Monday, December 12, 2011

Old Mother Hubbard

As the kids get older, I sometimes feel like Old Mother Hubbard.  You know...she went to the cupboard and it was bare.  I get that feeling sometimes around here.  The kids are getting bigger, so logically they eat more.  Now, all of them are competitive swimmers.  Therefore, they eat more.

Back in the good old days, I used to be so proud of myself when I could fix lunch for a dollar.  A 25 cent box of macaroni and cheese and an apple could feed my two younger.  Sometimes, I would add chicken nuggets.  Or 1 can of soup and some cheese toast. Maybe a Tostino's party pizza and some fruit.  Cheap lunches, people.   Gone are those days.  Prices have gone up dramatically, but they obviously eat more than that.  Jake can eat an entire large frozen pizza himself.  The girls eat a whole box of pasta salad.  Then throw in two apples or cucumbers.  That's alot of food.  I just eat the leftovers. :)

Back in the good old days, I also used to be so proud that I could only go the grocery store once a month, then make quick trips for more perishables.  It would take two carts and about two hours, but it was lovely.  I hate going to the store, so this was just heavenly.  Especially, if I could hit it early on a Saturday morning.  I would have the whole store to myself.  Now, they eat  more, so what would last me two meals, gets me one and only if I'm lucky there are leftovers.  So, I'm getting twice as much food. Therefore, one big trip like that a month would kill me.

Back in the good old days, I used to be able to think better.  That's what age and three kids and a dog will do to you.  It seems that no matter how much I plan my menus, I am always out of one certain thing too soon.  Like, sometimes my trip to the store will constitute mostly breakfast things - orange juice, chocolate milk, biscuits, eggs, etc.  Then, a few days after that I will be low on quick lunch things.  You'd think I could get that together.  But, nope.  I can't.  Alot of that, (okay most of that) is mental, but some of that is the fact I am buying more food, so therefore I don't have enough space for a month's worth of food anymore. 

So, now, I am (old) mother Pritchard.  Whose cupboards get bare, of some thing or another, quite frequently.  But that means I have a full house of growing kids.  And that is a good thing.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Yet another Birthday

Birthday season is winding down around here.  Today it's Sara Beth's day!!  Finally.  It's torture to watch the other two have birthdays and have hers come "last".  But it's finally here!

Now, for the "season" story.  Last night at dinner, we were reminiscing about what David and I were doing 14 years ago that night.  We actually were out celebrating the turning in of his thesis paper for his masters degree.  Yippee!  We were so thankful that it had been completed before the baby came.  Even better, we had almost two weeks before the baby was due.  Such freedom we were looking forward to!

In our excitement, after dinner, we went home and decided to go ahead and get down the Christmas decorations.  David pulled them from the attic and stacked them in the nursery, in front of the crib.  That was about as far was we got and we went to bed.


Then, in the middle of the night, I woke up and surprise, I was in labor.  On Dec 2, right at the beginning of muzzleloading season.  (See God does have a sense of humor).


 After a relatively short labor, Sara Beth entered the world.  Screaming.  And stubborn.  The girl wouldn't sleep all day.  She fought it so badly. She didn't want to miss anything.  Hmm, some things never change.


I do have to add the significance of the day she was born and how it was only by Divine Intervention that it happened in that way.  Sara Beth is named in honor of David's older sister, who died at 7 months due to spina bifida and other complications.  David and I always loved the name and then put it together about his sister, and decided it was perfect.  It is also after David's two grandmothers, so even more significance.


Well, her day came and all day we were a little surprised at the emotions of David's mom.  She was a little teary all day.  We thought it was because first grandchild and most importantly the name, which may have been bringing up some memories.  Well, it did bring up some memories that we didn't know about.  December 2 was the day that David's sister, Sara Elizabeth, was buried.  She was buried at 10:00 in the morning.  Our Sara Beth was born at 9:00.  What a great story to bring in family and memories.  Only God could have done that.  Then to top it off,  Dec 2 is also the birthday of the grandmother Sara.  Way cool if you ask us!

Sara Beth came into the world with a wonderful story.  We are so blessed to have the privledge of raising her and can't wait to see what God will do in her life.

Happy Birthday!!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

It's Birthday Season Around Here

There really is no other way to put it than to call it Birthday Season.  And it's pretty funny when you hear why that has a double meaning.  I'll start with the most recent birthdays, and save the last one for her special day.

Let me start with Katie, since TODAY is her birthday!!  Yay! 
She was up bright and early this morning!!
Her story of pregnancy, labor and delivery was full of adventure, but I'll skip to the "season" part.  (Maybe I'll fill in the details later).  After weeks on bedrest, I was finally up and about, thinking it would be really cool if this baby could be born on November 3.  See, Jake's is October 1,  and Sara Beth's is December 2.  So, see, that would be really cool.  So, on the evening of November 3, I was having contractions.  Nothing new, really.  I had been having them for months and for those of you who care, I was 4 cm.   But, this was actually 3 weeks from my due date and we didn't know the gender, and there is always some concern for boys born early.  But, as I laid there on the couch, timing contractions, which really weren't that bad, I considered going on the hospital so I could have the baby on November 3.   Deep down, I knew it wasn't time, but I also knew that my doctor would keep me if I went.  I went back and forth, but decided that having a baby early just so it could be born on a not terribly significant day, was really not the smartest thing to do.  So, I waited it out. 

I had "activity" all week, and went in for my regularly scheduled visit the following Monday, November 10.  I was a whopping 5 cm and 80%.  My doctor sent me to the hospital, where three hours later, a sweet Katie appeared. 

Right at the beginning of gun season.

Six weeks ago, we celebrated Jake's 12th birthday.  For a change up from our first baby, David and I decided to do things different and find out the gender.  We found out that David was going to have a hunting buddy.  Mid-way through the pregnancy we got the stomach bug.  (At the time, David and I called it the "death virus".  I now know that it wasn't even close after my most recent experiences.)  Well, looking back, I figure that is what cause early contractions.  No major complications along the way, but things started progressing early, so we, including the doctor, decided that there was no way I was going to make it full term.  But, she wanted to go ahead and schedule an induction a few days early.

Umm, she and I scheduled it for a Friday.  October 1.  Opening day of bow hunting season in Mississippi.  Yes, of course I knew this, but after 9 months of stomach stretching, I really didn't care.  I figured David would have a great hunting buddy as they got older and what a great way to spend a birthday.  And yes, I was right.  Although, David did ask if we could re-schedule the induction for the following Monday.  Three whole days later.  I said no way.

To his credit, at the time, he had only missed one opening day of bow season in his life.  It was to take me on our first date, to the Mississippi State/Florida game.    I'd think he would say it was worth it. 

Sara Beth has a "season" story to go along with her birthday as well, but since it is in just three weeks, I'll wait until then. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Downline

A while back I promised a post on Downline Ministries.  I can't wait to tell you about it.

