How many times did you fail your driver’s test: 0
18. Before this one, from whom did you get your last e-mail: AUTISM-FL List
19. Which store would you choose to max out your credit card: Target
20. What do you do most often when you are bored: clean, read, play online
21. What time is Bedtime: around 11pm generally
24. Favorite TV shows: CSI, Without a Trace, Survivor, 24, Sopranos
25. Last person/s you went to dinner with: Adam :)
26. Ford or Chevy: Well I drive a Ford so Ford I guess
27. What are you listening to right now: Adam has the History Channel on and there is a commercial
28. What is your favorite color: Blue
29. Lake, ocean or river: Lake
30. How many tattoos do you have? One for now
31. Have you ever run out of gas: No

Who to tag???? Hmmmm. TERRI needs a Blog so I tag her for her first post!!! Get to it girl!!!

Posted By Melanie @ 9:27 PM (0) comments |

Our 8 year Celebration...

Tomorrow is our 8 year wedding anniversary so yesterday we left for a day and night at the Beach Club resort at Disney and went to Epcot. The Beach Club was awesome and now we are planning a large scale family vacation in one of their suites for us and the kids and we are going to try to drage my father along and step-mother who has - GASP - never been to Disney in her lifetime!!! So we are thinking we can guilt dear old Dad into going with us if we pull the "see the boys enjoy Disney with Grandpa". How could he resist???
The Beach Club definitely could move into my #1 favorite on site resort spot bumping Coronado Springs down to #2. Their pool is huge - actually 3 large pools joined together for the Beach Club, Yacht Club, and Villas and sports a huge pirate ship slide! They also have a Cape May Cafe to remind me of Jersey days and a great old fashioned ice cream shop with burgers. We went to Epcot for the day and had dinner on the patio dining area of the restaurant in Italy we ate at 5 years ago on our 3rd anniversary. It was beautiful to eat outside at sunset! And the canoli we had for dessert was divine! :) We also were able to see Illuminations for the first time in 5 years since normally we are unable to see it due to Bam-Bam's issues with fireworks and crowds. We walked on the Boardwalk for awhile before turning in for the night. Then this morning we went to the Cape May Cafe for a character buffet breakfast with Goofy, Minnie and Chip & Dale. It was great. we hit downtown Disney for souveniors for the boys and a thank you gift for my sister for watching them for us before heading home. It was a much needed break alone together!! Can't wait for the next time we visit "The World".

Posted By Melanie @ 9:15 PM (0) comments |
Friday, August 26, 2005

MIssed Us!!!

Katrina took a southwest dive and missed us which is VERY nice. So right now it is very overcast and we are expecting anywhere between 2-6 inches of rain depending on which track up the gulf the storm takes.

King Papa Bear and I had planned to go up to Orlando for the weekend for our anniversary but were cancelling with the weather. Now we may go anyway. Gonna see how things turn out this afternoon before we decided definitely. We had planned to stay at a Disney resort and hit Epcot (our favorite park) and have a nice dinner in Italy at L' Originale Alfredo di Roma Ristorante which is one of our favorites in the World. We had our 3rd anniversary dinner there so why not the 8th as well???? :) Although this will be our first year ever celebrating early since our actual anniversary is on the 29th. Last year we were on a cruise during Hurricane Frances for our anniversary and having dinner at Palo's which was going to be a hard one to top. But we will try!!! :)

Posted By Melanie @ 8:19 AM (0) comments |
Thursday, August 25, 2005


Well the schools have just announced they will be closed tomorrow after Katrina begins to make her way across Florida from the east coast over to us here on the west coast. The news is going nutty telling us to expect up to a foot of rain! YIKES!!! When King Papa Bear gets home from work I am going to join the rest of the "just in case" and overly cautious people at the pumps and stores and fill up with gas and then hit Publix for some of those much needed comfort foods for the kiddos stuck inside all day tomorrow and for most of Saturday as well. We have plenty of batteries and water if needed. We aren't expecting much to happen other than alot of rain, some wind, and possible power outages. Our power was out last night for 3 hours from 6pm-9pm during a storm, so this should certainly knock it out for a little bit at least. Glad they called off school. I would have kept the boys home with the possibility of such strong winds since Bam-Bam's pre-k class is in a portable. But glad they cancelled school so the day won't count against his attendance for the ESE program. Should be a nice NAP day tomorrow. I see visions of big comforters, herbal tea, and a chick movie in my bed while the children play QUIETLY in the living room......what do you think???? It's Possible!!!! ;)

