Sunday, November 25, 2007

Macy's Walnut Room Tree

State Street

Macy's Christmas Window

Macy's Christmas Window

Macy's Christmas Window

Macy's Christmas Window

Tree at Daily Plaza

The Manger in Daily Plaza




Daily Plaza Tree

Horse And Carriage

In The Carriage

By The Carriage

Going Home

Let The Holidays Begin! Downtown Macy's & Daily Plaza

We had such a great day downtown today! The crowds were minimal and the weather was good too. We took a train downtown and met my friends and son on the train a few stops down. We were downtown by 9:45am. We walked over to Stated Street to Macy's Department store to see Santa. My friends and her son go every year. The line winds through interactive things for the kids to do. Mostly pressing buttons to make things go. Then Santa was in his own room which was great! Between 6 of us and a wheel chair along with coats we were quite a group :) We were able to put everything down first. My friends and son went first and Tom asked for a drum set. Just hearing him answer Santa was great. Then the three of us took a family Christmas picture with Santa! I asked the boys ahead of time if they minded and both were fine with it, so we all went and sat by Santa. Luckily he was on a sturdy bench type of chair. All the pictures turned out nice. Everyone looking and smiling. We were almost out of there and then I realized we missed part of the plan! When Deb and I were 17 we had our picture taken with Santa and I still have the picture. So I asked Santa if he minded Deb and I taking a picture with him. He said he would be happy to. Deb and I now have a new picture with Santa after 30 years! I will drag her there when we are 77 and have an other one done 30 years from now :)

After Santa we went to the lower level of Macy's and had lunch in the cafeteria. The food was good and reasonable. Then we went to the 8th Floor to see the big tree. It was beautiful. We took a couple of pictures and then headed outside to see the decorated windows. I try and take the kids each year to see what used to be Marshall Field's windows, that are now Macy's windows. There were a few people looking, but I was able to take pictures at all the windows! Usually it is so crowed that you can barley see the window let alone take pictures.

Then we were off to Daily Plaza. To the see the Christkindlmarket. It is an open-air, German-style market that showcases handmade ornaments, accessories, clothing and gifts, plus live entertainment. Also features German food and drink such as beer, hot spiced wine, potato pancakes, bratwurst, schnitzel, & strudel. My friend's son loves the chocolate covered marshmallows on a stick. They go every year to get him some. I tried one of those and a stick of chocolate covered strawberries. Now that was great! We also found a little train that will fit great in our North Pole village it is just the right size. The ornaments they have are just beautiful! We bought a couple last year.

After walking around we saw the horse drawn carriage rides. Debbie suggested we try it. The kids have never been on one and I have been on one once. The carriage wouldn't hold all of us, so I offered to stay with the wheel chair and they took all the kids. I did manage to get a couple pictures as they were going and then handed the camera to older son so he could take some pictures of the ride. It was only 20 minutes, so I really didn't mind. I am so glad the boys were able to go on one. It gave me a chance to eat one of the chocolate covered strawberry sticks :) I must say I felt naked without my camera!

Then it was the walk back to the train station. It was getting colder and we had to make one stop on the way. We had to stop by Garrets Popcorn and pick up some cheese popcorn. I haven't had Garretts popcorn in years! It is the best popcorn ever. It is famous in Chicago.

We always love taking the train. On the way home it just started to lightly snow. By the time we hit our stop it was frozen slush and now it sounds like rain mixed with ice is coming down. We made it home just in time to avoid the bad weather. I will be downloading some of our pictures and will come back to post some.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

My Sister Giving The Guys Carving Instructions :)

Older Son and Nephew Doing The Carving

Our Family

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Have a Blessed Thanksgiving

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving Week!

