Sunday, September 14, 2014

Just In Case You Didn't Already Think We Were Crazy…..This Should Confirm It

Nature Girl is obsessed with animals. Obsessed. We sent her to Zookeeper Camp this summer because she just loves animals so much and we have a feeling she will pursue a career in the animal world one day. While at Zoo Camp we just happened to see the Dean of our School there doing the Zoo's rope course/zipline. Ever since, our girls have been begging/pleading/whining to go. There was only one problem…..(always a problem….)

Mei Mei is too short. Again, she's 9 years old and still hasn't hit 48" tall (except when we stuff her shoes to ride roller coasters but that's another story…heh). In order for us to have fun as a family on the Zoo's ropes/ziplines we would have to split up. No go. Weren't gonna do it.

So…..we did a little research. We wanted Nature Girl's birthday to be a big bash. She's turning 13 after all! We found out that Gatorland (yes, the official cheesy, touristy icon that has been around since 1947) has one of the top rated zip lines in the entire USA. AND……AND……AND……AND…..Mei Mei was tall enough. Yea, go ahead and check out their link…..nasty gators and all. If there's one thing that I can't stand about the Florida wilderness that we live in it's snakes and alligators. And here we go considering PAYING MONEY to throw our bodies into mid-air, hurling ourselves 25-30 mph., over swamps filled with Nile Crocs and American Alligators. Did we do it?

For Nature Girl……and for the sake of family team building…..yep today, we did. (Thank you Groupon). This Mama doesn't particularly like heights. In fact I hate them. I was so excited about surprising Nature Girl with her grand adventure that I neglected to read that they take you up 7(!!!!!) stories, hang you on a wire then shoot you across flailing and screaming over GIGANTIC alligators to the other side…..(all while praying to Jesus you don't die and that dang wire doesn't break from the weight of your backside). But I had agreed to do this and that child was so gosh darn excited. We all suited up.

I almost backed out once we had climbed to our start point. That first tower was a doozy…..however our guide talked me out of my heights funk. Finally he pushed (yep, he did) me over the edge and I never looked back (or down….or side to side….and I may, just may have had my eyes closed all the way through that first zip). Heaven has never heard so many prayers in that nano-second. But after that first one (which was not the tallest) I began to relax and enjoy the adventure. In fact….at the end of our day I was ready to go again. The whole Zip adventure takes about 2 hours….and then you can finish your day in the park where there's Alligator Wrestling, exotic animal shows and Mom Jo who will take you for rides on her motorized scooter….. (last part so very true). Who would'a thunk?? Happy Birthday Nature Girl! We did this for you….and us….but mostly you. We had to show you how amazing we think you are!

Our Zip group and guides. Our fam count was 7. 

The Birthday Girl went first. Not a peep of fear….just excitement as she hurled herself into space. Here it's about 3-4 stories up.

8 year old Cade… fear. 

Jay….fresh off a plane from the West Coast.

Blondie was nervous….and quiet….but went for it. Oh, and notice….no cast!! 

This little bit FLEW because the guides enjoyed sending her off with a mighty push.

Me at the beginning…..after the guide pushed me off. I was nervous….and loud about it. I got over it.

Us after our first Zip! Of course….we had no idea what was coming next. Heh.

Yes, it was this high. Yes those are Nile Crocs. Yes you go right over them. Yes, he loved it.

Yes, that is our 9 year old…..hanging above the tree line over a pit of alligators. She was not a bit afraid…..

I love that you can see Cade waiting for Mei Mei. He was cheering her on LOUDLY. They were hilarious.

The Doc…..who thought this was the greatest thing EVER.

About now I was praying I didn't have to cash in our life insurance. Insane thoughts go through your head at times like this. At least in my head they do.

Nature Girls turn…..examining all those crocs as she went.

Sure hope she remembers this birthday as a good one……heh.

Cannot even.

I pretty much hate all alligators…and all heights…..but this was pretty cool…..after I prayed and asked Jesus to protect my stupidity for wanting to do this in the first place. 

Our jet-lagged son. 

Sweet Blondie. One day she'll thank us for making her an adventurer. I think.

High above the trees.

 It was that high….and that insane. I.N.S.A.N.E and awesome. Still cannot believe they let kids do this. But they do and we did. They had a blast.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Happy Birthday Nature Girl

Today Nature Girl turns 13. She has changed us and brought us closer to our Savior as no one else could. She sees the world through eyes that challenge you to think critically……because she finds answers in the most unlikely places…..and she's usually right. She's brilliant. She understands animals and nature in a way that's eerily spooky at times…..but makes you think she really is Dr. Doolittle. Happy Birthday love… have taught us beyond measure how obedience, unconditional love, perseverance (thrown in with a bit of whimsy)…..can change a life. We are undone because of the inspiration you are to us and others who know you. Grace amazing. God knew.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Where We've Been…..

