Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas Tour of Homes

Welcome to the Funny Farm. Our Christmas decorations are kinda slim this year. We spent the first week of December at Walt Disney World, and I haven't caught up yet. We have gotten our trees up and that may just be it this year!
My mother-in-law gave us this advent calendar 12 years ago, and the kids LOVE it. It is all felt, with velcro on the back of each ornament. There definitely has to be a schedule of who gets to put which ornament on!

I got this little tree for my girl last year. It's hard to see in the picture, but there are purple lights and pink ornaments. Just like a girl tree oughta be!

This tree is in our sunroom and has ALL of the kids handmade ornaments on it. I love having a tree that is all theirs. My crafty boy made an angel for this little tree this year, and is working on a nativity set crafted with popsicle sticks and pipe cleaners.

Here is the angel on the kids' tree!

Here is the baby Jesus ornament he made from pipe cleaners!

Our bigger tree has all of the breakable ornaments on it. It's been a gold/ivory/crystal theme for the past few years.

Thanks for stopping by! Maybe next year I will attempt to get out all of the decorations, but a trip to Disney was definitely worth the sacrifice of not getting them all out this year.

Animal Kingdom - Christmas 2008

Head over to Boomama's and check out other homes on the tour!

Have a great Christmas!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Round Three goes to my girl!

I have noticed that people are beginning to arrive at this blog via google when they search under scoliosis. I am so thrilled by that because I want to be able to let other's know about our journey with scoliosis, particularly congenital scoliosis. My daughter was diagnosed when she was around 20 months old and we (well the doctors) installed a VEPTR to help stabilize her curve, in January, 2008. We had our first expansion/reattachment surgery in July, 2008 and the following happened this week.

My girl had another surgery on today. It started around 9ish this morning (yes, we still got there at 6:00 a.m. – I’m thinking they ought to have call ahead seating like the restaurants do) and we were leaving the parking deck about 2.5 hours later. This is definitely more like it.

All went well. The doctor was able to extend her device by 1cm like he had planned, and he did not feel like the rib was being compromised while doing so. She seemed to recover well initially, so we were allowed to leave straight from the recovery room and not have to hang around. I was really surprised with that process.

The “plan” is to have another expansion in April, which will give us 5 months of growth. If that works well, he’d like to get us on a five month plan instead of six. That will also get us through the summer without having to be in the hospital. That would definitely be a good thing.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

WFMW - Fabric Organization

I love fabric. And I have plenty of it. I would say lots, but I have seen pics of other stashes, and mine really wouldn’t qualify as lots. But it is plenty.

Organization is definitely not my strong suit. Never has been, but I do think I have found the perfect solution to fabric organization. This was definitely not an original idea, but one that I found after diligently searching the web.

The supplies that you will need are shelving, or cubicles (I purchased mine from Target) and comic book boards. The boards took some searching to find locally, but I was able to get them at a comic book store. (Not just any comic book store, mind you, and the comics that I am familiar with, Archie and Jughead, were nowhere to be find. This was a very, very dark comic book store. If that is your only choice and you happen to be a 40 yr. old woman, who would be very out of place, I would say skip it, and order them online.) The boards remind me of poster board, just a smaller size.

I went through my storage boxes of fabric and took the large pieces, fold them neatly and wrap them around the board. The size of the fabric was anywhere from ½ yard to 2 yards. I had my husband take a handful of boards to work and cut them in half, making smaller boards. On those, I wrapped my smaller pieces of fabric and have stored them in a fabric drawer. I secure the fabric with a straight pin at one corner and then place it upright on a shelf, similar to storing books. I have attempted to group them by fabric type/theme, but they always seem to get out of order. For now, I am pleased with the progress.

You will be amazed at the amount of fabric that can be stored this way. This was from two to three huge plastic storage containers full of fabric.I cannot explain what a time saver this has been for me. I can now see all of my fabric and am able to find it without digging through a bin.

It definitely Works for Me. For other great tips, please visit Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine Fall Promotion

Jump over to my homeschool blog, Funny Farm at School, to check out a great promotion from The Old Schoolhouse Magazine!


While walking through the W*l-M*rt parking lot the other day, I was busy giving instructions about our impending venture inside the store. I announced that I only needed a few things, therefore, we didn’t need to get a cart. (A cart really slows me down when I’m shopping some days.) I figured that between the five of us, we have 10 hands. And some of those hands can carry more than one thing, so no cart necessary.

