Life with the Shirley Family

Life with the Shirley Family

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Nathan turns 10!

Double digits!! Wow! He was so excited tonight that he could not fall asleep! I can't believe that 10 years ago he was born. We didn't know if we were having a boy or a girl (not our choice, Nathan's!), and were delighted when I delivered a baby boy. Dave said that as soon as he came out, he lifted his head up and looked all around the room. He has not stopped being curious since then. He is truly a special son. Our first, and one that will always keep us on our toes. He is smart and at times a little sassy about this. But he continues to have a sensitive heart that is ready to share and tries to listen to God speaking to him. He loves to play baseball and sword fights, and he thinks that he is ready to shoot a deer with Dave. Since he cries at any sad part of a movie, I am thankful there has been no deer shot. I think that would bring him to tears.

He is definitely growing up, but is still enjoys getting Mickey's autograph and hugging on Eeyore! He also loves his stuffed animals. I am so happy to see how he is growing up, since I cannot stop him! So far, he is turning out to be an awesome young man. I love you Nathan! Happy 10th birthday!!!


Nathan's 3rd birthday party

Nathan recently wrote a story for school. It goes like this...

A 13 story tower soars over Disney's Hollywood Studios. The Tower of Terror! Legend says that one cold and stormy Halloween night a streak of lightning struck the Hollywood Tower Hotel! Mysteriously half of the hotel vanished and 5 people freefell in an elevator and they were never seen again.

One night when in Disney we all planned on going on it, but only 4 did. These brave souls were my Mom, my Aunt, my Uncle, and me. When we got in the elevator suddenly the chain broke sending us on a 13 story freefall. I live to tell this story, but some aren't so lucky.

-Nate Shirley

Sunday, October 10, 2010

All good things must come to an end...

And we ended our trip in the same place we began...the Magic Kingdom. It just seemed fitting to finish our grand gathering (you have to have eight people in your party to become one), named Amy's Army, at Mickey's main park. He even has his house there!
Daisy Duck! Camden's favorite!

First we made sure we went to all the attractions we missed on Monday. So we began in Tomorrowland by getting fastpasses for Space Mountain. While waiting for this, we got to go on Buzz Lightyear's ride, Stitch's ride, and were able to attend the Laugh Floor with Monsters Inc. It was there that Dad got designated "That Guy!" He was constantly being put on the screen during the show and afterward given a sticker that said "I'm that guy." Workers throughout the park kept saying "hey, you're that guy!"
That Guy!
Mom and Nathan
Camden being Goofy like his brother!
The Shirley's in Minnie's house

Lunch was right before we all hit the tracks at the speedway and then on to the Goofy roller coaster. It was from this vantage point that we discovered the teacups were what were behind the fenced in area. Although disappointed we couldn't ride them, we trekked on to see the Presidents (Camden refused to go in since the parade was taking place!), and then on to Splash Mountain again!
Dave and Camden race together!

Camden learned to wave vigorously at every parade!

Our dinner reservations at the Crystal Palace were at 6:00, so we took the train to Main Street and headed there. Throughout the day, Nathan and Declan were trying to trade pins with Disney workers. They had a lot of fun doing this. I had heard that the workers had to trade with you no matter what, and then found out that the pins don't really belong to them; that is why they have to do this.
The two pin collectors!
Rob and Jenn with Tigger
Tigger with the kids...they couldn't stop jumping!
Finally getting to see Piglet!

Everyone's favorite bear!
Amy and Dave with Tigger
Mom and Dad with Tigger

Dinner was again delicious and we got to share it with Pooh and friends. We did have to leave the park right after eating, however, because they were having the Not so scary Mickey's Halloween party. (This is an extra price). It did look a little scary for our group!

Since we were finished early, we just had to go to Downtown Disney one more time. Last minute shopping and Ghirardelli's milkshakes topped our evening off around midnight.Downtown Disney

It was truly a fun trip. Very magical and in a whole other world. Nathan and Camden have been watching Disney movies all week because we realized that they have not seen most of the movies that the rides were based on. Nathan has been playing Star Wars with his lightsaber all week (Camden is catching onto that to; good thing we have three now for all the boys in this house.) Although never having seen The Little Mermaid movie, Camden is always singing "Under the Sea" after seeing the musical! And of course we all want to go back! I guess I had better get back into couponing!!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Animal Kingdom

Our Thursday began with some very tired people! After getting back to the hotel after midnight, we were a little groggy! But since Animal Kingdom closes at 5, we needed to get started. This was also the day that Nathan and Declan celebrated their birthdays. They both wore their birthday buttons and we gave Nathan his present that morning. We let him start his pin collection with a lanyard and 2 pins. He was set for trading!! He did, however, get tired of everyone telling him Happy Birthday so he took off his birthday button.
The birthday boys

Buggy kids!

