The Happiest Place on Earth, Day 2

After a good night’s sleep, we spent our first full day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom! It was a beautifully sunny and warm day, and we had so much fun!

We arrived at the park a little after opening and met Nanny, Aunt Melanie, and Annalee. Jeffrey, Sarah Ann, Reece and Melanie ran off to ride Expedition Everest while Carson, Annalee, Nanny, and I went to see some of the animals in the Oasis and then to see The Bugs Life show.

We then spent the rest of the morning in Africa. We played the drums, watched the African performers, and then went to use our fastpasses for Kilimanjaro Safari. We have always loved doing the safari in the morning because the animals are usually out, and this time was no exception! We got to see so many of the animals wandering about, including the new baby giraffe and elephant! After the safari we walked through the Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail and started working on collected our badges for the Wilderness Explorers. We saw lots of animals and collected several badges. Next up was lunch at Tusker House! The food is unique and delicious, and we loved getting to visit with Mickey, Donald, Goofy, and Daisy! Daisy was Annalee’s favorite! After lunch we made our way right over to use our fastpasses for the Lion King show. This is one of our most favorite shows–it is always so good–the music, the acrobats, the dancing!

Our next area to visit was the new Pandora–World of Avatar! Jeffrey was the only one who had seen the movies, so he understood more, but we all enjoyed walking around and seeing all that they had created! We got to see one of the character/human/robots, and we also had fastpasses for the Na’vi River Journey, which for sure made the kids want to see the movie! Disney did an incredible job bring Pandora to life!

We headed over to Dinoland U.S.A. next. Melanie and Sarah Ann rode Primeval Whirl, we grabbed some snacks and drinks, and all the kids had fun playing in the Boneyard playground! Next we went to see the Finding Nemo Musical, which is also one of our favorites, and then Nanny, Melanie, Sarah Ann, Reece and Carson rode the TriceraTop Spin!

As the sun began to set, we walked through Asia to collect a few more Wilderness Explorer badges, and then went to our seats for the River of Lights show. Thanks you our lunch at Tusker house, we had reserved seats, and we so enjoyed our first time seeing this awesome water and light show! After River of Lights, Melanie and I snuck off for a few minutes to go ride Kali River Rapids while Jeffrey, Nanny, and the kids went to walk through Pandora again to see it at night! Everything was lit up, even the ground, which amazed the kids!

Our day at Animal Kingdom was quickly winding down, so we had dinner at another one of our favorites, Flame Tree Barbecue and, oh goodness, that mac’n’cheese barbecue was so good! Our first full day at Disney was so much fun! We all quickly crashed into bed that night, because next up was the Magic Kingdom!

The Happiest Place on Earth, Day 1

Y’all, I know I say this every time we get back from Disney World, but every trip is so very magical, and it really is the happiest place on earth! This trip meant so much to us for many different reasons, and we are so very thankful for such a precious and magical week away!

We celebrated Thanksgiving on Thursday…

Went to see “Ralph Breaks the Internet,” packed our bags and clothes, and decorated for Christmas on Friday…

And woke up bright and early on Saturday morning to head to Disney…

As usual the kids did amazing on the trip down! We packed breakfast and snacks for on the way, watched lots of Disney movies, played on the Switch and iPads, read our Disney story books (and finished the rest of them before we arrived), and only stopped one for lunch at Chick-fil-a and to get gas!

The kids could barely contain their excitement when we finally saw the “Walt Disney World” sign, especially Carson because he was only 3 the last time we visited! We stayed at a new resort this time, “Port Orleans Riverside,” and we couldn’t wait to check it out once we arrived! We quickly got settled into our room, the kids put on their bathing suits, and then we went to explore! We picked up our refillable mugs and our stroller for the week, walked around a bit, and then the kids swam for a couple of hours! They had the whole pool to themselves most of the time, and it was nice for them to be able to swim and play after being in the car for so long!

 

After swimming, unpacking, and watching a little Auburn/Alabama football, we got dressed and drove over to the Contemporary Resort for dinner! We were thrilled to finally see Nanny, Aunt Melanie, and Annalee! We did a little shopping for autograph books, saw the amazing Cinderella’s gingerbread castle, and then rode the monorail over to the Grand Floridian to see the beautiful lobby and huge gingerbread house there! Carolers were also singing in the lobby! Sarah Ann, Reece, and Carson have always loved the monorail, and they were so excited to ride with Annalee and show her the Magic Kingdom! Seeing Cinderella’s Castle all lit up is so fun!

