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the truest thing





Updated: 2018-03-06T04:03:40.730-06:00

 



A-A-Achoooooo!

2012-06-18T16:16:59.956-05:00

Excuse me!

sniff.  sniff.

I was just dusting off my blog.

Stacey



SpRiNg BrEaK!

2012-03-18T22:26:17.336-05:00

We don't always vacation during spring break, so it wasn't much different this year. Some years, I will travel with the kids to visit friends and/or cousins. Other times, we might have a visitor or two in our home.This time, it was about being at home.I tried to offer the big kids plenty of opportunities to earn some money with my daily activity/to-do list. While I don't think they maxed out their earning potential, I think they will still come out with a little extra dough in their wallets. I tried not to be the too-mean mommy and include fun activities as well as a few household and learning expectations. This allowed my house to not get too overwhelmed and my kids to enjoy science experiments and a family game every day.I usually spend 3 hours a week at the kids' school providing therapy services, so I took advantage of that break in my schedule to cram most of my home health kids on one work day this week. The weather has been crazy cooperative this week. Thank goodness! Cool mornings. Warm afternoons. Cool evenings. A breeze even when it was warm. Perfect. On Friday afternoon, I sat on my front sidewalk watching Brax play in the sand pit-his home away from home-while the sun hid behind a cloud and the breeze was just right.I was worried how this week would go. Brax had his adnoids removed last year and we really felt that it was not really an option to let the tonsils hang around any longer. I would concur with our ENT when he described his tonsils as "ginormous". He fell into the same herditary trap as Anysa and Luke. My kids never experienced an abundance of sickness, just poor breathing and sleep. I actually have to say that we have been super blessed that our kids are rarely, rarely sick. Well, unless you count Luke who just happened to get a short-lived virus/croup thing 2 days before Brax had his tonsils removed. Fun!Brax had his tonsils removed Monday morning and the benefits are already very evident. The last two nights he has had excellent sleep and I can barely hear him breathing. I really didn't expect that so soon knowing that there would be some swelling from the surgery, but WOW what a difference. As we thought, he mostly slept, took meds, and a few sips of liquid the first day and a half. He perked up more after that, although I could tell that he tired easily. He had no argument for me when I suggested we take a nap! Wednesday afternoon found him playing quietly in the sand pit during the cool morning hours. Thursday and beyond? Well, he has been pretty active. He hasn't even had any pain meds since Wednesday morning. That was the last time I forced it down him as he fought me all the way. We decided to see how he did with just taking the antibiotic. Little dude has been pushing the med in himself and we are all happier when the med cart comes around! I'm hoping the pain stays away, but we still have scabbing and scab sloughing to take place, so we will see! For now, he is enjoying his soft foods and I am enjoying his sweet little gargly voice when he talks to me.I guess I thought having his tonsils out wasn't enough excitement. This month, we have played around with potty training. I didn't want to get too serious knowing surgery was coming up, but he has had some success when I offer the opportunity. He has actually volunteered a few times this week and enjoys sharing his accomplishments! Last weekend, we transitioned his crib to a toddler day bed. Of course, he loved the novelty of it at first! He slept with us a few nights post surgery, but has actually gone to sleep in his bed the rest of the week. AFTER, lots of books, a few tears, and mommy resting beside him until he drifted off. I don't mind because I get those sweet moments all to myself! ;)The kids and I escaped the house on Friday afternoon to go see the Lorax. Although it was true to the original story/intent of Dr. Seuss (yes, I went home and looked it up!), I felt myself rolling my eyes several times at the propaganda feel of it. It was cute, had a message, and entertained 3 young children for 1.5 hours. I'l[...]



February 2012

2012-03-09T16:48:00.884-06:00

Sadly, I have no snow pictures this year!  We have pretty much had fall/spring weather through the winter with a few cold days scattered around the months.Brax is trying to tie the shoe in an activity book.Beau sleeping on our backporch one day.  Apparently, he feels at home!Brax had a cold over the weekend and I wanted to make sure it was completely gone before sending him to the gym nursery again.  Mothers everywhere are thanking me!  ;)  He was so good the entire time.  He either watched us, ate a snack, read his books, or played on my phone.  Near the end, he got a little more brave and decided to work up a small sweat!  I must say that he put a few of us to shame!  :)Howdy, Farmer Brax!The little girl who used to wear princess dresses, cute clunky dress up shoes, and lots of party jewels is this same young lady!  She had offered me clear instructions that she wanted to be with me when I looked for her dress and she wanted it to be sparkly.  I love that we found this dress at a discount store for about $8 and then only spent another $5 over at Payless for these pumps that were on sale!  Letting her wear heels seems a bit much, but they were simple, cheap, and for a fun event.  I couldn't think of a reason to say no!  My hoop earrings and a sweet pearl bracelet finished off the outfit.  Oh, and of course, a corsage from Daddy!Anysa and her Daddy.Just one year ago![...]



