Sunday, September 29, 2013

We're Back!

We're back from our adventures! Will load pics and formulate the ever-present-always-happens-to-us stories and post as soon as I can!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Shhhhhhh! Don't Tell Them.......

The Doc doesn't have to speak nor travel this weekend.....and my boss friend (she's my favorite!) gave me the day off....


Pause....breathe.
after a quick planning session we are off and running tomorrow on a surprise (totally frugal may I add)
adventure guaranteed to please the Princess Collection....not to mention make some memories and stir up a few stories I'm sure. After all.....the last time we went here, this happened. Yes, that's a week old baby deer found by Nature Girl in the woods by herself. She's a boss.

Nothing can ever surprise me with this crew. Nothing, nada, ev-ah.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Hypothetically Speaking of Course.....

   So just suppose that someone in this house had a latin test this past week. And just suppose that the spectacular private Christian school they go to has....you know...standards. Suppose you get nervous around test time but really try to do your best.....but you have to name the latin root of FOSSE. Hey, you know this one! You think you are writing down the word, DITCH but suppose you kind of maybe still get your B's and D's mixed up sometimes. You write down that ever so special noun.....B***h in that blank space, hand that test in and call it a day. What do you think a teacher at aforementioned Christian school with standards above and beyond the norm would do in this hypothetical situation????

     Oh, and just suppose (same kid) that the parents had a schmancy business dinner to go to on Saturday night. Suppose you talk the babysitter (who shall remain nameless) to buy you a giant punch-ball balloon at the Dollar Store. Suppose you come home and supposedly go to bed. Said babysitter is sitting on the couch reading a book thinking her precious little charge is sleeping. Suppose this child gets the bright idea to FILL UP A PUNCH BALL with gallons of......water and put it in bed with her. Can you guess what hypothetically happens next? Lets just say for the fun of it that the Punch Ball breaks.....Niagara Falls floods bed, bed, bed, child, and floor. Babysitter still reading book. Child gets up, changes clothes in the dark.....and puts a sleeping bag on top of the sopping, dripping bed.......and texts parents to ask 'When they might be coming home and how she misses them...xoxoxo.' Babysitter still on couch.
     Parents get home really late.....maybe this child hypothetically is still awake and still really wet. Babysitter still sitting on couch reading book after maybe or maybe not having to put the 2 other canaries chirping in the back of the house (who were knee deep donning their new dollar store makeup and fingernails in the dark) back to bed for the 27th time. Apparently Water Baby faked being dry and asleep for babysitter really, really good. Water Child now emerges....fully awake and, uh, ..... wet......then asks to sleep with parents because she has no idea why every. single. item. in.her.room.is.soaked. Babysitter still had no idea.
     Rollin' with the punches around here. I had a friend just tell me every time she reads this blog she feels the need to pray for me. I love her. Why don't we all pray right now (and for anonymous babysitter who really needs some grace!)?! Oh, and this friend is not the only one who has ever told me that.....here at the house of cray.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Then Came The Gentle Breeze

     Last spring the Doc had a fabulous idea that I went along with. Some, no, make that most of you will laugh. He approached me with the idea of running a half-marathon this fall. No joke. I've actually done this before when my oldest daughter was 2. I did it in exactly 2 hours. She's now 25. I'm sure you can do the math and hopefully you've realized that what was 13.1 miles 22 years ago.....is still pretty much 13.1 miles today.......only the person running it is alot older. I was actually very gung-ho about this adventure because I had a big birthday this year and it's kind of a bucket list thing for me. Not gonna take this aging thing as it comes. I want  (we want) to be a force to be reckoned with as we get older. This is a great place to start......so we've been training.
     I'm sure if you saw me running down the road you wouldn't even give me a second glance. I'm slow. That's ok. I'm out there. I'm not gonna set any records but I am determined....I am fierce....and I am a goal setter. I can do this.....or so I thought.
     This school year it was pre-determined that Thursday be my day off....you know...the day when you can do all the stuff you don't normally do when you have kids in tow. I had all kinds of grand plans to lunch with girlfriends (I loves me my friends!)), shop (meh....on occasion), READ (yes, yes, yes), Laundry (heck to the no),  among other stuff. I am doing all of that in between.....training. I've committed to this 1/2 marathon thing. It's on this BLOG for the Lord's sake so now I really can't back out (not that that was in the mix or anything.)
     So....yesterday was a loooonnnngggg training day. I ran an 8 miler. It was hot. In fact running in Florida in August or September is pretty much like placing yourself in a preheated oven.....on the surface of the sun. I'm a temperature runner (unlike the Doc who can run in rain, sleet, snow, desert.....at the same speed for a long time), which means unless it's my ideal temp........I react violently to extremes. As I was hitting mile 5 the sun was blaring down on me.....my internal temp was rising fast .....and I ran out of water (which I always carry). I was done. I was alone. I was still several miles from home. I felt like a limp dishrag sloshing up the street with no clear direction. Make that a hot steaming dishrag. I began bemoaning this whole race thing.....and whose dumb, stupid, idea this was  (maybe I wasn't quite that nice with my choice of words...) and then it happened as if right on cue.