 

After we made our way all around on the monorail, we went to our very first character meal of the trip at Chef Mickey’s, and it most definitely did not dissapoint! The last time we ate here, Sarah Ann was 5, Reece and 4 and Carson was 21 months old. Sarah Ann was still a little shy towards the characters and Carson held on to me so tightly anytime a character came near, but hey, Reece enjoyed it! Ha! Well, this time everyone had an absolute blast! Sarah Ann, Reece, and Carson could not wait to give them all hugs and high fives and get their autographs. They were so happy, and oh, it made this Momma’s heart so happy too! Even Annalee took pictures when her Mommy was holding her, but I wish you could have all heard the squeals when she got to meet Minnie! It was the best! We all enjoyed all of the delicious food at the buffet and, of course, the desserts, too! And seeing Mickey, Donald, Goofy, Pluto, and Minnie was the perfect start to our most wonderful vacation!

 

 

Merry Christmas {2018}

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Reece and Carson came into our room giggling and super excited around 7:30 on Christmas morning. The giggling woke up Sarah Ann upstairs, and then it was go time! The kids were so excited to see all of their presents, but they were so patient as they all watched each other open their gifts and their stockings! The scooters were a big hit, and they were all thrilled to get the one thing they most wanted–a digital camera, and electric guitar, and a fitbit watch! Christmas has always been such a magical day, but it’s even more magical when you have kids!

After we opened presents and thoroughly checked everything out, we had breakfast, watched the Disney World Christmas parade, and then spent the rest of the morning building legos, playing the electric guitar, and taking lots of pictures! They also couldn’t wait to go outside and ride their scooters! Nanny and Pops came over for lunch, and then we enjoyed a relaxing afternoon napping, snacking, and playing! It was such a sweet and fun day together at home!

Christmas evening we went over to Nanny and Pops’ house to celebrate Christmas with them, Uncle Jeremy, and Annalee. We had a great dinner, opened lots of presents, and the kids, of course, loved getting to play with Annalee! We are so thankful that Pops was recovering well at home on Christmas, and a big thank you to Nanny for cooking our wonderful dinner and spoiling us all! I am so thankful for the traditions that have continued on since I was a little girl, and spending Christmas with grandparents was always one of my most favorite parts of celebrating the most wonderful time of the year!

The Sunday after Christmas Grandpa and Ning came over to celebrate! We had so much fun exchanging gifts, showing them our new toys, playing instruments, and getting all dressed up! We also had a delicious lunch at Mellow Mushroom. Thank you, Grandpa and Ning, for such a fun day!

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25 days of Christmas, 2018

Day 17: Monday afternoon we set up an assembly line and made hot chocolate treat bags for classmates, friends, and neighboors! And they might have eaten a few too many marshmallows while they were working!

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Day 18: Our annual red and green night! We wear red or green to dinner and eat some of our favorite red and green foods. This year we had pasta, salad, apple slices and red and green cupcakes!

Day 19: Wednesday evening we went to the zoo to look at all of the Christmas lights! Such a fun, much needed evening out together!

Day 20: After a day full of rain, we curled up with blankets and stuffed animals to watch a movie and then have a sleepover in the living room by the Christmas tree!

Day 21: Friday we had so much fun celebrating Jesus’ birthday with some of our favorite friends! We had lunch at Burger King, spent lots of time playing and talking, had delicious cupcakes and sang happy birthday to Jesus!

Day 22: Saturday was the day the kids had been waiting for! They love going shopping for each others’ stockings and picking out special gifts. And Target was actually too crazy for three days before Christmas!

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Day 23: Sunday evening we baked and decorated cookies for family, neighbors, and Santa! It was an evening full of icing, sprinkles, laughs, smiles, and eating lots of cookies too!

Day 24: Christmas Eve was just the sweetest family day! The kids created another show for us, “The Disney Christmas Bash,” complete with tickets, costume and costume changes, programs, and lots of singing and dancing! We then put on our Christmas best, visited Nanny and Pops, and had a fun family lunch at Outback! That afternoon we opened some sweet gifts from Aunt Melanie and delivered cookies to our neighbors, while Daddy was at church. We celebrated Jesus, our most precious gift, at the Christmas Eve service at church and loved getting to hear Daddy play! We had a quick dinner at home while Daddy played in the final service. Once Daddy got home, we got our pajamas on, sat out the reindeer food and cookies for Santa, grabbed some hot chocolate, and went to look at Christmas lights one more time! We ended the evening reading our final Bible Christmas story and then finally headed off to bed thankful, sleepy, and happy!

