Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Magic Kingdom & Clearwater Beach

So we went to Magic Kingdom.
And you don't know how happy I am that we have this picture...
because Devin has sworn off Disney World for the rest of his life. Ha.  
I'd say we started losing him during the 45 minute wait for the Pirate's of the Caribbean ride, 
then we arrived at Splash Mountain with our Fast Passes only to find that the ride was being repaired...and he was reallyyy over the whole Disney thing by then...
and by the time we waited 2 hours for the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train...he was gone for good.  
Never to return to the most magical place on earth. ;)

I didn't mind the waiting because patience is kind of my thing...BUT I wish someone had given me the ins and outs of the FastPass system before we went so the experience had been more enjoyable for the rest of the fam.

It was all worth it to me because she met Cinderella and Rapunzel and it was magical for her.
But we had a FastPass for that, which is one of the reasons it was magical for us too.

Here's are my tips if you're traveling to Magic Kingdom:
1.  Download the My Disney Experience App. It will be so helpful when you make additional Fast Pass selections throughout the day.
2.  Make your FastPass Selections 30 days ahead of time and make them for the most sought after rides at the first available time! (Meet Cinderella & Rapunzel or Elsa & Anna |if you have small children|, Peter Pan's Flight, Seven Dwarf's Mine Train, & Space Mountain are my suggestions.)  As soon as you use your first 3 fast passes you can book an additional one, and another, and another after they are used.  But not until you use ALL THREE of them can you book another.  I made the mistake of booking my first 2 early morning and then Splash Mountain at 1:45 (which ended up being out of order WAHHH), so I couldn't book additional fast passes until after the third one was used late in the day...and then there weren't really any more good ones available) 
3.  Take a small zip up cross body bag for easy access to money, park tickets, cell phone, and of course lip gloss (I have mine on in the pic above and I got it for $9 at TJ Maxx!).  And have your husband take a small backpack with a few waters, small snacks, sunscreen, a misting fan (because they're expensive at the park), a few ponchos in case of rain, and whatever else you might need during the day.
4.  Take a Stroller. Even if you think your kid is too big or too grown up for a stroller... TAKE A STROLLER TO DISNEY WORLD.  Shoot, you don't know how badly I was wishing I could fit my butt in a stroller by the end of the day.  They have them for rent if you forget, but who the heck wants to pay for something you already have? Not me.
4.  Eat breakfast before you go into the park and pray that it keeps you full all day.  We bought lunch in Magic Kingdom and swore we would starve before we paid for another meal inside the park because it was so pricey. 
5.  Go to Aloha Isle in Adventureland and order a Dole Whip Pineapple Float.  It will make you forget how frustrated you are with the lines and the crowds for a whole 5 minutes.
6.  Get there when the park opens.  The parking is better and the rides aren't as crowded because everyone is scattered for at least a little while (or so I've heard).  We got there at 11 and that was a very unwise decision.
7.  Get a picture in front of Cinderella's Castle because your husband will swear he's never going back again and he probably isn't kidding and you will always wish you had a picture with your family in front of Cinderella's Castle if you don't.

But we didn't just go go Florida for Disney World...we stayed at Clearwater Beach.
The 12 hour road trip was quite the experience.
Thankfully my parents drove also, so when Devin and I needed a break from... "Are we there yet? How much longer?  When will we be there?  How many hours is that from now?  How many minutes is that?" ...we would send Kollyns to the other car at the next stop. 
And we would plug in our old iPod and jam to old stuff from our glory days circa 2005.

We stayed at the Sandpearl resort which is just beautiful.  So relaxing.  We didn't really take many pictures there...I think we were still recovering from our road trip.

Now we're getting excited for Myrtle Beach next month!  And hopefully we will breeze through the 6 hour drive since we somehow managed to survive the 12 hour trip to Florida!  Yay! 

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Life Lately

I took a few adorable pictures of Kollyns the other week in front of the pond behind our house.
Don't let that sweet face fool ya...she's kind of wild.  But we wouldn't have her any other way.  She is pure entertainment these days.

Mother's day at mom's house with a few of my favorite girls!

The relationship between these two is probably the sweetest thing I have ever seen.  He keeps his eye on her constantly and is so protective of her. Anytime visitors, other animals, or even a grasshopper is around...he will stand between them because she is his favorite person and he wants to keep her safe.  It kind of makes me tear up a little.