The sun went behind the clouds ......and a gentle breeze began to blow.

I felt life emerge within me. I knew I could do this. Understand that this was unusual. In Florida, in September for the most part there is oppressive, unwavering heat with little to no wind involved.That breeze restored my faith in my ability to push through hard....when I wanted nothing more than to quit. I made it to our local library and refilled my water bottle. Renewed. Restored. Ready to run the last 3 miles. I felt God with me.

In 1 Kings 19 we meet Elijah being hunted down by wicked Queen Jezebel. Elijah was the last of the Israeli prophets left on the earth. He had just witnessed hundreds of the prophets of Baal die after God breathed fire upon the sacrifice of Elijah (read 1 Kings 18) and King Ahab and Jezebel wanted Elijah's head on a silver platter. He ran. He ran into the desert alone for there were none that believed with him. All prophets from the remnant of Israel were dead. He wandered for days, into the wilderness....in that barren desert and in verse 4 we find him 'praying to die.' He was that desperate. Can you imagine being the ONLY believer left on earth.....and being banished to the barren desert with no food nor water? This was Elijah's reality.....for 40 days and 40 nights. Scripture here says he was fed by an angel and recovered his strength....then traveled to Mt. Horeb where he slept in a cave. Again....alone.
     God began to speak to Elijah, asking him why he was there. Elijah begins to tell God of his own faithfulness to the very name and being of God. God instructs Elijah to go out on the mount and stand before the Lord God. Elijah does. The Lord passed by and a great mighty wind tore the mountains and the rocks into....but the Lord wasn't in the wind. A great earthquake hit causing great trembling and shaking of the ground. But the Lord wasn't in the earthquake. After the earthquake there was a great fire.....but the Lord wasn't in the fire. After the huge mighty fire there came 'a gentle breeze-like a whisper'. This was the Lord.....Elijah recognized it and wrapped his face in his cloak.

The story goes on.....Elijah lived a hard and difficult life as God's anointed prophet. Soon thereafter he was united with Elisha and thus he wasn't alone in his mission anymore.

How many times have you (me) hit hard, difficult, desert-like conditions like in the middle of my run? I knew the goal. I had done this before....but in that hot, no water, sun-scorched moment I wanted nothing more than to quit my race....run for the shelter and shade and hide from the heat. But God sent the gentle breeze for me. I was able to finish my run that day. You see....he will do the same for you. If you feel alone....if you are tired of the task before you....if you feel battered and bruised and like you are the only one doing this thing you tire of......ask Him for a gentle breeze. A gentle brush of His breath upon you to restore life into your bones, bringing healing and giving strength so you can get up again. So many times we only want relief from the fires upon us, we want answers. With God, you may not ever get those answers but you can know the one who has all the answers. Elijah didn't know the future in that moment. He didn't know there was an Elisha waiting for him. He just knew the sound of his Lord in that whisper and he knew in that instant he wasn't alone. He was restored.

Won't you pray for that breeze today or better yet, be that breeze for someone else? Ask God to show you himself through a whisper and then listen. He's there, ready. Then turn around and encourage someone God places on your heart. Be available to act as someone's gentle breeze today.
   

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Big Not So Big Reveal.....

.....What was that object in my last post? It's an Astrolabe. Just what you were thinking, right? It measures degrees alot like a protractor, so you can measure the trajectory of the moon, just like Galileo did in his day. You chart the location and measurements of the moon at the same time each night.... and you can track AND predict the moon's trajectory based on your documentation. It's amazing to watch Nature Girls excitement as she counts the minutes until 8:15 p.m. Lots of learning going on around here these days! I am learning to be a scientific mom when my whole brain typically rebels against it ( I leave all this crazy stuff for the Doc) BUT because Nature Girl is totally immersed.....so shall I be. Smile. Oh and on a side note.....cannot say enough about our girls school. Love. Love. Love. Love. This school is the best invention ever.



Sunday, September 15, 2013

Is It Summer Yet?

