Monday, December 17, 2012


We made the difficult decision to share the news of Friday's school shooting with *A* this morning. It was a decision I am still struggling with, but ultimately I didn't want her to go to school and hear about the event from someone else, namely peers. Being in a mixed-age classroom, we figured many of the students' parents had probably already shared something about the events with their children (especially the 9 year olds), and we wanted to be able to control how she learned of the event and how much she learned of it.

She was deeply moved as we all have been. She raised beautiful, profound questions and wanted details of how he got in the school and whether the school was put on lock-down. She cried for the young lives lost, saying it's so sad because they don't get to live a long life. She wondered if teachers died and how scared they all were.

When you tell your child about such an event, you really have no idea how they will react. I was amazed and blown away by my wise 7 (almost 8) year old. She was anxious to go to school and I am anxious to have her home. We received a beautiful note from her teacher saying she wasn't planning on talking to the children about the event as a group, but individually she would address any concerns a child might come to her with. I am relieved by this, but I hope the children haven't been talking about it too much amongst themselves. However, then I think about how they need to talk to each other just as much as we need to talk with our adult friends. I pray that the information shared has helped to reassure her and calm her rather than provided more anxious feelings.

We do not plan to share this event with (H). I feel he is still too young and we were fairly certain his Kindergarten class would not be discussing it. His teacher assured me no one had mentioned it and she hoped to shield the kids from it as much as possible. It feels weird to shelter him from this when the rest of us know, *A* knows he's too young and she's talked about not wanting to share the information with the younger kids in her class because she doesn't want them to find out. I've read a few great articles on how to talk to children about traumatic events and I know that routine and structure help so tonight we'll go about our normal routine. We'll make dinner and finish decorating the tree (finally), we'll take baths and lay out the clothes for tomorrow, we'll read books and say our prayers. And we'll remember that every day, every single day, is a gift.

Also, this is a great article in response to the God in schools crap. We told *A* to pray everytime she became sad or worried about the event, to just say a quick prayer to God. So God is there in those schools whether the government lets him in or not. The government really has nothing to do with it, never has and still doesn't.

Monday, December 10, 2012


3/5 of us have the flu. It's bad, I hate the flu. The last time we had it was 4 years ago. Apparently this flu season is going to be even worse than in 2008 (when we last had it). We typically don't get the flu shot because it never seems to cover the strain that's going around and I think that's the case this year as well. We went to the dr. for *A* Friday and he did the test and it came back as flu almost immediately. He said he had seen over 50 cases in the last 3 days. The next day, I got it. The next day poor, sweet baby girl got it. So now *A* is pretty much better, with a lingering cough. She missed 3 days of school last week, but she seemed well enough to go today. Let's hope her cough stays at bay. Today I'm on day 3 which has been the worst so far. It was that way for *A* too, major fever upon waking up followed by this worn out, wrung out feeling. Miss M is on day 2, when you think you're getting better, but then day 3 comes in with a vengeance. I am so worried about her day 3 tomorrow. She seems to be doing so much better today but I'm not letting it fool me, no sir Mr. Flu, I've got your number. Luckily my worst days have been when ^J^ is home, on his days off. He has been the most amazing nurse/housekeeper/daddy. My parents took (H) for the weekend to get him out of this infected house, so hopefully he won't get it and hopefully ^J^ won't either. It is a rare event for me to not be able to push on through an illness and get stuff done, but I simply can't get out of bed. I have this huge desire to go exercise because my muscles feel weak and unused but I can't and it's so frustrating. I wanted to vaccuum so badly yesterday but I could only stare at the crumbs on the floor from my perch on the couch. Luckily we've had meals from our amazing neighbor and my parents for the past 2 days. I'm a little frustrated at the lack of support from our church community but oh well. If there is one good thing about it, at least we're having all this before the crazy schedule of Christmas week and school break.
Ok, nap time.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A Magical Thanksgiving

Sorry for the long silence. It's been busy 'round here. Home with a sick girl today so I'll try to do a little catch up:

We were lucky enough to celebrate Thanksgiving this year in Disney World. Typically we host Thanksgiving but we were happy to take a year off and have fun in warm Florida. The big kids were so excited about this trip, they are at the perfect age for Disney right now. Still into characters, still excited about the parades and shows, and now big enough to ride mostly everything! We went to Jacksonville the day before to see my dad and the beach. Unfortunately the beach was like this:

so cold and windy, but it was still fun for the kids and they loved chasing the sea foam. We loved having our hotel doors open and hearing the (loud) ocean, eating coconut shrimp, and having a quick stop to break up the drive, thanks Dad! :)

Everything was already decorated for Christmas in Disney which was nice, we've been there at Christmastime before so it wasn't as cool as the first time, but it made everything pretty. I won't be able to post all the pictures here but I'll do some highlights:
One of our favorite places to just walk around and enjoy. Playing with the fountains, seeing the countries, etc.