One of the most important commands in scripture is making disciples for Christ.  It is also one of the areas that seems to be the weakest in "today's church".  Downline ministries seeks to equip today's Christian with tools to be able to disciple others, teaching them about Christ, so that they in turn can go teach someone else, etc.  So it goes "down the line."  Get it?

David and I are participating in their nine-month intesive training program.  We meet every Monday night (6:30-8:30) and Wednesday morning (5:45-7:45) for two hours each time.  Also, there is teaching one Friday a month, with occasional special opportunities through out the year.  The teaching goes through the entire Bible, and also different aspects of discipleship and what it means.   It rotates teaching topics, taught by various teachers, local and national.  There is also a program for young adults/college students which is more intensive.  Many of them come from other places, and live here during the course of the class.  There is also a new on-line program for those who want to participate in this program but do not live where there is a Downline class offerred.  To enhance your learning, to bring comfort to your teaching, Downline provides foreign opportunities to teach around the globe, to all nations.

That's the program in a nutshell.  If you want more info click here.

So, how did we come about doing this?  Our church has had a heavy participation and support of Downline so we had heard about it for a few years.  We had heard how great it was, but the time hadn't been right to bite off that sort of commitment.  Plus, if we could pull of doing it together, the better.  We had also heard what a blessing and benefit it was for couples to do it together.  But we know that is not feasible for most families.  But for this homeschooling, self-employed family, with children who can stay home alone and be trusted, we felt we could make it work.  And we felt God leading us in that direction.  So, we decided the time was right.

Yes, it is a big commitment, for us and for our kids.  But, oh, is it worth it.

Having grown-up in the church, and such a great, Bible teaching church, I have had so many opportunities to hear great teaching.  But, I've never heard it in such a way.  What a unique thing to be able to hear the entire Pentatuch in order, week after week.  Seeing how it ties in together, how it ties in to the New Testament, and learning how to teach it to others.  Oh, so good. 

It makes getting up at 4:30 am worth it.  Getting out of bed is tough, but when we are sitting there listening and learning it is so worth it.

Now, we are waiting to see what God is going to do in our lives with all the stuff we are learning.  We are listening, learning, waiting and praying.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Facts

Fact one:  Dogs poop

Fact two:  Most dogs poop in a pile

Fact three:  Some dogs inherit their momma's trait of pooping in a line. 

Fact four:  The above facts together equals poop in a line around our yard.

Fact five:  It is November.

Fact six:  It is no longer October.  Hallelujah!

Fact seven:  Braces hurt.

Fact eight:  When braces make your kids hurt, it makes you hurt.

Fact nine:  I like sleep.

Fact ten:  I would rather sleep than be responsible.

Fact eleven: I think I will call for a happy medium, do not sleep, but do not be responsible while I watch a football game.

Fact twelve:  I am not sure I can say "Roll T---."

That is all.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Thankfulness

I realize that alot of people will be doing Thanksgiving type posts for the month of November, and I hadn't really planned on it.  But, at this particular moment in time, I wanted to savor the feeling of thankfulness that I have.  It's not always there, you know. 

I have been learning alot lately about the Israelites.  Alot.  And it isn't always a pretty picture.  But, when God moved, they made stones of remembrance, to remember what God has done.  To teach the generations to come the faithfulness of what God has done. 

So, consider this what you will.  A typical November thanksgiving post.  A moment in this day when I am able to say thanks.   A stone of remembrance that God is good.  All the time.

1.  I am truly thankful that October is over.  It is always bad.  For multiple reasons.  David's work load increases about 300 fold.  The newness of school wears off and the daily grind sets in.  Whatever the reason, it is hard.  I have come to expect it.  But, yay!!  November is here!!


2.  I am so very thankful that stomach bugs do not have to be very contagious.  I had another stomach bug that came close to the epic stomach bug I had last summer.  It wasn't fun.  It wasn't pretty.  But, as I traisped back and forth to the bathroom in delirium in the middle of the night, looking at the tile floor thinking it would make a marvelous bed, I remembered that I made it through the last one.  I lived to tell about it.  I can survive this one.  And I did.  And no one else caught it.  Hallelujah!


3.  I am thankful for my children who managed the home without me during my days of near death.  And for my mom who helped out in so many ways as well.  If you will note, it was the last week of October that I contracted this vile thing.  October is not a fun month around here.  David had to leave me to work.  But the kids did great.  Bringing me things like tylenol while wearing a face mask.  Checking on me while trying not to touch the door.  It was pretty funny.


4.  I am thankful for a husband who loves me and supports me in many ways and is pretty insistent that I not martyr myself.  So after last week, I decided a motherhood of martyrdom was not for me.  I called in help.  At least for a while, I will have cleaning help.  I just. Can't. Do. It. All.  Some can.  But not me. 


5.  Because of the last statement, I can sit her in thankfulness, that all my papers are graded.  The house is germ free, and is now getting mold and dust free.  My phone has been updated on the computer.  And I am so thankful for the above, I am not even concerned that I lost all of my contacts.  Another week, that would have probably sent me over the top.  But not today.


And I want to remember it.  Savor it.  Create a stone of remembrance.

The leaves are beautiful.  The sky is clear.  There is church tonite.  My family is well.  School is done for the day.

Bliss.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

A Day in the Life

For memory's sake and just for fun I though I would blog about a day in the life of our home. Not always terribly exciting, but I always find it fun to read about other mom's days, so here it goes.

Alarm goes off at 5:30 and I terribly struggle to get going. A 30 second check of email on my phone, then it is to Jesus Calling. After that I take to reviewing my Downline notes (the 5 categories of the Bible - Anticipation, Manifestation, Proclamation, Explanation, Consummation), then another breakdown of the Bible (creation, patriarchs, exodus, conquests, judges, kingdoms,exile, return, silence). Towards the end of my time, Katie came in to use the bathroom because the hall bath was stopped up. I make a mental note and sigh deeply inwardly.

Up to make bed and put in contacts, all the while sensing I am not in the right mood.

I check messages to see if it just so happened that someone had tickets to tonites football game, but realizing as tired as I am that probably wouldn't be a good idea. (Being a grown-up ain't always fun.)

Katie decides she is willing to wait on blueberry muffins for breakfast, so I put those in while she goes outside to visit Bear. I look several times at the new hole he has dug, wondering when I'll get to that. I step several times over the cardboard boxes needing to be put in recycle box. Katie is now asking to play with play doh, then on my phone, then on the computer. It isn't quite 7:00 yet. I tell her no to all of the above then she proceeds to throw a fit. She goes to her room. I make our list on the board of what to do today, wonder where Sara Beth is (her ipod battery died, so her alarm didn't go off), check on Jake who is doing his quiet time and required reading in bed before he gets up. Katie is out of her room, then proceeds to throw another fit about why she can't play and has to do chores, etc first. Back to her room she goes. It is now 7:00.