     Tonight I'm torn. Torn between, "is is summer yet??...... cause I sure am tired and don't want to look at ANY MORE math, or folders," and "that's a remarkably nifty project that I think will benefit  all areas of our gray matter ....who cares if it takes 1000 hours and a gazillion dollars....let's dig in!" I need help. I think I'm school bi-polar. Send reinforcements my way if you please.....in any form.....pills, a day off....chocolate.
     Nature Girl has to do an ongoing project for a month for school.  MONTH. Just saying that word makes my mouth shrivel up. When I first saw it I was saying all kinds of stuff in my head that wasn't so very nice.....but then I saw how excited she was....and how excited the Doc got....so I faced the music and actually listened to the description of the assignment. Gotta admit....we've never done anything like it. It's cool. It's amazing. It will literally and figuratively prove what an awesome God we serve that is definitely NOT bi-polar. I immediately
Hmmmmm.....what could this be?
jumped on the excitement train. Here's a pic of what we are using. Any guesses what the project is or what this is used for??? Come on, you gotta take a guess! We made it out of a fishing lure and an oatmeal box. Classy.
     (Please excuse the dirty counter top.....clearly I am bi-polar cleaner upper as well. Heh.)

Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Girl That Changed Us Forever.....

......had a birthday! If you missed it you can read Nature Girl's story here. In the mean time let's party! The Doc had to be out of town during Nature Girl's birthday so we celebrated this weekend with a trip to the Farris and Foster Chocolate Factory in town. The littles all got to decorate pretzels, gummies, marshmallows,with white, dark and milk chocolate and made their own chocolate pizza. I had never even been to a party here before and booked it based on a referral from a friend. It turned out much better than any of us had hoped! And, can you say yum?  What made it even better is that we made it through without any accidents, shenanigans or emergencies. Woot! We then hiked across the road to to Rocco's Tacos.....a new experience for us. They made homemade guac table side which was incredible. All in all a hit for us and Nature Girl had a fantastic 12th birthday. She's pretty much all around amazing these days! Hope you enjoy the photos of our fantabulous day!


Mollie is 5 months old. She hangs out and chews stuff. And takes off your jewelry.....(aren't her curls divine??!)

Getting instructions.....but they still had no idea what was ahead:)


Dipping marshmallows into white chocolate.

Rocking her inner Lucille Ball:)

She cracks us up with her engineer brain and phonetic spelling!

They are ready! Bring on chocolate!

The Birthday Girl. Only she could get points taken away in science class.....for chasing a frog at the totally inappropriate time.:)

Yes, the colors are also chocolate. 

Our oldest.....who still hasn't grown up. Smile.



The Doc gets into the game. Good thing the place was mostly just us!

Never. stops. talking. evah.


I'm yelling at the green chocolate to come out! It was stuck. We are making a green flower btw. Whatever this child wants ......she gets:)

Too. Much. Fun!!!

Mei Mei and the nephew diggin in. Gratefully no one got sick. This isn't something we eat very often. Made it so worth it!

Our little candy makers.....straight out of I Love Lucy!



We had homemade guac made for us tableside. So good!!

Rocco's Tacos def a hit!

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Girls Great Escape (In More Ways Than One)

