Monday, September 24

Monday Morning Fun

Talk about bed head. Emma woke up with this hair:

We did not have any plans for the day, so we just hung out at home this morning. We went for a short stroll and Emma found some rocks to paint.
It was time for B's nap so we came back to lay her down. Emma and I spent some quality time together doing what she wanted to do. We worked on our "fruit of the Spirit" for the week (faithfulness- cherries were our fruit), we played Leap Frog dominoes, painted rocks, and got a few Halloween things out.
I decided to be creative for lunch and I made Emma a flower sandwich. It is the first time in a while that she ate the whole sandwich without taking it all apart. I guess she was afraid she might hurt the flower.

The girls played very well in their kitchen. No tears or screams which makes for a successful morning!

Saturday, September 22

The Girls of Soccer

Audrey always sports a stylish bow in her hair for game-day. It's the equivalent of Tiger Woods' Red & Black outfit he wears on Sundays.

Emma puts on her menacing game face. It's pretty intimidating!

Elle is always the model of true athleticism.

These are the girls of soccer...

Thursday, September 20

Emma's prayer request

Last weekend we went to Little Rock for John to play in a tennis tournament. It just so happened that my parent's were participating in the Alzheimer's Walk that takes place at the zoo each year. We piled the kids in the car at 7:45AM to be at the zoo by 8:00.
This is the conversation/prayer that Emma and I had as she was going to bed that night:

Me (praying): Jesus, thank you for letting us go to the zoo today and see all the animals that you created
Emma (interrupting quietly): Mom, will you pray that the animals won't stink so badly next time we go to the zoo?
Me: Laughing to hard to be able to finish the prayer

I love her little mind and her very sensitive nose. She can barely go into Petsmart and Petco because it stinks so badly to her.

Month of Firsts.....

Brooklyn took her first steps today! She has been standing for a while now, but has never even come close to looking like she might take a step. I was sitting on the floor in our closet putting on shoes and she was in our bathroom. She stood up, looked at me and walked to me. 4 steps! Amy, Grace and Isaac were coming over to babysit while John and I went out to dinner, so when they got here she showed off 7 more steps. John still hasn't seen her do it, but maybe she will do it again tomorrow. Emma took her first steps on her first birthday, so B beat her older sister by a couple of weeks. Let the fun begin!!!

The pictures are from Brooklyn's first day of school, (Mother's Day Out) which was on the 13th, and her first ride in the wagon.

Lots of first things happening around here. Brooklyn's first birthday is in 2 weeks and 2 days. Time goes way to fast!!

Monday, September 10

Back from Disney

Well, we are back from Disney and trying to get back in our routine. We had such a good time and had some much needed laughter and fun together!
Brooklyn did AMAZING for my family. She ate well (shocker), slept well, and played well! It made our trip even more fun knowing that she was doing well back in LR. We missed her a lot, but I couldn't have imagined doing all that we did with her with us. We were busy the whole time and it was so much easier getting out with just one child. It is exciting to think about going back in 4-5 years with Brooklyn and Emma together.

I have been making a mental list of "things for next time". I thought I would share for anyone out there that might be planning a Disney trip in the future:
  1. Spend at least 4 or 5 full days at Disney. There is so much to do and we saw the highlights, but didn't have any down time to swim, play putt putt, go to Downtown Disney, etc......
  2. Go the week or two after Labor Day! I had read that the week after Labor Day was the least busy time (also the whole month of September) and they were right. We did not wait in hardly any lines for rides or food. We walked onto most rides. It was great especially with a 3 1/2 year old.
  3. Get the Disney Meal Plan. It is like being at an all inclusive resort! You don't have to worry about prices while you are there and you don't have to carry a ton of money around with you. It was included in our package so I'm not for sure how much it actually is per day, but it is supposed to save you about 40%. When your child barely eats you don't feel horrible about the price b/c it is already paid for.
  4. Stay at the All-Star Disney Resorts. Only $82 per night and you get to use the Disney Transportation. John described it as a little bit nicer Super 8 with Disney accessories. It was very clean and for the small amount of time we were there, it was perfect! There were 2 really neat pools at our hotel and they had organized games for kids most of the day and movies on a big screen each night at the pool. We didn't get to do the movie thing b/c we were so busy, but would have liked to. (see tip #1!) All the buildings are decorated to the theme. (either music, movies or sports) Disney did well making this resort for those on a budget. I highly recommend it if you are going with kids.
  5. Bring snacks, water and juice boxes with you. We packed Emma's little suitcase with all of these things and it saved us a lot of money. I would have packed more water (we ran out the last day), but we didn't have room.
I am sure there are more that I will remember, but those were the things I wanted to write down to remember for next time. We had a great time!! I am sad that it is over.