Happy New Year!

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Happy New Year from our family to yours! 

We are looking forward to all that is to come in 2019! 

And other than a trip to the Minute Clinic to diagnose an ear infection for Reecey, today has been a fun family day and a wonderful way to start the new year! Jeffrey and I got to sleep in this morning since the kiddos’ had their annual New Years’ Eve sleepover with Nanny and Pops! We also had our traditional New Year’s Day lunch thanks to Nanny! We cleaned out the garage, rested, played outside and ended the day with a little family talent show in the living room! What a way to begin 2019!

But before this first day of a the new year ends, let’s look back on some sweet memories from 2018…

January–Jeffrey and I began 2018 at the Chick-fil-a Peach Bowl watching Auburn play, the boys finished their first season of basketball, we had a “snow” day with a few snowflakes, my baby boy turned five years old, and we celebrated with a visit to the fire station and a party at home with friends and family! He was so excited to be 5!

February–our family took a super fun trip to Florida! We visited Legoland, friends and family in Tampa, spent a day at Sea World, and saw Uncle Bo at Disney Springs! We also celebrated Valentine’s Day with some sweet dates! The boys and I went to see Auburn and Carolina play in basketball, and Jeffrey and Sarah Ann went to see some of her friends in “Alice in Wonderland!” We also spent a lot of February watching the winter olympics!

March–Jeffrey and I went to see Jason Mraz with friends in Greenville, we started our super supper club, kicked off another soccer season for all three kiddos, and spent a fun day in Charleston celebrating Nanny, Melanie, and Reece’s birthdays! Reece received his orange belt/white stripe, and we also welcomed spring and more sunny days!

April–April began with Easter, and then we celebrated Reece’s 8th birthday the very next day! We went to Frankie’s and Moe’s for his birthday and celebrated with friends at the end of the week! We had a fun South Carolina spring break and went to the Isle of Palms and Aiken with friends! We also took a day trip to Charlotte to visit Discovery Place and Tupelo Honey! Jeffrey and I saw his favorite, Andrew Peterson, in concert too!

May–May was full and fun! Sarah Ann and Reece finished 3rd grade and 2nd grade, sweet Carson graduated from preschool, all three kids finished soccer with three undefeated seasons, all four kiddos completed their Awana year, I ran another half marathon in Columbia with Jen and beat my previous time, we spent Mother’s Day at the beach, and celebrated Pops’ 60th birthday at the Fireflies game!

June–Hello summer! Sarah Ann’s dance recital was awesome–she was a beautiful poppy flower in “The Wizard of Oz,” was an “incredible” superhero in jazz, and totally killed it as Darth Vader in hip hop! Carson started playing t-ball again, they attended a wonderul week at worship arts camp, and then all three began the summer program at Village Square theatre, which they all loved! We spent the most fabulous week at Fripp Island, and ended the month attending VBS at Northside!

July–We celebrated the fourth of July with family and friends, Reece went to art camp and also got his orange belt/black stripe. Jeffrey and I celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary with dinner at Motor Supply Co. The kids completed their summer reading program, and they had three amazing performances of “The Little Mermaid.” All of their hard work definitely paid off! We took one last trip to Discovery Place before our membership expired and also went to Ikea while we were in Charlotte!

August–Carson had an awesome week at Soccer Shots camp, and Sarah Ann spent a week at dance intensive camp and then got to dance at the Blowfish game! The kids completed their Mission Lexington service projects to graduate, and we started back to school and co-op. Sarah Ann started 4th grade, Reece started 3rd grade, and Carson started kindergarten! We celebrated Annalee’s birthday in Atlanta and went to the Georgia Aquarium, and then Jeffrey and I took an amazing trip to Nashville to see Needtobreathe! We ended the month celebrated Jeffrey’s birthday all together!

September–September brought school for Jordan, soccer for Reece and Carson, and Sarah Ann was so happy to be back at the dance studio 4 days a week! We started back to Awana, went apple picking with MeMe and Aunt Rachel, enjoyed the “hurricane” days with friends, welcomed fall, and enjoyed one more trip to the Isle of Palms with Nanny!

