Looking back, Looking forward…

I’ve been trying to figure out how to get back to blogging the past few months, and I’ve decided to just do it! To just start writing. And the first day of the new year seems fitting to both look back and look forward.
Looking back…
It’s been a little over 4 months since I’ve updated my blog. Luke has gone from a crying, scared little boy on the first day, to a wonderful, school loving, December student of the month. He really likes school, is learning so much and takes it so seriously!

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Daniel is loving school as well and in true Daniel style has made tons of new friends. His grades are awesome and he’s loving running in the Running Club at his school. He ran his first 5K back in November.
Dan is loving the new church. He’s enjoying the work and the sweet people.
I just knew when we moved that I would get a job and all of our pieces would fall nicely into place. I had a couple of interviews this summer, but still nothing. I was told at one interview that I was 1 of 517 applicants. So, to say that getting a teaching job here is difficult is an understatement. To be perfectly honest, I’ve been very down in the dumps about not having my own classroom. It’s been hard to send both of my children off to school and be left with an empty house during the day. The lack of paycheck is difficult as well. I’ve subbed a little and fortunately I got a part job working in a 4th grade classroom 2 1/2 days a week. I’m hoping between the two things, it will help me get my foot in the door and in my own classroom soon.

December has helped my mood tremendously. I just love it. It is our craziest month times 10, but I love the holiday season! December was full of carols, elf antics, birthdays, family, and of course Christmas!

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The boys were in the children’s Christmas pageant at church and they did such an awesome job! Daniel was the angel Gabriel, sang in the choir, a trio and played the piano on two songs. I was really impressed. He still hasn’t had piano lessons, but has taught himself numerous Christmas songs. Luke has learned a lot of Christmas songs on the piano as well, but he is constantly singing a carol. My favorite might be “O Well” aka “Noel”.

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Jeremy, Santa’s elf returned and the kids were thrilled. Luke got up early every morning to find him and cried when he left. :( Jeremy even made a one day return for Luke’s birthday on the 27th.

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Daniel turned ten on the 17th, which seems impossible. I’ve been at this parenting thing for a decade now! Daniel invited a few boys over for a bonfire the weekend before his birthday. It was fun! The boys roasted marshmallows and made s’mores. They also ran around and played flashlight tag in the dark. It was declared an awesome birthday party, so that’s good! :)

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Luke chose to make his own birthday cake and have family pizza and movie night. I thought it was so sweet that he wanted us to all be together to celebrate his special day. Both boys requested scavenger hunts to find their birthday presents. Their awesome Daddy came up with clues that lead them around to their gifts. Fun!

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We’ve had lots of family time lately which has been great! We started at Thanksgiving with Dan’s parents (oh, and we snuck in one day at Disney when we were visiting), visited both of my grandparents, my parents were here for Christmas and Dan’s brother and family came for New Years! Lots of fun!

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Christmas was great as well. The boys loved their gifts and were very appreciative. We had a low, key relaxing day and it was just perfect!

Looking ahead…
2013 is going to be great, I’m declaring it so! Ha! I really don’t know what it will bring, but I’m praying for positive things for our little fam. I’m going to continue to try and focus on my blessings over my trials (ugh, why isn’t that easier?), keep things simple, and have peace become stronger than stress! Tall orders!
Happy 2013! May it be a good one!

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Anniversary Weekend {etc}…

We had a wonderful anniversary weekend. It totally revolved around relaxing and eating and doing whatever the heck we wanted. Including sleeping until 10:30. I don’t think I’ve done that since I was a teenager!

We have vowed everyone to secrecy with our trip location, because the kids would have a fit! Dan’s parents live in central Florida, so we dropped them off with Grandma and Grandpa and headed to stay at the House of Mouse.

We went and did things like staying at a bit of a nicer hotel {although the kids would have LOVED it there!} We usually stay at Pop Century, which is great because we’re usually park hopping.

And we went to Epcot and went to all of the countries and even all of the shops that I’m always too nervous to take the kids in!

We ate a yummy lunch in Mexico. They just redid this restaurant and it was very good. We were able to sit right on the water and it was so nice.

We walked around and rode Soarin’ {I had never riden this one because Luke can’t ride it yet, but it was fun!} and watched Captain EO, which was like being teleported back into the 80s- it was great. Cheesy, but great. J

We took the day at such a nice, easy pace! They gave us Anniversary buttons, so everyone told us Happy Anniversary. Ha! J

We ate dinner at the Rose & Crown in England and it was so good. I had Shepherd’s Pie and could have literally liked the bowl. But I refrained.

They sang All You Need is Love to us since it was our anniversary. It was cute.

Saturday was my glorious sleeping until 10:30 morning, so we got ready and went to eat lunch and shop Downtown Disney.

I’ve warned that this trip was a lot about food! After we shopped, we headed back to our hotel to watch the Florida/Tennessee game. After the game, we got ready for dinner and headed over to the Yacht Club to look around. Super nice hotel.

We ate dinner at the Captain’s Grille, which was awesome. It’s definitely made it up toward the top of our list of restaurants at Disney. We went down to the pool area after dinner, which was nice. The kids would have LOVED it there. There were all sorts of slides and fun things there.

We packed up the next morning and headed out to pick up our kiddos~ who wanted no part of us or going home! They were having entirely too much fun with grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins. My sister in law took some pictures of my kids in their bounce house {thanks, Amanda!}. I think they had a grand time!

