Tuesday, February 18, 2014

A trip! A trip!

We don't go on trips. We used to, before kids. But, besides the fact that traveling with little ones isn't always an fun endevor - we have been spending all of our 'expendable' income on daycare.

My brother, Steve, and his family are HUGE Disney freaks. They go pretty much every year. And every year, they nag at me to go with them. My SIL is a goddess with using time shares, and usually ends up getting awesome condos for barely any money. She always tells me if I can get there, she'll have a place for us to stay. I've always said no. I felt the kids were just too young to have a good time, and Aaron just doesn't have that much time off, either.

But now that I know I'm being laid off in July, the stars have finally aligned!
  1. Between now and July 31st, I have 12 sick days and 3 personal days I need to use (we don't get paid for those days, and I've been accumulating for years!)
  2. My company has discounted (20% off) Disney tickets. It's my last chance to take advantage
  3. The free place to stay at a pretty amazing resort (Old Key West Resort)
  4. Aaron found very cheap airfare!
  5. The cheap airfare means that we need to travel from Thursday - Thursday. But we don't check into the resort until Saturday. Not a problem, because my other brother lives in Orlando and works a hotel and is getting us an awesome deal on a room for 2 nights!
  6. Final awesome bit? I'll be in Orlando to celbrate my neices 16th birthday! They are identical twins, and this all works out that we'll be there for their birthday!
I have friends that go to Disney every year - and I knew that we wouldn't do that. But I did want to that the kids sometime soon, while it's still super magical. And probably again when they are older (like teenagers) if they want to. For he first trip, I wanted them to (hopefully) be past huge tantrums and be able to make it through an exciting day without us all being miserable. I also wanted them to be tall enough for all the rides (seems like you need to be at least 40 inches). My thought was to go this fall for thier birthdays. So when we started weighing the pros and cons of this trip - we are just so excited.

The only crappy thing is that one of the guys that works for Aaron had already booked tickets to go to spring training without asking. And Aaron's job is production support, and he can't really have only one person in the office (which is what would happen with both him and this guy gone). But once he took a deep breath, and realized that he would be there for most of the awesome stuff, and once he left, I'd still have both my brothers, my mother (who is coming also) and 4 teenagers to help me with the kids.... we figured it'll be fine.

Aaron and I decided to not tell them anything about it, just because I can't deal with weeks of 'Are we going to Disney today? Soon?" but I sure have been having fun doing the planning. Here are my big plans:
 - Friday will be our first park day. I don't have it all figured out, but we figure this day we will just soak in the Magic Kingdom.
- Saturday we will spend the day with my brother and nieces. No park - just getting some family time with kids I rarely get to see.
- Sunday, another day at the Magic Kingdom. I have us signed up for lunch at the "Be Our Guest' resturant, and then a pirate/mermaid markover at the Pirate's League.
- Monday, we are spending the day at the Hollywood Studios. Aaron is super excited to get Cam into Jedi training, and we have lunch planned at Hollywood and Vine (where they will get to meet all the Disney Junior characters).
- Tuesday, Aaron is leaving first thing to go back to work. Us? We are going to Epcot for breakfast with the Princesses and Akershus Royal Banquet Hall (and a bit of exploration around Epcot). Then, Maggie has an appointment at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique!
- Wendsday we are headed to the Animal Kingdom and any final things the kids want to do
- Thursday I fly home (alone!) with the kids.

I'm guessing that my pal Jen may have some suggestions?

Thursday, February 13, 2014


I'm sorry I haven't been posting. I struggle with what to update you all on - life here is great. Things are smooth. The kids are great. There just isn't as much pressing going on parenting a 4 and 5 year old versus babies, I must admit.

But. One of the things I've been dealing with is a bunch of large changes at the preschool my children attend. I've loved that place since day one. I picked it after touring all the other local centers and just found it awesome in every way. And, 5 years ago, the price difference was only $100 a month. Which, as I was only going to have one child, didn't seem like a big deal. Then we had Maggie and Nora, lost Nora, and I only trusted them. I know them. They were the only people I trusted with Maggie. And I've never regretted that decision.

Every year, we get a notice of a 4% cost adjustment. It would frustrate me, but we just dealt with it. And then this year, we had some major staff turnover. Nothing that effected the children, but lots of drama for me. When we got all the information from the town for Cam's kindergarten, they also sent pre-school information for Maggie. I was intrigued. They just built a whole new elementary school in our town, so I knew the facility was great, but they didn't yet have a 5 day, full day program (which I need for her). And the price difference! The public school is insanely cheaper (but would necessity a nanny in the afternoon to pick her up) and the local daycare/preschool? $500 a month cheaper.

Now, as long as I can afford our current pre-school, I will send Cam. He is in a group there with 4 boys that have been friends since they were 12 weeks old. They are like brothers. When they are together, the 4 of them are invincible. Apart, all are pretty shy. Maggie, on the other hand, her group has not been as stable. She has one girlfriend that she made in her toddler class, but people have moved in and out of her classroom a lot more than with Cam. Not one child in her class is from our town.  And she is just so much more outgoing then Cam. I really don't worry about her at all in social situations.

I started asking around. Not only about the public preschool, but also about the local daycare/preschool that I had rejected five years ago. I have so many friends with great kids that go there... I decided to take another look. I scheduled Maggie for a pre-school screening at the public school and on the same day a tour of the other daycare. Aaron came with us, and we were just SO impressed with both. We decided that both would be a great fit for Maggie (she went too and agreed!). But, the public preschool first was dependant on them actually having 5 day, full-day pre-school (they hadn't in the past). And then, it was dependant on a lottery. This morning, we found out that she got into the public preschool!

I'm just so happy. On so many levels. I'm getting laid off from my job in July. They are closing my location and we are getting a package - so it's not the end of the world. But things at work are slowing down. I decided to try changing the kids hours at daycare from 8-5 to 9-3. The drop off change wouldn't be the issue, it would be the pick up. It's actually working out well for me. And I was really only thinking about this from a cost savings measure... but it's been so wonderful! The kids are so much more relaxed when they have the extra couple hours at home to wind down!

By Maggie getting into the public preschool, I'm forced to find an afternoon nanny to pick up Maggie at school at 2:15, so instead of Cam doing aftercare at school, he'll be coming home on the bus - since the nanny will be there to get him. So they will get more 'home' time than they would have otherwise. I'm just so happy with the plans for next year (even though mine are TOTALLY in flux!)