Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Vacation Part 3

So here is a closer look at some of the details of the trip....
The Disney Cruise Oceaneer Club is the BOMB!
The kids would BEG to go back!
They had so much fun!
Jack loved Woody's Room!

Lydia LOVED the dance floor!

They had air hockey.

They had movies.  They played games.  They cooked.  They built volcano's.  They made crafts.
Such a great time!
The teenagers had their own cool hangout!
Their own pool.
Tons of electronics.
A DJ class. 
Special off boat excursions.
Andrew met lots of people.  He had a great time.

We met ALL the princesses!

Love my little piggies!
They ate WAY too much ice cream!

They met ALL the characters!
I think that was Audrey's favorite part!

Radu spoiled us.  He knew we (Tyler and I) liked lots of ketchup and splenda.
He also knew everybody's drink order by the last night and had our drinks waiting for us.

The two little girls and TL got to go to the Bibbity Bobbity Botique!
Thank you Grammy and Pepaw!
They had so much fun
and they really did look like little princesses!
They also got to have breakfast in Cinderella's castle!

While dining all the princesses stopped by for autographs and pictures!
What a special time!
The girls looked so pretty.
As we walked around the park the girls were gushed over.
 They were told OVER and OVER and OVER again how pretty they were.
We live in a society that REALLY values beauty.
It was almost as if they were more valued because of how they looked.
I want my girls to know that they are beautiful because they are created by a brilliant creator. 
I want them to know that they are valuable because God made them. 
I do not want them to find their identity in how they look. 
 I do not want them to live for the approval of others. 
The other thing I noticed was how EVERY little girl looked at them.
Some looked and were happy.  Some looked and were sad.
It made me sad.
I'm so happy my girls got to play princess for the day.
I just wish every single little girl in the world could feel like a princess for just one day!
I really do.
But all fairy tales must come to an end!
And the aftermath is sometimes a bit messy!
Love my little princess.
Now as a footnote. 
We spent a week and a half being catered to and spoiled.
And I most certainly do NOT want spoiled children.
So the grandparents did their job and my children (and I) thoroughly enjoyed it.
Now it is time for Mama to do her job.
I have made it my mission to remind them that the world does not revolve around them.
So since we have been home....there has been a lot of school, a lot of cleaning, and lot of extra responsibilities.  We have also spent a lot of thinking of ways to serve others.
It is not about us!
I do not want bratty children.
Beauty really is skin deep but ugly (attitudes) are to the bone!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Vacation and The Diet!

So.....I left home geared up.  My goal was to come home skinnier then I left.
It all sounded good until I went to Belle's castle.
I mean how often do you go to a castle?
Belle's castle wasn't even supposed to be open yet.  It is scheduled to open in December.  Well they had a "soft opening" the day we were at the Magic Kingdom.
So of course we had to do lunch.
The castle, the food, the atmosphere....all spectacular!
This little bit of deliciousness.....was as good as it looked.
So, needless to say, tempting food abounded.
And....I did indulge......several times.
BUT I also worked out Every. single. day. almost.
I worked out Thursday before we left home.
I worked out EARLY on Friday morning at the hotel.
I worked out LATE on Saturday night at the next hotel after a day at Sea World
I worked out late on Sunday on the boat.
I worked out Monday on the boat.
I worked out Tuesday on the boat.....and broke my personal best record!!!!
and then Wednesday we got off the boat.  I had EVERY intention of working out at the hotel.
Except.....SURPRISE......there wasn't a workout room.
So that was a definite bummer!
I was concerned that no working out combined with my eating all meals out was going to wreck my weight loss.
But before I go on....let me just say.  Working out over the Atlantic Ocean was a thrill!
I'm used to staring at my garage this was quite an upgrade!
I usually work out on the elliptical at home and so I decided to try working out on the bike some for variety.  Whew.  It worked some different muscles! 

On this trip I did several things that I normally wouldn't do. 
The biggest reason I was comfortable doing them was because of the weight I've lost. 
The first thing thing I did out of character was that I rode the AquaDuck with Sophie and Lydia.  What is the AquaDuck?
It is a BIG, FUN, clear tube, water slide on the cruise ship!
I had a blast! 
A year ago....I wouldn't have done it because I would have been too self-conscience.
The second thing I did.....I rode on a horse on the carousel with Audrey. instead of standing beside her, and it was fun! 
I had no trouble getting up and down and the horse even survived!
I must say I like being smaller!