After the announcement of “no cart”, my girl (A) gets a little bit of the whinies, saying she was tired, and didn’t know if she’d be able to walk through the store. Now, she knew that we were heading to the park after our quick stop, and I’m sure she’d have renewed energy by that time. I assured her that she would be able to make it, that we wouldn’t be in there long, and I needed her help carrying some things.

Well my oldest son, C, immediately tells A that the boys always have to walk in the store and they never get to ride in a cart, and she always gets to ride in the cart, blah, blah, blah. Basically, wanting to do his brotherly-fatherly duty and try to explain that she didn’t have it that bad, but the boys do. (Apparently he forgot that he is 12 and would look rather silly sitting in the shopping cart!)

Poor fella. He didn’t know what was coming his way. I looked at him and asked him if he had a titanium rod in his back that went from his shoulder down to his bottom, and had his back been sliced open twice so far this year? Answer: Well, no. My reply: OK then. Maybe she has a point. She’s allowed to ride in the cart from time to time.

Trumped. She’s not really old enough to realize it yet, but she has the mac-daddy of all trumps. 3 surgeries in one year, with 10 years of surgeries to go. Hoping she doesn’t realize it too soon!

WFMW - 5 Minute Chocolate Cake

Do you ever have a craving for something chocolate and can’t find ANYTHING in the house? Not even a stray M&M in the couch cushions? Well this might be your answer.

The 5 Minute Chocolate Mug Cake! We made one today, and it was surprisingly good. It came right out of the mug. The texture was a little bit spongy, but other than that all was well. I did not have any chocolate chips in the house, and I will definitely add those next time.


4 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa
1 egg
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons oil
3 tablespoons chocolate chips (optional)
a small splash of vanilla extract
1 large coffee mug

Add dry ingredients to mug, and mix well. Add the egg and mix thoroughly. Pour in the milk and oil and mix well.

Add the chocolate chips (if using) and vanilla extract, and mix again. Put your mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes at 1000 watts (high).

The cake will rise over the top of the mug. Allow to cool a little, and tip out onto a plate if desired.

ENJOY! For more great tips and hints, visit Rocks in My Dryer!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Science for the day!

One of the things I like to joke about (kinda sorta joking) is how there are always opportunities for learning in every situation, if you just keep your eyes open. (Really it is the same principle as being thankful, if we just look around we can always find something to be thankful for.)

The boys participated in a local county fair last week, which means they made some things and baked some things, and we entered them for judging. They look forward to this time of year because they know they will actually get some decent money.

This year’s fair was profitable. C (12) made $28, G (10) received $16 and N (8) raked in the highest total of the three, $39. With this particular fair, they pay you cash money on the spot when you pick up your ribbons. Wooohooo!!

From previous experience, I knew that one child in particular would be itching to spend his money. Immediately. Probably all of it. Bless his heart. And he received the least of the three. (Yes, I just gave it away.)

Anywho, yesterday the three younger ones went shopping with their dad, while me and my oldest son went off for what we like to call M&C Day. (This is where he goes along for the ride while I run all of my errands, including the ever-exciting fabric store, and in return, I reward him with a lunch out. The boy loves him some food. And I love his company, so it is a nice trade.)

G was predictable once again, and came home with a couple of things from Target. The first was what he had been searching for, a guitar instructional booklet that comes with a CD. (I thought this was a great purchase for him and was pleased. He loves music, and is actually pretty talented, and is determined to teach himself every instrument ever created.) The second purchase was neat, but I figured it was one of those things that will get misplaced, and turn into “just a fad” type toy. It was this: Wild Planet Micro Ear Gear

Boy, I think I might have been wrong about this little gadget.

This morning, N, who is the early riser of the four was playing with the little ol' micro ear and discovered that he could use it to hear his heart beat. What??? We now have a stethoscope. How cool. So I listened to his heart, then I said "Hey, let me see if your stomach is talking." So I put it on his little washboard stomach and you could hear the stomach acids just a churning. What?? Even cooler now.

So today we will be studying medical science. All because of a toy from Target called Micro Ear Gear. (Let's just wait and see how gross it gets with 3 boys playing. I'm sure it will only be a matter of time before one suggests to listen to the others' bottoms.)

Science for the day!!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


My family likes to watch movies. We don’t have cable, well except for the cable you can get when you pay around $6 a month. I used to subscribe to Blockbuster online, then they made me mad. I had been a customer since day one, and then they went and increased my membership fees without increasing my benefits. So I quit them. And then they sent an email asking me to come back. No thank you.