     The Doc travels as part of his job and lately has been gone quite frequently. This past weekend he was in LA speaking at a conference, so being the nice guy that he is decided to send his girls on a little getaway. It also happens to coincide with a certain Nature Girl's birthday that's this week, so another perfect excuse to escape the norm and go play. The little ladies are such great ages now and lots of fun to be around, not to mention great little travelers. (I have to stop saying little.....Nature Girl is 5' 2.5".Mei Mei is the only true little of the bunch, and that fact will probably never change).
     To surprise Nature Girl the Doc booked us a room at Disney's New Art of Animation Resort where they have 'themed' suites of various Disney characters. We stayed in the Nemo suite which was just what Nature Girl ordered. All 3 girlies were so surprised and excited when we opened the door. Each suite has a separate master bedroom with wifi, flat screen tv, it's own bathroom w/rain shower head, while the girls room had a mini-kitchen, their own flat screen, murphy pull out queen bed and another full-size fold out couch....AND another bathroom.....all decked out to the nth degree in it's theme. This is all at what Disney considers their 'value' resort so the price was really great. Throw in fabulous playgrounds, pools, and a couple of theme parks and you've got a winner weekend.
     It was going quite well there for a while until two of the three decided to spring a good one on dear old Mom (uh, that would be me). We had had a fabulous day....hung out at Hollywood Studios for a while then came back to the hotel for pool time. I got to catch up with a girlfriend while the girls swam and made a few new friends. (They are quite the friendly bunch and make friends like ducks to water.) We decided to take a break and head back to the room to chill for a bit before dinner. I went to my 'room' with the girls within sight and/or earshot.....and the girls were given explicit instructions NOT to go out the door for any reason. I thought they were playing Barbies and watching TV, I mean I could hear them plain as day. Oh, how deceived I was!
     As I was sitting on my bed I noticed what I thought was a blond head outside through my window. Hmmmmm. Did Blondie go out the door without me knowing? It was a looooonnnnnggggg way around the building from the exit to where our room was. These were not low windows nor large ones either. No glass sliding doors for Disney on this building. No, these windows were tiny, upper-middle of the wall sort that you had to stand up to see out of.  I stuck my head into the other room. Nope, no one had opened the triple-locked door. I sat back down. Then I saw a littler (if littler isn't a word I don't want to know. It is in my book.)  head full of jet-black hair streak past my window. There was no mistaking that one. I looked out my window and sure enough I caught sight of Mei Mei AND Blondie running in the large field outside my window. Not only that but they were  both doing round-off, back handsprings, aerials and such down the entire length of this huge field laughing and having the time of their lives! As I stood there gawking with my mouth hanging open (they were SUPPOSED to be playing Barbies, INSIDE, remember??) I realized that people had STOPPED on the sidewalk beside the field and now the girls had quite the audience gathered who just happened to be TAKING PICTURES of my acrobats who were SUPPOSED to be inside, because they were told NOT TO OPEN THE DOOR. People were clapping for them!  (Mei Mei does look like a 4 year old so I guess they thought she had escaped from Cirque de Soliel or some traveling show.....but whatev. I had a problem on my hands now.)
     I RAN into the other room only to discover what I already knew in my heart. They had unlocked the window and made their great escape by climbing out, and let me tell you.....it was not an easy climb.  Oy vey. Good thing I had asked for a first floor room. Good thing security didn't see them. But guess who did? There were people including our next door neighbors with curtains pulled wide open watching the nice little show the girls were putting on. Oh yea, and did I fail to mention that they were LOUD? No escaping these monkeys if you were within earshot. I had to hang myself out of the window to get their attention.......actually PULLED Mei Mei back in this way...through the hedges no less,...shut said window and made Blondie (the instigator) walk all the heck way around. It's funny now. Now I wish I had set a tip cup out there and had them continue on for a while. We could've made some party bucks. Live and learn. Just when I think life has settled down a bit and I have them under control they do something that absolutely defies all logical thought. My full of life spirited crew had not opened the door they had been asked not to had they??!! Oh yea.....the Doc laughed at the whole thing. Guess I will too after a while. (Actually I love their zest for life and how they never make us have a boring day!)  All in all it was a great weekend. The girls and me def bonded, I got some friend and reading time, and we made them tired......and gave Nature Girl some birthday sweetness. Success.
     Happy Birthday Nature Girl. More on you coming soon!
Nature Girls turns 12!! Where did the time go??

Mickey Ears waiting on the girls beds at the hotel. So cute!!

We are annual passholders at Disney. Your passes are now these electronic bands that act as your tickets to the park, room keys at resorts and credit cards if you want to charge food or merchandise (no thanks) AND as your fastpasses which you can make at home up to 6 months in advance. (Loving this last part!!) 

This playground had explicit instructions not to climb on ledges or animals..... So they climbed. Got this cute shot up about 12-16 ft before I told them to get the heck down.

This is the fold-down Murphy bed in the Nemo suite. Dimmed lights surround Nemo and his dad as one slowly drifts off to sleep.......or into fits of giggles as is our case!!

Tra-la-la-ing through the resort. You can now see the windows this crew of hoodlums unlocked and climbed out of. Heh.

Some days she wishes she were a blond. Today was one of them.

View of the Nemo pool with underwater music......cause that's what everyone needs:)

We spent a day at Animal Kingdom and wouldn't you know Mei Mei got pulled into the Asia show??! Usually so shy she surprised us and danced right along without missing a beat!!

This is her, "Why do these people here (Disney workers) keep measuring me??!! I'm 8!!
Truth: Mei Mei is.......short. She will still be measured to see if she meets the height requirements for rides when she is 16. No doubt.

   
Cuties (however another shot of windows these crooks climbed out of)

Disney's in house tv system is spectacular. So is their wifi and in unit computer board. Mommy was happy.

Animal Kingdom with you know......just our pet spider.

Blondie has never had the nerve to try Expedition Everest.....hands down the BEST rollercoaster to offer in the Central Florida area. It goes forward, backwards and at speeds up to 55mph. Today she rode it!

Just riding around with a few zebras.

Nature Girl in her element. That's a 1.5 yr old White Rhino back there:)

Animal Kingdom offers scavenger hunts as part of their Wilderness Explorers . Girls are doing some serious tracking.

What's a trip to Animal Kingdom without a trip to the invertebrate room? 

I do believe Nature Girl is telling the host here a few facts about this here gator. She knows pretty much all about them.



Mei Mei and Asian tiger (they are one and the same you know)......just got photobombed:)

September Florida sweat. September is the new August around here.



What life is really about.

A 5 min wait is NOT something you see very often at Disney.  These girls (and their trusty Mom) rode this roller-coaster........drumroll please......9 times in one day!!! Yes we did.