I am glad I posted an other John Braden diary page. It has been awhile since the last one. Since we have been home except for laundry and driving kids from place to place, I have been neck deep in Disney photos. I ended up printing about 560 photos to put in an album. Since I had so many pictures it took a long time to edit and fix them all. When they were done I uploaded them to Walgreens to print starting a 48 hour nightmare! It ended up ok. I had the pictures I wanted and then made 2 cd's containing 995 pictures. Instead of one set of cd's I ended up with 5 sets. It was a long two days :) The good part was that I got to give each of the kids a set, my best friends family, keep one for myself and put a set in our safety deposit box. Can you tell we don't travel much! Pictures are important to me. It is a record of fun times with the kids that we will always look back on. I have all my pictures in order and ready to put in albums. Today my friend came over and we spent hours looking over my pictures and ordering hers. Sure enough half way through all the pictures disappeared from site and we had to do them over, but we had lots of fun and had the cd's going on the tv all day. Tomorrow we pick hers up and I am going to help her sort through them and put them in order. She bought 2 sets so this will be no easy feat! Walgreens never comes back in order and the two copies aren't always together. So we will have 1200 pictures to put in order.

We put up our tree a week early last weekend since we will be gone this weekend and that is when we usually get it up. It looks nice, it has been so gloomy today it looked bright all light up. I am working on Christmas ornaments for gifts. I had pictures printed on transparent paper and cut the pictures to fit in clear glass ornaments. I am going to put some kind of ribbon or bow on it and then I will be all set. I think I made 18 of them. I may try a couple more now that I know what looks good in them.

Older son is back to work after been on vacation since we left for Disney. He is just about done with his final couple of weeks of college. He can't wait, the last few weeks are the hardest.

Younger son has a lot of rehearsals going on. His play is in the middle of December. This year they are doing one big concert a few days after the play for tone chimes, choir, band and orchestra. Kevin is in all of them except orchestra. Both boys are playing in church on December 9th for lessons and carols. The end of the year is always a little hectic around here, but all fun stuff.

Our travelers are enjoying just resting up after the trip to Disney. They should be well rested by Thanksgiving. Maybe they can help cook! Tomorrow I am making Pioneer Women's mashed potatoes (double recipe), chocolate covered brownies and a broccoli & cauliflower dish for Thanksgiving. We go to my sister's each year for dinner. My nephew will be home from college so we will all be together.

Hope you all have a very blessed Thanksgiving. We are blessed to have so many friends and family on and off line :)

Page Forty Seven John Braden's Diary

sunday the 8
i worked in the foundry to day 7 ours & a half george & wille also john & wife was here a little while i mashed my finger to day cora is not very well

Monday the 9
i got paid to day $8 60 i helped quin to move after supper he give me 50 cents i went to the foundry a little while

tuesday the 10
i heart my sholdar while loring a mill the crank sliped out of my hand

wensday the 11th
i dident work to day i sold to hogs

thursday the 12
i went to work to day worked 13 ours

friday the 13
i worked 14 ours to day i got the weight of my hogs they whayed 500 lbs

saturday the 14
i went up town & got my under close to sweatters i got the money for my hogs $20 00

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Last Day By Pool With Our Mickey Ears

Sons With Pumba

Main Street Magic Kingdom

Can You Believe It?

My Friends with My Boys

At MGM Studios

We're Back!

We came home Sunday evening. We had a great time. It was exciting and exhausting! We did 4 parks in four days. Our days started out catching our bus to the park between 7and 8am and getting back to our hotel between 9pm and 1am. We saw just about everything we started out to see and more.

We left at 3:30am on Wednesday the 7th. When we landed we took a Disney transportation bus to our hotel and our luggage followed. We were able to check in early. We left for Animal Kingdom at about 11:30. The first thing we did was Kilmanjaro Safari. It was truly amazing. It really had the feel of an African Safari. This was the only attraction or ride we ever had to wait for. There was a mix up with my friend's son and his handicapped pass at this park. We later found out we should have never waited to get on, but after standing and waiting for an hour and a half to go on the safari I must admit our trip wouldn't have been the perfect trip it had been if we had to wait for everything we wanted to ride. We wouldn't have seen most of what we did. The wait would have been too long. Every other park we were able to walk up to and get on any ride all 4 days. Even sold out rides are open to handicapped children and adults. Disney really makes trips special for anyone with a handicap. We went and saw "It's Tough to be a Bug" in 3D. What fun! the show was great. Seeing the tree if life was something too. The carving was unbelievable!

My friend's son loves parades so we made sure we saw every parade at all the parks and the fireworks. This park had Mickey's Jammin Jungle Parade. We video taped all the parades. The characters and floats were so much fun. They have special seating for anyone in a wheel chair, so we always had front row viewing which was great.