We now subscribe to Netflix. I like it pretty well, mainly because I get movies off of it for school. (No cable equals no History Channel in our house.) I do miss being able to trade a movie in at the local store (like the “other” place would let you do, but not enough to go back to them.)

But my favorite place to get movies is from the little red vending machine known as Redbox. It’s becoming more and more popular and I have seen people write about it here and there. DVDs for $1 a day. Can’t really beat that price, can you?

I think you can. If you have a Redbox in your area, then you have to go to on Monday mornings. Every Monday they list a “free code” for the day. Must be used on that particular Monday only. As long as you turn your movie back in on Tuesday by 9:00 p.m. (at least that’s what ours say), then you had a free movie.

Definitely works for me. For other great WFMW tips, visit Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer!

Monday, September 15, 2008


I have been painting lately. The sunroom, kitchen and downstairs bathroom. The sunroom took something like 478 hours. Not much wall space but lots and lots of trim. I thought it would be quick and easy. It wasn’t.

Last week I decided I wanted to tackle the kitchen. I have been growing weary of off-white, dirt-colored walls. While in W*l-M*rt, I discovered a gift from God.

It’s this.A Shur-line Paint Edger. It really, really works.

My friend came over on Friday to help me paint the kitchen, bless her heart. We started at 2:30. We were 95% done by 4:30. And it was all because of my new bff. The edger.

The key to the edger is really simple. Put paint on. Place little wheels next to ceiling/cabinet/door trim, etc. Apply small amount of pressure and zip. A nice clean line of paint, approximately 4 inches wide.

A couple of tips: Do not, I repeat, DO NOT, soak in the paint. Be careful not to get the wheels in the paint. This causes some problems. Also, be prepared to smooth out the line of paint that remains with a roller fairly quickly. Unless of course you are going for the textured line-look on your walls.

So there you have it. The Shur-Line Paint Edger. My new bff when it comes to painting. It definitely works for me.

To check out other great WFMW tips, head over to Shannon's!

Contest Winner

Congratulations to Commenter #6 – Amy – who has won my first ever giveaway. I’m planning to do a giveaway once a month, so please check back often. To those who did not win, don’t fret. You can purchase anything from the store and receive 20% off. Just send me an email (conversation) via my etsy store and tell me what you’d like, and I’ll be happy to set it up for you.

Thanks so much for all of the nice comments!

Thursday, September 11, 2008


September 11. A sad day in the life of our nation. A day to remember those who were lost.

In our home, September 11th is a day of celebration. The day that my girl was born.

She had a great day today. Went to ToysRUs to pick out a toy. Went to Chuck E. Cheese’s. A great day when you are five.

My girl also had a great year. She grew a lot and had lots of fun. She won a purple ribbon at the fair, went to the Lazy 5 Ranch to see the animals, went to see Cinderella’s house in Orlando, rode on the Polar Express train in the mountains, got a puppy, played in the snow, went to the beach, picked strawberries at a strawberry farm, went to Emerald Pointe, went to Carowinds, went on a Mission Trip (her second) to Pennsylvania, went camping, went to Washington, DC, played lots of games, read lots of books, sang lots of songs. Loved life to the fullest. Like it should be.

She had a couple of surgeries and spent some time in the hospital. But she had a great year.

Most importantly, she was loved. Loved by those in her home and out. And she knows that she is loved.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Works For Me - Clothes (and GIVEAWAY!!)

Clothes. At times I feel that I am drowning in them. Especially boy clothes. When my 3 boys were smaller, it was difficult to tell their clothes apart. I ran across a system that worked well for us. All it took was a Sharpie.

Instead of using initials, where we would eventually run out of room on the tag, I used small dots.

Very simple concept. Boy #1 – who wore the largest clothes, received one dot. Boy #2 received 2 dots and Boy #3 received 3. Works great if you pass the clothes down the line as we do. This also allowed my husband to sort the clothes without having to ask “Hey, who’s are these?” 95 times. And I didn’t have to hear “Hey, he’s wearing my shirt!” over and over either.

To celebrate my first WFMW post and in honor of my girl’s 5th birthday tomorrow, I am having a giveaway. Just head over to my etsy store (over on the sidebar), come back here and leave a comment, and your name will be entered in a drawing for $20 credit in the store. Winner to be announced Monday morning-ish, September 15th.

Head over to Rocks in My Dryer for more WFMW tips.

Monday, September 8, 2008

A Mom's Wisdom

Very cute video! Some references really don't relate to homeschoolers, but it is still a fun clip to watch!

