Monday, March 17, 2014

Time For An iPhone Dump

It's that time again. The iPhone dump time. Family...enjoy yourselves!

Brody loves his bubbles

This was on a mommy/daughter date day to Opry Mills. 

Meet our sponsor son Belete. He lives on Entoto Mountain in Ethiopia, and is 14 years old. He is an orphan who lost both parents several years ago. He was living with his grandmother but she made him leave the "home" because she couldn't afford to take care of him anymore and afford her HIV medicine too. She felt as though with him being healthy that he would be able to fend for himself.  He was begging for food and had to quit school because of his displacement and inability to pay for it. Can you even imagine this being your son, nephew, brother, cousin, or friend? I have the sweetest video of him telling his story. He is one of the kids that was in the child sponsorship program that I set up when I returned from Ethiopia last year. He now has a place to stay, 3 meals/day, and is going back to school. Plus, he is volunteering with the Feeding Program on Saturdays for the other kids who are in the sponsorship program who still need sponsors! This kid is amazing! If you are interested in sponsoring one of the children from Entoto Mountain, you can email me at and I can send you some profile pictures and a brief backstory on them. Sponsorship doesn't just change their lives, it will change your life as well!

This is a little biography Chloe wrote about our family. Love how she calls out her brother being mean and my cooking having no flavor sometimes. Ha!!!

Please, can someone tell me WHY these books were on the shelf in Chloe's book fair at school this week?!? RIDICULOUS! Inappropriate and seductive covers for sure. When the assistant librarian was asked about them, she skirted around the issue saying that the company who supplies our book fair sends only elementary age approved books and to ask the head librarian about them. So, I got home and looked them up on Amazon. Yeah...these books are for 7th grade and for 12-17 year olds. Not quite elementary school. And honestly, my middle schooler wouldn't be reading them either if I have a choice. Still waiting to see what the librarian is going to do about this. UGH! Another reason that I have been researching K12 today.

my extent of Pinterest lately - took all of our water bottles and put them in a shoe thing inside the pantry door to clear out some space in the cabinets. Best pin ever!

Me and my neighbor (aka - best friend) before our St Patty's 5K

and the AFTER.... but we beat our goal by 3 mins and 44 seconds. Yay us!

This is how God is rocking my world right now. Enough said.

And this is how Brody looks when he comes out from cleaning his room. Toboggan, boxer briefs over the pajamas, and my fuzzy socks on with tears streaming that he just can't clean anymore. But guess what! He hadn't cleaned up one thing! I'd say he got somewhat distracted. Oh how I love this kid. I mean, how could you not?!? Look at him!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Snow! In March?!?

All winter long, we have been threatened with snow. And if you live in the south, you don't take those predictions lightly! You know that everybody and their brother goes to Walmart for their milk and bread just in case and then are highly shocked when nothing happens weather wise. But it never fails that with the next threat of bad weather, the vicious cycle begins again and everyone is up in arms about it. Ha! Because David and I lived in Columbus, OH for several years, we tend to not worry about it and can roll with it easily. We have lived in worse for sure!

Anyways, after hearing for the 12th time this season that we were expecting another snowmageddapocalypalooza, we were over it and didn't believe it for a second. However, around 7:00 that evening we started hearing the ice fall. Then around 8:00 our deck was covered in was sleet. And then several hours later we had 3 inches of sleet covered by a 1/2 inch of ice. And by the morning when we woke up all of that was covered with several inches of snow. For once the meteorologists were correct!

So when my kids woke up and realized that there was snow outside and they weren't going to school, we called the neighbors who happen to be our best friends and this is what took place for several hours.

view out of our dining room window

Chloe and Alyssa

Kailyn and Brody

Brody giving Kailyn a push in his Gator

me and Misty

Chloe and Brody

This was all fun and wonderful and awesome until Chloe missed an entire week of school because of this mess. Now, she has to extend her school day for 30 minutes to make up for days missed. This means she will be in school until 4:15 every afternoon which means we won't be home from car circle until about 4:30. Wish we could just make it up all at once instead of doing it this way. Blah! It was fun while it lasted though :)

Friday, February 28, 2014

Disney Day 5 - Magic Kingdom Again

Ah, last day at Disney and we chose to go back to Magic Kingdom and do the other side of the park. We started out the day a little slower since we had no reservations until dinner time and no fast passes until the early afternoon.