January 2012

2012-03-08T07:00:14.191-06:00

In wrapping up January, I didn't want to forget all these good things.Luke received a Scholarship award during Principal's Pride.  He is hugging the principal, Mrs. Walley, and that is his teacher, Mrs. Walker, next to them.  She is a jewel!This is really exciting!  Anysa and I had been growing our hair since I was pregnant with Brax which means almost 3 years!  At some point, we just decided to get it long enough for Locks of Love.  I couldn't donate because my hair is highlighted, but she was all ready to go!Look at that hair!We love us some Ms. Gretchen!  She is a tall glass of Southern charm and so sweet.  Love her expression!  Here we go....And there it goes!!!!Her new do!!She loves it!  I love it!!  Everybody loves it!  :)Oops, someone else wanted a picture of his hair.  Anysa had her friend over one night.  They are sweet but crazy girls!Brax showing me one of his many "tool" tricks!More cookie decorating fun.Luke at one of his UpWard basketball games.  It has been fun to watch how much progress he has made this year!Brax thought he would give Daddy a little extra help killing the gophers.Luke got a ripstick for Christmas, but has not had much success until recently after some intense practice sessions with his sister.  They really have it down now!  Those things are hard!!  Yes, I tried.Brax swimming.The painted toenail legacy carries on!Just a little box fun!I love seeing how much he resembles Luke at this age.Anysa at a Girl Scout activity getting her groove on!"Toffee" with Gigi and Papa.Her birthday lunch at El Chico!Practicing his stomp rocket.One of Micki's puppies, Beau, decided to visit us.  Micki is not so sure about him.  He likes to roam the woods from his home to ours.  Is that crazy, or what?!My Girl Scout troop picked up 7 bags of trash from the school playground areas!  Way to go girls!Love those hands!This goofy kid!  He left a bowl of meatballs at school for an extended period of time and I made him dump the dish.  Paying for his crime!Stacey[...]



Pink and Black in Progress

2012-03-07T19:00:06.360-06:00

It seems to be taking me forever to work on decorating this house.  I can't quite get Time and Inspiration to coordinate their schedules!On New Year's Day, I started one little thing for Anysa's room and then got a sudden surge of inspiration!  I ended up getting several things done for her that day.She has had the bed and most of the bedding for awhile, as well as the nightstand and desk/shelf combo.  If you remember, we found the latter two at a garage sale and converted them from white to black.  Not bad for $50!  I added a piece of glass to her desk too so she can put pictures, etc under it.For Christmas, I got her a fuzzy pink pillow and a minky black blanket/pillow combo.  One for 80% off at a furniture store closing and one at W during their sale.  The silver frame was from her original baby room.  I had an old real b&w picture of an adorable baby in it.  I put the word "dream" on some scrapbook paper with sticker letters and added a black ribbon on the back.  I would still like to embellish her lamp, change the drawer knobs, and add something to the wall above her bed.I also converted her original bulletin board with the fabric from a dress I made her a few years ago.  I added ribbon and cute buttons.  This is the original.It's hard to tell, but the white framed pictures on her shelf are from her room when we took her from baby to toddler/girl room.  There is a Christmas tree blocking one in the picture.  The pictures are actually old magazine covers we inherited from his grandmother.  When we first changed her room, the concept didn't change-Dick and Jane-we just added some more things, converted her to a full sized bed, and painted her room.  I loved her old room!This is her old room.  Two walls were pale yellow and two walls were this checkerboard pattern.  The pink and the green paint was mixed with glaze and it turned out so cute!  My inspiration came from HGTV....you know, that channel we used to watch before Pinterest!Curtains are the same, but I still hope to embellish them at some point.  I just can't not have her precious little baby dress in her room (hanging on curtain).  I am sure she will veto it some day, but for now...  I started researching how to recover chairs, but have not had to nerve to try it.  I like the minky blanket over the chair with a little sparkle from her pillow!  I added her hanging lamp which she has had a long time but not up in her room for a few years.  We repainted several shelves from her previous rooms and added them now.  See old picture above and you will notice the lamp and one of the shelves.I would still like to add something fun either above her curtains or on the chair wall.This is her original dresser.  It totally doesn't match her new colors, but for now it serves it's purpose and makes me happy to see it everyday.  It belonged to her daddy and I decopaged scraps of fabric from her baby bedding onto the sides and top.  I used a mirror we had and added the ribbon.  I picked up the dress stand at Canton and she bought her umbrella at Disney.  More black shelves that used to be green.  The 3 prints are from Francesca Battistelli's line that I bought her 2 years ago.  They have the titles from 3 of her songs and the graphics are precious.  I have always meant to get them framed.  Maybe one day!I really want some kind of cubby/dresser thing for this wall.  I want to find something cool and refinish it.  I just have to be careful because the space between her wall and bed is narrow.Since she is falling in love with horses, we are hoping to find some cool horse prints and maybe even transpose a large horse drawing on a wall.Now I need to get busy in Brax's room!Stacey[...]



