Friday, January 30, 2015

can't wait to be eight

(interrupting Disney updates briefly for a couple of very special birthday updates...)

My sweet Andrew,

It is the evening of your 8th birthday.  I am in the middle of preparing for your big party with your friends tomorrow, but I had to sit down and write your birthday letter before I forget how sweet you were today.  How excited and happy you were to be turning eight years old.

Last night I couldn't wait to decorate the house so when you woke up this morning you would see everything.  Before you went to bed you asked me if I was going to cry because you were growing up (I always like to pretend I'm really sad when you act so grown up!)  So I obliged and pretended to cry.  You took your sweet little hands and put them on my cheeks and said, "I'll always be your little boy..... but I can't WAIT to be eight!"  And I never, ever want to forget that moment.  How do you always  know exactly how to tug at my heart??
I posted this on Facebook this week, in honor of your birthday.  This has always been a favorite picture of you in your daddy's arms.  That little grin on your face just melts me.  I cannot even believe when I look at this precious picture and I see you today, that 8 years have passed.  Where has the time gone??
Sometimes I wish that I could go back to eight years ago and tell my old self that you were going to be okay.  It is so hard to look back and not remember the fear I had that day.  I was thinking about it the other day and realized that my memories of your birth are not necessarily joyous ones, as most births tend to be.  I was feeling guilty about that.  The fact that I don’t remember that time, without remembering the pain.  That miraculous night of your birth there was so much fear, anxiety and uncertainty.  
But amidst all the darkness, there was definitely light, my sweet boy.  That ray of hope that only God can provide.  I can remember the wave of peace that came over me like a blanket as I was being wheeled quickly into the delivery room.  Right then I knew you would survive.  I just knew.  And I want you to know someday that despite the fear and anxiety, our hearts were so full.  The joy I felt when I heard your little cry for the first time is something I can’t explain in words.  I will never forget that sound, or my first sight of you.  I will always say that God knew I wouldn’t need a camera that night.  (And most who know me, know that my camera and I just go together!)  You know I am a lover of photography and my camera is as close to my BFF as anything could be.  But that is one photo that is etched in my mind.  It just as well be on paper because it is as vivid as any other snapshot in my collection.  I will most certainly never forget that image of you, my amazing son.
And here we are, eight years later.  I love your new toothless smile.  Your zest for life.  How inquisitive you are.  You always ask questions.  The nurse at your check up the other day said that you win the prize for being her favorite patient all day. You were so cute, asking her everything she was doing and making sure you weren't getting a shot.  She asked me how you could be so cute.  Ha!  You just emulate joy, Andrew.  You have since that very first day.  I have always known how special you are, but each year as you grow, your gifts become more clear.
(Your instructor wanted you to move up to the "big kid" Taekwondo class, this has been a challenge for you, but you are taking it head-on!  You are trying so hard and we are so proud of you!  You are very talented and one of the best in your age range!)
You have such a big heart for others, and you have a sweet sensitive side, yet you are so tough.  Nothing stops you from doing the things you want to do.  You are determined, and you never give up.  And I think that's been evident since day one.  These are traits you've been born with, and God gave them to you because He knew you would need them.  Use them wisely my boy, and always look to the One who created you.
Last night I couldn't wait for you to wake up.  I love doing these things for you because I know how much you love and appreciate them.  Nothing brings me more joy than to bring that million dollar smile to your face.
And there it is! 
You were so sweet this morning.  Telling me that you are going to be a big boy now and start sleeping in your own bed.  Or at least that you would try it.  Ha!  You always make me laugh.  I love that about you.  Each year you remind me more and more of your Grandpa Bill.  He loved to make people laugh too.
We went to Disney World this year and you were so grown up.  You went on all the big rides with daddy.  And you loved every minute.  You are definitely a thrill seeker.  That's something that has also been true about you since you were very small.
I absolutely loved this picture of you.  When we went to Disney you assured all of us that there was no way you were standing by any princesses, yet here you are, hamming it up!  The truth is that you would do anything for your little sister.  You love her so, so much.  And I am so proud of the amazing big brother that you are.
Andrew, you have had another amazing year.  You are learning so much at school and are now in the top reading group in your class.  We are so proud of your hard work and all of your success in 2nd grade!  You have so many friends and your teacher says that everyone in your class just loves you.  She also told me that you bring a smile to her face every day.  And there is just nothing that a parent loves to hear more than that.  You just make my heart melt, and you are the most precious little boy I could have ever imagined.  

And you were so right... you will ALWAYS be my little boy.

Love,  Mommy

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:7

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Disney Day 6- Chef Mickey's & Downtown Disney!

