Thursday, January 29, 2009

5/5 tag

I saw this a few weeks ago on my friend Mary Beth's blog. And then my friend Mary did it on her blog, and I thought it was a FUN idea!

Here is how it works. You go to your pictures folder. Count five folders over and open it. Then find the fifth picture in that folder. And y'all know how I LOVE to look at pictures, so here is my 5/5.

It is during the period after Jessa broke her arm, so you can see her cast. And Spencer appears to be unhappy with the fact that she has dressed him in a night gown. We all know that he is over that now, huh???? Jessa was 3 1/2 and Spencer was 16 months old. Oh my sweet babies!

So if you are reading this, consider yourself TAGGED! I want to see your 5/5 picture, OK?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

My silly babies

My children make me smile all the time. . .

The other night, Jessa came running over to me to share some important information:

"Mommy, I just heard them say "Stop dying, and Start Living with Weight Watchers." We need to get that so we won't die. Because if you die you are gone and you cannot come back." She has been sad since her Betta fish Carly went to heaven to "swim with Jesus." So she is trying to grasp the whole dying thing. . .

Spencer has been sort of excited about Buzz and Woody since we met them at Disney. So now he is saying "Buzz Lightyear and beyond" all the time!

Our power was out last week and Jessa was wanting something to eat.

J: I want meatballs.
Me: When the power is out, the microwave does not work.
J: I want soup.
Me: When the power is out the stove does not work.

This went on with her trying to turn things on. About the time I felt like she was starting to "get it," all of the sudden, the power came back on. She was so happy and asked me,

Mommy, WHO fixed our power?

I paused to think of the easiest way to explain it to her and before I came up with anything, her face lit up and she said, "I know! Jesus fixed it." I smiled and said, "Yep, it was Jesus." I decided that it was a nice way to look at it, and she was satisfied. Then at supper that night, she was saying the blessing and at the end she said, "And thank you Jesus for fixing our power today."

Spencer LOVES puzzles right now, well, they both do. When we were moving in and had not TV or computers, unpacking would get boring for them. So they would bring out puzzles into the kitchen floor for us to put together. Now, everyday, Spence wants for us to put puzzles together on the kitchen floor. I always tell them to look at the picture on the box if they are having trouble. Spencer gets so excited when he gets it all put together and can compare it to the box. He'll say "Mommy look, it matches just like the decoration!"

They also have taken to chanting "U-S-A" whenever they are running around the house. Many times, they are "chasing bad guys." Many times, David and I are the bad guys. And they also will be heading to the bath room or the play room, and they hold up one finger pointing in the direction they are headed and say, "To the playroom, Away!" Or "To the Bathroom, Away!" I live with classic superheroes!!

In case I have not mentioned it before, our house is old. So one day last week, we had no heat all day. (This was the day before the power went out. We are not convinced the house will not fall down around us.) When we woke up, it was 54 degrees IN THE HOUSE. Yikes!! We all wore coats all day. While we were waiting for the heat guy to come, we were trying to stay warm. I made some homemade hot chocolate to have a hot chocolate bar with marshmallows and chocolate chips. They were so cute enjoying their hot chocolate together.

They love hot chocolate parties! Jessa and I like to call it "Cocoa Moo" like Shego (extra points if you know who Shego is. . .) We have them even when it is not 50 degrees, and drinking hot chocolate together really cracks them up!!! I LOVE hearing their belly laughs.

See why I am always smiling???

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Maxwell Update

Sweet snoozing Maxwell
My Momma suggested today that I needed to post something about our sweet Maxie. He has been a Key for about 5 weeks, so she felt I needed to let everyone know how he was doing.

First of all, he is such a sweet boy. I cannot even begin to imagine how ANYONE could neglect him. He is so precious and so appreciative of anything you do for him. He even cooperates with me each day when I give him his many medications to include eye drops and ear ointment twice daily.