When we arrived at the park, we were all excited to take a ride through Mt. Everest. Before Everest,though, we went to a Bug's Life 3-D movie. Last time we tried this, my niece had us leave when the bugs came out and she started screaming! But this time she was ready and with Camden taking off his glasses, we were fine. At least until the bugs crawled under our bottoms. That was a little creepy!
The people who conquered Everest!

Camden grabbing Thumper's tail!
Brer Bear!
Nathan and Ashton being serenaded by the guitar player...he sang a song with their names in it and said Nathan looked like he was a ballpoint pen!

We ended up loving Everest (all but Dave), and riding it twice. We also really enjoyed the Nemo and Lion King musicals. To end our day, we were able to participate in the Safari Experience. This is something that only Grand Gathering groups can do, so we took our family group to this African dinner. It started with a safari ride and then off to dinner. It was a buffet with, you guessed it, salmon, but with an African twist. I was very happy to have a pot of hummus to myself mainly. We had an African lady guide us through the experience and lead us in the birthday dance. We also got to meet more characters and some live animals. It was a lot of fun.
Mom and Dad at our Safari Experience
Dancing the birthday dance!!

Our dinner table
Dave and Amy at the Safari Experience at Tusker's Restaurant
Our true African hostess with her guests from the Lion King

After leaving the park around 7:00 (early!!), we went back to the hotel to swim and give out birthday presents. Declan got Legos and pins; Nathan received some camouflage clothes, a pin and Aerosmith Mickey. It was a nice evening with a somewhat early bedtime. Had to be ready for our last day!!!Riding at the back of the bus...everyone's favorite spot!!
Jennifer and Rob on the bus ride

Birthday presents
Hanging at the hotel!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


On Wednesday we made our way to Epcot. I was looking forward to this day because Epcot is considered to be for us more mature folks! and that I could finally ride Soarin'. The past two times we went to Disney we could not do this for various reasons. But this year we were successful and I rode it two times thanks to extra hours. We all got a front row seat and Camden really enjoyed this ride. He kept leaning over and I was a little nervous since it felt like we were hang gliding over the Golden Gate Bridge. It is now my favorite non-roller coaster ride.
Trying to catch the jumping water in their mouths...Dave taught them this!

Nathan and Camden at the Nemo and friends exhibit
Nathan in front of the birds that won't stop talking!
Everyone's favorite chipmunks-Chip and Dale

But our first ride of the day was the one inside the Epcot Ball! Although not super exciting, this was what Camden had been looking forward to. He has a puzzle with the Epcot ball on it and had been talking about seeing it is for months! So we rode it! And he enjoyed it!
Camden learning to read a map!

We also were able to eat a non-buffet meal (no salmon!) at the Mexican restaurant, San Angel. We had ridden the Mexican water ride before and had thought the inside of the restaurant looked super cool. So we got a table in front of the temple and volcano. And the food was superb!
Dinner at San Angel
Nathan inside the Mexican building
Where did we find these Vikings?!?!?

Nathan trying to be a cool Goofy!
Camden the alien!

Nathan, Ashton and Declan (with Dave and Rob) all participated in a Kim Possible Mission to save the world and their "scavenger hunt" centered in Mexico. They had a great time doing this while the rest of us were walking through the other countries. We saw Tigger and Pooh in England; Belle in France; and just missed Jasmine in Morocco. All the countries had interesting looking restaurants. Next time we need to plan on eating in Epcot every night at a different country!
The two crazy cousins in France!
The girls taking time to pose in England

So after watching the fireworks, we continued to hang out in Epcot (Soarin', Mission Space, Test Track, and shopping) until midnight. Dave took Camden back to the hotel. He was asleep on Dave's shoulder as soon as Dave picked him up!

What a day! And we still did not have time to explore all the country exhibits. Guess we need to go back!