Tuesday, December 30, 2014

A Taste of the Tropics-Land of the North Style

Today we had a taste of the tropics. Yesterday too. It was lovely. It was wonderful. It was (almost) as if we were there! Like on a cruise with our friends or in St. Maarten with other friends or…you get the idea.
This is a place our kids have been begging to go to since they knew what it was. Let's say they were…3. We pass it every time we go to my parents' house while driving on the freeway. And when they were that little, they went to my parents' house once a week so Mom could watch them while we were at work. Every single time we would drive by it would be, "When can we go there? Why haven't we gone there before?" Up until a year or two ago my excuse was always along the lines of, "You have to be taller." or "You have to be older." Well, no more. No more excuses. And thanks to Mom and Dad, we were able to go there as a family. Best. Christmas. Present. Ever. Said A & C.
If you ask what their favorite was, they'd probably say the family raft ride. That was a trip. I found out I don't like going backwards. As J says…where I don't have control. Going forward or sideways I was fine because I could see what was coming!
All of the slides were really fast! I even went on a body slide! That was a big step for me. The kids went on every single slide there was to go on. And many many times over. Going double on a slide was always a bonus because we got going really fast. I always screamed. And they always said, "Don't scream, Mommy!" I couldn't help it. 
Other highlights included the lazy river which is pictured above, the wave pool, and a splash area with smaller slides and other water features. A especially loved the wave pool, while C loved pretty much everything, especially the are where he could play basketball. A also went on a rope thing similar to this (which was in Oregon): 
It certainly takes balance and coordination to do that!
Of course I can't go on and on without mentioning our room. The kids thought it was great with bunk beds and their own night lights. They slept well, considering we were go-go-go until 10:00 when the place closed! We had a blast. Thank you, Mom & Dad, for giving us this gift where we were able to be together and make lots of memories! Now when we go by, they say, "We were there! Remember this and remember this!" They loved every minute of it.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Disney Cruise!

Finally…I finished it.

I take forever because I want things to be just so. But I finally finished the book!

I'm posting this instead of writing about everything on the blog…that way I only write about it once!

Enjoy if you like!

Click here to view this photo book larger
Shutterfly photo books  offer a variety of layouts and cover options to choose from.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

You are beautiful

I wrote this a few weeks back…just posting now…love you!
Dear Mom,

You are beautiful. Inside and out. I loved going to your house last week to watch you show off all of your new clothes. Wow! You are beautiful; not just because of the clothes, but because of everything about you.

You have confidence. Even though you may not always be confident every second of every day, I see it. I see it in the way you talk about decisions you've made. I see it in the way to go to every doctor appointment. I see it in the way you talk to me, to J, to the kids, to dad…

You have a glow. I know you're tired. I know you don't feel the best. But you still glow. You glow when others wouldn't. You glow when others would crawl back into bed (which might be what you want to do). But you glow and light up when we walk through the door, no matter where we are.

You bring happiness. To those who know you. You smile. You assume the best. You DON'T take things for granted the way others might. You bring the happy into so many people's lives.

You are everything I can only hope to be as I get older. You are my best friend. You are a listener. You are an encourager. I love you for everything I wrote about and more. I know I'm not the only one who thinks this either. Dad thinks this. J thinks this. The kids think this. We all know this to be true.

I just thought I'd share.

I love you.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

These girls

These girls
are just too much.
I know her mom and I love them equally as if they were both our own. We often reminisce about that fateful day when we were at the back to school "ride the bus" gathering where Lori was listening to me tell someone who A had for a teacher. She came right into the conversation and said, "We do too!" That was it. That sealed the deal. Our girls have been the best of friends since that day. So have we!
God is always in the places you least expect. I didn't have many friends in the immediate area where we live. We've held on to long time friends. But that day. That fateful day brought me to Lori. There are so many reasons why God put us there together at that time. Some which we know, and some what are yet to be revealed. I'm so grateful to have a friend like you, Lori!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Let's Golf!

Today we golfed. We crossed one thing off our summer list. Hooray! It's crazy tomorrow is already the first day of July. That means when I say, "next month" it's the month we start school. But in the meantime we will play. Like today…
 Love this golf course for the real grass...

 Trying to make it go the right way!

 Great form!

