Today was Paige's actual birthday. Last night, Paige got a bit upset over the prospect of growing older and was very emotional. She said she wants to stay little so she can live with us forever. This morning, she was feeling much better and after we got dressed, we opened her birthday gifts.
We went to Cheesecake Factory for lunch and met Grandma Alice and Grandpa Vernon.
After lunch, Paige went to get her nails done with Mommy, and to get her "Student of the week" slushy.
Paige played with her new presents the rest of the day and Grandma and Grandpa played basketball with Connor and with me. In the evening, we went to Cantina Laredo and again, we sang to Paige and she got more goodies.
Paige's birthday seems to have lasted forever. We celebrated it on our Disney cruise, we got her a porch swing early, we met her at school for lunch on Friday, we had a party on Friday, she got to open a present on Saturday, we sang to her at lunch today and we sang to her at dinner. The celebration was long, and Paige loved every minute of it. She is such a sweet, appreciative, and adorable little girl.
On Friday, April 28th, Paige celebrated her birthday after school with six of her girlfriends. Throughout the day, Andrea and I got the house, gift bags, cake, banner, decorations, balloons, and everything together. Paige took some pictures with us before the party and before all the chaos began. Connor had a tennis match, and unfortunately missed most of the party.
I snapped a few pics of the decorations and of the birthday girl before we went to the park.
We got to the park at 5, and some of the other girls started showing up right away.
We did some jumprope, and then we were expecting the girls would play nicely together. At Connor's party it was pretty easy since the boys all knew the rules to football and were more than happy to play football. The girls all went in different directions. Some played soccer, some played on the swings, some just played on the playground equipment. Andrea and I noticed Paige was looking a little disappointed at one point and we decided to try and organize some games. We decided to try freeze tag, and Reese was nice enough to volunteer to be "IT" first. After a little while, it became clear that it would be impossible for Reese to catch more than one person at a time, so I decided I'd give it a shot.
It was waaaaaay harder than I expected. The girls were smart about spreading out, circling around the equipment, and helping each other out. It was hot enough, and after chasing around little girls for a few minutes I was drenched in sweat.
Andrea gave it a shot too, and had some luck, but it was super hard.
I caught them all once, and Andrea and I made pretty quick work of them when we worked together. After freeze tag, we were all super hot and ready to go back to the house.
At the house, the girls all ran upstairs and Paige gave them a tour. Andrea and I unloaded the cars, and then I went upstairs to check on the girls and realized they were painting nails in Paige's room. I decided a half dozen hyper girls and nail polish wasn't the best idea. We compromised and decided that Paige could do makeup and everyone could dress up instead.
After makeovers were complete, the princesses went out to the lanai and did some swinging on Paige's porch swing.
I snapped a pic of the dressed up princesses by the pool. So fancy!
Finally the pizza arrived! Cheers!
After pizza, we brought out Paige's cake and we sang to her and then served cake to everyone.
It was a fun party, but definitely more work and stress than Andrea and I had anticipated. Wrangling together a bunch of shrieking hyper girls was pretty difficult, but Paige had the best time and loved every minute of it. Big thanks to Andrea for getting everything together and making Paige's party so special for her.
On Friday, Andrea and I went to Paige's school over lunch to bring her a McDonald's Happy Meal, and to surprise her for her birthday. She was very surprised to see us, and we were thankful we were allowed to eat with her. We didn't realize it, but parents aren't supposed to do lunch on Fridays. Thankfully they let us take Paige out in to an area with some picnic tables. We sat in the shade with her and enjoyed hearing about her day.
On Wednesday, I took Paige in to school early so she could be Principal for the day. Paige has been talking about it all year, and working towards this goal. Early in the school year she told us that if she earned 120 points by reading books in class and taking online quizzes, she would get to be principal of the day. Last week we received a letter that she'd fulfilled the requirements, and that on Wednesday we should have her dress professionally and take her in early.
Paige had been so excited to be Principal that she'd hardly been able to sleep. She knew she'd be on the morning announcements and that she would have to speak and say her name and classroom. She practiced with me and with Mommy a few times to make sure she wouldn't forget.