Confession. I am the worlds worst blogger. Our life has been insane. Insanely good that is….but insane nonetheless. Next year I'll know to plan better because the last few weeks of summer found me running like a chicken with it's head lopped off…..and it hasn't slowed down. So let's play catch up and talk about where we've been.
Wubba turned one and like his Mimi…..loves all things chocolate. 

Mollie (4 months older) helps the Wubs open gifts.

Bookworms. Really cute ones.

The cousins……always a party when they are together!

We took a teeny tiny vacay to one of our happy places. The Doc started a new job in June so we don't get big vacations for a while.  That's ok peeps. We vacation in our big Florida backyard.

The girls had a ball with all the games the resort had to offer. They are not ones to turn down an opportunity to party! Yes, that's a water balloon with Blondie trying to hit the target.

She did. Isn't this picture hysterical??!!

Heheheh. I should wake them up for school like this…..but then that would be mean…..or not.

Mei giving it a try.

In two days she had a horrid splinter imbedded in her hand…..and a bee sting. There's a reason we call her Nature Girl and utilize that free medical care whenever possible.

Love their enthusiasm for gosh…..everything. Nature Girl was off chasing lizards, hunting wildlife and getting stung by something.
Read this poolside. Written by a young pastor's wife with a knack for understanding teen girls. A Biblical yet GRACE filled approach to issues your daughters deal with. A MUST READ if you have young girls in your house. Like, totes. (Yea, I said that.)

They had been begging for years…..yes years to do this. We caved. Nature Girl wanted a different souvenir .  Good thing too cause they charge by the inch for this hair wrap thing. Hers would've been a gazillion million trillion dollars. Girl's got hair.


Julie, Wubba and Jon came too. Yes, this tutu hat was for sale. Seriously.

This is a Florida skink. Let's just suppose that you are allowed to bring it home with you only it escapes into the nether regions of the interior of your car……never to be seen again……which means at this posting there's a dead skink in my car. Really.

And then Mei Mei had to go in the hospital for a day for tests. No food or water for 13 hours was pure torture.

Our local children's hospital is sponsored by Disney…..she had her own laptop controller and every Disney movie at her fingertips. The moral of the story is…..if you have to starve and thirst to death you may as well be watching a good movie. Oh and Mei Mei is fine. This test came back completely normal. She will tell you the torture wasn't worth it. I will tell you the peace of mind it brought…..totes worth it. (If I sound like a teen girl it's because I live with a whole passel of them.)
And school started. This Mama sent these three into 4th, 5th and 6th grade…..along with the hamster. You gotta do what you gotta do. Those teachers were warned:)

This one is for the "Aww…..aren't the sweet!" factor. Most of the time, yes, yes they are.

Mei and Blondie are at a different gym this year and competition season has begun. See Mei? Tiny is always first……therefore we will always be……first. Adorable are we.

Then this happened. Fracture of her hand where her pinky meets her hand joint. 3 weeks in this thing and we're halfway through as I type this. It has not slowed this gymnast, cheerleader, and volleyball player down one bit. She has continued to practice all 3 all while freaking out the onlookers. Let it go people. We got this. That cast is hard as a rock and she can serve a mean volleyball with it.
So awesomely amazing (and all other wonderful adjectives) to have Julie and Jon back on the worship team (they moved from Charlotte, NC in early May….I think. Was it May? Blurry.)  The Wubbanator spends the night Saturdays so they can be up bright and early to set up and rehearse…..which means getting the girls and Wubs ready for church and in the car and there on time is……dizzy. We get it done though. Worth it.

Someone (ahem, ahem, ahem) can't swim until her cast comes off, so we have been frequenting the Mouse House. Uhm, please notice that apparently I am shrinking. Actually, Nature Girl is 5'7" in those size 10 shoes of hers. Y'all pray for us will you? No end in sight.

This Anna and Elsa thing just isn't stopping. Nature Girl has none of it and sticks to…..Dragons??!:) 
Y'all want to cry with me? This is the kid some said would never learn…..and listed all the negatives about her history, background, etc and why she would never succeed. Baloney. If they could see her now! Taking the time to peel back the layers of illness, learning differences and DNA factors takes time…..but this is the outcome. This girl's got game……and what it takes to be successful in whatever field she chooses. Sit back and watch Nature Girl conquer…….LIKE A BOSS!!!!!

I've worked part time for the last several years but this year I took on a new and bigger role which meant a big adjustment for our family. I am now the PE coach at our school, coaching the elementary and middle school cheer teams (along with daughter Julie which makes that part super fun) and assisting in the athletic department. This right here in addition to home schooling 2 days a week has my total focus and attention……and I love it. It's all going really, really well. See Nature Girl in the white shirt in the center left of this picture? You can see how really tall she is. I love our girls, our school, our jobs, church and family and am daily grateful for the opportunity to do all we do. It may mean though that my next blog post is 2015. Hopefully not…..cause I'm sure someone will do something blog worthy by that time…..or we'll find the skink. Heh.