Friday, September 29, 2017

september randomness

fun at the playground
Ellie loves playing at the park in our neighborhood.

september randoms
Ellie likes bringing her babies to Target with us and I like the new fall cups at Starbucks!  I love going through the pictures I've taken and finding gems like this!!

jacob's birthday
Happy birthday, Jacob!!  We had his favorite pasta for dinner and lots of fun presents to open!

two scoops creamery
We found a new ice cream place in Mooresville and took Ellie after school one day-- she loved the Cookie Monster flavor!

hurricanes game
We went to a Carolina Hurricanes game with WWP-- and realized that it was our first time at an NHL game since we moved to North Carolina EIGHT years ago!

spacepod
Nick finally built the space pod and he and Ellie had a "blast" playing inside it.

firepit fun
Firepit fun with the neighbors.

chick-fil-a night
Chick-fil-A night is always a favorite in our house!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

disney day three: mickey's not so scary halloween party

hotel breakfast
We start every day with a good breakfast-- especially when we stay at Embassy Suites!

riding the monorail
After breakfast we headed back to the Polynesian so that we could do a couple of loops on the monorail-- it's one of our favorite modes of transportation at Disney World.  This time, we also switched to the EPCOT loop at the Ticket and Transportation Center and got a glimpse of EPCOT!

dole whips
We enjoyed dole whip floats for "lunch" from the Pineapple Lanai back at the Polynesian.

back on the monorail
And then it was back to the monorail for a ride to the Magic Kingdom and Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party!!

our happy place!
Our happy place!!

secret nachos one
Since we go to Disney World often (at least by out of state standards!), rides are not always our first priority.  Priority Numero Uno for this trip was the Nachos Rio Grande (or the "secret nachos") at Pecos Bill's especially since it was a limited time offer (and ended a couple of weeks later!).

secret nachos two
As soon as we got into the Magic Kingdom, well, after taking the obligatory castle pictures, we made it to Pecos Bill's and put our name on the list.  We rode Pirates of the Caribbean and Pecos Bill's called just as we were leaving to let us know that our table was ready!!  We eat at Pecos Bill's, a counter-service restaurant, on almost every trip to the Magic Kingdom and really appreciated having a reserved table (no more juggling food, drinks and the stroller while trying to find somewhere to sit!) and REAL plates and silverware!

secret nachos three
The Nachos Rio Grande includes two pitchers of soda/tea with unlimited refills-- worth it's weight in gold on a hot, Florida day!!

sweet and silly
- The many faces of Ellie -

three sweethearts
Three of the Albaeck sweethearts.

secret nachos four
There was a lot of fanfare when the food came to the table and quite a few cast members participated in the hoopla to the table.  Our waitress brought out the nachos and all of the toppings followed behind in a covered wagon.

ginormous nachos!
Even though we'd seen pictures and videos of the nachos, I don't think any of us were quite prepared for the actual size of the platter-- it was gigantic!!  We ate, and ate, and ate, and couldn't quite finish the nachos but everyone said the food was delicious and it definitely deserved a spot on our favorite meals list.

we love the peoplemover
After our HUGE lunch-dinner, we figured a ride on the Peoplemover was in order.

we love the peoplemover two
Even though it's not the fastest ride in the park or full of thrills, the Peoplemover is one of our all time favorites!

just the two of us
While Jacob and the big kids went on Space Mountain, Ellie and I took another spin on the Peoplemover!

space mountain kids
- Space Mountain -

trick or treat
Since we were attending the Halloween party, we made sure to get some trick-or-treating in-- and ended up with about 40 pounds of candy!

riding the horsies
The horsies are still Ellie's favorite ride and the big kids still go on it willingly, just for her.

sdmt
Though they much prefer Seven Dwarfs Mine Train!

end of the night
At the end of the night we took a very leisurely approach to exiting the park.  We stopped for ice cream on Main Street and then enjoyed watching people leave until the park was almost empty.

empty main street
As we made our way down Main Street we stopped at almost every Photopass photographer-- nothing beats castle pictures on an empty Main Street!

magic shots one
The kids wanted to take advantage of all of the magic shots and insisted on individual pictures.

magic shots two
And then they had to get the Halloween edition magic shots, too.

magic shots three
We stopped for one last round of pictures on our way out of the park at around 1:30am.  The monorail was done running for the night but we were able to take the boat back to the Polynesian to get our car and go back to the hotel.  Another fun Halloween Party for the record books!

