Apr 17, 2012

It's Spring!

Spring is here..one of the best times of the year (yes, my allergies are making me miserable...). My rosebush is blooming, the honeysuckle smells heavenly and it's time to plant the garden. Unfortunately summer is right around the corner, but I won't think about that just yet!

It's hard for me to believe that just two short years ago, I was experiencing the worst spring I'd known. I'd just lost my best friend and love of my life. My daughter had lost her father. I thought life would never be the same, that I would never be happy again. Over these two years I've experienced so much grief, pain, hurt, loss and love--the love of friends, of family and God's love. And sure there have been times of happiness...Kristin makes me happy daily...but the pure joy of life has been missing.

I was right that my life would never be the same and that's ok. Life is about change. And you see, once again, spring is here...and it's a time of change...everything is fresh and new. It's time to live life with joy and to be happy once again.

Oh, it's also a time for benadryl...lots of benadryl.

Mar 18, 2012

Disneyland 2012 Final Tally

Here's our visit to Disneyland, in a nutshell:

Attractions Ridden-
Tarzan's Treehouse--1
Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters--1
Sailing Ship Columbia--1
Splash Mountain--1
Star Tours--3
Haunted Mansion--2
Peter Pan--1
Indiana Jones--2
Mr. Toad's Wild Ride--2
King Arthur's Carousel--2
Mad Tea Party--1
Gadget's Go Coaster--1
Small World--1
Pirates of the Caribbean--at least 10, lost count
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad--9
Tarzan's Treehouse--1
Disneyland Railroad--2

California Adventure
Golden Zephyr--1
Soarin' Over California--2
Ariel's Undersea Adventure--1
King Triton's Carousel--2
Monster's Inc To the Rescue--2
Flick's Fliers--1
Mickey's Fun Wheel--1

World of Color
It's Tough to Be A Bug
Tiki Room

Character Meals
Breakfast in the park with Minnie and Friends (awesome!)

Rides that broke down while riding them--3
Haunted Mansion--both times
Small World--for 30 minutes!!!
Indiana Jones--1 time

Our favorite rides--

Laura--Pirates of the Caribbean, Soarin' Over California, Indiana Jones
Kristin--Pirates of Caribbean, Indiana Jones, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
Mom--Soarin' Over California, Haunted Mansion, Star Tours

Least Favorites--
Kristin and I both agreed that Small World was our least favorite this year
Mom--Indiana Jones (a little too wild for her, but I warned her!)

All in all it was a great visit. We rode everything we wanted except Space Mountain. Every time we'd start to get a fastpass for it, we'd get sidetracked by something else. Kristin was ok with not riding it though, and so was I. I love roller coasters, but I do remember feeling very claustrophobic on it and having very little leg room. I have to say, by the last day, I was ready to leave Disneyland. It was just a little too much for me. I was tired of the people, my family, and yes, even Mickey Mouse. And we never found Jack Sparrow. We were blessed with amazing weather--in the 60's and no humidity. I love Southern California and would've been more than happy to just stay there. Oh well...maybe someday....

Here are the links to our photos:

Photopass pics, clickhere

Day 1 pics, click here

Day 2 pics, click here

Day 3 pics, click here

Day 4 pics, click here

Mar 3, 2012

Two Years Ago...

Two years ago, March 4, 2010 mine and Kristin's lives changed forever. It's been two years since Chris left us and yet I remember it like it was yesterday. He'd been sick, gone to the doctor and seemed to be getting better. I went to fill his prescription, came home and he told me to call 911. K went to stay with Shawn, we went to the hospital, and needless to say, things went downhill from there. Shawn and Brenda came to the hospital, then it seemed that almost immediately I was surrounded by my Sunshine family...I even remember thinking, "When did they get here?" Makes me smile now to think about it. I literally felt like I was surrounded by love. Then Pastor Chad came, followed quickly by Pastor Tad and Kameron. It was then that I realized how lucky I was to have the friends I have. Calls, texts, and emails poured in. Shawn took me and K to her house for the night, then helped me get my house cleaned up for arriving family. Families brought food. Friends helped and took care of us. It was amazing.

Two years later....Kristin is 9 and is almost finished with third grade. She is doing amazingly well, considering all that she's been through. We help each other on the rough days and laugh together on the good days. And there is a lot of laughter these days! We are about to visit Disneyland with my Mom again....another adventure, that's for sure!

We still visit Eureka Springs every couple of months. People ask all the time why we visit. I've just always said it's just a good place to get away. Then tonight I realized, Chris, Kristin and I loved going there. It was a good, close place for a fun, family get away. While Kristin and I are there, we remember being there with Chris and treasure those memories. But we make new memories as well. Kristin and I have never been back to the cottage we stayed at with Chris (I'm sure they wondered what happened to us!). And I'm not sure if we ever will be ready to go back. At least not yet. Until then, we'll be at the Land O Nod. Chris wanted to go there, but never got the chance. So now, we go for him!