Friday, September 5, 2008

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine Digital Edition Review

I have to admit that I was skeptical of an online digital version of a magazine. I currently only subscribe to one magazine that comes in my mailbox, and I love flipping through the pages, and skipping over the ads and articles that don’t appeal to me.

I was pleasantly surprised when I opened the digital version of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. Through no fault of the magazine, I can tell you that if I had a larger monitor, the whole process would have been much better for me. Even better would be if I had a laptop computer and could be reading the magazine on the couch. But in any event, it was still pretty neat.

The magazine is very easy to navigate using the toolbar at the top of the page. You have the table of contents available quickly, and can go straight to the page you are interested in. One of my favorite features is being able to see all pages as thumbnails. (I love to do this with the Target ad online as well.) You can view the magazine as one page, or to get the “magazine” feel, you can pick a two page spread.

The content of the magazine is great, with tons of relevant articles for all areas of homeschooling. Just like most magazines, there are quite a bit of ads, but not so much that you feel that’s all you paid for. Speaking of the ads, though, one of the coolest features available are hyper-links to other websites referenced throughout the magazine. Even if an author mentions a website in her article, the link to that website is right at your fingertips. Definitely can’t do that with a printed version.

All in all I was pleased with the digital, online version. It was very easy to navigate and you don’t have to worry about misplacing it. It definitely doesn't clutter up my living room. A great savings over the printed version, which is $39, the online version is currently $16.95. Click here to check it out.

Friday, August 29, 2008

The Schoolhouse Planner Review

I had a chance to review/preview The Schoolhouse Planner from The Old Schoolhouse Online Store recently. My first thought was “OH MY WORD. 247 pages. WOW. That’s a whole lot of ink. I honestly thought that if I were to only want to print half of it, I would be shocked.

Guess what? I was shocked.

To someone who desires to be organized, but faces reality daily in knowing that God did not create me that way, I was skeptical that the planner would be useful for people like me. You know the type. We read all of these organizational blogs, and drool over the schedules that our fellow homeschool moms are following from the first day of school. But in our reality, our little world, it just doesn’t work that way.

The Schoolhouse Planner is a downloadable, user friendly planner. It is an interactive PDF format and it is fun to use.

Each month begins with a calender, has a fact sheet (or in my house, we refer to it as trivia), which range in topics anywhere from Timeline of Inventions to the Periodic Table of Elements. How timely that I saw the topic of Countries and Capitals in the middle of watching the Olympics. I had just asked my husband, “Is St. Kitts and Nevis even a country?” Thanks to the planner, I learned that yes, it is a country. And now I know the capital is Basseterre.

There are also very informative homeschool articles, resource lists from the Schoolhouse Store and monthly recipes.

After twelve months of planning sections, we come to the homeschool form section of the planner. After spending hours upon hours searching for forms on the internet, this section is a blessing. There was thought given to all types of homeschoolers, even providing a form for the unschoolers to the preschoolers.

It gets even better. There are countless numbers of household forms. From menu planning, grocery shopping to monthly household maintenance and cleaning reminders. (Oooh, I did not know I should clean out under my refrigerator every month. I am so far behind.)

This planner does not disappoint. I was very pleasantly surprised that I will be printing off the majority of pages and will use it frequently. About the only thing I will omit from my printing schedule is the Bill of Rights, Declaration of Independence and Emancipation Proclamation. Yes, they are all in there.

No, I’m not kidding.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Tears and Perspective

(The following was originally posted on A's caringbridge website on Friday, July 25, 2008. For some reason both kids were on my mind today, so I decided to share this here.)

I cried lots of tears on Monday.

In the recovery room, late Monday afternoon, I was sitting with A, watching her breathe. The recovery room, to me, is always a very emotional place. Normally, parents are coming in, seeing their child for the first time after surgery. Depending on the type surgery, you can see tears of joy, or tears of sorrow because of the appearance of the child. It can be very scary to see your child, all puffy in the face, hooked up to monitors and tubes, and appearing lifeless.

There were about 6 kids in there Monday afternoon, including my girl. At the time I arrived back, I was the only parent present. Each child had at least one nurse attending to their needs. I couldn’t help but notice another little girl, diagonally across from A, and how sad she seemed to be. Usually you don’t hear many cries, because the kids are still pretty heavily sedated. I think that’s why she caught my attention so quickly. She appeared to be about 5 or 6, and the first thing I noticed were her hands. They were both splinted, but she was actively moving them.

