Well, I mostly rested, read, did laundry, and watched movies with the girls. But I also found myself looking on craigslist quite a bit. I posted my parents cars they are trying to sell and one sold already! I also bought this chair off craigslist. It is an Ikea recliner and I have wanted this exact chair for over a year. I love the size of it for our tiny living room, and I have always wanted a recliner so that I can have my feet up when reading in the mornings. It was only a few months old and half the price of what Ikea sells it for. YEAH!!! Also, I got my sewing machine out, cut up an old sweater, and made India these warm pants and hat set. She loves them. They fit her well and will hopefully fit her for a couple more years if my stitches hold up:) I can just fold down the pant legs as she grows! Yay, for recycled clothing and a bonus yay for recycled clothing that lasts longer than one season:)
So, I have found that there are some positive aspects to 2 feet of snow. I feel incredibly rested and productive at the same time. I hate all other aspects of the snow though. Sorry, I know I am somewhat of a scrudge for saying that. Chris left town today and we may be getting 20 more inches tomorrow. I am thankful for our neighbors and friends that are willing to help me shovel and watch the girls a little when they are home for snow days and I still have to go see patients!
It feels like yesterday that I birthed our sweet India into this world. I hate that life gets so busy and years go by so quickly. Why can't my babies stay babies longer?! The worst part about it is that she is our last baby. I have taken two weeks to even blog about her birthday, partly because I can't even believe it happened!
Anyways, she really was excited about her birthday. She talked about it for weeks before and it was so fun to finally be able to celebrate a birthday with her that she really got into. The last two years were more for me than her:) Her mimi and pop came up for the weekend which was a great help to her mama. We opened presents with them in the morning.
She really wanted an Annie birthday party. She is obsessed with Annie. She now calls our dog Sandy consistently. He just looks at her like she is crazy! So, when the kids got here, I had made stovetop popcorn and given them each their own popcorn container to take down to the basement where I had Annie playing right at the part where they are singing "Let's go to the Movie's." It is my favorite part of the movie. I had a dozen chairs set up for them to feel like they were in the theater. I knew the little ones wouldn't last long so we only watched part of the movie and then headed upstairs for cake and ice-cream.
India loved her Annie cake. She licked her plate clean! I was careful not to give the red part of the cake to the kids or else I would have had a majorly stained carpet! We finished up the party with gifts. She was excited to get some girly gifts including princess pajamas and slippers and nail polish. She IS trying to keep up with her sisters, you know?!
So, I am sitting here with this on my back (a gift from my parents) feeling guilty for not blogging yet about our amazing trip to Disney last month (also a gift from my parents). I have been feeling guilty for a while now but have no great pictures to show so had no motivation to blog. Our first day in florida, we went to visit our friends (an hour and a half away) and I left my camera case in their living room with the charger! SO, I only got pictures from our first two days. Luckily I could use my moms camera but I haven't gotten pictures from her yet. So, more pictures to come soon.
I have to start this post telling about how we got there to begin with. We were to leave on a friday afternoon, so I was getting last minute things done around the house, still in my p.j.'s when I got the call. It was airtran saying they had canceled our flight. We would have to take a 6pm flight and not get to FL until almost 11pm! We had planned to drive to Tampa that night to spend the night with our friends so I asked if there was any way we could get an earlier flight. She said she didn't think there would be space left for 5 passangers but she checked. She came back saying there were exactly 5 spaces left on that flight but that we would have to be at the airport within 45 minutes! WHAT! OK, but it would get us to FL a few hours earlier than what we were going to be in the first place so I said "great!" I ended up not packing food for our trip, leaving the house a mess for our house-sitters, and Chris called our friend who was taking us to come earlier. We were out the door within a very stressful 20 minutes. We got to the airport and we got all the kids and luggage out of the van and said good-bye to Nate. I almost took a sigh of relief when Nate yelled out to me"don't you need the carseat?!" Oh my gosh! He is not even a dad yet. I don't know how he remembered and not me ( a mom of three! ) . Anyways, I got the car seat and we got checked in and through security with tons of time to spare. We were on the plane and we thought we were about to take off at 11 am when the pilot calmly said over the intercom that "the good news was that we were all going to Disney...and the bad news was that he had no idea when we would get there!" There was a mechanical problem with the plane and they would have to fly in a part and a mechanic from Atlanta to fix it and it would be at least 7pm before we would be able to leave!!! Oh my goodness! I was really about to have a panic attack, but my well traveled husband assured me that we would have so much fun in the kids play area and surely they would give us food vouchers so that we could go find a sports bar and watch the Phillies... So, I decided to make the most of it. We did, however decide to switch to the 6pm flight that they tried to put us on earlier. We headed out, for a fun filled day at the Philly airport. Several hours later I thought I should take a break from the greasy sports bar and take India for a walk and check our flight times. To my dismay, I found that the flight we switched to was now delayed!! SOOOOOO, I went to the check-in counter and asked them when the other flight would be leaving. It looked like it would be around 7 like they hoped. So I switched AGAIN! The plane was ready for us at 7 but we had to wait another 30 minutes for the flight crew:( The flight was uneventful and I think the kids slept some, but it was after 11pm when we got to Orlando. After 9 hours in the airport and a 4 hour plane ride, we were not feeling the drive to Tampa to see our friends. We went to the check-in desk and asked for hotel vouchers, and we got them! We got two rooms, attached and it was right there in the airport. The kids love staying in hotels, so it was a nice treat.
