Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Years Eve Project

Sydney and JJ saw a gingerbread kit at Target and wanted to make it...why not?!
This is something that we have never attempted before.

This is what they decided they wanted to do for our "New Years Eve Party"...make a gingerbread house, make cookies and watch "Happy New Year Charlie Brown."  Oh, how I love having little kids :)

 I think they did a pretty good job-especially considering that our kit had 
two broken pieces when we opened it.
 They wanted me to write their names in icing on the back so that they could decorate that too :)
I am glad that I took these pictures quickly-it fell apart about 3 minutes later.  We'll say that happened because of the two broken pieces-ha.
They had fun and that is what counts!

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Epcot Day

We spent our Saturday at Epcot. 

Sydney has been talking about Frozen ever since we saw it on Thanksgiving.  When she found out the Elsa and Anna were greeting at Epcot, she was so excited.  The wait times were CRAZY-especially considering we were at Disney during a great week crowd wise.  At first I told her we wouldn't be waiting because I didn't see any way to get around a 2 hour wait.  She kept working on me and meeting them became her number 1 priority for the trip :).  So, at open (shortly before 9) I headed to "Norway" where the queen and princess would begin greeting at 11.  Yep-I waited two hours-I was the first one there.  I did meet some pretty cool people, the weather was beautiful and Jeff and the kids had a chance to do several rides before he brought her to meet me. 

She was so excited!
Despite the fact that the wait outside was now approaching 3 hours-they took their time, and were sweet and gave her extra hugs.
I am so glad that I waited for her to do this :)
She still has all of her teeth at this point!
We met up with the boys just in time to eat pizza and during lunch is when she lost her first tooth.
At this point, I still felt awful.....we decided to go to the room and take a quick break.  This was kind of a big deal for us because we don't really take breaks.  As it turned out, getting out of the park for a couple of hours was what I needed to bounce back. 
 We were back in the park by 3:00 and ready to have a great rest of the day.
Among other things, we had our reservations for Soarin, Test Track, and Turtle Talk during this time. 
We also had dinner at the Garden Grill for the first time.  We really enjoyed it.  #1 Luke got to see Mickey again :)  #2 The food was good.

After dinner, it was time to head to the Candlelight Processional.  No doubt about it-this was one of the highlights of our trip this time.  It was a wonderful and moving celebration of the birth of Jesus!
We ended the night with Illuminations and headed back to the room to get rested up for day 3 at Animal Kingdom!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Disney World (Travel &) Day 1

We left for our journey to Disney on a Thursday afternoon after JJ finished his Christmas program at school.  We waited in Nashville to board the plane-they were ready!
 We have 3 good travelers, and on this flight they enjoyed tv, snacks and playing on the ipad. 
We did not arrive at our hotel and get checked in until after 11:00 so it was time to get to bed and try to get some sleep for the next day. 

Sydney got sick two days before we left for the trip and thankfully was just about well by this point.  Unfortunately, her virus caught up with me and I was not feeling well. 

Nevertheless, we were ready for a big day Friday at Magic Kingdom.

We headed straight for Fantasyland and the new area. 

After a few rides, and meeting Ariel, Sydney and JJ wanted to go into the Storybook Circus area where Goofy, Donald, Daisy and Minnie were greeting.

Ok...here we go.  Luke has been terrified of anything in a costume-Chickfila cow, Big Red, Santa, Easter Bunny etc.  LIKE (screaming and crying and refusing to look at them while shaking on our lap kind of) TERRIFIED.  Before the trip, he kept telling us that he wanted to see Mickey (and others) at Disney but we were quite skeptical. 

When we went in, Goofy was up first. 
 I'm thinking that JJ must have helped Luke gain his confidence....a little?
The approach-
 The (very) hesitant hug
 Not a convincing "smile" there buddy.
But he made it-even got an autograph. 

From there, it got a little easier each time. 
He was actually enjoying this.
We knew it was going to be an even better week.

At Enchanted Tales with Belle, the kids had a chance to be in a little play.  Sydney did not want to be in the play-JJ was chosen as a picture frame and did a good job!

