Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Busy Little People

I recently spent some time with my 28 year old daughter, Laura and my 17 month old granddaughter, Lucy.  Taking care of toddlers absolutely falls into the same category as childbirth in that one forgets how exhausting it is to keep up with these busy little people. My advice stands, have babies in your twenties! Laura is pregnant with her second so she is taking this piece of advice to heart. You also look fine during this decade without  make-up which is a good thing because you do not have time to apply any. Laura carried her make-up bag from place to place with no chance to put it on all day. And I was along to help with Lucy!

The day got particularly interesting when Lucy was awakened from her nap in the car at Panera Bread and let us and everyone in line know exactly how she felt about that. On the way out, we saw that there was a drive through! This is good information to have for the next time we have a sleeping toddler in tow and need to get lunch.

Forgetting how fast a toddler can get herself into precarious situations, I turned around in my kitchen only to find Lucy had climbed half way the stairs and racing to get to the top when I went to got to her. Later, I found myself actually painting her tiny fingernails bright orange to entertain her, much to the horror of a woman in the baby department at Target. I can't believe I'm that grandmother! I just hope this woman didn't see Lucy face down in the Target parking lot possibly eating something while we were trying to adjust her car seat. I do hope I get another chance to prove myself worthy of taking care of Lucy, now that I've had a chance to rest up.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

He Doesn't Know

The world comes to a stop when a new baby is born. Ok, maybe just my world came to a stop when my grandson Wyatt was born on 11-12-13, pretty cool birthday! Since he came into the world, the sun shines brighter, the sky is bluer, the air is cleaner. The beauty and miracle of this tiny new person coming safely into our family takes my breath away. My little grandson doesn't know how many prayers have been prayed for him.  He doesn't know how much he was wanted and how much he is already loved. He doesn't know that God himself knit him together in his mother's womb. Instead, he spends his days peacefully sleeping and dreaming as he should. So many prayers were answered when he drew his first breath and cried his first cry.

I'm so blessed to be able to share his first few days of life with my daughter and her husband. Watching my daughter read nursing books while nursing her son warms my heart. Wasn't it just yesterday when I was nursing her? The sweetness of my son-in-law making pumpkin spice pancakes for my daughter for breakfast is pure love. Feeling the warmth of Wyatt's little body in my arms as I hold him is absolute bliss. I don't even mind the smell of Pine Sol as I clean their bathrooms! I don't mind at all. Sometimes God's goodness is almost too much.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Iron Maiden

My son is going through a difficult time right now therefore I am going through a tortuously difficult time right now. Never having had a son before, this puts me squarely in uncharted territory. I can find no rhyme or reason for most of the things he does. I find myself asking," Why???" many times a day with this one.

Well, this week, he found himself face to face with Iron Maiden aka, the school principal after being overheard uttering the refrain of "Yo Mama" about someones mother. In his version, he is defending me from some unkind   words said about me, but that is beside the point.This expression does not go over in a Christian school environment. The principal gave him an assignment that he was to bring home for us to sign before going on his class field trip the next day. The assignment failed to reach me and in fact I knew nothing about the incident until the phone call the next day when she did not  receive it. Her consequences were swift and perfect. He would not be joining his class on the field trip and this was before even speaking to me about it! Instead, he would spend the day with her in her office. I LOVE this woman! In this day of wimpy politically correct principals, she is the personification of brave and wise and awesome! Not only that, she prayed for the consequences to teach my son. Lord, let it be so! She then encouraged me with stories about her own difficult young son who is now grown and doing well. What? The Iron Maiden had a difficult son!

My son has been completely mum about his reflecting time with the principal which I understand was filled with weeping and gnashing of teeth. Again, I don't know why exactly he has not shared his experience with us. Does he want to keep this special time just between the two of them? He did produce the note the next day for me to sign moments before I was to take him to school. That I get. I would be rushing to get them out the door and not have time to deal with it.

I suspect my humbling time is not over. He's only 10 years old! Thankfully, God is faithful to put people like the Iron Maiden in my path to help and encourage me just when I need it. For that I say,"Thank you God".

