Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Long Weekend

I bet every working Mama out there can agree that long weekends are the cat's meow. It was so good this past weekend to slow down, catch up on some chores, sleep in and do some fun things. Here's a peek at what our weekend looked like:


On Saturday night Daddy took Little Sister and I out on the town in the big city. We had a ton of fun eating fancy pizza and posing in front of art. 


After our meal, we headed over to the minor league baseball stadium because our Jordan and his gal "K" were the honorary captains for the game. They were treated to all sorts of fun and we were managed to sit pretty close to them as well. A certain small person even scored some cotton candy, which is a rare treat. We had a fun time!




On Sunday, we made our way up the mountain to pray over old friends and spend the day at our most favorite camp in the world. This boys camp has shaped my three boys and there's no where else I'd rather go on a day trip.


We took this picture at the tree house in the camp. Little Sister was less than thrilled that we interrupted her time playing with friends for a photo shoot. Life at four is so hard.


On Monday we invited a few guests over for lunch, so the double K's played Pez. Little Sister has 295 of those crazy things now. Her face shows her delight in having some company by her side. 

The weekend was so good and made us even more eager for Summer. We have some fun things planned!

Hope your weekend was as fun as ours!

God is good, all the time!






Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Scouts and Good News


Last week we skipped over the state line for another check-up on Riley's eyes. He's been doing so great that we all expected (even his doctor) to find something notably significant in the disease progression. His last injection was in July 2013, which "expired" in December of last year. It would make sense to see some damage begin to take place now. New pictures of his eye were taken last week and to everyone's delight his eye had made no change at all since February, not even the slightest change in disease progression. The doctor has been seeing Riley on a three month rotation. He was so pleased with the stability of his eye over the last few visits that he has bumped him to coming every four months. We are so grateful. God has given us a new season with these eyes. 

In this new season, my Riley boy has joined Scouts. So many activities were pushed aside along the way in his childhood due to the activities or cost. Having him seeking these things out now on his own is so much fun. He's already friends with all of the guys anyway. He knows them from school, church wrestling and the local youth center. They finally convinced him to come with them for scouts too. He is all about camping and hiking right now. If he isn't outside, he's inside researching whatever new gadget he might need to make his camping even better. 

Thanks for continuing to pray for this boy and his wonky eyes. 

God is good, all the time!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Being Their Mama


Of all the things I am in this life, being their Mama is one of the best. So grateful to spend another year celebrating with them in my life. They make my days full and happy. It's exciting to see who they are becoming as they grow up. God has blessed us so.

God is good, all the time!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Fancy Pants Prom


So, in the days following the accident the prom was up in the air. When it was decided that they would go come hail or high water, we were ready. 

On Saturday my tall boy cleaned up real good and obliged his Mama by letting me take him down to Trinity Street for some fancy pictures. Of course, I wanted some pictures of him by himself.



 Also, there was another girl who really believed in her heart that she was going along to the prom. 



She will always think he's hers. Unfortunately, she wasn't actually going to the prom. Eventually, we had to break the news to her. 


After we finished up with our pictures at home, we made our way down to his date, who we call Big K, because her name also starts with a K. 


Please know that when I say "Big K," I actually mean tiny girl.

She was all giggles, this girl. She may be short in stature, but she is big in personality. Her dress and his tux did a great job of hiding injuries. 


Note their height difference.


Now, note her heels.

Tiny, I told you.





Little Sister wasn't feeling well, but she wasn't going to miss a chance to have her turn in the pictures too. 


Big K and Little K love each other, thank goodness. 


In case you were wondering, Riley was too cool for pictures on this day. I called him a goose. He didn't care.


They had a fun evening. There wasn't much dancing on their parts, but they made the best of it. We're just so thankful they were able to attend their prom. It's so crazy how one event can change so much. I'd really like to put them in a box to protect them now. 

One more year and this handsome boy will be off to college! 

I don't want to talk about it.

God is good, all the time!

Photo credits go to me and Mary Beth West.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Protected



A week ago this tall boy of mine and his girlfriend were hit head on by a drunk driver. This past weekend they covered up their injuries with fancy clothes and smiles and attended the prom.

God has big plans for this boy. He completely protected them. We were told countless times by emergency responders and witnesses that the outcome should have been much different. We're so thankful.

I'll be back soon with a gazillion prom pictures. 

God is good, all the time!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

My Ten Cents Worth of Disney Tips

Our Spring break trip has come and gone. Disney has always been a family favorite for us. We made many trips during my childhood and they all bear fond memories. Talk of this trip started with the grandparents. About a month ago it moved from a fun vacation to a partial business trip due to some work our family business has contracted in the area. For that reason, all of our lodging, travel costs and many meals were covered under the company expense. Since someone from every family works for the company it pretty much covered us all. 



Tip #1: Plan your budget and then double it. 

I budgeted $20.00 for lunch per day (2 adults, 1 child). On average lunch inside the park ran around $32.00 for the three of us. For dinner I budgeted $30.00 per day (2 adults, 1 child). This ran around $42.00.


