Monday, October 24, 2016

Our Disney Trip: The Magic Kingdom

This is post #3 in my Disney series.  You can read all about how I planned our family vacation here, and what I packed/how we traveled with two young kids here.

Since both of my kids are so young (Emma just turned 4 and Baby Sage just turned 2 this summer), we felt that starting our vacation at the Magic Kingdom was the best answer.  I don't think we chose wrong!

We arrived in Orlando around noon, and chose to eat lunch at the airport before going to our hotel.  Once we got to the hotel, we freshened up, and headed straight for the Magic Kingdom!

I should preface this by saying that Sage and I (with the grandparents on board with our decisions!) had already decided that we didn't ever want the trip to be too much for our kids.  Therefore, if they were too tired - we would go back to the room.  We didn't want to push them to stay awake to see something, because frankly, I'd rather deal with a happy kid that saw less, than an ornery kid who saw more.  And since there is just no way you can see EVERYTHING anyway, I knew we'd be going back.  (We will be going back, right Sage????)

I also didn't plan anything that might scare Emma.  Since she is very cautious, I knew she wouldn't be interested in some of the rides, so I didn't even consider them for our itinerary.  I didn't want to have an unhappy child at Disney World.  Know then, that what we did at each park might not work for your family, but if you have kids that are close in age to mine, and have temperaments like mine, this could definitely work for you!

As we arrived at Magic Kingdom, we happened to catch the end of the Festival of Fantasy Parade.  It was a great way to start our trip!  Especially for my two kids, as Mickey and Minnie were at the very end, and Emma and Baby Sage just love them!  Emma was sitting on top of G-Daddy's shoulders so she could see, and she was waving continuously at everyone.  I might have spent more time watching her than the parade.

After the parade, we told Emma that she would get to have her hair done by the fairy godmothers at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and we would follow that up with dinner in Cinderella's Castle!  From that moment on, she could not WAIT until 5:30 arrived!  You can just imagine her excitement, then, when she saw the castle for the first time!  And sweet Baby Sage - when he saw Emma's excitement over "Rella" (that's what he calls Cinderella), he got excited, too!

We took our time walking through Main Street after the parade.  They had all of their beautiful Halloween decorations out, and we loved them!  We had pre-booked three FastPass+ rides (Dumbo, Under the Sea, and the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train).  Because of this, we were able to ride all of the following before our Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique reservation:  Mad Tea Party, Dumbo Prince Charming Regal Carousel, and Under the Sea - Journey of the Little Mermaid (do this if you have the chance - it was precious!!!!).

The Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique reservation was actually held in Cinderella's Castle, so we went straight there after our rides.  It was the most wonderful experience from the first moment we walked in!  Emma was treated like royalty - they called her Princess Emma all night!  They immediately took us to get in her Elsa dress.  I have never, in her whole life, seen Emma so excited to do something!  (When it's time to get her hair done back home, I have to hold her.)  To see her this excited was just amazing.  It made the whole trip worthwhile!  As we were waiting to hear her name called, Baby Sage fell asleep:  he slept through her entire appointment, and woke up just in time to see "Rella" before dinner.

When they took Emma to her chair with her fairy godmother, you could see the happiness radiate from her.  I'm pretty sure that's when Sage knew this entire trip had been worth it.  She might not remember that moment, but we'll never, ever forget it.  If you have a little girl, this is an absolute "must-do" thing at Disney!

 They put a bun and crown on her head, and she also got her nails painted and had some light makeup put on.  The final step?  Her fairy godmother added glitter to her hair with the wave of her magic wand.  While she did this, Emma was told to make a wish.  She didn't say, but I can only guess that her wish was to do this again!  She told us that night it was the BEST.DAY.EVER!!!!  in her opinion. And honestly, it was one of mine, too, getting to see her enjoy this.

After her hair, makeup, and nails were done, it was time to meet Cinderella before dinner. (Baby Sage has perfect timing and woke up just in time!)  Cinderella was so sweet, and Emma loved her instantly!  She gave her a big hug and talked to her.  I was a bit surprised as this was the first character/princess Emma got to meet, but she was all about it!

(We chose to have several different character dining reservations throughout the entire trip so that we didn't have to stand in line to meet them.  We met them at breakfast, lunch, and dinner instead!  We did stand in line to meet Buzz, Woody, and Jessie - Baby Sage's favorites - but all the others we met at meal times.)

