Monday, August 14, 2017

Back to school!

So... haven't blogged in around 7 months & I've missed it!  Our laptop is a dinosaur & Cam is always snagging it, so I've gotten lazy about the whole process.  I have zero patience, so when a blog post should take twenty minutes but instead is taking an hour & twenty minutes, it's just not happening!  We're talking about buying me a personal laptop that Cam is required to keep his sticky fingers away from, so hopefully I'll get more consistent with blogging in the near future!


Speaking of Cam & his sticky fingers, this kid is starting 3rd grade!!  How did this happen?!  It is incredible how time is slipping by so quickly.  I feel like he was just starting kindergarten a second ago!


Cameron is such a big kid; he'll be taller than me before I know it!  A growth spurt must be in the works too because he's sleeping 12+ hours a night & it takes me waking him to get him up. He's had a nice, relaxing summer & we've been trying to get him mentally prepared for the strict routine of school these past few weeks.  He is extremely addicted attached to video games so we really have to be on top of his gaming or it gets seriously out of hand.  He will play all day long if we let him!  God forbid we tell him we're going out to dinner & he will likely throw a hissy fit because like an addict, he doesn't want to be away from it.  Yep, addicted for sure.  With school starting though, we have to ban video games Monday-Thursday because he can't balance it.  If we say he's allowed to play after homework, he will want to fly through his work so he can get to the games.  Unfortunately, it's all or nothing & to his dismay, we've chosen nothing.


Despite his video game antics, I absolutely adore this child!  He can be such a stinker but he is also incredibly sweet, loving & funny.  Cameron is very kind & thoughtful too.  He loves to play flag football & baseball, adores the Chicago Bears, the color orange, eating tomato soup, waffles, pancakes & cereal.


Because of the more laid-back schedule of summer, it's been so nice having the past couple of months to hang with my Bubba more often!


Speaking of awesome children, this little gal is off to KINDERGARTEN!!!!  She had a taste of it last week when she attended kindergarten camp & she loved every second of it.  Every time I'd pick her up from the summer camp program, she would tell me her day was AWESOME!  I think she's going to have a great first year of elementary school!

 

I clearly breed large children when you see those stats above!  Wowza!



This girl is truly something else!  Reese has such a sunny, positive disposition.  She's always up for anything & she has a smile doing it!  Having her in full time school on my Wednesdays off will definitely take some adjusting because she is such good company. 


Reese loves to swim, go to gymnastics, ride her bike, snuggle during family movie nights, color & eat snacks.  Oh boy does she like to eat snacks.  As we rein in Cam's video game playing, we have to also rein in Reese's snacking.  The girl loves to eat.  All day long if we let her.  No joke.  Being home more during the summer with extra free time on her hands has only amplified the love of snacking.  Getting back into a good routine of the school year will help curb that habit!


 It's so fun seeing the kids grow & change in their own ways.  I'm always amazed how different & unique they both are, despite coming from the same parents! 


I'd be lying if I said I was purely excited for the new school year as part of me is not looking forward to the rigmarole of the strict, busy schedule.  On the other hand though, I have a feeling it will be a great year & the routine will be good for all of us!

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Saturday, January 28, 2017

Cruising on the Disney Dream

Haven't blogged in quite a while!!!  Working short-handed, Mike traveling lots, sports for the kids & the holidays kept us hopping.  But, we were fortunate to go on a Disney cruise after the new year!


My cousin JoAnne invited us along on their cruise vacation; they came down from Illinois to spend the week in Orlando & then head to the port to cruise for the last few days of their vacation.


We met up with them in Orlando the day before we boarded the ship; we were lucky enough to score this amazing hotel room for the night!

The bathtub filled from a spout on the ceiling!

We hit Disney Springs (formerly Downtown Disney) to have dinner & walk around.  If you haven't been to Orlando lately (or at all), Disney Springs has a million brand new shops, restaurants & live entertainment; so much to see & do!


We had never been to the Coca cola store & it was pretty darn cool.  It was many levels that you gradually weaved your way up until you ended up at an outdoor, rooftop soda shop/bar.


Here's Cam, pretending to be floating in Coke!


My cousin JoAnne is an only child, so as we grew up together in Illinois, were were more like sisters, so it was awesome to catch up with her, her husband & her four kids.  Her two younger kids, Aiden (4) & Cole (9) are the perfect ages for our kiddos & everyone got along so well.

Aiden, Reese & Cam hanging with the Coke bear

Mike, me, JoAnne & Gene on top of the Coca cola shop

Kyle (14), Lexi (16), Cole, Aiden, Reese & Cam at the entrance of Disney Springs



Friday morning we woke up bright & early, had an outdoor breakfast at the hotel pool & then hit the road for the hour drive to Port Canaveral.  Seeing our boat, the Disney Dream, for the first time was super exciting!  I've only been on one cruise in my life & the kids had never been.


The check-in process was very smooth, much smoother than I remember on our Carnival cruise 9 years ago.  Before we knew it, it was time to walk under the golden ears & board our ship!


As you board, there's a group of Disney employees gathered to not only welcome you, but also announce you over the microphone, "Disney Dream welcomes the Pernecky family!!"  It was pretty funny.


You board into the gorgeous, fancy lobby & the action immediately begins.  Cam & Reese met Belle & then we headed up to the lunch/buffet deck & went straight out to the pool.


