Monday, August 31, 2009

Post-Vacation Overload - Day 2; Part 1

We packed so much into our first "full" day at the World, that I am going to have to break it down into separate parts. Of course, with so much in front of you, it's definitely hard to decide where to start. After much debate, we picked "Hollywood" Studios (for all of you "old schol" folks, you can't really say that; Rich and I consistently still refer to it as "MGM"). There was a method to our madness. First off, it had a wide variety of attractions that suited both ages and, most importantly, the kids would get to eat at Pizza Planet!

We spent the first part of the morning riding "the big rides"; Ian immediately fell in love with Aerosmith's Rockin' Roller Coaster and revisited an old favorite from his memories of Dinseyland - The Tower of Terror.

Even after her encounter with the royal family the night before, Kyra was still a little leery of the larger than life characters - even the ones that didn't move or talk. If you notice in this picture, here fingers are in her ears because Lightening McQueen's and Mater's motors were "too loud".

After much debate, Kyra decided she would go see Jo Jo and Goliath but only if Daddy came with her. She was very tentative when she approached them but the characters saw that and played peek-a-boo and extended hands (and paws) for high 5s to gain her trust. When Kyra discovered they couldn't hurt/maim/frighten her, she declared that she was "brave" and pushed Daddy to the side.

After that, there was no stopping this little girl when it came to securing character autographs. She was very proud of her princess "autograph" book and clung to it while waiting in lines.

Kyra with June from Little Einsteins practicing her dancing skills.

Handy Manny was a huge hit as well.

And so we wrap up the first part of the day. Stay tuned for more . . .

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Post-Vacation Overload - Day 1

Well, eight days at Walt Disney World is apparently not enough to see it all, though we did give it our best shot. I'm currently weeding through over 800 pictures that I took throughout our trip and since I share photos on this blog for family to see, I'm going to try to break them down so you aren't all overloaded at once.

These pictures are from our first day in Florida. The day started rough - over a 3-hour delay due to mechanical problems on our flight. We were supposed to arrive in Orlando around 10:30 but didn't get in until around 1:30. Since the flight was supposed to leave originally around 7:00 a.m., we had been up for a long time and were tired. Luckily, our dinner reservations were early at 1900 Park Fare at the Grand Floridian.

Kyra was selected by the manager to open the doors to the dining room with a "Bibbity-Bobbity-Boo". When the doors swung open, there was Prince Charming waiting for Kyra.
He took her by the hand and escorted her to the table. It brought tears to this mommy's eyes!
Later, during the dinner, Kyra also had the first dance with Prince Charming (after Cinderella, of course). I don't think Kyra ate much during dinner because she was so enthralled with the characters in the dining room. Needless to say, she got over her most of her fear of characters rather quickly.

Not to be left out of the picture, while Kyra danced with Charming, Ian caught the eye of Anastasia and she pulled him out of his chair to dance. I believe Rich has some video, but Anastasia tagged Ian as her future husband and began grilling him with questions including how much money he had and if he thought she was beautiful. This made for great fodder the rest of our trip.
To add to his pre-teen embarrassment, Lady Tremaine - the wicked stepmother, also came into the picture and began grilling Ian about why he found Anastasia so attractive. Look how red his cheeks are!

As I said, Kyra got over her mortal fear of characters with Prince Charming and Cinderella, but it was a little different when it came to the wicked Stepmother and the stepsisters. In fact, she went under the table when Lady Tremaine arrived.
We coaxed her into pictures with the stepsisters though but only as long as someone else came with her!
I've been to quite a few character dinners at Disney, but this one, by far, was the most interactive. This was a most magical way to start our trip and we had one happy little princess!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Never Too Big to Be Carried

For the past few weeks, Kyra has been involved with a summer camp at Children's House Montessori. She is having a blast and it's also a nice introduction as this is where she will be attending preschool in just a few short weeks. Needless to say, with all that fun, she is definitely ready for a nap when all is said and done. Of course, it's interrupted our routine a bit, but flexibility is a wonderful thing and we've adjusted.