After a morning of rides and characters, the boys and girls split up for a while. 
I had a date with my daughter for lunch at the castle :)
Somehow, we scored the best view/table in the restaurant.
She was visited by Snow White, Aurora, Ariel and Jasmine while we ate.

Soon, we met back up with the boys who had done lunch, and a couple rides/shows.  It was time for the afternoon parade!

Somebody was still on the lookout for Mickey.

Later, we hit (what would be) some of their favorite rides: Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain. 

By 6:00, we were heading out of the park and to dinner.  Someone took a power nap along the way :)
Dinner on this night was at Chef Mickey's.

It was finally time for Luke to meet Mickey-and boy was he ready!

He loved all of them.  And of course, his big sister and brother did also.

 A late (for us) dinner capped off a very fun first day.  We were done with dinner by about 8:30 and I was ready to go back to the room-feeling even worse at this point.  It was time to get some rest and look forward to a big day at Epcot.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Our Newest Holiday Tradition

Both this year and last, Jeff's family has made the trip down to spend a couple of days with us after Christmas.  We head to Nashville for lunch and shopping, and then over to the Opryland Hotel to check out the decorations.  After a late night, the kids have a lot of time to play the next day before we eat lunch together and they head for home.

The kids have so much fun and so do the adults!

Granny found a good spot to take some photos at Opryland.
We have taken pictures as a couple and with Sydney and JJ here, but
I'm pretty sure this is Luke's first picture with us in front of the poinsettia tree.
Meanwhile, several members of the group got into a gift store and started trying on hats. 
Lots of different hats.
 This went on for a while :)
Time to take a few more pictures, and somehow we got Luke to stand still with the 5.
Six sweet cousins-ages 15 all the way down to 2.
Cousins and friends too.  Hopefully they will enjoy spending time together for many many years.
They are each very special and very blessed to have each other.


 Thankful for family and fun times.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Celebrating Christmas

On the last day of school before the break, I headed to Plano for Sydney's party. 
 Mrs. Ferry had everyone bring a book and they did a book exchange.
Sydney had a great time and was excited for her break to officially begin!
 On Saturday, we headed north and spent some time with the Linns.  Having the time and opportunity to celebrating Christmas with all those you love most is such a special gift.  Sunday we went to church with Buddy and celebrated at night with pizza and presents and Jeff's family.  The cousins are all cooperative and easy to photograph at this point except the baby of the group :)
 Monday we got to see Jeff's family again along with some extended
family -his uncle Ronnie and cousin Rachel.
Sadly, Nana has been sick since before Thanksgiving-very sick.  Monday was the worst of all the days and it was so sad.  She loves Christmas and spending time with everyone at this time of year.  Unfortunately, that just was not the reality of how things went this year, but we continue to pray for recovery as we get ready to head into 2014.
We were able to open gifts with Nana, Buddy and my grandmother on Christmas Eve morning-Luke was so excited to get a desk just like his big sister and brother have.  His is a Mickey one-of course!
Jeff and the kids had lunch with his grandfather, uncle,
parents and sister's family before we headed home.
Our tradition is that after Christmas Eve service and dinner out, we come home to celebrate Advent and watch The Very First Noel before bedtime.
Of course, Christmas morning is quite exciting!

Sydney woke up JJ, then us and we headed upstairs.  Soon enough, Luke was ready to join the party too!  They saw their Santa presents right off and were so happy...JJ got a Spiderman bike, Luke a scooter and Sydney a My Little Pony train with some ponies she didn't have. 
They wanted to open their stockings first and then come back upstairs for the rest of the gifts. 
It took a while to open the stockings...Sydney wrapped up bracelets she had made on her Rainbow Loom (all through late November and December) and precious handwritten notes which she placed in all of our stockings.  I bet I opened 10 bracelets and 5 notes myself :)  It was very touching and better than any gift that she could have purchased.
After we finish opening gifts upstairs, it is time for breakfast and playtime!
We are very low key on Christmas Day-we wear our pj's, play, put toys together, cook, put stuff away, play some more and then we have our birthday party for Jesus.  After dinner we drive around and look at lights for a while.
JJ was helping Lukey with a Snoopy puzzle from his stocking.
I really love and treasure our family Christmas traditions.