Monday, January 28, 2008

Late Christmas Blog

Since we only had a week in betweeen our trip to TN for Christmas and our trip to Disneyworld, I didn't blog any about our week in TN. We started out from home and drove straight to Gatlinburg on Monday. We were originally going to stop by Aaron's Uncle and Aunt's house on Sunday night, but fortunately, I asked her what they were doing that night. Their church's annual Christmas party was that night after church. Seems like every year, our family happens to be there the night of their church's annual Christmas party. They only have about 40 in their church since they live in the country, and most of their members are somehow distantly related to Aaron. But, like I said, every year we end up going and feel very out of place. Our kids enjoy playing with the other kids while Aaron and I stand around eating the food the church members brought and watching all the people play Secret Santa. Everyone is real nice, but I am glad we were able to avoid the awkwardness of that for once. We ended up going by their house and spending the night the last night of our trip a week later.

We had originally planned to stay in hotels at Gatlinburg for two nights and meet Aaron's parents there. I mentioned it to my brother and he told me about a chalet of his friend's. So, we ended up staying in the chalet which was nice since we could cook there and we had space to run around. The not so nice part was the driveway into the chalet. If there had been snow or ice, we would have been out of luck. It was scary enough on the last day when it had rained. Aaron took a picture of Hannah walking down the driveway when they went to take the trash. It was very steep. There was snow on the deck, but not on the drive.

We drove up the mountain to Newfound gap where you cross the border from TN into NC and then drove down to Cherokee and let the girls pick out a souvineer. Along the way on that trip, we were able to stop a few places for the girls to play in the snow.

One night, we walked around downtown Gatlinburg and looked at the lights and little shops. We left Gatlinburg on Wed. and stopped by our good friend the Griner's house near Knoxville and spent the afternoon there catching up. We stayed at Aaron's parents house that night and had Christmas with his family on Thursday. Friday, we decided to do something educational and free and went to the Purity. dairy for a tour of their ice cream factory. It was nice, but I wouldn't necessarily call it a tour. We sat in a room with a huge window where you could see them making icecream sandwiches, packaging them and sending them down the line. Then we watched a 15 minute video with "VERN" if you remember him. Then we got to sample as much ice cream as we wanted. So, it was a nice time and free. It would be great in the summer time when it was hot. After that, since we were in Nashville, we went to the museum downtown that is also free. It is interesting and we had taken the girls a few times before.

Friday night we spent the evening at my brother Eric's house, then went shopping Saturday morning, since I had been sick and still hadn't done all the shopping. Then back to Eric's Saturday night. We ended up going to Aaron's parent's church Sunday morning, since we were there and we didn't get up in time to make it to Mom's like we had planned. We packed up quick afterward and met Mom for lunch. After that we drove to Aaron's Uncle's house and spent the night. They have 4 kids ages 11-18 and so the girls have a lot of fun playing with them. The neighbors horse had a 3 day old colt that we got to go see.

Finally we came home on Christmas eve, Monday and I worked 3-11 on Christmas day to make up for calling in sick on Thanksgiving.
Adoption news
Right now I am waiting for our homestudy to get back from Montgomery being state certified. It should get back today. Once I get it, I can go ahead and organize and make copies of our dossier and send it back in to the agency. Once they get it and approve it, then we will be officially on the waiting list. I really hope that by next week, we will be on the waiting list and when we are, I will post what number we are and keep up with the countdown to our referral here on the blog.

Sick News
Last weekend, had to call in sick b/c I got the stomach virus on Thursday and was sick until Sunday. Felt horrible, then of course the girls got it one by one. Thankfully, Aaron escaped it. I felt better most of last week, and now it seems that I am getting a cold. Nose is running, head is stopped up and my throat is dry. I am not sure if my immune system is still low from the Mono or what, but I am tired of catching everything. I am a little worried, since I had already signed up to work 20 hours this week. Hopefully, the cold medicine will keep my head clear and it will be over soon!

View from our chalet.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


It is actually snowing here and has been for about 2 hours now. Looking at the ground, you can see that it is starting to stick. Hannah is asleep, but Madelyn and Natalie are out playing in it right now. I thought it had to be below freezing to snow, but it is 41 right now. Shows what I know.

Aaron has been doing prescribed burns the last 2 days and was supposed to do one today too. I guess the snow may put a damper on that. Monday night he didn't get home until about 6:30, which is almost 2 hours late. I was a little worried and kept my cell phone with me while we took a walk, just in case he was broken down, but he was just kept late. He is such a hard worker and I am so proud of him. Then last night it was 6pm and I still hadn't heard from him. I was getting a little nervous since I had to leave for work at 6:30pm. I couldn't get him on his cell phone and was going to start calling friends to watch the girls until he got home, if I could find someone. Thankfully, he called about 5 min. later and made it home with 10 min. to spare. His clothes are so smelly when he gets home. A mixture of old campfire smell and gas. Not a good combination. I can't stand for his clothes to be in our room after he takes them off, they go straight to laundry, but he somehow manages to smell it all day. I think I would be sick.

I didn't get to sleep until after 2 am this morning, after getting home from work last night late. I am tired and tried to sleep with Hannah, but couldn't go to sleep. We got up this morning and the girls were wanting to go to the local donut store in town for breakfast. We hardly ever go and I had some errands to run. Better to get them done at the same time and also, they were predicting freezing rain this afternoon instead of snow and I didn't want to get the girls out in it. We first went by the store to get 2 gallons of milk, stamps, and little milks to take with us to the donut shop to drink in there. Then we went to get donuts. They love that little shop and usually when we go, we are the only ones in there. The owner has it decorated in lots of little trinkets and the girls love to walk around looking at them.