Through all of this, I've learned just how blessed we are. We have friends and family who will always be there for us. We have a church family that we are fortunate to be a part of.

Life IS good...treasure every moment of it!

Feb 27, 2012

We're Bbbbaaaccckkkk!!!!!!

Well, it's been forever since I've posted on my poor, neglected blog! Guess it's time I get back to it...so here we go!

Things are good. Kristin is doing so well in third grade at Sunshine Montessori. She reading so well, and so far, has a much better understanding of fractions than I ever did :) She's wearing reading glasses now, which she hates, but is getting used to. What else is new with her? She's back in Parables, the children's choir/drama group at church....she's taking tap and jazz (loves it!) and started piano lessons this year. She was pretty hesitant at first...I think she was scared of poor ole Mr. Chris. But she's warmed up to him and is really enjoying classes. AND...she's really excited about this...in April she's going to start art lessons in Springdale at the Arts Center of the Ozarks! We've looked FORever for weekend classes and finally found some! She is SO EXCITED!!!

I'm doing pretty good too. Still teaching preschool at Sunshine Montessori and loving it. I'm so blessed to have a job that doesn't feel like work.

In 14 days Kristin and I, along with Mom, are heading back to Disneyland! I may need to be seriously medicated when we get back, but we are looking forward to it. Of course I'm waiting till the last minute to get anything packed or even close to being ready to go!

Kristin and I are still taking our weekend trips to Eureka Springs every few months. It's so nice to have somewhere close to get away from everything. We went for Mardi Gras and had a BLAST!

Ready for fun!

I really, really, REALLY want to move to Eureka. I've even found the house I want. But like I've told K, where would we go for our weekend trips? To Siloam? Don't think so! Anyway, we always have fun, even if we do nothing but lay by the pool. I am planning an early Mother's Day weekend for myself in April. I'm staying at the Palace Inn and Bath House and will, of course, be visiting the bath house. K was not happy with this news (how dare I go without her!), but since she'll be hanging with Shawn and her girls, she's ok with it, even if she won't tell me she is!

What else??? No big snows this year :( It's been a crummy winter. We both are still dealing with asthma and migraines, but K's asthma seems to be under control. Cutting back on gluten has really helped with our migraines. Just need to stick with it, or it ends up biting us in the rear!

Our sweet dog Moses died this summer. Came home one day and found him dead. He was eight years old and was Kristin's first dog.

Sweet Moses

We still have Austin and have adopted a cat, Maxi. She promptly took over the house!

This is always a rough time of year for us...March 4 will be two years since Chris' death. Kristin and I have been blessed with amazing friends and family. We are very very lucky :)

Jun 4, 2011

Summer is Here!

Well, I figure after taking a three month break from blogging, I better get back to it! So here goes...it's officially summer!!! Kristin's last day of school was yesterday. To end the year her class had an art show to display their favorite works of art from their Monart class. I was really impressed with all of their artwork, they did such a great job. And speaking of doing a great job, Kristin had a great second grade year. Her reading has improved tremendously...she's gone from barely reading to reading any chapter book she can get her hands on. She is flying through math and I pray she'll never have the problems with it that I had! She said her favorite things she learned at school this year was learning all about the works of van Gogh and Monet :)

And now that summer has begun, it doesn't mean K and I will be spending summer at home everyday...no way!!! We will be at Sunshine Montessori for our summer program!!

The school agers will be busy busy. They will swim twice a week, bowl once a week, visit the library for the summer program there once (or twice, I can't remember) a week, and go to the movies once a week. Ms. Laura (NOT this Ms. Laura, it's another one!) has other trips and activities planned as well for them. I think in June they are going to the Old Spanish Treasure Cave and the Gentry Safari, among other things. Kristin decided not to do any of the city camps this year. I thought that was a good idea, she's got plenty to keep her busy at the school!

I will be with my preschoolers having fun going to the park for a picnic, movie days, water play days, outdoor classroom, and other fun stuff like making snow cones, sundaes, pajama day, etc. Honestly I couldn't imagine being at home all summer!

Now I have to get back to my nap on the couch :) I'm getting over a stomach bug and it is hanging on!

Happy Summer everyone!!

Mar 21, 2011

Disneyland, Day 3!!!

Ok, on to day 3...our last day :( We started out the morning with waffles for breakfast...Park Vue had the best waffles ever, or at least it seemed that way to us!

