Friday, December 30, 2011

more vacation pic--- Clear Water Marine Aquarium (Winter the Dolphin)

Earlier this year we took the kids to see Dolphin Tales.... amazing movie!  So we were very excited to learn that the marina was only 1 and 1/2 hours from Orlando and immediately made plans to go visit Winter!

When you pulled it it was EXACTLY like in the movie---
which was very cool (in fact a lot of it still looks like it did after the hurricane!)

after paying some exorbitant entrance fees (for a hurricane riddled, partially operational aquarium with two large tents and a trailer as the ticket office and port a potties at the "facilities") we got to learn what REALLY happened to Winter!  For instance he did not bang against the side and break the model to pieces... dramatic flair!  He did however let them know in his calm, dolphin "esq" way that he wasn't down with the thing touching his skin that sheds like once an hour verses OURS that sheds like every three days.  So the good doctor came up with the sock-- which has bolstered many other awesome medical advances since then!

We saw the trap that harmed Winter and learned that it took days and days for the tail to break down and til they finally amputated and was really very painful for the dolphin.

We walked up rickety stairs into what in the movie we saw as the entrance (grand hall-- remember where the boy met the Pelican, who by the way DOES NOT LIVE AT THE AQUARIUM) and it is all gift shop.  and it is NICE!  State of the art... and then you walk out of the gift shop into old, worn down pretty much yucky facility.  Good thing there was a cute dolphin there!  :0)

They kept announcing all the "ways" you could add expense onto the exorbitant entrance
fees over the loud speaker-- it was great.

Okay so on to the reason for the visit-- and the good part. 

WINTER, the Dolphin.

It was worth the drive to Clear Water-- especially all the cool water ways you go to go over from Tampa
and it was worth seeing Winter and well that's all folks.

Rent the movie-it's great. BTW-- oh and no Harry Connick Jr. at the aquarium either, bummer.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Curly Girly....

I bought some of the cheap foam rollers for Emily's hair. So today we put on Tangled-- because it's all about the hair--and went to town.

When we took them out I could not believe the curls!

Emily hated it. She just thought she looked stupid.... I don't think she will go for it on a regular basis-- I said we could just use the large rollers and get a different look, we will see.

I promise I am not going all Toddlers & Tiara's on you.  :0)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

I want a hippopotamus for Christmas...

but instead...............................

I got.

a Keurig Coffee maker from Hal and Vickie-- TOTALLY unexpected and awesome!

and a starter bracelet from my mom....

I want to say although there were other things I could have used, or would have loved, but
 these are the two BEST presents I could have gotten! 
 They were both unexpected and complete surprises and
are BOTH very, very loved and appreciated!

We had a wonderful Christmas... plenty of giving and getting.  Family and togetherness.

I am ready for what this new year brings... hesitant to imagine or set goals
that I never feel I achieve, but still holding onto the hope that I can. 

 I have a few quiet personal goals and of course the
normal lose weight, save money, blah blah goals! 
I guess I can just take the year one day at
a time... do what's right and move on.

We are packing up mom and getting our own stuff ready to remove around the house once mom and dad are moved.  The movers come on Friday.... I feel slightly overwhelmed.  I want to start school but know that getting the house set up will take some priority of the next couple of days... so I will probably start school on
Jan. 2, but we will go light and start with math, reading, language and a LOT of books. 
 I have a unit study of Little Woman to do during this week which will be fun.

  The following week of December 9 we will hit it head on full force! 

So I have two weeks to pack, unpack.. lesson plan for the next 6 weeks and school some.  No problem. 

It's all okay.. this is the year of tackling challenges head on...

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night... 2011

Here are my beautiful children-- lovely.

Christmas Eve service at our church-- lovely.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Trains, Trees and Treats....2011

Today we did some getting ready for guests, cleaning and last minute decorating.... we watched a few more holiday shows and a few episodes of Storage Wars { let. me. just. say. addicting.} but amidst the cleaning and watching we made some treats and worked on our Sea of Trees "Gingerbread" idea for this year...

We made these YUMMO and cute treats!

My Sea of Trees idea was the decorated upside down ice cream cones..(really no gingerbread involved!) and because we saw the Sea of Trees at Sea World the theme was born.

and then later that evening we headed down to Alvin for the Christmas Train....

Thursday, December 22, 2011

So gotta get me in that holiday spirit...

I thought the trip had caused me to feel un holiday"ish"... coupled along with not really having decorated with my things. But I think it is all these things wrapped together! I just did not plan anything for the week getting back and it has become the lost week... however, this week I wanted to do some holiday"ish" things!  I am however fighting a serious cold/ possible bronchitis etc thing!  I feel so very terrible!