When we arrived, they pinned on her nametag and then the Principal Brubaker met with all the kids and took us on a tour of the school and offices. I snapped a quick pic of Principal Paige and Principal Brubaker together and Paige got to hold the walkie talkie.
After a brief tour, we stopped off at the library to do the morning announcements. All the kids were taken in to the studio and the parents waited outside and watched the announcements on a projector. We said the pledge of allegiance, then after some announcements, all the principals were introduced.
We stopped off at Principal Van Housen's desk and took some pics of the kids pretending to be hard at work as principals.
We are so impressed with Paige's drive and determination to achieve her goal. She's been working diligently on it throughout the year, and it was such a fun lesson for her to see how her hard work paid off.
This past weekend, I played with my friend Steve in the SJCC Member Guest tournament. We played together last year and did pretty well, and I was excited to have another chance to play with Steve.
Prior to the tournament, we met a couple times out at PVIC for Monday night tennis to practice and our first match was on Saturday early in the morning. We played a good team, and unfortunately ended up losing it in the 3rd set tie break. We were disappointed, and assumed we didn't have a chance to win at that point. Fortunately, for us, we won our next match and since that team had beaten the team that beat us, we advanced to the semi finals. We won our semi final match on Sunday, and the other team that made it to the finals had to withdraw from the tournament due to an injury. Just like that, we were the champions! It was pretty hot, and we were actually pretty relived we didn't have to play a second match on Sunday.
Andrea came on Saturday and Sunday to watch us, and she was a good cheerleader for me. The kids came with us on Sunday, and Connor watched our final match.
I'm thankful I had the opportunity to play with Steve again and proud of the way we played. We stayed positive and persevered. The final match was a tough and close one, and it was definitely some good tennis.
One thing that Andrea had growing up, that was very important to her, was a nice swingset. Connor had one in our Missouri house, but Paige never did have one. We have been brainstorming what we could do for her, and recently decided we could put a porch swing out in the lanai area. It is a nice location since there shouldn't be too many bugs or snakes that would be in the screen. It also is a nice shady spot in the afternoons, so hopefully comfortable most of the year. I put it together on Sunday afternoon, and then we surprised her with it. She's been enjoying it, and hopefully we will all get some use out of it.
On Thursday, April 13th, we drove to Port Canaveral and set sail for a short 3-night cruise on the Disney Wonder. We'd been on the Disney Wonder 3 years ago (http://www.vernonvolumes.com/2014/03/spring-break-cruise-on-disney-wonder.html) with some friends, and at the time we were a little disappointed with the boat since it was showing its age. Just this past Fall, the Wonder went in to drydock and it had quite a few improvements including an all new Frozen show and a new Bibbidi Bobbidi boutique.
We got to the terminal early, and got all checked in, and were some of the first people on the boat. We ate a quick lunch, then wandered around for a little while to explore. We stopped by the Bibbidi Bobbidi boutique right when they opened at noon and were thrilled that they had an appointment available for Thursday night at 5pm. Andrea had tried to reserve a spot for Paige online ahead of time, however the one sea day available (Friday) was only pirate-themed makeovers, and it seemed like a big waste of money to get her a makeover on the last day when we were at the Castaway Cay beach all day. Thankfully they'd reserved a few appointments for onboard registrations and we were so happy to get her signed up. Good thinking Andrea!
Once we were allowed in to our rooms, we went in and dropped off some of our things. I took a short video of one of the rooms. They were next to each other, however were not adjoining rooms.
We stopped by the kid's club open house so Grandma could see the kid's area.
Ariel was wandering through, so we snapped a quick pic of her with Paigie.
At 5pm, we took Paige to the Bibbidi Bobbidi boutique for her appointment. She decided on her Belle dress, and was the first appointment of the day. It was fun to watch her get her makeover, and see all the other guests wandering in and watching her.
I got a few videos, but decided the most fun video was Paige getting to see the big reveal after her Fairy Godmother was all finished.
Afterwards, we took the opportunity to snap a few pictures of Paige around the boat, and with everyone.
