Sunday, November 30, 2014

Our Elf is B-A-C-K!

Since 2008, Santa has graciously sent one of his little helpers to our home to spend the Christmas holidays with us! The kids anxiously await our elf, Sam's, appearance each year, and can't wait for him to make his much anticipated arrival! 
 He always appears the day after Thanksgiving, and usually brings a very special North Pole breakfast with him! 
I just LOVE seeing my kids faces light up when they see Sam, and all the Christmas surprises he  brought them!
It's Christmas magic at it's best;)
 And now that Sam is officially here for the holidays, it's time to get the house ready for Christmas!
The "littles" did a great job helping me trim the tree, while the "bigs" worked with Shane on getting the lights up on the outside of the house.
It was a "all hands on deck" kind of day, but thankfully we got it all done!
And after a day of hard work, we celebrated the beginning of this joyous season by roasting marshmallows and making s'mores in the backyard.
 It truly is the MOST wonderful time of the year!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song. 
Psalm 28:7 
My heart is so full this Thanksgiving that it actually might burst! I have so many blessings to be thankful for! My deepest desire is that I live a life that displays this gratitude, not just TODAY,  but every single day!
May my life be a living "thank you" to Lord for all He has done, and continues to do for (and in) me!
I am BLESSED beyond measure, for sure! 

 This Thanksgiving was just a little different than ones we have had in the past. My parents and siblings all headed to Michigan for Thanksgiving this year, so our plans for the day didn't include our usual family gathering.
But we stilled enjoyed a sweet day filled with family, food, and FUN!
We got up early, and after a quick "turkey" breakfast, we bundled up and headed into uptown to watch the Thanksgiving Day parade!
It was super CHILLY out, so in an attempt to stay warm while we waited for the parade to begin, we enjoyed walking around and looking at all the beautiful Christmas decorations.
Love my peeps!
After the parade, we headed out to lunch. 
We planned to go to Cracker Barrel, but it was PACKED, so we ended up HERE! 
Definitely not your typical Thanksgiving spread, but, hey, it was still yummy!
Later that afternoon, we joined several of our dear friends at One7! One7 in a local inner city ministry, and we had the privilege of serving Thanksgiving dinner to some of the kids there!
Our family had the BEST time playing, laughing, eating, loving and serving together! I really can't think of a better way to spend our Thanksgiving Day. Our prayer was to be a blessing there,  BUT we were definitely the one's who left feeling BLESSED!!!!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Our Trip to Disney (day one)

 A few weeks ago, our little crew hit the road and headed to the "most magical place on earth"!!! To say we were excited would be the understatement of the year. We were ecstatic!! We had only been saving and talking about taking this trip for like... well, for years!!!!
Finally, the day arrived, and we were Disney bound!
 We stayed on Disney property at the Allstar Sports Resort. Staying on property allowed our family  to participate in the "free" dining plan...which was AWESOME, by the way! I don't think we could EVER do Disney any other way.
 Our first night there, we enjoyed dinner at the 'Ohana.

The restaurant is located at the Polynesian Hotel and is known for it’s Hawaiian-style, all-you-can-eat feast, of grilled meats and Hawaiian specialty sides.
It was absolutely DELICIOUS and the perfect way to kick start our week of FUN!
The next morning, we were up bright and early and ready for our first park day!
 Magic we come!!!
Orlando had unseasonably cooler temps than what's normal for that time of year, so we were glad we had some winter wear with us to keep us warm;)
 Cooler temps didn't hinder any of the fun though, and our crew had a blast riding so many of the iconic Disney rides!
The Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Peter Pan's Flight, Seven Dwarf's Mine Train, and, of course,
 Dumbo the Flying Elephant were just a few of our favorites!
 Although, Addy-Kate would be quick to tell you her favorite ride was "It's a Small World"! 
She was completely mesmerized the entire time and asked to ride it again and again!
 We planned on spending two days at the Magic kingdom, so day one was devoted to Fantasy Land. That's where it tends to be the most crowded, and where rides can have longer wait times. Thankfully, my sweet friend, Juli (who is the ultimate Disney guru) planned my entire trip for me and knew how to guide our family through the park(s) with ease and avoid as many long lines as possible.
 Lunch that day was at the Crystal Palace where we enjoyed a buffet style meal with Winnie the Pooh and gang!
Character meals were one of the BEST parts about our trip. We LOVED meeting the characters (and met almost 30 of them) all while enjoying a nice sit-down meal!
We LOVED having the characters come to US instead of waiting in long lines to greet them.
 And what characters we didn't meet during our meals, we got fast passes to see!
The kids LOVED meeting Rapunzel...

 and going under the sea to meet Ariel!
And what would a day at the Magic Kingdom be with out watching a parade (or two)!
 Such FUN!!!!
 By early evening, we decided to call it a day, and head back to our hotel for dinner and a swim. It was only about 40 degrees out, but that didn't stop my crew from suiting up and enjoying the heated pool.
I, on the other hand, sat on the pool deck all bundled up, sipped my hot cocoa, and savored all the sweet smiles on my kids (and hubby's) faces.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Saturday, November 22, 2014

A "Toy Story" Halloween 2014

 The day after Halloween, our family left for our much anticipated trip to DISNEY WORLD!!!!
{Lots more about our trip, coming soon}
 So in honor of "all things Disney", we chose to dress up for Halloween like the characters of Toy Story this year!
 Meet Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head!
 A Toy Soldier!
Buzz Light Year!
and Little Bo Peep!
 My sweet Mom
 and sister, KK, joined us for an evening of trick-or-treating FUN!
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this picture of these two!
Shane's sister, and my precious niece's came over for the night too!
 The kids always have a BLAST running door to door with their friends and cousins!
They love filling their bags with as much candy as possible!
 And just as the evening was coming to an end,
 an ENORMOUS rain storm blew in out of NO where. 
 The kids and I were quite a ways from the house, so we had to high tail it home as fast as we could. We were DRENCHED by the time we made it home, but even a little rain couldn't put a damper on such a fun night!

October in a nutshell

So... needless to say, I am VERY behind in my blogging! Life is full and the days seem to fly by faster than I can type;)
FALL is my very favorite time of year, and I would be so sad if I didn't take the time to document just a little bit of what's been going on in our lives during this season.
So here is a little glimpse of what we've been up to lately...
SOCCER (and lots of it)
Corban and Riley both played for Charlotte Soccer Academy this year and have had stellar seasons.
We are so proud of them!
And speaking of PROUD, Corban was nominated by his classmates as October's "terrific kid"of the month. He was chosen for best displaying the character trait of responsibility!
 And what would OCTOBER be without PUMPKINS, right?!?!
Well, I was blessed to accompany one of my littlest pumpkins on his class trip to Hunter Farms!
We had the BEST day together! I just love that boy!
And just as soon as we pick our pumpkins out of the patch, our kids start asking WHEN the pumpkin carve party will be!
They look forward to THIS get-together EVERY year!
And who could blame them?!?! Carving pumpkins is always more fun with friends!
Throw in our neighborhood 5K, and the Chosen 10 miler we did,
 and you can see that October has literally kept our family running;)
But we wouldn't want it any other way!