Sunday, February 26, 2012

Disney 2012 - Day 1

I WILL finish blogging about this trip, or at least make it to day 2 since my blogging of our last trip ended with day 1. :P

It may be ridiculously early, but Alyssa and Joel are ready to fly!

Our day of flying was long after heading from Omaha to Minneapolis then to Orlando (really, we have to fly 6 - 7 hours straight north before heading waaaay south?!), but all the flying was worth it when we got check into our room in the Martinique Village of the Caribbean Beach resort and saw our view:
After dropping our carry on bags and jackets (so long Nebraska winter clothes, hello flip flops and capris!), we jumped back on the bus for Downtown Disney. I had made reservations at the T-Rex restaurant for our first night.

We were seated near the "ice cave", which was amazing! Honestly, the entire restaurant was amazing. You really felt like you were back in dinosaur times. Although with central air and electricity. :) Every 15 - 20 minutes the lights would dim and there would be a "meteor shower" complete with shooting stars and thunder. All throughout the restaurant there were lifelike (probably not life SIZED) animated dinosaurs and various animals from that era. We were sitting near a Mommy/Daddy Woolley Mammoth and baby that would start moving and making noise at random intervals, it seemed especially frequent if someone went over and scratched the baby between the eyes. One of my favorite parts of the restaurant was the giant squid/octopus that hovered over the bar.

One of the most amazingly fantastic parts of the meal came at the end. In the form of the "chocolate extinction" dessert. I think we may have to plan a trip back, purely for this dessert. It definitely trumps the Goofy Candy Company Cupcake that I previously thought was the most delicious thing I'd ever had. The dessert was perfect for our family ~ 4 servings of unbelievable chocolate cake drizzled with chocolate, caramel, butterfinger-ish pieces and whipped cream served alongside 4 scoops of vanilla ice cream. The kids' favorite part was the "volcano" in the middle ~ a martini shaker with water and dry ice in it, so that smoke spilled out over the plate.

After dinner we stopped by the Lego store to check out the impressive wall-o-legos as well as the impressive lego "statues", like Woody!

We had seen a sign earlier in the day by the main stage at Downtown Disney that there was going to be a dance party that night. I thought Alyssa and Joel might have fun watching people dance, but we were all pleasantly surprised when we found out that it was a dance party FOR the kids. They had one of the Disney choreographers teaching the kids different dances to popular Disney/Disney Junior songs (think High School Musical to Mickey Mouse Clubhouse's Hot Dog song). I was floored by how quickly he could teach them the dances, just by breaking it down and teaching it 2 - 4 moves at a times. The dancing was followed by a hula hoop contest, which the Koch kids did NOT participate in, but they had a great time watching!

The current theme at Disney World is "Let the Memories Begin". Amen! :) Stayed tuned for day 2 ... Joel's birthday day!

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Friday, February 24, 2012

For Anna

**disclaimer, I wrote this Friday night and saved it, unpublished. Wasn't sure if I was ready to share it with the blogging world.

Dear Anna,

My wall almost broke today. The wall that I've had up since Monday, February 6th @ 11:31am when I stood next to our gate in the Orlando airport listening to the message that your dad left on my cell phone to call him. As I was listening, my call waiting beeped and I looked down to see that Brandy was calling me. I instantly knew, in that moment, that this was one of THOSE moments. One of those moments that would change my life forever. Never did I dream that the next few words I would hear that you were gone. That might have been the very last thing I ever would have expected to hear. I've kept that wall up so far. Because I don't think I have the strength to cope with the reality if that wall comes down.

While my kids have rest time, Tracy plays music. Its always just a random jumble of Disney songs, lullabies, etc. Today "You Are My Sunshine" came on. Until I was probably 17 or 18, I would immediately think of your Grandpa and my Grandma Nelsen. I remember my dad and grandma singing it to me when I was little. They probably sang it to your mom, too, because I know she sang it to you almost every night of your life. Even when you were in junior high and on a sleepover, you called home to have your mom sing to you. Whether you really "needed" to have her sing it to you so that you could go to sleep or if you were just being a typical pre-teen messing around with your mom, putting her on speakerphone so that your friends could hear, I'll never know. But I know your mom wouldn't care, you were her Sunshine and she would sing to you any time, any where. Because she loved you.

When I heard the familiar words, I reflexively started singing along in my mind. But then, when I realized what I was singing, what the song was, what it reminded me of, I had to stop. To put up my guard. To distract myself. To not think. To avoid thinking the words that would make me believe. I don't want to believe. I can't believe. Not yet. Part of me thinks that maybe I won't ever believe. I'll convince myself that you're too busy to talk, too busy to visit, that you don't care, that you don't need me. The way I've felt for the last few years. Its easier that way. Because there's still the potential of getting MY Anna Beth back. The small chance that you'll come to your senses and realize that you need me. That you want me to be part of your life. That I'll get back the Anna Beth that adored her Aunt Christi, the Anna Beth that Aunt Christi adored back. I lost that little girl a long time ago. But there was still hope. Hope that someday, she would come back around. Someday we would find our way back to each other. I NEED that hope. I'm not ready to give that hope up.

Regardless of the state of my wall, regardless of how you felt about me over the years, regardless of what I did or said, I loved you. And I love you still.

Aunt Christi