Sunday, January 29, 2012

William Turns Five

We all knew this day was coming.  Too fast for me, too slow for him.  William is no longer a baby, FOR SURE.  He is shy but confident, sweet but wants what he wants, funny but doesn't like to be laughed at, sensitive, kind, and loving.  He loves all animals, and even tells other kids not to hurt "God's creatures."  We were at horse riding lessons the other day and my mom was with us.  His little friend that he plays with there came up and said, "Look, I found a lizard!"  Immediately entranced, William said, "Let's go find a place to put him where he will be happy!"  His little friend said, "No, I want to go squish him."  William very clearly said, "No, I don't want you to do that, he is just a lizard and we aren't supposed to hurt him.  We have to take care of him.  I don't want to hurt God's creatures."  My mom, who was listening nearby, just beamed!  So William carefully took the lizard and put him around the side of the stables near some shady plants.  I was very proud of him, he wasn't going to let that lizard get squished on his watch!  William and Izzy have a definite bond, as she calls him "Wally" and he calls her "Dizzy".  No one else is allowed to call him Wally, just her.  They call each other their best buddy, which I love.  Of course, don't think that they don't annoy each other or make each other mad, that's a several times a day thing.  But overall, they are the siblings they should be.
     One of William's best qualities is that he is thoughtful.  He brings me things on a daily basis, usually important to him (bugs, sticks, flowers, etc) and gives them to me for a present.  He has a big fascination with Roly Polys right now, and just this afternoon I got a couple of cute ones on his outstretched little palm.  He also plans to put his and Izzy's Legos in a special spot each night so they won't get broken.  They have a particular couple of small cars and bikes they like to play with.  William also loves to help me cook, "Do you want some help in here?" he likes to say.  How could you not?  He is a big fan of Star Wars right now, thanks to Shawn. They have their own movie night, after which he tells me all about Obi Wan Kenobe and other strange things.  He has even seen Darth Maul, who "has horns and is a berry bad man."  Well, not that I approve of it all, but he does love to do what Daddy does.
     William has always been pretty adaptable, but he really showed how flexible he could be when we switched to Chiefland schools this year.  He had never met the kids, never met the teacher, and desperately wanted to go back to the same PreK he had done a few weeks with at the end of the previous school year.  He was adamant, and I was terrified that I was making the wrong decision.  It has turned out marvelously well, and he is growing in his confidence (even answers questions in class now by raising his hand!) and knowledge (we're on Letter W but they aren't in order, they can't be because we did V last week, and J the week before!  V does not come after J!)  My favorite things from this year are his beautiful recounts of Bible stories.  A particular favorite is Noah and the ark, which is done in great detail (2 snakes, 2 zebras, 2 elephants, 2 of every single animal!) and ends with a wonderful (and did you know when the great flood was over, a BEAUUUtiful rainbow appeared? Did you know that, Momma?)
   Speaking wise, William does very well.  He still has a few substitutions, but not many.  He speaks quite clearly, but what he does say that is wrong, we do not correct.  None of us want him to stop saying the sweet little things he says.  "That is disgustin'", "berry" for very, "fings" for things, etc.  In fact, these days, his talk is the usual PreK potty mouth.  Poo and Pee are suddenly the top two words in his vocabulary, accompanied by some serious giggles, covering his mouth in laughter, or just all out belly laughs.  The other night at dinner, he had us all going!  Even Shawn!  It was so hard to stop laughing, but I finally called it quits.  Enough of the potty talk, the next person who says poo or pee is leaving the table!  Of course, he says immediately, "You said it Momma, you have to leave!" and that set everyone off again.   :)
   He plays in the sand pile from making our swimming pool all day.  He can't get enough.  He is compulsive with his dump trucks.  He is filthy.  He hates taking a shower.  He hates washing his hair.  It's a vicious cycle.
   Food wise, William eats a limited diet.  His favorite stuff: pasta, more pasta, parmesan cheese, spaghetti, salad, pizza, chicken fingers, french fries, yogurt, pasta, cheese and crackers, apples, bananas, and pasta.  Notice a pattern here?  He is Shawn's child in the food department.  Though he is occasionally very good about trying stuff (on my plate, of course). He does not eat much meat.  Every single day his lunch box contains a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, no crust.  Every day.  No, seriously, every single day.  William, do you want ham today? No. Bologna? No. Turkey? No. Noodles? No.  (HUH? Go figure.)  Just PB&J, sometimes two.

