Friday, April 30, 2010

Adventures Away and Castaway Cay

It's hard for me to believe that it was three weeks ago tomorrow that we first boarded the Disney Magic and our wonderful transatlantic adventure began. For Maisie, the very first thing on her agenda was to go swimming but the first thing on my agenda was to take the advice of Johnny and get Maisie registered and tagged at the Oceaneer club & lab. So we dropped our travel bag in our cabin and Maisie got changed into her swim suit then after a quick detour to get her set-up for the kids program she was in the Mickey pool having a blast. Maisie could have stayed in the pool for hours and hours but luckily for me, the pool was only open for a short time because before we knew it, it was time for the mandatory boat drill and then it was the Adventures Away party followed by dinner.

By dinner time Maisie was exhausted and fell asleep on my arm for about 45 minutes right at the dinner table but then she was up again, eating and getting to know the other people at our table. I have to say, Disney did a good job at putting together our table. Our table consisted of four single/traveling alone parents with their 4/5 year olds. Our table of eight was Maisie and I, Michael and his son Colin (4 y/o) from California, Pedro & Pedro Jr (5 y/o) from Puerto Rico and Chris and his daughter Marta (4 y/o) from Holland. Throughout the cruise all of us adults enjoyed each other and we had a good time together. Maisie and Marta really hit it off, they enjoyed coloring, playing, being silly and even chatting away with one another...even though Marta didn't speak English. Funny how Maisie seems to attach herself to little Dutch children and doesn't care one lick that they don't speak the same language. Maisie and Marta not only enjoyed each other at dinner but they also enjoyed being together at the kids club, sitting together at the theater and playing together in the pool, on deck and seeing movies together. Pedro Jr. was a nice little boy but we only saw him I think two evenings as he truly loved the kids club and chose to remain there during dinner. Colin we only got know towards the end of the cruise as he spent most evenings watching movies or playing games on an iPhone. Funny thing though with Colin, once he and Maisie started communicating and playing together, they were best buddies and had lots of fun together.

pool  A Minutes after boarding the ship Maisie was in the pool having a great time and meeting new friends.

muster station  B Maisie at the boat drill.

castaway party  C Maisie partying it up at the Adventures away party. I can't tell you how much I love this outfit that Maisie is wearing and I have her wear it all the time especially when we travel as it always looks and wears well and Maisie is so comfortable wearing it. This is one outfit that I'll really miss when she outgrows it. What I love about the outfit is that the top could be worn as a dress and then with long pants and as it is now, with the pants being capris, check out how she's grown into the outfit over the past two years. 6/6/2008, 6/28/2008, 6/30/2009, 7/11/2009 and 10/12/2009.

First dinner and Maisie sleeps  D Maisie sound asleep at our first on-board dinner.

IMG_0183  E After our first night at sea we arrived bright and early at Disney's private island, Castaway Cay. The day started off a bit overcast but turned into a gorgeous, sunny day.

IMG_0165  F Maisie asked me to take a picture of Goofy painting the back of the fact she pointed it out to me in each port that he was still there painting and wondered when he would finish.

IMG_0184  G Me and my best girl.

IMG_0172  H The Flying Dutchman was right next to where the Magic docked.

IMG_0169  I I just adore my Maisie!

IMG_0201  J Maisie and Stitch. The first afternoon and evening Maisie was hesitant to go near any of the characters but by the next morning she was asking to queue up to have her picture taken.

IMG_0203  K Pluto playing with Maisie.

IMG_0233  L Minnie became one of Maisie's favorite characters and every time she saw her, asked to have a picture taken.

IMG_0214  M I found the water quite frigid but Maisie had a blast and was in and out for hours.

IMG_0225  N Maisie has always loved being buried in the sand.

IMG_0228  O I just love this picture of her caked with sand.

We had a great first two days and we were ready for our next 6 days at sea.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Princess Maisie and her nightly towels

Maisie and I spent an extra day in Florida with my parents, getting a little extra sleep after our long journey and allowing me enough rest so that I could drive the 7-1/2 hours back to Atlanta. Our luggage was thankfully found and delivered to my parents home at 1:30am Monday, which was good as we were able to take it with us when we set off about 8 hours later. It felt great to finally pull into our driveway Monday night as we received a warm welcome home from our neighbors and lots of hugs and kisses from Eammon. Also wonderful was to all be home together and sleep in our own bed.

Our network has been down since before our arrival home and Eammon just now got it partially up, thus I haven't been able to post until tonight. As it's already late and we have to be up early tomorrow for a school field trip, which I'm chaperoning, I'm just going to put up pictures of Maisie with her nightly towel animal. Our room steward Aldo, always had the animal made, chocolate on the bed and the room ready by the time we finished dinner so Maisie was always still in her dinner dress when I took her picture. Notice the ever present tiara as Maisie just loved being a little princess. On the night after we toured in Gibraltar we returned to the ship right before dinner so I suggested to Maisie that we just go and eat in the clothes we were wearing but she wanted no part of that and told me that she had to wear her fancy dress, heels and tiara otherwise no one would know to call her Princess! She was a funny and adorable little girl.