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Glamour Shots

The long, detailed email regarding the tribute page for my 8th grade daughter's year book that I would need to put together came earlier in the school year. I filed it away until this past weekend when my daughter reminded me that it was due just 2 days later! This was a project that had I not completely forgotten about, I would definitely have procrastinated doing it. This project would require creativity of which I possess none and time to sift through digital pictures of which I have even less. I pulled out last year's year book to get some ideas and the pages ranged from ridiculous glamour shots to awkward family photos!  Where is my good best friend with her awesome scrap booking skills? No where to be found! I was clearly on my own except for super duper tech support for transferring the pictures to a CD.

In the process, I went down my digital memory lane on my laptop as I saw with my own eyes in pictures the transformation of my daughter from an unsure almost 8 year old when she joined our family to a beautiful, happy 14 year old. When did this happen? Or the better question, how did this happen? I was reminded again of the amazing miracle that God has done to make us family. I love seeing her beautiful smile that I get to see often these days.

I did the best I could with the page and she was so grateful that I completed the project on time, she didn't even mind when I told her I used a picture with her hair in a bun and no make- up! While it isn't the most glamorous picture, it is a precious picture to me of my happy daughter.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


While it may seem that re-starting the clock on raising children is a lot of work, it certainly is. It is not however without perks.We enjoy playing golf and have two very youthful playing partners. This accomplishes many goals, not having to be paired with strangers while we perfect our golf game and having a high energy, not to mention eager, caddy/ball boy. Our daughter has found an unexpected use for golf greens, it's perfect for practicing cart wheels and walking on your hands! Our caddy is unusual in that he loves it when our ball goes into the water as it gives him the opportunity to use the telescoping ball retrieving club. We do have to occasionally discipline our playing partners out on the course for golf etiquette like being careful not to whack your sister in the face while rushing to get out a club. I can do without this perk. I'm hopeful that in a few short years they will remember our patience with them as they play golf with us. Of course then we will have another perk, getting to drive Golf carts with those special Sr. Citizen flags that let you drive all over the course instead of using push carts. There are always perks!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

To sell or not to sell

I'm not sure how this happened exactly except that what I pictured in my mind's eye is vastly different from reality in regards to owning a lake house. When we made the decision to purchase our lake house almost 4 years ago, I pictured watching the beautiful sunset from the deck while sipping a glass of white wine or enjoying lunch on the dock while watching boaters demonstrate how easy wake boarding is. Reality - maintaining and cleaning another house except with inferior 1970's appliances and cooking for my growing family in a miniature kitchen. Reality - we can none of us wake board and believe me we've tried.

Still, I keep trying to create the beautiful image in my mind or at least a beautiful meal like my ridiculously talented friend Greta does in her sleep. I purchased fresh flowers and a tablecloth and color coordinated napkins for our 4th of July weekend and admit that the added touches made the meal feel more special. For Labor Day,we purchased a large red umbrella so that we could sit out on the swim platform in the bright sunshine that we get in the afternoons. We are all about protecting our skin from the sun for all different reasons I might add. We have everything from brand new baby skin to aging skin to protect here!

I spent the morning preparing a grilled chicken taco salad from the Pioneer Woman website which has the most fabulous food pictures if you ever need inspiration to cook. I gathered everything we would need to eat our lunch and took it down to the water. It wasn't what I would call relaxing as we were watching Lucy, adorable 14 month old granddaughter would not tumble into the water. Meanwhile our 9 and 10 yr. old children were negotiating exactly how they would be jumping off the swim platform. The adults were making the best of it and enjoying the delicious salad when a gust of wind sent the red umbrella that was on a 100 lb base falling on it's side. Jason, who was seated Indian style on the platform grabbed the umbrella with all his might at its base to keep it from falling on someone. Thankfully we were able to upright it. Did we learn from this, not a chance. Ever the optimistic ones, we left it up only to have another gust of wind come, this time toppling it completely over right in front of Laura, Jason, Lucy and Roxy our dog, who were swinging on the porch swing! Well, Roxy made a run for high ground. Laura and Jason were too tired from chasing Lucy around all day so didn't move at all. We did put the umbrella down for the day.