Everyone (except little Miss M) finally got to ride Soarin' and the kids loved it! We enjoyed lunch in France and got to see Remy on a tray. (H) finally discovered he likes Spaceship Earth like the rest of his family, and we enjoyed a few fun International treats and drinks.
My always stylish girl 

Birthday Buddies!
Hollywood Studios:
Enjoying the ride in Mexico

Cousin love!

Waiting for a LONG time for the Toy Story ride

Me and my babies

She loved taking naps with her uncle

Magic Kingdom:
Everyone was so brave and rode Space Mountain!

Using your tongue helps!

We got there way to early so we rode the monorail over the the Polynesian and had some Kona coffee, then back to MK for the opening of the park show. Never knew they did this, it was great to see many characters come in on the railroad at the front of the park and then fireworks in the morning! Headed to Space Mountain first thing and the kids were moving too quickly to question the scariness of the ride, so they rode it and LOVED it. So fun! It was a long, busy day and unfortunately we didn't get to do everything, but we did have to leave early because of a very special Pirates and Pals boat ride to watch the fireworks. It was one of the highlights of the trip and well worth it. The kids got to meet Smee and Cptn. Hook before the ride and enjoy all kinds of snacks then we boarded a boat and got to watch the fireworks how over the MK. When we came back, Peter Pan was there waiting for us. It was awesome!

Animal Kingdom:
Took the morning off to sleep in and go to a character breakfast. 

1900 Park Fare for Thanksgiving brunch. Super fun and the mimosas weren't bad either! Plus strawberry soup which is my favorite. Mmmmmm!

Then we headed to Animal Kingdom for the rest of the day, my kids had never been to this Disney park, so it was fun to experience it with them for the first time. It was much less crowded today with it being Thanksgiving I guess so we were able to pretty much do everything. We even had time for an hour at the Bollywood dance party in Asia. *A* and her cousin danced it up big time!

I don't have any more photos of our time in this park for some reason, a few went back early, but the rest of us had a blast, rode rides multiple times and enjoyed an almost empty park after dark. That night poor (H) got sick and none of us slept well, but we were just thankful it happened on our last night there.

We headed home the next day, tired and over-stimulated, but before we left, we headed to the LEGO store in Downtown Disney:

The most amazing lego sculpture!

so hard to choose! 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Apple(donut) Festival

Last year we had a blast picking apples in the mountains but what really drove us there was my super-pregnant desire to eat an apple cider donut so I researched farms that offered apple picking plus apple cider donuts, and we headed to the mountains and loved it.
This year since we're trying to save money for our upcoming trip to the land of the mouse, we decided not to drive 2 hours to the mountains, but to try the other farm I found a little closer. It wasn't as picturesque and most of the apple were off the trees so we couldn't actually pick, but we all know why were were there...
 mmmmm, donuts.

Seriously, they are so good. And it didn't matter that we couldn't pick apples at all because there was plenty more to do: Pigs to pet (and feed weird baby bottles full of milk), hayrides, goats and geese (which scared Miss M with their honking), orchards with free roaming chickens to chase, and a giant pile o' hay!

There was also a lot more goodness to eat (and drink). Cider in fun pumpkin bottles, caramel apples, and fried pies. We chowed down to the sounds of a great bluegrass band. They were also selling hard cider and giving samples but unfortunately we left our licences in the car. Oh well, that'll be a new thing to discover next year when the cider donut craving strikes again!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

In Pictures

Just a glimpse into our week, it's been busy but good. Hoping for more of the same this week...

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

10 Months, how?

Time flies when you're having fun. And life with this girl is all about fun! She is really starting to show her personality: lots of real and fake laughing, growling when her siblings take something from her, trying out things because she knows they're silly, and dancing, dancing, dancing!

She's cutting 3 teeth on top and loves pretty much any food you put in front of her (except bananas). The kid can eat, often more than her brother at a given meal. She's sleeping more consistently during the day with a big morning nap, a mini afternoon nap, and mostly through the night. Anyway, she just pretty much rocks.

Here's some photos from the past week. I've been practicing using my camera in manual mode and I'm pretty impressed with the results, if I do say so myself. Having this model sure does help though!