Weddings, Snowstorms, and Hello to the Mouse

Friday morning, I woke at 4-something-early-o’clock and pulled together a backpack with underthings, pajamas, a pair of fancy shoes, and work laptop. The husband would start driving the children to Orlando on Saturday morning, alone, while I would meet them in Orlando midday Sunday by way of Pittsburgh, PA.   My cousin planned a last minute, “I would like to deduct my three future step-kids on my 2017 taxes” wedding for December 30, so the Prof found me the cheapest flights possible from NOLA to PA, and PA to FL (hence not even a carryon or purse – Spirit airlines charges $30 to use the overhead bins and won’t even pass out free water, but the fare is low low low).

My mother’s brother’s son was getting married.  Since my mother’s side of the family was thus fairly occupied with quick wedding planning (and cookie-baking, for the traditional Pittsburgh cookie table), we stayed with my father’s side – his sister, and her husband.  This was during the heart of the polar vortex, so it was about 1 degree and snowed heavily all day Friday.  The drive to my aunt’s place was hilly and a bit slippery, but we were firmly ensconced in her warm, welcoming home when it started really coming down.  I enjoyed being there – and I think she enjoyed having all of us there.  My entire nuclear family wasn’t able to make it, but a lot of us were – me, my brother, my youngest sister and her baby, and my parents.  Five of the “original” seven, plus a bonus baby to boot.  It was lots of fun sharing him with the extended family.  He was 7 months just about exactly at this time – busy, heavy, almost army crawling.  And of course now, three weeks later, he can crawl, sit up, and pull up – it happens so fast!

Bringer of joy

Bringer of joy.  My brother Randy on the left, baby Charles, and my Aunt on the right

Uncle and nephew

Uncle and nephew

I spent much of the wintry, snowy day working.  I was able to do it in the room with everyone – it was a doc review, so nothing too taxing, but I did have thousands of pages to try to frantically get through before the Disney trip.  I tried to keep one eye on the doc review, and the other eye and both ears on the conversation around me.  So goes the life of a BigLaw lawyer.

The snow stopped midday and my uncles spent some time blowing snow off the drive and walkways.  So many chores we Southerners never grapple with, never think about.  We made it through the 1 degree, windless frigid air to the wedding.  Where Charles was passed around among aunts, uncles, and cousins, while enjoyed the hospitality of cousins we wish we saw more of.

Great Aunt.  Though not really old enough to be one - my mother is the oldest of 7, and she married the youngest.

Great Aunt. Though not really old enough to be one – my mother is the oldest of 7, and she married the youngest.

Pittsburgh wedding cookie table

Pittsburgh wedding cookie table

My sister holds her baby (right), our cousin holds her youngest (left)

My sister holds her baby (right), our cousin holds her youngest (left)

Pittsburgh.  Cold.  1 degree cold.  Not my jam, but pretty for a day.

Pittsburgh. Cold. 1 degree cold. Not my jam, but pretty for a day.

I fretted pretty much the whole evening that I wouldn’t make my flight in the morning, or that if I could it would be delayed due to ice.  However, none of those things happened, and I arrived in the much warmer climes in Orlando midday Sunday.  I caught the Mickey mouse bus thing from the airport to Port Orleans Riverside, and I beat most of the family there.

Decked out

Decked out

I lined up in the lobby of the Port Orleans to check in, and my in-laws texted that they were right outside and would take me to my room adjoining theirs.  We met and drove over, and very shortly after arriving, the rest of the crew showed up.

Mickey's bud

Mickey’s bud

Our rooms were all in a line along the second floor.  The resort itself, modeled after the French Quarter and Louisiana swamp (ha!  a home away from home), was lovely and comfortable.  We had two queen beds in our room, plus a fold down twin that Craig slept in.  Our first day, Sunday, was not a day in the parks – we would meet, get settled in, have dinner, and wish each other happy new year before an early bedtime (normally I’ll stay up til midnight, but it seemed more prudent to get some rest before the long next day).  At dinner we feasted on Mickey ear ice cream bars, and then the boys swam and played on the waterslide at the pool.  This was the only warm day there – we would not get out the swimsuits again.