Still haven't come to a conclusion on whether to sell our quirky place. Yes, it's exhausting and things hardly ever turn out like I plan but somehow it's worth the trouble. In the meantime, we have purchased bolts for the big red umbrella.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


Pretending is fun sometimes. I highly recommend it. I spent the weekend with Eric attending a financial  seminar in Washington, D.C.  A financial person I am not unless you count spending in which I excel. Further more I was sans children, and a car so was free to travel about either on foot, by taxi or by metro. Riding the metro makes me feel positively urban, the hustle while trying not to trip up the escalators, the missing the train and having to wait a long time but looking like it doesn't matter. Speaking of urban, I accidentally found myself running in a park that was in the process of re-stabilization. I ran rather quickly out of there and back onto the road once I spotted a man with what looked like a pacifier in his mouth. I found this disturbing.

During the seminar itself, I was transported back to my college days when the presenter began speaking and I began taking notes.  I would have had my cool MacBook Air to take them on if I had remembered to charge it. Outlets were a premium there and a hazard. One man walked by one of the busier outlets and tripped on one of the dangling wires of someone's laptop, knocking the laptop off the table and falling himself. There was also a man who kept falling completely asleep two rows up from me! I did have to leave myself to get some water to drink during the very dry tax presentation.

I do miss those days of soaking up all the information my brain could contain and then being tested on it, except for Chemistry in which I soaked up very little.  I figure it's this or luminosity to keep this aging brain going. I also can't bring myself to pay for and play those memory games. Who knows maybe I'll learn a thing or two!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Happy 6 Years to Us!

Wow, one more year flew by! We have crossed some serious milestones this year. All three of you are now sitting with us in Big Church and are no longer required to wear name tags of any kind when in our church. This is huge! We have also had the birds and the bees conversation with each of you in varying degrees but with much the same responses of silent awkwardness. You are all able to keep up with the adults on a family bike ride and we are very close to enjoying the same movies, although your dad is closer to this than I am. And let's not forget you have become aunts and uncle to Lucy this year! I think you are enjoying the switch of not being the youngest ones in the family even though this translates sometimes to being squished in the way back of the Sequoia to make room for her car seat upfront when she is with us.

I have loved the 6 years of memories that we have made together, every single one. I'm so glad that I have been your mom to cheer you when you made the volley ball team and just be with you when you didn't. I'm so glad to have been the one to start you reading on Frog and Toad, to teach you how to write in cursive and to help you come up with introductory sentences for the papers that you are now required to write. The love of reading and writing I am still waiting on, but I'm hopeful!

My favorite thing by far has been to introduce you and teach you about Jesus and see you grow to love him more everyday. This was His whole idea that He planned before the beginning of time, for me to be your mom and for Daddy to be your Dad. I pray that you will love Jesus with your whole heart and that you will know that He loves you more than you will ever know.

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith And I pray that you being rooted and established in love, may have power together with all the Lord's holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ. Ephesians 3:16-18.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Fowl Play

After a slow crawl out of Atlanta on Memorial Day Weekend Friday, we made it to our lake house. I was so excited to have all of my children, spouses, adorable granddaughter, 3 dogs and a friend thrown in for good measure. Immediately upon our arrival my son found a dead bird in the fireplace which was followed by you guessed it, bird poop on the floor in several places. This would be followed by 3 more perfectly preserved dead birds that had apparently gotten in the house and starved to death. It was beginning to look like a scene out of a Stephen King novel! Kristen found the last one on her bed as she was going to sleep! This would be alarming to anyone, but especially a pregnant daughter doing all she can do to minimize her exposure to harmful things. This surprisingly did not alarm new mommy Laura with a newly walking Lucy. She and Jason were more concerned with the danger of the fireplace among other dangerous places that Lucy was drawn to as she was toddling around. This could also be the reason Jason and Laura both were found sprawled out on the couch exhausted by 9:30 PM!

