Tuesday, June 28, 2011


So, today, this 28th day of June, I will share with you Anna-Kate's ballet recital and end of the year program pictures from May 27. Wow, fail on my part!

Dancing with her sweet friends, Hannah and Campbell.

Look at that form! :)

Exit strategy.

This guy was there too (trooper. Show went until 8).

Anna-Kate had a wonderful pre-k teacher, Miss Mandy! We both just loved her and she always seemed to have a special place in her heart for Anna-Kate (but who wouldn't love a sweet little girl who always follows the rules and doesn't cause trouble, especially when she is one of 4 girls in a classroom???). But, I digress {and am only a bit biased}. One of the things we play most this summer is "school". When Anna-Kate teaches her brothers and me I can hear Mandy in her voice (inflection, words she uses etc). It's so funny and too precious!

"If I were a fuzzy-wuzzy bear, I'd thank you, Lord for my fuzzy-wuzzy hair, and I just thank you Father for making me, ME!"

Singing their little hearts out!

Such a rule follower, even at songs' end, she never took her eyes off the teacher!

She was on cloud nine to get to sit next to Mandy during the program! So sweet!

They got their "diplomas" and thus officially kindergartners {cue me crying}.

Anna-Kate with Mandy and her sweet friend, Natalie (who is going to her same school next year!).

Saturday, June 25, 2011


My parents offered a fun "grandparent camp" at their house for the big two. As we just finished up VBS (and I'm beyond exhausted) it us the perfect time!

So, my goals for my four days with only one child are to scrapbook February-September of 2010, (that would be what I have pictures printed for) have the house completely cleaned and be packed for an up coming trip to visit chris' family. Ambitious? Yes. ;) I will get back to you on my success. Ha.

For now jack is positively eating up the copious amount of attention he us receiving and chris is heading back into work (major project week. He got home at 10pm mist nights last week). So, quiet (productive!) afternoon scheduled here.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


It's VBS week and that means my life is crazy! Between that and doing a huge sewing project for a lady, the blog has fallen by the wayside for sure. Unfortunate.

I did get the kids' picture taken for Fathers Day.

I know--all three looking and smiling! Unreal! :) We had a laid back morning--I made Chris' favorite, Southern Living breakfast enchiladas, we went to church as a family and then I stayed to decorate the church for VBS {I'm so tired}. We went out for dinner and just say and enjoyed one another. A lovely day.

Happy Father's day to my wonderful father and to Chris--a wonderful husband and the best father I could hope for my children to have. I am so blessed.

Sunday, June 19, 2011


Ryans current set of words that I don't have the heart to correct and that I will positively miss {and maybe tear up} when he quits saying...



"Lightning and the Queen"--Lightning McQueen

Friday, June 10, 2011

Sit, relax, it's gonna be a while.

So, four hours later, I present, our vacation.

Here is the WHOLE story from Disney! Truly magical, so much fun, a complete blessing to get to go with our family and be with my parents--wonderful! Remember my score on fastpasses? They came in handy for sure!

Ready, set, go! Ready to load 'em up!

We drove to Orlando on Saturday morning. A million hours later, we arrived, and headed straight to a (non-Disney resort. Boo.) to drop our stuff, then to Downtown Disney. We had dinner at the Earl of Sandwich (a serious favorite) took a boat ride, took in the HUGE Disney store and got our first taste of that weeks' magic! :)

Annual picture with Pooh in downtown Disney

We got the kids to bed (all in one room, so Chris just went to sleep with them at 8:30 while I got everything ready for the morning by the light of my cell phone). (My parents met us for dinner, but stayed at a different hotel closer to a church they like to visit in the Orlando area).

We woke up bright and early, got ready, did "church" in our hotel room, then headed to Kidani Village at the Animal Kingdom Lodge to check in and leave our things. God bless Chris, he fed the kids and kept them entertained in the front of the lobby while I checked us in, finalized reservations etc. The 5 of us then headed to Epcot. None of us had been before, so we were all very excited! It didn't quite live up to the hype in my mind (though, it is just not the park for 3 little kids to spend a whole day, but we don't park hop). The kids loved the Nemo ride and aquarium, seeing the countries was cool and we had a yummy dinner in "Norway" with the princesses. Chris ordered something he couldn't pronounce and it turned out to be a Norwegian meatball type thing. I went safe and got beef tips and garlic mashed potatoes. Anna-Kate was wide-eyed at the individual attention the princesses gave her and Ryan was a complete ham and had them all rolling with laughter at him! Chris took the boys to ride Nemo again and Anna-Kate and I had a "girls only ride" on Soarin. I was so proud of her! She loved it (despite the guy next to her freaking out and the woman walking out with us having a (literal) panic attack) and begged to do it again! My parents offered to pick up the kids after their dinner reservation so we were able to ride Test Track and Soarin together before the (really cool!) firework display that evening.