Posted By Melanie @ 6:23 PM (0) comments |
Sunday, August 21, 2005

A Little of this and a little of that

Lil' Michaelangelo LOVED his Elmo (or "em-o") party over the weekend and got tons of cool outfits as well as some great new (and annoying) toys. But he was happy. Remind me to thank my brother-in-law for the My First Viper car with the remote control that plays "It's a Small World" over and over and over and over again. I love Disney but even I have limits here people!
Bam-Bam made a potty training step today coming in from outside to use the potty instead of using his diaper to pee!!! VERY big move for him. Maybe we can beat the odds for potty training boys with autism beofre age 6 (yes, I said age 6). Lil' Mikey is starting to notice (finally) so I am going to begin getting him on there throughout the day. Two kids potty training at once *Shudders* as if one isn't bad enough!!! :)
The Professor is already planning his upcoming birthday party for the end of September. He wants a Harry Potter birthday party with a Magical theme complete with a performing magician. He will be 8 this year and I promised to let him invite the kids in his class this year (all 26) so I guess we will have to do something large scale like that to entertain them, right???
My BIL was over all day with his two girls so with 5 children running amuck the house had gone from clean to disaster to clean again now and from sounding like a circus complete with elephant noises to a nice quiet - the only sound is King Papa Bear and I typing away on our respective computers before winding down for the night and heading off to bed.
On the autism front, we have received the FL Elks application and have filled it out to mail out tomorrow. The school is now requiring their own re-evaluation of Bam-Bam by their autism specialist before they will schedule an IEP meeting for me even though their specialist saw him last year and told me his evaluation of Bam-Bam was inconclusive since he was not a doctor to give a diagnosis of autism one way or the other. They are stalling .... so on the positive side it gives me more time to research special ed laws to fight for services but it also means a longer wait for Bam-Bam's IEP to change with new services. What else is new????
Til next time.....

Posted By Melanie @ 11:34 PM (0) comments |
Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Baby Steps

Baby steps....I keep telling myself this. Baby steps in the search for help for Bam-Bam. We are now beginning the application process for the FL Elks 26 weeks of free OT therapy. Not enough but it is something. Otherwise same fight with the school and government for services here.

On a happier note....Lil' Michaelangelo is 2 today!!!! :) My baby is two years old and more "terrible" than either of my other two were. Hoping this phase passes quickly!!! We are having his ELMO birthday party this Saturday.

Posted By Melanie @ 10:29 PM (0) comments |
Saturday, August 13, 2005

Overwhelmed, Annoyed and so much more

My heart is breaking. I was under this severe delusion that Bam-Bam's disorder would miraculously be solved in some way once he was officially labeled Autistic and able to receive all services that that diagnosis allowed. Now in all of this research as I am in the process of all of this I find that FL sucks. Childish I know but that is the best I can do at the moment. Bam-Bam is now eligible for services being Autistic through the Agency for Person's with Disabilities Medwaiver which would pay for speech, OT and behavioral therapies for him. The catch with all this is the waiting list. The f***ing waiting list. As of right now there are over 15,500 children on this waiting list and only 1500-2000 each YEAR are moved from the waiting list to receive services. Do the math and that means at a minimum he won't receive any of these services for almost 8 years. He will be 11 years old before he receives the help he needs! Can you believe this????????????? It hit me so hard last night that my little boy might very well still be this little boy trapped at the age of 18 because the only help he will get is from the shitty school system. Which brings me to FL sucks reason #2....behavioral therapy needs to be added to his IEP, but in our county their is a shortage of behavioral therapists for the district with one therapist having to work between 4-5 schools. I have been forewarned that to get him an evaluation for the services could take a year! OMf'nG!!!!!!!!!!! I have not done anything the last few days but stared at countless websites to see what I can do for him. It looks like my options so far are to fight like hell for whatever I can get him - which will be slim pickings at best or to move to one of the top five states in the US for autism services which in order are NJ (figures I just left there years ago!), DE, MA, NY, and CT. Guess those Yankees figured out how to take care of their kids better than the rednecks here could ever do! I am so damn annoyed I just wanna hit something (or someone) to make them feel as bad as I do right now. And then to read how many times the Autism bill for insurance required coverages (yet again in May '05) has been squashed by the banking and insurance committee or the health and human services appropriations committee in the FL Senate makes me want to go up there and beat the hell out of all of them too! I am seeing red at the moment here and when it isn't red it is through tears. At a loss at the moment and staying away from things until my head is clear to deal with all of this.................