That night we dined with princesses.  Princess Emma, of course, Cinderella, Snow White, Ariel, Aurora, and Jasmine!  Each time one would come by, Emma jumped out of her chair to get a signature, photo, and to talk with them!  Where my shy little girl had gone, I didn't know, but I loved it!  Baby Sage wasn't exactly scared, but slightly hesitant.  He would just smile and giggle at them from a distance.  I think our favorite was Jasmine - she had such a wonderful personality!  She talked, and talked, and talked with us!  We loved it.

At the end of dinner, they passed out magic wands and swords.  Can you imagine Baby Sage with a sword?  We'll leave it at that.

The firework show (Wishes) was getting ready to start, so when we walked out of the front of the castle, everything was packed!  After being treated like royalty all night, we suspected Emma might think everyone was there for her!  While we waited for the fireworks show, the kids wanted to ride the carousel again, so we did.  We put Emma in the stroller after that, and she fell asleep immediately.  Baby Sage didn't take long either.  We saw part of the fireworks from where we were - not the best viewing - but once both kids fell asleep, we decided it was time to leave anyway.  As it was, with the huge crowd, it was almost 11 when we got back to our room, and we had to convince Emma to let us clean her hair.  (It might be a battle with your daughter, but make sure to clean it that night.  All that gel was already a mess - I can only imagine how bad it would have been the next morning!)

Despite such a late night, both of my kids woke up with a ton of energy the next morning.  I think they had already gotten some Disney Magic!  We immediately headed back into the Magic Kingdom, and who should we see as we walk in?  Minnie Mouse!  Emma ran up to her and gave her the biggest hug immediately.  I almost cried I was so shocked!

We rode the following rides before our lunch reservation:  The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (has a great play area for kids while waiting in line), Meet Rapunzel, Prince Charming Regal Carousel, and Peter Pan's Flight.  I had pre-booked Meet Rapunzel, Peter Pan's Flight and Enchanted Tales with Belle through FastPass+, but we never got to do Enchanted Tales with Belle because we spent so much time waiting in line for Baby Sage to meet Woody & Jessie.  The lines were so long, and I wasn't able to get another FastPass+ that would work with our schedule.  But, Baby Sage has loved Woody and Buzz since he was 18 months old, and we had to see them for him.  We waited in the hot sun for at least 45 minutes before it was our turn.  He was excited, but definitely didn't want to touch them.  No hugs for my little man!

Our lunch reservation that day was at Be Our Guest.  Emma loved the idea of having lunch in Belle's castle!  There were no characters at this lunch, but the scenery was amazing!  Since we were on the dining plan, lunch was a "quick service" meal.  I would, however, recommend that you pre-select your food online.  (We didn't.)  The line was extremely long to order - like, way too long for hungry and tired children.  In fact, Baby Sage fell asleep on me as we were waiting in line!

Once you have placed your order, you have your choice of three dining areas:  The Grand Ballroom, The West Wing, or The Castle Gallery.  We chose to sit in the Grand Ballroom because we could see the snow falling outside!  (It was so hot, I kept wishing it was real snow!)  Baby Sage continued to sleep on me throughout all of my lunch, so when were were done, we decided that since he had gotten his nap, we would skip going back to the room, and instead just enjoy the afternoon in the park, have an early dinner, and go back to the room earlier.

To Adventureland we headed to ride more rides:  Jungle Cruise, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Magic Carpets of Aladdin.  I was a bit concerned that Pirates of the Caribbean might scare the kids as it has some 'dark' moments, but both kids were fine with it.

At 3 p.m., there is a Festival of Fantasy parade, so we grabbed a spot in the shade in Frontierland where the parade starts to watch that.  To occupy the kids, we gave them snacks:  popcorn for Baby Sage, and a (first of MANY) Mickey Ice Cream Bar for Emma.  Of course, there was some music playing through loud speakers before the parade, and my kids started dancing.  They had the stroller rockin'!  It was sweet to watch how much fun they had together.

