Friday, July 31, 2009

A Magic Day

It's now 12:30am and we're back in the room and Manu is down for the count. After staying for the fireworks and the mob-scene that follows as 50,000 people all try to leave the park at the same time, we're beat, so here is a quick recap of the days events:

We got up at 6:30 this morning in order to make it to the park at opening. Our plan was to hit Fantasyland hard before it got too crowded. We were a little concerned how he would handle some of the darker rides, but he loved them. Peter Pan, Pooh's Adventure, Small World and the teacups were his favorites. Sensing that he was going to be OK on whatever threw at him, we took him for the ultimate 15mo fear-test at the Haunted Mansion, where he laughed in the ghost's faces! At least until he fell asleep half-way through. Around 1:30pm we headed out of the park to have lunch at an Irish Pub in Downtown Disney. Manu was not too impressed with the bland Irish cuisine, and frankly neither were we, but it was refreshing to sit down at a real restaurant instead of counter-service in the park. After looking around a little bit more we headed back to the hotel for a shower and a nap, and to wait out the ubiquitous mid-afternoon rain storm.

Back at the park, Manu dared to take on the Pirates of the Caribbean, and lived to tell about it! We had dinner at Columbia Harbor House and made it out in time to watch the Spectromagic parade. Manu was in sensory overload for sure now! We weren't planning on staying for the fireworks, but after the parade, and by the time we got even remotely close to the front of the park, it was only another 10 minutes 'till they began, so we waited and watched. I'm glad we did as he seemed to really enjoy the bright colors and musical background.

That's all for today, I'm not sure we could have handled much more. Tomorrow we're off to Epcot to take Manu on a world tour, even though he's already seen a lot of it :-)

If I have to hear that song one more time...

I would have sworn that there was a fountain here a minute ago.

Daddy, I think we need to fertilize our garden at home.

The queen and her little prince.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Manu on Safari

This morning we started with a character breakfast at Animal Kingdom park. Manu got to meet Donald and Mickey while enjoying eggs and waffles! After breakfast we headed to Kilimanjaro Safari, where he saw lots of animals in the wild. We even had to stop for a giraffe crossing. Manu took a little nap while we toured Asia, but he was up and ready to go for the Jammin' Jungle parade. Manu attracted all kinds of attention from the cast members and characters. Manu also got to meet several of the characters from The Jungle Book and Tarzan! We left the park just before the rain set in and headed back to the hotels to freshen up a bit before dinner. After a couple of hours we headed back to the Contemporary Resort for our reservations at the California Grill. This special dinner was to celebrate Leslie's birthday. We had a very nice meal, Manu particularly enjoyed the fig and prosciutto flat bread, and also helped with mommy's blackened grouper and daddy's pork tenderloin. Now well past his bedtime, we all headed back to the hotel to recharge for the big day tomorrow at The Magic Kingdom. I have to say that, although we have been to Disney many times before, it is amazing to "see" it again through his eyes. Manu was in constant awe of his surroundings. He had a great time today, and was a real trooper dealing with the heat, humidity and rain.

Manu wondering why this oversized mouse was interrupting his breakfast?

Manu with family and jungle friends!

Manu after a hard hour of safari.

Manu and Mommy at dinner.

Manu sums up his day!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

We're going to Disney World!

We asked ourselves, what could we do to top a trip halfway around the world to get the cutest little boy ever? We're going to Disney World! We started out this morning driving to Louisville where we flew Southwest Airlines directly to Orlando. We were worried about how he would handle the flight, as he is much more active than he was on our flights in India and homeward. We held him in our laps, well Leslie did most of the holding, and though he squirmed a bit and was generally unimpressed with the travel arrangements, he did pretty well, finally falling asleep an hour and a half into the two hour flight. We got our bags, picked up our car and headed to the Hotel. We got a great rate using Priceline for the Omni Resort and Spa. This 5-star resort cost us less than than the economy-class Disney hotels, so that helps ease any disappointment with being off-site, though only by a five minute drive.

