Thursday, March 20, 2014

Dear Andrew

Do you ever wonder if your kids know just how you feel about them?  I tell them I love them.  I tell them how great they are, but do they really know how I feel?  A friend of mine started writing letters to her kids every few months.  And, while, I don't think I can get that done, one night I just started writing...and I did it.  I wrote to Andrew and Parker and I told them exactly how I feel, at this time in our lives.  It was an interesting thing for me to do, to really think about my kiddos and how they've changed my they are my life.

Today I'm sharing Andrew's letter with you.

I'm hoping that this will encourage my friends out there to do the same.  It's a wonderful exercise for your heart and it gives your children something to reflect on when they are older.

March 20, 2014

Dear Andrew,

I want you to know how incredible I think you are.  From the moment you were born, you’ve been quiet.  You are my shy boy.  I think this is often the case with younger siblings.  But, I love this about you.  And, even though you are quiet, you have an amazing sparkle about you that lights up the room whenever you smile.  Your smile makes my heart soar and people always tell me that you have the kindest and gentlest smile they’ve ever seen.  Oh my, do I agree.  I always tell you that you are my sweetie boy and that fits you so perfectly.  

When you were born, I couldn’t hold you for three days.  It was the most painful experience I’ve ever had.  And, once I could hold you, my dear, I couldn’t put you down.  I was determined to make up for those lost three days and I think that today I’m still trying to do that.  I want to spend every second snuggling you, talking to you, playing with you, and just being there for you.  It’s what I do best and because of this, we have formed a bond, that I was worried would be lacking because of our time apart when you were first born.  But, oh my, is it there.  It is something fierce.  And, it lights a fire in my heart that gives me determination and courage to face this world.  And it’s all because of you.

I can’t imagine my world without you.  You have given me so much in the three years (and four months) you’ve been in my life.  You’ve taught me perseverance, patience, love, determination, how to admit my fears, and how to overcome those fears.  You provide me with new challenges almost every day, but every time we get through those challenges, I am ten times the person I was before, and I am so thankful for you for giving me all of these things and for choosing me to be your Momma.

There are so many things I love about you, but the things I love the most are the little things.  There are these little characteristics that YOU, and only YOU, have.  Things like when you lay down to go to sleep, you fake snore for about three minutes before you actually fall asleep.  Things like, when I get you a glass of chocolate milk, you always sing, “Choc-o-late milk time!  Choc-o-late milk time!”  Or when I tell you I love you or how brave I think you are or how much fun I think you are, you always look me in the eye and say, “Fwanks (thanks) Mom.”  Or that you love to role-play and you are always assigning us characters from your favorite shows…often asking us to dress in character.  You love people, but you’re so shy…for example, your aunts, who you’re so shy around, would never guess how excited you get when you know you’re going to visit them.  Or how you absolutely love babies and you are so kind and loving to them all of the time.  Or how every night you say to dad, like it’s the biggest surprise, “Dad!  You get to wuggle (snuggle) me tonight!”  And his response is always just as excited.  Or how you rub Bella’s ears and say, “Who is my dirl?  Who is my dirl?”  And her tail wags because she knows how much you love her.  I love it that you can jump on the trampoline for hours…yes, hours.  Or, how when you’re sad or scared, you almost always turn to your brother for a hug or a hand…and he’s always there for you.  Or when you’re nervous or shy, you curl up in my lap and tell me that you’re scared or cold or sad...and it makes me smile that you can tell me this when just a few months ago, you couldn’t find the words to express your feelings.

I love it all and I just wanted you to know. 

My sweetie boy, you have my heart.  I love you.


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Playing Catch Up - Walt Disney World

Has it really been more than two months since I've visited blog world?!  Why yes, it has...and although I've thought a million times (and even started to write about it) that I need to fill everyone in on our Walt Disney World vacation, every time I start it...I get too caught up in looking at pictures, feel like I'm giving out too much information, or I just don't have time to tackle it.

I don't really even know where to start.

So, today I decided that I'm not going to.  Really.  If someone wants to know how I planned, saved, spent, and made decisions for my family for WDW, I think they'll ask.  And, I know, I know...there are many of you that have asked me to fill you in.

So, today I'm going to give you one hint: Visit and start your own adventure with Disney.  That was the best part of my planning.  Oh, and do what's best for your family.  Don't worry about how everyone else did it.  Just go with it!  Take all of their tips, advice, and encouragement and run with it. Because really, it's not like you can go wrong when taking your family to Disney World.  Can you?!

