We finally made it to Florida! This trip was originally planned for March 2020 but then Covid locked everything down. We pushed the trip back to summer 2020, then Thanksgiving 2020, then Marh 2021… and then finally in June 2021 we got on a plane and flew to Bradenton.
We didn’t have much planned so the week was consisted of lounging around. We visited the pool every day to swim, did Mini golf one night, and had some nice dinners next to the water.
For Spring Break this year, we just went on the biggest cruise boat on the planet, the Royal Carribean Symphony of the Seas. It was a 7-night cruise to Roatan, Cozumel, Costa Maya, and the Bahamas with the Stublers and Uncle Jason. We kept busy with the 4 days on land and all the crazy things they had to do on the boat.
At Roatan we hung out on a small island. Carter held a monkey and we spent the day swimming and enjoying the sun. In Cozumel and Costa Maya we found some nice pools and beaches to enjoy. In the Bahamas, we did a dolphin encounter.
On the boat, there was an endless supply of water slides, pools, shows, laser tag, carousel and so much more. Needless to say the whole family had a great time!
To bring in the new year, we escaped the cold and went to Florida for a few days. Casa Stubler in Bradenton was our home base but we ventured to Orlando for a day to visit our favorite place, Disney World. It was busy at Disney, but the weather was awesome which made a great vacation.
We snuck in a quick 4-day road trip to Pittsburgh with Grandma and Grandpa Stubler before the school year got underway. It was a good way to wrap up a fun summer. The Cubs were in town to play the Pirates so of course, we went to a game. Most of the group was cheering for the Cubs but Grandma and Emery were really hoping the Pirates would pull out some wins.
One morning we visited the Monongahela Incline which is a tram on an extremely steep hill. It wasn’t too hot that day but for some reason, Julie was really sweating. Then another day Julie and I took the kids to the Carnegie Science Center for some more fun. It had a lot of the same things you see in other children/science museums except for they had an entire building dedicated to fitness. The large building at all sorts of sport-related interactive activities like climbing walls and a sprint-running track.
A few weekends ago we did a Wassmer family vacation to Blue Harbor Resort in Sheboygan, WI to help Grandpa and Grandma celebrate their 50th Anniversary! We mostly hung by the pool and enjoyed the indoor waterpark. The kids mostly stuck to the slides but also had a healthy dose of the lazy river. I almost killed myself on the surf simulator but it was still super fun.
Aside from the pools, the resort also had a bunch of other things to do. We did smores on the beach, minigolf, and ice cream. One day the whole crew did a photoshoot and played dress up with Grandpa’s old army uniform and Grandma’s wedding dress. Then on the final day all 15 of us crammed onto a huge Shebikin Pedal Tours bike and cruised the streets of Sheboygan.
We escaped the cold midwest weather and spent a few days in Florida at the end of February/early March. It was extremely nice to be in the warm weather and be outdoors without a winter coat. We took full advantage of the situation and spent a good amount of time in the pool with the kids. Julie and I also got in a few good runs!
Julie’s parent’s place is fairly close to Orlando so we did one day at Disney World. We have always gone in the hotter months so it was nice to have the mild “winter” temperatures. The Magic Kingdom wasn’t too busy, so we made it to all the attractions we had on our list. I had never ridden Space Mountain, so I finally got to check that off my list. I even talked Carter and Grandpa to ride it with me.
Grandma talked us all into going to a Pirates spring training game. Even though it wasn’t the Cubs, it was still fun to be at the park. There were lots of games and things to do for the kids.
Another awesome vacation is in the books. For this trip we headed west to Coronado, CA. During the week we made stops at Disneyland, LegoLand, San Diego Zoo, and USS Midway. Out of all the places we went to, the Zoo seemed to be the family favorite for this trip. If you are ever in San Diego you have to visit the zoo!