West Coast Girls!

2012-03-03T07:55:01.123-06:00

Our trip to California was so fun and so special!  I enjoyed planning the surprise for her.  Anticipating her excitement.  Sharing her experiences.We got to the airport early, so we ate a bite and played around taking pictures.  And here is where I brag on my over-packing self!  We got on that plane with 1 small suitcase, 1 backpack, 1 purse, and 1 tote bag!My daughter was going to have 2 half-days at school on a Thursday and Friday, so we headed out of town on that Thursday.  We got there pretty late, but Tifani and I had already decided that we were not going to rush our days, so our first morning was about sleeping in and letting the day decide for us.  We probably didn't get to bed until 1 AM Texas time, but of course those girls were up early the next morning!Anysa, Allexa, and Owen before we headed to the mountains for a little snow!We drove about an hour into the mountains.  Not as much snow as usual for this time of year, but we found a sledding place and the girls had a blast.  I didn't download the video, but OH.MY! the screaming as they came down the slope!I love heights and roller coasters and such, but I have found that my vestibular system has started to play tricks on me in the last year.  We ate a great mexican breakfast before going up and it almost did a little number on me!  Luckily not, though!A scenic stop.And a momma that needs some botox!The beach was on our list for the next day.  Not the warmest weather, but the girls still convinced themselves they wanted to go in the water.  They changed their tune after getting wet!We started our day with a little surprise for the girls...a red convertible!  They were very excited!  But, they were cold after the beach and didn't appreciate that the mommas wanted the top down for our drive on 1.  We tossed a few blankets back there, turned up the heat, and enjoyed ourselves!I loved being there and watching her have fun.These silly girls played so much "school" while on vacation!  At the house.  In the car.  Allexa asked for a projector for Christmas.  It was pretty cool.  Now guess who wants one!  I actually found 3 at our local garage sale store, so you never know!!We really enjoyed The Mission Inn in Riverside.  It was so beautiful!They were still taking down Christmas decor.  I bet it was cool at night.They loved all the secret little doors!Playing with my phone!The Presidential Chair...I can see it!On the 1, across from the ocean.  I could so do that!My daughter actually released money from her very own hands to purchase her first pair of Toms.  She tends to hold tight to her cash, but loved the shoes and the cause.  Super cute!  Mommy loved them too but was a tightwad that day!  ;)THIS was pure heaven for Anysa!  We got cupcukes from Casey's Cupcakes, a Cupcake War winner!  Cute little store and YUMMY cupcakes!  We sampled each other's and they were all GOOD!  I even brought home a 6-pack to share with the family.We had such a great time on our trip and I am so grateful to our friends for hosting us!  I hope it is a trip she never forgets and one we get to do again.  I'm already thinking about ideas for future trips!Stacey[...]



Anysa~10

2012-02-27T14:30:58.920-06:00

Sigh.My baby girl turned 10 this year.As much as I dreamed about her and for her before she was born, she has far exceeded those dreams to this point.  Our days together are not perfect and she has the same highs and lows as many young ladies her age, but she is a perfect match for the life God is creating for her.  I just have to continue to pray that God gives me the exact measure of what I need each day to guide, nuture, and love her through the years ahead.We had another quiet family celebration this year.She loved her earrings, bracelet, horse stamps, and cute shirts from Gigi and Papa.I'm not sure I expected quite this reaction to giving her my old Kodak digital camera!  Luke is never far behind in the expression category!  Can't you just hear that scream coming out of her mouth.This was her big gift from us this year.  I thought I had made it obvious, but she wasn't quite sure what to make of it.  I got her a cute bag with a travel bag inside.  Inside the travel bag, I put the iternary for our girls' trip to California to see our friends that moved.Not really sure...Ahhh, now she understands!(In case you missed that football game, I'm glad we could provide a review showing for you!)She enjoyed a little cash flow from her grandpa and nana which she hoards in her wallet for that special day!These pictures are from this summer.  The last few years I have herded the kids at the same time for their "annual" pics rather than make 3 trips.  She is always a few months more mature since her actual bd is in January.So beautiful...inside and out!This was her school pic from just this past fall.  A mini-me, only more stylish than I was at her age!Happiest of Birthdays my precious daughter!Stacey aka Mommy[...]



New Year's Eve 2011

2012-02-16T18:23:28.315-06:00

Hold the presses!  One more for 2011!Since having kids, we rarely do anything for NYE.  The kids enjoy staying awake longer than their parents and toasting with a little sparkling grapejuice!This year, we decided to invite a few CWK (Couples With Kids) over for some simple food and fun.The kids enjoyed some crafts and peeking at a new baby.Brax played a couple of intense games of magnet darts.A few tunes!And a great game of brown bag limbo!I put together a bunch of topics for Charades and Brax had no intention of being left out!The Toast!Seeing these pictures makes me miss my house being decorated for Christmas!Good-bye 2011!  We enjoyed you from start to finish!Stacey[...]



