Friday, January 28, 2011


Now that I finished blogging about 2010, I can start blogging about 2011!  Hey, January's not even over yet.  Pretty good for a chronic procrastinator!

We've spent more time this month visiting oral health professionals than at any other time in my adult life.  (I did have braces as a child, so I spent some time at the dentist and orthodontist.)  The girls had a routine cleaning early in the month.  We've known fro some time that Grace would need some orthodontic work because of an underbite, and our dentist said it was finally time.  We got an appointment the next day for the orthodontist who just began practicing with our dentist.  After the x-rays and the icky-tasting tooth molds, we learned that her bottom jaw is growing faster than her top jaw.  So not only will she need braces, she'll also need a type of head gear!

They put in some spacers, and we made an appointment for the braces.  She got her braces last Monday.  She was really excited about them!  She chose green bands to go around her brackets, and she really does look cute.  They have to make some kind of device that will attach to her head gear, so she doesn't have that yet.  And the braces make it difficult for her to suck on her tongue, which is what either led to or exacerbated her underbite.  Yay!  They are already helping!

After hearing my friends talk about the pain of getting braces, I was surprised that Grace only had minimal discomfort.  Cutting her food into small pieces and taking ibuprofen controlled it.  And she told me today that she could bite into pizza again without pain or discomfort.

I was very surprised by the financial pain of braces!  I had no idea that eight months to a year of braces would cost more than several used cars we have purchased!  And when I asked the going rate for a full set, I couldn't believe it!  Unfortunately for us, Hope will be needing braces in the near future, and Grace may need another set when she's older.  I'm glad we took our Disney trip last year!  

But a healthy smile is worth it.  And Grace is such a happy child that we see that smile often!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

More Magic!

We planned to meet the princesses on our final day at Magic Kingdom.  And while it would have been nice to get the boutique princess make-over for the girls, it was definitely NOT in our already-stretched budget.  So my oldest daughter and her friend did the younger girls make-up and hair so they could feel like princesses!  I brought sparkly make-up and hair spray and had purchased each of my girls a tiara at Claire's before we left.  My younger girls wore cute dresses instead of the hot dress-up costumes that we had.  I think they looked fabulous!

We got to the park in time to see Mickey and Minnie sing and dance at Cinderella's castle.  Then we went to Belle's story time.  After that we went to see the princesses!  Faith's favorite princess is Cinderella; Hope and Grace's favorite is Belle (She's my favorite, too!); and Joy's favorite princess is Sleeping Beauty. All three of them were there when we went to meet them, take pictures, and get their autographs!  They were all so gracious, and it was a special time for my girls.

We then toured Mickey and Minnie's houses, and I made the big mistake of riding the Goofy roller coaster.  It wasn't scary, but it was so jerky that my back hurt for several hours!  After lunch, we met Mickey and Minnie and got pictures with them.  We hid out from one of the daily rain showers, and rode some more rides.  The younger three girls loved Space Mountain, and all the girls loved Big Thunder Mountain.  (I had planned to ride that one until my back started hurting.)  

One of the most fun surprises was the Jungle Cruise.  Our guide was hysterical!  The girls loved it when she poked fun at the Hall of Presidents!  The older kids and Paul rode Splash Mountain again.  They were disappointed that somehow he managed to stay dry.

We finished our day by watching the Parade of Lights and the fireworks show from Main Street.  It was a terrific ending to a fabulous vacation!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Magical Magic Kingdom Day 1

We spent our final two days of our Disney vacation at the Magic Kingdom.  I had been looking forward to this park the most, and it did not disappoint!  We got there the first day in time to watch a parade from the train station.  Then we rode the train to Frontier Land to get fast passes for Splash Mountain.  We had a great time riding the Pirates of the Caribbean ride and then had even more fun being silly with the pirate paraphernalia in the gift shop!  