October–We visited the Children’s Museum of the Upstate, went to North Greenville’s homecoming game, spent the day at the South Carolina State Fair, and had lots of Halloween and fall fun with family and friends! Batman, the Joker, the Riddler, and Harley Quinn loved trick-or-treating all together!

November–Sarah Ann turned 10, and we had so much fun celebrating with family and friends, going to the movies, and painting narwhals at Lexington Paint and Pour! It’s a big deal to turn 10! Jordan turned five and was so very proud! Another great soccer season ended, we finished up another wonderful semester at co-op, Carson began another season of basketball, and Reece played an amazing “Grinch” in drama! Jeffrey and I went to see Ben Rector in Greenville, which was amazing! I turned 35, we had a wonderful Thanksgiving season, and then ended November with the most wonderful trip to Disney World (which I still have to post about)!

December–December was full of all things Christmas, making it through our first 95 days of school, spending time with family and friends, leaning on each other, trusting in the goodness and faithfulness of God, and looking forward to all that 2019 will bring!

A few more moments to remember from December!

We started the month off coming back from the happiest place on earth and then we jumped right into all of the wonder and fun and excitement of the Christmas season.

We have experienced some tough moments and great joy this month. The Lord has strengthened us, sustained us, and we are forever grateful for the love and support from our family and friends!

And in the midst of all that, here are a few more moments to remember from this December….

“…To give them beauty instead of ashes, 

the oil of gladness instead of mourning,

the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;

that they may be called oaks of righteousness, 

the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”

Isaiah 61:3

25 days of Christmas, 2018

Day 9: It was a cold, rainy day here in Columbia, but we enjoyed a great morning at church, lunch with friends, and a restful afternoon at home! Sunday evening we put together and decorated our gingerbread village and nativity and then cuddled up to watch “The Muppet Christmas Carol” before bed!

Day 10: Monday afternoon we put together gift bags and make cards and posters for some of our community helpers!

Day 11: Tuesday evening we turned on some Christmas music and stuffed, sealed, and stamped our Christmas cards! It definitely made the whole process much quicker!

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Day 12: Saluda Shoals is always a favorite every year! Nanny and Pops joined us this year, and we all piled into the van to look at the lights!

Day 13: Thursday afternoon the kids made angel ornaments and Christmas stockings! Crafts are always good on a cold day!

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Day 14: Friday we had lunch at Freddy’s and then spent the afternoon at the State Museum with Daddy! We took a trip on the Polar Express, saw the holiday lights show in the planetarium, and had lots of fun exploring on another rainy day!

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Day 15: One of our most favorite traditions is going to visit “Little Bethlehem” each year! The kid absolutely love walking around, visiting the manger, and getting warm bread and hot chocolate. This year we went to dinner with our supper club and then all went to “Little Bethlehem” together! It was such a fun night with friends!

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Day 16: Sunday afternoon Sarah Ann and I went to see her friend Aubrey dance in Columbia City Ballet’s Nutcracker production! The boys had a fun afternoon playing soccer outside in the sunshine and then going to Menchie’s!

basketball, a blue best, and the ballet

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carson is playing basketball again this season, and he is having a great time! he has scored in both of his games, and he’s working hard on dribbling and passing! he loves to practice outside in the cul-de-sac with reece, and he’s so happy to have daddy helping coach his team too! i sure do love my little athlete!
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a two hour written test, a four page paper, and a two hour karate test, and this ninja is now a blue belt! we are so proud of how hard he works and how focused he is when it comes to karate! he also received a “future blackbelt award” at the end of the year karate celebration this year! way to go, reecey piecey! 
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sarah ann and i have had the tradition of going to see the nutcracker together since she was three years old! because of our disney trip this year, we missed getting to go with some of our friends, but we made up for it with a sweet afternoon going to see columbia city ballets’ performance last sunday! i am always thankful for time with my favorite ballerina! 

my baby’s baby tooth

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today my baby boy lost his first baby tooth! he is so excited and proud, and i am a complete puddle! it’s been loose for a while, and today at lunch it hurt to eat because it was so wiggly. well, he spent the next little bit during quiet time wiggling that little tooth over and over again, and he couldn’t believe it when it fell right out! he so very proudly went around showing everyone in the house the hole in his mouth and his little tooth. oh, why do my babies have to grow up?