At Disney Emery was a trooper and went on multiple roller coasters. Here is proof about how excited she was on Splash Mountain:
It was awesome to spend some alone time with my wife in New York. The kids barely knew we were gone, because they were having so much fun with Grandma and Grandpa Wassmer.
Julie and I got a hotel right across the street from Times Square. It was a spiffy little place that put us right in the middle of all the New York action. It was a pretty packed couple of days: We went to Central Park, ventured the subway, took a spin class at the Peloton Studio, saw Jimmy Fallon’s monologue, went to the World Trade Center Museum, and topped it off with some nice dinners.
We had another awesome trip to Disney this year. Unlike past years, we decided to do 5 days of parks. It was a marathon of park visits and fun. Every day it was hot and by the end everyone was wore out.
It was rough at the beginning but by the end of the trip Emery was not completely scared of the characters. Her favorites ended up being Donald, Tigger, and Minnie. She also got to see most of the princesses but did not seem to enjoy them as much. I thought Elsa and Anna would be a complete hit but Emery just wasn’t having it.
Carter was less excited for the characters this year and was really just looking forward to the rides. Carter and I got to do a few big-kid rides while Mom and Emery were napping. Splash mountain was still the big winner.
The whole family got into the pin trading craze this year. It really helped us pass the time while we walked through the parks. We were so into it that we ended up buying some “cheap” pins from a shop outside of the parks to bring back in and trade. We traded all of the cheap pins and ended with a few complete hidden mickey sets.
We recently took the kids to Disney World for five short days and jammed as much fun into the trip as possible. We spent time at the pool, Downtown Disney, and the Boardwalk, but also hit up a few parks and a character breakfast.
The first park we went to was Hollywood Studios! The usual suspects, both Buzz, Woody, Lightening McQueen were there, but we also were able to get some face time with Santa Goofy! The park was adorned with holiday decor! Everyone’s favorite ride was the “toy story/buzz lightyear” game where you use lasers to get points. Julie only beat Carter by 300 points overall. Before we left, were able to see the Osborn lights show, which is made of a 3 million light display. It was really something to be seen and we are glad we were able to witness the display, as this is the last year they will be having it at the park.
The next day we went to a character breakfast at Cape May Cafe, which featured Minnie, Goofy, and Donald. It is safe to say that Emery is still not a fan of character costumes, as she did not enjoy getting too close to any of them. Carter loved taking pictures with them and giving them a high five! Both Emery and Carter agreed they love Mickey shaped waffles!
We spent the rest of that day at Magic Kingdom which also had all of its holiday decor up! Its very interesting to be sweating and taking a picture in front of a Christmas tree! Emery was in awe and really had fun all day! You could almost see the wheels turning in her hear as she was trying to figure out what she was seeing in rides like “It’s A Small World,” or “Dumbo.” Carter went on two roller coasters for the first time and he absolutely loved them! One of them was Splash Mountain, which includes a 50 foot drop into water! So fun!
Lastly, we couldn’t pass up an opportunity to visit the Legoland Theme Park while we were in Florida. It is about an hour away from Disney and well worth the trip… if your kid(s) love Lego’s. Each part of the park was broken into different lego “themes,” i.e. Chima, Duplo’s, etc. As you would expect they have a lot of Lego sculptures throughout the park. Each piece had a sign that showed how many bricks it contained and how many hours it took to build. Carter got to meet one of his favorite Chima characters, Laval! He also loved being able to trade minifigures with any of the staff members. He walked away with three new minifigures. Emery loved climbing in the Duplo area! She kept going up and down the slide and didn’t want to stop!
It was such a great trip, and we can’t wait to go back!\
A couple of weekends ago Julie and I took our first night away together from the kids to celebrate 10 years marriage! Grandpa and Grandma Stubler took care of the kids, while we traveled to Kohler Wisconsin and stayed at a nice little hotel on a lake. As you can probably guess by the name, there isn’t a Delta faucet, sink, or toilet in the entire town. Kohler products rule the town, population just over 2000.