Saturday, September 16, 2017

disney day two: disney springs

disney springs one
We slept in and enjoyed a leisurely breakfast before heading to Disney Springs for the day.  The kids love wandering around the World of Disney Store (and ask for pretty much everything they see!) and love trying to get wet from the giant Stitch on top of the building.

disney springs two
Ellie convinced Jacob to take her on the carousel while everyone else checked out the Star Wars store and we had a delicious lunch at Earl of Sandwich.

back to the hotel
After shopping for most of the day, we headed back to the hotel for some time in the pool and pizza from Giordano's for dinner.  It was a fun, relaxing day-- something that is often in contrast with our normal life!

Friday, September 15, 2017

disney day one: getting to Florida and dinner at the polynesian

drive to FL
Thankfully, we were able to reschedule our Florida trip for following week and thankfully, there wasn't a great deal of damage from Hurricane Irma in the Orlando area so we headed out Thursday after school.  We stopped for dinner at Chick-fil-A and then continued driving to our hotel in Jacksonville for the night.  The kids love staying at Embassy Suites because of their delicious cooked to order breakfasts-- and mine even looked like Minnie Mouse!

shades of green
Our first stop in Orlando was Shades of Green to pick up tickets-- and get a quick picture with Stars and Stripes Mickey!  Ellie and the other kids had fun playing on the computers while we waited in line for the tickets.

embassy suites
We often stay at the Embassy Suites Lake Buena Vista when we do quick trips to Disney.  The kids love the pool and the happy hour snacks!!  We spent the afternoon relaxing poolside after we got settled into our room.

the polynesian!
After everyone got cleaned up from swimming, we drove to Disney's Polynesian Village Resort.  We told the kids we were going to grab something quick and then ride the monorail loop...

dinner at 'ohana
But we really surprised them with dinner at 'Ohana-- our family's favorite place to eat at Disney World!

fireworks and dessert
We had an amazing table right next to the window and enjoyed the Hallowishes fireworks after we ate dinner.  Nick casually mentioned to the waiter that he LOVES the 'Ohana bread pudding and he brought him his own plate FULL of it for dessert-- the rest of us got to share another plate and Rice Krispie treats!  While we always have a great time at 'Ohana, this time was absolutely phenomenal from the table to the service to the food-- the food was so good that Ellie fell into a food coma on the floor after eating dinner.  Nights like this are why we keep coming back time and time again!

Saturday, September 9, 2017

more fun at the lake

hurricane headed this way
We were originally planning a trip to Florida the second weekend of September, but news of Hurricane Irma forced us to cancel our trip.  We made sure to prepare for the storm early since the meteorologists weren't sure how big of an impact the storm would have on the Carolinas-- other people had the same idea!

lake norman fun oneOn the plus side, postponing our Florida trip meant that we could attend the Newsong Tribes meet-up and the kids were VERY excited to get out on the lake!

lake norman fun two
Time for tubing!!

lake norman fun three
Nick had fun tubing with the girls :)

there goes nick!
At least he did until he fell off!!!

lake norman fun five
The younger crowd got a turn to ride, too-- Lexie didn't last long but Ben had a blast!

girls on the boat
The girls preferred to enjoy the lake from the comfort of the boat.

nick and ben on the tube
Nick and Ben had fun tubing together.

there goes ben!
And then Ben fell off!

fun on the boat
Such sweet (and sometimes silly!!) girls!!

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