As I am starting a load of towels, David calls- in response to my text moments earlier asking for prayer today. We talk about things to do to make our days simpler. Our labor day weekend will be spent getting life in order (purging, clothes shopping, cleaning, meal planning, etc). As I get off the phone with him, and I am finishing starting the load of towels, Sara Beth comes down with a science question about seasons and times in different hemispheres. I tell her my brain isn't in school mode yet, we'll get to it in a big. It's only 7:20.
The kids eat breakfast, I look out the window again at the new hole and stuff strewn all over, and begin grading schoolwork from yesterday. They finish and I make my coffee, grab my book, and eat the leftovers from breakfast. My 10 minutes before my day really starts. As soon as I take my first sip, Jake comes to tell me the toilet is stopped up. Oh, yeah. I decide it can wait. I enjoy my 10 minutes immensely. Start dishwasher, keep kids on task, say no to bringing Bear inside, clarify time the Algebra tutor (ie Grandma) will be here, get new toothpaste for Jake which he is thrilled about because it has a cool top, unstop toilet, notice dirty toilet mentally thankful that tomorrow is bathroom day, sigh as I continue to notice dirt and clutter everywhere. Yes, I am tired. That usually happens when I am tired.

I decide that this day needs remembering, for whatever reason. 
I'm back for another update- Grandma, the Algebra tutor, arrives, I start the dryer, then I cuddle on the couch for reading and school with Katie-bug. We have fun giggling at Ramona being afraid of not being noticed as the "baddest witch ever", being pleased as Franklin includes his friends in his secret club, and empathize with Imogene and her antlers. Then we dive in to learning about the Jews and the Masada. (Yeah, I didn't know much about that either). She then read to me and she went off to finish her school work. I chatted with Tutor Grandma as we talked calendars. We finally let Bear in and gave him the plastic muffin cup container to entertain himself. Checked on towels, and the needed another round of drying.

It was then 10, time that I get together with the two big kids to go over, teach, explain, etc. Today was an "off" day, but double checked to make sure no one had any questions. Bear not cooperating in kitchen, so to the kennel he goes with treats. Katie asked to play a game, and for the first time since school started three weeks ago I saw a moment "free" so I said yes. We played Creationary, while Sara Beth layed on the floor by us doig her grammer, listening to Bear snore. Jake jumped into the game, I left to grade papers. Grabbed a snack and began grading. Done.
Although there are plenty of things to do (more than this momma can get done), things at the moment don't feel as pressing as they did at 7 this morning. I can tell that my loved ones are praying.

Now, since I have to be in the public this afternoon, to the shower I must go.

In my shower, I was keeping an eye on our shower head which has been sporadically spraying the ceiling.  It shoots out everywhere (it is obviously broken) and we have noticed it hitting the ceiling some.  As I look up to check on it, water gets in my eye and messes up my contact.  I can't do anything about it cause my hands are covered in conditioner.  It works itself back finally. 

I re-enter life in the rest of the house.  The kids are practicing the songs they will have to sing for drama class today.  The picked songs, or not picked songs, sure point out the personality of my kds.  Only Katie gave me a true rehearsal.  Time for lunch.  Bear goes and we fix gourmet corn dogs with veggies and fruit.  I go over the strict instructions for the afternoon before we go our separate ways for rest and reading. 

Ahh, the bliss.  I lay down on the couch where it is peaceful and I get a bit of reading in.  (By the way, this is a mandatory part of our day.....for me.)  At 1:30, it's hustle to get swim stuff together, finish a game, get a snack and get out the door.  I grab some various things to work on while the kids are in class and practice, and remember to print out a menu planner before heading out the door. 

Drop kids off at drama, then head to the bookstore.  This is now my weekly one hour of sanity.  Ooh, and I discovered a new drink- white chocolate mocha frapp.  Yumm.  Read some magazines for fun and review my lesson plan book.  Head to get kids.  Kids drama running late.  Rush home to let out Bear (this seems to be a running theme here, doesn't it) and have kids change.  Rush out to swim.  Hit every stinking red light but made it only a couple of minutes late.  Sweat to death in aquatic center, but menu plan, clean out emails, and read for about 10 min.  Battle rush hour traffic home.

David beat me home, so he had veggies started and oven on.  I pop fish in the oven, start noodles boiling and fix a quick lettuce-and-cheese-only salad for those who want it.  David works on sprinklers, one of which was stopped up with a caterpillars nest.  (That's not something you say everyday).  We sit down to eat with very loud children, who for some reason find dinner-prep time and just sitting down time the best time to launch into long stories of great importance.

Dinner is conquered, kitchen cleaned.  For our after dinner entertainment, I let Bear in the living room.  He is a wild maniac.  Until I bring out treats and begin training.  He then becomes the family dog we dream of.   Of course, I am occasionally checking the score of the football game (currently 24-0, of course the Dawgs are winning).   Because we are watering the yard, Bear has to go out on a leash (boy this is getting old).  I wrestle and overtake put the leash on and he manages to do his business in a very timely manner.

Get two kids tucked in, plop with laptop in lap, of course checking score.  I am getting ready to rub David's back, as it is sore from all of his tractor riding. 

Very soon, we are headed to bed.  David and I have be somewhere at 6 in the morning. Yes you read that correctly.  Be there at 6.  That is another post that I can't wait to tell you about. 

So, a little back rubbing to work out the kinks and maybe a little book reading and it is to bed I go. Just counting the hours till I get to do it all over again.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Happy Saturday Morning????

 


Yes, you are right.  Your are looking at the bottom rack of my dishwasher.  Sitting on my kitchen floor.  Full of dirty dishes.  Yay. 

Happy Saturday morning.

It all started with David and I laying in bed a little late catching up.  We finished our first week of school.  He was gone for a couple of days, having just returned the night before.  We were discussing  what life held, how the next several months were going to look. Etc.   Then we head to the kitchen to fix breakfast.

I noticed that the floor looked a little warped along some of the boards.  I explained to David that yesterday I noticed a little water on the floor, but it was right after Katie had been working on her tea party/restaurant project.   I asked her if she had spilled some water and she said yes, so I assumed that's what it was.  But I wasn't 100% convinced.  Then life went on.

It was right in front of the dishwasher, so as we cooked breakfast, David and I discussed that this was probably the problem.  (that sounds funny).   He even glanced under the sink to rule that out.  At that moment I was so thankful that I had forgotten to run the dishwasher last night.  We would have woken up to a soggy floor.  So proud of myself for thinking ahead, I filled up one side of the sink with soapy water to be prepared for washing dishes and grabbed some paper plates.  As we finished breakfast, David asked me to be thinking of what today needed to hold to be prepared for next week (more on that later).  We can live without a dishwasher, so it didn't seem pressing at the time.

After  breakfast, I noticed more puddles on the floor.  Hmmm, that's weird.  Upon further investigation, we discovered that it was the sink.  Pouring out whenever the water was turned on. (Are you remembering that full sink of soapy water I was so proud of?)  He finds the leak in the faucet.  At least it is something he can fix. 