Our first visit was to Mickey's PhilHarmonic 3D show. We loved it! The kids said it was their favorite show out of all of the parks. And I agree. Best 3D show that we saw. Next, we headed over to the Hall of Presidents and spent a little time giving the kids a history Ronald Reagan was the best President in the history of the United States of America. Chloe liked looking at the dresses that the First Ladies wore and Brody just wanted to peace out and go ride rides. I feel your pain little man...we are in Disney World after all. There is only so much of the Hall of Presidents you can take at the happiest place on Earth, right?

After this, we did the Jungle Cruise which was cute. Kids loved it. We thought it was fun because we had a hysterical guide! She was awesome. After that we did Pirates of the Carribean. We all thought this was a great ride! They did a fabulous job recreating Jack Sparrow and the other pirates. Incredible!

Next up...and last for us as far as rides on this day was Thunder Mountain roller coaster. Yay!!! We had our last coaster of the trip and it was a blast! We loved it. Kids loved it. It was perfect!

After this, we headed back to our room to rest up for a while before our spectacular dinner reservations at the Be Our Guest Castle! This is the castle from the movie Beauty and the Beast. It has only been open for 15 months and takes the normal 6 months for reservations. We were both thrilled and lucky to have gotten a slot during our trip!

When we arrived, we were escorted into the large ballroom for our dinner. Again, we were lucky as there were two side rooms that also had dining but they were nowhere as beautiful or grand. The menu was all French foods and the scenery was exactly like it was in the movie...EXACTLY!!

After the experience of dinner, we were told to walk around and through each room in the castle, take pictures and enjoy and then as we were leaving we could stop in the grand room where Gaston would take a picture with the kids. All of that was awesome but when we got to where the Beast, Gaston was both kids froze for a minute. As he stood, they both realized just how huge he really was. Brody refused to get near him. Chloe on the other hand, reluctantly made her way to him and did a quick pose then exited stage left. Ha!

It was a the perfect way to end a perfect vacation. I have always thought about the day we would take our kids to Disney for the first time. What it would be like, what they would think of it, if they would remember it, etc... I think it is safe to say that is far exceeded my expectations, and was more than any of us could have ever hoped for.

Disney Day 4 - Hollywood Studios

Today was our least favorite day...but it had my favorite thing. Are you confused? Ha! Let me explain.

For months now, Brody has been obsessed with Star Wars and all things light sabers. He has talked about doing the Jedi training forever so we knew that this was the one thing that had to be done at Hollywood Studios. Heck, it's the only reason I even wanted to go to this park. Oh, wait...I wanted to ride the Tower of Terror too, but anyways...

As soon as the park opened, we raced back to the Jedi Training Academy studio and got him and Chloe a time slot secured. He was thrilled when he found out that he had a spot. We had a few hours though to kill so we hopped on the Star Wars ride - which was awesome! We then saw a few 3D shows and got some character signatures. We let the kids play in the Honey I Shrunk The Kids playground which was lots of fun and a great way to kill time on that side of the park.


Brody and Chloe got checked in for academy and were fitted for their Jedi training robes.

Next, they were led through the park for a short distance to the stage where they awaited their instructor.

When told, they all lined up and walked up onto the stage and took their places.
Each were handed their own light saber and shown how to activate them. They were SO cute doing this. Especially Brody as he was the smallest one up there *smile*

Next they learned how to use the light sabers and how to duck when one was being used on them.

THEN...something happened...
loud music began playing and STORM TROOPERS came onto the stage followed by...
DARTH VADER (and not a regular size guy dressed like him - he was in a HUGE costume - like I thought Brody was going to freak out and run off the stage)

All the kids were ushered to the side of the stage and one by one were ushered back on to take on Darth Vader using the skills they had just learned and practiced.

Chloe was first... she did amazing! She looked intense - like she could have taken him down with just her stare. Haha!

