Cousin Time – The Other Side

Last week, the Princess had Cousin Time with my side of the family. This week we’re going to the beach with My Sweetie’s side of the family for some MORE Cousin Time. When we go to the beach with this side of the family, we stay with My Sweetie’s dad and step-mom’s. The kids have a blast together.

Spring Break 2008

Spring Break 2009

They weren’t able to go to the beach together in 2010 due to scheduling conflicts so we are VERY EXCITED we can get them together this year.

Hanging with these cousins is totally different for the Princess than with the other cousins. On this side, she is the youngest (although the girls are only eight weeks apart). That means they can play harder and longer and crazier.


What do you to get your kids together with their cousins?

It’s Callaway Time Again!

This was the back of my mother’s van last Saturday morning. Five of the seven grandchildren on their way to Callaway Gardens in middle Georgia.

Last year, they took four grandchildren. Next year, all seven will be “eligible” to go. (You have to be fully potty trained and willing to be away from mommy and daddy for a week.)

I love to hear the stories when The Princess (she’s the one on the right) returns. She has SO MUCH FUN on this trip each year. She gets lots of great time with Grandma and Gramps, but even more importantly she gets time with her cousins. She LOVES her cousins….loves them. I think she appreciates and enjoys them more because she’s an only child. This is one of the few times of year that she gets to be rowdy and crazy with kids all day long.

Cousin time at Callaway Gardens…it’s a FINER THING!

Linked to Finer Things Friday.

Disney Social Media Moms: Quick Pics Day 3

Day three of the conference started REALLY early for this Mama! We had been up late the night before and I was the ONLY one of the House of Hills up for breakfast. However, it was a great breakfast where I was able to hear the Head Chef from the California Grill and the Chief Sommelier from Animal Kingdom Lodge discuss Disney Dining.

I walked around the Grand Floridian and took some pictures. Believe me, it deserves its own post, but here’s one pic.

After waking my child up at 10:45!!!! and grabbing some lunch, we headed over to Epcot as a family. The Princess spent a great deal of time in Innoventions. She LOVES all the science techy stuff.

She also did one round of the Kim Possible game. That too deserves its own post. It is SO MUCH FUN for the entire family. We’ve played it before, but she wanted to do one round this trip.

I left the family and went to a press conference for Disney’s Magic of Healthy Living. This is an awesome program that I will be talking about more in the weeks to come. I was able to attend a press conference with some Disney Channel stars (with whom the Princess was later able to dance)!

After a very yummy (and healthy) dinner, we went to a dessert buffet (also healthier) and to watch Illuminations from the BEST SPOT EVER!

We then said good-bye to many of the Disney Mommy Friends and headed back to the Grand Floridian for our final night in paradise.

And just like that, the conference was over. So sad……

Oh, we did stay two more days. Monday we hit Typhoon Lagoon. It was actually our FIRST WATERPARK as a family. OH. MY. WORD. We had the best time. Except for the fact that I bruised my tailbone. Gotta lift your booty on the water coaster folks. Gotta lift that booty.

Tuesday, we went to Crystal Palace in Magic Kingdom for breakfast with Pooh and Friends…more about tomorrow…

Disclosure: My family and I were given accommodations and park tickets at a reduced rate as part of the conference. In addition, Disney has treated us as wonderful guests complete with special surprises. All opinions are my very own.

Disney Tip: Rain Gear

I’m currently at the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration learning tons about blogging and hanging with my family at the parks. While I’m MIA, I thought it would be fun to share some Disney tips I’ve learned over the years. I’ll be coming home with even more!

I’ve told you before about the backpacks I take to Disney. Yes, I said backpacks… as in plural. One for daily in the park and one for days when it might rain. Because it rains in Florida – often – even at Disney.

The photo above is from a day that the entire House of Hills was thankful for the rain gear backpack. It was POURING at Animal Kingdom. Have you been to Animal Kingdom? There aren’t many places to hide there. We just had to walk in it. Did I mention it was POURING!!

However, we stayed dry wherever we were covered with the rain gear I had in my handy backpack. And, when it stopped pouring, we were happy for dry socks.

Here’s a recap of what I pack in the rain gear backpack:

  • Raincoat/Poncho for each person. The Princess has always had a Lands End raincoat, and I can’t overemphasize how AWESOME they are!
  • At least one umbrella
  • Multiple gallon baggies – I use these to put things in that I don’t want to get wet. The phone and wallet that are in my pocket usually get put in a baggie. The Princess’ autograph book gets put in a baggie, etc.
  • One pair of socks for each person
  • If you have a stroller, at least one poncho to cover the stroller

Now, I do NOT recommend carrying this backpack EVERY day you are at Disney. I highly recommend it when it looks like it’s going to rain.

How do you stay dry when you’re hanging with the Mouse (or on any other outdoor adventure…although why you would want to be any place besides Disney is beyond me)?

Disclosure: All opinions are my own.

Disney Social Media Moms: Some Quick Pics Day 2

Day two at the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration was spent in the conference center with some AMAZING speakers, learning, entertainment, and prizes. I took tons of notes and will share them with you later. But, be honest. What you really want are some pictures.

This is actually from Day 1, but didn’t make it up yesterday.

This is also from Day 1. I was SO BLESSED to have my family with me for the trip. It was truly magical to share the time with them.

All prepared for a day of learning. And OH MY! did we learn!
More of what I learned in posts to come.