And look at the torture he allows her to put him through.  That's true love right there.

We went to visit some horses and she decided she wants to be a doctor for animals... on her days off from her dream job as a Kroger cashier of course

Dev bought this Polaris RZR for us to trail ride in because we're rednecks.
 We ride it all the time and occasionally we get brand new workout clothes.  He enjoyed covering me in mud way too much and I screamed like a little girl.  Then I remembered that laundry detergent and shampoo were made for a reason and I ended up having a blast.

She has a new found love for soccer.  And she's pretty great at it.  I love it when she finds things to do that she loves, it's sweet to watch.

We bought a few more pieces of equipment for our gym in the basement and got a great deal.  I've never been so excited to workout.  And at this point I'll admit I'm completely spoiled rotten to working out alone at home.  I love people, I do. But I can't deal with sharing equipment and socializing when I'm trying to get a good pump.  I'm a gym brat.  Not sorry.

Kollyns is getting so good with her BB gun that she can actually shoot targets now.  Like I said, we're rednecks.

And the big news is this girl learned how to ride her bike without training wheels about a month ago and she's loving every minute of it.

We leave for Clearwater, FL and Disney World this week and I'm sure that will be quite an experience...starting with the 13 hour drive.  Stay tuned...

Monday, May 9, 2016

Preschool Graduation

I'm not ready.
I'm not ready for my office to be quiet and boring every day.
I'm not ready to send her to school everyday and trust other people to take care of her while I'm at work.
I'm just not.
But ready or's happening.
This little girl that has been my little best friend and side kick for the past 5 years is growing up and soon she will be starting Kindergarten.
She's our only child, so this is like the end of an era for us.  I don't have another kid to distract me from the bittersweet reality that our baby has grown up.  I can only hope that the values we have instilled in her will carry her through her grade school years.  I pray that she will be kind and respectful to everyone...and that she will love people with the love of the Lord and that her heart will shine for Christ through these defining years and into the next stages of her life.
We love you Kollyns and we are so proud of you.

(I decided to do a little post-graduation interview with Miss Kollyns...this should be fun to look back at someday.)
What are your favorite memories from preschool?  "Playing freeze tag outside with my friends.  And inside we had a lot of fun painting and getting our hands all dirty.  And getting like a lot of gummy bears.  One time MeMa was there and she gave us like 1500 gummies.  But now she doesn't come anymore because she gave us too many gummies.  I'm going to miss my teacher's hugs."
How do you feel about starting school?  "Um, uh good...I'm just a little scared, I'm pretty nervous." 
What are you scared and nervous about? " I'm scared that I won't know any friends and I'm probably going to be freaked out."
What do you think you will do all day at big school?  "I think I'm gonna read books and all kinds of stuff and have fun.  And I'm gonna eat lunch in a big cafeteria."
What are you going to miss most about being away from mommy during the day?  "Being able to hug you whenever I want."
What do you want mommy to pack you for lunch everyday?  "A peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a cheese sandwich every day with a juicy and some oreos."
What's your favorite thing to do?  "Work out, play catch, play soccer, and go really fast on the RZR with my daddy...I can't wait til I can drive my friends around." (Woah Kollyns, slow your roll girl.  You're in primary school, not high school. )
What's your favorite show?  "Doc McStuffins"
What's your favorite movie?  "Princess Protection Program"
What do you want to be when you grow up?  "I want to work at Kroger and scan people's groceries."

Saturday, March 12, 2016

A Party For a Princess

5 is kind of a big deal.  Every birthday is so important and special, but 5 has been a tear jerker for mama.  I don't know if it's because she starts school this year, or because I really just can't get over the fact that I have a 5 year old kid...not a baby, not a toddler...a kid.  Or if it's because these 5 years have just went by way too fast and it freaks me out that in 5 more years she will be 10 and then 5 more after that she will be 15.  Yikes.  Total mom sob-fest.  It's fine, don't worry about me...we had really good cake and that helped me cope with the fact that I have a 5 going on 15 year old.

I threw the party together in about a week and used way too many balloons and rolls of crepe paper.  We had a photo booth, a dress up vanity, magic balloon pop, all of the girls dressed as princesses, and of course we had a piƱata.  We splurged on the cake....  Because the cake is where it's at.  No one remembers if your magic balloon pop game sucked if the cake was good.  Can't win 'em all.  But we did win the heart of our very own princess.  She loved every minute of her birthday and we have loved every minute of being her parents.  What a fun, wild, sweet, beautiful, sassy, smart & loving little girl we were blessed with.  We love you to the moon and back Kollyns River.