Saturday, September 8

Disney World: Day 4

Today was our last day at Disney World. We started the day at MGM studios. Playhouse Disney was there showcasing some of their shows. We got to see the Doodlebops in concert, which was pretty entertaining. And we got to eat lunch with JoJo (of JoJo's Circus fame) and the Little Einsteins. Emma was pretty stoked to see June from Little Einsteins. For Emma being so outgoing and vocal, she sure does clam up when a giant-headed character shows up!

We also introduced Emma to 3D movies. The Muppets have a 3D show there, and it's really fun. For us. Emma wasn't as fond. She continually ducked and covered while yelling "we need to get out of here!". I kept telling her it was almost over, even 2 minutes after the show started. Later in the day, we would watch a similar 3D show at the Magic Kingdom. However, Emma had not grown to love 3D by the time we watched the 2nd one. Lots of "let's get outta here!" and "it's almost over".

After the Muppets, we decided to leave MGM (more show stuff than rides, and most is scary for a 4 year old) and head to the Magic Kingdom to ride more rides. After arriving, we caught the afternoon parade, which ended in a giant thunderstorm. Tons of large, cold drops of water sent people rushing into the stores. At this point in time, Emma was losing her mind. We had decided to push through her nap and get done with the parks early and go to bed early. A tired, non-nap Emma is a scary thing to witness. We decided that running around in the rain was better than trying to keep her still & quiet in the store. We then rode "It's a Small World" three times in hopes that the rain would stop. It finally did after just over an hour, and we continued riding rides. As we left the park, we turned and waved goodbye to the entrance and to Cinderella's Castle (for Emma's closure purposes only). It was a really great trip that we'll remember for a lifetime. We can't wait to come back and bring "B" when she's older.

Flickr Set updated with more pictures.

I will be uploading lots of videos, so stay tuned for a video-recap post!

Disney World: Day 3

Today was a much calmer day than yesterday. We spent the morning at Animal Kingdom. First, we ate breakfast with Mickey, Goofy, Donald Duck, and Pluto. We hit up the Safari after breakfast and got to see lots of fun animals. Though it was neat, I still like Wild Wilderness Drive Through Safari better. Disney wouldn't let you go into a cage with baby tigers, bears, or monkeys. Gentry has one-upped Walt Disney. Brings a tear of pride to my eye.

We then went to see the Festival of the Lion King, the best thing Disney has done since creating Mickey Mouse. I'm's better than the actual Broadway show of the Lion King. Emma was REALLY loving it, too. So much fun!

Allison and I took turns riding Expedition: Everest, a new and really fun roller coaster in Animal Kingdom. We played in Dinoland for a while and finished off our stay in the Animal Kingdom with Finding Nemo: The Musical. In summary: meh. The costumes and sets were truly amazing and makes the show worth seeing. The music was painful. Like American Idol tryouts painful. That bush-baby guy from last year's tryouts could have made better music.

After naps, we went back to Epcot to ride Soarin', a really great new ride there. The wait was an hour long, but you get to do thermal-sensory games while waiting. Basically, there are huge screens and thermal detectors. Your thermal imprint interacts with things on the screen. One of the games we played was knocking a ton of balls around on the screen. Another was a collective effort to fly your bird through a maze of woods by leaning left or right as a group. Pretty nifty stuff! We then rode the Finding Nemo ride (and huge fish tank observatory) twice. We polished off the evening by riding in the front of the Monorails from Epcot to the Magic Kingdom.

Tomorrow is our last day, and we'll spend it at MGM, eating lunch with the Little Einsteins and JoJo, and watching a Doodlebops performance. More pictures on the Flickr group page.

Friday, September 7

Disney World: Day 2

Today was our big day at the Magic Kingdom. It was tons of fun...Emma had a blast! We started the day off with It's a Small World, and instantly became Emma's favorite ride. She was absolutely spell-bound the entire time! We then hit up Dumbo, Winnie the Pooh, and the race cars before heading over to a show at Cinderella's castle. All the characters and princesses were in the show, so Emma loved it, too. After lunch and playing around on some playgrounds, we went back to the hotel for naps.

Around 4:30, we headed back into the park for some more rides (It's a Small World, again) and a story-reading by Belle. Of course, she told the story of Beauty & The Beast. And Emma was picked to help Belle tell the story (with several other kids, too). Emma got to play the part of Chip, the young teacup. The entire time Emma was up there, she kept trying to show Belle her big button saying it was Emma's first time to Disney World. Belle was very nice and kept Emma close to her the whole time and afterwards, bent down to look at the button and allow us a picture of them. It was the highlight of the day, by a long shot! We meandered through Tom Sawyer's Island and then lined up to see the Spectra Parade. Basically, it's a huge parade where all the floats and people are lit up. It's really amazing! I'll upload some videos when we get back so you can partake in a little magic!