IMG_0159n1 Night #1

IMG_0240n2 Night #2

IMG_0249n3 Night #3

IMG_0283n4 Night #4

IMG_0335n5 Night #5

IMG_0355n6 Night #6

IMG_0361n7 Night #7

IMG_0363n8 Night #8

IMG_0647n9Night #9

IMG_0655n10 Night #10

IMG_0680n11 Night #11

IMG_0796n12 Night #12

IMG_0800n12a Maisie wanted to save all the towel animals so we kept them lined up along the back of the sofa.

IMG_0809n13 Night #13

IMG_0881n14 Night #14, our final night :-(

Maisie already misses the nightly animals, the pillow chocolates and our nightly ritual of having hot chocolate (her) and peppermint tea (me) before going to sleep...Oh well, back to our real life. I now have to finish sorting through the 500+ pictures and videos so more to come over the next few days.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

29 hours, five airports and the journey continues

Let me start with, Maisie and I had a super-awesome-wonderful-fabulous trip and once we finally make it back home to Atlanta and get a bit of rest, organized and all the pictures and videos sorted I'll blog all about our adventures. Our journey home has taken a bit longer than expected but not as long as it has for many who were affected by the volcano dust plume and trust me that we met a lot of them who have been stuck for a week already trying to get back to their homes.

Before we ever left on our cruise I had contacted the airline as I had my doubts that we'd make our connection in JFK as we only had 1:50 minutes to clear immigration, customs, security and get on our connecting flight but American Airlines assured me that it was plenty of time and that it was a "valid" connection. Of course leaving Barcelona 1:30 minutes late and not making up any of the time during the flight and then finally getting off the plane with only 15 minutes before our flight was due to leave...well I knew it wouldn't happen. So we got to stand in a long queue to be told that our missed flight was the last out of JFK to Orlando for the day (which I already knew) and that they had already re-booked us to fly out of LaGuardia in 2 hours time to Orlando via So I let my parents and Eammon know of the change, grabbed an empanada and a coffee to go and Maisie and I were put in a limo and off we went. We were happy to make it out of NYC and we're still hoping that our luggage makes it too...sometime in the near future! Our total travel time from the time we boarded the Disney shuttle to the airport in Barcelona to the time we walked into my parent's home was just over 29 hours, oh so reminiscent of our travels home from China...but that was a mere four airports.

I had hoped to drive the 7+ hours from my parents home back to Atlanta today but during our travels I only had about 30 minutes of sleep so I'm completely knackered. Then to top it off, there are severe storms happening so we're spending another night in Florida, hoping that our luggage arrives and being well taken care of by my parents.

Maisie cruise Cell phone piccie of Maisie at the initial sail-away party. That tiara you see was on her head the entire cruise as Maisie just LOVED being a little princess and ate it up that everyone knew her name...Princess!

Thursday, April 08, 2010

And we're off

Tomorrow morning Maisie and I head down to my parent's house in Florida where we will spend the night and then Saturday morning they're taking us to the port for our cruise. I have more clothing packed than I think I've taken on any trip e.v.e.r but no other trip included the need for Princess dresses, fairy costumes, tiaras and so many pairs of fancy dress-up shoes. I think the only thing I'm not taking with me is my computer thus no updates until we return in two weeks time.

I have to say, I can't wait to skedaddle from Atlanta because the pollen is just killing me. Every year I complain about it but when you have counts of 5733 (yesterday) and 5495 (today) even for someone without allergies, it's brutal. I mean seriously, the stinking pollen count chart only goes up to 120+ which is listed as extremely high, so I think our pollen numbers count as pollen he11. It's like we've been coated with a dusting of green snow and shoot, there's so much of the stuff it swirls on the road as you drive through it. Needless to say, even though the weather this week has been gorgeous, warm and sunny, we've spent limited time outdoors.

Speaking of outdoors, the seeds that Steve and I started last Friday have already started to sprout, how cool is that!! I'm already excited to see how big the plants will be when we return.

I have been researching and looking at things to do in our ports, We're not doing any of the Disney excursions because they really aren't appropriate for or wouldn't interest or hold Maisie's attention but after lots of research I have plans set for each port. And where will be? Saturday we set sail from Port Canaveral, Fl and Sunday we'll be on the Disney private island, Castaway Cay, then we're six full days at sea before docking in Funchal, Madeira Portugal where we'll spend the day; after another full day at sea we'll spend an entire day in Cadiz, Seville Spain followed by sailing though the night for a morning arrival in Gibraltar, UK for another full day then it's one more day at sea before our final port of Barcelona Spain where the ship will then serve as our hotel for one additional night. We then fly from Barcelona to Orlando via JFK where my parents will pick us up and cater to our exhausted needs for a night or possibly two as we recover a bit from our jet-lag before we set out on a 7+ hour drive home.

