Friday, December 31, 2010

CHRISTmas at Disney

Ok, so it wasn't Christmas day at Disney, but it was CHRISTmas at Disney none the less.

CHRISTmas being my most favorite time of the year and Disney being my favorite place on earth, I had always wanted to see the World decked out in CHRISTmas best. I wasn't disappointed.

Disney's 2010 theme is "What Will You Celebrate?" and we had a lot of celebrating to do: the birth of JESUS our Savior!!, my mom joined us on our trip which made it so much more special to me, my beautiful family, and while we were there my oldest son turned ten.

Our first day we spent a couple of hours in Magic Kingdom. As we entered the park we were welcomed by the "Move it, Shake it, Celebrate it" parade. It was a great way to begin our vacation. From there we saw the Mickey's Dreams Come True live show, ate lunch at Cosmic Ray's, and rode Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin. We ended our first day visit to Magic Kingdom at Chapeau Hat Shoppe to let the kids get "mouse ears".
After visiting our resort for a bit, we headed to our favorite Disney restaurant, 'Ohanas. We were thrilled to once again be seated just before the fireworks over Cinderella's Castle with a wonderful view from our table. It was a great first day!

Epcot was a lot of fun. Test Track and Soarin' are among our favorite rides. We had a character meal at The Garden Grill with Mickey, Pluto, Chip and Dale. The kids also got to meet Marie, Duffy the Disney Bear, and PaPa Noel. Meeting Duffy was a highlight. We'd gotten the kids all stuffed Disney bears a couple of years ago. He was already special to our family before being added as an actual character. Dacey especially enjoyed meeting Marie. She knows well the feeling of being an only girl surrounded by brothers who constantly tell her, "you're not a lady, you're nothing but a sister!".

We had planned to see the Candlelight Processional featuring one of our favorite singer's, Stephen Curtis Chapman, but the weather did not cooperate. The temperature dropped so drastically that it was too cold to wait it out. A good time was still had by all!
For Jaden's tenth birthday we wondered back into Magic Kingdom - and may I say - it was magical indeed! While the big kids headed straight for Space Mountain with Tommy, Connor and I headed to Dumbo. It was the ride Connor had most looked forward to and by the time we got off, his dad and siblings were in line for it. Connor hopped back in line with them and got to ride it twice! Mickey's Philharmagic was a favorite again, but the kids and their dad most loved the roller coasters. Nana and I took advantage of those opportunities to watch shows and parades. My old bones just weren't up for all that madness! lol Jaden proudly wore his "It's my birthday" button and was wished a happy day by so many characters and cast. He did become embarrassed a couple of times - like when the employees of Pinocchio's Village Haus surrounded him and sang. It was golden! A wonderful part of the day came when we found ourselves standing in front of Cinderella's castle just in time for Cinderella's Holiday Wish show. We had no idea what was about to happen, but had "the best seats in the house" for the lighting of the castle. It was spectacular!

We ate supper at Jaden's favorite WDW restaurant - Whispering Canyon Cafe and then returned to our room for him to open presents. I hope and pray that the memories Jaden made on his tenth birthday will last the rest of his life.
We took the next day a bit more slowly in an effort to rest up from our previous day and to prepare for the rest of the night. A surprise for the kids during our trip was tickets to Mickey's Very Merry CHRISTmas party. We headed to Wolfgang Puck at Downtown Disney for an early supper and then back to Magic Kingdom to par-tay! For a CHRISTmas and Disney lover such as myself it was truly extraordinary! From the special CHRISTmas parade to the special showing of the CHRISTmas fireworks version of WISHES it was a joyful celebration fit for the King of kings!

Our fabulous finale came Friday at Hollywood Studios. While I preferred the more tame "Toy Story Mania" ride, the kids and Tommy had a blast on Tower of Terror and Rockin Roller Coaster. At one point in the day Connor took the map and showed us how to get back to Tower of Terror hoping to ride it for a third time! The child is fearless. Momma and I watched Beauty and the Beast while the kids rode Tower of Terror and took Connor to see Playhouse Disney Live while the big kids rode RR (Connor was too short to ride it). We were thrilled with our choice!

One of the highlights of the entire trip was when Connor finally got to meet his hero: Woody. Being informed that Connor was his biggest fan, Woody went to extremes to show our little guy a big time. Visiting Mater and Lightening McQueen was also a crowd pleaser with our group.

We ended the night with a viewing of Fantasmic followed by a late supper at the Grand Floridian Cafe. Fantasmic was nothing short of "fantabulous"! And supper was "grand".