You don't have access to your luggage for a few hours, plus, who wants to waste time in a cabin when you can be checking out an awesome ship?!  I dressed each of us in our swimsuits so we were ready to get right into the action & did we ever.  As soon as we hit the pool deck, Cam & I hit the Aqua Duck, the slide that weaves it's way around the perimeter of the boat. It was so much fun!


After spending all afternoon on deck, swimming, we headed down to our cabin so we could get ready for dinner.


We were so lucky to get a cabin with a balcony!  Last time we took a cruise, we only had a window & I hated not being able to be outside while also enjoying the privacy of our own room.  When I'm on a cruise, I don't want to be stuck inside, but I also don't want to be constantly surrounded by crowds of strangers, so this was a definite win-win.


After we did our safety drill, it was time to leave port.  We had a U.S. Coast Guard taking us out while armed with a very large gun.


Our cruise was only a three nighter that headed to Nassau, Bahamas the first day & then Disney's own private island in the Bahamas, Castaway Cay the second day.  We saw lots of other cruise ships along the way.


When we walked into our cabin, there was a bed & then a living room area with a couch beyond that.  Our cabin steward let us know that when it was bedtime, he would unlock the bunk bed from the ceiling above the couch.  The service on our Disney cruise was unbelievable; we'd leave for dinner & come back to a turn-downed, perfect room & then head to breakfast in the morning & come back to a room that was completely put back together with no trace of bunk beds left. 


Arriving in Nassau Saturday morning; so pretty!




Since our cruise was so short, we decided we'd stay on the boat Saturday, since I had no desire to hit the bars/shops in Nassau & would rather take that time to explore the ship.





After breakfast Saturday, the kids wanted to head back to the amazing kid's club to play.  They wore rubber wrist bands that allowed the staff to pinpoint their exact location as we picked them up; it was pretty cool!

 

When I picked Cameron up Saturday afternoon, he was making homemade cookies with the help of a French chef!


The kid's club gave us a chance to explore the adult decks of the ship & have a couple of cocktails in peace!


It also gave Mike time to show off his amazingly, hairy physique! 



There were some really cool areas/pools on the adult deck.  Since there were so many kids on board, the adult decks tended to be very peaceful & uncrowded.


After we picked the kids up, they hit the pools & slides until it was time to get ready for dinner.



There was a steady stream of characters seen throughout the cruise which Reese was gaga for!  She got to take a walk with Daisy which was adorable.


Look how happy she is!




Speaking of happy, the all-you-can-eat soft serve ice cream was a big hit with the kids!  Reese also loved the Disney movies that were constantly streaming on the pool deck.




Our balcony was a couple floors above JoAnne & Gene's.



Saturday evening we left the port in Nassau & started our pirate-themed night.


We picked up pirate costumes after Halloween for a steal & mine was borrowed from our neighbor.


The kids looked so cute!




We bumped into Pirate Mickey on our way to dinner!



There are three main dining rooms on the Disney Dream & each night you rotate while keeping your same staff, in order to experience each restaurant.  We had the early dinner/5:45 slot which really was too early for my tastes but perfect for the kids.  I always felt rushed to get ready from swimming in order to make it to dinner on time.

Kyle & Lexi on pirate night


Our server, Ahmed, was so amazing!  I know I mentioned the awesome service already, but I couldn't get over it.. they knew us all by name & were incredibly attentive! 


After dinner Saturday & Sunday night, we took advantage of the live shows which ended up being absolutely amazing.


This character got friendly with Reese & helped himself to some of her popcorn!


She was happy to share!


Each night, we were excited to see what creation awaited us on our bed!


The kids would be asleep by about 10pm & then Mike & I would sit on our balcony & have a couple of glasses of wine while we enjoyed some room service.  I got the cheese plate Saturday & Sunday night & Mike got wings one night & a roast beef sandwich the next.  When in Rome!  In the morning, we scheduled a pot of coffee & a few nibbles to get the kids started.



Saturday night a cold front came in, so it was super windy & chilly.  I woke up Sunday morning & ran out to the balcony to see if we were docked at Castaway Cay.  I saw that we were getting ready to dock, so I hurried to get dressed & ready to leave the ship to explore the island. 


After I was ready, I headed back to the balcony & Castaway Cay was nowhere in sight!  We soon learned that the captain had tried to dock the boat four times, but couldn't because of the strong winds.  Looks like we were spending a day at sea!


We were initially disappointed but couldn't stay upset for too long when you're on such a pretty ship!


After dropping Reese off to the kid's club on Saturday morning, I saw a gaggle of princesses in the lobby, but came to find out that I needed to get tickets ahead of time.  I was really bummed since she adores princesses.


After breakfast Sunday, we saw that the princesses were back & I hoped Reese wouldn't be too disappointed that she couldn't meet them.


As we were standing around, admiring them, a woman walked up to us & offered her extra ticket that she wasn't using.  Reese was thrilled!







Cameron pretended to be too cool to meet them, but we knew better!  He secretly loved it!







The gift shops on the ship were really great & I found myself drawn into the store with disgustingly gorgeous rings.  The salesman in the shop was wonderful & encouraged me to try on a bunch of rings ranging from $20k-180k!!  He knew I had zero intention of buying one, but he humored me & let me live in fantasy land for a few minutes!



We enjoyed the sun setting over our balcony Sunday night as we prepared for our last dinner on the cruise. 






Were were sad that the cruise ended as quickly as it began, but we had so much fun & made memories that will really last forever!

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