December 2011

2012-02-16T08:53:00.564-06:00

Are you sure you are ready for my last 2011 post?!!  I didn't quite finish in January as I had hoped, but mid-February isn't too shabby!Anysa started piano lessons this past August and this is her Winter Recital.  I love seeing her up there!Receiving her gold medal from her competition the day before.  We love Mrs. B.  She was Anysa's music teacher her first year here before she had another baby and went back to homeschooling her family.  We waited a year to get a slot and I gladly took the 7 AM time on Tuesdays she offered!Is that not a cute $4 dress from a second-hand shop?!!!Girl Scout Christmas party!Luke's North Pole field trip.  I rarely get to go on fieldtrips because they are usually on the 2 days I work.  After 3 years, I was due one on a Friday!I love seeing this!"Mitkey Mouse and his fwends!"Checking out all the sights from the train.Going through the workshop!He waited sooo patiently while all the big kids cut in front of him to pet the animals.Another great encounter with Santa!Well, somehow I got the pictures out of order!  Finally getting his chance to say hello to the animals!In case you didn't hear him, he wants a "futeball".A little more emphasis on the "futeball"!Luke telling Brax to be quiet admist a bunch of 1st graders...too funny!Sending a letter to the "real" North Pole. Luke's Christmas party...with his little buddy. Rudolph's Red Nose game which includes vaseline! Reindeer Antlers game which includes stuffing balloons into pantyhose before the teachers put them on their heads!  Mrs. D! Mrs. M! Brax discovered his love and talent for cutting (everything into small pieces!) in December. I finally got around to making this little goody.  I had only had the materials in my room for a few months!  Burlap is messy to sew with! I don't think she was very happy with her new book.  ;)  This girl can't wait to get a horse.You can see my Christmas in July post here for more December stuff!Stacey[...]



November 2011

2012-02-15T08:52:00.478-06:00

You really never know what he is going to be in the mood to wear!

I always love when he holds his hands like this.


Nana came to visit us for Thanksgiving!

A rare family picture!  Mommy is usually behind the camera!  We cook for the Thanksgiving Feast our church sponsors for the community and then eat there too!  I like only cooking one food item and not 2 meals!

Stacey



Halloween 2011

2012-02-14T08:52:00.606-06:00

I will give you 3 guesses what we decided to be for Halloween last year!





The best thing?  Apart from having the cutest little pirates in town, of course!  Outfitting ourselves with what we already had plus a few very very inexpensive purchases from the Goodwill!  :)

Stacey



October 2011

2012-02-13T08:52:00.569-06:00

Pink Out Cancer Day at school!  My dude is not afraid of a little pink!"Mmmmm, that is ummmy!"The treasures that each of the kids painted themselves..Brax-dinosaur, Luke-snake, Anysa-horse.Celebrating Daddy's birthday!Brax is never anything BUT enthusiastic!Daddy's new mug.Anysa was so proud that she took these pictures herself.  I had to show them off!  She posed him and everything!Cheering on Bubba at his football game.  "Doe Bubba!  Det dat ball!"Coffee break with Gigi at the game.Luke playing football.  Please don't ask me to point him out!  :)Another coffee break with Gigi and Papa!Awards.Stacey[...]



September 2011

2012-02-12T21:56:54.634-06:00

Curtis and the big kids were out of the house one night and somehow this happened!Grandparents' Breakfast day.A little western fun with Mommy!  "Wide 'em!"I'm pretty sure these boys are going to get in all kinds of trouble together one day!  Soon!At a pottery place, painting Daddy's bd surprise and a few special things for each of them.Wow, that was an exciting month!  :)Stacey[...]



Special

2012-02-10T13:16:48.328-06:00

On our way home from Disney and Florida, I convinced my husband that we needed to take an alternate route back home through Alabama.

Birmingham, Alabama.

To hang out with someone I had never met.

At all.

You know he was all over that without question!

I mean, what in the world could be more normal than that?

All I can say is that it felt very normal from the first moment in the hotel lobby.  And the next moment at dinner where the conversation was easy.  And at the last moment at the pool.

The kids playing at the hotel pool after dinner.  Anysa is swimming with her little girl.  A young lady we didn't know was trying to help Brax.


Luke and her son in the hot tub.

My dear, funny, and real friend Brandi.  That is her original blog where we first met.  She is occasionally here now.  I'm strongly encouraging her to come back to writing.  She is super witty and insightful.  Yes, you are!