It is true....Nothing taste as good a losing weight feels!
So tonight was the night....My moment of truth.....I was nervous!
I knew I had worked hard.  I knew I had tried.  But I also knew I had eaten more then usual.  I didn't work out as much as I had planned.  I had to guess a lot on foods calories because nutritional values weren't available.....
So I really had no idea what the results would be.
As I was pondering this and planning on how to handle the results regardless of what they were, I decided that I was going to be okay with whatever the results were.
Because I am not on a diet.  I am destroying the idol of food in my life.
I am taking care of myself.
It is okay to eat yummy chocolate cake....and creamy cheesecake, sometimes.
Just not all the time.
It is okay to not workout everyday.
Just as long as I workout MOST days.
This is my life....this is my forever.  So if I had a "bad" week it was just a bump in the road.
Well....I'm happy to say that I did lose 2.2 pounds while on vacation!
I am one happy girl!
Mission accomplished!
So my grand total is 48.8
so close to 50.....Hopefully next week!
Just keep swimming!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Dream Vacation Part 1

So if you know my kids...or really have even met my have heard about THE TRIP!
It has been in the works for close to two years.
My GENEROUS and KIND in-laws treated ALL of us....My crew, Rhonda's crew, and Ryan's crew to the trip of a lifetime:
Sea World, Disney Cruise to the Bahamas, Disney....all expense paid.
And I do mean ALL.
So last Thursday we loaded on a bus they rented and headed south.
The cousins were psyched!
Cousins, cousins, everywhere!

Everyone paired up

and had a lot of fun!

So this post is either going to be REALLY long.....or it will be several posts.
Seeing as time is crunched right now I'm going to opt for several shorter post.
This post is just some of the highlights for me!
I had two teary moments on the trip.
The first is when I walked onto Main Street, USA at the Magic Kingdom and saw my children see Cinderellas castle.
The little girls were enthralled!
Fairy Tales!
The second was when my sweet little boy touched a dolphin.
If you know Jack very well, you know he adores dolphins.
I don't know why....but from a very young age he has a special love for dolphins and to see him touch one was priceless :)
He was a little emotional too.
Sweet, sweet, boy.
My favorite part of the trip was definitely the cruise.
Especially the few quiet moments Randy and I were able to steal.
The color of the water. BEAUTIFUL
Another one of my favorite parts of the trip was how brave Sophie was.
She wanted to hang out with her cousin Geer.
He wanted to ride all the big rides: Thunder Railroad, Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Rock and Roller coaster, Tower of she did them....all.......... and loved it!
Go Sophie!!! 
The fancy food.  I love fancy food.

The day I got to spend alone in the park with Audrey.
So special.
She was scared of the big rides and the other four wanted to ride Daddy took the wild ones and I got to ride Dumbo and Peter Pan and the train and watch Mickey's Philharmagic with my baby girl.
I love one on one time with my kids.  It is so rare and so special.

The most wonderful surprise of the trip was running into Chique.
In a crowd of over 61,000 people I saw the doctor who is a very close friend to the missionaries I spent time with this summer.
I fell in LOVE with Chique.  Her testimony is powerful and to run into her unexpectedly at Disney World was a precious blessing!
It was definitely a God thing because my whole family was there when we ran into her.
We were all together for maybe 10 minutes that entire day!
Thank you Lord!!!!!

Oh Happy Day!
Another highlight was Castaway Cay!

Disney's private island....was for lack of a better word....magical!
I loved my boy having good, rough, boy cousin time!

Love those smiles!
And the view!
Loved waking up to that view!
(No Jackson didn't sleep in the window....they just all loved to lay in it!)

And Radu our fantastic server.
It was a blessing to share a bit of life with him.
Over the week we learned a lot about him.  He is from Romania and has a 4 year old son and a wife. Heonly sees them every 8 months.  The rest of the year he is on the boat.
He misses his family but it is the best way he can provide for them.
He dreams of taking his son to Disney World one day.
He loves his family.
I am praying his dream will come true.
He shared about how his life was influenced by some Baptist missionaries to Romania.
He is a kind and hard working man.
I am glad to have met him.
I love how God orchestrates our paths and how he allowed ours to cross with Radu.

Oh....and these two
Pure preciousness.
I love when they love each other.

So those are a few of my favorite moments from the trip.
Tomorrow I hope to do a bonus weight update post vacation.....UGH!
Thankful to Bob and Ruth for providing such an amazing experience for my family.
Thankful to God for placing precious friends old and new along the journey.
Thankful for the beautiful weather.
Thankful for the sweet family God gave me.
Thankful for the memories that were made!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

My Weight Update

So......Today is the day for my monthly health update.  Things are going well.  Still working out and still eating healthy and still going to Weight Watchers.  Randy is still at it too.  I am now working out on the elliptical machine for 30 minutes 5-6 days a week.  I am burning about 365 calories.  Which is a vast improvement.  I have lost 46.6 pounds!!!!  So that averages out to 2.2 pounds a week! YEAH!  I feel FANTASTIC!  My clothes are getting baggy and I have even "grown out" of several outfits!!!!

Randy has lost 60 pounds!  Yes I did say 60 pounds!  He works out most days.....usually 7 a week.  He burns well over 700 calories per workout.  I think he is up to about 40 minutes now.  He is lookin like a hotty!  He's down 2 jean sizes and 2 shirt sizes!!!!  YEAH RANDY!  So glad we are on this journey together!

So that would be a combined total of.......106.6!  That is a bunch-o-fat!  We just completed our 5th month!  The road ahead is long.....but we have also made a lot of progress!