After leaving there, we went to the courthouse to get another adoption paper county certified. I am waiting for our homestudy to come back from the county it was notarized in and when it gets here, I can put both documents in the same envelope to have state certified, then wait for the capital to send them back. The mail has already come today and no homestudy, so hopefully, it will come tomorrow.

After the courthouse we stopped by the library to pay a fine and to check out some books. I can't stand not to have a book to read in my downtime. I found 4 and will probably read them all by next week. The past few years, I think I have read probably 100 Christian fiction books, and that is no exaggeration. I love the Christian fiction based on history. I have actually learned a lot about history from these books and it has increased my interest in history which was pretty nonexistant before.

I also wanted to check out Lion King if they had it, and they did. We let each girl pick out a souvineer to bring home with them. Each picked out out a Disney baby animal. Madelyn picked out Dumbo, Natalie -Winnie the Pooh, and Hannah picked Simba. Hannah thought it was just a baby cat and I realized that as far as I could remember, she hadn't seen Lion King. Plus, she asked me about 100 times what her lion's name was. So, she watched it today, and maybe now she will remember who it is.

We came home and did part of our schoolday before cleaning up the house a little and putting Hannah down for a nap. Then comes the snow, and since it is a rarety here, I am letting the girls play in it a while.

Hope you enjoy more pictures from our trip. It takes so long for them to attach to the blog page, that I can only stand to do a few at a time.

More Pictures

One day we happened to go by the Enchanted Garden when Belle tells her story by using people from the audience. Natalie got picked to be Lumier and it was very cute. She really enjoyed it and did a great job. Later, all the girls got to meet Belle. Sorry the picture is sideways, I can't figure out how to rotate it.

You can also wait in line at the Hall of Fame at certain times of day to meet Characters. They take you in a room about 4 families at a time and you meet the princesses one at a time. They each have their curtained area with a seat to take a picture on. They are so good at staying in character and actually take the time to talk a little to each kid. Ariel was in her grotto one night at we got to meet her. She was funny and told the girls "thanks for swimming by tonight" Then as they were leaving "have fun in the park walking on your feet for me"

Hannah was thrilled with the Carasel horse ride, since she is so in love with horses.
If you look at the time, yes, it is almost 1am. I went to work from 7-11 tonight and was so busy that I didn't even leave work until 12:15am. It takes a while for me to unwind and fall asleep, but I am starting to feel the late hour now. More pictures later.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Happy 10th anniversary to us!!!

Aaron and my 10th anniversary was December 27th. We have had a wonderful, blessed 10 years together and look forward to many decades to come. When we got married, we went to DisneyWorld for our honeymoon and have wanted to go back ever since. We decided that we would go back to DisneyWorld to celebrate and as a Christmas present to the girls.
Above is a picture of the resort we stayed at. We had a 2 bedroom/ 2 bath villa over 1100 sq ft and very nice for a very good price since we went in the off season. Also, we had a tv in each room and in the living room, which was very exciting to the kids that they could watch Disney channel in bed, however, we were so busy, there was minimal tv watching. Although there were four heated pools, the weather was not warm enough to swim since the pools were all outdoors. I will try to take our trip a day at a time and add pictures daily. We took some on our digital camera which is all I have now, the other ones were with disposable and are on disk which I will have to get Aaron to put on the computer and they are the better pictures. We left on Jan. 1st and decided to take two days to get there. Mapquest said it would take 10 hrs and we took their route and it took probably a total of 14 hours at least over the 1st and 2nd. We took a highway that went through lots of towns, so we ended up going through lots of stop lights and traffic.

Finally, on the 3rd, we were ready to go to DisneyWorld. Yeah!! We hadn't told the girls where we were going, just that we were going to Florida, which meant nothing to them. Finally, right before we got to the hotel, I told Madelyn to read a sign that said "Disney World" Natalie said "we should go there" and then we told them we were. I think Madelyn was in shock and commented that even though she read the sign, she thought it was too expensive to go there. Which is what I have always told them, and it is expensive. They were very excited. Since it was only supposed to get up to 49 degrees on Wed 1/3 and have a 20 mph wind, we decided to go to Epcot first, since we knew most of the attractions there are indoor. If you have never been, half of Epcot is kind of educational, with slow, continuously moving rides, that you hop on while they are moving and the other half is a circular area that features 10+ countries and you can travel around the large circle and look around. The people who run the rides, shops, restaurants, etc in each country are actually from that particular country. It was so cold those first 2 days. I had to put layers of pants and shirts on the girls and us. BRR!! The wind was awful, but we still had a lot of fun.

I think we were in "China" when we took these pictures with the brass statues. I thought this picture of Natalie was hilarious, when she spontaneously posed like the statue as I took the picture. She is a hoot.

The next picture is of the girls with a troll in "Norway" Notice that 2 of them have on the Viking hats. We saw some lady walking around with one on the last day we were there. I mean really, they are funny to take a picture in but buy one? Where are you going to wear that other than Halloween? We saw lots of stuff like that - Huge 4 fingered Mickey Mouse gloves. Stich hands (from Lilo and Stitch), Jack Sparrow pirate hat complete with dredlocks, etc.

Here are few pictures of the girls in a shark's belly at the Nemo ride.

We also got to see Donald Duck that first day which started our long list of characters that the girls got to meet, which was very exciting. More from our trip later.