After our morning walk
Lucy goes downtown!
Our youngest boaters
I spent a large chunk of my time watching Lucy who was proudly celebrating her new found skill of walking! There is nothing on God's green earth more heart warming than seeing your granddaughter happily walking and babbling with her parents lovingly watching her. I was especially impressed when I found her daddy up early with sweet Lucy, feeding her a fine breakfast of cheerios and fruit.  Meanwhile, Eric and I experienced a first, not being the first one up with the kiddos and Eric was even treated to someone else making the coffee, thanks Ben! Meanwhile Ben,our son-in-law, spent the morning expertly dicing vegetables to be used in the quiche he and Kristen would be making later for lunch.  Clearly, I taught my daughters a thing or two about how to pick a fine husband! I love seeing my two older daughters obviously loved by their husbands. Of course this could have been an elaborate choreographed show solely for my benefit, but either way, I see love.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Chateaux Hopping

Because the day was so beautiful and because we could, we diverted from our schedule and explored the town of Honfleur instead of driving to see Mont St. Michel. We stumbled on an inviting B & B for breakfast, (croissant, yogurt, pastry, tea/coffee is typical)  and sampled the local specialties of Cider, Cambert Cheese and Crouques Madame on the pier for lunch. We did throw in a couple of brisk walks and washed a load of laundry with the adorable laundry dog that resembled a mop, for good measure. 

Our next stop was the Loire valley to explore the town of Amboise where Leonardo de Vinci spent his last three years and to explore the beautiful Chateaux Chenonceaux a few miles down the road. At that time, the French royalty were awash with money and a Chateaux with a Loire valley address was a must. King Franciose of Chateaux Chenonceaux actually had bed chambers built for his favorite mistress Lady Dianne along with bed chambers for his actual wife, Lady Catherine.  Lady Dianne had not only King Franciose's affections but the run of the castle until he died suddenly.  Lady Catherine wasted no time kicking the mistress to the curb and out of the Chateaux.  King Louis XIV came to visit the Chateaux and brought a huge portrait of himself as a gift for the castle. This was apparently an honor and not considered presumptive. In the meantime, all this is strikingly similar to the episodes of Scandal that we are watching on my laptop every evening!

I found Leonardo's Chateaux much more wholesome as it focused on his many inventions that were centuries ahead of their time. I have to believe that the lack of television and the internet gave people time to cultivate the arts and even invent things if you happen to be a genius, among other things. I'm sure there's a down side to living in this era, but they are not highlighted. 

Friday, May 17, 2013


Our driving experience to Normandy confirmed that my navigating skills are not the best. We really, really miss Google Maps and have had to resort to those folding maps with teeny tiny numbers!  After Eric passed the driving test to get out of the extremely tight parking garage while driving a standard car for the first time in several years, we were on our way out of Paris through the Arc de Triomphe. This would be our first pass through the Arc as we got hopelessly lost and found ourselves right back in Paris after an hour of driving. Somehow we made it to Giverny to tour Monet's house and lily pond. It started to rain but this did not deter the many people who wanted to see where Monet was inspired to paint such beautiful masterpieces.

The rain continued but we finally reached our second destination of Honfleur which will be our base to go see the Normandy beaches. The town is 1000 years old and is truly charming. Our hotel faced the harbor so there was no parking in front, in fact the reception office was on another street. I thought I was home free when I found the reception office but then the receptionist who did not speak English motioned to me and gave me a map that I would need to walk 200 meters to the parking garage three streets up hill and come back for her to take us to our room. Pulling our suitcases on 1000 year cobblestone streets in the cold rain was a challenge. The next day the sun came out and we set out to Arromanches, France, one of the sites of the Normandy landing, and the American Cemetery.

