Friday, December 30, 2011


That is how many years Rob and I have been married.

When I think back to this day 11 years ago, a lot of things come to my mind.

I think of the snow. It snowed while I was sleeping, so I woke up in a little cottage with my mom and one of my bride maids to a blanket of snow. (It was truly gorgeous and a dream come true. I had really hoped that when we picked a December day it would snow.) I also woke up puking. Nerves...they got to me.

I think of all the special people that were with me that day. My grandfather from Las Vegas who was really sick. My special cousin that lives thousands of miles away. Rob's grandmother who was also very old and it was extremely hard for her to travel. Men Rob went to college with that I had never met. My parents, sister and brother in law. Rob's family...who were now becoming my family. Friends, that I don't get to see anymore.

I think of the beautiful evergreen trees that decorated the stage. The candlelight. The dress. The music Rob and I listened to for hours.

I think of getting dressed in the church nursery and hearing all the people coming in to celebrate with us.

I think of waiting in the hallway with my dad. The tears welled up and overflowed. Tears of joy and excitement. My dad said, "Are you okay?" I think he was thinking, "Is she sure she wants to do this." I had never been more sure of anything.

I think of turning the corner and looking down the aisle.

I think of the man that waited. Waited...for me. With a smile and tears.

Eleven years later here we are. A lot has happened in 11 years. A lot of goodness and blessings! I am so thankful that God has blessed me with this man and 11 years of marriage.

I can't wait for the next 11!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Looking back...and forward

Well hello blog readers! I sure do hope that everyone had a fabulous Christmas! I know we did! Now that the dust is settling, toys are being put away, and New Years is just a few days away things seem to be getting back into a little bit of normalcy.

Normal, what is that anyway!?

As I look back over 2011 I think of lots of great memories. Disney being at the for front, of course. (Oh, how I would love to go back tomorrow!)

I also think of how life has changed and stayed the same all at the same time.
How is that?
How will 2012 be different.

Lots of people are thinking about resolutions or goals for the year. I believe this is a good thing. However, all to often January comes and goes, and we fall back into the same routines. Last year I tried to do the once a month resolution which was great. I can honestly say, it was good for me, but there are a lot of resolutions I made that I did not fully commit to. I will be looking back over them each month and continuing to work on them.

My goal, resolution, focus...whatever you want to call to seek Him first.

The Bible says, But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (Matthew 6:33) My main focus this year is this verse. That in all things I will seek Him first.

My marriage.
My parenting.
My friendships.
My health.

What are you going to change, work on, resolve?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Thankful Thursday

Lately I have been feeling the weight of being a mom.

Do you ever have those times?

When you feel like this responsibility is just to much?

When you feel like you are missing the whole point?

When you feel like you just want to do it right?

Maybe you don't have them, but I do.

I heard this song this morning on the radio. It is a Christmas song about Mary, and for the life of me I can't remember what it is called. (If you have any clue let me know. A woman sings it and it is not "Mary did you know.") It is basically about what a huge responsibility God placed on her with being the mother of Jesus.

In no way am I comparing myself to Mary. She birthed and raised God himself!!! I can not even imagine.

The song, however, did make me think of this "job" that God has given me. He has trusted me with 2 lives.

2 lives He created.

2 lives that mean more to Him than they do to me.

2 sweet, amazing blessings!

Sometimes, I get overwhelmed with it all.
Often, I fail them.
Frequently, I lose my patience.
Always, I love them. Always!

Today I am thankful that God has entrusted me with the precious name, Mom!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

WeekEND News {and other ramblings}

This weekend the holiday traditions were in full swing.

(We feel a week behind since we were in Disney.)

(I have mentioned I can't wait to go back?)

Any hoo...we packed this weekend full to play "catch up" on the traditions we love.

(I would like a new Christmas tradition. Can you guess what it is?)

Saturday we went to a place not to far that literally has millions of lights. It is always so beautiful!

Sunday we celebrated Christmas with our best friends...Chris and Carrie. This has been a tradition for a couple years. It is always so much fun. It is hard to believe that we have been friends since our oldest were only 6 months old. Look at them now!!!
I just love this picture! (And these kids!)

Friday, not sure why the picture uploaded all the way down here, we went to see Santa. We go to this place where you drive through lights. It is great. It is so pretty and you are in the warmth of your own car. While we were there driving through looking at the lights I had Christmas music on and Carys said, "Roll down your window." I said, "Why?" Carys, "So the lights will dance to the music." Haha! So cute!
After the lights there is a place to go in and play and to see Santa, get treats, and see some model trains. It is so fun. This has been the place the kids always see Santa and we all love it!

I am so excited that the kids only have 3 more days of school and then 2 weeks vacation. I am planning some fun things to do...baking cookies, having friends over, going to the movies and staying in our jammies, and just being 8 and 5. Sometimes I feel like school and "activities" are taking over our lives. Let me remind you, Broderick does wrestling and cub scouts and Carys does dance. Not like we are over committed or anything, but sometimes I feel like it.

I am ready for a new year though. I feel like it is permission to re-start. And I need that. I have fallen off the wagon in a few areas, and I can feel that it is effecting other areas of my life. Funny how that all goes together.

