Friday, May 30, 2014

Relay for Life

Derek and I took the boys to Relay for Life held at our old stomping grounds this past Friday night.  The event is held to raise money for cancer research.  Our church had a team, and was one of the largest fundraisers there.  It was great to be able to meet our small group out there and support a good cause.  We couldn't stay long because of bedtimes, but fun none the less.  

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Brighton Graduates Preschool!

Two down, two to go.  As what seems to be a growing trend in our family, Dad was away on a business trip for Brighton's graduation. (He was in Vegas for Chandler's)

Since I was still in "recovery-mode" from all our Disney fun, I was not up for attending Brighton's graduation with the little ones in tow.  I hired a babysitter!  I'm so glad I did.  I was actually able to watch the graduation and slide show, take a few pictures, oh...and did I mention hold up my phone the entire time so Dad could watch via FaceTime.  Yes, I'm such a good wife, I know!

Brighton is one of the bigger ones in his class.  Not sure if he's just tall, or the fact that he's pushing six.  He's on the back row, furthest to the right.  

Brighton's teacher's, Ms. Stephanie & Ms. Angie

I was able to snap a class picture right after graduation and before heading in to the fellowship hall for cake and lemonade.  Brighton has really enjoyed his preschool years at PGUMC and I know we'll miss the closeness and small-feel of this class.  He has known most of these kids for the past 3 years. Because of the snow make up days, he actually had one more day of school after graduation.  When I picked him up on the last day, all his friends were hugging on him and saying goodbye, and it made me tear up a bit.  Brighton got in the car and I pointed out how I saw how all his friends were going to miss him.  He agreed, and told me that somebody gave him a kiss!  Funny thing is, he didn't know who it was!  Yes, there were that many friends gathered around him all at once, hugging and loving on him.  It was precious!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Disney, day 2

Disney, day 2 seemed to have a more relaxed feel than day one.  I think we were better prepared for the crowds and had a feel for the park by this point.

The first thing we did differently was that we made sure we were there by "rope-drop."  That really made a big difference.  We were able to walk straight to the first ride (okay, so we took a short bathroom break on the way) and got right on the Little Mermaid ride.  From there we went to Dumbo, It's a Small World, and the Haunted Mansion with hardly a wait at all.  

We utilized the train that encircles the park a few times this day and that's a ride in itself for the kiddos.  Probably the favorite ride of the two big boys was Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.  We had fast passes for this ride on both of our days.  Maverick got a little scared by it the first day, probably all the loud noises throughout the dark parts and then the head rattling that happens when you are only 3, but on day 2 he wanted to ride it twice.  

The other advantage of taking little ones with you is that for all the hassle they are, they give you a "child-swap" pass for many of the rides they are too little to go on.  This meant that the big boys (and Maverick too sometimes) would get to ride all our fastpass rides (Big Thunder, Splash Mountain, Space Mountain, Speedway) two times in a row with little to no waiting.  Lucky ducks!  They'd ride once with Dad, Granddaddy Bob, & Mimi and then again with Dad & Me.  

We had told the boys upfront, no souvenirs.  They did good about not even asking.  We did do the pin trading thing with some pins I bought off E-Bay, but I'm not sure if we took a picture of it.  Dad allowed them to buy one pin there that somehow turned into a keychain for the two big boys, but I'm staying out of it.  After the second day we also let them get a piece of candy for the way out.  Jamison got some shortbread Mickey cookies, the middle two got lollipops, and Chandler got a Donald pez dispenser.  

Here's a family picture that we took right before heading home on the last day.

I can't wait to go again, but I imagine it will be many years before we make the trip back to Disney.

There's no need for me to blog about the ride home.  Derek had to stay another 5 days in Orlando for work, so my parents and I drove back (in 2 cars) on Monday.  Luckily, my mom rode with me to throw food at the children, change the DVD, and help me cope with a crying Jamison.  We were in the car from 8 a.m. till 6:30 p.m.  We only stopped twice (lunch & dinner) and I thought we did pretty good.  Not something I want to do again.  I really just don't like driving (with crying children for several hours on end).

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Water Park

The next day, we went to Blizzard Beach waterpark.  