Loving his new home and family
Now that is not to say we have not had a few problems here and there. He LOVES to try to get into the trash can. He still chases Stewart and barks at him incessantly when he happens to see him. He still does not ever ask to go outside, so we all sort of have to watch him and make him go out a lot. We have not had many accidents lately, but that is more because we are paying close attention than he is letting us know he needs to go.

But, Max is slowly learning to be a "dog." Bless his heart, when he first came home, he did not act like a dog. He does not chase squirrels or even seem to notice when Dunken does. He does not feel the need to "mark" his territory when he is in the yard. After a few weeks of being around Dunken and Momma's dog Cooper, he is starting to "get it." It is so exciting to watch him chase Dunken across the yard. He is really coming into his own.

Max with Dunken, learning the finer points of a nap in the sun.
Dunken is an excellent big brother.
Clearly, he in not feeling any pressure in his new role.

He is patient with him and for the most part does not seem to mind having him around.
A seat full of Wesites in the car
Enjoying a snack together
(Dunk is always in red and Max in blue)
Patiently waiting for Daddy to share some delicious cheese

Dunken sharing the watchdog responsibilities with his new brother.

David was especially concerned about his reactions to Stewart. Stewart was here first, and we all do not want Stewart to suffer or be in any danger. Well, we needn't have worried about Stewart. The few times that Max has chased him and gotten him cornered, Max walked away with scratches. And I think he is more curious about Stewart than anything else, but Stewart is not yet willing to give him the chance to figure him out. Not that I blame him. . .

Look at that face!

We read different ways to set things up for the safety of your cat (or in some cases your dog ;>). So we went with the baby gate idea. Stew is safe in our room with his litter box and food and water. And he can venture out if he chooses, but if Max decides to bark at him and chase him, Stewart has a safe place to go. Well, Stewart is loving this. He will taunt poor confused Max from the other side of the gate. Spitting, hissing, growling all make Max crazy. And the funniest is Stewart attacking him through the gate! Max does not stand a chance!!

His nemesis: THE GATE

Stewart relaxes in the safety of his lair.

But things are going well, I think. Max seems to be feeling at home and secure. He has gained a couple pounds. His hair is coming back slowly. All in all, I am very pleased with our newest family member's progress. . .
He looks pretty content, don't you think??

Friday, January 23, 2009

All good things must come to an end

We really did have SUCH a good time on our vacation to Disney World. I do not usually enjoy trips as much as I used to. You know, once you are the grown-up, you have to think of things and pack and plan. But this time was more relaxed for some reason. I am not sure if it was because we were SO happy to have David home and with us or if I was relieved to not be at home staring at the remaining boxes or maybe it was just being at such a fun, special, magical place.

Our last day was spent backtracking and making sure we accomplished everything we needed to accomplish. This was my favorite day, by far. I think the pressure was off. We did everything already, and this day was about redoing favorite things and just relaxing. We had planned to leave early that day and had not originally planned to do anything. So in a way, it felt like a bonus day! We even played on the playground a while. . .
We played at 100 Acre Woods in the Winnie the Pooh area.
Our first goal was to get our booties to Hollywood Studios and ride Toy Story's Midway Mania ride. It was always SO crowded and they ran out of fast passes quickly, so we decided to try one more time and get there first thing in the morning.

IT WORKED! We only had to wait about 20 minutes, and it was so worth it. I swear it was one of all of our favorite rides. It is this cool 4-D game thing. You are actually in the game. There were 3-D glasses involved, a car moving through the game, shooting targets - FUN! It was awesome!!

And in true Disney style, the waiting area was almost as cool as the ride/game itself. . .
Disney artists are my heroes! WOW! The details were absolutely incredible.
And I am an expert, we have watched the Toy Story movies a million times, at least!

After that, we got our last 2 souvenirs (Jessa's "Cowgirl Jesse" doll and Spencer's "Cowboy Woody" doll. . .), and posed with a toy soldier (Spencer was dying to do that). Then we park hopped our way right over the Magic Kingdom.

The soldiers were SO cool.
When they stood still, their feet looked like they were on a stand just like real toy soldiers!!
Tram ride to the Magic Kingdom - note Jessa holding Jesse (she is our new favorite toy).