So now,  it is 10:45.  My dishwasher has been pulled out to dry out from underneath it.  Towels have been used to sop up water.  Fans are everywhere to dry up the water.  (Did I mention that the water seeped under the floors half way across my kitchen?)  We are headed to Lowe's to get replacement faucet.  We think.  As I type, he is finding another leak.  Maybe.  One thing is leading to another so who knows how this will end up. 

But for now, here is how things stand:

We get to eat out for lunch.  See my kitchen counter.  (Just for the record, I am not desperate enough to wash dishes in the tub yet)


David has shut off the water main.  It didn't shut off completely. 

He sure is having fun using his pipe wrench.  That is about all the fun he is having at the moment.

Bear has to stay in his kennel.  Oh, but wait.  Couldn't I let him lick the dirty dishes?  That would be an idea.  Make him feel like a productive member of the family.  In addition to his rodent killing.

This is our Saturday.  It looks like we may get to start our week off without a functioning kitchen.  Our second week of school.  Our first week with everything on the schedule. 

God knows.  He planned that.  Making us more dependent on Him.
That does make for a Happy Saturday morning.  (Now, if I can only keep that perspective!)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

It's Addicting

Dates with my hubby?  Without a doubt

Hugs from my kids?  Can change a day

Chocolate? Absolutely

Teenagers?  They make me laugh

Yes, I confess.  I am addicted to teenagers.   You will remember from previous posts that we help out with our junior high kids at church.  And came about it in an interesting way. (You can read about it right here.) 

Well, we are still hanging in there with them.  And this was also part of our crazy busy summer.  One week in particular.  My addiction to them is the only reason why I would wake up early, tote them all over our great ctiy, and work outside with them in the worst heat this city has seen in a long time. 

Instead of going away to serve other communities, our group stays here for our "missions trip".  The kids stay at our church all week, dividing up into various groups to serve several different ministries throughout our city.  It has been a great way to get these kids aware of the world around them, just down the road.

Since we have a child old enough to be on this trip, we shipped her off to the church for a week.  But, never fear, she got to see me and her siblings all week.  She felt blessed, I'm sure. :)  Really, it was only for a few minutes each morning, and maybe a hug in the afternoon if she was lucky.

For most of the week, Jake, Katie, and I woke up at the crack of dawn, packed some lunches and were at the church by 7:45 am.  From there, we heard a devotional before loading up our van as full as it could get and heading to a local ministry to put on a vacation Bible school.  Jake helped and Katie got to participate, and say Bible verses for candy.   After lunch, we loaded up and went to another ministry to do yard and maintenance work.   I sort of floated a bit, having done this trip before, so a couple of days I dropped those two off (with a car full of teenagers),  left them there (yes, there were adults too),
and went to help out somewhere else.

 . 

Oh, yes.  That was the week that the heat index was 121.  Nice.

But I loved every minute of it.

Why?  Cause they are really great kids, my three included.   They make me laugh, make me worry, make my think I am going to pull my hair out if they leave their garbage on the table one more time, make me wonder if they will ever make it out the other side.  They yell "Moose" randomly at each other, hit each other with pool noodles, love to be crazy, love to eat, taught me how to play buck-buck, force me to stay sleep deprived whenever I am with them for more than a few hours. 

But most of all - they need to know they are loved - by God and by those around them. 

 That's what it's all about. 
Making relationships to bring them closer to Christ. 
 That's what keeps me coming back.
I'm addicted.



Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Swimmers...Take Your Mark

Ever since the summer of '05, our kiddos have been part of a summer league swim team.  With the exception of the summer of '09, that is what makes up the bulk of our summer.  Practices a couple of times each week, meets on Thursday nights, with city-wide championship on a hot July Saturday.

In years past, it worked wonderfully.  We would be up and out the door by 7:30 for 8 swim practice.  When practice was over, we would stay and hang out at the pool, home by lunch.  Lovely. 

As they have gotten older, they are busier, and we are split into two practices.  Yes, the are conveniently back to back, but everyone still has to get up and there by 8.  There is also the option of evening practice as well.. Now that they are older and can stay up later, we did this option much more as a whole family this year.  David and I would get some time with the kids, and some excercise of our own. 

This year, each of our kiddos was the youngest in their age group.  But they didn't let that get them down.  They worked hard and swam so super well.  They each placed in at least one individual event at the city championship!  And all strokes were legal!!  Way to go Pritchards!!

And our team won the city championship in our division!!  Yay, Bluefins!!

The only thing different about this year's swim season- This mom didn't take any pictures.  Sigh.  Katie took this one of herself at practice one day.  The rest is a taste of what it was like from last year. :)






Friday, July 22, 2011

Still Here!

Don't worry.  We're still around.  Although these days, you will most likely see us with a car full of kids, some belonging to me, some not, in a blue van with stickers on the side.   All of whom will be sweating to death because our rear air doesn't work unless it is on high, and I can't stand not being able to hear.  And we haven't been able to get it fixed, because I have needed the van to tote everyone around for the last 6 weeks. 

So what have we done for the last several weeks?  I won't get into all the details, but I will leave you with a few words in summary: busy, hot, full of talking, lots of gasoline, swimming, swim meets, service projects, church, camp, art camp, puppy, dog, kennel, poop, vets, poison ivy - twice, beach, friends, cold treats, prayer, changed hearts, new directions.   There, I think that about covers it. 

So, where does that leave us now?  Trying to regain some lost sanity.  (Is that even possible?)  Especially by cleaning, and as I am typing this I hear two of my kids loudly saying "Ewww" as they clean out the van.  Hmm, wonder what they found?  Hee, hee. 

Yes, we are having forced cleaning.  Before you report me to the authorities, let me explain that if we didn't have forced cleaning, my children may be taken away from me due to unsanitary conditions.  It's not really that bad, but it is certainly in need of attention. 

Okay, I have really digressed. 

The point is, we're still here.  I can't wait to hopefully blog about alot of those words I mentioned above.  They are worth remembering. 

 
Now, to instruct on a few more cleaning needs, then it's time to get ready for city swim meet tomorrow!!  So excited!!  Go Bluefins!!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Up for Air

I actually have a few moments.  It's a miracle.  This summer has been a whirlwind of busyness.  Some things for pleasure, some things not.  It is just how our summers roll. 

But, I was given a gift today.  I gift of time and I though I would take a few of those extra moments and let you know about it. 

Back in the early part of May sometime I received in the mail the lovely jury summons.  Yeah.  Exciting. Here it works like this - you go one day, with about 3,000 people and pick the week of that term that works best for you.  It was for the May term, which goes May thru September.  Okay, I though, I will shoot for sometime after July.  As luck would have it, the weeks that I get to choose from are smack dab in the middle of the craziest part of our summer.  As I fretted mulled over the weeks, and sent numerous texts to David, I went for the lesser of the evils, 4th of July week.