After lunch, the kids and the men rode Splash Mountain.  The women and small boys elected to stay dry!  The men little boys were tired so the dads took the boys back to the hotel for naps.  The moms and the girls didn't want to miss a minute of magic, so we stayed.  It was a hot day, so we found some air conditioned fun:  Mickey's Philharmagic and the Hall of Presidents.  The girls were thoroughly bored with the Hall of Presidents, and they didn't even appreciate the cool air!  When it was over, we were happy to discover that the afternoon parade was about to come right by our location.  The girls loved watching the princesses, although Joy was very disappointed that Sleeping Beauty was not in the parade!

  Waving to Cinderalla

We got some ice cream for a cool snack and rode several more rides until the dads and boys returned.  My two youngest even rode Space Mountain with my friend and her girls!  They loved it!!  When we were all back together we rode the MK Toy Story ride, which was not as much fun as the one at Hollywood Studios.  We rode the carousel and the Peter Pan ride.  It rained again, so we decided to ride It's a Small World.  Cheesy, but fun!  The rain had cleared out the park, so we were able to ride the teacups and the carousel with hardly any waiting!  Those tea cups were a blast!  
I chose a pink teacup!

We also rode Dumbo. Since Hope's favorite animal is an elephant, this was especially fun for her!
 Hope and I ride Dumbo!

And while we were on the ride the fireworks began.  What a fun way to see them!

And on the way out, we saw Cinderella's castle all lit up!

  A beautiful ending to a wonderful day!


Saturday, January 15, 2011

Epcot Adventures

We spent the next two days at Epcot.  The first day we spent doing things in the space, land, and sea areas.  I've always wondered what was inside the big white orb, and I finally got to see it!  I liked this ride because it was air-conditioned and because it was a great history review for my girls!  We also rode several of the other rides and hung out at the aquarium. 

I hung out with the little ones while everyone else rode Test Track.  I had read that the ride lasted six minutes, and I thought the whole six minutes was racing around the track.  I didn't think that would work with my vertigo-like symptoms on roller-coasters.  Of course, after they rode it, I found out the ride only goes around the track once! 

We left early in the afternoon for siesta time at the hotel.  Then we went to Downtown Disney.  The Lego store was fun for a while.  While my friend and her kids waited for a free Lego set, my girls and I shopped for souvenirs at the Disney Princess store next door.  They each selected a charm bracelet and several charms as a way to remember Disney.  After shopping, we at at Wolfgang Puck Express.  It was fabulous!  Definitely our best meal of the trip!  And it was on our meal plan.

We ended the evening by going back to Epcot and riding Soarin'.  After Paul's experience with the motion simulator at Hollywood Studios, he decided to stay with the littler ones while the rest of us rode.  This ride was so much fun!  Everyone really enjoyed it!  Then we made our way over to watch the fireworks show before we left for the evening.

The next day we had planned to tour the country areas in the morning before the day became too hot.  We planned to eat pastries for breakfast in one of the countries as well.  No one noticed that the country part of Epcot opens several hours later than the other part!  We had a few snacks with us that we ate for breakfast.  Our friend conned his older kids into riding the intense version of Mission Space.  Thankfully, no one vomited!  After lunch, we rode Test Track again.  This time I rode it, too!  Lots of fun!

We then rode the boat rides in Norway and Mexico.  We spent some time in Norway since our friend has ancestors from there.  The Viking helmets in the gift shop were a big hit!  We also spent a little time in Japan.  My girls enjoyed seeing all the Japanese things.  My sister and her family lived in Okinawa for a few years, so we felt like we had a connection with Japan.  We made the lap of countries on our way out.  We stopped in France for a wonderful snack of French pastries.  Yum!  In England, we saw Alice of Alice in Wonderland.  She had just arrived, so we were able to get pictures with her and her autograph with no waiting!  And while walking through Canada, we saw this:

After another siesta time we ate at one of the other resorts.  Then my friend and I went back to Epcot with her two girls and my oldest two.  We rode Soarin' again.  Twice!  We toured Britain.  We spoke in British accents.  We ate more pastries in France.  We tried to talk in French accents but couldn't do it very well.  So we reverted back to the British accents.  We examined belly dancing costumes in Morocco.  It was such a great mom/daughter time.  This was one of the highlights of our trip!  And the girls agree!  Even though we got rained on, it was fabulous!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Off to Orlando!

