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


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. 


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!