Kohler is a quaint little town, with an elaborate spa, golf, shopping, and good food. Our grand plans to hang out on patios, rent bikes and ride through the town were crushed by the cold and rainy weather. We ended up visiting the Kohler Design Center which is a building with beautiful displays of all their products. The lower level of the design center is a museum of sorts, that took us back years and years of Kohler’s rich history. Of course I had to try out a tub.
Before we went to eat that evening, Julie talked me into doing a my very first heated yoga class. I didn’t get too many laughs, so I assume it was a halfway decent attempt. We had a great dinner at The Blind Horse. Before we left the next morning Julie, yet again, talked me into a TRX class. Let’s just say I was a little bit sore the next day. We took a road trip to Sheyboygan to check out the area, did some outlet mall shopping and found a couple of great places to eat on our way to and from Kohler, in Milwaukee, WI. We had a great time away together.
We just came back from a really fun vacation with Julie’s parents and her brother Jason and his wife Anna. We went on a 7 day Western Caribbean cruise, on a Royal Caribbean ship named Oasis of the Seas. We stopped at some great ports in Haiti, Jamaica, and Cozumel! Royal CaribbeanOasis of the Seas This boat was huge!
The kids had a blast, and were very well behaved throughout the trip! There was always something for them to do. From carousel rides, character breakfasts, to face painting and balloon making, to water and ice shows, and fancy dinners, which included Carter eating escargot (snails) 5/7 days! Everyone had a great time. Julie and I even got out for a comedy show, but she fell asleep half way through!
Also, DreamWorks was on board with a bunch of different characters. Carter loved it but Emery was not having anything to do with anyone of them.
In Haiti, we spent the day at the Royal Caribbean owned island, where we played on the beach and had a barbeque lunch. I even got in a run around the island, while Julie did yoga on the beach with a group of people from the ship.
In Jamaica, Sue and Jim were nice enough to spend the day with the kids so Julie, Anna, Jason and I could go off on an excursion. We climbed Dunn’s River Falls and went to the Green Grotto Caves. It was a 50/50 split of who liked what better, so it was a great day by all. Minus the fact that lunch wasn’t included and at least Julie and I didn’t realize. I found an ice cream sandwich and thankfully she had snuck a banana and some almond butter in her bag!
Finally, in Cozumel, we got professional family pictures on the beach and spent the day at a resort playing in the pool! When we got back on the boat that evening, Carter came down with a mild fever. Thankfully, with the help of our friends “Motrin” and “Tylenol” he did ok for the remainder of the trip!
Thanks to Jim and Sue for a really great family vacation full of fun, laughter and great memories! Here are a few of the pictures we took!
Our first family of four vacation was a success! We took a short 5 day vacation to Myrtle Beach, SC. Carter enjoyed the plane ride as usual, and Emery did great for her first time in the air!
The resort we stayed at was perfect for families with little ones. The vacation was just as we imagined, what was that we didn’t do much but swim and relax most of each day. The resort had a bunch of regular pools and a couple of really nice kiddy pools, equipped with slides, boats, dumping water, and shallow spots – perfect for both kids! Carter was truly a little fish and he swam non-stop!
The resort had planned activities each day. Carter was able to do some crafts, and have a fishing frenzy where he ran around scooping up fish with a net! We had picnic lunches at the pool!
Each night after dinner, we did some mini-golf at the resort. Carter was loving it! He even managed to get a hole-in-one. I am sure he still doesn’t really realize what a big deal that is!
We went to the ocean a couple of times for short visits. Carter hopped in the ocean for the first time! He was a little timid at first, but once he got a little more comfortable, he was really liking the waves. He also enjoyed building sand castles and burying dad with sand!
We hit up the boardwalk which is nestled along the beach and rode in the big ferris wheel. There is also this cool place called broadway plantation, where we spent time walking around, shopping and of course eating ice cream! There was also a nice children’s museum perfect for both kids to play.