The reasons were that it was a shorter week, due to everything being closed on Monday, and it was a holiday. Hmm, maybe judges, an attorney or two, and maybe a couple of witnesses might take vacation that week.  I thought I would take a chance.

So, I reported this morning like a dutiful citizen.  In my dress code (skirt or slacks which fall below the ankle) I walked out the door around 7:30 am, leaving my children (whom had seen very little of in the last week) asleep and the dog outside. 

Fastforward 4 hours.  It's 11:40.  The secretary had already come in once and called for two jury pools about an hour before, when here walks in the jury commissioner.  If you have never served before, here we have a great commissioner who has a dry sense of humor.  Who wouldn't, having to deal with the public like he does on a daily basis.  And face it, we can be a bunch of idiots sometimes. 

Back to the story - 11:40, jury commissioner.  He comes up and says he knows we are thinking he will send us to lunch now.  He says he isn't sending us to lunch.  At this point, I am thinking we must all be being called for a trial and they will feed us lunch in the jury room, maybe.  He then proceeds to tell us we are done for the day!!  Who-hoo!  Then he tells us - are you ready for this- we are done for the week!!  Who-hoo!! 

I think I selected my week well. 

So I can blog for a minute.  :) 
Now, out the door for a vet appointment for our horse puppy.

Can't wait to blog about my week last week.  Even better than getting off jury duty for a week.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Book Reviews- Books to Avoid

I am an avid reader and am so pleased that my kids have taken a love to books as well.  (Well, a couple of them anyway.)  This also presents its self with challenges in today's world, finding appropriate books for my kids as they get older.  I am full of great ideas for up to, say 5th grade, but after that I am at a loss.
This tends to lead to discussions with my fellow moms about books that our kids can choose from. 

Because I love books so much and am trying to find great books for my kids, I thought I would start an occasional book review post.  Some kids books, some adult books, some fiction, some non-fiction.  It would be great for you to comment on books you and your kids enjoy or would advise we avoid.

I don't know what it will say about my first book reviews to post about books to avoid, but hey, that's what a reviw is for isn't it.  And you may not agree, but that's ok too.

Several months ago, I was having one of those "what kid books to avoid" discussions with two dear friends.  I made note of two of these books.  Well, wouldn't you know it.  In May both of these books made an entrance into our home.  One physically and one in conversation.  In the same week.  So, I got to reading.  And I wanted to share with you my reviews as these are very popular books among kids today.

Hunger Games - This is a pop-culture book series, highly popular among tweens and teens alike.  One young girl mentioned that her teacher was reading it aloud to the class.  Which left me quite appalled.  And here's why.  It takes place in post-apocalyptic America, which is now divided into 12 districts.  In order to pay homage to the Capital and to provide reality tv entertainment, each year these districts participate in the Hunger Games.  The process is this - all citizens ages 12-16 (or it may be 19, I can't remember) have their names placed in a drawing.  There are various ways that your name could be put in there multiple times, increasing your chances of getting drawn.  Each year a boy's name and girl's name gets drawn.  These select 24 then compete in the Hunger Games- a survivor-esque type competition where each of the 24 battle it out to see who is the lone survivor.  No, they don't get voted off.  They die.  Either by natural causes or get killed by the other participants.  So basically, it is teens killing teens for reality tv entertainment.  And yes, it is being read aloud at school.   This is what teens are reading.  Unfortunately for these teens, it is very very well written.  It makes you not want to put it down.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Do I think it should be completely off limits?  Probably not, depending on what your older teen can handle.  Notice I said "older teen".  It is not for the young impressionable tween or teen.  Unless you want them reading about teens killing teens.

Christy Miller- This is a series of books focused on the life of a 14 yr old girl and I believe continues through her college years.  It is very popular among the Christian tween/teen girl set.  But I had heard that it was one to avoid.  When it started getting mentioned I felt that I needed to see for myself.  So, my review may offend some, but this is truly an opinion with facts of the book drawn in.  My disclaimer is that I only read book 1 of the series.  But, frankly, that was enough.  This first book in this series touches on the following topics, some more in depth than others - dating, flirting, materialism, unchaperoned parties, marijuana use, underage drinking, suicidal thoughts, pre-marital relations, death of a peer, birth control pills, divorce.   These are all things Christy faces in some form or fashion in this summer of her life, while visiting with her aunt and uncle.   For today's Christian girl, I feel that there are better things to be filling her mind with than these topics.   Now, as one person I mentioned this to said, this book may have its place for a Christian girl to recommend to a non-believing friend who may be dealing with some of these issues.  It would be a subtle way to introduce her to Christ, as it does weave Christ and salvation into the story.   Again, maybe not a book to totally avoid, but certainly for the older teen and be prepared to read it with them to discuss the issues it deals with.

Take it for what it is worth.  Some of you may be thinking I have lost my mind in my critiques, but these are just my opinions.  

I'm thinking my next review will be books for great enjoyment!!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Clifford

I will assume most of you are familiar with the story of Clifford, the Big Red Dog.  Those books were some of my favorites as a kid and I loved gettng them in the Scholastic Book Fair book order that we got about once a semester.  Since I have had children, there has been a PBS show based on the books.

If you are not familiar with it, basically it goes like this.  A young girl, named Emily Elizabeth is given the runt puppy of a litter.  This "runt", who is named Clifford, grows at a phenomenal rate and eventually is about as large as a house.  Despite the difficulties caring for this large canine, Emily Elizabeth and her family are committed to raising Clifford.  (I assume they must have taken out a loan to pay for the dog food.)  The books follow Clifford's antics as he copes with being such a big dog in such a little world.

Last night I was looking at Bear laying on the kitchen floor.  I told David we mis-named him.

We should have named him Clifford.

I am not sure pictures can do it justice, but the dog is huge.  A horse really.  Oh, wait...a bear.



He turned 11 weeks old this past Thursday.  At 9 weeks he weighed 22 lbs.  Four days later he weighed 24 lbs, 11 oz.  He fits well in his extra-large kennel.  His paws barely fit in the palm of my
hand. 


His feats now include  standing up and looking over the kitchen table. Successfully knocking down baby gates.  The one he can't knock down he can stand and look over with his paws resting over the top.  A week ago he knocked the garbage can in the kitchen completely over. 


The large physical size also presents itself with very large, sharp puppy teeth and the ability to jump really high. 

We also tend to forget his is still a puppy.  A very young puppy who still has lots to learn.

One who will hopefully not eat us out of house and home.

Monday, May 9, 2011

God's Blessing

A little history must be presented to start this story.

Way, way back when, David and I adopted ourselves a beautiful, high strung yellow labrador retriever.  We named her Savannah.  We had high hopes of training her and making her such a good dog.

Then I got pregnant.

Those great training plans or our beautiful, high need dog were shot.