Stacey



Disney 2011-Magic Kingdom Day 2

2012-02-10T13:02:08.953-06:00

On our second day at Magic Kingdom, we took advantage of the Morning Extra Magic Hour where resort guests can enter the park of the day an hour before others.  I recommend taking advantage of this in most cases.The opening ceremony.We rode Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin pretty quickly after opening ceremony and then got some Fast Passes for later.Chip and Dale Space RangersJungle CruiseWe had a front row view before the Pirate show started with Captain Jack Sparrow.  From the first moment, Brax's eyes were glued to the stage.  When Jack asked for volunteers, I asked Brax if he wanted to go up.  He took a couple of steps forward and when Jack called out to him, he marched up there like he had done it every day of his life.  We loved every minute of it!Getting his first instructions along with his other mates.Captain Jack went on to tell a story about how to be a pirate.  Brax never took his eyes off of him.A little one on one with Captain Jack.  I am not sure, but I think he might be showing him a boo boo!Learning the fight and run routine.After watching two of his mates, it was finally his turn.  He receives his sword and ......assumed his position without hesitation!Captain Jack was completely amused!The escape route.Relishing his victory!His pirate certificate made for a good telescope!Here is the video!  Hang in there....it is sideways for about 30 seconds.Cinderella's Castle.On our last night, we had dinner reservations for 1900 Park Fare at the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.  Now that is a fancy hotel!  Anysa didn't want to dress up, but we had fun fixing her hair and adding a few special make-up touches.Luke in front of the giant birdcage.The girls.One of the step-sisters.Prince Charming.Cinderella.  Don't tell her, but I think Anysa is much prettier!  ;)The mean step-mother.Anastasia, the other step-sister was my favorite!  I so wish I had reacted quicker and started recording this, but she was so fast with her wit that we just got caught up in it.  Probably funnier in person, but the story...Luke was at the dessert bar next to our table when she came by.  She asked about our missing person and when we told her, she yelled his name LOUD!  The look on his face was priceless!You can see his embarassment as she continued to grill him on how much money had and why he didn't bring her some chocolate!She is trying to knock Anysa out of her picture with Luke!Anysa's dance with Prince Charming!  Luke declined Cinderella's offer.  I think he was still in shock from Anastasia!Other stuff:We rode Space Mountain and really enjoyed the Monsters, Inc Laugh Floor.  We skipped the Swiss Family Treehouse because you had to ride a boat to it and we had time issues.  I think it looked cool though.We did attend the Magic Kingdom Evening Parade one night.  Can you say crowded?  It didn't matter where you stood because someone was going to stand in front of you, pushing you or kids out of the way some of the time.   A nice older couple with their grandkids ended up in front of us and invited our kids to stand up with them so they could see better.  It was neat, but crazy.The Haunted Mansion was cool.  I literally had to drag Luke in because he was freaked out from the beginning.  Once in, you realize it is just fun.  We kept telling Luke he was making it worse with his eyes closed because he missed all the funny stuff and was letting the noises freak him out.1900 Park Fare was nice and the food was really good, but I wish I had planned in time for Cinderella's Castle where we could have met more of a variety of[...]



Disney 2011-Magic Kingdom Day 1

2012-02-08T20:41:43.439-06:00

We stretched Magic Kingdom over 2 days, which I highly recommend.  Of course, it might depend on ages and interests; however, I think this is what worked best for us.  We had some dinner plans away from Magic Kingdom each night and by the time you park, ride, and take the ferry, well, you need time!  You can find a park plan for almost any situation (1 day, 2 days, teens, young kids, etc).  We started in Fantasyland for Brax.  Dumbo the Flying Elephant was a standard carnival ride, but one would have thought you earned a thousand dollars with each ride based on the lines and hype!Mad Tea Party was soooo fun for us!  Well, except for the photographer who passed on this one!  We did this once and then came back for more as you will see!Tomorrowland SpeedwayAnysa is giving us a preview of her driving intensity!The boy car!We headed back to the Tea Cups.  We were all laughing so hard at Brax!My crazy duo!I think he was having fun, don't you!Pirates of the CaribbeanIt's A  Small WorldSome of the many ways to say good-bye.Country Bear JamboreeWalt Disney Railroad...I think.A mid-day parade.Our dinner reservation that night was for the Spirit of Aloha at Luau Cove at the Polynesian Resort.  It fun to see some other hotels where our dinners were located.  You know, see some of the fancy places we could have stayed!  :)We took some pictures before entering the hotel because the scenery was so pretty.  A nice older lady was the only one available to take our picture.  I love this picture of us even though we almost missed being in the picture!!But it was hard to resist this one too!Anysa is somewhere up there participating in a dance.One of the many dances we saw performed.  The show was a mix of a theatrical performance and different types of Polynesian dances.  The meal was family style set on your table.  And again, the food was plentiful and yummy.  I would say it was a good choice.  As we were leaving the dinner and walking through the beautiful courtyard, we got to watch the fireworks across the lake at Magic Kingdom.Our little hula man!We aren't typically the "buy the picture" family, but we loved this picture and bought the reasonably-priced package to bring home with us.Since we spent 2 days at Magic Kingdom, I am going to save my extra thoughts for the next post.Stacey[...]