Posted By Melanie @ 9:40 PM (0) comments |
Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Busy Little Mama Bee

Busy Busy Busy seems to be my mantra lately. Calls, emails, letters, filling out document after document ever since Bam-Bam's diagnosis change and lots of appointments coming. Now we have a VERY long road ahead with all of these new treatments that will hopefully help him. Aside from Bam-Bam's latest issues and To Do List, I still have my Jersey out of towners here eating everything in my pantry and playing video games all day, and then the beginning of school to deal with this week for the Professor in second grade!!! So no time these days and like I said, BUSY BUSY BUSY.

Posted By Melanie @ 10:28 AM (0) comments |
Thursday, August 04, 2005


Bam-Bam's diagnosis has been changed from developmentally delayed with autistic tendencies to AUTISM after being seem at the Dan Marino Center in Miami today. It is about time. We have known all along that this would happen and yet the official diagnosis is still bittersweet. At least now he will finally get all the help and services he needs that we could no longer afford on our own!!! :)

Posted By Melanie @ 9:59 PM (0) comments |
Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Jake's Journey

Help us by donating to our team for the Walk for Autism Research in October:

Posted By Melanie @ 11:57 AM (0) comments |

Days are flying by

The End of Summer is here..... Tomorrow is open house for the schools here so The Professor gets to go meet his 2nd grade teacher. 2nd grade already - so hard to believe! Bam-Bam goes to the Dan Marino Center for Autism tomorrow instead of his open house to meet his new teacher because we have a neuro appointment there. Not looking forward to it at all, but hoping beyond hope that they can give him and us some kind of help that he is not currently getting. Who knows. But he needs to go and be checked. Lil' Michaelangelo will be 2 on the 17th! OMG!!!! 2 years old still feels like I just brought him home. The baby feeling with him has lingered more than it did with my other two, maybe because he is number 3 and our last kiddo. Well gotta check in on my favorite SSM moms and then need to go get some work done and get food ready for the two college student guests in my house as they will eat the fridge if there is nothing out for them! Laters

Posted By Melanie @ 9:02 AM (0) comments |
Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Trip Report Part 3