Once the parade started, both of them were mesmerized.  I swear - it seemed like every princess in the parade looked right at Emma, waved, and blew her a kiss.  (And if they seemed that way to me, I'm sure it was even more so to her!)  She waved until I thought her arm might fall off.  I have truly never seen my kids so happy.  We heard a lot of, "Mom, it's Elsa! Look Dad, it's Belle!"  So much fun!

After the parade, we headed to Tomorrowland so Baby Sage could meet his hero, Buzz Lightyear.  On the way there, we stopped by the Mad Tea Party.  If Emma had her fun getting her hair done, Baby Sage's favorite part may have been getting to see Buzz.  He was seriously so excited, it took all of our control to contain him from skipping through the line!

I had actually booked us a FastPass+ to Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin during lunch, so we did that, Carousel of Progress, and the Tomorrowland Speedway while we were in Tomorrowland.

We had an early dinner that night (I'd guess around 5ish, but I rarely looked at a clock while we were there!) at Casey's Corner.  That was a nice, relaxing, fun time.  We sat outside and enjoyed corn dogs and chili dogs.  As we left for the night, we browsed a few shops on Main Street.

Here's a pro-tip:  one great thing about traveling with grandparents is that you don't ave to worry about buying your child a single souvenir - they'll take care of it!  I told Sage that counted as one more "free" thing at Disney!  The kids were actually very good - Emma got an Elsa light-up/spinner toy, and Baby Sage got a Buzz Lightyear.  They got the satisfaction of seeing how excited the kids were.

Bedtime came early that night, for everyone, so we could prepare for the next day at Hollywood Studios!  I can't speak for the kids, but I know this Mom was ready for some shut-eye!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Our Disney Trip: Packing and Traveling

This is the second post in the series about our trip to Disney.  You can read the first post about the planning process here.  

When I started the whole process, the one thing I wasn't really looking forward to was the travel to and from Disney.  I mean is anyone EVER really all that excited about going that far with two little kids?  Didn't think so.  Since I know my personal limit in the car is the beach, there was never any debate around flying vs. driving for my family - I knew all along we would be flying.  (Luckily, Sage knows me well, too, and also knew immediately driving wasn't an option!)

We booked a direct flight into Orlando International Airport, and I would recommend anyone flying with little kids do the same.  The flight was about an hour and a half, and I think that was perfect!  While the kids were both really excited about flying, and I felt like I brought them a good amount of things to keep them occupied (more on that later!), anything else would have been too long for Baby Sage I think.

Since we arrived in Orland right around noon, we decided to have lunch immediately in the airport food court.  It is good sized, and we figured eating before anyone got too hungry and cranky was the best decision.  It worked perfectly for our family, because that 45 minute travel-time to the hotel would have been a bit much on empty stomachs.

We had arranged transportation on Disney's Magical Express, which is complimentary motor coach service from the airpot to the hotel.  My favorite thing about this is that we never had to go to baggage claim!  About two weeks prior to our trip, I received a set of yellow luggage tags.  All I had to do was place these on the bags, and Disney arranged to have those bags delivered directly to our rooms.  It was amazing!  I definitely recommend going this route, but as a tip:  make sure you pack anything you might need upon arrival in your carry-on luggage, because the delivery service can take up to three hours.

Since we had planned to go into the Magic Kingdom on the day we arrived, I made sure to also pack a small rolling carry-on suitcase with some things we would need immediately.  This included a change of clothes for myself, Emma's Elsa dress (for the reservations we had at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique followed by dinner at Cinderella's Royal Table), and of course, our Magic Bands!  The rolling suitcase also held the kids' backpacks with activities until we boarded the plane, and they both got all of their own stuff.

I started packing about a week in advance so that there was no way I would forget something.  I'd pack, discuss with friends, add to it, repeat.  So what did we (I) pack?

  • Travel-size dishwashing liquid (used to clean sip cups each night in the hotel)
  • Bottle Brush
  • Sippy Cups
  • Disposable Bibs
  • Snacks
  • Gallon & Quart size Ziplock bags (to hold ice, clothes, etc)
  • Sunscreen
  • Ponchos
  • Medicines & Thermometer
  • Clothing for each of us
  • Diapers, & Wipes
  • Travel-Size First Aid Kit (Neosporin & a variety of bandages were in it)
  • Blister Bandages
  • Autograph Pillow Cases:  A lot of people do "Autograph Books" but I knew those would get shoved in a drawer.  So instead, I bought pillowcases on Etsy, and then got a clipboard, some binder clips, and fabric pens for each kid.  And if the number of times Emma has brought it out and looked at the signatures is any indication, this was a good idea!!!
  • Activity stuff for the plane for the kids