As she was crying out, the nurse was asking her, “Honey, what’s the matter?” The little girl would only reply, “My leg. My leg.” The nurse asked “What about your leg?” She answered “It’s dangling. I can feel it dangling.”

Oh how my heart sank, and the tears began to flow. You see, I had heard of this little girl. A couple of weeks ago, I think while we were in Pennsylvania, there had been an accident. A little girl, 6 years old, was riding on a bush hog with her daddy and brother. The little girl had fallen and the bush hog had run over her. I had heard that her hands were severely injured, and that one of her legs had to be amputated.

And here was this little girl, crying out in pain because she could feel her leg dangling. Except by this point, I could see that her leg wasn’t dangling anymore. It wasn’t there.

Lots of tears, and a whole new perspective about my little girl. My little girl who has all of her fingers and all of her toes and her arms and legs. And they all work fine.

I also cried more tears, later on Monday night.

It was Monday night when I first saw him. A little boy, 10 years old, who “lived” beside of us at the hospital. You see this young man really does “live” at the hospital. For circumstances so far beyond his control, he doesn’t have a home to go to. He had surgery about a month ago, and could be released. But there’s no one there to get him. There’s no one there to check on him. He’s just waiting. Waiting for the state to find someone who will take him. Waiting for a foster parent who can take a child with special needs. Just waiting. And he’s 10 years old. And he lives at the hospital. Sure, he looks like he’s doing well. His room has certainly been made his own. Lots of games and stuff. The nurses hang out with him and he jokes back and forth with them and they care for him. Because that’s where he lives. At the hospital.

Lots and lots of tears for this young man. Definitely puts things in perspective. My daughter got to go home on Wednesday. All because her family was there to take her home. I pray that someone can come and get the young man and take him home.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Brotherly love

We went out to eat last night to a restaurant that gives free balloons. (Well you know that they aren’t really free based on the price of our meal, but………) So A gets one as we are walking out. We head over to Best Buy and Target to shop-look (which means we are cheap and we went to play Rock Band at Best Buy) and A wants to take the balloon inside. Sure, why not. I mean, it’s tied to the girl’s wrist. It certainly can’t come undone, can it?

The balloon survives in Best Buy, even with a transfer to my wrist so the girl can play her some drums. (Do you have any idea how cute it is to see a 40 inch tall person playing those big ol’ Rock Band drums? She was actually pretty good.) After we leave Best Buy, we walk up to Target to shop-look. While we are in there, one of her brothers comes up behind and lightly touches the balloon. No sarcasm here, it really was a light touch.

So you know what happens next. The balloon comes untied and up it goes. Now, next time you go to Target, just check out how high the ceilings are. It’s nowhere near the height of our second home, Wal-Mart, however it is still pretty high. Definitely higher than I can reach, way out of L’s reach too. I’m no good at guesstimating the height, but I’m thinking it’s gone and the tears are not far behind. For me, it was over. There was no getting the balloon.

Now I did consider standing on the basket of the shopping cart and trying to reach up, but it just was not going to be pretty. There wasn’t a whole lot of action going on in the back of the store so I figured I wouldn’t have much of an audience. Wisdom prevailed and I opted out of shopping cart surfing. Maybe another time.

Well I’m married to a man who is pretty persistent, and I’ve never seen him not be able to do something if he sets his mind to it. So of course, reaching the balloon becomes the top priority. I’m going on down the aisle and I realize that I’m missing a few people and I turn around to see G on L's shoulders, reaching for the balloon. L even tried to jump a bit so G could grab it, but it wasn’t happening. It was still a good four to five feet from them.

G hops down and I’m figuring they gave it a really good try, but the balloon was going to be our gift to Target tonight. It was not coming home. We spent the next few minutes looking at all things important, video games and toys, and I’m thinking we are leaving. But no, here once again I sense that we’ve lost some members of our party. I look back down at the little red balloon and my heart skips a beat.

Now what I see is my 10 yr. old son, who is deathly afraid of heights, roller coasters and all things “thrillish” not sitting on my husband’s shoulders, but the boy is STANDING on the man’s shoulders. Standing. In the middle of Target. Stretching and reaching for a little girl’s balloon. His sister’s balloon. And he had it in his little hand.

What a picture to me. Brotherly love. Only love could cause him to do it. I know that L didn’t try and coerce him. You don’t coerce G. Ever. You will lose. He knows what he likes and what he’ll try. He doesn’t try much without serious, serious thought. But tonight he did. And I believe he did it because he loves his little sister. He’s got a great big ol’ heart in a little man’s body.