Well, I hope you all enjoy the 12 Days of Christmas!!!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Thankful Thursday {Hubby edition!)

Today we are celebrating Rob!

It is his birthday!

Today we celebrate...
a man that loves the Lord.
a man that would do anything for his family.
a man that works so hard he became Vice President this year.
a man who is always trying to do better.
a man that serves his wife.
a man that embraces his inner kid.
a man who speaks the truth.

and a man I am very Thankful for!

Happy Birthday my love!!!!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday {Disney Edition}

If you are my friend you are probably really tired of hearing about my trip to Disney!

(I am sorry for that!)

However, I thought there were a few things that you should know if you are planning your first visit to Disney. I know, I know, there are a million blogs that are all about Disney. This is not one of them. I am no expert. I read those blogs and talked to several people who had been before to get some advice. There were a few things (hopefully 10 things) that I did not know going into it that I wished I had.

Here they are:

1. Think through the meal plan. Our meal plan was 1 snack, 1 quick service and 1 table service. The snack included pretty much anything you could buy in the park for under $5. This included drinks. I try not to drink a lot of soda (Remember that post about giving up Diet Coke?). You can get cups of ice water for free. So if you do that, you are getting something else to snack on. Quick service and table service include a side and a dessert along with the main part of your meal...hamburger, sandwich, salad, tacos...lots of options, and a drink. Sometimes for the table service you also get an appetizer.
Are you catching on here? This is a lot of food! I was happy to drink water all day, skip the snack (because I was so full from the meals) and eat quick service wherever we happened to be.
Some people might like to take the time to visit other resorts to eat and enjoying the convenience of the meal plan. Which is totally fine! All I am saying is really think about it. You might be able to save some money by not doing it.

2. Like I mentioned above you can get cups of water. However, if you are pushing a stroller, carrying a back pack and juggling a couple of kids I would highly suggest taking a water bottle to fill up. We did this and it was perfect! I didn't have to worry about spills, I filled it up whenever I could, and it fit nicely in the back pack.

3. I also mentioned the enormous amounts of food...Take some Ziploc baggies! There were several times the kids didn't eat all there food, but I knew in about 30 minutes they would be hungry. I wished I would have had a baggie to throw it in to take along.

4. Don't try to look fashionable. Did you see my pictures? Bad hair days, gym shoes, hoodies. I wanted to be comfortable. When you are walking from 8:00am to 11:00 pm it is wise to be comfy. Of course I would have loved to look cute, but this trip was not about that. The last thing I wanted was to be worrying about blisters. If you can pull fashionable and comfy off I say go for it!

5. Fast Passes are your friend. It took us a few days to figure this out. Saturday when we first got to the park we rode one ride, ate lunch then got a fast pass for Space Mountain. Not smart. We should have got the fast pass first, then ate lunch and rode the ride while we were waiting for the fast pass time. Some rides run out of fast passes really quick. Like Toy Story Mania. Sunday the fast passes for the whole day were gone by 11:00. We had gone straight to sign Broderick up for Jedi training so we missed the fast pass. We ended up waiting in line for about 40 minutes, which wasn't to bad. Looking back, I should have taken Broderick to sign up and Rob should have went straight for the fast pass at Toy Story Mania.

6. When a meltdown happens, just redirect. Overall, my kids were very good. Considering they were running on little sleep and busy all day. Meltdowns will happen and they will come in different forms for all kids. Friday, the last day we were at Magic Kingdom, Carys wanted to meet Tiana. It was the last princess she had to meet. We were waiting to watch a parade, so I walked her over. Tiana was there, but the line to meet her was closed. Tell that to a 5 year old little girl. She started to cry. Redirect people! Get your child's mind on something else...Get ice cream, go meet someone else, get on a ride, look in the shops, trade pins. I simply told Carys that Tiana had to leave to be in the parade so we would go watch it and see her then. And if we could we would meet her later. (We never did get to meet her.) Quickly Carys was just fine.

7. Give your kids a spending budget. There is so much to look at and buy and it is so easy to get wrapped up in wanting it all. The pins, the outfits, the hats and ears, the stuffed animals. So much cool stuff. We simply told the kids they had "X" amount of dollars and when it was gone it was gone. If they wanted to spend it all on pins that was fine. Of course we surprised them with a few things, but for the most part they spent the amount we gave them.

8. Do things even if you think you might not like them. We saw the Hall of Presidents and it was so cool. We also watching a show about the United States at Epcot that was also very cool. Chances are you aren't going to be able to do it all. We had 8 days and I think there were only a couple things at Epcot we did not do. Out of all that there is only one thing we probably not do again. (I am not telling what it is either!)

9. Where to stay? This is tricky, again. Think about how much you are going to be at the resort. We stayed at Animal Kingdom Lodge and it was gorgeous. It was neat to see the animals in the savannah. The difficult thing was, we were there much. We left each day around 7:30 or 8:00 and didn't get back until 11:00 each night. We pretty much saw the lobby and the hallway to our room. Some people are different, they may be there more. For first timers, you may be like us and want to see it all, or as much as you can. Which means you probably won't be at the resort much. Let's be honest, the value resorts are still Disney resorts. The same bed, the same staff, just different looking.