And the last one to go was my little Brody. When he walked out on stage, the instructor said "And here comes a whole 38 pounds of pure fury!" (the audience laughed)
Then he told Brody to look at Darth Vader in the face and laugh at him. Brody gave him the widest grin you have ever seen and giggled. (again, the audience cracked up - adorbs!)
Then Brody put his skills to use and took Vader down. I was so proud of him! And he loved every second of it.

After this, we went and saw the Light, Motor, Action stunt show which was incredible. Then we headed to the Tower of Terror. I love love love this ride and couldn't wait to get on it. The kids only liked it. After this we saw the Indiana Jones stunt show and headed back to the hotel.

We also really liked Toy Story Mania. Great ride but so glad we had a fast pass for it as I would have hated to wait in that line for 2.5 hours for a 3 minute ride. After we left this ride we saw some characters from the Toy Story movie so we were able to get some photos with them!

It was a full day but the very very best part was the Jedi Training and seeing the pure joy on my son's face. I don't think I will ever forget that. It was worth every bit of this trip to see him do something that he enjoyed as he is not into sports like Chloe. He has no interest in playing soccer or t-ball,  but he does love superheroes and Star Wars. So this was perfect for him!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Disney - Day 3 - Animal Kingdom

We woke up this morning and ventured over to Animal Kingdom. This turned out to be everyone's favorite park by far!
We started out with a character breakfast at the Tusker House where we met Mickey, Daisy, Donald, and Goofy. Once again, we had fabulous service by the chef who walked with us through the buffet and showed us exactly what was safe for Chloe to eat. He then whipped up a special breakfast for her since nearly everything was something she was allergic to. It all turned out perfectly!

Since we had breakfast there, we were able to be in the park an hour before it opened and were able to get to the rides a bit before everyone else. Such a perk! We started out by riding through Kilamanjaro Safari. That was incredible. It was cool enough that the animals were all out and doing their thing. The kids LOVED this! They couldn't stop pointing and saying "look at this...look over there...look at that!" The excitement on their faces and in their voices was priceless! We all learned a lot on this tour about animals, and their habitats. After this, we finished up by walking through Pangini Forest and seeing the gorillas, birds, and underwater hippos. Super cool!!! The kids got an explorer's book that had little badges to collect throughout the park at different stations so they loved this - especially Chloe. This was fun as it was a very educational park as well as adventurous.

Next up was a train ride over to Rafiki's Planet where the first "people" we ran into were Chip and Dale! Yep, the chipmunks were having a party so the kids joined in and got involved. They played a little game like hot potato with a giant stuffed acorn. Whoever ended up with the acorn had to get in the middle of the circle with Chip and Dale and dance. Guess who had to first? Yep, Chloe. She loved it though! She was so cute dancing with them!! Brody had a good time too but said he was glad he didn't have to do it. 

Chloe was like "hurry up mom, this thing is freaking me out!"

learning all about the iguanas

decoding something in her explorer's handbook

After that we went and did the petting zoo for a few minutes which wasn't that great, but something to do and it gave Chloe and Brody another badge for their explorer's book...the hand washing badge. Ha!

brushing the goat - Chloe has a love for animals that I am not sure where it came from other than God. She says she wants to be a pet vet when she grows up :)

found the pig!

Then, it was time for the RIDES!!!! First up was Kali River Rapids. We all loved this one. Brody especially. He wanted to ride it again as soon as we got off because he wanted to get wetter. Haha! So much fun. Next was Expedition Everest roller coaster. It was big and it was fast! 55mph fast. It went frontwards and backwards! It was great!!! Chloe loved it and wanted to do it again. Brody only liked it and didn't want to get back on it. He didn't like going backwards. Me? Well, I'm with Chloe. More, more, more!!! 

the outer part of the Expedition Everest coaster...EEEEE!!!! Love!!!

Another shot of the tracks going up into the mountain...

Next was Dinosaurland which was just okay. We rode Dinosaur which was okay. Not too much to write home about, but it was fine. Kids really liked it!

And of course while we were there we enjoyed some shows in Africa, the sights and food in Asia, and just everything about the place. Animal Kingdom was definitely the best park we went to!!!

This guy was great entertainment as we passed through Asia!