I mentioned that it was our favorite place the whole trip. Plus, the first day was so long and crazy and stroller-less that we wanted to give it one more chance. I am SO glad we did

Spencer did not want to ride the carousel the first time, but this time, he did. Spencer slept through "It's a Small World," but this time, he didn't. (AND HE LOVED IT!) Plus, in our princess hunt, we missed several rides that they really enjoyed. I think that is what makes the Magic Kingdom perfect for the little ones. There are very few rides that are too scary or unsuitable for the little ones. My kiddos felt so cool and big riding all the "roller coasters."

Spencer was clingy to me the whole trip, so Jessa and David were "ride buddies!"

We also saw the Monsters. Inc. Laugh Floor show - SO funny! Sorry no pictures - cameras were not allowed. But it was another interactive show. There were cameras, so people from the audience were actually featured in the show. David ended up being "Randall" from the movie. He kept having to make himself invisible. So when David's face appeared on the screen, he would duck! Funny stuff! I really wanted pictures, but it was dark, so I doubt they would have turned out. . .
And as we were finishing up, we ran into Buzz again. We LOVE Buzz, so we visited with him again. Jessa even let him kiss her Jesse since she just knows by the way the Toy Story 2 ended that Buzz and Jessa are boyfriend/girlfriend.
Farewell, Buzz. . .
And David and I decided that we were going to ride Space Mountain! We had to do it in shifts since the kids were (a) not interested, (b) not tall enough, and (c) would have been terrified. First, he went. He walked right up, no line! So I thought what the heck, and I rode it, too. Spencer was SO pooped by this point that he lost all control once he realized I was gone for my turn. When I walked back up, David and Jessa were on a bench, and my hysterical little dude was sitting in the ground a foot away with his back to them.
Jessa was not upset that I rode Space Mountain. She was just chillin' with her sucker. . .
Spencer couldn't wait for me to come back and pick him up, bless his heart.
Once I picked him up and placed him in the stroller, he was asleep within seconds for the ride to the car. Thank goodness we bought those strollers. . .

Having fun tires a boy out. . .

I cannot say enough about what a great time we all had. I know it is crazy expensive and such a huge trip to undertake with the little guys, but it really was so much fun. And I thank Disney SO much for being willing to offer great military discounts that make it possible for all sorts of soldiers to provide such an awesome experience for their families.
We sure hope so. . .

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Epcot, Imagination, and $7 Ponchos

So our third full day was spent at Epcot. Most adults say that this is their favorite place of all the Disney Parks. Think it is the German Beer at the World Showcase?? Since the kids were our focus, we never even made it to a single country. It's shocking, I know!

There are lots of cool things at Epcot, and they have made a lot of changes since I was there in 5th grade. I was relieved that my favorite thing about Epcot was still there: FIGMENT! And I also learned that David's favorite thing about Epcot as a child was Figment, too! We found out that we both had the same purple dinosaur toy after our respective trips. How cool! I knew there was a reason I married him. . .And the kiddos got to see and love Figment, too.

We started our day in "Spaceship Earth" inside the huge golf ball. Jessa made up her mind before we even got in line that she was not going to like it. So she didn't. But the rest of us did!
Jessa said she was scared because it was dark,
but Spencer kept saying "I not scared. I a tough boy!"

Spencer rocked the Santa Hat for a 2nd straight day.

The highlight for all of us was the Finding Nemo stuff. It was the updated version of what used to be "The Sea." Our kiddos are all about fish and aquariums. They had tanks with fish from Australia - much like the characters in the movie. They were SO cute checking out the fish, calling "DORY!?" and "NEMO!?" looking for them. We all enjoyed the tank with sting rays like Mr. Ray from the movie.
Perhaps they come by their love of watching fish honestly? Who is that big kid with the pink ears? HA!
Jessa posing with NEMO!