For snacks I budgeted $15.00 per day (2 adults, 1 child). This ran close to $40.00 per day due to the extreme heat. While we did take in some snacks of our own (trail mix, crackers, bottled water) it was all gone by mid-morning. It was hot (90 degrees) and walking takes a toll on your body, especially the little guys.  A Mickey Ears Ice Cream will run you $4.00 a pop. Bottled drinks are $3.00 each.  



Tip #2: Bring your own cute stuff from home.

These basic water bottles came from Hobby Lobby on sale for $1.19 and a local friend made the vinyl cutouts for $1.00 each. We filled them to the brim with ice each morning and then added cold water to fill in the empty spaces. They were the perfect size and were easy to refill later in the day.


Tip #3: Accept any cute clothing offers.

Most of us know someone who has already forged a path to Disney. Instead of unloading money on new clothes, see what you can buy or borrow from friends inexpensively. Most kids at Disney are dressed in their everyday clothes anyway. 


Tip #4: Go with the flow.

Disney is crowded, hot and expensive. There are long lines and plenty of room for meltdowns. Everyone isn't always going to look at the camera, or be happy. Anticipate the need to stop and cool off, eat and rest ahead of time. Lines for food, even snacks, can be very long. If you stay in a resort, I recommend taking a break during the day to go back to your hotel and rest. 


Tip #5: Make a list of priorities.

There's no way that you can do every single thing in any park in one day. There's just too much there to see and do. Hold a family meeting and make a list of priorities. Do those things first and then add extra things in afterwards. If everyone has a chance to do that one thing they really wanted to do you'll have a happier bunch.

I could list a million more things, but these are what stands out to me the most.

If you're planning a trip, feel free to contact me with specific questions. I'll be glad to help answer any that I am able. 

God is good, all the time!








Monday, March 30, 2015

Sweet Plans

Goodness me. I'm not so great at blogging these days. I do miss it, there's just not a spot for it in my day most days. BUT! Today, I'm making time. I've had several inquiries about my vacation planning posts. I did a little housekeeping on the blog a few months ago to take some adoption details down for privacy purposes. It was so much easier to wipe the whole board clean and then go back and re-add old posts rather than going through them one by one. My intentions were to slide those vacation planning posts back in, but my round never got to it. You know? We'll, I've added them back and you can read them by clicking on the link at the bottom of this post labeled "vacation planning." 

Since I'm already here, I thought I'd take a minute to share some planning I've been doing recently and share how it has been made to come to fruition. You remember a little over a year ago we took my Mama on a trip to Disney because she had cancer. We stayed in an amazing house dirt cheap and hit the parks two days straight. It was a good time, but my Mama wasn't feeling great. She's wanted to go back since then, but hello, expensive.

So a few months back she and Daddy decided they would plan a trip for Spring Break. She found another amazing house and they reserved it and then told us about it after the fact with an invitation to come along with them. 

Due to the timing, only three from my house will be going, along with one of my brothers and his family. 

We sat down a few weeks ago to hash out what costs would be covered and which costs I need to plan for on my own. Glory Hallelujah. It's going to happen!

So, here's how this went down: 



I started with a small meal plan. We'll be taking snacks, cooking our own breakfast, etc... I over-estimated in each case to give myself some wiggle room in case we have any surprises. There is a good chance that some of these meals will be eaten at "home" and won't be a great expense at all. 


Then, I made my envelopes and jazzed up my coupon organizer/vacation pouch for excitement purposes. I just used things I already had on hand.


Next, I made a small list to show through the back of my organizer so that I could highlight envelopes as they filled up. This saved me from having to open every envelope as I went. I also added in a few extra meals that were not on the original list because I was worried that a "surprise" might arise. I fully expect to come home with cash. Since we are credit card free, and I do not prefer to use my debit card on vacation, I've padded each area.

Then, it was time to fill those envelopes up.

So, this is how I have done that.

1. I sold a few things. We have been doing some Spring cleaning that has surfaced some things we were ready to part with anyway. Instead of donating them I posted a few things on Facebook and sold them immediately. This filled up several envelopes.

2. I applied Kendra's lunch money for the week (since there is no school) to an envelope. She doesn't always eat school lunch, but I do have a budget for it so that she can when she chooses. This allowed for us to fill another envelope.

3. I worked a few extra hours about two weeks ago due to a project, so I applied that to another envelope.

4. I gathered my spare change and combed it for pennies and quarters for the pressed penny machines. 

You'll notice that I don't have spending money listed. My parents are gifting each grandchild a Disney gift card in their Easter baskets, so I didn't need to plan for that. In addition to the gift cards, their baskets will bear snacks like trail mix, fruit snacks and crackers with very little candy. We will take these along with us when we leave the house for the day to save on buying snacks. We'll get one special treat in the park.

I have been in charge of planning activities and table decorations for our first meal at the house. We have a family tradition that our first meal (with Nana) is always a big breakfast. This time she's purchased Mickey and Minnie waffle makers (on clearance at the Wal-mart). We'll have waffles, bacon and eggs. The table is always set to be fun and this time will be no exception. We leave the table decorated for the entire trip. It's a fun tradition that seems to get a little more grand with each trip. 

We definitely have room to cut corners here, but I am pleased overall that this plan came together. 

We're looking forward to it!

God is good, all the time!