After our relaxing weekend, we made the 6 hour trek home. I really think it feels twice as long when you are going home! I thought we would never get back. And we entered right back into reality.

The relaxation and quiet sure was fun while it lasted!

I’m also linking this on {embrace the camera} this week- note there are 2 pictures of me and Dan in this post. This must be some sort of record. :)

Lessons I’ve Learned This Summer…

Family vacations are the best.

The gigantic lollipop that seems like a good idea during the high of a vacation is a bad idea in the reality of after vacation. {Don’t buy these monstrosities, Cindy!! Don’t do it!}

Fleas are evil, evil little gross creatures!

The Summer Vacation Chart is actually a doable and fun little tool to keep activities {other than video games and TV watching} happening during the summer.

S’mores are yummy {even made in the microwave}.

Vacation Bible School songs can give your preschooler a soundtrack for the entire summer.

Several trips to lake sprinkled through the summer is muy enjoyable.

Kids swimming in the pool with no fear and not clinging to their momma is awesome!

My seven year old can read Harry Potter. {He LOVED it.} {This is a completely shameless brag, but it is my blog after all, right? :-) }

Being “off schedule” is not necessarily a bad thing.

Summer with these two keeps things interesting!!

Disney Vacation: Day Five… The End…

Day five we woke up and had to pack up and check out. Our week seemed to fly by, so we were sort of bummed to check out. We were spending our day at Magic Kingdom and then heading to Dan’s parent’s for the weekend.

We ended up getting into the park in the late morning and went to Fantasy Land for a couple of rides. We ate lunch at Crystal Palace, which was very nice, but super busy.

Luke didn’t eat a bite of his food including his ice cream, which worried us. You can see his untouched food in a couple of the pictures. He was sneezing and he felt warm. After we ate lunch Dan went and bought some Children’s Advil. That is really something you don’t want to do at Disney. We went to ride Peter Pan (which I love as much or more that the boys!) and then as we were walking around Luke fell asleep.

As a side note I can’t wait to put the stroller in the trash. We have had that thing since Luke was new baby and he is huge in it now! The whole thing is all bent out of shape and I don’t think it would have lasted one more day in Disney!

Dan and Daniel rode a couple of rides and Luke got up in time to go to the Haunted Mansion for a second time- which he loved more than the first. We rode the train around Magic Kingdom and ate dinner overlooking it’s a small world. On our way out we rode the carousal and watched Mickey’s Philharmagic. Then I got like 8 snacks on the way out because we didn’t eat most of our snacks from our dining plan. We left with an awful lot of Mickey rice krispie treats and lollipops!

We had such a wonderful time and our kids were total troopers. We usually take a rest day somewhere in there, but took them all at the end at Dan’s parent’s house. Daniel walked the whole time- which was a lot of walking- and he never complained. We were so proud of the kids and had the best time!  We can’t wait to do it again!

Disney Vacation: Days Three and Four …

We slept in on our third day and then got ready to do whatever we wanted on this day.

We went to eat lunch at Chevy’s and then headed to Downtown Disney. I think I like this place as well as a park! There’s so much going on and lots of shopping, which I enjoy.

We hit up Daniel’s version of Utopia- The Lego Store.

He LOVED this store and bought a few things. He made 3 mini-figures to buy. He made Indiana Jones, a bad guy, and Dan.

It’s the ultimate compliment from the Lego obsessed boy. He even has on an astronaut shirt, because Dan wanted to be an astronaut. Love it!

After Downtown Disney we headed to Animal Kingdom. We walked in right as they were having the parade.

Going late in the afternoon worked out great for this park. We zoomed through and did everything that we wanted to get done and more. We all loved the Safari, Nemo show, and the Lion King show. Luke especially loved the Lion King and the tumble monkeys. And we have a certain soft spot for the Tree of Life. (Dan worked there for a while, for those who didn’t know.)

Luke wanted to ride the Primeval Whirl so bad, but he wasn’t tall enough- by 6 inches. He kept telling me he had grown and was big now. So, when Dan and Daniel were done with the roller coaster, they took Luke on the Triceratop Spin. He loved that thing and rode it twice in a row.

Here they are going by, can’t you tell?

We closed this park down too and then headed back to the hotel super late. We needed to rest up for the next day… Hollywood Studios.

Hollywood Studios is probably my personal favorite of the parks. We enjoy Magic Kingdom a lot with the kids, but I think Hollywood Studios is the favorite for me and Dan.

Daniel was super excited about all of the Star Wars stuff around for Star Wars weekends.

Daniel got chosen to be part of the High School Musical show. He went out and played air guitar and loved every minute of it.

The kids loved the Lights Motor Action car stunt show and the Honey I Shrunk the Kids playground. Luke actually rode Star Tours this time, but did not care for it. He was a trooper though and didn’t cry or anything, he just didn’t enjoy it.

We ate dinner at the 50’s Prime Time Café. The atmosphere was fun and the food was very good. The restaurant is set up like a 1950’s house and there is a TV on every table playing good old black and white shows and commercials.

The dessert was absolutely sinful and delicious. Don’t worry, I didn’t finish it… and I shared… some.

We headed back to the hotel and swam for a bit. Luke took off like a fish with his little floaty arms. He wouldn’t let us touch him, he just swam back and forth and back and forth.

We finally headed to bed to rest up for our last day…. back to Magic Kingdom!

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