With Derek's company ticket deal these passes were given as a bonus, which was great, because paying almost $400 to go to this waterpark would not have been!  Not that it wasn't a good place, but managing 4 different kiddos with different water-skill levels and agendas (not to mention getting one to nap) is quite the process.  Thanks again that Granddaddy Bob and Mimi were there or I wouldn't have gotten to ride anything.

Sorry for the lack of waterpark pictures.  I think Derek took one on his phone, but that was about it.  Managing all the "fun" didn't allow for a camera.  I'd say this trip as a whole was really nice.  There were some moody children at times, and a fussing baby, but that's life without all the stresses of being away from home too.  The hardest part of the trip (minus the drive to get to/from there) were the sleeping arrangements.  Jamison slept in a pack-n-play in the kids' bathroom.  He did okay, but would take 30 minutes or more of settling the first few nights to get used to his new environment.  He also woke up earlier.  The other three shared these two beds.  I had to have Maverick alone, because after going all day without a nap, he really needed his sleep.  It was like putting the 3 stooges to bed though with all the shenanigans, "He pinched me, he took the covers, he touched my pillow, he hit me, he kicked me, repeat, repeat, repeat."  Many threat were made about what we would/would not do if children would not just "GO TO SLEEP!"  It all worked out in the end, but Jeez....

After the waterpark and eating dinner back at our condo, we decided to finally let the boys play the mini-golf on site that they had been eying up since we arrived.  My mom somehow forgot that mini golf with 4 little ones is all about the kids and wanted a club for herself too.  It was quickly realized that would not have worked.  

I spent the entirety of the game chasing Jamison 1-2 holes ahead of the rest of the boys making sure he stayed somewhat on the path and didn't end up swimming in the lake.  

Maverick enjoyed it (as did they all) but he really gets excited about things like this.  He really got the concept that the ball goes in the hole and he made sure to get it in there one way or another.  

Chandler and Brighton who are only 18 months apart can be super competitive with each other.  Chandler would always go first hitting the ball, chasing it, and hitting it again without allowing it to stop.  I think his goal was to get the ball in the hole as quickly as possible, no matter how many strokes he took.  He then would stay on the green and become an obstacle for Brighton's ball, or would be sure to point out how he "cheated" in some manner.  Brighton actually was the most methodical of all the future golfers and did pretty good for a five year old.  

Here's Chandler giving his meanest pirate face, Arggh!

Friday, May 16, 2014

1st Day at Disney!

What a great way to spend my Birthday!  We were at Disney's Magic Kingdom!

We headed out the door early to beat the crowds....unfortunately, it wasn't early enough because the wait time for our first ride (Peter Pan) was at least 40 minutes.  Not prepared for that....AT ALL!!
I really should have brought the Ergo to hold Jamison in, but I didn't think I'd be carrying him that much.  I figured he'd be in the stroller most of the time.  Mistake # 1.  All he wanted to do was get down (out of my arms) and run away.  Honestly, I can't blame him.

I had done some pre-planning to map out a route of which rides we would hit and in what order, and we stuck to it....mostly.  We had to scrap some things here and there because we were running way behind after Peter Pan.

Disney truly is a "magical place" and the boys were well behaved for the most part.  There was a little whining about the wait time, but since they've never really experienced something of this magnitude before, it was hard to prepare for.  

Granddaddy Bob and Mimi were there to lend a hand.  We couldn't have done this trip without them. So glad they could join us.  They honeymooned at Disney over 40 years ago!

Here's where Jamison spent most of his time.  The original plan was to take the little ones (J & M) home for a nap.  Mistake # 2.  That plan was scrapped early on in the day after the realization that it takes about 1 hour to get from the parking lot to where you are actually walking in the Magic Kingdom.  First there is the tram ride to where you get on the monorail, and then there is lots of walking.  I just knew we'd get all the way to the car.  He'd fall asleep in the car, we get to the hotel, he'd wake up, and we'd be headed right back.  Amazingly Jamison took a nap in the stroller and we parked it in a shady spot for an hour or so.  Maverick just powered through and went to bed exhausted.  

Here's the family on Splash Mountain, a favorite ride by all.  Maverick is so tall for a 2-year-old (yes, he's really three) that he could ride most of the rides and he enjoyed them.  He was a little scared by Big Thunder Mountain, but rode it 2x on day two.  