 We came across many of these little guys. Clearly they are unfazed by us!
 And then a little fountain play!

We love summer days…especially in June. But we will love all of the ones yet to come!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

something I don't usually do

I did something I don't usually do today. I donated to something I don't know much about, but felt moved and pulled to donate to. It was in honor of my mom. To combat cancer with LOVE. Because in the end, LOVE WINS.

I was turned on to the Momastery blog by my friend, Lori. She kept posting things from the blog via Facebook and I was pulled in by the words she shared. They were always faith filled, inspirational words that helped move me through my day. This happened probably three or four times before I checked it out myself. Then I "liked" the page and now I get updates as they are posted.

Glennon, the woman behind Momastery is broken. Like all of us are. She shares her flaws. She shares her joys. She shares what most people would hide from anyone they could. Her words are filled with honesty and faith and love. She calls us all WARRIORS. And that's what we are in this world. Carrying on to do what's best for us in this messy life where, above all else, LOVE WINS (her words, not mine, but I might be making them mine now).

I was intrigued by a post she wrote yesterday about a Love Flash Mob. As I read it I thought, "Oh, that sounds nice. What amazing things she's been able to do through her blog/company/non-profit. Then I read today's post and was instantly drawn to the stories that were told. Today's Love Flash Mob was all about helping Mamas with cancer. You understand now, don't you?

So I did something I don't usually do and I donated to complete strangers. I'm usually more of the where-is-my-money-going-to-go kind of person. I mean I kind of know through the stories, but I don't really know. You know?

I donated in honor of my mom. Because I love her. And because I want to honor her. And because I want her to know I think about her all the time. And because I believe LOVE WINS, not cancer. Right, Mom? LOVE ALWAYS WINS. I love you. And thanks, Momastery, for giving us a place to honor those we love, even if it was in a small way today.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

on being a mom

Being a mom is
Being a mom is
Being a mom is
Being a mom is all of these things wrapped into one. Before I was a mom I don't think I got it. In fact, I'm pretty sure I didn't. I just thought it was the next step. Then came the babies and that "baby stage" that wasn't my favorite either. It was hard. And tiring. And time-consuming. But then things clicked. I "got it."
I began to understand why I was picked to be a mom. I knew because of the sleepless nights. I knew because of the "Mommy!"'s all through the day. I knew because I couldn't go without having joy because of the littlest things my kids did, be it finding dandelions and bringing them to me, be it running to me when they were hurt, or be it the drawings or little notes they left me in the house. Those were the reasons I knew I was picked to "do" this thing called motherhood.
I think about my own mom…all the time…but today more than usual. I think about all she did for me and all she taught me. I think about how I use everything she taught me as I'm trying to be the best mom I can be now. Moms really are right. ALL. THE. TIME. That's what I know about mine. I also know she is strong. She is brave. She is everything I hope to be as I "grow up" to be like her. Because that's what we want to be…just like our moms.
Being a mom is
never what I thought it would be
better than I ever expected it to be
something I am so privileged to be to A & C.
Happy Mommy's Day to everyone!

Monday, March 17, 2014

30 Days of Gratitude

I decided I'm doing something. I'm doing something during this Lenten season, instead of giving something up. I'm starting my own 30 days of Gratitude. I figure in "this season" that we are in as a family, it's better to do something positive than take away something.

So beginning on Friday with day 1, I will be posting something I am grateful for every day. The idea kind of stems off of a Facebook group that one of my friend's sister started-a gratitude group. I love reading things people are thankful for. It lifts me up. I know it lifts them up too, to share and write about it.

That's what I'm doing. Being grateful and thankful for 30 days. And saying it out loud, for everyone to "hear!"

Sunday, March 16, 2014

"Do I still get to go on the cruise?"

It's a parents' worst nightmare: your child getting sick before a trip, their birthday, or some other special occasion you've been looking forward to for a while. Maybe a few months; maybe a year. Yup. That nightmare became a reality for us the day before we left on our cruise.

I was awake, for some reason, around 1:30 AM, Saturday morning, the day before we were to leave for our Disney cruise vacation. Around 2:30 I hear a little voice-"Mommy, I got sick." What? This CAN NOT be happening to us. Seriously. Sure enough…2:30, the stomach flu had struck C and struck again 3 more times until 7:00 that morning.