Fast forward 8 years, three kids, and a new house later, our great, high need dog passed on to higher places.  After so many years with such a beautiful, and have I mentioned high need dog, needless to say, we were a bit burned out.  So we didn't immediately go out and get a new one.

But we endured.  Endured three kids begging, pleading, promising to scoop every last bit of poop. 

Each Christmas and each Easter, David and I would think about it, pray about it, ponder it.  And come to the same conclusion each year.  Nope.  Not yet.

This year was no different.  Christmas came and went.  Then Easter was in the not so distant future.  And finally, the time seemed right.  Thus we began our search.  (Secretively, so not excite young minds in case we decided that this was the craziest decision we could make things just didn't work out).

Criteria- preferred a yellow, female British labrador retriever.  We did consider other types, and contemplated several times adopting from the pound.  But we are just lab people.

So, late at night, after the kids went down, we would sit and peruse dog listings and kennels.  But nothing seemed to fit just right.  We were kinda bummed, but decided to put it on the back burner and just ask for direction from God.  We didn't want to force anything.  Esp something as big of a commitment as this.  So we prayed that it would be an easy decision

So, yes, we prayed about a dog, let it go with a great peace, and Easter came and went.

A few days later David gets a text from his sister of a beautiful 5 1/2 week old lab, one of a litter belonging to one of her best friends.  Honestly, we both fell in love.  Even before we knew if it was available.  We found out more info.  We were third on the list for two available pups and the price was below our budget.  (Umm, Thank you God!).  For three long agonizing days we wondered if we would even get one.  Yep, in God fashion, someone backed out.  That put us at second on the list (We Get a Puppy!!) , meaning not first pick.  We had fallen in love with one in particular, but either was a great choice.  We were satisfied with either.  About mid-week, we found out that the other family backed out.   We get the puppy we want! (okay, being honest, the family was split, but happy none the less).

So, you wanna know more right??  You remember, now, that we were looking for a yellow female?

Yeah, well, in only God fashion, He answers with what He thinks is best and that usually isn't what we think.  Right?  So, here He provides a puppy, easily (which we prayed for) and within a certain price range (He really blew that one out of the water), but He surprised us with this:



Nope, he's not yellow.  Notice I said "he".  Yep, a chocolate male.  He is an American lab, not British. His name is Bear.

  God sure is fun sometimes, isn't He?

For more great pics and info, check out my eldest child's blog. 

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Dark Ages

Our family has been taken back to the Dark Ages this week.  Sort of.

We have been without computers.

I know.  How have we made it???

In a nutshell, both of our computers have contracted a virus.  I like to call it the "antibiotic-resistant" type, as it has figured out a way around our safeguards, and even came back after we "fixed" it on one computer.  We finally got one computer back and it still isn't working correctly.  And when you get one computer back, and hubby who works from home needs it, understandably he gets first dibs.  Although, it gave him such trouble I believe he would rather have not even tried.

So I am attempting, for the moment, to re-enter the computer world and hoping for success.  Then we get to give back the computer on Monday for a re-boot.  Nice.

But it hasn't been all that bad. At least for me.  No, I haven't been able to keep up with the world and friends too much.  I have done some on my phone, but I am tired of that.  I  get what I "need" and then stop.  So, for me that has made for more productive time, as I haven't had the computer sitting there trying to distract me.  (Yes, I get distracted by the computer.  I know you do, too.  No sense in denying it)  It has been freeing and nice.  Can they keep the computers longer?

But alas.  We live in a computer world.  As a society, we are somewhat dependent on them.  My kids have school work assigments that require the use of the computer and internet.  Even without requiring the interenet, they have papers that need to be typed.  And printed. You should see their faces and hear their responses to - "You will just need to handwrite it."  and "You will need to use a book to study, not the internet".  It's a tragedy in their world.  It hasn't been so great for hubby who works from home, trying to get caught up and having the computer not cooperate.  

I'm not even sure this blog will post.  But this is the first time I have been able to sit at the computer since, hmm, I think Monday night? 

But it is interesting though.  That this computer issue came on the very week that the parentals (me and hubby) diagnosed our family's "screen-addicition" and instilled stricter regulations on screen time.

That, to me, sounds like some Divine Intervention. 

It will be back to the Dark Ages on Monday as we give back this limping computer.  And I really don't mind.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Monday's Musings

As I sit and drink a cup of milk, I thought I would come back to the world of blogging with a few snippets of thinngs rolling around in my head. Aren't you excited?

* Turning 40 wasn't so bad.  (More on that in a later blog)

* I come close to hoarding.  Okay, not that close, but this weekend I came across bank statements from when I was a senior in high school, freshman in college.  Also, mine and David's first bank account.  I do believe the statute of limitations is up for these items.

* I love having a doctor who will call you on a Saturday morning with test results he wants you to have sooner than his office can get it to me.  Don't worry, its just a change in dosage, but nice to know he is looking out for my well-being.

* Having three kids chase a lizard around the garage is very entertaining.

* My brain won't stop with all of the planning for school next year.  Yes, when you homeschool it's best to go ahead and decide.  That way you have the summer to plan, not to decide.  Hopefully, some conclusions will be forthcoming.

* Lemonade spilled all over the refrigerator is a pain.  Lemonade spilled in two different refrigerators, within about an hour of each other is double the pain.  Esp when the floor had been mopped the day before.  By the way, did you know that lemonade is sticky?

That's all for now.  I am sure there will be more later!  Have a super day!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Fun in the Country and a little "I Spy"


Ok, a little "I Spy" in the next two pics-




Did you find him?  Yes, that would be Jake.  The daring one of the family.





Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Jesus Calling

I just had to post today's reading for Jesus Calling (by Sarah Young).  In this busy world I'm living in I feel tossed about, sometimes not knowing what to do next.  Ahh, the peace that comes from trusting Him.

"Stop trying to work things out before their times have come.  Accept the limitations of living one day at a time.  When something comes to your attention, ask Me whether or not it is part of today's agenda.  If it isn't, release it into My care and go on about today's duties.  When you follow this practice, there will be a beautiful simplicity about your life: a time for everything and everything in its time.

A life lived close to Me is not complicated or cluttered.  When your focus is on My Presence, many things that once troubled you lose their power over you.  Though the world around you is messy and confusing, remember that I have overcome the world.  I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have Peace.

(Scripture readings- Ecclesiastes 3:1, John 16:33)

We also have Jesus Calling for Kids, which words the readings more appropriate for kids.  In one part of today's it is worded like this- "When something pops into your minds, take a moment to ask Me whether it's part of My plan for your today-or no.  If it isn't, trust Me to take care of it.  Then forget about it, and concentrate on what you need to do today."

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Magical-ness

For those of you that don't know, Disney is in my blood. 
 My whole family loves it.  It is what I grew up doing. 
I just can't get enough.  (Kinda like David and his hunting.  Kinda)

So, a trip to Disney is always exciting, but for me I just love Magic Kingdom. 
It is magical, emotional, causes me to reminisce and enjoy.   I just love it.