We are anxious about our upcoming trip and both of us plan to come home thinner!  We are going to focus on all the activities and put less of a focus on all the food!  So if you think about us say a prayer that we will remember our goals.  After all this is a girl who is prone to make food an idol so I have to stay on top of this!  A cruise + paid for food + always available + a food aholic= DANGER!  So.....PRAY for me :)

On another health note: I went to the eye doctor today.  Evidently I have had some substantial deterioration in my eyesight since my last visit.  I was already blind as a bat (like literally 20/425) so this was pretty disappointing to me.  However, I had a great visit and my new prescription is amazing!  I can see leaves on trees across the road when I stand on my front porch.  I haven't seen that well in years!  It's some fancy new contacts!  BUT  the doctor does want to see me back in two weeks to follow up and check on some possible thyroid related issues with my eyes.  My eyes were so inflamed today he thought it was best to let them rest and then do the tests!???!  So please pray for me in that area too.

 I am really trying to take better care of myself and am having to deal with some years of neglect as a result.  So pray that I will stay the course and that I won't believe the lies that I toy with: that taking care of myself is selfish.  There are better uses of my time....etc.  Also pray that there is no serious or permanent damage to my eyes from my thyroid issues. 

Anyways.....Everyone seems to be healthy......and we are holding our breath and counting the days to vacation....I need to stop blogging and go PACK!

And this......has nothing to do with my post but I just think he's adorable and haven't posted a picture in a while <3
We are going to miss him while we are away!
Jackson says we are going to put him in our suitcase and take him with us!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Growing Up

So it has kind of hit me lately that I'm in a new phase of parenting.  I call it the middle phase.  My kids aren't mostly big....although Andrew is getting there.....but they aren't mostly small either.  Just a few years ago it was a MAJOR feat to just make it through the day.  It was physically exhausting.  It was draining.  It was depleting.  But now its gotten a bit calmer.  I can really enjoy the kids more.  Now don't get me wrong the days are still long and I still get tired but we've just grown into a new time in our family AND I LIKE IT....A LOT!
It's like the middle of the Oreo.....IT IS GOOD!
I've noticed that I'm less in a survival mode and more in a training and instructional mode.  I was introduced to an outstanding resource. 
It's by Doorpost and its a book called Instructions in Righteousness.
Big thank you to Christy for sharing this with me!
This is so helpful in training children based on Biblical principals.  GOOD!
One of my favorite things about this new phase has been lingering around the table.  After meals everyone sits and talks now.  They don't just wolf it down and hop up and run off.  We've had some FANTASTIC conversations around that table lately: gospel centered conversations, sharing testimonies, sharing political thoughts and ideas, just good and important conversations.

Andrew just finished his first semester in high school! 
His favorite class without a doubt is Civics. 
He's taking it at co-op.
Stephen Estes is teaching, who is a Poli-Sci graduate from Carolina, so he knows his stuff! 
His least favorite is most likely Math with mom :)
Sophie is really becoming a young lady.  It is amazing how much she has grown over the last year.  Still sweet.  Still spunky.  God is working in heart and I am really enjoying watching her develop.  She is starting to want to talk on the phone all the time and go to the mall.
Oh MY!
Sweet Jack.
I love the picture above.  I told him to dress warmly because it was going to be really cold.
He would wear shorts year around if I would let him!
So he came down in snow bibs....
Love my CrAzY boy!
 And this is Math class......all I can say to all you public school teachers is .....YOU ARE WELCOME...for homeschooling him!
Yes I CONSTANTLY have to tell him to get off the table during math.  I constantly have to remind him what we are doing......He is SUPER sweet....but I promise if he were in your class.....HE WOULD DRIVE YOU CRAZY!
Love MY Boy!
Showing off her toothless grin!
This is how she does Math!
She sits.  She smiles.  She listens.
Yes..  They really are twins!
And Audrey.....she's a mix!
She stands.....always....NEVER SITS.....but she also smiles and listens!
So....I am NOT complaining!
Anyway....that's what is happening in our corner of the world.
The BIG excitement these days is our upcoming Disney Cruise/Vacation.
THEY (and we) are SOOOOOO excited!
So this week will be BUSY getting everyone packed and ready!


Friday, November 2, 2012

Little Blessings

This stomach bug was a doozey!  I HATE being sick....especially if it involves vomiting.  I just hate it! So last night was pretty much a nightmare.  From 10 last night until about 4:00 this morning I was one hot mess.

I felt much better this morning but I was worn out.  So I spent the whole day in bed and Randy was at work.  Let me just tell you my kids were a BLESSING!

The kids got their own breakfast and Sophie helped Audrey.  Andrew made lunch for everyone.  They all took their math test.  They took out the trash.  They did two big loads of laundry.  The little girls made cards for me.  They snuggled me.  They checked in on me.  Andrew and Sophie really kept the house running today.  It was SUCH A BLESSING to me.  I was so proud of them.  I was able to rest.  I was able to focus on getting better.  AND I FEEL SOOOOO MUCH BETTER!  This bug is bad....but it is also mercifully fast!

So being sick was a bummer but seeing my kids help and care for me was such a sweet blessing!

Grateful to being feeling well!