They made themselves at home checking out the dolphin tanks!
I swear they would have stayed right there ALL day!
"Turtle Talk" with Crush was somewhat disappointing for Jessa. In case you have not heard of this, the kids sit at the front of a room with a "tank" in front of them. Crush, a turtle from Finding Nemo swims up and really talks to the kiddos. The person providing his voice can see the kids because he says things like, "Hey, dude in the orange shirt, what's your name, dude?" And the kid in the orange shirt says, "Matt." And Crush says, "Hey, Matt, dude!" All the kids think that is magic and amazing and REAL! Jessa was disappointed because even though she raised her hand, Crush never talked to her. She did get to tell him "bye" over the microphone, but that was not enough! Daddy to the rescue - David ran ahead of us to the gift shop and bought her a Crush to talk to anytime she wants!!

I mentioned Figment, who we found at the Imagination Institute. The kids enjoyed riding through a journey into imagination. The song was the same as I remembered. My Daddy sang it to me forever after our trip! The kids and I bought David a Figment toy to remind him of the one we both had when we were younger.

David snuggling with his brand new Figment!
We also rode "The Land" boat ride. You sort of ride through different times and climates. At the end, you ride through these green houses. The kids were so funny yelling out the fruits or veggies that they saw growing. I was most impressed with Jessa hollered, "Look, there's squash!" And she was right!

We had to try to spend time inside because the weather was not turning out to be so good. There were sprinkles all day long. Well, when we went to leave the Imagination Institute, it was raining - hard. Did we have some umbrellas in the car? Yes. Did we even discuss bringing them? Why, yes, we did. But none of that mattered at this point because here we were, in the rain. So I see people whipping out their Disney Ponchos. These fancy items are basically a clear piece of plastic with a Disney Logo stamped on the back. But the law of supply and demand tells us that we need the ponchos, so we will pay whatever they are asking, right? So $14 later we had 2 child ponchos to protect our precious children. The adult ones were $8 a piece, so we decided to tough it out.

Jessa was all about the poncho.

Spencer was not. So he got wetter, but they both ended up asleep in their strollers, in the rain.

He would not put his on, so we had to slide him into it after he fell asleep to keep him somewhat dry on the way to the car.
We are talented, no? And yes, he could breathe. I am sure because I checked like 50 times in a 10 minute walk.
We realized we had done everything that they were tall enough to do, except for the World Showcase, so we called it a day. We were all cold, wet, and tired. Spencer was still asleep when we got back to the hotel.

How cozy does he look?

We still had one more day to finish up the other parks, so we changed clothes and joined Spencer for an afternoon nap. . . What a nice way to finish the day, don't you agree??

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Christmas in January

I mentioned in my last post that we went to Wal-Mart at nearly 10 o'clock after our first full day at Disney to get some back relief for David and me (aka strollers). I tossed the economical new umbrella strollers in the back of the van. I thought to myself, "hey, we will need to do some minor assembly before using." And I even thought "glad I keep some scissors in the car."

Fast forward to the next morning. We arrive at the parking lot for Animal Kingdom just after 9, ready for our second full day. I gather our supplies and start getting the kids out of their seats. David heads to the back of the van to get the strollers ready. Problem: we cannot find the scissors. I KNOW that they were in the car on the ride to Orlando, yet they are no where to be found. We start to get a little worried. The hard plastic ties that are holding the things together are nearly impossible to break without cutting. So we are tearing the car apart looking and searching for something sharp. Screws, nails, pens, nothing was working! The kids were sort of wandering in the car and entertaining themselves.

After about 2o minutes, I found the scissors, the strollers were all assembled, and we were on our way. The only issue we have now is that during their unsupervised wandering throughout the car, they found some accessories.
Oh, yes, we have the Christmas Spirit in January and with new wheels, too!
Also notice that Spencer spent half the day playing with bubble wrap from the strollers. Who needs expensive toys?