TUESDAY JULY 26, 2005:
The terrible twos.....they are such an awful time for parents and even worse when the traits are displayed during your vacation where you are supposed to be relaxing and enjoying yourself. I think I can speak for both Papa Bear and myself when I say we were ready to ask someone to take Lil' Mikey home! I know it is awful to admit but dear God forgive me he was AWFUL on Tuesday. The entire trip he had his screaming fits, power struggles, etc....normal to be expected behavior for an almost 2 year old. Tuesday was a whole other ball game. We decided to hit our favorite park - Epcot. We went to breakfast at the Counter Service place at the resort - Roaring Forks, cheap quick and a big enough selection to please us all for most of our meals so this is where we picked up food. Lil' Mikey started the morning kicking and yelling while in line to get food and continued being bratty during the meal. On the bus to Epcot he was not happy to have to sit with me instead of by himself since the bus was crowded so more screaming and kicking. Once we got into Epcot and got a stroller he proceeded to refuse to get in. Once finally strapped in he continued to kick and scream and thrash around while also smacking Bam-Bam who was sitting quietly beside him. Somehow God intervened and the child calmed down enough that we decided to stay and look around. Innovations is one of our favorite "cooling" spots to check out the game areas, etc in ice cold a/c. We hit the first game spot and Lil' Michaelangelo found a way to leap out of the stroller (yes he was strapped in but figured out how to undo the strap) and played video games alongside of The Professor while Bam-Bam watched for a bit before we headed over to the Stanley monitors and checked those out. When it was time to leave both Bam-Bam and Lil' Mikey had a fit and wouldn't leave, screaming, crying and kicking and we even had a hard time getting The Professor out of there. So we decided to walk over by the Living Seas and check out the Nemo exhibit figuring that would make them calm and recharge us as well. On the way there, Nemo came out for pictures so we lined up as the 4th group of people and went up for a picture with Nemo to which Lil' Mikey decided was an excuse to smack the Nemo and try to run away (the picture we managed to take shows me trying to manage a smile while holding on to his shirt so he doesn't run). We did make it into the Living Seas to see the aquarium and Nemo stuff which the kids loved and it really did calm them down. We spent a long time in there looking around and visiting all of the fish, seeing the manatee and watching the dolphin show. Everyone seemed happy so we headed over to Spaceship Earth and rode that. Lil' Mikey fell asleep on the ride so we decided to head back to the resort for naps. Wouldn't you know the moment I laid him down on the bed he woke up. So we grabbed a Roaring Forks lunch and tried to get the kids to nap some more while Papa Bear and I read our books they watched a movie on Papa Bear's laptop laying down in bed. No one slept so we decided to get ready and head back out to Epcot and have dinner in one of the the countries and visit the World showcase. Waiting at the bus stop for the Epcot bus was a disaster. Poor Professor and Bam-Bam. Lil' Mikey refused to sit and was trying to run into the road. Then he wanted to splash and throw water from the water fountain all over everyone and was not at all satisfied with the "No" answers he was getting from me so he decided to drop to the ground screaming, crying, kicking and turned so red I thought he was going to have a stroke of some sort. That was when we decided to call it a night and headed back to the room. I had to carry Lil' Mikey all the way back to our room kicking and screaming through the halls and down the elevator. He continued to yell and cry for almost an hour in the room. So we stayed in that night doing nothing but watching TV and Papa Bear read more of Harry Potter while I started my second book I brought. Dinner we ordered in for the night from Roaring Forks again. Everyone wound up in bed EARLY!!!

Today was Papa Bear's driving experience at the Richard Petty Raceway that we got him for Father's Day....but that wasn't until the afternoon. So in the morning, Papa Bear had promised The Professor to take him on the big slides at Blizzard Beach and they left bright and early to hit the big water slides at the park opening since the lines get long fast. Bam-Bam, the less satanic version of Lil' Mikey today and I stayed behind in the room in the a/c playing with toys they had gotten and watching Playhouse Disney. Once Papa Bearand the Professor returned a little while later we grabbed food and got ready to go to the Speedway. Family is welcome to attend and watch but the viewing area is not designed for little kids and certainly not for Bam-Bam. So luckily the lot is set up that you can watch from your car so instead I piled the kids back into the car after Papa Bear was all signed in and we pulled up close to watch while I set them up with snacks and drinks and things to occupy them. Luckily Lil' Michaelangelo fell asleep almost immediately and Bam-Bam and The professor looked at their books and snacked. Papa Bear came out with his class not to long after donning a stunning jumpsuit racers wear while they piled in the van to take a test drive of the track. Everyone posed for photos and started to get ready for their own personal driving experience. We signed Papa Bear up for the Rookie Experience which meant he got to drive for 9 laps all by himself to a max speed of 130mph. All of the drivers were fitted for helmets and Papa Bear was first up. Each person had to follow an instructor in a car ahead of them around the track, having to keep up or the instructor would not drive faster. Papa Bear drove the EA Sports car and did his 9 laps clocking a max speed of 120mph. He did great. We bought the plaque and pictures to go along with his certificate of completion as a keepsake. He had fun which is what we wanted. We also blew off the parks this day too and hung around the resort checking out different areas and swimming for a long time. Sleepy time again was early for the kids but we managed to stay awake to read like a little old married couple......oh yeah, we are a little old married couple!!!!

