Monday, April 25, 2016

disney 2016

We are a disney family. While Disney World is understandably not for everyone, our family cherishes our annual trip. The kids (and the adults) love the anticipation and planning. The little ones watch videos of the parade, look at pictures of the restaurants. For weeks before, and weeks after, it's all they can talk about. And I, as a mom, actually enjoy this trip more than any other we take. While it's not a laid-back-sipping-on-margaritas kind of week, nothing is with four kids. But while at Disney World, you get sucked into this imaginary yet so real place, where dreams come true, heroes are hugged, and the outside world melts away. It's a place to disconnect--to not check your email or your Facebook account. To focus on your kids and watch their faces as they discover each new treasure. I feel so incredibly lucky to be able to have these experiences with our little crew.

We had a magical week this year. Honestly, I don't know how we will ever top this trip. After landing in Orlando, we always start our trip with an evening at Disney Springs. No Shafer trip to Orlando is complete without a stop at Goofy's Candy Shop.

Day one at Magic Kingdom was full of princesses, parades, and rides. We are super into princesses right now....Barnes loves Cinderella (because of her blue dress), Frances loves Rapunzel (because of her long hair), and Shepherd used to love Snow White but has recently changed his allegiance to Belle (a post-trip switch). The kids were amazed by lunch in Cinderella's castle, which was honestly the neatest Disney experience we have had to date. They also REALLY loved the parade this year. At least three mornings a week now I get woken up with Disney parade music being marched through my room, and BF&S are constantly putting on "shows."

Day two started with me running a half marathon (after a 10k the day before). I was picked up in a rental van at the finish line and whisked to Hollywood Studios without even having time for a shower! We watched the shows, danced with characters, and had lunch with our Disney Junior friends. As you can tell from our pictures, our trip was character heavy. Meeting new friends (or the same friends in different outfits) never got old. They almost completely filled up their autograph books!

Day three was back to Magic Kingdom after breakfast at Chef Mickey's (a definite favorite). A few more princesses, a lot more rides, and a trip to Tom Sawyer Island were the perfect combination.

Andrew worked a bit on day four, which was a non-park day, so we started with mom and the four kids doing a character breakfast alone. It was a bit of a logistical nightmare (I had to wear the baby 75% of the time so I could get food from the buffet for everyone else), and my camera decided to die, but it was worth it for quality time with Winnie, Tigger, Mary Poppins, the Mad Hatter (or the Silly Guy as Shep says), and Alice. We rounded out the morning with a trip to the splash park, then after nap headed to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique for Frances's favorite part of the week. Frances became Princess Frances and Barnes became Knight Barnes, and even Shep got a sword and shield.

Despite a rainy start, our last day at Animal Kingdom turned out pretty perfect. A final lunch with the main mouse, a scavenger hunt to find our Lion Guard friends, dancing with Rafiki, being sung about while in line to meet the Chipmunks, and some goat brushing rounded out our trip quite well.

Disney World, thanks for such a fun week. I love hearing the three big kids relive the magic and pretend to be the characters. I have a feeling we'll be back!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

shep shep

This child got attacked by an automatic soap dispenser today. My Shepherd. There's something incredibly special about this boy. He brings joy and renewed life to everyone he meets. From the moment we learned of his existence, he's been spreading indescribable joy. You see, he was conceived in the direct aftermath of a failed IVF cycle, a cycle that left my soul bruised and aching. He has brought a unique light to our family each day of his life. His personality is huge, and his capacity for love is even bigger. On this Holy Week, his sweet smile is one of my favorite reminders of God with us, even in our dark places.

(taken from instagram a couple weeks ago)