Overall, it was a really nice, fun and relaxing vacation. Nobody wanted to go home! Until next time…
The 3 of us took a little 4 day vacation down to Florida to visit the most wonderful place ever, Disney World. We had such a good time last year we just had to do it again this year. This time, however, we didn’t tell Carter until we woke him up at 5 am to head for the airport. He had a dazed and confused look on his face but you could tell he was excited. The plane ride down to Florida was awesome. Carter sat by the window and loved every minute of it. Four Chuggington videos and a couple games later we landed in Orlando.
The first stop was a quick trip to the Boardwalk to start off our Disney fun. That night we strolled around and ended up having dinner at a nice little restaurant. After dinner we took a short boat ride from the boardwalk over to one of Epcot’s main gates. That was about all we could handle for one day so we took our tired selves back to the hotel and passed out.
Sunday started with breakfast with Mickey, Goofy, Pluto, Minnie, and Donald at Chef Mickey’s. Each character comes by and does a meet and greet with each table. The food was great and Carter loved hanging out with the characters. After breakfast it was off to Magic Kingdom and Epcot. It was a very full day of fun at the parks. We did a bunch of rides at Magic Kingdom and then walked around Epcot while Carter took a nap.
The next day we took it easy and hung out by the pool in the morning and went to Downtown Disney that night. Downtown Disney is a great place to hang out. They have the standard shops and restaurants but also street performers that every so often do shows in the middle of the street.
The final day at this wonderful wonderland was spent roaming around Hollywood Studios. Julie’s parents came up from south Florida and joined us for the day. We met so many different characters that I thought his head was going to explode. Meeting Buzz and Woody was the highlight of the day. Carter really loves all of the characters from all the pixar movies, but who doesn’t?
What do you get when you have some free flights and a time share? An impromptu Disney Trip for 4 days.
We stayed at Vacation Village at Parkway. It was a nice little resort that was only about 10 minutes away from the Disney Park. The short drive made this a good alternative to the expensive on campus Disney Resorts. Besides staying off park, we also found a great website to help us find other money saving activities. Luckily we found this site that had the “top 10 free things to do at Disney”. As the title suggests there is a lot to do besides going into any of the parks.
Downtown disney was such a big hit we went down there twice. There were a bunch of restaurants, shops, and vendors along a big lake. This was a similar case for the Boardwalk. The boardwalk was a little less busy and just as much fun. The boardwalk goes around another lake and connects right to the south entrance of Epcot.
One morning we did “Breakfast with the Characters” at the Floridian Hotel. The hotel was amazing… it had a beautiful lobby and all the workers were dressed to match the old school decor. The breakfast was super fun because it was really the first time Carter met any of the costumed characters. He LOVED Pooh, but hated Tigger, Mad Hatter, Merry Poppins, and Alice.
We did go to one park, the Magical Kingdom. This place was just amazing. The park was in pristine condition and all the workers were so friendly. The decor and rides were perfect for Carter and he really seemed to enjoy it. We spent about 9 hours trucking around the park enjoying most of the rides.
Finally one day we ended up going to Fort Wilderness for the petting zoo. Unfortunately there isn’t a petting zoo anymore, but Carter was still able to ride a horse. Surprisingly the staff let me lead the horse around the park. First time I have ever done that! After the horses we had to go Animal Kingdom to get our last fix of animals. We only saw a few in their “sahara”, but it still did the trick for Carter.
Courtesy of Julie’s parents we stayed at the Hilton Grand Vacations Suites at SeaWorld for just about nothing. If it wasn’t for Julie’s Parent’s time share we would probably be camping in a tent. That’s a lie… Pigs would probably fly before Julie would sleep in a tent again.
One day we golfed at the Mystic Dunes Golf Course and the rest of the time lounged around the resort. After a few Pina Coladas by the pool we were happy to repeat the song below… over and over and over and over and over….