Today was our last day at the parks.....luckily everyone woke up in a fairly good mood. Crossing our fingers for the day!!!! We had some breakfast and decided to head back to Magic Kingdom in the morning, got some photos taken by the castle, then bought Mickey ears to have embroidered with each of the boys' names. We headed out into the park and hit Winnie the Pooh again. Then we got on Pirates of the Caribbean and saw Tom Sawyer's Island too. We had lunch at Papa Bear's favorite place to eat at Magic Kingdom - Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe. This would be our second time eating here this trip. This time it was really busy and we couldn't find any tables inside so we ate on the terrace area in time for one of the castle shows. Apparently the afternoon castle show has added some small booming fireworks to it since we last were there and Bam-Bam was not happy when they sounded off. He wouldn't leave Papa Bear's lap for a good 10 minutes afterward. After our longest stretch yet in the parks since the boys were being so well behaved, we left at about 2pm to head back to the resort for a cooling break and naps and then had planned to head back to Epcot. While the boys watched a new DVD they picked out while I was picking up our photo, I started to pack up the room whilePapa Bear tried to finish Harry Potter. I was done after some time and the kids wanted to go out so we got ready to head back to Epcot. Once there we got The Porfessor his first pin lanyard and pins to start collecting like his mom. We headed over to the World showcase to start walking around the worlds when the sky opened up and it started to pour, thunder and lightning. To this time we had been lucky and got little to no rain during the trip and didn't get caught in any. So our luck ran out and we got stuck in a large shop in China for an hour with tons of other people. This of course began to change the kids good mood to cranky. But we managed. We laughed at the people filming and taking pictures of the crazy Florida rain. You could tell who lived here and who did not by their reaction to the storm. After an hour we left China and walked around more hitting Japan in time to watch the drum show Papa Bear and I love. We walked through the rest of the Worlds and then packed it in to head back to the resort. Our last Roaring Forks dinner and a last night dip in the pool and we were tucking in the kids. Our trip was over and tomorrow we were heading home....

FRIDAY JULY 29, 2005:
We slept in a bit and finally woke up to have our very last breakfast at the Wilderness Lodge (for this trip anyway) and made sure to pack the last of our items hanging around our room. We called up to Bell Services to get the luggage loaded in the truck and then we were off. Taking the back roads home again, we got home in the afternoon and relaxed for the rest of the night. Dozer Dog came home after Grandma Yvette brought him back Saturday morning. Thank you Grandma Yvette and Papa Jay for taking good care of our doggie!!! We were looking forward to a Saturday night comedy hypnotist show with my uncle in town and a relaxing weekend. We had a great time!!! Hope you all enjoyed our recap!!!!

Posted By Melanie @ 9:04 AM (0) comments |

Trip Report Part 2

We started the morning at Animal Kingdom since I scheduled a character breakfast at Donald's Breakfastasaurus restaurant. We were seated within minutes of our priority seating reservation and started filling our plates at the buffet. We warned the staff ahead of time of Bam-Bam's condition and his reaction to characters that directly confront him. We positioned our seats so that Bam-Bam was seated at the wall and I was on the "aisle" and Lil' Michaelangelo was in the high chair at the head of the table with The Professor at the other "aisle" seat across the table from me and Papa Bear at the other wall seat that way the characters would approach the table between The Professor and Lil' Mikey and our special needs cast member would warn them not to come directly to Bam-Bam but wave instead. This worked wonderfully and Bam-Bam was thrilled to see them at his comfortable distance. The Professor and Lil' Mikey loved them. Lil' Mikey sat in his high chair with his arms extended waiting for each of the characters to come hug him. We got to see Donald, Pluto, Goofy and Mickey. It was lots of fun! After breakfast, we walked around Animal Kingdom a bit and made our first stop at the BoneYard where all three boys ran around playing on the playground - running up and down, sliding, through the tunnels and got all wet in the little waterfall. We got to see Lucky the Dinosaur and The Professor hit some rides at DinoLand USA. It was sinfully hot there so we packed up after a few hours and headed back to the resort for a nap, lunch and pool time. While Papa Bear and Bam-Bam took a nap - The Professor, Lil' Mikey and I hit the pool. Then Lil' Mikey and I walked all around the resort checking things out. We did a room service dinner that night (Don't reccomend this at all!!! MUCHO $$$$ - we got a burger, 5 drinks, 2 PB&J's with chips, a grilled cheese with chips, caesar saladand it was $90 with the fees and added 18% gratuity!!!!! HOLY RIP OFF BATMAN!!!!) and then some more pool time and hung around the resort. The Professor got to check out the arcade with his Dad. Another early bedtime for the kids - so far all three had gone to bed with no problems including Bam-Bam and had been sleeping all night.