The next day we headed to Tampa. We hung out with our friends there for most the day and then came back in time to check in to our condo before my parents got there.My dad had a conference in one of the disney resorts, but we stayed 5miles away in a condo that we exchanged our time share for. While my dad did his conference, my mom and the rest of us did the parks for the next 6 days straight. We did Sea World two days, Animal Kingdom, Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and MGM. This was a huge man made tree in animal kingdom that I could stare at all day!
My dad was able to make it to Magic Kingdom for the fireworks and we had a full day with him in MGM (where he tried out for American Idol) and Sea World. It is all such a blur because it was so non-stop. I can't wait to get all the pictures to be able to remember more.My favorite was Sea World. I went on a roller coaster for the first time in over 10 years and took atleast 15 minutes to gain back my equilibrium. I loved the dolphins and we had a great time having dinner with Shamu. Moriah and India loved Magic Kingdom the most and Alexa loved Epcot the most. My other favorite thing was seeing 3-D for the first time in my life at Animal Kingdom. I have an eye condition called amblyopia which has always prevented me from seeing 3-D in movies. Well, either my eyes are somewhat better or the 3-D technology is much different at Disney than I have ever seen before because I had bugs coming right up to my face in that movie! I actually started to cry because I was so excited! Animal Kingdom also had an amazing African safari ride. We all loved the gorillas!
We did some fun rides but not a lot because my girls are just not quite there yet, but there were a couple rides that Chris and I went on while my mom watched the girls. This one was a dinosaur ride.
My favorite was this one that went from 0 to 60 mph in 2 1/2 seconds! Epcot was really awesome for all of the educational stuff that they had and I took India for a stroll "around the world" while my mom, chris and the the girls went on some rides. They were having their yearly wine and food festival which was fun...but would have been more fun with Chris instead of India:) Well, like I said, it was a blur. I think I could write more if I had more pictures. It was a trip to remember for sure. India has been obsessed with Donald ever since we got home. We have one old vhs of donald that she watches every single day now! It is cute though and fun to see her get so excited about a duck:) I think she will love having her granddads talk to her in their donald voices now which will make them quite happy, I am sure.
This is such a great time of year. I would almost say it is my favorite time...but Spring is just a little bit better in my opinion. But, what is there not to love about all of the beauty that comes with Fall. The colors, the shapes, the foliage and flowers. There is something so magical about how a tiny seed can turn into so many different shapes and sizes and colors...
I love pumpkins so much! They are yummy for one thing. I love pumpkin soup, pumpkin bread, pumpkin pie, pumpkin cookies...But mostly I love the look of them. These pictures were taken somewhere on the side of the road in Virginia on my way home from my yearly retreat. I love this retreat center. I spend a lot of time taking hikes up North Mountain and doing the stations of the cross. It is where I feel closest with God. The actual retreat center is at the Orkney Springs Hotel which was an old hospital from the Civil war. It is a retreat for health care workers and others coming to seek God's healing and wholeness in their lives.
We always end the retreat burning our prayer requests as a symbol of surrendering our burdens to Christ. We celebrate together what God has done in us and through us as we watch the smoke rise up.
Here are some of my new favorite people. I learned so much from these ladies!