Each day, Sage carried a backpack into the park.  This was typically stuff that we might need throughout the day, but didn't need at our fingertips at all times.  When it was time to go on rides, he just left it with the stroller.  We made sure there was nothing in it couldn't be replaced if needed, but we did not have any issues!  In that bag, we had the following things every day:

  • Autograph Pillowcases
  • Change of clothes for both kids (never know when an accident can happen or when a Mickey Ice Cream Bar can make a total mess).  I put these in gallon size bags in the bottom of the backpack.
  • Snacks
  • Changing Pad, Diapers, & Wipes
  • First Aid Kit
  • Disposable Bibs for Baby Sage
  • Sippy Cups
  • Sunscreen

In turn, every day I carried a cross-body purse that held the things we might need immediate access to, like:

  • Travel-size baby wipes
  • Travel-size Kleenex
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Travel-size Advil
  • Cell Phones

If you've made it this far, I'm willing to bet you still have two questions, the first of which would be, "So just what did you pack for the kids for the airplane????"

Disney-related stuff of course!

So, we decided to surprise the kids with the trip.  This was done partly (ok, mostly) to preserve my sanity - I knew they would need a heads-up, but I also knew I couldn't handle questions like Emma asked about her trip to visit Momma G.  Originally, we had planned to only tell them two days prior to departure, but since Emma can be extremely quiet, reserved, and shy, we wanted to have time to prepare her for the trip.  This worked out really well, as Emma never hesitated to hug the characters, ask for autographs, etc., which is all very out of character for her.  If you have a shy child, definitely take the time to prepare them!!

So the Sunday night before the trip, we gave both kids baskets filled with Disney-related items.  They were both incredibly excited to see the Mickey and Minnie stuffed animals - so excited, they didn't even think to ask what all of this meant!  We had to prod them a bit, and told them "We're going to Disney World!"

And... they both looked at us in confusion.  Emma asked, "What's Disney World?"

Not exactly the response we were expecting, but when we told them it's where Mickey, Cinderella, Elsa, Anna, etc., lived, they started to get excited.  And when we pulled out the Disney Vacation Planning DVD, they got really excited!!  We also watched YouTube videos of kids getting their hair done at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, meeting characters, parades, and more.

Here's a list of what the kids got in their baskets (and then took on the airplane):
  • Crayola Color Wonder and Markers (these are great for travel because markers only work on special color wonder paper!!)
  • Coloring Books and Crayons
  • Melissa & Doug Minnie Mouse Dress Up Play Set (for Emma)
  • Melissa & Doug Mickey Mouse Magnetic Puzzle (for Baby Sage) 
  • They each carried on their Mickey and Minnie stuffed animals
  • Usborne Travel Activity Book (for Emma) sold at Cloud 9
  • Usborne Airport Sticker Book (for Baby Sage) sold at Cloud 9
And naturally, they both got new Disney outfits to wear on the plane!

So, regarding that one last question you might be having - "Bailey, you didn't mention a camera...?  No, I didn't.  Because we didn't take one.

Before you think I've lost my mind, not taking a camera to document this amazing trip, let me tell you about the Memory Maker Package.

Basically Disney has photographers at hundreds of locations across the parks.  These photos connected to your My Disney Experience with a touch of your Magic Band.  You can conveniently view and download your pictures within minutes if you have the Memory Maker Package.

We decided to purchase this add-on package, and I'm so glad we did.  It was well worth the money - never worrying about our camera being stolen, having to be responsible for capturing photos, etc.  We got all the pictures we could have dreamed of wanting, and with no stress!

My next post will be dedicated entirely to our time in the Magic Kingdom.  As always, if you have questions or comments, feel free to do so!  I'll be responding!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Our Disney Trip: The Planning Process

About a year ago, I started to think about taking the kids to Disney this summer.  At least - I think it was about a year ago.  Time moves differently as a Mom so I can't be sure, but we are going to go with that.  Naturally, I took the idea to my husband - and he was almost as against it as I was for it.

"They aren't even going to remember any of it!" was his (frequently repeated) argument.

