Saturday, April 30, 2011

Back to "normal"

When we got back from our Florida vacation, we promptly got sick, so we spent the first few days back home curled up in beds and on couches.  David got the worst bug and has been slow in getting back on his feet...he's still wiped out every afternoon and has rest time.  (In case you wondered...Abigail is being a camel in this picture.)
When we left for vacation, we had a washer in its death throes and an oven that was limping.  When we got home, we decided to finally retire the washing machine (we've been milking it for about a year now and it was at the point where I had to help it spin and I had to hand-wring the laundry, which isn't very effective!).
So, out with the old... with the new.  It spins all by itself and the clothes are dry after only one normal dryer!!!
 My handy husband fixed the oven...dinner prep is much easier when the oven works. :)
 We are barreling along toward the end of our school year, as you can see from our sidebar.  We finished our first subject this week and the kids thoroughly enjoyed throwing away the empty books in celebration!
 Mindy is very glad to have us home...

Sunday, April 24, 2011

He is Risen!!!

...the Truth that brings joy to our lives every day.
Happy Easter!

David's 9th birthday!

David had an unusual birthday celebration this year -- it was spread out over several days and he loved every minute of it!  The celebration started Sunday afternoon with his uncles and his "Florida friends."
 He was excited to receive a long-awaited skateboard from us...
 ...he insisted on sleeping with it that night!
On his actual birthday on Tuesday, he opened gifts throughout the day.  He got a very nice pogo stick from his grandparents Minota and The Uncles.
 We were all amazed when his grandma showed him how to pogo -- that woman has talent!
He loved his bag of goodies from G&G McKee -- here he is building his Lego guys.
Abigail got a big hug when he opened her gift and homemade card.
 He was thrilled with his birthday money from the Midlars....
 ...and very happy about a wished-for pottery wheel and nice shorts from his great-grandparents.
 We had his birthday dinner -- hot dogs on the grill, macaroni salad, and tortilla chips with his grandma's dip, along with root beer floats for dessert -- outside by the pool.  That was really fun!
Last but not least, the day after his birthday (he had requested it for his birthday but the grown-ups voted to push it off a day!) we went on a boat ride from Crescent Lake to Corky Bell's restaurant on the St. John's River.  We greeted the resident alligator (yes, he's real) and then went inside, where David got to order Gator Tail for lunch.
 The serving staff brought him chocolate cake and sang to him, which he loved!
I failed to take any pictures while we were on the boat, so I stole a couple from my mom. :)
(She chronicled our visit much more consistently then I did, so feel free to visit her blog to see more!)
It was a fun-filled birthday celebration for the guy who fills our life with lots of excitement and smiles!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Once upon a time...

...there was a Magic Kingdom.  And four grown-ups who prefer quiet and uncrowded places gladly went to that Kingdom for the sake of two very special children.  And do you know what?!  Seeing the Kingdom through the eyes of those kids truly was magical!!!
Yes, my parents treated us to Disney's Magic Kingdom.  It was the first time the kids had gone and, as Abigail summed it up, "This really is magical!"  We got such delight out of watching the kids take in all of the "magic."  The weather was gorgeous, the lines were short, and we had a wonderful, memorable time together! 
 We met Mickey and the Princesses first thing in the morning.  Seeing Abigail with the Princesses was...well, magical!  Our usually-shy princess glowed and chatted and wasn't shy at all.
I love this shot of my parents and kids.  Bruce and I thoroughly enjoyed watching scenes like this all day.
Abigail had chosen the Dumbo ride as her first-of-the-day ride.
David chose the International Speedway.  He was so excited that I couldn't even get him to look away from the track so I could take a picture!
Look at these two -- they are standing exactly the same but mirror-imaged.  Do you think they're related?!
Bruce and I got to ride all by ourselves on the Pooh ride and then took this picture after we got off.  It is an amusing aspect of parenthood that the ride of choice pre-kids would be the Tunnel of Love but during young-parenthood stage, it's Winnie the Pooh! :)
My camera was on the wrong setting for this one, but I had to post it anyway.  Disney does magic and does it well, I must Abigail was using her spending money to buy a necklace, and the cashier asked if she could sprinkle some of Tinkerbell's pixie dust on her.  The look on Abigail's face was priceless (and we are still washing sparkles out of her hair)!
We rode Prince Charming's Carousel a couple of times, but the night-time ride was my favorite.  It was so pretty with all of the lights.
 I love this picture of my parents!
Cinderella's castle was lovely, especially at night.
We popped in at Mickey's place one last time to see if Minnie was there for Abigail...and she was!  Look at that smile!
We were all a bit bedraggled by that time of night (what happened to my hair?  It looks like I swam in the castle moat!) but it was worth it.
We stayed for the Electrical Parade and for the fireworks.
 And then we went back to the resort and tumbled into bed...a perfect ending to a magical day!
Thank you again to my parents for the wonderful day and memories! 
(On a side note here for those of you who plan to go to Disney with your kids someday: in my opinion, our kids were at the perfect age to experience Magic Kingdom (at least for those of us who plan to go only once in a blue moon).  The kids were old enough to remember it and yet young enough for the magic to happen.  They were also old enough to understand the concept of marketing etc, and we discussed that at length prior to visiting.  We saw sooo many toddler/preschool age kids having meltdowns because they were tired and just wanted their beds and/or they couldn't understand why they couldn't have every toy they saw...and we were especially glad we had waited!)

Florida vacation

This year, Bruce had a conference for work that was held at one of the Disney resorts in Orlando, so we all got to go with him -- what a treat!  While Bruce was conferencing, the kids and I did our schoolwork in the morning and then spent the afternoons poolside.  Abigail swam in the big pool and played in the kiddie pool and its fountains; David spent almost the entire time going on the waterslide!

 The resort was lovely and so was the weather!

 The fun kicked up a notch when my parents arrived to join in the fun.
 They treated us to Boston Lobster Feast...for a seafood-lover like me, this was akin to!
  And even after all of this excitement, the most magical moment of all still awaited us...