December 2017

Countdown to Christmas!

The countdown is on! Just a few days to go, friends! ….are you excited?!?!

We are in full Christmas spirit around here. It’s been a busy month, so let’s catch up.

Right after Thanksgiving, Our scout elf, Mr. Elf, flew back from the North Pole. He brought Liam a Disney Tsum Tsum Advent Calendar. It’s been really fun watching him open the door each day & see what new character he discovers.

Mr. Elf also brought a letter from Santa. Liam was able to read most of it himself this year, so that was pretty cool.

We decked the house out in our season’s best decorations. I have to say I am proud of how the front door turned out this year. I finally decided to buy fresh arrangements to display & am really loving it! Clearly, Timber is too πŸ™‚Β  — lol!

With Liam getting bigger, it was harder to lift him to place the star on the top of the tree, but he insisted. We did good with the tree staying nice & decorated for that first weekend. I actually thought that Simba was going to leave it alone this year. Well… I was wrong. On the 3rd day, as we were getting ready for work / school, I heard the jingle of ornaments. I came into the living room only to find him flying out of the tree at me. At this point, we’re just trying to keep it looking decent. No breakable ornaments were placed on it this year, so at least there’s that.

Toward the beginning of the month, we enjoyed a date night for a holiday party with all of Stephen’s work peeps — the Orlando Claims Association Holiday Gala. Always a fun time!

The next morning, we were all up early for Breakfast with Santa at Liam’s school. The theme this year was the Polar Express, so he wore his PJ’s & had hot chocolate. It was super cute!

We didn’t slow down that day ….in the afternoon, we headed over to the Bengel’s for our SEVENTH Annual Gingerbread Decorating Party. This really is a great time with all our friends & the kiddos. Stephen & Lisa took their game up a notch this year & decorated a manor. They are crazy!!

We took time out during one of our busy weeknights to check out Light Up UCF. We have made it a point to stop by there the last few years when the reindeer come, so we didn’t want to miss it this year. We all think they are kinda magical in the true Christmas spirit πŸ™‚ ….and, Liam LOVES riding down the ice slide there!

Last weekend, my dad & stepmom (Papa G & G ma) came down & we headed to Animal Kingdom for the day. It was fun to show them the park for the 1st time, as they had never been, and also check out their holiday decorations. Stephen ended up getting pretty sick, so sadly, he missed out on the fun that day.

The safari ride is one of our favorite things of all the parks. I feel like you can always see something unique or different. That day, the elephants were so close & the hippos looked adorable sunbathing!

We finally rode on the Wildlife Express Train & discovered Rafiki’s Planet Watch. I’m not even sure how we kept doing it, but until this visit to the park, we kept completely missing this. So, this was our very 1st time back there. It is awesome!! The train ride is great, there’s character experiences and this petting zoo area is so neat! We will definitely be adding this to our itinerary for future visits.

Great weather & a great day ❀

As we wrapped up this last week, Liam had his Winter Holiday Show at school. His music teacher, Mr. Mason, worked with all the kiddos to learnΒ  Christmas songs with choreography. We just love it!

On Wednesday, it was Ugly Christmas Sweater Day for Liam at school. I am normally not very crafty for making these type of things, but I tried my best based on what he requested. We planned it out & it took me awhile (& a few pin pricks..lol!), but I think it turned out pretty good…or pretty ugly, right? πŸ˜‰

Last, but most certainly not least, we took our annual PJ pictures by the Christmas tree. We tried to get both Timber & Simba this year with Liam, but Simba (as you can imagine for a cat) was not cooperating. Actually, in Timber’s pic below, Simba is behind them….you just can’t see it. Haha! This pic of Simba is as good as it gets.

This year’s pic of these two boys is a little bittersweet. Timber sleeps a lot these days….we actually had to wake him up to do this pic, so he was pretty groggy in this one. He’s in great spirits, still, but he’s our little old man. His most recent visit with our amazing vet revealed he does have kidney disease now. We have been watching his numbers slowly go up in his blood work for a few months now, so it’s not a shock to us…but still is not the news we wanted. We are working with the vet to do all that we can to help him & give him the best for as long as we can ❀

It’s almost Merry Christmas Eve, friends!! I am really looking forward to seeing little man’s excitement over these next few days!

Until next time,

September 2017

Liam’s 6th Birthday Weekend ~ Part 4 ~ Wrapping It Up!

For Liam’s 6th birthday weekend, we had packed our bags & enjoyed a staycation at Walt Disney World.Β This is the last post in our series. It’s really been a blast sharing our memories & photos. My main purpose of this blog is turning it into a keepsake book for Liam, so capturing all of these special moments & memories is a privilege for him.

You can catch up with the 1st post about our stay at the Animal Kingdom Lodge – HEREΒ ; the 2nd post about our magical time at Cinderella’s Royal Table – HEREΒ ; and, the 3rd post about our fun time with character dining – HERE.

I’ve mentioned before how much we LOVE the magic shots throughout the parks. This was a cute one with our friend, Olof, that we found while wandering through the Magic Kingdom.Β  Showing a little personal flurry & of course, all good things!! — I’ve finally started to remember to ask some of the photographers if they have any they can use πŸ™‚

Ever since our annual passes started in January, we’ve been dying to ride the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at the Magic Kingdom. However, each time I attempted to secure a Fast Pass for this ride, I was not able to & the lines were always ridiculously long. Since we had a resort reservation, though, I finally was able to get one & Stephen and I were stoked. Liam ….not so much at 1st. In fact, he down right almost refused to get on the ride. He’s not a fan of roller coaster rides, and thought this was one. You can see from his face below that he wasn’t thrilled as the ride started….lol.