I had no idea the engineering feat that was involved in the Normandy landing and came away awed at not only the sacrifice of so many young soldiers, but the planning and execution that went into creating a floating port to bring in the soldiers and supplies that would be needed to liberate France and lead to bringing an end to WWII. The American Cemetery was absolutely beautiful and the Memorial was not only informative, but a touching tribute to our American brave soldiers who died so very young for people they would never meet. It made me proud to be an American.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Paris the Beautiful

After a good night's sleep, we took a lovely walking tour of Historic Paris, went up the Eiffel Tower with Ben, our adorable tour guide. He is an English, French History major so told us lots of interesting French stories and gave us an easy way to remember the King Louis'. We went back out after dinner to see the Eiffel Tower sparkle at 11:00 PM. We feel surprisingly safe even at that hour which speaks well of the French people.

Spring is just starting to spring here so it is a little bit chilly, but sunny which is perfect for all the walking we are doing. We are getting pretty good at navigating the Metro which provides excellent people watching! My favorite was a blind man with his seeing eye dog. Paris has the most complicated Metro so the courage he must possess to navigate it with his canine helper is nothing short of amazing. I'm also intrigued by the French language that is so beautiful to listen to and there's nothing cuter than small children speaking French! My French consists of Merci, Bonjour and my new word, Bon Soir which means good evening.

The French have definitely mastered the are of lingering. They love to sit and chat while sipping on wine or coffee and not just women, men too! The cafes are jam packed at all hours of the day and night with chatty happy people. I'm not sure when they work. We tried it out and sitting in a café in the middle of the afternoon sipping tea since I don't like coffee was slightly guilt inducing, but I got over it! Fast food places are noticeable absent here but are replaced by creperies and pasteries on every corner. They love carbs here and I think the reason they are not over weight is because of all the walking and the smoking they do that is still in vogue here.

Today we went to The Louvre, saw the Arc de Triomphe and walked down the huge Avenue des Champs des' Elysees. There is beauty everywhere you look from trees lining the streets to the amazing architecture of Notre Dame. We were there for the twelve o'clock mass so got to hear the bells ringing and the organ playing while the chorus sang. I almost wish I was Catholic so I could've taken communion! This year marks the 850 anniversary of the Cathedral which is hard to believe.

Tomorrow it's renting a car and on to Normandy.

Saturday, May 11, 2013


Eric and I made it safely to Paris early this morning after an arduous 8 hour flight with a miserable toddler two rows up. I'm pretty sure neither one of us slept a wink with the uh,uh, uh, cries coming forth from m.t.  but it didn't stop me from enjoying my alone time! My heart actually went out to miserable toddler as she had no seat of her own and could find no comfortable position. I know the feeling! I really felt bad for her  exhausted mother, not to mention  the innocent woman sitting next to them! I said a prayer for m.t. and vowed to tell Laura never to make an 8 hour transatlantic flight with Lucy while she is still wearing footy pajamas! Bad idea.

The immigration line was circuitous, long, hot  and composed of cranky people. I did my very best to remain or at least appear cheerful and took the opportunity while dragging my back pack along to observe the fashion of Parisians, especially males. Let me tell you, they have fully embraced the man bag, skinny jeans, slim shoes and even capris! Eric even noticed this as he looked down at his chunky Merrell hiking shoes and said that his orthodic shoe inserts would never fit into those sleek shoes. He hasn't even pulled out his Eddie Bauer fast drying, combination pants/shorts!  Those Parisians are fashionistas!

After finally getting through the line, we decided to take the train to Paris which meant a serious learning curve that involved several stops, 2 different train lines and carrying our suitcases up several flights of stairs. Just three hours later we were at our room! that was not ready. They took one look at us and gave us a different room. Yay! We promptly got into the shrunken elevator and went up one flight to our floor. Europeans are much more conservative with their accommodations. Everything in the hotel is American Girl size. The bath tub is miniature with half a shower door. In this room, one is either in the bed or in the shower. Regardless, we are happy to be able to recline tonight when we go to bed. One never appreciates reclining at bedtime until one has to spend an entire night not reclining and not sleeping.

Somehow once I got unpacked, I was re-energized and we walked to the Eiffel Tower, took a  boat cruise on the Seine River, had  two delicious meals at out door cafes. So far, the French people have been very gracious and by that I mean don't look disgusted when they find out we do not speak French. I only made one faux pas so far, I took the fork from a place setting next to me instead of waiting for my special Salmon fork. Who knew!