After checking out the hotel for a bit, we headed to Downtown Disney for some shopping and dinner. Unfortunately, not long after we arrived it began raining and continued the rest of the night. We popped in and out of some of the stores, then headed to Wolfgang Puck's restaurant on the West Side. This has traditionally been our first dining spot of our Disney vacations. Manu enjoyed sharing some spicy butternut squash soup, pumpkin ravioli in a sage and brown-butter sauce, and a four-cheese pesto pizza. That boy can eat! After dinner we ran through the rain back to our car and headed home, stopping at a Publix grocery store for some milk and banannas. Tomorrow we start out at Animal Kingdom park with a character breakfast at Tusker House restaurant. Manu will meet many of the Disney characters in their safari garb. Should be fun. We'll report back tomorrow evening with more on Manu's jungle adventure!

Manu waiting at Louisville Airport for daddy to return from parking the car.

Mommy and manu walking around the airport terminal

Manu at Wolfgang Puck's before dinner.

Manu after eating soup, squash, pizza and bread.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Manu's first day at the pool

While back in Whitesburg visiting Leslie's family this weekend, Manu got his first experience in a big-kid swimming pool. He was a little unsure of things at first, but quickly any doubt turned to ecstasy as he had a wonderful time splashing around with mommy and his cousins.

Monday, July 13, 2009

The secrets to happiness.

As I get older, I find myself more reflective on the past, to my younger days, to friends and family that I have lost touch with, or to experiences which, in their time, seemed would last forever, but are now blurred, jumbled pieces of memories. Through the innovations of the internet, recently I have become reacquainted with part of that past. People about whom I haven't thought in years are suddenly brilliant in my mind as though it was only yesterday that we said goodbye, or didn't. I am back in high school and college having the time of my life, and the dreams of my youth are once again alive in my head. But as exciting as it is to reconnect, I start to wonder how I let it all slip away. As time marches on we take for granted that what we have today, we will have tomorrow. But few things, if any, are forever. Each chapter of life is a transition into another, and there is no going back, only reminiscing.

But then I'm back in the present. We've had such an exciting couple of years, but they've passed so quickly (in hind sight), and now I want things to slow down a bit so I can enjoy more time with my family as it is today. Manu is growing up so fast; I'm afraid he'll be driving and dating before I'm ready for him to be out of diapers. I don't want these moments to become distant memories. I also don't want to live in the past. I think the secret to happiness is understanding that right now, you are in a place at which you'll wish you could get back to sometime in your future. Enjoy it and make today the best day it can be.

As for living in the moment, Manu has had another first; his first Fourth of July! On the 2nd, he and his classmates at school had a little parade around the parking lot. It was so cute seeing all of those little ones trying to stay in line! He began the 4th by channeling his support to mommy and daddy on their 6.2 mile run in the annual Bluegrass 10K, from the comfort of his crib, asleep! After we hobbled home we met up with the rest of the family in town for the weekend, and headed downtown to the festivities. Manu really enjoyed the parade, especially the horses and the marching bands. The politicians made him cry though, so now I'm sure he's my boy! After the parade we attempted to walk the streets, checking out the crafts and food vendors, but the drizzle that had gently dampened the parade was starting to pour, so we got back to the car and headed home. That night we hosted friends and family for what should have been a fun evening for the little guy. Instead he decided that nothing was going to please him, so he cried himself to sleep without finishing dinner, and drifted off well before the fireworks.

Manu is becoming quite the little climber. He insists on traversing the stairs himself, rather then being carried. He has even taken to climbing into his own high chair when he's ready to eat! He's learned to place objects on the ground and stand on them in order to get a little bit taller. This has caused more than a little commotion, as this puts him just tall enough to pull down anything left near the edge of the kitchen table! On the sweeter side, he is blowing kisses to everyone, and kissing mommy and daddy on the cheek. Every time he sees a cow he tries to moo, but it comes out more like, "mmmummmm." He likes to go "bye-bye," and runs to the front door squealing with excitement at the prospect. His hand-eye coordination is improving to where he can make precise movements wit his little hands. He has recently mastered putting all of the wooden rings on the little pole, though he still can't catch a big rubber ball if you roll it slowly at him, LOL. We set up a little pool out back that he liked well enough, but he preferred exploring the back yard, so he did while mommy and daddy sat in the 12 inches of water and dreamed of the beach! Manu is a lot of fun right now, with more smiles and fewer tears. He is like a little sponge, soaking up all that is to learn around him. We're learning a lot too in the process.

But back to the past: Life has turned out nothing like that 17yo imagined it would, but any change along the way would have altered the outcome, and where I find myself today. Sometimes I wonder where I would be if I had done this or that, but then I have to consider the cost; what would I give up now to have what I thought I wanted years ago? That's an easy one, nothing!