I love the Electrical Parade. They have changed it in various ways over the last couple of decades, but I love it nonetheless.  This time, they are back to the original music.  I do miss the music with children's voices singing.  That gets me everytime.  But this year, Disney went back to its roots.  The original music, with floats with their original classics.  Loved it.


 
Then there are the old stand-bys - the Tea-cups, Peter Pan, Snow White, It's a Small World, Haunted Mansion, and Pirates.  And you can't forget the Carousel of Progress.  I admit it is one of my favorites.  Even though the original song was better ("Now is the time, Now is the best time, Now is the best time of our lives".... - you know you want to sing along too!)  Then there is Space Mountain.  Which is different when you are older.  I felt like I needed to use the restroom after each ride and I could feel my cheeks flapping.  Nice.





Of the newer attratctions, we love, love Mike's Laugh Floor.  Oh. My. Word.  Love it!! The creativity in that thing is genious.  It is an animated comedy show of monsters.  But, even though it is animated, it changes each time, interacting with the audience.  Way cool!

Can't forget Big Thunder Railroad!  We're in the last car!



The kids, both young and some old-er, love Splash Mountain.  Who doesn't love Brer Rabbit running from the antics of Brer Fox and Brer Bear.  And getting a little wet while you find your Laughing Place.  :)



Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Trying to Capture the Days

You know, everyone who has completed the task of raising children tells you that the years with your children go by so quickly.   The response to that statement may be dependent on the stage of life you are in.

When your kids are newborns, changing every minute, you realize that it does go by quickly.  And in the middle of the night, you really are thankful it goes by that fast.

When they are toddlers, especially if you have more than one at the same time, you wonder how the days could go any slower.  I mean, in between rising with the sun, messy breakfasts, potty training, multiple baths which need assistance, being entertained with something for approximatel 12 minutes and 45 seconds before said thing gets boring, life can get rather slow.  I remember the days of trying to just make it through till naptime.  You sort of begin wishing for life to speed up.  Just a bit.

Then they get a little older.  They gain independence.  Dressing themselves, getting their own snacks, maybe making it to the potty in time.  Ahhh.  Some relief.  They can do things.  Real things.  Color in the lines. (I really like to color.)  Play with play-doh without eating it.  Yay. 

My kids are getting older.  I have tried to heed the wisdom of my elders in so many ways and try to savor the moments and the days.  Alas, there have been some times when I wished it would go faster.  Times when I have said "no" to playing house for the upteenth time.  You know- play house.  Except, get this....I get to be the mom and said child gets to be the baby.  I tell said child that this isn't playing for me.  This is real life.  Just so you will know, I do say yes.  Many times.  Of course, I try to vary it up a bit, and speak with an English accent or something like that.  But there are times I say "no".  And each time I say no, I ask myself "Will I regret this later?  Will I be sad that I said no?"  Most of the time my inner self responds with a definite "No, and I will be happy to explain to this child as they get older why I did not want to play house....again."

As usual, my elders are right.  The days go by so fast.  So stinking fast.  How does that happen?  Anyway, I am trying to savor the days.  Be purposeful in our time.  Pare down our extra curricular activities. (I mean really - when they look back on their childhood I want them to remember our family.  With a sane mom.  Not the inside of our van.  With an insane mom driving.)

In trying to do so, I am trying to make sure I get some extra time with all my kids.  But right now, with a little extra attention on Katie.  She is the baby of the family and because of this, she gets less attention and time doing stuff for her age.  So today, my mom and I took Katie to the zoo.  All by herself.  She loved it.  Yes, the other kids felt 'left out'.  But that is ok.  And, as I told them, they got to go to the zoo alot when they were her age.  But she can't because we are so busy doing stuff for them.  They get it.  Their time will come.

Here she is on the carousel.




And here is why I still want to spend time with her capturing the days.  She is putting on a puppet show, like
they do in Sound of Music.  Gotta love it.

 Now, off to do some more capturing.  With all my kids!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Friday again

It seems like I only get to blog on Fridays.  It is our only day fully at home.  The day where we can get a bit caught up.  Thus time for blogging.  I desire to do better.  But in this season of life, I am raising kids.  Raising them to love their Lord, and be Godly functioning adults.  At least that is the goal.

This week we took spring break.  Yes, I know, we just took a week off for Disney World.  But, you know.  We have the flexibility to do so.  Everyone worked a bit harder last week and will work a bit harder next week but it is worth it.  Plus, everything else we normally do was cancelled, so it has been a nice reprieve. 

Now, today, is bringing it all back in to get ready for next week.  A few weeks ago I declared every other Friday cleaning day.  So far so good.  Trying to do a little each day wasn't working.  We are just in and out of the house too much to make that happen.  Each night we would go to bed without it done.  So we are trying this. 

And that means even on Spring Break we clean.  I mean, after all, we took a week trip to Disney and have had lots of play days this week.  It is time. 

Today's report:  Bathrooms and bedrooms all cleaned by 9:00.  Yay!   Because of the diligence, we are taking a short break before we conquer the next thing.  Yay!

Oh, one more thing we are doing this week.  David and I try to get time with each of the kids alone, like David and Jake go hunting, David and Sara Beth go hunting, Sara Beth and I go shopping, Katie and I go somewhere together.  But, this week, David and I, together, are taking each kid out.  It has been so nice for us and the one child.  They get our undivided attention, and we are able to listen to just one conversation.  It has proven to be a sweet blesssing.

Other things this week I am thankful for - my kiddos at home with me, a husband working hard for us, the great sunshine, windows open, clean house.  Oh, and one more:  only 8 weeks of school left!!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Toy Story

I am a huge fan of the Toy Story movies (and Pixar in general), but when I heard they had this great new ride at Disney's Hollywood Studios I wasn't overly flabbergasted.  Excited, but, ya' know, just excited.
 

Then we hear that it is hard to get on the ride because the lines are just so long.  I am thinking, new ride excitement, it'll die down in a few months.

Then we get there.  It was late one afternoon the first time we went to that park (after Animal Kingdom so we could do Fantasmic).  Anyway, "The Board" (which lists all the pertinent info for each ride/attraction, including wait times, etc) listed Toy Story as being a 70 min wait, with no fast passes left. We are thinking, "What? Whatever?"


So the next day, we hit the Studios again and managed to make it early in line with only about a 20 min wait.  And, of course, Disney doesn't dissappoint for your waits either.  The pictures are from the line flow area.  Way cool and fun!

So we get our 3-D glasses and get on the ride.  It is a carnival like ride, where you pull this ball and string and launch various ammunition at various Toy Story themed characters, etc.  It is like a big video game. 
And you are probably thinking, "So what.  A big video game."


That's what we thought.  Even after we got off.  We thought that was really fun and cool and we were glad we did it.