If you have questions about our trip and WANT me to give you some advice.  Leave me a message or write a comment down below and I will address them as I get them.  I would LOVE to do that!

Now, here's our photos.

(Going backwards...for some reason...and I can't seem to fix it.)

When we arrived home from our trip, a nice friend had left this for us in our front door with a special note from our pal Woody.  It was the perfect ending to our Walt Disney World vacation and I am excited to pay this forward.

We spent our last day/evening at Hollywood Studios.  This is 'waiting' in line for the Toy Story ride.  Although we didn't actually have to wait in line because we were there at the perfect time!

Star Wars.  Two Boys.  Enough Said.

We loved meeting Ralph and Vannelope!

Taking a break at 'Honey I Shrunk the Kids'.

Andrew was beside himself when we ran into this 'green army man' at Hollywood Studios.  He was so so so excited to show him his 'army shorts' and couldn't wait to have his picture taken with him!

Hollywood Studios was simply beautiful!

At the Animal Kingdom we ran in to Chip and Dale.  Two of Parker's favorite characters!

Can you tell we're from Kansas?!  We loved the petting zoo at Animal Kingdom!

Petting a pig.

Yuck.  The boys loved learning about snakes at Animal Kingdom.

We had breakfast with Donald at The Tusker House Restaurant at Animal Kingdom.

Goofy was there also...and was very, very silly!

We just had to get Daisy's autograph at breakfast as well!

Parker loved this tree at Animal Kingdom and I loved it that the photographers would take a picture with our camera!

The boys loved the outdoor movies at our resort, Disney All-Star Movies Resort.

We loved the 'Move It Shake It' Parade at The Magic Kingdom.

We rode the carousel a few times at the Magic Kingdom!

We were so excited to meet Buzz Lightyear at the Magic Kingdom!

To Infinity and Beyond!

Visiting with Piglet at breakfast!

And Tigger.  We ate at the Crystal Palace and got to meet all of our Hundred Acre Wood friends!

A beautiful day at Magic Kingdom!

Russell and Doug - Animal Kingdom

Andrew won a stuffed animal at the Animal Kingdom games.

A comfy spot on dad's shoulders.

Another gorgeous day!

We loved the Safari at Animal Kingdom...get there early in the day and ride two or three times before it gets busy!

On safari!

Having fun!

Parker loved this tree...this is as close as we could get to it!

In front of his favorite tree.

We loved our resort - it was beautiful and fun!

We watched the Fantasmic Show - I recommend doing this with dinner - you get the best seats!

Magic Mickey

Andrew's souvenir from Fantasmic.  That's the one part of our trip that was crazy...everywhere we went the boys wanted a momento of that moment.  How could I refuse?!

We love The Incredibles!

My Jedi's in training.

For those of you that don't know...Parker is obsessed with The Muppets right now.

Oh, Phineas and Ferb.  We loved seeing you at Hollywood Studios!

Hollywood Studios Muppet 3-D Vision

Andrew loved exploring at our resort...mainly jumping off of rocks.

Oh how we loved the giant Disney things at the All-Star Movies Resort!


Our favorites!  Woody and Jessie were the first characters we met at the Magic Kingdom.

Riding the train at the Magic Kingdom - can you tell we were having fun?!

Parker got called up on stage to participate in Jack Sparrow's Pirate Tutorial at the Magic Kingdom.  It was the highlight of our first day!

Fighting Jack Sparrow!

Silly boys on the carousel.

We had breakfast with Mickey on our first morning!  It was so much fun and exciting to see all of the characters at breakfast that morning.  I highly recommend doing all of the character meals that you can fit in to your trip!

We had dinner the first night at Epcot at the Coral Reef Restaurant.  We were so excited and loved seeing the Epcot ball in person!  But, if you  have young children, I recommend sticking with dinner at your resort the first night.  We were all so tired!

Hanging out at the All-Star Movies Resort.

Heading out!

Again, if you have questions about our trip and want to know what worked best for us and how we did it, let me know!  I have a lot of tips and tricks that worked well for my family.  I do have to say that this vacation was not our 'typical' vacation.  When we vacation we don't usually make a lot of plans or spend a lot of money, so I was super skeptical of even going to Disney World in the first place.  But, oh man, it was the experience of a lifetime and we absolutely loved it!

It was simply magical.