The stage for our speakers. Yes, the piano was used in the afternoon by Georgia Stitt as she played and sang with Susan Egan. AMAZING women!

Duffy the Bear was there when we returned from lunch. We also received a stuffed Duffy, which my Princess was VERY excited about.

I hung out for a brief moment with Sippy Cup Mom who is one of my favorite Twitter friends, now Real Life friends.

The Princess with Captain Hook at the Disney Junior party.
So much fun!

The Princess on the tea cups at like midnight. It was a LATE night!

Disclosure: My family and I were given accommodations and park tickets at a reduced rate as part of the conference. In addition, Disney has treated us as wonderful guests complete with special surprises. All opinions are my very own.

Disney Social Media Moms: Some Quick Pics Day 1

We started our AMAZING Disney Social Media Moms celebration with some GREAT family fun at Magic Kingdom. Then, I was able to attend a press event for the 20th Anniversary of Disney Weddings. (I TOTALLY want to renew my vows at Disney now.) Finally, we were treated to a FABULOUS family dinner and fun on the Grand Floridian lawn.

I’ll go into more detail when I get home, but I know you want to see some pics.

After checking into our hotel, we headed to Magic Kingdom. It is CROWDED this time of year. One of the reasons we’ve never been in March. It’s still FUN though!

We ran into Ohamanda right inside MK.
We stopped for a quick pic and then she and her hubby were off to park hop.

The view outside our balcony. We’re at the Grand Floridian. Yes, I’m getting spoiled.

What greeted us at the Wedding Pavilion. We all filled up boxes for our “kids.”

All the ladies received fun “Bride Mickey Ears.” I’m wearing mine proudly.

I was so excited to meet Lou from WDW Radio. My Sweetie LOVES his podcasts and videos, and I got my picture taken with him JUST so I could text it to my hubby. SO fun.

Those are just a FEW of the pictures I took. More to come in the days (and perhaps weeks) to follow!

Disclosure: My family and I were given accommodations and park tickets at a reduced rate as part of the conference. In addition, Disney has treated us as wonderful guests complete with special surprises. All opinions are my very own.

Surprise: The Reaction

WOW! We had some serious traffic on the blog yesterday! Everybody wanted to see how we were telling the Princess we were going to Disney World for the Social Media Moms Celebration.

If you missed it, we made a video telling the Princess SURPRISE and explaining what was going on. She was ABSOLUTELY surprised.

When I picked her up at school, she was complaining that she didn’t feel good. Her tummy hurt. She felt achy. I was seriously trying not to panic. We’ve had a rough winter, and it seems she’s only well for like three weeks at a time. We’re nearing the end of the three weeks.

I ushered her out to the car where she was surprised to see Daddy. We were supposedly heading to the dentist (at 1:30 in the afternoon) and Daddy doesn’t usually go with us. We sat her in the car and gave her my laptop on which to watch the video we had made. Daddy recorded her and I took still shots. This is the (unedited) reaction:

Now, those of you that don’t know my child might think that’s not much of a reaction. Those of you that do will know that the grinning from ear to ear and eyes shifting back and forth is pure joy and excitement while her brain tries to adjust her entire week’s schedule to the fact that we are going out of town. (She gets that from her mama.) She was THRILLED. She was EXCITED. She was SURPRISED.

After the being overwhelmed wore off, she started to get really excited and by the time we hit the FL state line was giddy. Interestingly, she’s been much more appreciative this trip than any other one. She’s been here at least nine times – always in the fall. It seems that changing it up has made her realize it truly is a gift and blessing to be able to come.

And it is SUCH a blessing to be at Disney for this conference. I can’t wait to see what they have in store for us! I’ve got some posts lined up as I don’t know how much time I’ll have to actually blog while I’m here. I’ll be sure to take lots of pictures and share them with you when I can! If you twitter, be sure to follow me (kathill).


Today is the day we head to Disney Social Media Moms. To say that My Sweetie and I are excited is an understatement. We have been bursting. Why bursting? Because we haven’t told the Princess yet that we’re going! As in I took her to school today, and she thinks its a normal Wednesday with soccer practice tonight. But it is in no way a normal Wednesday.


How we have kept this a secret I have no idea. It has been SO hard! However, I think it’s going to be worth it. This is our one and only chance to surprise her with a trip to Disney. We go every fall so going in the spring is totally out of the realm of her imagination. We can’t wait to tell her and watch her reaction.

The biggest question was how to tell her. We decided to make a video to show her when she gets in the van. I’m picking her up from school a little early. She thinks she has a dentist appointment. (FYI – She HATES the dentist so was dragging to start the day.)  When she sees Daddy in the car and the car packed, she’ll know something’s up. We plan to show her the video below right away to explain the surprise. I can’t wait!!

The plan is to record her reaction. We’ll share it with you as soon as you we can.

Things I Love Thursday: Girl Cousins

I’ve talked about the girl cousins before… last year as a matter of fact, but I just can’t help sharing a few more pictures.

This relationship continues to amaze me. I don’t have a girl cousin. (Well, not one that I’m close with at all.) I don’t have a sister. I have a step-sister and a half-sister, but we never lived together or even in the same city. So this relationship between the Princess and E fascinates me. It fills my heart so much it wants to burst at times. I LOVE to watch it unfold. I KNOW it is a relationship that will last a lifetime. It is a relationship that will get them through many trials together. It is something I truly LOVE!

Linked to Things I Love Thursday.