SUNDAY JULY 24, 2005:
On Sunday we had plans to meet my friend Allison and her husband and daughter at Planet Hollywood in Downtown Disney for lunch. So we slept in a bit and hung out in our room before heading out to our resort restaurant Whispering Canyon for breakfast. WOW....if you are a quiet person who doesn't like attention brought to you avoid this place at all costs. It is a real "friendly" atmosphere as they YELL Howdy! and other greetings at the top of their lungs while you eat. Please don't ask for ketchup! The entire restaurant is made to bring their bottles to your table. The servers point out if you have had seconds or thirds to the entire place by yelling it out while pointing at you. They do have a cute pony race with wooden stick ponies around the place for the kids. That was fun to watch. The kids seem to really like all the commotion but there were certainly sour pusses in the room as well. It was an experience! We took the bus to Downtown Disney early to make sure we were there on time to meet the Loo Family for lunch. We checked out the Virgin Megastore for awhile as well as other stores before meeting up with The Loos at Planet Hollywood. We had a really nice lunch (despite Lil' Mikey deciding he was going to beat up The Professor in the booth and turn into a crazy wild child). After a nice long lunch we walked around the Marketplace a bit hitting the Leggo store which was VERY crowded and hot. Bam-Bam didn't fare so well and reached an overloaded state and had to be removed to calm his minor outburst. His first meltdown of the vacation. Not a real bad one either, but he calmed and we decided he had enough so we split ways with the Loos and took our kiddos back to the resort for naps before heading to the Magic Kingdom that night. After naps at the resort we took the Wilderness Lodge's ferry boat over to Magic Kingdom. After arriving we split so that I could take Bam-Bam to pick up his special needs Guest Assistance Card (GAC) and Papa Bear took The Professor and Lil' Mikey to pick up a double stroller (tip- prepay for your length of stay if you rent a stroller - you get a discount and don't wait in line to pick up strollers). Our first item to hit on The Professor's list for this park was the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse. We all walked up and down that and then decided to try the little ones out on a ride complete with darkness and loud music. The year before this was something Bam-Bam could not handle and we wanted to see how he would do as well as howLil' Mikey would make out on a ride. So we opted to try out It’s a Small World as our guinea pig. The wait was under 20 minutes so we did not use our GAC. Bam-Bam and Lil' Mikey both did great so in order to keep up the momentum we also hit Peter Pan, Buzz Lightyear, Winnie the Pooh and the Tomorrowland Transit Authority rides. Then we visited Mickey's Toontown Fair and walked around before heading back to the resort. We got to see some of the parade before leaving and the fireworks when we reached the boat dock at our resort. To sleep for some much needed Zzzzz's.

MONDAY JULY 25, 2005:
We started out the day early to make it over for the opening of Blizzard Beach at 9am. So it was pastries, donuts and fruit for a quick morning meal before getting on the bus to go to Blizzard Beach water park. We got inside the park and went to rent a locker for stuff we did not want to leave by a beach chair. We brought our own towels to avoid renting them at a few bucks each. Then we headed over to the kiddie area so Bam-Bam and Lil' Michaelangelo could play on the little kid stuff - slides, squirting fountains, etc. Then we went to find a neutral close area to leave our stuff while we tried out the Lazy River. Bam-Bam and Lil' Mikey didn't like the tubes so we just floated along in the river without any tubes (except The Professor would take one every now and then to use). After two laps around the park and after a cute group photo we decided to check out the Ski Patrol area next to all the slides for the bigger kids with an Iceberg walk that The Professor tried to maneuver. We then went into Blizzard Beach's wave pool which the kids liked out in the deeper water so the waves wouldn't run them over. We picked up our picture and traded off our locker key to someone waiting before heading back at noon (the lockers were sold out by the time we were trying to leave and the line was crazy waiting for lockers so keep it in mind if you ever venture out there). We got lunch and got the boys to nap before heading back to Magic Kingdom. We had our Castle Dinner Reservations tonight and couldn't wait to go! We got to Magic Kingdom and went into Mickey's Philharmagic 3D show. This show is excellent but very loud and scared Bam-Bam bad. He yelled a few times but refused to leave the show because he wanted to see it. So he made it through but wouldn't keep the glasses on and Papa Bear had to hold his ears to relax him. Lil' Mikey and The Professor both loved the show though. After, we walked around Toontown Fair again until our dinner reservation at Cinderella's Royal Table. We have never dined in the castle since reservations are hard to get. Breakfast and Lunch are character meals with the princesses but having three little princes, we opted for dinner. Cinderella is on her throne once you enter the waiting area before you are called to go up the winding staircase to the restaurant. We were seated and called Queen, King, and the three princes. After ordering from the small and pricey menu we found the food to be worth the wait as everything was delicious. Papa Bear had the prime rib while I had the Filet of Beef. The kids had Pretzel Hot Dogs and Chicken Fingers. They were most thrilled with the cool Mickey straws that came with their drinks as well as being called "prince" and "young sirs". After dinner we headed back to the resort since the night before didn't prove that Bam-Bam would handle the parade very well again or the fireworks so we made haste to get out of the park before the crowds boxed us in. We did some night swimming, watched a movie and headed off to bed.