One of the highlights of 2010 for our family was our trip to Disney World!  Paul & I had been considering taking the girls, and we realized that if we did decide to plant a church (We weren't sure about this yet.), it would be more difficult to go afterward.  And then we found out some of our good friends were also thinking about going, so we decided to go together!  (I think this really sealed the deal for Paul.)  Their kids got out of school the last Thursday in May, and we left the following day.  Our friends have 6 kids, ranging in age from 2 to 13, so we had 14 people total!!  I know it sounds crazy, but we had a blast!

We took a couple of days to drive, so we got to Orlando on Saturday afternoon and went to Animal Kingdom.  Since it closes earlier than the other parks, we didn't have much time there.  We did the safari ride first.  Since it had been raining that afternoon, it was a little cooler, and we were able to see a lot of animals, including Hope's favorite, elephants. 

The older kids and the dads rode the rapids ride, while my friend and I stayed with her two little ones.  It was no sacrifice for us because neither of us wanted to get our hair wet!  However, everyone got soaked when it started pouring rain.  We quickly discovered that the Dollar Tree ponchos weren't sufficient!  We were able to see the Lion King show on our way out.  Then we got settled in our rooms in The Port of Orleans French Quarter and headed out to eat and to Walmart to get snacks and better rain ponchos.

The next day we went to Hollywood Studios.  We had heard that the Toy Story ride was very popular, so we immediately got fast passes for it.  My girls really liked the Narnia exhibit and enjoyed seeing costumes from the movie.

They also were impressed by the stone table.

Lunch that day was a disaster!  We waited about an hour to order and get our pizza!  Fortunately, our meals went smoothly the rest of the trip!  When we rode the Star Wars ride, Paul discovered that simulators mess up his equilibrium.  But the rest of us enjoyed it.  In the afternoon, the dads and older boys went to see the stunt shows while the moms, girls, and little boys saw the Beauty and the Beast show and The Little Mermaid show.  Faith was selected to announce The Little Mermaid show before it started!  So cool!  We met back up for the Muppet show and dinner.

The Toy Story ride was great and definitely lived up to the hype.  We were all disappointed (but not surprised) that the line was too long to ride it again!

My friend and her oldest daughter stayed to ride the Rockin' Roller Coaster, while the rest of us took the bus back to the hotel.


We had just experienced our first full day of Disney, and, I must say, we were impressed...and exhausted! 

Friday, January 7, 2011

2010: Some Retrospective Lists

The beginning of a new year is often a time of reflection of the past year and thoughts of changes in the new year.  The beginning of our year was just survival mode.  Paul went to Passion on New Year's Day.  The girls and I tried to recover from staying up WAY too late on New Year's Eve!  Then we started the routines of school, dance practice, and piano lessons.  And I washed dishes by hand because our dishwasher is still broken!  All that to say that it's already January 7th and I'm just now thinking about 2010.

2010 had a lot of lasts for us:

*Last Daddy/Daughter Valentine banquet.  (It would have been the last even had we remained at that church; they'll be too old this year.) 

*Last time to watch my younger 3 girls sing at the children's musical at our old church.

*Last AWANA award ceremony.  

*Last time to go to camp with our old church.

*Last Sunday at our old church.

*Last time for me to teach high school girls there.

*Maybe our last swim lessons.

*Last time to have to make overseas calls to talk to my sister.  (I hope!)

It also had some firsts:

*First time to plant a church!

*First year of middle school for Hope!

*First time to see the Riverwalk in San Antonio at Christmas time!

*First time to host all of my family for Christmas!

*First time to go to Disney World!!! (Which will get a whole post of its own very soon.  Even though it happened way back in May and June.)

And, of course, many things remained the same:

*Dance practices

*Piano lessons


*Our crazy dog

*Our sweet cat


I'm kind of hoping that 2011 is a little more predictable than 2010.  Well, except for the awesome vacation part!  That was not something that was on my radar in January of 2010.  But I know I can trust God when things change or when they remain the same.