Mickey ears ice cream

Mickey ears ice cream

The first day - bewitchingly warm

The first day – bewitchingly warm

Overnight the polar vortex had made its way south, and the morning dawned chilly and misting with rain.  Nevertheless, we were prepared for this, and we suited up in warm, waterproof clothes, gathered our Mickey fanny packs (the boys) and Mickey ears (the boys) and maps and iPhone apps (the adults), and headed toward breakfast of Mickey waffles and sausage, and then the bus.

Soldiers marching off to war/taking down Disney World

Soldiers marching off to war/taking down Disney World

We had a fast pass for Space Mountain first thing, so we headed straight there.

Tomorrowland

Tomorrowland

Thpathe Mountain ith awethome

Thpathe Mountain ith awethome

Three Musketeers

Three Musketeers

Liam loved Space Mountain – this was the beginning of his love affair with roller coasters.  It was also proof that Jack’s hatred of roller coasters has not dimmed.  He had a panic attack, bit through his lip, banged his head uncontrollably on the seat back – all in all made me deeeeeeeply regret having him ride.  It set the tone for the rest of the trip, making him nervous and obsessive about each later ride.  Whoops.  Mistake.

After Space Mountain, we headed towards some indoor rides to spend some time out of the rain, including Beauty and the Beast, the Little Mermaid, the Peter Pan ride, and It’s a Small World (sadly, broken so we never did ride it).

My SIL, who hates this picture, but doesn't read this blog, so shhhhhhh

My SIL being cheerful in her poncho,, who hates this picture, but doesn’t read this blog, so shhhhhhh

The kids waiting in line at Belle's house

The kids waiting in line at Belle’s house

Beauty and the Beast is his favorite movie you guys you just don't even know

Beauty and the Beast is his favorite movie you guys you just don’t even know

Learning their roles in the Beauty and the Beast "play"

Learning their roles in the Beauty and the Beast “play”

Liam was the beast, because he was best at roaring

Liam was the beast, because he was best at roaring

In awe

In awe.  Belle was a “tier 1” princess for sure (my BIL has a ranking system for how convincing they are – she was tip top)

The Peter Pan ride

The Peter Pan ride

Lunch at the Pinocchio Haus

Lunch at the Pinocchio Haus

After Pinocchio Haus, we headed to Pirates of the Caribbean, one of my favorites.  Then we coaxed Jack to ride with us on Splash Mountain.  It was a chill day, but heck we were already wet.  My brother in law liked to fake Jack out by hollering at every drop, even the tiny ones, and by the end Jack had good humor about it.

Pirates of the Caribbean

Pirates of the Caribbean

Splash Mountain

Splash Mountain

Got this dude to ride it

Got this dude to ride it

After this, we hoofed it to the Country Bear Jamboree to try to warm up inside a bit.  Craig had had a mild fever part of the day, and I felt a little bad dragging him around in the cold and rain, but he was a real trooper.  It was good to get him warmed up for a bit.  We also did the Tiki room, the Aladdin magic carpet ride, and got some Dole Whips.

Aladdin magic carpet

Aladdin magic carpet

I was there too

I was there too

Magic carpet

Magic carpet

Frigid Dole whips

Frigid Dole whips

Then the littles were really cold and it was time to take them home.  Dee Dee and Chip Ip walked them and our non-roller-coaster-rider Jack back to the hotel, and the rest of us rode Thunder Mountain Railroad.  And it. Was. Awesome.  Then we shivered our way back to our rooms to get warm and rested.

Thunder! Mountain! Railroad!

Thunder! Mountain! Railroad!

Walking back, past a castle covered in "snow"

Walking back, past a castle covered in “snow”

The Roller Coaster Cousins

The Roller Coaster Cousins

Christmas decorations - they slowly took them down during the days we were there.

Christmas decorations – they slowly took them down during the days we were there.

Tree

Tree

We stopped at this confectioner's on Main Street on the way out, to get a sweet treat

We stopped at this confectioner’s on Main Street on the way out, to get a sweet treat

One last magical look

One last magical look

And that was Day One!

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