Until next time...

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Upward Basketball

With our first batch of kids, I was more inclined to expose our children to countless sports, activities in the effort to make sure they were well rounded. This resulted in the many afternoon practices, games, mainly in the cool and wet Northwest. There is a reason the state of Washington is green. Our girls tried at least one season of every sport including Lacrosse, Softball, Soccer, Basketball, Volleyball, to name a few. Don't get me wrong, we have great memories of those times and we made great friends watching those games.

This go round however, I am much more relaxed in the area of extra curricular sports, not feeling the need for all that exposure. Our last child in particular had never participated in a team sport. In a moment of weakness, I asked her if she wanted to play Upward Basketball this winter. She enthusiastically responded that yes, she would love to play. Her personality is not the most competitive and this was fairly evident when she started turning cartwheels at her evaluation which is not the most coveted basketball skill. This was going to be a long season. As expected, she was fairly intimidated by the roughness of the game the first couple of games, especially since she is on the small size compared to the other players. I don't think she touched the basketball for the first 4 or 5 games and would always get the good sportsmanship award for not fouling! I've come to learn that fouling is a good thing in basketball. Despite this, she always had a great attitude as she went to practice week after week as well as the games.

This past week, as I was watching my optimistic daughter play, I noticed that she was getting rebounds and looked like she actually knew what she was doing. She was guarding and passing and even dribbling which is not the easiest thing to do when you are being chased by bigger, faster players. All of a sudden she found herself with the ball under the basket, took her shot and made her her first basket! The moment still makes me smile as I think of her happy, proud self running down the court with an extra spring in her step.

She demonstrated just how far a positive attitude will take you. Despite being the smallest player on the team, she kept giving her best effort week after week. Finally it paid off and she made her basket. I hope she remembers this season and the lessons of perseverance and working hard. Her last game of the season is this week. I hope she makes another basket and has a great game. I'm almost sad for the season to end since she is just now getting the hang of the game. Oh well, there's always next year!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Keeping Lucy

The day had finally arrived when I would be keeping Lucy, my seven month old adorable granddaughter, for 2 1/2 fun filled days. I was expecting this to entail lots of work which it did, on not much sleep. Towards the end of her visit, my younger three were begging for mercy as they each took a turn entertaining her while we tried to encourage her to eat her peas and carrots. Not to mention lifting Lucy while in the baby carrier in and out of the car and the buckling of clueless Lucy as to when it would be highly beneficial for her to bend her arms and legs. I do loathe car seats! I was also severely out of practice in regards to the best time to undress her for her bath. It is not before you start running the water while holding her as this prompted her to pee all over me!

However, I was completely unprepared for the memories and emotions that without warning came flooding back to me while I cared for little Lucy. I didn't even mind the 3:00 A.M. feeding. In fact I loved it! It transported me straight back to 1985 and 1988 to the middle of the night feedings with Laura and Kristen, to the quiet precious time just the two of us. If possible feeding Lucy was even more special as I held the child of my child. Gone are the concerns of wondering if I was doing everything right as a young mom and the horrible realization that I could be doing something terribly wrong. According to the book, The First Three Years of Life, those first three years are really important and you had better get them right. Instead, I could simply enjoy Lucy's wonderful sweetness as she slowly relaxed and fell asleep in my arms. I am beginning to realize that my love for Lucy is an extension of the love I have for my daughter Laura who is a precious gift from God and who I love with all of my heart.

When the time came for Lucy to leave, I had the same lump in my throat that I had when Laura left for college. I couldn't believe it! I think it's Gigi love and I have a feeling it's only just begun.

Friday, February 1, 2013


When I think of courage, I think of a soldier going to war. Of course going to war is courageous and I admire all of our men and women who have chosen to serve in the military. But I was recently reminded again of another kind of courage, the courage of my children to accept and love us as their parents.