While I certainly couldn't ague with his logic, my determination won him over.  I argued that I would remember it.  I argued that they would never again be at an age that meeting their favorite characters would spark so much joy and magic in their hearts.  And finally, I argued, who cares???  It will be fun!  (Clearly that was the argument that won him over - ha!)

Once I had gotten him to agree that we would do a Disney trip this year, I suggested we invite the grandparents along.  I had wonderful memories of visiting Disney with my grandmother when I was young, and I kept thinking how much enjoyment Emma and Baby Sage (and their grandparents!) would get out of sharing this experience with them.  This was an easy sell to Dad, and an even easier sell to the grandparents.  They were all in!

Once it was decided we would all go to Disney this year, I bought a Disney book and started planning!  And by planning - I do mean PLANNING.  I would be willing to put money (I no longer have because we just got back from Disney) on the fact that I spent more time planning for this trip than I did our wedding.  No joke.

So, in case anyone has the misguided idea that you just book hotel rooms and buy park tickets (which may have been what I thought prior to all of my research and planning...), this blog post is for you.  I had many friends who offered helpful hints and tips to plan the perfect trip, and I'm going to share my own experiences with you, so that you can better plan for your family.

To start, I called Carey Sutton with Sterling Travel.  This was one of the smartest things I did, as she has done this a time or two (thousand).  One of the biggest things she helped me with was understanding all of the deadlines that come with booking a trip to Disney.  For instance, once we had decided on a timeframe (the first week of September worked best for everyone's schedules), she helped us book our trip - the last week of December.  Take note procrastinators:  that's roughly 8 months prior.

Beyond making our initial reservations, one of the first things she recommended was to set up an account on the My Disney Experience website.  This was a huge step and would be used for EVERYTHING we did.  Definitely don't skip this step!

Dining reservations were the next thing we needed to worry about.  Those were booked 180 days prior to departure (that's 6 months in advance!!!!  6 MONTHS!!!!!).  Of course, I had gone through and done plenty of research prior to that time so that we knew what we wanted for meals, dining times, etc.  And then... I turned that information over to Carey.  She got up early on that 180-days-out-morning and booked all of our meals for us.  She got us within 10 minutes of our preferred time slot every time!

Remember our account on the My Disney Experience website?  Carey linked our hotel and dining reservations right to it, and we were able to view and modify them whenever we wanted!  We used this same account to book our FastPass+ reservations - 60 days out.  Once again, I had done research on the parks prior to booking our FastPass+ reservations - and I totally recommend you to do the same.  This will force you to thoroughly research the parks, determine a route so you aren't wandering aimlessly, and you will get more out of your trip.

You can originally book up to three FastPass+ reservations per day.  Once you have used all three, you are able to book more, one at a time.  We used the My Disney Experience App on our phones to do this on the go.  It was a easy to use as the website, allowing us to book, modify, and even delete FastPass+ reservations.

Another decision we made based on recommendations from several friends was to rent a stroller for our kids.  Next to working with Carey - this was the best decision we made!  We rented from Kingdom Strollers, and booked the stroller six months in advance.  The stroller was delivered to our hotel, and we picked it up at the bell desk upon arrival.  (We dropped it off there when we left, too.  So easy!)  We rented the Double BOB, and I'm so glad we did.

We called the stroller our "hotel room on the go" - and it was.  The seats laid back for our kids to nap (which Baby Sage did EVERY single day), there was plenty of underneath storage, and the canopy was large enough to cover both kids fully, which was great in the hot September sun.  With great tires and suspension, it was easy to push for miles and miles every day.

We added the rain cover and cooler for FREE!  (I made sure to remind Sage that they were free - I loved being able to say something at Disney was free!)  We also added a case of water (24 bottles) to our order for $9 - that might sound like a lot, but compared to buying bottles after bottle in the park, it was super cheap!  Plus, it was so hot when we went, I would say it was just a must.  We got ice from the vending machine in the hotel each morning and iced down the water.  Pro-tip:  pack Ziplock bags.  We used them for the ice so the cooler didn't leak all over everything.  (Turns out the cooler is free for a reason...)