All right, I could go on all day.  So here's what you really want.  The pictures.
Oh for heaven's sake, why does this have to be first?!  Well, let's get it over with.  Yes, that is Willie with a double-barrel shotgun.  Yes, he got it for his birthday.  He has had his eye on that piece of junk for about six months.  Every single time we went to Dollar General he'd ask for it.  I hate it.  He loves it.  I prayed that once he had it, he'd drop the fascination.  So far, so good.  End of story.

The rule is: Momma behind the camera, Daddy behind the cake.

So exciting when he see the cake

Singing Happy Birthday

mmm, Momma's chocolate fudge cake

Loved watching him blow out the candles!

Where Does The Time Go?

Sarah's been asking me to watch videos of the kids when they were little.  Mostly this stems from a recent review of the blog, as she was quite entertained by the pictures and stories of everyday life.  She's been begging me to start blogging again, goes! I will try for a Sunday update, and maybe that will make it happen a little more often!

We recently surprised the kids with a Willie's Birthday-inspired trip to Disney World!  We picked them up at noon on Thursday last week, only a half day so early release.  We did not tell them we were going.  We did not tell them where we were headed.  We did not tell them what on earth Aiden was doing in the car.  We just went.

After we dropped off Aiden at the vet's for boarding, we drove for a couple hours, with various cries of "where are we going?" "why won't you tell us?" and "PLEASE!!!"  To no avail.  We were tight-lipped.  That is, until Izzy spotted the exit off the Turnpike for "Disney World".  We went straight to the Magic Kingdom, and spent from 3:30 pm till 8 pm (closing fireworks) and had a ball!  We got to ride almost all the rides, some of them multiple times!  In fact, after the second spin on Space Mountain, I just sent the big girls over and over on their own, I was done!  Willie and Izzy and I headed for the Buzz Lightyear ride (turned out to be great) and the Astro Orbiter (pretty good but way too short).  The biggest disappointment of the day turned out to be that Thunder Mountain was closed, as well as Splash Mountain and all of ToonTown.  That meant all of the roller coaster rides that William and Izzy could ride were off limits!  Well, Izzy could have ridden Space Mountain but she just wasn't ready having not been on a kiddie coaster yet!

After stuffing ourselves silly at Olive Garden (finishing at close to 11 pm), we spent the night at Embassy Suites in Lake Buena Vista.  The kids loved the hotel, and we ate a late breakfast before heading back over the park.  As luck would have it, the day was incredibly perfect weather-wise.  Turns out, we weren't the only ones who thought so.  The park was much busier than the day before.  Rides we had walked onto last night were suddenly 45-60 minute waits.  The kids didn't get it, how could this be?  Finding Splash Mountain closed only made it worse, I had bought ponchos that morning to be able to ride it and not get soaked for the entire day.  The mood was grumpy, and not too thrilled to be there.  Well, that was me anyway, and the kids were no better.  Ready to call it quits, we decided to sit down and have a quick hot dog so that we could eat a real dinner after the park that night.  The bit of food and coke made a big difference.  We all perked up, and Shawn came up with a plan to get us through.  He let the big girls go to Space Mtn and use up our FastPasses we had gotten earlier ON THEIR OWN, mind you!  (They were thrilled.)  We waited for them to come back and got FastPasses for Buzz Lightyear.  It worked perfectly, we all rode Buzz together and enjoyed it quite a bit.  In fact, I think it may have been my favorite ride!  (Guess I'm a good shot!)  We then left the park, in order to avoid the masses after the fireworks.  We headed for Macaroni Grill, and then bed.
**WARNING:  All pictures from iPhone, too lazy to carry big camera all around that park! **

Belle was super-chatty and so friendly, the kids loved her!  (Shawn may have been smitten, too!)