So rest assured that A is taken care of and loved by her brothers. She always will be. Curvy or straight. In the hospital or at home. She has her a little posse of boys that adore her.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

2007 - Year in Review - December cont.

A few days before Christmas I got a call from a friend who had two tickets to go see Carolina play basketball. At home. In the Dean Dome. Now, I had been to the Dean Dome, but it had been many, many years ago. She said "I would love for you to be able to take C to see the Heels play. Do you think you can work it out to go?" Of course, I'm thinking, "Ooooooh, I get to go see the boys play." And then I got convicted. I thought "I really, really ought to give L the opportunity to take C, but if he even as much as breathes one breath of hesitation before he says yes, then I'm taking him."

Well of course the man didn't breathe before he said yes. So off the two of them go. To see my Heels play in the Dean Dome. Without me. We intentionally didn't tell C where he was going, just to add to the surprise. C did figure it out, after they got to Chapel Hill, where EVERYTHING is Carolina Blue. He called as he was on the walk up the hill to the Dome and you could just feel him smiling in the phone. It was definitely a great surprise for him!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

2007 - Year in Review - December cont.

Every year, just as many do, we send out a family pic as our Christmas card. This year’s “photo shoot” did not disappoint. Of course, the timing for the photo shoot is always critical, and I’m sure I did not pick the best time for the pics. But time was running out. After checking wardrobes and deciding on white turtlenecks, again, for the boys and A’s Christmas dress from Grandmommy, we set out to our front porch for the shoot.

After lots and lots and lots of pics (I don’t know what I did prior to digital photography) and a little bit of fussing by me (I mean, come on, they are 11, 10, 8 and 4. This shouldn’t be that difficult.) we came out with one I could work with. We went with black and white this year, so I guess color will be it next year!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

2007 - Year in Review - December

With our plans of recovering from surgery, and having a low-key holiday season changed, we decided to take advantage of the new-found time. We spent December enjoying things we normally don’t do.

Early on in the month, we went to Old Salem to enjoy the Candle Tea. It was definitely a neat experience and one that is a must do. Maybe not every year for us, but at least every other year tradition it will be.

We also took a trip to the NC mountains and went to the Smoky Mountain Railway for the Polar Express train. They had a “homeschooler special” so the rates were great for our small group. We spent the night in Cherokee and drove over to the railway. This particular train ride mimicked that of the Polar Express in every detail. We drank hot chocolate, had a snack, saw Santa Claus and sang Christmas carols. The Polar Express book was read and all of the children received a silver bell as a treat.

All three of the boys were in the Children’s Christmas musical at church. C had one of the lead roles and G had the “entertainer” role of the play. N, who I think is the best singer in the house, always chooses to remain in the choir, and just isn’t moved to audition for a solo. I’m just glad he loves to sing in the choir.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

2007 - Year in Review - November

Well right around the corner from N’s birthday is G’s b-day. Last year we had a joint party for the two of them, but this year we did a small family thing.

G is such a special boy. His name means “man of God” and he is definitely living up to it. A lot of pressure for such a young boy, but he teaches me things daily. He’s the kind of guy that everybody loves, everybody wants to be around. He’s funny and caring, desires to please, loves to help and very passionate. He is a performer and always wants to have the role in the musicals that are the most entertaining. He has yet to disappoint. He’s so smart, pretty cute and I’m proud to call him my son.

Toward the latter part of November, the 20th to be exact, A was scheduled for the first of many back surgeries. For reasons really known only to God, we got to the hospital that morning and A threw up, spiked a fever and they sent us home. We left pretty much dazed, but thankful that for whatever reason, God decided that was not the day for her surgery. Because of Thanksgiving and Christmas, we weren’t able to reschedule until January.

One of our family traditions is to go see the Festival of Lights at Tanglewood Park every year, and this year was no exception. We always stop to roast marshmallows, look in the gift shop and enjoy looking at all of the lights. Definitely one of the high"lights" of the year!

Friday, May 16, 2008

2007 - Year in Review - October cont.

N turned 8 at the end of October. He is such a hoot. He has always been the quiet one, but boy has that changed. He is now the comedian. Still shy everywhere but home, but he has definitely come out of his shell. I’m kinda wishing he had a little bit of the calmness back, but he really is a neat kid. A absolutely adores him, as he does her as well. He has such a sweet spirit towards her and will always be her protector. He loves, loves, loves to play basketball. Happy B-day N!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

2007 - Year in Review - Disney cont.