Disney 2011-Hollywood Studios

2012-02-08T16:43:42.488-06:00

Hollywood Studios was a big hit on Day 3.  It was a good mix for our big kids and our little.  Fast Passes and Stroller switching was really helpful!!Brax couldn't ride Rock 'n' Roller Coaster (Aerosmith), but he could rock it out while he waited!  Curtis and the kids started with this one, but Luke got really nervous watching everyone's "cars" take off.  He passed on this one.  Anysa and I loved it.  We rode it twice and I could have done it 10x more.  You literally feel your stomach flip inside out when the car takes off!!  One of my top rides!I was disappointed that Luke missed out on being part of the Jedi Training Academy, but I didn't realize you had to sign up early and quick for that one.  We enjoyed the show, but it would have been cool having him up there with his "father"!!Brax started to find his comfort zone this day.After The Magic of Disney Animation tour, we headed through and found this great wall.  I recommend the tour.  Our host was really good.There was a great section that allowed us to meet several characters.  Handy Mandy seemed to be the turning point for Brax.  Thanks Handy Mandy!!Well, look how decided to be in a picture!!  :)We had a reservation for lunch at Disney Junior Play 'N Dine at Hollywood & Vine.  If you have younger kids, I would recommend this place.  Food and fun show with characters they know and love.  The gang from Little Einsteins.Lights! Motors! Action! Extreme Stunt Show.  Very cool.  Very worth it!PlayHouse Disney Live on Stage was much cuter and better than my once picture can show.Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage was a really great show that I would recommend.  I think they need to upgrade the cooling system/fans because it was sti.cky, but the show was fabulous!We had some rain coming, so we ducked back into the building and met a few more characters while Brax slept.  Gotta love Mr. and Mrs. Incredible!Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular was just that!A highlight for all the kids was meeting Phineas and Ferb!Brax was a meet & greet pro by now!  Hi Perry!Awww!We were in a time crunch and the line was too long, but we did stop for a quick sorta picture of Brax with Lightening McQueen.Singing in the Rain!Other stuff:We skipped the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.  Lines and lack of interest/fear from the majority (not me) put this one low on our list.Toy Story Mania- It was fun, cool, cute; however, it seems the hype/wait to ride is a tad bit overrated.  This one is a Fast Pass must and don't think they won't run out...they will!Muppet Vision 3D- LOVED it!  This was my kids first real exposure to the Muppets.  I know, I know, shame on me!  They really enjoyed it!We missed Honey, I Shrunk the Kids show and the Studio Backlot Tour due to timing issues.  But I think we will live!  ;)Stacey[...]



Disney 2011-Animal Kingdom

2012-02-05T21:33:42.699-06:00

Day 2 found us at Animal Kingdom.  In my research, I read several times that AK can really be a 1/2 day park and I would totally agree.  So if you need some down time or want extra time in another park or have a reservation to make, doing it on the same day you do AK is the way to go.  Except for a few fun rides, a safari, and two really great shows, I would say AK is an over-rated zoo.In front of Expedition Everest.  See how the kids are smiling?  They have no idea what is coming!  Mommy really wanted to ride this and I sorta tricked them into coming along.  They liked it (the park picture was hysterical), but not as much as me...the roller coaster junkie!Now I know why I couldn't place this picture in Epcot!  It belongs in Africa in AK!!!  Ha!The walking plant life was pretty neat!  Real people!I will say that the Kilimanjaro Safaris was pretty special.  Hard to imagine being so close to the animals.  I'm not including all the animal pictures, but they were all great.The "sleeps tonite" lion did make me a little nervous.Brax and Daddy waiting on us as we rode the Kali River Rapids.Lilo and Stitch.  No Brax.  ;)George's friend...name?Pocahontas was so stinkin' pretty.  This was the first time Brax actually got close to anyone.  He was starting to understand getting his autograph booked signed.But as you can see, he hadn't quite conquered his fear of being in a picture with them.Good thing he trusts his brother!  :)Festival of the Lion King was a great show!!Other stuff:Kids Discovery Club- similar to Kidcot, but we were not as good about getting their cards stamped.  It was soooo hot/humid, crowded, and we were trying to just get done what we wanted to do.Finding Nemo: The Musical- I don't know how often the character actors change, but this was a GREAT show thanks to the wonderful characters!  The main singer was so good.  Loved it!Dinoland is for younger kids, but we only did 2 rides.  The rest was pretty lame.Flights of Wonder-bird show.  Cool, but about the same you would get anywhere else.We used the early morning hours advantage, but you couldn't tell.  At first i thought the park was extra crowded, but i think the problem is that the walking paths and general area of the park is smaller and more compact.Stacey[...]