About the last thing we waited on before the trip was our Magic Bands.  We got these about a month before departure.  Of course, we had customized them by color and name prior to that!  Now, let me tell you - these are aren't called "Magic" Bands for no reason!  They were amazing!  They were our room key, park ticket, FastPass+ reservation, AND credit card!  You link everything to your Magic Band and just go!  It was a real downer when I got home and went to Kroger and I had to use a real credit card instead of my Magic Band - and don't even get me started on having to pull out a real key to unlock my house!  One thing I will advise:  If you fly to Disney, make sure you have your Magic Bands in your carry-on luggage because you will need it as soon as you get off the flight if you are taking advantage of Disney's Magical Express (complimentary motor coach service from Orlando International Airport to your hotel)  You don't want to have to try and find it in your packed luggage - or worse, deal with things if your luggage gets lost.

Speaking of luggage, packing and travel, that's what I'll dedicate the next blog in our Disney series to!  If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below!  I'd love to hear your thoughts on my planning process.

For those who can't wait to hear how the rest of our trip went, I will say that on the very first night we were there, my husband agreed that he was glad we had brought the kids and the trip was worth EVERY SINGLE PENNY to see the kids that happy.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

That time my kids went back to school in 2016

It may be a cliche, but that doesn't make it any less true:  the summer FLEW by!!!  One minute, I was planning all these educational activities for the kids, and the next minute, I was planning for back-to-school.  And by "planning for back-to-school," I mean looking up from my calendar to realize they were headed back in less than a week!

I think part of it was that I just wasn't ready for them to go back this year.  Maybe it's their ages (2 and 4), but they were so much fun this summer.  They played well together, and I really enjoyed everything we did.  I'm sure you'll be shocked by this, but... I was kind of dreading them going back to school.

(Disclaimer:  now that we are a few weeks almost two months back into our school-year routine and I finally have time to sit down and blog about back-to-school, I have to admit -- I LOVE it!  It's so nice having the structure of school schedules back.)

I guess I should have been better prepared for school to start, because Emma has been asking about it all.summer.long.  What is the name of my new school?  What is the name of my new teacher?  Will my friends be there again?  There were more, but I heard these three all.summer.long.  We even drove by her new school from time-to-time as summer progressed so that she could see it.  (Lucky for Mom, it's less than 5 minutes from our house!!!)

You may remember me writing last year about Emma's acceptance in the Decatur City Schools' inclusion program, which couples special needs children and their "typical peers" with the intent of enhancing the learning and development of both groups.  Because of her participation last year, she was automatically enrolled again this year in their 4K program.

Baby Sage started school on August 9th and I wasn't the least bit worried about him.  I knew before I dropped him off that he would have a fantastic day.  (I truthfully don't know the last time he didn't have a fantastic day!  He is just always happy.)  When I got him there that morning, he walked in, sat down at the table and started on a puzzle.  When it came time for me to leave, he waved to me, and kept on playing!  Not a single tear was shed -- by either of us!  When I know how happy he is going to be, it's easier on me leaving him behind.  Want to guess what kind of report I got when I picked him up?  That's right:  he had a great day!  He played well, ate well, and napped well.  Yep, that's my boy!

Emma didn't start school until the 10th, so that was my real "back-to-school" day for the kids.  Naturally, they wore matching outfits from Cloud 9!  Just like last year, I spent the night before packing Emma's bag and lunchbox, ironing clothes and worrying like crazy.  I just had so many questions!

Would she be happy at her new school?  Would she love it as much as she did last year?  Would she be scared her first day?  Would she love her new teacher?  Well, the answer to all of those questions was YES! -- except for being scared.  Apparently, her momma was scared enough, and Emma didn't take any of that from her.  She was so excited for her first day -- we walked in with no tears, and total excitement!!!  She shocked me for the second year in a row. (Someday, I'll stop worrying.  You know, when she's like 40.)

Luckily for me, both of Emma's first two days were only half days again.  I honestly don't know what I'll do when she goes for a full day her first day back, because I couldn't wait to hear all about her day!  She walked towards my car with the BIGGEST smile on her face I have ever seen, and once she got it, she couldn't stop talking!  She absolutely LOVED school!  Getting to hold Curious George while Ms. B read a story might have topped off her first day, but she was also very excited about her old friends that were back again, and the new friendships she had already made.

I knew right then that it was going to be a great school year.

(But I might also already be looking forward to next summer, too!)