JAM and Ri and Disney

I originally threw these images up here to show friends and family, and didn’t add much of a story - or at least any that did this trip justice. I’m calling a mulligan here because I miss writing about things that move me.

This was my third trip to Disney World - the first was with my dad and sister my freshman year of high school. The second was with Jordan in April of 2011. I felt so much family love and bonding on each of those in such different ways, and have been itching to get Riley here with us as soon as we thought he’d be interested.

When we were here in 2011, we watched the parade in Magic Kingdom that happened just before the fireworks. I have such vivid memories of that night; one because I took photos, but mainly because of a family that I didn’t photograph. There was a little girl sitting on her dad’s shoulders, and she must have been four or five. The way she watched the sky during Disney’s epic fireworks show - that awe has been burned into my brain and heart and it’s so warming just thinking about it, that it’s the single thing that would’ve brought me back had I not had another memorable experience here.

 We always questioned, and so do friends and family, is it worth taking a young child to Disney World before they’re likely to hold memories of that trip forever? Before they’re tall enough to ride the big rides and really understand where they are or who every character they see might be? That question was answered the night I watched this girl’s face lit via fireworks. If the parents are kids at heart like we are, the answer is always yes.

Here’s a peek into our visit, if you’d like to see the magic we experienced. It’s one of those things that can’t be summed up completely in photos. But the pics of Riley hugging Donald might be the closest we can get.

RDU ——> MCO 

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We stayed at Contemporary, mainly because the monorail runs right through it. The first thing we did was take a monorail ride to nowhere! 

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With a view of Magic Kingdom (fireworks every night!) and monorails and a lounge just down the hall…we probably could’ve just stayed here and Ri would’ve loved this alone. 

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We arrived on Sunday, and Monday was our first park day: Epcot!  

We did Soarin’ (Ri was nervous - he has a thing about heights and feeling unstable off the ground). Turtle Talk with Crush was a favorite of all of ours. Plus the fountains and the topiaries and the birds that seemed to follow Ri everywhere.

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Riley’s favorite spot at Epcot: the outdoor model trains in Germany. He stayed here for a solid half hour, just about forgetting that we were there!

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We did Photo Pass so we could get all three of us in pictures, and the coolest thing is they get uploaded straight to the Disney app for you to download. There are photographers all over the parks, and they all have their own styles. Good or bad, we love them all because we’re all in there. 

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 We loved being there during the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival - so much color!

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 The topiaries! The giggles! The monorail! Always the monorail.

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 Tuesday - park day number 2: Magic Kingdom

Note Riley’s enthusiasm on the teacups. He got on with us reluctantly because we wanted to, but he was not thrilled. The Tomorrowland Speedway though, he loved. Jordan was so excited to show Ri the Swiss Family Robinson treehouse. We took a ferry to the Polynesian for dinner, then headed back over to Magic Kingdom for dessert and fireworks!

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 We did the dessert party at Tomorrowland Terrace and had an awesome view of the fireworks show (and Tinkerbell flying over!), and they even brought a separate gluten-and-dairy-free plate of dessert out for me! Bless you Disney, for being so accommodating with every single thing.

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 Best fireworks show ever.

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We started our third park day by sleeping in and having breakfast at Chef Mickey’s before heading out. You guys. Ri was way more stoked to meet the characters than I thought he would be. He was so excited when Mickey came out that he went over to say hi before we could stop him, as another family was trying to get their photos with him. We totally thought he was just going to observe, because he’s never this bold! As you can see by the family’s faces, they were not as understanding as we were hoping, even though he only interrupted to say hi. Sorry guys. He now knows character dining etiquette. ;)

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 Ri was actually a bit shy when Mickey came to our table, but then Minnie came, and by the time Donald showed up Ri was all in. That huge grin is the best thing I’ve seen in my life. That’s Disney magic and all the feels.

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 And yet again, Disney magic for me: allergy-friendly Mickey waffles and scrambled eggs! Had I needed it, the chef would’ve come to my table to address specific cross-contamination or other issues. Can we move here, please?

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 Park day three: Hollywood Studios

We started with Mickey ice cream (strawberry popsicle for me), Star Wars events witnessed (Ri is just discovering and is hella interested and a little frightened by it all at the same time), and Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular attended.

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Every time the Storm Troopers paraded through town, Ri had to stop and watch, but it had to be from a good distance away. 

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 So, we ended up making reservations for lunch and dinner the last two days, not realizing they were also character meals ($$$). But we all ate well and Ri got to see more Disney friends, so we aren’t complaining. :)

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We saw these bubble blowers at every park, every day. Ri finally talked us into getting him one after lunch. He was lovin it. 

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Waiting for our bus back to Contemporary. This kid ran back and forth from us to this rail at least 37 times. His last energy expenditure of the day. 

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 Our last park day: Animal Kingdom

This was everyone’s first visit here, and we loved it all. We did the Gorilla Falls trail (Ri loved the naked mole rats and bird watching), the Kilimanjaro Safari ride, and explored Pandora.