Disney 2011-Epcot

2012-02-05T20:46:42.070-06:00

We started our park adventure at Epcot.  We counted on the part-educational, part-fun, and part-they had no other preconceived ideas to work in our favor for the rest of the week.  Not many rides that Brax could enjoy, but we did our best to keep him entertained along the way.  And I must say, he was actually quite a trooper the entire trip!  A note to remember...the stroller advantage was better than the Fast Pass advantage in some situations and even moreso in some of the other parks.  When you have a young child that doesn't meet the height requirements, the older kids and 1 parent can ride then when they come out, the kids can immediately get back in the short line with the other parent and ride again.  A pretty sweet deal.We all loved Soarin' and probably should have done it several times more.  I wish they could construct seats for little ones because I think most would enjoy it.  Test Track and and Mission were good too.Brax waiting!Nemo and Friends & Turtle Talk with Crush was super cute!You can't go wrong with jumping water for entertainment!Traveling through England, we enjoyed meeting Pooh and Tigger.FranceWe had dinner reservations at Teppan Edo in Japan.  I highly recommend it!  It was fun for the whole family.  We met a family from New York at our table.  The kids enjoyed their special chop sticks.Our talented and funny host was a Florida native...go figure!In Norway, Brax found his special sword.  The native young lady had a sweet conversation with the kids.Can't for the life of me tell you what country this represented, but Luke was really enjoying the drums!China.Don't you love how Luke is trying to hold up Spaceship Earth!  No one even told him to do that!Other cool stuff:Living with the Land- looks at how much we could be doing to grow our food safe and bountiful.  really incredible stuff!Sunshine Seasons- we ate an early lunch there and it was good.Captain EO- the Michael Jackson short film was a good memory down 80's lane.  the funniest thing was when Luke thought MJ was a girl!Gran Fiesta (Mexico) and Maelstrom (Norway) boat tours were good.O Canada!- beautiful and funny thanks to Martin Short.Cool Club- some good, and not so good, versions of "coke".  but free and cool are the key words!Kidcot- the kids really enjoyed meeting natives from every country and having their passports stamped and signed in the native language.  everyone was so nice to the kids.  well worth the time.Stacey[...]



Disney 2011-Pensacola & Cafe Mickey

2012-02-03T12:38:19.157-06:00

This is going to be so much fun for me to share, but I don't want to overwhelm anyone, so I am going to do this in a 5-part series.  Fancy, huh?!Last winter, I mentioned to my husband that we might want to think about Disney soon since Anysa was already 9.  I always had this vision of wanting her first Disney experience to be so magical.  I guess I forget that it really can be magical at any age.  I was surprised when he didn't hesitate and went to work making a plan.I signed up for email updates from MouseSavers, checked out deals on the Disney website, and searched for what other people had done.  I got overwhelmed from the beginning.  It was probably due to a combination of my perfectionism and just having no idea where to start.  I found out a family from church goes every other year and she always plans the trips herself.  She gave me a lot of good ideas and a starting point.  Her best tip for us was to plan our trip when Disney offered their free meal plan.  In the end, I got a travel agent from Small World Vacations to plan the bulk of our trip; hotel, meals, reservations.  I did lots of other research as far as how to plan our day, what to take, how to do souvenirs cheaply, etc.  I was really blessed that the mom of Anysa's friend gave me her Disney book and access to the website that allowed me to make itenaries based on best times to go to each park and how to navigate the parks and maximize our time there.  I was in Planning Heaven!We booked our trip the week before school started.  We planned a stop in Pensacola to visit the beach and one of my dear friends from high school, as well as a stop in Alabama to meet another special friend...more on that later!  ;)  We had 6 nights and 5 days at Disney.  At the end of the series, I will tell you where we stayed, where we ate, which tips worked best for us, and some of the things I planned for our trip.Pensacola~We left Texas earrrrly on a Friday morning and arrived in Pensacola late on Friday afternoon.  My big kids had only been to the beach in Galveston, so this was much different for them.  It was just breath taking!  The beach backed up to our hotel, so we just walked out there.  My friend, Raelyn, and one of her sons spent time with us at the beach and then ate a yummy dinner with us.  It's shameful that I didn't get our picture together while there.  We were too busy talking!  :)  We loved the beach!  I can honestly say that I could probably live there.  It was beautiful!Not sure at first.He quickly changed his mind!They spotted some dolphins!Cafe Mickey~We arrived at Disney on Saturday afternoon.  After getting checked-in and settling in our room, we went to our first planned dinner at Cafe Mickey.  It was a good choice and a great introduction for kids.  The kids had so much fun meeting Mickey and his friends and the food was abundant and yummy!Waiting for our table.I guess I should probably restate who exactly had fun...and who did not!  We didn't realize that the real live characters would be a tad more intimidating for Brax.  He was not happy for most of the meal.  Poor guy.  Can you see the fear in his face?  At one point, he had a serious hold on my husband's neck.The only way I could get Brax in a picture with Minnie!He finally let Mickey close while he sat in my lap, but as you can tell, he was not about to take his eye off of him!Stacey[...]