I feel like we got a little ripped off... You know what I mean?? I mean, it was stinkin cold in June and July (which had its advantages) and now it is hot as heck and my girls are back in school! So, I thought I would give a shout out to the summer that came and went in a minute... We made it to the beach this year, but barely. It ended up being perfect weather but the water was still too cold for me. We met up with our Jersey friends and had a great time catching up, ending the night with a fire in Kirk's back yard and smore's for the kids. My friend and old roommate met us there with her tribe as well. I also was so thrilled to see my sweet friend, Amber, marry an amazing guy who makes a perfect partner for her. The wedding was in their back yard and the reception had all locally grown food. So fabulous! I got to hang out with my brother for a weekend who I only see once or twice a year. India loves her uncle John. So cute! Oskar learned a lesson in patience and valueing his feminine side while the girls dressed him up in all his glory. I was SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO proud of Alexa who did an amazing job in the Yes And camp theatre production. She really did shine this year! Chris took Alexa for a father daughter outing to her first Phillies game. It rained for about an hour, but they had fun watching the clouds roll in. It was Alexa's first game and Chris is really hoping she will start taking more interest in sports now...we'll see.
1400 miles, 10 days, 3 states, 3 trips to the mechanic, 1 tow ride, 1 toilet submerged cell phone...
What a trip!! It all started the day before we left for our tri-state adventure. Chris took the van into the shop to get the headlight cleaned so we could actually see where we were going for this trip. While there, the little leak that never leaked when we would take it to the mechanic, turned into a full on flow. Our mechanic, John, told us that it was our radiator that needed to be replaced but we would be ok for the 5 hour drive to VA as long as we got it in the shop there to be taken care of. And he was right. We just had to fill up the coolant half way and keep the car running when I got pulled over by a VA cop and got a speeding ticket! We had a relaxing and fun time at the rivah with my neice and parents. All 4 girls are pro's at tubing now:) We were able to get the cracked radiator replaced for $480 and head on to TN the next day for the family reunion. We had driven about 7 hours or so when the gears started to shift weirdly now and again, then it would go back to normal, and then it just wouldn't shift at all. We were very close to an exit, so I drove 10mph on the shoulder to get off into a town call Bull's Gap in TN. We coasted into a gas station, opened our hood and were discouraged to find smoke and fluid all over the engine. A mechanic happened to be walking by and said that our transmission was shot! After saying "Oh crap" a few times, I called my dad to ask for advice and he reminded me that we had AAA that tows up to 100 miles! Sweet!! We were only about 70 miles from our destination so they hooked us up with a tow but we had to figure out how the five of us and our dog would get there. AAA tried to get us a rental but there were no rentals in Bull's Gap, so they got us on the phone with an enterprise rental about 15 miles away. They refused to pick us up, and there were no taxi's that came into Bull 's Gap either. Then she told me that there was a no dog policy, there were no mini-vans and they didn't have any vehicles available for 1-way trips! Sooooo, after saying "OH CRAP" a few times, the tow guy comes over to us and says in a very Tenessee accent "Well shoooooooot, I'll just put ya'll in the truck with me....I got plenty of rooooom." So, if you can picture this, I sat up front, bouncing along with the tow guy, while the 3 girls were strapped into the seat behind me and Chris and Oskar sat on the floor for 70 miles. Man, was that a hoot! It is a little hard to be stressed out about having a dead car when you are in that kind of set-up! So, we made it to the mechanic in Maryville, TN and Chris Haw came and got us (thanks Chris!). We had a great weekend at the family reunion hanging out with friends, making new connections, having long talks, and playing a lot in the water, hiking, cooking by the fire, etc. And to top it off, the mechanic called to let us know that he fixed the van for $140!! It was just the cords to the transmission that needed to be replaced. WHEW!!!
here is moriah jumping off a 15 ft jump with no hesitation!
our communal eating/meeting area
oskar had so much fun swimming and playing with the other dogs. he was wiped out!
Moriah and Miranda had lots of bonding time
So, we left early Sunday morning for Kentucky. We wanted to hang out with our old Lazarus Society friends (the comminity we helped create 12 years ago in Wilmore). It was so great catching up with them even though not everyone could make it this time.
There were 10 kids!
We got to go to a few places we like to visit and Alexa connected to her roots. She left KY when she was only 1, but has always loved visiting.
we also hung out with the kenney's at a great indian restaurant...yummy
BUT....our car started to pour out the coolant again. So Chris took it to the Wilmore mechanic who was nice enough to look at it immediately despite his busy schedule (not like in Philly). He replaced the radiator cap for a grand total of $8!! WE made it all the way back to Philly, although our check engine light came on half-way through the trip. We think our head gasket needs replaced:( We'll be getting our free car tomorrow, thank the LORD!! We may try just having one car for a while when this one dies.