We then were heading to Downtown Disney for the night. We had a bus driver tell us the "easy" way to get there. Lets just says none of us had ever walked that much in our lives! I am sure we ended up walking about 5 miles between actually getting to downtown Disney and then realizing we were on the wrong side of town! Had we known the bus system better (or at all) we would have known a bus runs from one end of town to the other, but it was our first night and we walked. After walking a couple of hours we decided on The House of Blues for dinner. Great food and we were all just so happy to sit! After that we all went to Disney Quest. We stayed until it closed at 11:30pm and then found our bus to go back to the hotel. The whole bus system is great and free when you stay at a Disney resort. We could go to any park or resort for free. The buses ran about every 15 minutes so we never waited too long.

Our hotel was so cute! We stayed at the music resort. They had a movie and sports resort in our complex also. We were told there were 25,000 rooms available in Disney. Our room was about a half mile from the lobby.

Thursday the 8th was our big day. We were out of the hotel by 7am and off to The Magic Kingdom! I was just as excited as the kids. My friend and her family had been there before so they knew where to go. We saw so much that day I asked younger son to help me remember. We did It's a Small World, Peter Pan Flight, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Haunted Mansion, Space Mountain, Buzz Lightyear's Ranger Spin, Snow White Scary, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Dumbo the Flying Elephant, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (which my friend told me was a nice train ride not a roller coaster!), Jungle Cruise, Mad Tea Party, Tomorrowland Transit Authority, Swiss Family Tree House, Cinderella's Golder Carousel, the 3pm parade and the parade and fireworks at 9pm. What a day! Unfortunately younger son and I had to go home right as the 9pm parade was starting he wasn't feeling well. I think it was the lack of sleep, but older son taped the whole thing. We hardly ever went to bed before 2am. We were all so excited. When older son came back to the room that night younger son was already sleeping for awhile, so we ordered a pizza from the lobby and hung out bugging my friend next door until all hours!

Friday the 9th was MGM. It is smaller then the other parks so we had no problem seeing everything by early afternoon. They force me and older son on the Tower of Terror. I am glad to be able to say I did it, but the picture they took as we were falling 13 floors says it all :) Then my friend's son and husband went on the Rock n Roll Coaster. Then we went to my second favorite attraction. The Greatest Movie Ride. It was 22 minutes of riding through movie sets and characters since movies began. I loved it! Then The Star Wars Tour. It was a flight simulator. Next came a very fun lunch. I picked the 50's Cafee. I though burgers and milkshakes 50's theme. I was a little off :) It was a 50's theme, but it was mom's kitchen! All the seating was set up as a 50's kitchen. They have 50's looking tv's through out with clips from shows from the 50's. Our server put the silverware on the table and told us to set the table, take off our hats at the table, elbows off the table, and eat all our vegetables. It was all comfort food no kid friendly food. Well, no food our kids eat :) I asked if they had mac and cheese or grilled cheese, The waiter did bring my friend's son some mac and cheese and told the rest of us to eat what's on the menu :) After we were done eating the waiter came over and asked if I like planes or trains. I said trains. He yelled for every one's attention and told everyone to say "choo choo" as he picked up my fork and veggies left on my plate and said "chugga chugga... everyone in the restaurant said choo choo as he feed me my veggies I had left! Well that made the kids day! They thought it was hysterical! Then we park hopped to Epcot to do half of the World Showcase and then stay for IllumiNation Reflection Earth. The fire works were beautiful!

Saturday the 10th. We were up and out early heading back to Epcot. We did all the rides first. We did the Test Track, Mission Space, Soarin (My absolute favorite ride! I would have come to Disney just for this ride!), Living with the Land Boatride (amazing greenhouse and fish farm), and The Seas with Nemo and Friends. I have to back up and talk about Soarin. It was a free flying hang gliding ride 40 feet in the air with breathtaking visits to Yosemite and redwood forests. The views you see on this are unbelievable. You truly feel like you are flying over and with many views and objects. I wish I could have done this over many times, but it was already closed to all except handicapped because of the volume of people in line and the fast passes already given out. If you are every in Disney this is a MUST see. Then after a quick lunch we went to see the second half of the World Showcase. This is the reason I wanted to come to Epcot for so long. I just couldn't believe I was there the whole time I was walking around looking at all the world! It was all I thought it would be.

