MOUSE! Just one of the many highlights of our time in (sunny, humid, sticky, hot, wonderful) Orlando last week.
We started our adventure flying our of Minneapolis Wednesday evening. Cooper did so well on the plane. We read books, had snacks, played with stickers and enjoyed the people around us. We arrive in Florida, got our luggage; which included carseat, stroller, diaper bag, Kevin's backpack, one large piece of luggage and two big carry-ons, and headed for our rental car. After navigating our way through the airport and the tram we were on our way to the hotel.
We finally got into our room and ready for bed around midnight on Wednesday. Although sleeping arrangements were less than ideal for any of us - Cooper had a hard time falling to sleep with us in the room, more on that later. We eventually all fell asleep, ready for the day ahead.

Thursday we decided to stay close to the hotel and see what was near us. We headed out to pick up snacks, milk and juice for Cooper and to see a little of Orlando. We spent alot of time in the pool this day as well. I knew it would be hot in Florida in August but the intensity of the sun was surprising! WOW! The pool was actually kind of warm at times and not as cool as I would have liked in order to really cool off.
Thursday night our Miss Minnesota's Outstanding Teen (MMOT) made us very proud by winning the prelim Evening Gown and On Stage question award! The first time MMOT has won a prelim at Miss America's Outstanding Teen. We decided that it would be better if we didn't try to get Cooper to sit through two nights of pageants so we went to dinner and waited the results. We were told that for great seafood we should try Big Fin restaurant. It was wonderful. I had lobster scampi pasta and Kevin had a seafood combination of snow crab, crayfish grits and veggies. Best meal of the trip!

Friday we packed up the car and head to Disney! Cooper did not know the Disney characters before our vacation, but I had sung the Mickey Mouse Club song to/with him and Mickey just so happens to be on his diapers. Plus he loves the larger than life characters in parades so we knew he would enjoy any characters we may see at magic Kingdom.
We arrived a little before M0am, by the time we actually got into the park it was 10am. We bought our tickets and away we went! As we entered the park we could here that a show was being performed in front of Cinderella's Castle. Minnie, Mickey, Donald, Daisy, Cinderella, Peter Pan- you name it, they were there! How fun for Cooper to see Disney for the first time with all of the characters singing and dancing! We stood and watched the show and took a look at the map to decide where to go first.
We saw so much that day! We started with the Dumbo and Tea Cup rides. Visited It's A Small World and Peter Pan's Adventure. We then met Tiger and Pooh and drove race cars. There was just so much in that day it's hard to capture it all here. The afternoon included a parade, a down pour of rain, boat rides, and ended with a very magical night parade and fireworks over Cinderella's Castle. We walked out of the park at 11pm! Cooper was such a good boy all day. It was hot, noisy and busy all day but he enjoyed himself and seemed to really love it as much as Kevin and me.

The next day was Saturday/Pageant day! I had a State Director's meeting Saturday morning so the boys explored the hotel for a few hours. After that we  met the rest of the MN crew in Florida for a quick lunch. We only had a few hours between lunch and show time so we headed to the pool to cool off and tried to let Cooper nap. About the napping....

Cooper had a crib supplied by the hotel for sleeping during our stay. We first tried to place the crib near the entrance of the room and block his view with a sheet tapped to the ceiling. This worked the first night, probably because he was exhausted from traveling. The next night and nap times were a different story. We needed to move his crib away from the door so Kevin and I could still use the bathroom and leave if needed. We moved some furniture, taped up the sheet and hoped for the best.
Well- the sheet last about two minutes. As that was falling down, Cooper turned to the window curtains- we all know what his intent was there! After we let him know that was "not ok" he found how fun it was to throw all of his blankets out of the crib one at at time, followed by his pillow and stuffed monkey. Kevin and I were so good at fetching these! Over and over we would try to convince Cooper that we were all going to bed. We would lay motionless on the bed next to him and before too long I would feel a blanket land on the bed next to me, followed by one on my face and an uproar of laughter and another blanket and a monkey on top of that.  When I wouldn't give them back to him, he would cry- mainly because he was tired and because I had ruined his game. Eventually either we would fall asleep or he would and then we could go cover him up.

Saturday night we got dressed up, Kevin and Cooper matched, it was so cute, and headed to the pageant. I tried to keep people updated on how the night progress on Facebook- it kept getting more exciting as the night went! Alexis first made the top 10 cut. I say top 10, but they actually announced 15 semi finalists. I have to say that Alexis made the 15 on her scores alone; no votes were bought- she earned it! I say that because two of the top 12 were part of the pay to vote People's Choice winners. I think it is a great fund raiser for the pageant, but its really nice to know our girl made it by herself.
At the end of the night Alexis was named 4th runner up!! Such a huge accomplishment. Miss America's Outstanding Teen 2012 is Miss Florida- a very talented and beautiful girl.

The next day was Sunday and our last full day of vacation. We headed out early again to get as much out of the day as possible. We decided to spend the day at Sea World since it was so close to our hotel. I have to say that Sea World was fun, but after spending time at Magic Kingdom, nothing can compare. Cooper did enjoy the animals, touching Sting Rays, nearly touching dolphins, watching the sea life swim by but his favorite part of Sea World were the rides! He wanted to go over and over. It was so fun to see him get excited about the next ride as we barely got off the one we were just on. We were able to spend nearly 9 hours there before the park closed.
We left hot and hungry so we headed to the hotel to quickly shower and change and find a place to eat. We ended up at a nice Italian restaurant where Cooper decided the table cloth made a better napkin that then one I had for him. He also decided that what he wanted for dinner was "cake!" which seems to be what he says he wants alot lately. Not sure why, as he hasn't had too much cake in his life.

We headed back to our hotel to pack up our things and get ready to depart for home early the next morning.

It was such a great trip! We loved everything about it and can't wait to go back soon- next time with two kids, which will be very interesting!


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