Dinner was an odd affair. We were seated with another family, and they weren't very interested in talking to us, and didn't seem in a very good mood. After dinner, the servers sang Happy Birthday to Paige. Unfortunately, I didn't remember that they were also supposed to sing to Andrea, so Andrea didn't get anyone to sing for her on the cruise :( Sorry Andrea!
After dinner was done, I requested that future dinners would just be our family, then we went to see the "Golden Mickeys" show and went to bed.
On Friday, April 14th, we got up and got ready for our day at sea. One nice bonus of having the Bibbidi Bobbidi boutique on the first day was that we had all kinds of makeup and goodies for Paige the rest of the cruise. Grandma Genie stood in as the Fairy Godmother in the morning and got Paige all ready for the Princess Gathering.
On the way there, Connor spotted one of the port hole windows where he likes to relax and take pics, so I snapped a pic of him and Paige.
The Princess Gathering was fun as always. Paige still enjoys getting dressed all fancy and saying hello to all the princesses. Connor was good about going along with everyone and smiling for the pics.
After the princess gathering, I took Connor to do some boy stuff. We went to the sports deck, but it was soooo super crowded. They had one basketball hoop for the whole boat and there were some big tall wild boys playing a game that resembled basketball, but was mostly just shooting the ball, yelling "BALL BALL BALL BALL", very little passing, and lots of wrestling for the ball. Connor wasn't interested. Thankfully. We went to the arcade, which had been transformed in to the 11-14 year old area. It was open for an open house, so we played some video games, and then wandered around for a bit.
Andrea, Paige, and Grandma Genie went to the Frozen princess meet to see Anna and Elsa. They took their turn taking pics with the girls.
In the afternoon, Connor decided he wanted to go to the kids club. We dropped him off, and he wanted to stay there the rest of the day. We checked in on him a few times when we went to see the live action "Beauty and the Beast" movie, and then for dinner, but he was having fun with a buddy and wanted to stay.
For dinner, everyone else went to Tiana's Place. It was a cute new restaurant with live music, a trumpet playing gator, Princess Tiana, and a party.
Tiana stopped by our table to say hi, and then led the room in a conga line and Mardi Gras celebration.
That evening, we picked up Connor and we all went to see the live show "Dream".
In the morning, we got up early and got ready for our beach day at Castaway Cay. When we got off the boat, there was a little table with big pump bottles full of bug repellent lotion. We debated about it, and then decided we may as well apply some. Then, we stopped off to take some pics with Daisy and Minnie on the way to the beach.
The beach was not too busy, the water was a bit cold, and it was mostly sunny during the day. The tide was in, so Connor and Paige both tried the monkey bars and ropes over the water. Connor conquered both the monkey bars and the rope before his hands got too tired. Paige reluctantly went out with me and with a bit of encouragement she made it all the way across the rope. She was too scared to drop off, and started to make her way back to the platform. Thankfully she decided to drop in to the water after I told her I was right there.
Andrea got a video of Paige, just as Paige was midway across the rope.
I wore my big floppy goofy hat for the first time at the beach. It didn't look super cool, but it kept me from getting a sunburn on my face, so mission accomplished!
When we put Paige's sunscreen on, we noticed she had some small hives on her body. Unfortunately, they've since spread and gotten worse. Even with some antihistamines, she's struggling and the hives are really bothering her. I'm guessing it was the bug lotion.
Andrea cuddled with Paige on the hammock and went for a long walk with the girls down the beach. They swam out on to the platform with the slides and Andrea actually went down one.
Connor made a few buddies at the beach, Blake and Malachi. He got to catch lots of footballs, and dive in to the soft sand until he was thoroughly coated in it.
Our last dinner was in Triton's, and we all ate together. After dinner, we went to see the new Frozen show, which was a very well done adaptation of the movie.
We went to bed fairly early, and then drove home the next morning. It was a short cruise, but we crammed in so much fun! Thanks to Andrea for putting it together, and to Grandma Genie for traveling down to Florida to vacation with us. It was an awesome trip, and we created some fun memories together.