This afternoon I took Maisie to her gym for an open workout which is really playtime for her compared to her normal practices. She loves being at the gym and being able to do fun things like play on the trampoline, the rope swing and in the foam pit is a treat for her. Since we've been indoors so much this week she has been practicing her gymnastics like crazy and on Wednesday she mastered a back walkover so check her out!! I love how she tucks her little bits of hair behind her ears, my funny little girl.

Thank you to everyone who purchased sheet sets, I am overwhelmed by the response and it turned out to be a fabulous fundraiser for Maisie and her team, Thank you, Thank you! I turned in my order today and will receive the sheets sometime during the first week of May and will get them out to everyone immediately.

Wishing everyone a wonderful two weeks and I'll post piccies and stories when we return.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Week in review and Maisie busts some moves

I can't believe that an entire week has passed since my last post, the days have just flown by. It was a rough week for me, between suffering with insomnia and the pollen, I'm just exhausted, stuffy and a bit cranky. The pollen count today hit 1633, just obscenely high and it is causing Maisie's poor little nose to run like a faucet even with her allergy meds and twice daily nasal spray.

Last week Maisie had a busy week at school between an Easter party and the teacher getting everyone organized and ready for spring break. Maisie now won't be back to school for three weeks as she has one week of spring break and then we're off on our cruise for two weeks. Holy cannoli we set sail in just five days and I still have major packing to do!!

I found this funny, on Sunday I was speaking with my Mom and I told her that logistically, for both Maisie and I combined, I could only bring one large suitcase which I'll check on the flight home from Barcelona and one carry-on. This is because I am bringing Maisie's stroller and I'm thinking that if we're in the airport (we have a layover in NYC between Barcelona & Orlando) and she's tired and needs to be in the stroller, I will only have one free hand so I figure that I can stack the carry-on on top of the large rolling suitcase and easily manage. So I was saying that I'm generally a good packer and always travel carry-on only but because of all the pouffy princess dresses things are quite bulky and I don't want to wrangle two carry-on bags. So my Mom asked if I really needed to bring all those pouffy dresses for Maisie. All I could think about was that 'silly rabbit, Trix are for kids' commercial. Silly Mama, it's a Disney princess cruise of course we need big pouffy princess dresses, tiaras, lots of bling and multiple fancy shoes with heels so checking one bag it is.

Maisie and I made some cute little bunny cookies for her class Easter party on Thursday and all the children enjoyed eating them while wearing cute little bunny ears.

It was a fun little party as we decorated foam Easter eggs, ate bunny cookies, had an Easter egg hunt and played outside on a beautiful sunny day.

Friday was another gorgeous, warm and sunny day so Steve (K & A's dad) and I got our garden started...or more precisely got our seeds started. Steve set up a nifty table on my deck with an adjustable rack so that we can cover our seedlings at night if the temperature drops. If even one quarter of our seeds sprout we will have quite the veggie garden. I've never bothered to start a garden from seed so it's exciting to be doing it from the beginning and hopefully everything will sprout and transplant well.

Maisie is really growing up and we can't get much past her any more. I do love that she's growing up but I am going to miss some of the cute toddler things.

* Friday night we were in the car going out for dinner and I was saying to Eammon that "she was n.a.u.g.h.t.y at n.a.p.t.i.m.e" to which Maisie immediately responded, "I was naughty because I played and wanted to skip nap." Needless to say, her spelling and sounding out of words is getting quite good and it's difficult to say things without her understanding us.

* Maisie really has wonderful diction and enunciation but there are two words which she doesn't have quite right. The first is bun-it (button) and the second is ton-cat lens (contact lens) Each time she says them I smile and I think I'm going to miss these little Maisie-isms once she starts saying them correctly

Sunday morning Maisie ate the breakfast of champions, a nice big chocolate Easter bunny. To say that she was thrilled to eat chocolate for brekkie is an understatement.

Here she is, my cute little bunny doing a one handed bunny sign. I went back to last years Easter post to see a picture of her last year and the previous year and it just amazes me how she's grown.

Today was our first day of spring break and after a lot of running around this morning we spent the late afternoon at home and out of the pollen. Maisie was just having a blast practicing her gymnastics and when I saw her do what is the first stunt in the video, I knew I had to grab my camera and get it on video. I have zero athletic ability so what she's capable of doing and at such a young age, just amazes me.

I want to send out a big, huge THANK YOU to everyone who has supported Maisie and ordered sheet sets. I'm humbled by the response and especially the lurkers who have emailed and ordered sets, thank you, thank you!! If anyone is still interested in ordering luxury 100% Egyptian cotton 1200 thread count sheet sets, I am placing the order this Wednesday night so please contact me at to place your order before the deadline.
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