"Time to turn me into a princess, Mama!"




I love my wild child. ;)

Monday, March 7, 2016

Joy In The Journey |1|

I remember my prayers as a new believer.  They were selfish and bossy.  I wanted God to give me what I wanted, when I wanted it.  And then I would find myself hurt and confused when things didn't turn out the way I planned.

Praise God that growth is a part of a relationship with him, or in life I would find myself disappointed more often than not.  Because as it seems, my way isn't always the right one.
 I've been begging God to fix certain situations in my life for quite sometime now.  I've asked Him to mend broken relationships, to heal broken hearts, and begged for salvation for some of the people I love most.

Well over a year has passed and I've seen God working in the hearts of people around me, and I've been incredibly thankful for that.  But the situations that I was sure would be resolved by now remain unchanged. The hearts around me are still breaking, and not one of the people I've been praying for have made the decision to turn their lives over to Christ....yet.

I've been hurt more than I ever thought possible.  I've been on my knees crying out to God more the past two years than I have in all of my 28 years put together. 

But the funny thing is...while I was praying for the people around me... my heart was the one that changed. 

Now I know what it's like to put my trust in my sweet Savior completely.  Now I know what it's like to hand Him every last one of my broken pieces and watch Him put them back together, and then make them more beautiful than I ever could have imagined.  Now I know what it's like to make Him the source of my joy and peace.  And now I know what it's like to hand my will over to the One who is sovereign over everything and completely trust His will for my life.

You see, there will always be problems in this life and that's something we will never be able to control.  But I can control my response, my attitude, and the extent to which I trust God to handle those problems and release them to Him.

So today I'm thankful for every problem I've faced.  Because they are all reminders of how big my God is.  He has strengthened and softened my heart at the same time, which has enabled me to love the people in my life without condition.  And the peace that comes with whole-heartedly knowing He will bring good out of every problem is worth the pain I've experienced to finally reach this place in my heart.  This pure, peaceful and joyful place.

 |Joy In The Journey is a new blog series that will be posted as I am led to share.| ♡

Monday, January 11, 2016

A Merry Little Christmas

I know, right?  Christmas is so last month.
But for some reason blogging about it slipped through the cracks somewhere between family time, decorating, shopping, church plays, decorating some more, Christmas tours, and of course... un-decorating.  Imagine that.
Who am I kidding?  I haven't blogged in forever.  Let me go ahead and add that to my list of resolutions.
We had fun.
My favorite part would have to be the never ending dance party in our house, because you can't not dance to Christmas music.  And we stream it all day every day during the season.
I love decorations.  I kind of had a momentary lapse in frugality and bought a big tree this year because... I like big trees and I cannot lie.
I searched the web over for a pretty flocked tree but couldn't find one that was reasonable.  Until I went to Wal-mart and spotted this gem.  My cheapest and most favorite tree.  Isn't that usually how it works?
Christmas movies?  Yes please!

I loved having a tree in our bedroom.  I would leave it up year round just for the coziness if I could.

Then came Christmas morning.  This was the first Christmas morning Devin has been off since we've had Kollyns!  It was a pretty big deal for us.
And apparently Kollyns blackmailed Santa, because she ended up getting exactly what she wanted.
Our little gymnastics chick stayed glued to her equipment and would not stop flipping and jumping and swinging from the bar.  I finally had to give her time limits on this stuff.  It can't be good for her to do gymnastics 24/7, right? 

 Homemade ornaments are my most prized possessions.

We attempted a new sugar cookie recipe. They kept their shape and it was magical...until I tasted one.  I think I'll stick with the break & bakes from now on.
But despite all of the cookies, dancing, decorations, and presents...we know the true meaning of Christmas.  And that's why its such a special time of year for us. 
This journaling Bible was one of my favorite presents because Jesus is the greatest gift I have ever received. Staying in the word, writing my favorite verses out and praying over them is my secret to a life of joy and peace no matter the circumstances.  Because let's be honest, life can get crazy sometimes and it's a whole lot easier to hand everything over to God, than to try and carry the burdens of this life on our own.  #CanIGetAnAmen
I hope everyone had the best Christmas ever.