Tomorrow, we're eating breakfast with Micky & Minnie (and the other major characters) in Animal Kingdom. Then hopefully catching up on some rides at the Magic Kingdom and Epcot that we missed in these first two days! This whole trip has been amazing, and such a joy to watch Emma's face as she smiles and waves at all the people she loves: Mickey, Minnie, and all the Princesses.

I have added more pictures to our Disney Flickr Set.

Thursday, September 6

Disney World: Day 1

Well, we're finally here in Disney World! We left Little Rock this morning and flew to Orlando, with a stop in Atlanta to change flights. Emma took her first plane ride and did SOOO good! It pretty much never phased her...take off, air-pressure changes, and landing went almost completely unnoticed! Very much an answered prayer!

Let me tell you, Disney has it ALL figured out! They picked up our luggage at the airport and dropped it in our room while we were in EPCOT. They have special buses ready to take you straight to your hotel. Your room key is also a charge card, meal card, and your park-entry passes. We go to the hotel and dropped off our carry-on items, then headed straight to Epcot to have dinner with the Princesses. We rode my favorite ride of all time, Journey Into Imagination. Then we headed over to have dinner with the Princesses in Norway (part of World Showcase). As we ate, the princesses would come to your table to sign autographs (we have an autograph book), and take pictures (lots of these, too). Emma was pretty overwhelmed at seeing all her favorite princesses! Her smiles in most of the pictures is severely overdone, because she was totally beside herself! After dinner, we went and picked out the token stuffed animal for the trip: a big Pluto! She's asleep with him over her face right now as I'm typing this. We did the Nemo ride before heading back to the hotel. With no nap, two flights, and seeing all the princesses, our little princess was pretty pooped. Tomorrow: The Magic Kingdom!!

Pictures are here.

Tuesday, September 4

First Day of Preschool

Emma went to her first day of preschool this morning. She is going to Wee Care Christian School at University Baptist Church 2 days a week. She was very excited about going and seeing all of her friends. Davis Elleman, Molly Walker, Ben Walker, Evan Ayres, and Owen Bader are all in her class, along with a few new friends that we met today.
I think school will be great for Emma and me. Emma seems to behave better when she is busy and being stimulated. I think we both will enjoy a routine to our week! Brooklyn will go to Mother's Day Out on one of the days that Emma is in school. On the other day, she will come with me to Bible study.
Here is Emma showing off her new backpack and her blue dog that she insisted be in the picture!

Sweet "B"

Brooklyn is going to be in Little Rock with my family while we take Emma to Disney World. She will also turn 11 months while we are gone. She is standing by herself now, saying bye-bye, mama, and dada on occasion.
B, we promise to take you back to Disney World! Be good for GG, PaPa, and Zia. We will miss you!

Saturday, September 1

Homer, The Odyssey

Once you go minivan, you never go back.

I tried, but couldn't do it.

I traded in the Acura and got a Honda Odyssey.

I love it.

A lot.

Screw manliness...functionality rules.

Introducing "Homer"...the newest addition to the family.

Mad Soccer Skillz

Living proof of Emma's mad soccer skills.

Daddy Day Care

Last weekend, Allison went to Branson with her Mom and Sister to shop and hang out. This would be her first time away for an extended period of time. That also means that leaves me with both the girls for an extended period of time. A first for all.

Friday night was a wash. I flew in from New Jersey just before the girls' bedtime. So that was easy. Saturday was a day of adventure! We just played around the house in the morning. After naps, we loaded up Homer (the minivan), and went to Gentry's Wild Wilderness Safari! It's my favorite place...period. I put Brooklyn in a car seat in the front, and Emma just ran free in Homer looking at all the animals. The drive-through part was a big success, but life got lively when we did the petting zoo portion. Specifically, Lemur monkeys!! I leave B and E outside and step into the cage. The 2 lemurs jump on me like I'm a tree. One kept trying to open my mouth with his hand. Cute, but kind of annoying. Emma then tells me she wants to come in, too. She does. Then the monkeys use her a go-between jumping object. Basically, the jumped from the bars to Emma's back, then back to the bars...and Emma screamed bloody murder. After immediately putting her outside the cage, she points in and says "that was FUN!!". Girls...

After the zoo, we went to the Springdale McDonald's to eat and play on the playground. Then baths and bedtime. A good day.

Sunday was to church, lunch, naps, then Mommy came home. I'm glad she came back...I was tired.