Let me just say, Kyra still NEEDS a nap. She can forego them every once in a great while, but she (and I) are much happier to be around if the nap takes place as scheduled. That being said, Kyra has inherited her procrastination skills from two of the best in the business. From extra potty stops, to drinks of water, to any excuse in the book NOT to go to take her nap, she will try it. Yesterday, we got to the base of the steps and looked at me pathetically and says, "I too tired, Mommy. Carry me." Knowing full well this was another tried and true delay tactic, I informed her she was too big to be carried up the steps and she would have to be a big girl and go up simply holding my hand. She did so (with amazing speed, I might add) and was soon on her way to dreamland.

So, where am I going with this tale of stay-at-home-mom-dom? I have gotten in the routine of taking my quiet time with the Lord during the first portion of nap time. I've recently been exchanging "Praise Party" requests with some friends on Facebook. Normally, I don't pay too much attention to request to join the mafia or create a farm, but this particular application intrigued me. You can "pass" your friends praises about our Lord and his many names. Each picture is accompanied by a verse that identifies where you can find said name in the Bible. I believe this particular application has 169 different identities of our Lord. Talk about a neat idea for a daily devotion!

So yesterday, I was looking at the verses for one of the particular praises and I got into Psalm 68. And here's where you begin to realize the planner that God is! Never doubt his timing!

"Praise the Lord; praise God our Savior! For each day he carries us in his arms." - Psalm 68:19 NLT

Now even though I knew it was a delay tactic, what would it have killed me to pick Kyra up and carry her those 13 steps up to her bedroom? True, I was trying to establish some boundaries, but look what our Lord does for us EVERY day! When we feel we are losing the never-ending battle with the laundry; when the dog chews off the eyes of your daughter's favorite teddy bear; when your kids are arguing again over who gets to give the dog a treat; when you feel that if just one more thing goes wrong in your day you are just going to run down the street and never come back - guess who hears you and scoops you up in His abundant arms when you feel like you can't take another step? That, my friends, is LOVE!

What a wonderful example our Lord sets before us! His power is made perfect in our weakness!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Rock On!

What better place to run my first half marathon than my "home" town of Chicago. Back in May at the Green Bay Marathon, I was overtaken by a moment of insanity and signed on the dotted line for the Rock 'n' Roll Chicago Half Marathon. After the initial "what was I thinking?" moment, I set out to train. To my surprise, the training didn't stink as much as I thought it would; in fact, I found it to be rather enjoyable.

With Grandma Pokey & Grandpa Tiger volunteering babysitting services, Rich and I set off on Saturday for Chi-town. Our first stop was the expo to pick up my race packet:

While at the expo, I met a great organization called Team 413. You can read more about them on their website, but it is awesome to be able to not only participate in an activity that you love, but also share your faith in the process!

Afterward, we headed to our hotel to unwind. I ended up taking a nap (*gasp*) and slept through our dinner reservation at Rosebud. We ended up just having carry-out from Bucca di Beppo - a wise choice and I was able to hit the hay fairly early (4:30 a.m. comes awfully early!)

As you can tell, it was still dark when we arrived at the starting gates. Thankfully, it was an untypical August day in Chicago. We were actually cold while we waited for the start of the race!

Rich took this picture while I was waiting to start the race. He calls it "my game face".

At mile 4, I was "joined" by my sweet hubby. Technically, he was a "race bandit" which was forbidden, but he ran alongside me for almost nine miles snapping photos, getting water for me and providing me my Gu and Shot Blocks! Now THAT is a dedicated husband!

Most importantly, I FINISHED! My goal was to (a) finish the race and (b) finish the race without walking. With God's awesome power, I accomplished my mission! My finishing time was 2 hours and 19 minutes. I am thrilled to have finished this race and I thank everyone for their prayers and support!

With God, all things are possible!