Got to love the Photopass shots — this one was snagged from the ride & sent directly to our magic bands! So awesome. — Liam was still not loving the ride at this point ….but by the time we pulled back into the cottage area, he was all smiles. Thanks to Hurricane Irma & low crowds at the park lately, we’ve been able to ride it again since his birthday weekend.

Another family favorite ride for us is Pirates of the Caribbean. Love this new fun snap shot that’s yet another Photopass feature. — Murphy family holding it down in the back of the boat!

Family Picture in front of Cinderella Castle….

Believe it or not, one of Liam’s most favorite parts of the weekend was riding the resort buses. He talked about it a lot in the weeks leading up to this weekend. We see the resort buses all the time while we are driving around on property, but we never have (or need) the opportunity to ride in them. I think it has just been the curiosity to be in them and see what they are all about.

He was all about it each time. He even noticed when there was a different type of bus picking us up. In the gift shop of our hotel, he chose the matchbox car gift set of the resort buses as one of his birthday presents.

On Sunday afternoon, as we were heading over to Epcot, we stepped onto the bus and Liam was holding his matchbox version of the same bus. The bus driver noticed he had it, and the two sparked conversation. She told him all about the bus and gave him little cards that looked like trading cards. They have photographs of the bus on one side and info/stats on the other. He loved them.

When we got to the park, she asked if we could wait to leave until everyone else stepped off. We obliged. She then asked if it was okay if Liam sat in her seat & wore her captain’s hat. O M G — yes!! He was over the moon excited! She raised the seat up for him to reach the steering wheel & pointed out some buttons. He was beaming! — It was so kind of her & we will forever be grateful πŸ™‚

Sunday evening, we hopped over to Animal Kingdom. Doesn’t the Tree of Life look amazing at night?

We also were excited to check out Pandora — The World of Avatar. I had previously taken Liam back in May for the annual passholders preview event, but Stephen had to work. Thus, this was his 1st time checking it out. The first night time experience for all of us. The lighting effects throughout were very cool….

Last sleep as a five year old …..the next morning, our sweet boy woke up SIX!! πŸ™‚

We have love all things Disney & this Build Your Disney Family image & decal was super fun to create. Check it out HERE while it’s still available! The best part of all is that it’s FREE!

Liam’s entire 6th birthday weekend was filled with so many wonderful memories and special experiences. We are blessed to have been able to share that together as a family, and it’s a time we won’t soon forget. He’s growing in to an amazing little man! Watching his personality flourish and seeing him mature before our eyes is the greatest blessing as a parent.

Until next time, friends,

Script Signature

August 2017

Liam’s 6th Birthday Weekend ~ Part 1 ~ Animal Kingdom Lodge

For Liam’s 6th Birthday weekend, we packed our bags & had a staycation at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.

This was honestly our 1st real vacation away from home as a family since Liam was born, so we were extra excited for this experience. We stayed in Jambo house, and our room was off of the Kudo Trail on the 2nd floor. This is the view of the massive lobby area when you 1st walk into the resort. It is gorgeous!!

The details that you see throughout the resort are incredible. The entire resort is themed after the Animal Kingdom theme park. You can tell, at every glance, that great care was taken to showcase the culture, wildlife & artwork of Africa.

As soon as we started exploring the grounds, we found the fire pit that is surrounded by rocking chairs. If it wasn’t 100 degrees outside, it would have been perfect….LOL!

I usually am not one to talk about food, but I would be a fool to not rave about all of the deliciousness we enjoyed throughout the entire weekend. We ate at some pretty cool dining experiences, and there’s definitely more to share in my next few posts.

First up –> Boma ….This is a buffet style restaurant with African-themed dishes, and all of the food was amazing. We ate there for breakfast on Sunday.

Their signature drink at breakfast is Jungle Juice. It’s a tasty mixture of orange, pineapple & mango juices. Liam didn’t quite care for it, but Stephen & I thought it was pretty yummy!

Mickey Waffles πŸ™‚

Now onto the grounds outside the resort …..there is a cute, shaded playground for the kiddos & it’s close by the pool.

Once we found the Uzima Pool area, we didn’t want to leave. This pool is amazing! It is SO big — 11,000 square feet & it has an awesome water slide.

Liam was thrilled for this slide! He went down it over & over again πŸ™‚

Cheese!

Our room was nothing short of incredible. It felt like we stepped into our own safari get away the moment we walked in & I’m sure that was the plan. We were fortunate to be able to have the savanna view room, and it did not disappoint.

When you stepped out onto the balcony, it was immediately overlooking one of the savanna’s. There were beautiful animals freely roaming around so close to you. It was awesome!

In total, there are over 30 species of wildlife out on the savanna here. We loved the Wildlife Field Guide that was in our room for helping to track & discover some friends we spotted.

This Giraffe guy, here, was one of our favs. He stayed close by our balcony a lot. ❀

Zebra friends….

Ankole Cattle….

White-Bearded Wildebeest….

Addax….

At one point, on Sunday afternoon, we looked out & saw a little heard of friends πŸ™‚ ….

We saw so may other amazing creatures during our stay at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. So many birds, cranes, Ostriches, & Gazelles just to name a few. Even by walking through the resort, there are so many spots you can stop & observe the savanna’s or even catch little spots, like the Flamingo area that’s over by the pool. It was truly an experience we will never forget and one that we all LOVED!!

The Animal Kingdom Lodge was, hands-down, a magical Disney experience. It was a perfect way to ring in little man’s 6th birthday! We hope to someday return ❀

Until next time friends,