I wanted to actually DO some of my pins on Pinterest! Some baking, some crafts....

I planned on holiday movie watching...

a drive around town for Christmas lights--- of course.

We missed Wed church because Dave's truck broke down and we had it towed-- SO not on my Christmas list.... (((stress)))  and Thursday was a Christmas celebration with extended family but Dave and I couldn't go as we are still sick and my cousin Laura (well anyway we couldn't go and get around her and possible get her sick)... tomorrow we are hopefully go to the Living Stones Christmas Train and Saturday is a candlelight service at church.

SOOOOOOOOO............ you know we will fit it all in right!

(((((( extra big sigh))))))

I did get SOME crafting done today, and some baking..... and the holiday movie watching is going!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Taste of Texas 2011

Our annual trek to The Taste of Texas....yummo.

I am destined to not get a great picture of the kids this year.... (((sigh)))  and yes Emily is giving Matt the bunny ears.. I tried to soften it but I still SEE IT and know you DO TOO!  The pic is all fuzzy and I was frustrated that night, but it was crowded and it's all good... we had a GREAT dinner!

However, I saw on Facebook the other day a friend lamenting the fact that she cannot manage to get a good shot of her family- no one looking awesome at the same time, and she is AN AMAZING photographer!  I mean ama.zing.  So I don't feel so bad anymore.  yeah!

We will keep working on it though....

but let there be steak first.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Don't Be Afraid Brigade--- musical

Emily was in the church kids choir musical-- she LOVES choir! She loves performing! She is pretty good at it too! 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Time Shares... are all the rage with me

I do not own a time share... I am however BLESSED to be connected to family who do!  Twice we have benefited from the blessing of said timeshare!  Last time was our trip to Branson....this time was our trip to Orlando....

7 days in a beautiful, 3 bedroom apartment.

I had a fellow bloggy friend brag update us on her posh digs over Thanksgiving.... and I can one up her rain water faucet thing--- which I agree I would not like.  I was the lucky recipient of a two seater jacuzzi tub AND a baday.... which BTW... is spelled MANY different ways! 

I mean how much more fancy, smancy can ya get than a baday?  

The kids enjoyed having their own space... one kid bunked on the couch so each kid had their own bed each night and their own TV to themselves.  

Oh, and washer and dryer, in house.  SUCH a huge blessing for a vacation!

I was able to do all our breakfast in the room, some of our lunches too and all our snacks and drinks.  We were able to save a lot simply because of this fact.

I wanted to share that I made quite a deal about being very tight, money wise and we did
everything on our list PLUS some, we were not overly chintzy and came back home with
over 200 dollars to our name.  Whoo hoo! 

One thing that really helped was that we gave the kids each $50.00 in spending money. 
My mom gave them some money as part of their Christmas present
and Dave's aunt and uncle gave them their Christmas money too. 
 Needless to say the kids had plenty of spending money and pretty much got to buy what they wanted. 
 But it stopped some STUPID buys! 

For instance at Lego Land, you could buy a "license" after going through the
 Ford Driving School for a small fee of 14.99 before. 
Emily was not quite ready to hand over 14.99 when it was her money and
 quite ready for me to just make her one with my printer and laminator!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Day 2 of Seaworld....

So today is the big day at Seaworld-- Yesterday we were only here about 7 hours, but today we were here a total of 11 hours!  Such a long, long day!  Seaworld was having all their Christmas shows and so on top of the regular shows they had extra ones too!  It was hard to fit them all in! 

First thing we headed for Shark Encounter-- which Matt had really been looking forward too. 

We headed to the other side of the park towards Shamu's Happy Harbor but stopped to ride the Flamingo Paddle Boats...

Happy Harbor was HUGE---

From there it was the Polar Express Experience... I did not experience this ride/ exhibit and missed seeing the polar bear but I went to get seats at the next show and was just unsure that I would like the ride--- I also inadvertently took the camera away with me!

We saw Clyde and Seamore in their Christmas Tale next.

We went to the Nautilus Theater to see O Wondrous Night--
it was a take on the Story of Jesus birth and it was really, really good.  I want to say that I am really impressed with Sea Worlds emphasis on Jesus, Christ and Christmas.... The play was told from the view point of the animals in the manger that night and it was really, really cute.
 There was amazing singing and dancing!

There are so many photo opportunities and and so many beautiful things to see...

of course the finale of the evening is Shamu--- but on this wonderful Christmas season special Shamu was followed by a Christmas ice skating special AND a firework show...