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We took the Wildlife Express train to Rafiki’s Planet Watch, because it’s a train and because they have an Affection Section. Duh. 

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 Our last character dining experience of the trip, and Ri was pretty much chumming it up with old pals at this point. He loved introducing his new stuffed naked mole rat to everyone, too.

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 We saw Rivers of Light, and I was so enthralled that I didn’t take a single photo if you can believe it. Then we stopped to watch the light show on the Tree of Life, because whoa.

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 Our last day here, Friday. No parks, just spash pad and pool fun, and some final monorail rides before flying back home.

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Back at RDU, we watched a few planes take off before driving home. Another wonderful adventure with these boys is complete.

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Love and hugs, y’all,

~JAM + Ri

Mason Meets Tyler

On Saturday evening, September 2nd of 2017, Tyler made his way into our bright happy world, and has been well-snuggled ever since. I got to stop in for a quick visit and snap some cuteness as big brother Mason met “baby brother.”

I met Mason and his Auntie B and Uncle Austin at his house, and we followed them to the hospital.

2017-09-07_0001.jpgMason had a special gift for Tyler - a red fox stuffy! 

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We walked in (my boys joined us until we got to the room - they got to meet a few days later!) with Auntie & Uncle, and headed up the elevator to meet little bro.

2017-09-07_0004.jpg Mason & Daddy were so excited to see each other after a night apart!

2017-09-07_0005.jpg Into the double doors we went with Mason charging along, fox in hand. “Give, baby Tyler!” he’d said before we came in. It’s time!

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Behind this door is so much love, and so many snuggles to be had. Mason was ready for all of it, and his introduction was one of the sweetest things I’ve ever witnessed.

2017-09-07_0008.jpgHello, Mommy & Tyler!

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Monica, you looked absolutely radiant with love. Some people talk about pregnancy glow which you definitely had, but you had such positive loving energy in that room too. So, so in love, and glowing with it!

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I love these tiny toes!

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Betina and Austin contributed to the loving feel in this room quite a bit. You two were so sweet getting Mason ready to come over, and then loving on these loves. Happy tears were definitely welling up behind my camera!

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As Uncle Austin was holding Tyler, Mason decided to investigate a little further, and fell in love immediately. So many hugs and kisses followed (and more happy tears)!

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Ready for the first hold!

2017-09-07_0011.jpg Look how tiny! We knew Mason would seem even bigger when Tyler got here, but it’s hard to comprehend how much bigger until it actually happens. This is big kid stuff, holding little brothers. Mason is a pro!

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And now, just a whole bunch of cute sweetness with this family of 4…

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I see you there, big brother MayJay!

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Hold him? Take him home?” Mason was loving Tyler so much that he just couldn’t get close enough and wanted to hold him even closer. Such a sweetheart!

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Gentle, loving hands from Mommy and Mason.

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Exploring the toes and the nose, and the “bee-bo!” belly button! “So tiny!”

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It was hard to leave this room full of love, but I left to join my boys and visit some family of ours for the day. But yesterday we hopped on over to their house for a visit from all of us!

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Kisses and love from the boys! And me, but my goodness how cute are they?! :) 

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 Tim & Monica - we are so in love with baby Ty (you know this, we know)! This season of your lives, while full of adjustments and newness and learning how to navigate the world of two kiddos, is such a beautiful and lovely thing to witness. In all of the crazy moments you find yourselves in, always look to the little ones like this. The craziness will be over before we know it, and we’ll all have a bunch of big kids (and one day adults - but please let that don’t be as soon as it feels like it will be) looking back at this crazy, amazing, wonderful time. We couldn’t be happier for you (not without our hearts bursting, I don’t think)! Love you so much!

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~m.

Barco Baby #2

You guys, I love babies. We’re done with having any more of our own, so I get really excited when friends have more. Especially when those friends are these friends! Jordan and Tim grew up together and are brother-friends and he and Monica and Mason are pretty much family to us. We love them so. Just look at this gorgeous glowing mama and her sweet beautiful family!

 We spent a weekend with them at our place in Wilmington, and grabbed a few sweet shots of them out in the hot hot heat.2017-08-07_0001.jpg

Tim calls this next photo Monica’s goddess photo. Seriously though. Shot by Jordan, who rocks our telephoto lens with those amazing hands of his. That dappled light in those live oak trees is gorgeous enough, but when a glowing mama steps in there, totally at peace even in the summer heat…well it’s just breath-taking.2017-08-07_0006.jpg

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This is just so sweet!

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Jordan shot nearly all of these as I entertained the boys inside. He is always the one getting the big smiles and laughs. I love these swingy shots. :) 

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Mason joined us for a bit at the end. I love watching him and Riley together, and absolutely cannot wait to see him and baby brother together when he’s here. Just a couple more weeks now!

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Sleepy kiddo loves some hammock time!

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Mama kisses and cheese cheers with Daddy.

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More to come of this little bundle very soon! We love you, Barcos. :) 

~JAM