The whole week was a fun filled celebration of our family and our love for Jesus. We made so many memories in everything that we did each day. I am so thankful that God gave us the opportunity to spend such a wonderful week together. He is GOOD!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Our Daughter's Dog, Marley

Well, actually our daughter's dog's name is Rose Bud.  But if you have seen the movie "Marley and Me", you probably have a better understanding of why we prefer to call her Marley.
Words that come to mind when trying to decide how to best describe Rose Bud include: chaos, havoc, destructive, horrible, and mischievous.  And that's just the beginning! 

Dacey brought Rose Bud home when RB was only six weeks old and still a cute, fluffy, ball of innocence.  Boy, can looks be deceiving!  She was sweet enough in those early days, but that's what she wanted us to think.  As the past twelve months have passed, we have indeed come to realize that our daughter's dog is a ten ton, demolition crew in a forty pound, dog body.

I have often said that dogs take on the personality of their owner.  This is a point that cannot be lost on Dacey and Rose Bud.  Dacey is a beautiful hearted, kind, sweet spirited, young lady.  But she is also a loose canon - very ambitious yet easily distracted - a friend to the very end, but lives life full speed ahead.  She often acts before she thinks and tends to at times be a bit 'high-strung'.  Rose Bud didn't stand a chance.

Having owned and successfully trained several golden retrievers over the years, Tommy and I thought that Rose Bud would be one more in a glorious line of well behaved, well mannered, obedient dogs.  Rose Bud had other things in mind.  She is very bright but very stubborn.  She knows the commands: sit, down, and stay -- but doesn't often find them useful.  And walking Rose Bud on a leash?  There is no 'walking' Rose Bud on a leash.  She sprints at break neck speeds pulling the 'who-cares-how-experienced-handler' on the other end of the leash on the ride of their life. 

After seeing an agility demonstration at camp over the summer, my family became very intrigued by the idea of competing as a team with our dogs in such an active sport.  When classes were announced to begin, Dacey was the first to request that she and Rose Bud be allowed to participate.  Thinking structured agility classes may lead to a more well balanced and disciplined dog, we registered and made the commitment to drive the 180 mile round trip for the next six weeks. 

Week one proved more of a challenge than I was prepared for.  Dacey was unable to control Rose Bud on the leash, so mommy stepped in to save the day.  That bloomin' dog proceeded to drag me around that course for the next hour.  By the time we finished, I'd had the best work out of my life but didn't know which way was up!

Over the next several weeks, Rose Bud did show improvement. Well, until this past weekend anyway.  I don't know who spiked the dog treats, but for the "graduation day" of agility class, Rose Bud proved to be full of herself and filled to over-flowing with mischief.

It started when each dog was required to run the course individually in order to demonstrate their ability to complete each obstacle before moving up to the next level class.  Dacey was sitting outside the fenced area with Rose Bud waiting her turn. 

While watching the other dogs show what they'd learned during the previous five weeks, Dacey wrapped Rose Bud's leash to the lawn chair she was resting in.  When I realized how unstable the chair was I tried to warn my darling daughter.  Alas, I was too late. Rose Bud bolted.  The chair rolled to its side.  Dacey grabbed the leash and was then pulled for ten feet - until Rose Bud stopped running and Dacey was able to regain control of her uncontrollable canine.  I wanted to help..really I did.. but I was found to be helpless as I was bent over laughing hysterically while trying not to wet my pants. 

Dacey regained her composure quickly and came back to sit and wait her turn.  Only Rose Bud had lost interest in 'waiting her turn'.  You could almost hear the faint sound of "doggie giggling" as she wormed her way loose of Dacey's grip, used her nose to open the closed gate, and ran onto the agility course smack-dab in the middle of one of her classmates "graduation ceremony".  I shrank into my chair as Dacey ran wildly after her delinquent dog. 

Rose Bud has her good moments.  Sometimes she'll sit with Dacey as Dacey completes a school assignment or reads a book.  It is so peaceful watching them relax together.  Unfortunately, the moment never lasts long.  Just yesterday as I watched the two in that exact scene it unfolded into disaster just two minutes later as the cat ran past.  Rose Bud bolted, overturning tables and anything else in her way.  For the next five minutes we listened to her barks as the cat hissed penned from the spot where she'd cornered him. 

At least we had two good minutes, right?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A Little Fall Fun

Last week we joined our homeschool group in an outing to Mitchell Farm's Pumpkin Patch.  We had such a great time.  The farm was set up beautifully with fields of sunflowers, a corn maze, the pumpkin patch, a corn "pool", and much, much more.  The weather was perfect for the outing.  It was a fun filled, relaxing day!