I posted this picture on Facebook and said this is what it felt like leaving our Disney resort!  Bitter and sweet!  Ha!  (No, Kerigan wasn't really sad about that, but it made for a funny quote!)  She was actually mad at me for making her stand for a picture for the billionth time on this trip!  And Andrew only smiles this good when he's laughing at his sister crying, Ha!
Not 2 minutes later she did this.  I probably bribed her, I can't remember.
Anyway, this is the morning we checked out of Art of Animation.  We weren't saying goodbye to Disney quite yet... just our resort. My best childhood friend happens to live an easy 20 minutes from Disney World (nice, right??) so when we visit we always try to stay with her family for a few days!  It's fun to see her and have our kids play together.
People say that staying on the property is the key to visiting Disney World.  Many say it's what makes the trip.  I do have to admit, I agree with this.  I think not staying on property there is a disconnect, and it doesn't "feel" as much like Disney.  Plus by staying on site you can use Early Magic Hours, and the free transportation, and many other benefits.  I believe the magic begins when you check into your resort.  That's just my opinion.  This is why we always stay on the property for a portion of the time.
But we love seeing our friends too!  So we try to balance it out.  We were a little sad to leave our resort.  It was so amazing and we had a wonderful time staying there!  I would definitely stay there again, but I kind of like to change things up so next time we might try somewhere else!
We got up early (again!) and took some pictures around the resort before taking a shuttle to our rental car place.  Isn't our resort so cool?  I especially loved it at Christmas.
Andrew loved this arcade!  We tried to spend some time there- I think he and daddy got to go a couple of times!
This is another pool area themed from Finding Nemo.
These large characters surround the pool.

This was in front of the resort.  Kerigan would only stand by Ariel for a picture!  Ha!
After we got our rental car for the remainder of our trip, we drove to Chef Mickey's for our breakfast reservations!  We absolutely love Chef Mickey's, we took Andrew last time we were here and loved it so much I knew we wanted to go back.  It is inside the Contemporary resort, which I almost have Craig talked into staying there next time!  The monorail goes right through the middle of the resort!  It's so cool.
It's the best breakfast buffet I've had, and you get to meet all the classic characters.
By the way, Kerigan wore this outfit when she was 11 months old as a dress the last time we went to Disney, and for her first birthday party.  Now it fits her as a tunic!  I love outfits like that!  Just for fun, here she was back then!
I could just eat her up with a spoon!  She's so delicious... those baby cheeks!!!
Anyway, here's Goofy!
Pluto signing the princess book- Ha!

By this time, as you can see, Andrew was getting really into the character autographs!  He was wishing he had brought his old autograph book from his last trips.  But we decided they could share Kerigan's, and he was fine with that!
I love this picture!
Andrew dancing with Donald!  I also love character meals because they always do fun things to interact with the kids.  At Chef Mickey's everyone swings their napkins around and the characters parade around!
Craig getting crazy in the gift shop and sporting his purple Sofia backpack.  Ha!
This was so cool, on our way out we saw this Frozen display made entirely of gingerbread!  Even Craig was fascinated.
I caught him taking this picture with his phone!  And he never takes pictures!  Ha!
After leaving the contemporary, we drove to Downtown Disney to spend the rest of the afternoon before heading to Carrie's house.  It was another rainy day!  We were glad we weren't at the parks!
My girl and I shopped the whole time while the boys hung out at Disney Quest.  So most of the pictures are of Kerigan!
I decided to buy the kids' Mickey ears and get them embroidered at Downtown Disney (I get them ears every time we go as a memory of each trip.  It's fun to see how their interests change and what they pick out!) because Magic Kingdom was so busy.  I planned to bring them along to take pictures in front of the castle the next day, it was just not worth waiting in long lines when we were there a few days ago!  DD had no lines!
Just a cute display of Frozen on a wall!
All the decorations are so amazing at Christmas!
I just love the big Christmas trees everywhere you go!
She was really loving all these statues wherever we went- the poses were all her idea, I swear.
Then she saw these displays of the princess in the form of a dress and she just went nuts!  She was pretty much in heaven at this point.
We hooked up with Daddy and Andrew after a while.  This is the only picture we could get of Stitch, as he was a hard character to find for a meet and greet!
Captain Jack to match his jersey!
Here are a couple pictures daddy took at Disney Quest- looks like they had a great time!

Of course we had to stop in Ghirardelli for some delicious ice cream treats before heading out!  Kerigan  and daddy like strawberry and fruity ice cream!
But my little man and I know what's best!  Chocolate!  Yum!
And I loved this!!  When we arrived at Carrie's, you can see how well she knows me!  Look what was on our bedside table in the guest room?  Ha!  That's true friendship right there.

More Disney coming soon!

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