Of course, the kids (hee, hee) wanted to ride it again.  The big dilemma there is how.  With fastpasses going so quickly and lines so long we just didn't see how.  But we tried.  First thing Friday morning we were at Hollywood Studios before it opened.  With several hundred other people.  And ESPN weekend.  All lined up at the ropes to various parts of the park.  Like we were all about to run the race of our lives.


Ok, I exaggerate a bit.  But you know how some of those parents are, even the teens.  Once they let that rope down some of them were actually running towards Toy Story, dragging their children, with teenagers dashing (because they were free from the burden of little munchkins).  You get the picture.

I am happy to say, that without running, knocking anyone over, but with due persistance, we made it with only a few second wait at the loading dock.  We did have to walk through the queue area again, but with no wait. 


Success!!

In several ways.

It became addictive.  It was more fun the second time.  I did really good.  I bettered my score.  I was sitting with David, which made it all the more competitive.

I want to do it again!

To Infinity.....And Beyond!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Goods and the Bads (or I am I just a Disney snob?)

How can you even say "bad" when it comes to Disney World?  Well, really, you can't.  Obviously there are a few things that, after all is said and done, were different.  But, it was so good, that who can really complain?

But, there are a couple of things that I would have changed.  But Disney didn't ask me so I guess I will have to live with it.  The first would be the crowds.  It was more crowded than what we are used to.  We usually go around Thanksgiving, when the crowds are lower.  There have been many times when we have ridden Space Mountain or Splash Mountain without even having to get off.  Continual.  So, considering that is what we have gotten spoiled to, 30 minute waits seemed long to us.  Yeah, pitiful isn't it?  But those waits were fine and we enjoyed the visiting while waiting.

My other beef is directed at Disney.  I remember the days when Characters would just walk around the park, wave, take a few pictures, etc.   Now, there are very few, if any wandering around and if you want to see them you have to stand in line.  A long line.  If you were lucky and timed it right, it was only a short wait.  But sometimes....goodness.  Katie and I found a line to see Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen.  We went to the end of the line where there were approximately 30 people or so (maybe around 5-7 families).  Not terrible.  So I asked the person in charge when Princess Tiana would be making her appearance.  Are you ready?  Not for another hour!!  I looked at Katie and she said, "No, I am tired of lines."    I think what added to the lines was so few appearances for each character.  It's not like, "We'll catch them at Epcot." or "We'll try again later."  That was it, unless that was your main priority.  It wasn't ours.  But, we did get some face time with some of the characters and I'll post those later.

Now, the fun part.  There will be lots of details on this later, but bullet points on our favorite things!!

We had a deal on our room, which included a discount and the quick service dining plan for free.  We had never done the dining plan before, because we just don't eat that much and we split alot, so paying up front for all of those meals seemed like a waste.  But it came with the week, so who is to complain about free, right??  Our plan included two quick service meals (walk up and order) and two snacks per person/per day.  That leaves one meal for us to take care of each day.  The plan lets you use them however you want to, so the best deal is to use them until you use them all up.  You wouldn't want any free food left unsed, right?

So, how did we do with our meals?  I am pleasantly surprised to tell you that we used up our last snacks about 15 before we left for the airport.  And aside from our one nice meal, we didn't pay for a single meal while we were there.  Granted, for lunch one day, it was nothing but snacks (ice cream and pretzels) but hey, you are at Disney World!  We even ate at Wolfgang Pucks Express...for free...salmon, pizza, gourmet soups, and the best cheesecake...ev-er. 

Would I pay for the dining plan?  I can't tell you that yet.  I'll have to go back and see the costs but I know that we ate more than we would have otherwise, threw away some food (just too much to eat), and enjoyed some down time eating snacks that we wouldn't have done otherwise.   And we wouldn't have gotten this-


Other goods ----- Weather was phenomenal!!   Sunshine, great temps, only a little rain.   Fantasmic.  Toy Story ride (deserves its own post!).  Great family time.  Great kids with great attitudes, despite being so very tired.  No one got sick- before or during. 

Thank you, Lord, for the blessing, protections, and glorious time!!

We got 'em good!

This is the beginning of many posts about our trip, but I have to start here.

We got 'em so good!  They were clueless.

Saturday morning David and I got up and started getting ready and finish our packing.  At this point, I had not packed any of Sara Beth's stuff, but Jake and Katie were good to go except for toiletries.  So, at 5:15 we headed up to Sara Beth's room to wake her up first (since she had more to do).  She was "supposed" to be going to a youth group service day, so we woke her up telling her it was time to go to that.  All we heard were groans, etc.  Then we said, "You aren't going after all.  Do you remember that trip that we said we might surprise you with?  Well, it's now!  Get up!"  She immediately quit groaning, sat up in bed, and said "Are you serious?".  It was so funny.  I gave her a list of what she needed to pack then to bring to my room (without entering).  She had 30 minutes.  At this point we weren't telling where yet.

We then went to wake up Jake and Katie.  Both of them gave us many groans but snapped out of it pretty quick.  I already had their clothes ready, so I handed it to them, and said get dressed and brush your teeth.  You have 15 minutes.

At 5:45, my parents and brother had arrived but were still outside.  David called the kids to the couch and sat them down side by side.  He said "I am going to give you three clues as to where we are going.  When I tell you to, open your eyes."  We brought my family into the living room and told the kids to open their eyes.  They were so excited that Grandma, Batz and Digger (yes, those names deserve a separate post, don't they) were going with us.  Then all of a sudden, Jake goes, "We're going to Disney World, aren't we?"  They all were flabbergasted!  They were a subdued excitement because they were in shock.  It was open mouths, hands on faces, and "Are you serious?  Are you serious?".

We had a blast on the way telling them all the many things that we did to keep it a secret and how we fooled them.  And for at least two days they couldn't believe they were there.  It was so much fun!

Can't wait to do it again sometime!

Friday, February 25, 2011

SURPRISE, Kids...We're going.....

.....to Disney World!!

Now...Right Now!!

Those are the words we will telling our three great kiddos around 5:45 tomorrow morning!  I am writing about it now because I know it won't happen then.

A little over three years ago with surprised them with a trip to Disney.  It has been all they have talked about and have said numerous times that if we were ever to do it again they wanted to be surprised.  Really for any vacation, but we just haven't had a chance until now.  And it has been fun.

Of course, we have had to say no to some things and we have worked to keep them mostly at home so they wouldn't get sick.  But alas, that is another blog post for another time.

I digress and I must get to the point because I am pretty tired.  We are all packed, with the exception of Sara Beth's clothes (she was my challenge to do it sneakily.  we just decided to wait until morning to throw everything in.), and toiletries.   So we are pretty good to go.

You must be wondering if they suspect anything.  David and I both agree that Jake and Katie do not have a clue.  He thinks Sara Beth is clueless, I think she is very suspicious.   We'll see in the morning who wins that one.

It's off to bed for me, but I have to post a couple of pics from our last trip, Nov of '07.