Derek, Chandler, & Brighton stayed for the fireworks on Day 1.  I went home with the littles and Granddaddy Bob and Mimi.  I wish I could have stayed to see the parade and the show, but I needed to get those little ones to bed to ensure sanity for me and them.  We all had a great time and it was definitely a birthday I'll never forget.  

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Sea World

I won't get into the politics of Sea World here.

Our family finally made it to Florida as it seems like everybody we know has already been with their kids twice (or more!)  Derek had to be in Orlando for business, so it finally made sense for us financially to join him on one of his trips.  It was nice to get to spend some time with Daddy before we had to come home and he stayed in Florida for 5 more days.

Too bad that I had to drive home by myself (my mom thankfully rode with me, and my Dad followed behind).  Just incase I forget what the drive was like, please remind me that I shouldn't do that again.  The big boys weren't too bad, but Jamison (and who can blame him) cried more than 1/2 of the time from 8 a.m. till 6:30 p.m. when we finally got home.  I pretty much figured that would be the case and was dreading the return trip, so I tried not to think about it and enjoyed our time in Florida.

Our first stop was Sea World.

We choose Sea World on this day because of all the days we were in Florida this day was supposed to be the worst (weather-wise) and I certainly didn't want a bad weather day while at Disney.  It actually turned out to be okay.  It was unusually hot for May and thunderstorms took over about 2:30 p.m.

All of the boys (and me too) loved the dolphin show.  Jamison did too, but only when the dolphins were actually jumping and flipping.  He could care less about the "story" they were trying to tell with dancers and other things to look at.  He was slightly interested in the parrots that they had fly over the arena, but mostly he just wanted to get out of my lap and run away.  Kinda frustrating that I had to narrate the entire show, "Look at the dolphins!  See them jumping?  Look at them swimming!  Oh!  See them jump!  Oh!  Look at that one!  He made a big splash!  Oh!  Look over there!  Did you see that Dolphin?"  Repeat, repeat, repeat.  But, Hey....that's what you have to do with a one year old.

Here's Jamison and me at the Shamu show.  He was slightly happier at this show because we sat in a section that was right over an entrance so he could walk up and down the aisle without bothering anybody (and climbing over) the people in front of us (because there were none).  

During the Shamu show, it was much like the dolphin show except I inserted the world "whale" instead of dolphin, "Look at the whales!  See them jumping?  Look at them swimming!  Oh!  See them jump!  Oh!  Look at that one!  He made a big splash!  Oh!  Look over there!  Did you see that whale?"  Repeat, repeat, repeat.  

They also had some rides at Sea World which all the boys (except Jamison) were excited to go on.  Maverick is very tall for his age, and fearless, so he did great on rides that were meant for older kids.  

We waited what seemed like forever to ride this Shamu roller coaster.  We were the LAST ones to ride it before the park started shutting down due to thunderstorms.  I was so glad we got to ride because after waiting in that line I would have still been hearing whining if we didn't make it on.  

We had a wonderful time at Sea World and we'd love to go back.  The boys also enjoyed the dolphin nursery and petting the sting rays.  The dolphin/whale shows ranked right up there with Disney, if not higher, so it was definitely a hit!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

A Good Mother...

A good mother is many things...

A good mother gets the family pool ready for swimming as soon as she possibly can.
Especially when we've had a long, cold, wet, winter, and her boys are ready for outside play!

A good mother takes the time to teach her children about God.
Even if that means she does this by taking her children to AWANA, church, Sunday school, or VBS 
and letting others teach her children about God.  

Brighton finished his 2nd year of Cubbies!
Chandler finished his 2nd book in Sparks!
A good mother appreciates the little things.  
She appreciates the big, too expensive things too!

A good mother is grateful that she can watch her children grow, develop, and change.
It's not always easy nurturing these little "flowers".

Sometimes, a good mother is treated to a breakfast with her preschooler.  If she's lucky, she gets to eat a little too, and doesn't have to share everything on her plate with 3 little boys.  

I try to be a good mother, but I know that I fall short on most days.  Luckily, God's grace is enough for me and my family.  Wishing all the mothers out there a wonderful, Happy Mother's Day!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Happy Easter!

So here we are celebrating Easter (just a few weeks late)

Here's the best family shot we could get.

All the men in my life!

Luckily, we have hired a professional to get some pictures of the whole family soon.  It's been too long, and everybody is growing up and changing too fast.