Me with my love

Ariel! (I can't tell you how lovely it was to have them come to us--NO WAITING in line at the parks!!)

Ryan was seemingly smitten with Snow White, the little flirt.

She got you good!

Proper princesses. :)

Both kids loved meeting Cinderella

Family shot in front of the Epcot "golfball", as Ryan called it.

Ryan was petrified to get inside Bruces' mouth (a la Finding Nemo). Other two loved it!

Family picture with Minnie and Goofy. If you have the Disney credit card, there is a special meet and greet (and free picture) for cardmembers at Epcot. I'm all about the perks. (and, remember last year how we received those 200 free points for getting the card? Well, we used them. This year, we got a letter saying we had 223 points (which, we don't use credit cards, so there was no way we had that many...maybe 23). I called and explained what had happened, how we had used them etc. The lady said if they were showing up they were ours to use and to go ahead. So, just for signing up for the credit card Disney gave us 400 points (spend dollar for dollar) and a free picture with Goofy and Minnie. I'd say that's a deal! :)

The next day (Monday) we chilled at the resort pool. It was zero entry with 2 water slides (1 small one, made with my kids in mind!) and a HUGE splashpad area. Buckets of water, slides, waterfalls...water everywhere. So fun! We all had a lovely lunch poolside, then Daddy, Chris and Jack went back for naps while Mom, the big kids and I participated in the free activities. We made necklaces, colored pictures, watched part of a movie (there was also a Wii, board games, pool etc that we didn't use). We had a delicious dinner at Boma that evening then drove over to the Polynesian to watch the evening water parade. My parents took an extended ride on the monorail with the kids so Chris and I could go back to Epcot to get our (free!!) picture with Minnie and Goofy that we had forgotten to pick up the day before.

The view out our window!!!

At Boma

Tuesday we went to Animal Kingdom. Chris commented on Facebook that he didn't know if the real India was as crowded as "India" in the park that day. We crossed our fingers that the Memorial Day crowds would leave soon! The day was super, despite being hot. We saw the shows we wanted to, hit the big rides, saw the parade (that we missed the year of 18 inches of rain...) and had the most fantastic dinner at the Yak and Yeti (highly recommend it!! Also, recommend getting the last dinner seating. Since the park closes at 6, when we finished dinner at 6:45ish, the park was empty and we were able to leisurely stroll out and snap pictures and let the kids run a bit freer without a million people all swarming with us to exit. It was perfectly delightful!).

Post-safari (Anna-Kate bought into the story that poachers were after us. I'll just say there were 3 people crying on the safari. They may or may not have initials of "AK", "R" and "J". Sigh.

Tree of life. I love looking at the carvings.

Animal Kingdoms version of Dumbo.

After three years of looking, we finally met Pocohontas! (and, I waited longer to ride the train out to see her than I did for any {fun} ride the whole week.). Side note, I think she is one of the most beautiful people I've ever seen in my life.

Parade pics.

The highlight for Ryan, meeting Br'er Rabbit!

In front of Expedition Everest.

Wednesday was, again, spent in recuperation at the resort! :) We hit the pool in the morning, but had to cut it short when it started pouring rain. I couldn't help but laugh since we had reservations to attend the Luau that evening (that we went to last year, but it was rained out...the only day of rain last year and this!). Plan B was drive to lunch. I had heard great things about "Beaches and Cream" for their burgers and milkshakes (two of my love languages) so we headed to the Boardwalk. Fail on my part, it is at the Beach Club. So, we loaded up and drove there. Upon arriving we found out it wasn't a "quick" meal (thus would throw off our meal plan) so we scrambled and ended up at the Polynesian, per Chris' request, for bbq sandwiches. After lunch Mom and I did our annual outlet mall shopping while the others went back for naps. We met them back at the luau (not rained out!) and had such a fun evening! Ryan and Anna-Kate were positively enamored watching (especially the fire thrower. He was unreal!!).