Our third day we decided to take off, recuperate and hang out at the pool.

Day four had us going to Epcot, and over to the ESPN restaurant. That was C’s number one request because of his love of sports. He has said for a couple of years now that he wants to be a sports commentator, so this was definitely a dream destination for him. Food was mediocre, but the boy was happy.

On day 5, we tried to get in the things we had missed, and those things we wanted to experience again.

This was by far one of our best vacations ever as a family. Thanks lots and lots and lots to Uncle Todd for great memories.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

2007 - Year in Review - Disney cont.

On Monday we headed to Magic Kingdom. I got goose bumps when the kids saw Cinderella's Castle for the first time. We had talked about it for soooooo long. "A" knew she was going to Cinderelly's house. And the look on her face when she saw it was great.

We had touring plans printed out, and my hope was that we could follow them and make great use of our time. I didn't feel like we were able to do that as much at AK. They aren't kidding when they say that you have to be there when the park opens.

Our day at MK was great. I can't remember the order of our activities, but this is what all we did:

Mad Tea Party

Cinderella's Golden Carousel


Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh

Mickey's PhilharMagic

Peter Pan's Flight

It's a Small World

Goofy's Barnstormer

The Hall of Presidents

The Haunted Mansion

WDW Railroad

Splash Mountain

Swiss Family Treehouse

Pirates of the Caribbean

Jungle Cruise

Magic Carpets of Aladdin

Enchanted Tiki Room

Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin

Monsters, Inc.

Space Mountain

Tomorrowland Indy Speedway

Tomorrowland Transit Authority

Carousel of Progress

Stitch's Great Escape

That's basically the whole park. The main attraction that was closed while we were there was Big Thunder Mtn. Railroad. I'm looking forward to that being open next time we go.

I think some of our favorites were Mickey's Philharmagic, the Hall of Presidents, It's a Small World, Space Mountain, Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin and Splash Mountain. I think the least favorite was Stitch's Great Escape. "A" wasn't tall enough, so I didn't get to experience it, but the consensus said that I didn't miss much.

With Disney, the prime height for most rides is 40 inches. A was 38 inches when we went in October. After her surgery in January, she hit the magical 40 inch height, so lots more opportunities are there when we head back down.

2007 - Year in Review - Disney Characters

Characters. It's one of the things that makes Disney great. You can see all of your favorite characters from your favorite movies. And you can have your picture made with them. And hug them. And tell them you love them. You can do all of those things.

As long as you aren't scared.

And guess what? My girl was scared. Even of the princesses. No pics of my girl with characters. (Unless you count the Cinderella statue at DTD, or any of the other great photo-op characters at DTD.) The boys were definitely troopers and let me get some pics with a few characters.

Next time, there will be lots of character pics with my girl. I hope.

2007 - Year in Review - October Disney cont.

We left for Florida on Friday and spent the night in Savannah, Georgia. We arrived at our resort on Saturday, got settled and headed to Downtown Disney. It was Saturday night. Apparently DTD is the place to be on Saturday nights. Very, very, very crowded. We went to the Lego Store and walked around a bit.

Sunday was our first day at the parks, and we went to Animal Kingdom. According to the crowd predictions, Sunday was not a good day for Animal Kingdom, so we decided to hit AK and MGM this day.

For me, AK was probably my least favorite park. I thought it seemed more crowded than any other, but it's probably because the walking paths are more narrow than any other.

In Animal Kingdom, we saw It's a Bug's Life. (OOOOH, the crawly bugs on the seats were neat. Kinda.) We also did Kilmanjaro Safaris, Dinosaur, Triceratops Spin, and watched Finding Nemo - The Musical. We weren't able to do Expedition Everest, so we knew a return trip to AK was necessary.
Definitely the highlight of AK for me was the pic above from Dinosaur. L and the boys rode it and I stayed off with A. I was at the monitors looking for their pic when I saw that. My guys are in the front row. The row that has 1 adult, 2 children bowing in prayer, and another one screaming like a girl. So, so, so funny. And of course, I did what any good mother would do......I took a picture of the monitor. I did convince someone to go on it with me. It was pretty scary, I'll have to admit.
We left AK and ate a picnic in the van. We then headed over to MGM for the rest of the day. At MGM, N and L went to Tower of Terror and the rest of us headed to the Voyage of the Little Mermaid. We attempted to ride Rock 'n' Roller Coaster, but it was about a 2 hour wait. Maybe next time.
To be continued.......