After breakfast I took a few pictures of our hotel. I really didn't get any of the inside of our room, but it was just a basic room..queen bed, bunk beds, tv. The beds were SO comfortable....or we were just worn out each night!

We met Jim at the park around 9 and then headed to Toontown (thanks again Jim!), but first we stopped by the cinema on Main Street for a quick cartoon. K was impressed with how cartoons used to look "back then!"

As soon as we got to Toontown we saw Pluto and got in line. But just as it was our turn to meet him, it was time for Pluto to take a break :( K still got a hug from him though. Next we visited Goofy's Playhouse and had our picture taken with Goofy. He's my favorite, so I was really glad to get to see him :)

Kristin thought she wanted to see Minnie, but changed her mind and decided to ride the Gadget Go Coaster and somehow managed to talk Mom into riding it with her! I'm fully convinced that one of these days that child will be riding the big coasters with me!!! Anyway, they had fun and as soon as they got off, we headed to Mickey's house...we had to see THE mouse!! Mickey's house was really cute. Seemed like we were in there forever, but Kristin enjoyed looking at and playing with everything. Finally it was our turn to see Mickey. My picture of Kristin with Mickey didn't turn out so well, but the photopass pic of all of us is great!

Once we got out of Mickey's house, it was well past lunchtime and Kristin was about to have a full blown low blood sugar meltdown! We quickly got in line at Daisey's Diner for some cheese pizza. Aahhhh....meltdown avoided!! We enjoyed a nice lunch, but it was beginning to get hot and REALLY crowded. We left and we back to the hotel for...ice cream!!! Park Vue guests got a discount at the on site Coldstone Creamery. I didn't get any pics, guess I was too busy eating! Afterwards Kristin went for a swim, working on her backstroke :)

Rested and ready for more, we took off for DCA to see Soarin' Over California. We'd gotten fastpasses for it after we left Toontown and I was super excited. Since I began planning this vacation, this was the one ride I HAD to ride. And all I can say...AWESOME! It was a perfect ride...the fastpass line was maybe 15 minutes (the standby line was well over an hour), we got to sit on the front row, in the center, for a perfect view. If you don't know about this ride, basically you are raised up in front of a huge movie screen, and it looks and feels like you are flying over California. SO COOL! Of course Kristin's favorite part was flying over the Golden Gate Bridge! Next time we are there, we are getting fastpasses everyday for this ride. Period.

After our flight, we took a short trip to Bugs Land and watched It's Tough To Be A Bug. This was a really cute show and we all enjoyed it. On the way out I discovered orange trees!! I took tons of pictures and I'm sure people thought I was nuts, but we don't have orange trees in Arkansas! I really wanted to reach over the fence and grab one...but I didn't!

Kristin wanted to ride a couple more rides on Paradise Pier, so that was our next stop. I have to say, next time we will spend more time in DCA. Kristin didn't care for it as much as Disneyland, but I really liked it. I couldn't believe she didn't have a care in the world for Monsters Inc...oh well. We rode The Golden Zephyr and then Kristin rode Jumpin' Jellyfish, making a new friend while waiting in line :)

We wandered around DCA a little more and made sure Kristin didn't want to do anything else there, because we weren't coming back...but she was done. So, back to Disneyland we went!

The monorail was a must do on Mom and K's list, so that's where we decided to go. I was starting to get a migraine, so I really don't remember much of the monorail ride. I know it took us outside of the park, to Downtown Disney, through DCA, close to the Hojo's across the street, then back to Tomorrowland. I'm sure I'd have more interesting things to say about it if I'd been with it just a little bit! All I remember was that it was HOT!!

I dosed myself up on some meds, got a coke, and started to feel better. We rode a few more rides, then found a spot in front of the castle for the fireworks. While Mom and K kept our spot, I got K and I some chili in a breadbowl. Don't have a pic of it, but there was the breadbowl with chili, then two hemisphere shaped pieces at the top to make it look like Mickey Mouse! Very cute. And the chili was SO good. Not sure if we were just starving, but K and I downed that chili and bread like it was the best meal ever! Not long after it was time for the fireworks. Now we'd watched them the night before at a different spot and it was so cool to see Tinkerbell fly right over our heads. However, some fireworks were in front of us, some were behind us and we couldn't hear the music. So. we wanted to sit in front of the castle to get the full effect. I should've known it wouldn't go well. K has some serious sensory issues and she does NOT do well with loud noises. And you guessed it...the fireworks were SO loud. So, instead of taking pictures, I helped K keep her ears covered and she kept her face buried into my chest, sobbing :( Next time we'll have earplugs...or skip the fireworks. I should've thought of it. But she was ok the night before, I really didn't think they'd be that much louder. Oh well. After the fireworks, which really were beautiful, Mom and K rode Autopia while I ran back to the hotel for a jacket and camera batteries. Let me just say once again how nice it was to be staying right across the street...fifteen minutes later I was back in the park, waiting in Tomorrowland for Mom and K.