I was on the phone with my mom at 7:30, in tears. That's why we bought insurance, she was trying to tell me. Don't worry. We'll figure it out. I tell you, I have never prayed so much in all my life for a healthy little boy. All through the night I prayed and sang myself to sleep. After I got off the phone with my mom, I did the same, and by about 8:00 a calming feeling came over my body and I know things would be ok. It's a bit hard to explain, I just knew things would work out.

Needless to say we watched him like a hawk all day, checking to see if he was going to be sick again, to make sure he was drinking a little bit, to make sure he was eating just a little. He went to bed that night at 6:30-asking to go to bed because he was so wiped out.

The next morning-5:20-his door opens wide, he jumps out of his room, and says, "I feel so much better! I'm ready to go on the cruise!" THANK THE LORD!! Yes, this little boy DID get to go on the cruise, and we are so lucky to have a happy ending to that story and a happy beginning to our trip!

We can't wait!

**A past post I never got around to posting from January 23rd**

We really can't. I'll tell you why.

Pretty soon we get to go here.
 We're getting there by being on this.
And we'll also be trying out this.

Seriously. Seriously?! We are so lucky and blessed to be able to do this.

Here's how it all went down…
Early in November my dad and I went to a chemo appointment with Mom. It was a visit with Dr. Gall, which is why we tried to be there. We went through the whole appointment-how are you feeling? any new symptoms? any changes in how your body is handling side effects? All of the usual stuff was asked. Then at the end of the appointment he asked if we had any questions. I finally asked it.

"How long do we do this for?"

The long and the short of it: forever. FOREVER. Wait, what? Did I hear you right? Yup. Sure did. See then the doctor went on with all of the "Sometimes I give a chemo vacation. It could be 3 weeks, 3 months, 6 months; you never know. But really, this is just managing the disease. There are always miracles!" That's the word I held onto: miracles. It's always the word I think of. Miracles do happen. I know this. And we all-friends and family-pray for a miracle every day. In the meantime…this chemo/doctor thing is happening in the 2 weeks on/1 week off cycle until Mom's "Chemo Vacation."

After that news we went back to the chemo room, waiting for her drip to start and Mom says, "Well, where are we going?" Meaning, let's plan a trip. I had wondered if this was going to be a possibility. J and I had talked about it shortly before this November day. And here it was-we were starting to plan a trip.

If you know my parents, you know they love cruising. They love everything about being on a ship whether it's by themselves or with their cruisin' friends (love them dearly!), they love hanging by the pool, in the bars, finding their way through foreign lands; it's the best! So as we started talking about where we would go, it was only natural that going on a cruise came up. Then the decision on where to go and what cruise line to go on. After crunching numbers, looking at itineraries, and thinking about what could give us "the best" memories, we landed on a Disney Cruise. Woot! Woot! CAN. NOT. WAIT!

J and I have only been on one cruise before-when I was 8 weeks pregnant and couldn't fully enjoy everything the ship had to offer (I was on a self-proclaimed diet of cheese and ice cream!). We have talked about going on a Disney Cruise before, but the conversation is usually something like, "It's on our my bucket list. I would love to do it sometime, but probably not now."Never in a million years did I think we would be going this soon.

The kids, my parents, and J & I are just all so thrilled to be going. And with each other. We are blessed to be able to make these memories together. We get to see the kids reactions together. We get to go to a Pirate Party together. That's the best part about this trip is that we will be together. It can't come soon enough, with all of the COLD weather we've been having. We are definitely counting down, and…


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

This morning

The conversation I had with C as I was upstairs getting ready, and he was downstairs, yelling up...
C-Mommy, I wish I could freeze the world.
Me-Really? What do you mean?
C-I mean I wish I could stop time. You know, I could be a kid forever. Mamma's cancer would be frozen so she wouldn't be sick. 
Me-Yes, those would all be really good things to happen.
C-And I could put you in a snowglobe and have you forever. And I would hug Daddy. That's what I wish.

Sometimes they say the most interesting things. And then it makes me think about why he's thinking those things. What's really going on in that head of his? Whatever it is, I love it. I love that he shares what he wishes and hopes for, even if they are things that may or may not happen. 

I love that kid!