We had a pretty darn good time at the Animal Kingdom. We saw the Lion King Show, we went on a safari, we saw lots of cool animals, and the Tree of Life. We gazed at the new roller coaster that was built inside a replica of Mt. Everest. Maybe next trip we will all be tall enough. . . We rode the train and went to the petting zoo. Lots of fun!
The funniest Animal Kingdom incident came when we were inside the learning building at "Conservation Station." You could see x-rays of turtles and other animals, which Jessa said reminded her of the x-rays from when she broke her arm. There were all sorts of tanks with lizards and snakes and spiders. Jessa is way more fascinated by these sorts of things than I am - I am not a fan of crawly, slithery things. We also saw a very poisonous "cow ant." Jessa thought this was WAY cool. So shortly after we saw the ant, she ran into an employee who worked with the animals. And Jessa walked right up to her and said, "Hey, you know what? I just saw an ant right over there that could kill a cow!" We were so tickled that she was impressed by that tidbit and wanted to share it. Jessa was also tossing around the word "diabolical." She used it whenever she was talking about the snakes and big, hairy spiders. Many times, she used it sort of correctly.

And we did meet a few characters. David and I were fired up to meet Rafiki from the Lion King (they were a little scared).
David's favorite line, "Follow old Rafiki, he knows the way!"
They both were excited to see Pochahontas (despite the fact they have never seen her movie. . .)

And Spence was very interested in meeting "Mr. Cricket."

The second half of the day we went to Hollywood Studios. We took advantage of the "park hopping" option that we paid for with our tickets. This is such a great idea! We had a great time at Hollywood Studios, too. It took us a few minutes to figure it all out. My awesome tour guide (aka my awesome husband) had not researched this park as much. I think it was mainly because we did not have a ton of fond childhood memories of Hollywood Studios. . . Time to make some, right?
The coolest part to our little family was the Pixar section. It was INCREDIBLE. You should see the attention to detail that they paid to recreating all the "Toy Story" toys.

AMAZING! Look at these big old toys!!

We did not get to ride the cool new "Toy Story" ride because the line was ridiculous (see wait time above). We made a note to try again later (we did, story to come). But the kids had a blast playing in the "Honey I Shrunk the Kids" play area. Jessa loves playgrounds and would have spent the entire day everyday we were there running around with all of her new best friends playing. Never mind that there are so many other things to do. . . Spencer was not a huge fan of this area. There were sound effects. They were loud and actually pretty realistic. Every now and again, you would swear a humongous bee was headed right for you. Poor Spence would actually duck and look up tentatively.

Spencer hears the bee and looks up - YIKES! A BEE!

Jessa's not afraid of any ant!
Another funny part is that the movie that this play area is based on is pretty old, and yes, I remember when it came out. So one of the cool funny play things was a slide made out of a 35mm film canister. My 21st century children who have never seen 35mm film, did not believe me when I said that is what it was. Spencer still argues with me whenever he sees the pictures. He says, "Ma-ahm, IT IS A BATTERY."

It is a cool huge film canister, but please do not tell Spencer I said that, OK?

We got to meet several characters, like

Woody and Buzz

The dinosaur is not there, but it looks like he is, huh?

and Lightning McQueen and 'Mater

Jessa did not want to meet them, but Spencer is still talking about it.
If he sees something "Cars," he says, "Hey, Mom, we met Mater!"
I know this is already a long post, but I have to share one more thing.
When Mimi asked me what was my favorite part of the whole trip. And when I started to think back on the whole trip, my favorite moments were these. And it was not a ride or a meal or a character. As we were "hopping" from Animal Kingdom to Hollywood Studios, we had just parked at Hollywood. We were walking to get on the tram. I looked up and Jessa was grabbing Spencer's hand. I love when they have spontaneous displays of affection. NOTHING makes me happier than to see them being kind and sweet to each other.
They held hands on the way to the tram and during the tram ride to the front gate. When we got off the tram, we unfolded the strollers. And those little boogers insisted on holding hands in their strollers, too. Was it hard to navigate the crowds like that? YES! Was it worth it to see them getting along so well? ABSOLUTELY!
Look at his face!
The parade is so loud, but at least they have each other. . .