Mom went back to the room while K and I enjoyed our last night at the park. We ventured over to Frontierland and Adventureland. K wanted to go up in Tarzan's treehouse, but it was closed due to Fantasmic. I wanted to see Fantasmic, but once again, there's the noise issue. Plus we discovered that while Fanstasmic is going on, there were virutally no lines for the rides!! We rode Pirates of the Caribbean again, and were put in the very back of the boat. We got soaked...well, actually just our rear ends and feet got soaked. It was pretty funny!

K wanted to spend her last night in her favorite part of Disneyland...Fantasyland. We went to Snow White's Wishing Well, just to the right of the castle. As you lean over the well to make your wish, Snow White sings "I Am Wishing." K threw two pennies into the well for two wishes. And it took her forever...must've been some serious wishes!

We wandered around Fantasyland, rode some more rides and did the Castle Walk Through. This is really cool. As you walk through Beauty's Castle, it tells the story of Sleeping Beauty with 3-D dioramas. Hard to explain and the pictures aren't great. You just have to see it :-)

After the walk-through, it was aound 11, so we decided to make our way out to Main Street. We enjoyed our second night of sharing a churro and coke while sitting outside the lit castle then did a little shopping.

We had to get something for Ms. Brenda, who took care of our dogs. So we picked her up a Mickey coffee mug and flavored creamers, while I got Mickey and Minnie salt and pepper shakers to add to my collection. K picked out a Disney lollipop :) She bought a cute stuffed Mickey at the hotel gift shop the first day. She didn't have one, and you can't leave Disneyland without Mickey Mouse, right???

Our last day at Disneyland was wonderful!! If you want to see all my Day 3 pics, which seems to be the day I took the most, click here!

Mar 20, 2011

Flying to LA

Well, here's the beginning of our trip report! We flew to LA on Sunday evening, March 13th. This was Kristin's first time to fly, so she was PUMPED! We got to XNA, which in case you don't know, is in the middle of NOWHERE! Seriously, all that is around it is chickens and cows. But it's a nice airport and only 30 minutes from my house.

We flew Allegiant direct to LAX. Everything was going well, we boarded the plane, taxied to the runway...then stopped. The pilot told us that there were some passengers waiting at the gate who's apparently gotten there late. So, we turned around to go get them. No biggie. Well, we waited...and waited. Then the pilot tells us that the airport was having to call Arkansas TSA to get workers back there to get the passengers through security. By this point, you could tell he was getting ticked. So we waited and waited and waited....no passengers and we finally go the ok to leave. Apparently the passengers had not gotten to check in at least 45 minutes before the flight was to leave, our flight was the last the leave that night, and TSA workers were off the clock. No way were they coming back. SO we finally took off. Kristin LOVED taking off and flying.

She slept most of the way out. Then....we started our descent. Kristin woke up with horrible pain in her ears, sinuses and teeth. Once we landed she was fine, but was in a lot of pain until we did. It was sad. Landing in LA at night was beautiful!

LAX was doing some remodeling on the airport, but we had no problems finding our way around. We got our bags and called our shuttle van around 11:15 (1:15 Ark. time!) and went out to wait. The traffic coming in and out of the airport was unreal! I was so glad we got a shuttle. Best money we spent on the entire trip! The shuttle arrived around 11:30 and we were on our way. Arturo was our driver and he was awesome! He was funny and got us to our hotel safely in 30 minutes.

I've never been so happy to be at a hotel in my life. We were exhausted. Park Vue Inn was nice. Nothing fancy and directly across the street from the park entrance. The beds were comfy, carpets were ok, but I always wear flip flops in hotel rooms, so it didn't bother me. Breakfast was good and the people were nice. We did have an unwelcome visitor in the form of a large roach (the same huge ones they have in Florida!) on our second night. But they came and sprayed the room the next morning and we didn't see anything else. That roach has gotten me a nice refund for part of our stay :) Anyway, it wasn't the Hilton, but that's ok.

We dragged ourselves to bed..I slept in the queen, K on the top bunk, Mom on the bottom bunk. The beds were SO comfy!! We woke up Monday morning for breakfast and then headed to the park to meet Jim. Jim and I have a mutual friend. He's worked for Disneyland 10 years and was nice enough to sign us in every morning so we didn't have to get tickets. Thank you so much Jim!!! We had a great time and appreciate you so much!

Next post: Disneyland, California Adventure and World of Color!