Before heading out to lunch. Love these kids!

My mom and me

All those celebrating anniversaries...

and Ryan...

The kids learning to hula.

The flame thrower/dancer guy.

My kids on the beach {and possibly my favorite picture from the whole trip}

Our annual family picture in front of the waterfall at the GCH.

My parents kindly offered to stay back with the kids so Chris and I could go out (for an early anniversary. We rode over to the Magic Kingdom to people watch and then went back to the resort for Chris to try a Kenyan beer {Tusker}. We wore our "It's our Anniversary" buttons and when we sat at the bar the bartender presented us each with a complimentary glass of champagne! We love this place!

Thursday morning began bright and early! There were magic hours from 8-9 am at Magic Kingdom so we left our resort at 7:30 am (early for poor Jack-Jack who prefers to sleep until closer to 8:30). We went in and enjoyed the minimal lines and scored some fastpasses for an hour before the park officially opened. The low point of the day was when Ryan was not allowed on Splash Mountain because he was too small. He had been talking about riding the "bunny ride" for weeks and daily requests to watch the ride via Youtube. Chris carried him away crying, "I just want to ride the bunny ride. I just want to be big!". I'd be lying if I said I didn't have a few tears in my eyes. Poor guy {and then Anna-Kate cried a majority of it because she got splashed and "never wants to ride it again. Ever." Urgh to injustice!}. We had a perfect day of rides with no wait times, delicious lunch at Pecos Bills, watching the midday parade in the shade atop the train station, a delightful meal at the Crystal Palace with Pooh and his friends, and ended with the evening parade and fireworks. Miraculously, there were no meltdowns, no tantrums and all happy people (except Splash Mountain incident). Cheesy as it sounds, it truly is magical...

On Main Street USA in front of Cinderella's Castle! Yay! We're here!

First Dumbo ride of the day

Clearly, a little excited!

In Pooh's new house (the new interactive wait area is AMAZING. Leave it to Disney to make you want to wait in line!

On the carousel!

With Woody and Jessie!! (thanks, Mom, for waiting in that line!)

Rockin' the ears.

Precious boy who totally astounded us with his patience and ability to "roll with it". He's happily waiting for dinner.

Jack was absolutely petrified of the characters. He had a death grip on whomever was holding him and screamed. Tiger being the exception (and it didn't hurt that I was in between them!)

Last Dumbo ride of the day...Chris was holding a spot to view the parade and Mom and Dad were riding Thunder Mtn Railroad again (they let us ride Space Mtn, then it was shut down and they didn't get to ride).

Tinkerbell flying from the castle.

So I mentioned we left our hotel at 7:30 am. We got back at 11:15 pm! The big kids totally passed out after the parade.

On the other hand, this guy can hang! Geesh! Happy baby until the very end {the "very end" being when we threw them all in the tub upon returning to the hotel. It was three very loud, very distinctively different cries at once. Sad...but kinda comical too.}.

Friday my parents went to Hollywood Studios while we relaxed at the resort. It was weird being at Disney for a whole day without them. The kids asked constantly where Nana and Poppy were. :) We played at the pool in the morning then Chris took the boys back for naps while Anna-Kate and I played. Today was the day she turned a HUGE corner--she is now swimming! This is a huge accomplishment for her and we are so proud! When we returned to the room around 4:15 (after getting there at 10:30 that morning!) I felt Ryan's head and he was on fire. As I always travel with their thermometers (and thankfully, with motrin!) I took his temperature and found him to have 103.7. Yowza! We gave him some motrin {waited for it to kick in} then grabbed a quick dinner and visited the flamingos. He seemed to be feeling better {I think part of it was just too much sun exposure} so they played on the playground a few minutes.

Watching Toy Story

Lunching poolside

Bathing beauty!

The awesome kids' play area!



After dinner we went back to the pool (and play area) for a little while for our final swim and so Anna-Kate could show Chris what she had learned that day. Way to go, Anna-Kate!

The kids watching old school (ie, what I grew up watching on Saturday mornings!) Mickey Mouse cartoons. They were completely tickled watching Pluto that morning as I checked out.

Our tradition has become to eat breakfast at O'hana our last morning (YUM. Feel like I've written that a lot...) and then take a boat ride around the seven seas lagoon and get one last Dole whip before heading home. I'm such a sucker for tradition and special memories!

Happy Anniversary!

Goodbye, Mickey! See you next year!