August 2011

2012-02-02T07:00:01.362-06:00

The kids and I made a trip to Oklahoma to visit family.  I really wanted to revisit the Oklahoma City Memorial because it was early in the reconstruction the last time I went there.  I think the kids were interested, but it was soooo stinkin' hot that day that we all were a tad miserable.9:01The incredible tree that survived.Representing the precious lives lost.  I like how they did smaller chairs for the kids from the daycare.9:03The cousins...trying to stay cool.Getting some Disney spending money from Grandpa.Arrgg, me a baseball pirate, matey!"I hab some berry importint work to do."Brunch with my sweet friend and heart sister, Rachel.A traditional Bison pic...Brax had a boo boo he wasn't quite over yet, thus the crying.The fountain at my Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee.Jammin'The start of his long hair adventure!  Cutie!First day of school!Anysa-4th gradeLuke- 1st gradeCelebrating with Papa.Getting his groove on!He wanted to "shabe wike Daddy".Showing me his fresh shave!Luke in on the action.Stacey[...]



July 2011

2012-02-01T07:00:17.183-06:00

We had a very special visit from our friends that moved back to California!  It was so good to see the girls back together!  It looks like Anysa forgot to grow!!Enjoying one of his favorite flip books, Trains.Notice that everyone, including Brax, is doing work!  The big kids each had a notebook that I used for their daily to-do list, books they read, and review work assignments.  It allowed us an easy way to keep track of things for accountability, responsibility, and allowance.  It was a just a large spiral divided into sections.  I may tweak it a bit next summer, but overall it worked out good.Losing a big one!Just a sweet pic.Brothers enjoying an indoor camping adventure!Brax learned about post-cereal milk slurping!The big kids enjoyed another swim season and did very well!I love these moments.It is hard to believe that these two were just little babes not long ago.  Brax and Owen are 4 months apart.Just some push ups to pass the time at a swim meet!All-American on July 4th!Intense stuff here.How can this be just 6 months ago?!The kid gang.On our way to the movies with friends...being silly!He wanted to help out Daddy by getting a head start on the mowing.We call Anysa the Cow Whisperer.Heart flutter!  Love those boys!I was terrible about taking pictures with my real camera in July.  These are all phone pics.  Stacey[...]



Luke~7

2012-01-31T22:00:59.223-06:00

We are still doing less of the birthday party thing around here and more of small family celebrations with the kids getting a more adventerous 1:1 outing with a parent.  Luke wanted another Ranger baseball game and hotel stay in Dallas again this year.  Everyone in on the "opening" act.A new bounce back ball net.Some Tony Hawk mini ramps.  I've had these in my attic for years!Being led to his big surprise.He just got his new bike!!Anysa's expression is too funny!He requested a cookie cake, but Gigi couldn't resist trying something fun too.  Luke didn't mind the extra sugar!All the kids in their "Gigi" shirts with Gigi.Luke~ you are always full of ideas, continually keep me on my toes, and have a precious heart.  You are still very much in training, but I know God has great plans for you!  MommyStacey[...]



Brax~2

2012-01-30T14:01:44.154-06:00

Our little man turned 2-TWO- back in May.  He is such a blessing to our family!Since we were about to surprise the kids with our Disney trip and Brax loves baseball, I did a Mickey Mouse baseball themed party.  We enjoyed having all the grandparents, as well as my sister and cousins, here to help us celebrate.Brax and Lylleigh, aka "WillWee" (9 months apart).Our birthday boy with his special shirt.He is ready for action!  I picked up this cute easel at a resale shop.We loved seeing him so enjoying his party.A perfect little chair for watching Luke's baseball games.Checking out his new tree swing!Bet you can't guess what he loves to do!My right-hand man!Goody bags for everyone!The girls...Hannah, Anysa (3 months apart), & Lylleigh.Testing his new cup.Brax and my mom share a birthday, so the kids decorated a cake for her too.  They did a great job!  Thanks to my sister for bringing all her cake decorating goodies with her.Hanging with his posse!The boys...Brax, Landon, Luke (1 month apart).Coooooool!Anysa's teacher made this cake for Brax.What's not to love about this face?!!!Seeing him wear his cap like this always reminds me of my grandpa.Good manners babe!This seals it...I'm keeping him!Going for it in his new swing!Love!Oh those dimples!The kids heading to the pasture.  Micki and Buck joining them...we miss you Buck!Ending the party with a round of hoops!Brax, you are pure joy for us and we love watching you grow!  MommyStacey[...]



Interrupted

2012-01-20T19:26:08.348-06:00

A wacky slow internet connection, which makes for downloading pictures unbearable, combined with packing, a trip, a birthday, and a little bit of life in the mix means I momentarily lost momentum!

I am getting more pics downloaded this weekend and hope to continue to make great progress in my catch-up quest next week!

Enjoy!

Stacey