Posted By Melanie @ 8:49 AM (0) comments |

Trip Report Part 1

As with all of our Disney trips, we planned this one also to a "T". Doing all research ahead of time including websites, vacation DVDs, etc and booking well in advance for both a cheaper rate and more time to pay for a nice time there. To begin this tale, first let me give you a little insight on the 2 weeks prior to this trip. King Papa Bear works alot. He works his normal job at Weber as well as overtime there plus painting for our brother-in-law. So needless to say a normal week for him is very busy. Well on Thursday - one week and one day before V-Day (Vacation Day) - the server at the office crashed and King Papa Bear being the CAD Manager was responsible for getting things up and running. This turned out to be many LONG days of countless hours due to the entire server needing to be revamped and reinstalled. So for days I saw Papa Bear for about 5 minutes in the morning before he left for work and about 10-15minutes at night (or early a.m. since we are talking 2 in the morning) when he came home before we went to bed. This continued until into the days before we had to leave before it was finally up and running again. Add in his regular work and painting, Papa Bear was a zombie from lack of sleep and I wasn't very pleasant from not having him around to help me with the kids, etc as I do rely on him for my sanity breaks as well! :) Then of course as our luck would have it, Wednesday the 20th - two days before V-Day our minivan starts to make this crazy jumping when I was out with the kids every time I tried to accelerate. I have owned enough older cars before to have felt this in other cars and knew I needed to stop driving because it was a transmission issue. I was right and we had to have the van towed to Aamco to have the transmission re-done. The minivan is a 1999 Ford windstar that always runs beautifully so worth the money to have it fixed.....all $2000. Yikes!!! This certainly would put a damper on the vacation now that we didn't have a vehicle to drive there (hubby drives a Supra that would not fit our family of 5 and our luggage for this trip) not to mention the added expense we had not budgeted for. But we were lucky that Papa Bear works for such a great family man who is definitely grateful for his hard working employees and offered both the company account for a rental for us as well as footed the bill for the rental for the week as a thank you to Papa Bear for all the work getting the server up and running again that he did. Luckily Dozer Dog was easily coaxed into going away with Grandma Yvette and Papa Jay (THANK YOU AGAIN!!!) and that is one thing that went smoothly. So with the free rented Durango keys in hand and little tweaking on the vacation budget and the minivan being worked on while we were away, we were ready to rock and roll on a much needed family vacation to our favorite place.....a trip to see the Mouse!