Saturday late afternoon my friend's mom and sister met us at our hotel. They live two hours away from Disney and the came with her sister's daughter and a friend. They were in between the boys ages and had a ball together. We went back to Downtown Disney and the kids headed off to Disney Quest for the evening and the adults went to House of Blues again for dinner. We had a great steak dinner and ended up heading back to our hotel and sitting around the pool and having a lot of fun catching up and talking. The kids stayed downtown until about 12:30. Older son ended up meeting the girls at 1am, but younger son was too tired. They hung out by the pool until 2:30 when he walked the girls across the lot to their rooms and finally went to bed.

Sunday the 11th our last day. We all hung out around the pool. My friends family stayed until we got on the bus to go to the airport. They thought the flat travelers we so cute. We all took pictures with them around the pool before we had to go. We had a 5:05pm flight back that was very full. We were happy to get home and see Milo. My niece was so nice to come stay with Milo while we were gone.

Since we have been home except for downloading and picking up pictures we have been home. Today younger son had band and older son is back in class, but he is off work this week so he is very happy about that. Any guesses on how many pictures we took? :) I was deleting each night as we went and still ended up with over 1400 pictures! Older son ended up with over 500. When I downloaded I ended up weeding out some more pictures. I ended up with 1218 on the computer and printed out 532 for our photo album. I went back through them today and sent them to a local store that will put 500 on a CD so I picked out 1000 to put on two Cd's. I just went through older son's and ordered 40 of his. I will put a couple up here and put a few on Flicker too. Older son recorded all the parades for my friend's son and fireworks along with some of our daily fun. We ended up with 5 and 1/2 hours of video too.

All in all a great vacation! I wish we could do it all over again, well after my feet stop hurting!

Glad to be back!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Our Travelers Are Packed And Ready!

We Are Almost Off!

We are getting up at 2:30am and leaving for the airport by 3:30am. Which reminds me of how things sound like a good idea when you are planning for the future. What were we thinking leaving so early? The plan gave us most of the first day in Disney becasue we don't want to miss anything :) The other flights would have had us arriving closer to afternoon. Since we are only there 5 days and 4 nights we reasoned we want to get a full day in. Our plan is to do Animal Kingdom when we arrive tomorrow and then go to downtown Disney tomorrow night. Younger son was never at Disney Quest when we had one in our area and has always wanted to go, so that is on the agenda for the first night in Disney. We are planning our days from 7am until midnight. Yes, we will need a vacation from our vacation! My best friend's family and the boys and I have been planning this for about a year or so. I am doing the last of the laundry and the packing today. I set my alarm this morning to make sure we got or boarding passes and we are the A group. My best friend's son is Autistic and they wanted certain seats for him.

My niece is here to take care of Milo while we are gone. I keep going over things like don't forget to leave the house keys! Can you tell how often we travel? I almost gave her my house keys this morning when I took her to the train, good thing I remembered I needed to get back in the house this morning! I must say I am a little stressed. For some reason I feel this trip has to be perfect for the kids. I keep thinking this is somehow going to change ours lives and fix some of the past. Silly I know, but even when you know what you are thinking is unreasonable it doesn't make the thought go away. Well, Disney is supose to be the happiest place on earth and I am holding them to it ! :)

See you when we get back! I wish I could take you all with us, now that would be a party!!

Page Forty Six John Braden's Diary

september saturday the 30
i worked in the foundry the st fair is over

sunday the first of october
my father inlaw & i got up earley & went a fishing i caught 2 bas dad ____ had 7 we came past mr lees & got my stove _______ stove i took john over washing meshine this evening

monday the 2
this was pay day i went up town got shaved got me a pair of over halls & a waist i paid my cobb bill ($1 75) then went to johns to a dance Harry went with me i got
$2 00 for playing i got hame at 12=30 o clock

wensday the 4
gorge Gatton got home today ed B. dug some of my taters i worked in the foundry

thursday the 5

friday the 6
ed dug the rest of my potatoes

saturday the 7
i wint up town & got me a fiddle bo after supper i played the fiddle for a dance at joneses got $2 25 harry went with me