Belle was my personal favorite!
In the morning, we got up, ate breakfast, and then let the kids swim in the huge pool. We though they would get cold but they never did!  Over an hour later, we pulled them out, packed up, and left.  It was a great surprise for them, and we all had fun, despite our best efforts to get ticked off about half the rides not working! I have to say, I was pretty mad about the whole thing.  Too much money for those tickets to not have that many rides working.  My overall impression of Disney was not nearly as favorable as I'd remembered.  I think it's time the bigwigs over there take some of the ticket money and put it into redoing some of the park.  Some of it is past its prime (Small World), not worth the wait (Stitch), and just plain outdated (Carousel of Progress).  They really need to overhaul a lot of it, and get some better food while they are at it.  Some classics should remain, but with modern technology, some of those things should be amazing and they aren't.  That being said, for better or for worse, we have weekday passes for the year--including Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios.  We're planning to make it back over there a few more times this year.  If you and yours want to hook up there at some point, let us know!
 Just don't ask me to ride Space Mountain.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Ta Daaah!

Here's the completed pool design... just keep your drool off your computer.  I'm drooling, too, as it doesn't start going in till July 11 and will take about two months to complete.  But once it's complete, I'm diving in for a solid full month! And you are all welcome anytime.  There's a hot tub for those who can't get here till cooler months! :) There are two waterfalls in the far right planter, and a fountain on the baja shelf on the bottom left.  The shelf is just big enough for two chair sitting in the water, but not drowning (18" deep I think) and for little ones to play safely. Slide, diving board, it's all there.
Let the party begin!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Horse Camp

Ima, she's a show horse.

Sarah and Sandy

Saying a sad goodbye

Willie feeds Molly a carrot.  She LOVES carrots.

Willie with the three week old Corgi/Peekachoo (sp?) puppies

Sarah and her "Little Man".  She named him. She wants him.  She is crazy about him.

Well, sweet faces, sorry about the extra exposure...

"Teddy Bear" is KK's favorite

I mean, how cute are these guys?!

Puppy life is tough, eat, get snuggled, sleep.

I can't help being adorable. Little Man has a white blaze down his forehead.

Snuggly, even when upside down.  He is so calm!


First Place Ribbon for one nervous Nellie.  Not nervous about the horse, of course.  Nervous about the thunder that was rolling nearby.  She darn near wouldn't get up on the horse! Walking Aiden about two weeks ago, a little squall blew up out of nowhere.  There was a crack of thunder and flash of lightning so loud, and simultaneously, that I turned off the stove immediately and ran (no shoes) to the car.  I raced down the street to see Izzy running as fast as she could, eyes wide as saucers, and she jumped in the car before I could fully stop it.  Katy had been left in the dust, running with the dog.  They were scared, but Izzy was scared to death.  Totally terrified.  Now she seems to be suffering from PTSD, and is paranoid about any thunder-like sound, or looming cloud of any sort.  She even checks the Weather Channel to see what the chances of rain might be for the day.  Not sure how to handle it, but hoping it will rain really soon, while we're at home, so we can discuss it!  Any suggestions are welcome...

Smiling now, though. Laughing because Cupcake wanted to "meet and greet" instead of "trot."

Trotting!  Actually Izzy was the first one to canter, and she was very proud.  Not sure she was meant to canter, think it was more like Cupcake saw a nice patch of grass in the distance, but... a first is a first.

Katy just LOVED camp.  She finally found a sport she wants to do for fun, not because Momma makes her be active.  And active she was.  And hot.  Very hot.

A nice trot with Molly...

Lookin' good in those mullet/riding boots! :)

Sarah was sad to see camp end, she was very upset that it was over.  She wants to take lessons from now on, and they were invited to come back in the fall for a weekend sleepover camp.  Don't know how I can say no to that!


And posting, too! A little hard to post on Cupcake, as she is quite a bit smaller than Molly, but they managed very nicely.

Horse camp was a much bigger success than I even imagined it might be.  All three girls just had such a good time, and really connected well with all the animals on the farm.  Their riding instructors, Ms. Laura and her daughter, Brooke, were really great, too.  Patient, kind, plenty of hands-on (including mucking out the stalls, yay!) instruction and mid-day activities in a cool place.  They went roller skating, out for Blue Highway Pizza, Subway, the springs, and TCBY.  The girls would love to do another week (heck, I believe they would go every week this summer if I could afford it) and we will try to do it again in August.  Now, if only those puppies were all gone to good homes by then...I'd be off the hook!