FRIDAY JULY 22, 2005:
We woke up on Friday for about 6:30am. Papa Bear thought he would be funny trying out our new camera by getting sleeping shots of everyone before waking them up. We wanted to be on the road at 8am so that we could hit our normal road trip breakfast stop - Cracker Barrel. I already had everything packed so we only needed to add last minute items to the bags like toothbrushes, etc. The Professor was the only one out of the three boys that understood where we were going but his excitement poured over onto the other two so they were in a good mood to be going somewhere too....anywhere I guess! We got all ready to go, donning the clothes laid out by dear old mom and out the door we went! We generally drive the dreaded highway drive taking both I75 and I4 to Orlando, but this time we decided to try some back roads after a yummy and filling breakfast at Cracker Barrel and took Rt 17, Rt 64, and Rt 27 before hitting 10 minutes worth of I4 and hardly any traffic since the next exit was ours into Disney. The kids know the drill once we see the Mickey Head Shaped Transformer that we are close. When we turned down our exit for the Magic Kingdom, the boys really started to notice where we were. Bam-Bam especially started perking up. Must have been the hours of the vacation videos we had him watching to prep him! He saw the MGM Mickey Ears and shouted "LOOK!!!!" while pointing out the window. Lil' Michaelangelo too was saying "See! See!" as we passed more and more signs. Once we passed through the parking toll booths for Magic Kingdom we made our way to Timberline Drive and arrived out front of the beautiful Wilderness Lodge! To say it was breathtaking sounds melodramatic but it really has that feel of old fashioned mountain lodge with that beautiful Disney feel. We decided to park and check in then deal with the luggage with bell services. We generally deal with it ourselves, but the lodge is up on a hill and you park at the bottom of that hill so dragging 3 kids and lots 'o luggage up this hill was not how we would start our vacation. RELAXING is the key word here with as little effort exerted as possible!!! So paying the little men to run our bags for us was worth every penny. We stepped into the lobby of the Wilderness Lodge and for my lack of words....Lil' Mikey came out with "WOW". The inside of the lobby is beautiful - all wood lodge decor feel including a huge fireplace with rocking chairs, totems, etc and fabulous cast members to boot! We were welcomed as soon as we stepped onto line to check in. Check in time for Disney resorts is at 3pm but we have always generally had luck getting rooms well before that time. Only once in all of our trips have we had to wait until 3pm. It was around 1pm when we arrived and while we waited in line to be checked in, a very nice Cast Member talked to the kids and gave them stickers to keep them busy. She also had a free concierge person check us in since he wasn't with a guest that way we could get the kids on their way. We booked a courtyard view room with a request for bunkbeds. Luckily our room was ready and we went down to check it out. We got room #1149. This was a first floor room close to the lobby, pool, and everything. We were able to get bunkbeds for The Professor and Bam-Bam, a Pack and Play for Lil' Mikey and Queen bed for Papa Bear and me. The room was more spacious than the ones at the moderate Disney resorts where we normally stay. We also had a nice little porch area overlooking the courtyard with the pool to the immediate right. We would come to find that we had a family of ducks that liked to visit our porch and knocked on the sliders with their beaks!!! Papa Bear and The Professor went to take care of the luggage with the Bell Serviceman while Lil' mikey, Bam-Bam and I waited in the room. After they arrived with the luggage and it was all brought into the room, I unpacked everything fast. We got ready to go to the first park so down to the buses we went - Resort Transportation is always great. We decided to go to MGM first for some food, play time and Playhouse Disney show. We jumped on that bus and sat in the far back - either the bus had just been sitting and came into use or the a/c wasn't working because it was like a sauna on there! The poor kids were so red from the heat by the time we got into MGM they just wanted to go cool down so we headed for Pizza Planet (from Toy Story) and had some pizza and drinks and then played a bit in the arcade. After that we headed over to the Playhouse Disney Live Show, which our kids love. Bam-Bam was a little nervous with the crowd noise but settled in enough to watch the show. Lil' Mikey was thrilled to see Bear and JoJo from JoJo's Circus that has been added. The Professor humored his brothers by enjoying it as well even though I could have sworn I caught him doing the Bear Cha Cha Cha!!!! After the show we walked around the park and saw the sites - we don't stay in the parks for long which is our main reasoning for always staying on-site since we take frequent breaks throughout the day. The kids were hot and tired, so we headed back to the resort to check out the resort and the kids’ favorite part - the pool! The bus back was so much better!!! Ahhh...spoiled by a/c in this heat here in FL!!! It was an early night in bed for all of us ending with Papa Bear and I reading our latest novels - he needed to get through Harry Potter!!!

Posted By Melanie @ 8:41 AM (1) comments |
Monday, August 01, 2005

Disney Trip Report Complete

Our trip report and pics are complete. I have sent out the link but will post it to SSM too for you ladies who are interested. The trip report I will post here in pieces as well.... Hope you all enjoy it!

Posted By Melanie @ 6:30 PM (0) comments |
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    Mom of 4 - Nick, Jake, Alex, and Matt, Married to my best friend and other half that makes me whole, Adam. Liberal. Jersey Girl always....

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    3. Jacob, aka Bam-Bam: debuted 5/01
    4. Alexander, aka Lil' Michaelangelo: creating since 8/03
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    1. July 2005
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