Monday, May 5, 2008

2007 - Year in Review - October cont.


Disney World. The most magical place on earth. And it was.

We took our first trip to Disney World in mid-October. I've decided to take several posts to document EVERYTHING that we did because I don't want to forget it. (Lucky for me, we circled every ride that we rode on our maps because I knew I would never be able to remember. Now I just have to find the maps!)

A's surgery was scheduled for November and I KNEW that I had to get her to Cinderelly's house before then. To be honest, I really wanted a distraction, and what better way than to spend lots and lots of time planning a trip.

To pay for the trip, we had decided to use some of the $$ from the sale of our house in July. I knew that it would be expensive, but my goal was to be as frugal as I could. We had never planned on staying on-site, because even though Disney is "family-friendly", I feel that the overall friendliness stops when you have more than 2 children. Not much to choose from for a family of six. (Yes, I know there are a couple of suites, and maybe I'll check into them later.)

My brother had heard me talk of our plans and knew that we were excited about going. One day in September, he called me up and this was the jest of our conversation.

Him: Hey hon, (I love my brother. He is so sweet.) I have these reward thingys at work, and one of the things I can buy with my points are Disney gift cards. So I've used some of the points and have gotten you some cards to use while you are at Disney. $500 worth of cards.

Me: Blubbering I say: Oh, T, you didn't have to do that. I can't take all of that. On and on and on. You need to use those points for you.

Him: Shut up (not really), but I want to give them to you.

Me: Still blubbering, and on the verge of tears. O.....K..... Thank you so much.

Him: Oh, and by the way, I'm also buying your tickets.

Me: Silence. For a long, long time. Don't really know what to say. Definitely crying by now, cause I know he's serious.

Him: How many days did ya'll want to go?

Me: Stupidly, I have no way to respond. I'm telling you, I was blown away. This was tickets for 3 adults and 3 children. (Yes, my 11 yr. old is an adult according to Disney. Maybe they'll give him a job.)

Me: Finally I say, well, we were going to do 4 days at the parks.

Him: OK - I'll get them.

I really don't remember the rest of our conversation verbatim, but I know it included lots of "you don't have to do this" and lots of "but I really want to". I remember the gratitude that I felt and knew that I could never express it in words or ever, ever, ever pay it back. I've gotten better about accepting when people want to do something for us/me because of being in the ministry. Our current church is very, very giving, and so I've had to learn to be very, very accepting. Definitely not my nature.

This gift, for me, was huge. I've always felt like my brother has taken the role of my parents in giving. He's always been a huge giver. He's got such a sweet heart. I smile every time I think of him. He's always had some cute catch phrases. A couple of recent ones are "big smiles" and "it's all good."

Anyway, so the trip was being formed right before my eyes.

A couple days after our phone conversation, I get another call. This is how it goes:

Him: Hey hon, what week are you guys planning to go to Disney?

Me: 2nd or 3rd week of October.

Him: OK, let me tell S (his wife). She's going to call the timeshare place and get a week for you with our timeshare points. They've got some locations in Orlando that should work.

Me: Oh my word was the first thing I thought. Again, I don't think I spoke. At all. This was far more than I could handle gracefully. And without blubbering. Again. He just blew me away.

He called back later and said that the timeshare place would be mailing a confirmation to us with all of the details.

Wow. What could I say. I do remember joking with him after all of the initial shock and saying, "hey, why don't you come and drive us down. that is the only thing you haven't done." Definitely said in a moment that needed laughter, so he understood.

So you know how you always dream of winning a trip to Disney. That's how I felt. The only thing we paid for was a night's stay in Savannah on the way down, and our gas. All of our souvenirs and eating out were done on the gift cards.

To be continued.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

2007 - Year in Review - October

October took us on a field trip to the Lazy 5 Ranch just outside of Charlotte. We went with the homeschool group from our church.
Lazy 5 Ranch is a great place for seeing animals up close and personal. You can drive your car through the property or you can take a "wagon" ride. I've never done the car thing, and I think it would freak me out to see a large animal trying to get it's head in my van.
This day, we took the wagon ride and had lots of fun. The kids were given buckets of food to feed them. We had preschoolers to preteens with us and it was neat to see all of the reactions. A's buddy from class, Isaac, was there with his family and they had lots of fun hanging together. Isaac is such a little gentleman, as he was sharing his bucket, telling A about all of the animals and helping her off the wagon.
If you live in the area, it is definitely a great place to visit.