Tuesday, April 15, 2014


We finished our Florida time with a day at Disney World, of course--riding rides, meeting characters, watching parades, and eating everything.

It ended up being a particularly special "Daddy and Son" time--since I was too pregnant for a lot of the rides, and others only had room for two. So often I played photographer and ate Dole Whip while they drove cars, shot laser guns, and flew in rocket ships.

But it's no secret Fabio enjoyed some rides more than others... He was so scared on the Astro Orbiter!

J particularly enjoyed riding in the "honey pot" on the Winnie the Pooh ride, spinning the tea cups "himself", and anything that flew--the little thrill-seeker.

We kept stumbling on one parade after another--much to Jonathan's surprise and delight! He waved eagerly to all the characters, even the ones he didn't know, and on Daddy's shoulders he definitely had the best seat on the street.

But the uncontested highlight of the day was having lunch with Winnie the Pooh and his friends.

I'd told Jonathan that we were going to have lunch with Pooh, and he would just happily agree like he does to anything from making cookies to putting spiders in his bed. But when we were actually at the restaurant waiting for a table, and Jonathan looked in the window to see Tigger himself, it clicked.

"Mommy! Tigger's in there!! We going to eat in there? With Tigger??!!"

He could not believe his good fortune as Tigger, Piglet, Eyore, and the Yellow Bear Himself came to our table to give him a hug and hear his stories.

He told them all about how he liked to bounce, too, and how they were his "best friends." He especially wanted to see Eeyore. "Mommy, Eeyore's so sad. I need to give him a hug and be his friend." And sure enough, when Eeyore finally came around that's exactly what Jonathan did.

"Eeyore, you don't need to be sad. I be your friend. See?"
Such a sweetie-bug.

But if you ask Jon what he did in Disney World, he'll quickly tell you, "We saw Winnie ah Pooh and I gave him a BIIIIG hug!"

And Fabio and I started to understand why they describe Disney as "magical"--because this moment was nothing short.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Vovo Levy and Elizabeth

We left Vovó Janilce's house to visit Vovo (pronounced "Vohvoh") Levy, Fabio's grandpa, and his sweet wife, Elizabeth, who live just outside Fort Lauderdale.

Vovo is a watchmaker and repairman, 84-years-old and still working every day. Hopefully Fabio and Jon have some of those spry long-gevity genes!

We loved touring his shop full of Rolexes in various states of repair, tools for the tiniest jobs, and machines he actually made himself. I was almost embarrassed when he took a look at my own cheap watch to make sure it was waterproof.  But it is! and Levy places no stock in fancy brands.

One of several Levy-made machines

And Jonathan was perfectly content standing in the backyard with Elizabeth "watching for airplanes."

4 generations spanned, just wishing Cesar could be there too

And then we spent the day playing in the sand at Hollywood Beach (the water was freezing and full of jellyfish, so we wussed-out on swimming).

But Fabio and J dug a hole as deep as J is tall, and buried a strawberry fruit snack in the bottom.

It was an awesome second-leg to our break from the cold: full of great stories and beautiful sunshine!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Florida and Vovó!

By early March, we were getting kind of bored with this:

Note the "feels like" under the actual temperature

And a visit with Vovó (pronounced "Vohvah", and Portuguese for "grandma") was long overdue.

So in true Gaertner fashion, on a whim we booked a trip to Florida for two weeks later!

It was so nice to see Vovó again. As usual she filled us with yummy food, including my personal favorite: the very best rice and beans you can imagine! Jonathan was especially spoilt with "trick or treats" (candy), new toy airplanes and doggies, Fruit Loops, cake for breakfast, and over an acre of grass for running around.

So between feeding the Tilapia in Noel's pond, 

harassing two dogs and two cats, 

Every morning as soon as J opened his eyes, 
"I see Vovó? Where's Cody? We feed the fish."

a doting grandma to shower J with cuddles and loves, a new friend in Papa Noel, (who we were all so excited to finally meet),

and a hammock in positively perfect weather... we kind of gave up every hope of naps while we were there. There was just too much fun to be had!

And if things could possibly get more fun, Vovó and Noel live pretty close to Busch Gardens. So of course we had to enjoy the zoo, water park, and kiddie rides, too!

We watched the elephants do tricks, and "popped in" on the tigers--which are so much bigger than I realized!

And Jonathan and Fabio rode the "flying elephants" in Sesame Street land over, and over, and over, and over.... and over again. Fabio was a great sport to crunch up his long legs into that tiny elephant for so long. Jonathan thought pulling the joy stick to "take off" and "land" all by himself was absolutely magical!

Needless to say, it was hard to say goodbye--even though we still had more Florida fun planned. But, we had such a sweet time we knew we'd be coming back. 70 degrees and a loving Vovó are simply too much to resist for very long, you know!