We recently arranged a visit with one of their older siblings who they had not seen in 6 years. Our younger two didn't really remember him as they were ages barely 3 and 4 years old when they last saw him. We had exchanged pictures, but they had not seen him in person. I was honestly apprehensive about how they would react to seeing him. Would it upset them? Would they want to go with him? This was unknown territory.

They were very excited when we told them that they would be seeing their brother. My children are very outgoing and friendly with everyone so I wasn't surprised when they hit it off immediately. They started out talking about school, sports, silly things, their favorite subject, and proceeded to really enjoy being together, hugging each other a lot, dancing and laughing as they bowled. The time came for us to say good-bye. We all hugged good-bye and then came home. They came home to their family. 

While we have not always been their family, we became their family because they allowed us to be their parents. They left everything they knew to come start a new life with us. They opened their hearts and chose to accept our love and accept us as their family.  They did not have to do this. This has not always been easy on either of our parts, but we are a family. 

Their courage astounds me. It always has. It's supernatural courage that could only come from God. 

Friday, January 11, 2013

The Happiest Place on Earth

Our younger kids had a few days of vacation after the New Year and we thought it would be a good opportunity to get away with just them. We were thinking Washington D.C or New York City to show them some new sites, but after talking to them decided that they weren't quite ready to appreciate a trip to either of those places. They determined that Disney is where they wanted to go! What child doesn't want to go to Disney, right? It's the Happiest Place on Earth after all.

 Our first stop was the Magic Kingdom. We were greeted by grumpy, a Senior Citizen parking lot attendant. On the whole I was impressed with the stamina and cheerfulness of all the other Senior Citizens who apparently run the park during the winter months. I'm not sure if this is always the case or just since our current administration has been in office.

We rushed over to the Newly expanded Enchanted Land and stood in line for 70 minutes to experience the new Beauty and the Beast ride. We were behind a family whose members continued to grow to a rather large number in front of us. The family spent most of our time together trying to pacify the toddler in tow with food and anything else they could think of. I was trying very hard to keep my testimony in tact and think I succeeded! I actually liked the ride and thought it very imaginative and our youngest was chosen to play a part for the audience participation! Our teenager who was experiencing extreme tiredness the entire day, commented that it wasn't worth the wait. This was going to be a long day.

We then proceeded to completely traumatize our youngest thinking she was ready for Space Mountain. She was not. She was riding in the car in front of me and when I  could no longer see the top of her head as the ride wore on, I knew she was not having fun. She came off saying that she wanted to yell, "stop!" but the only thing that came out was "sob, sob, sob..." Not exactly what we were going for. I also had to bail her out later on the Star Wars: The Adventure Continues Ride at the last minute because she had a terrified look on her face. Thankfully the much tamer Aladdin ride and the Carousel was more to her liking.

The next day we headed to Hollywood Studio in the rain. Rain or no rain, we were there to experience Disney. All the other people in Orlando were of the same mind and were with us on the tram. My son thoroughly enjoyed the Special Effects show where cars and things exploded. Unfortunately he found the 3D It's a Bug's Life experience a little too realistic. He kept saying, "I don't like this!" over and over until it was over. Meanwhile the kids kept asking to go back to the condo to swim, despite the rain! We put in a good 8 hours at the park before leaving although I had no luck persuading them to stay for the Fireworks.

Animal Kingdom was our last park to visit and it proved to be our favorite. The crowds were still bad, but not terrible and it was a beautiful sunny day. We loved the safari ride and spent most of our time in the petting zoo and the Dinosaur playground. I thought it interesting that the playground was packed with kids and their parents. There is nothing kids love more than climbing and running around! We also made it back to the condo for them to swim which I am sure was the highlight of their trip. I know it was for me! We are seriously considering just taking them to a hotel with a pool for our next vacation.

Vacations seem to get better when one looks back on them.  I think it's because one is just remembering standing in the rain, not actually getting wet. It's not as bad. On the way home, our daughter  told us this was the best vacation ever! The selective memory phenomena was already working, terror all forgotten! I am left with the happy memories of my kids so excited to drive those cars on the tracks. Our youngest exclaiming, " People make driving look so easy!" Priceless!