10. And finally, take an extra empty bag for the trip home. We took a carry on bag that could easily fit in one of the suit cases. It was empty when we left and full when we came home!

Most of all, have a good time! You know what your family likes, how they travel, what they will want to do. Like I said yesterday, you make it magical!

Today I am linking up with Oh Amanda and Top Ten Tuesday!

Monday, December 5, 2011

What a Week!

I'm baaaaack!

We had a great week! It was long, busy, and just about perfect!

If you are "friends" with me on Facebook, which I am sure most of you are, then you have seen most of my pictures. (Actually it is only about half.) So I am not going to put a lot on here. I would much rather tell you the details of some of my favorite moments!

Rob and I started planning this trip in February. That is right...FEBRUARY! We kept it under wraps for most of the year. On Wednesday before Thanksgiving we told the kids. Every year we give the kids an ornament to represent the year. Usually we give it to them on Christmas Eve, but this year we gave it to them on Wednesday. (We just happened to be decorating the tree!) They opened it up and they were Mickey and Minnie. They liked them and hung them on the tree. (No clue!) Then we ate pizza, which happened to have pepperoni in the shape of Mickey. Broderick kept asking me what it was. He finally guessed. Rob and I just kind of ignored him. After pizza they both got a phone call at the same time. Aerial called Carys and Mickey called Broderick. They told them they were going on a trip. Still...the kids were kind of confused. After we helped them put the pieces together, it clicked.


The looks, the screams, the tears...they were all worth the wait!!!

Saturday morning we arrived in Orlando around 9:00am. Let the fun begin. We hit Magic Kingdom first! It was kind of sensory overload. Spectacular, but overload.

Sunday we went to Hollywood Studios were Broderick got to fight Darth Vader. There are about 10 kids in each "set". They have a Jedi Master that tells them exactly what to do when they fight Vader. (Which, by the way, why is Darth Vader so cool!?) Each kid comes up and goes through the same set of motions. When it was Broderick's turn, he did the same motions as all the other kids and then...the Jedi Master said, "Use the force!" So Broderick, in typical Jedi fashion, used the force on the Stormtroopers. Every 8 year old boys dream!!!
We of course road all the rides and saw most of the shows that day. Rock N' Roller Coaster was Broderick's favorite! Carys did not like the Tower of Terror. She did not cry at all, she was a brave little girl. For about an hour after we road it she just sat in the stroller and didn't say anything. It was my favorite ride!

Monday we were back at Magic Kingdom. Carys wore her beautiful dress that Grandma made her and we had dinner with the princesses is Cinderella's Castle. Every 5 year old girls dream! Seeing her face and watching her look all around for the princesses to come what priceless. Truly! The best part was/is, she believes these are real princesses! I love it. It makes me tear up just thinking about it!
When we were outside of the castle one day she said, "Mom, do you see that window right there?"
"Yes, Carys I see it."
"I think that is Cinderella's room."
"I think you are right Carys."

Melts my heart! She loved hugging them, and getting them to sign her book. And they all, and many others, loved her dress and commented on how pretty it was. She even told the fairy Godmother that her Grandma made her a dress just like Cinderella's!

Tuesday we went to Epcot. I loved Epcot. The World Showcase was very cool and they had some great rides. We also had VIP seating for a firework show that night.

Wednesday we went to Animal Kingdom. It was like a zoo, but on a grand scale. Disney doesn't skimp on anything! The Tree of Life has the most amazing detail. The shows are amazing. The safari is great fun. It is just a neat place! That night we ate a place called Whispering Canyon. It was so much fun! The kids rode wooden horses around the restaurant. If you needed ketchup your table just yelled, "We need ketchup." Whoever had it would bring it over to you. Not just one bottle though...about 20 bottles. Then when another table yelled, you had to take all 20 bottles to them. If you asked for more drink, they brought you a 1/2 gallon mason jar full of your drink. The kids loved this place. We will for sure go back there to eat.

Thursday we celebrated Broderick's 8th birthday. It was his choice day. What do you think he picked?

Hollywood Studios.

Which was perfect because there were a few things we didn't get to the first day we were there. He rode Tower of Terror, this time without Carys, and Rock N' Roller Coaster again. We met some cool characters there. And again, had a "Magical" Day!

That night we went to Downtown Disney and ate at the T-Rex Cafe...his choice of course. And then we went to an arcade like nothing you would believe! People, this is Disney we are talking about. They don't skimp on anything!

Friday we went back to Magic Kingdom. We met some characters we hadn't seen yet, rode some of our favorite rides. The People Mover...don't ask, and Space Mountain. This was our last night there. I cried when we left. Not a sob cry, but definately some tears.

Saturday we hit a few rides at Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios and then it was time to come home.

So what makes this place so magical you ask? It is the place, "where all your dreams come true."

You make it magical. Seriously. The laughter, the jokes, the excitement, the meltdowns, the time together. That is what makes it so special. I am not going to lie...the parades, the characters, the rides, the food...they are special too! But you make it magical!