Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas Letter, or Year in Review! :)

Merry Christmas, everyone! I hope this finds you all reveling in the season that celebrates the greatest gift we can ever receive - the gift of the baby, Jesus. This is one of my favorite times of year - can you imagine people celebrating your birth for an entire season rather than just a day? Wow, I know a few kids around here who would love it! ;D

2010 has been full of adventure. There were many firsts, and even a few lasts, but every event has brought growth in our spirits and our family's relationships. I can truly say that it was the best, yet most challenging year I've probably ever had. The kids, Kelly and I have been abundantly blessed, and I'd love to fill you all in on what has been going on with our crew.

We brought in the new year with a celebration of life - or rather, finished up 2009! On December 23, my niece, Hailey Anne Quinn was born. Big sisters Molly and Emmalea were ecstatic, and my kids were equally excited. She was, and is, a joy to behold!

Connor and Chloe participated in Upward Basketball and Cheer again. And a first, Canon got to participate as well. I just have to say that my third born got his basketball skills from me...and for those of you who know me, you'll realize that's not a great thing! LOL! My friend, Dawn Proctor O'Connor, was his coach, and she truly had the patience of Job. As unskilled as he was, however, you couldn't find a more excited, enthusiastic, happy little guy on any of the teams. He brought an exuberance to the court that so many of the parents praised him for. As in every thing he does, he made Mommy very proud!

Connor is the natural athlete, an all around player valuable to his team in whatever position needs to be filled. He's not an allstar, but he's very consistent. Chloe is as enthusiastic about cheering as ever. She is a hoot to watch, that's for sure! And she is certainly the loudest on the squad - no surprise there! It was a great season!

In January, our church family was dealt a heavy blow when our senior pastor resigned. This year has been very trying in so many ways, but I've learned a lot about myself and others that is invaluable. Scotty has been a spritual father to me, and I'm forever grateful to him for the influence he's had on my family.

As our church family struggled, the children's ministry continued to "run the race". Kelly and I were serving there together, under our friend Rian Bess' leadership, along with our dear friends Jason and Stephanie Daniels. Our praise band added another member - a drummer, Jamie Brixey. We had so much fun playing together, and our ministry continued to grow and thrive even under all the pressure that was going on around us. We started a ministry/outreach called 3 Second, a Sunday night family worship experience, and other special events for the kids and their families.

We carried on the tradition of the annual Evergreen's Got Talent show, where the kids got to showcase their gifts and talents for the Lord. Chloe performed a worship dance to "Who am I?" by Casting Crowns, and Connor diplayed several pieces of his artwork. It was a great evening.

We found out in the spring that my cousin April's family would be moving to Germany. They had been living in Kentucky for the last few years, which was the closest they'd ever been. We had gotten used to seeing them every few months, and I really took for granted the ability to pick up the phone to visit with my cousin/sister! They came in for one last visit in the spring. We tried not to get too emotional, but even the kids got sad realizing how long 4 years was going to be. We packed a month's worth of activities into a 5 day visit, and we were building memories to carry us through!

We are still homeschooling, as well as attending Lighthouse Christian Academy on Tuesdays. What a privilege - and challenge - to teach my children. I know I learn more all time! I am so proud of these wonderful kids God has blessed us with! This was my second year to work on LCA's elementary musical. This year was a game show theme, "Parablelooza". And wonder of wonders, Connor auditioned! He is not one to enjoy the spotlight like his little sister, but he plucked up his courage and did it. He got a speaking part that was a memory verse, and he did great.

LCA brought another milestone this year: Canon graduated kindergarten! Oh, my, this one was a toughie for Mommy. They are all growing so fast, I can hardly seem to catch my breath some days!

We finished the school year in May, and we kicked off the summer in a big way. After YEARS of begging, pleading, and begging some more, Kelly finally conceded to take me - er, I mean the family ;) - to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida! Oh, happy day! It was a dream come true for all of us. I can't begin to tell you how many memories we made in that week, but I can tell you that I really believe that it is the most magical place on earth. It's been seven months, and still not a day goes by that even Caleb doesn't mention something we did at WDW. And he was only 2! Kelly was not as enthusiastic, to say the least, about taking us. He almost went, you could say, under protest. But before the second day was over, he was already mentally planning our next trip. Now that's what I call magical!

When we came home, it was time to face another change. Our friends Rian and Heather Bess, our children's pastors, were called to another church. Soon after, Jason and Steph felt led to join them. It's been a very difficult transition, and it broke all our hearts to see our time in ministry together end, but we are all learning to lean on the Father more than on each other. Praise the Lord for bringing these amazing people into our lives, they are irreplaceable to me. Our band has been blessed with opportunities to continue to play together, and I'm excited to see that continue in the year to come.

Needless to say, the summer just flew by, and it was time for school to start again. We switched curriculum this year, which has really been a big change for us. We don't know exactly if it's a great fit for our family yet, but that's the joy of what we do - we have options. We fit the necessities in, but then we have much freedom to explore and change and discover. Connor is in the 4th grade, Chloe is in 2nd and Canon is in 1st.

We've been on several field trips this year, and it has really helped to keep our batteries charged. My friends Christy, Leslie and I took all our kids (minus Caleb) to St Louis for an overnight field trip - oh, the fun we had! We took in the sights along the Mississippi River, we went to the Arch and museum, the St Louis Zoo, the Science Center and Planetarium, and Grant's Farm. The kids had so much fun, and (I hope) learned a lot about Missouri history.

A few other exciting happenings this year:
1. Caleb was officially potty trained in October. We are FINALLY a diaper-free household - yay!

2. We got a 2nd vehicle. No more begging and borrowing from my amazing mother in law - I'm a true blue minivan mama now! ;)

3. Chloe was a Lighthouse Chargers mascot again, and I coached the squad for the second year. It was so much fun. It is such a blessing to be a part of an organization that strives to put God first and takes the time to develop relationships with kids in order to show them the love of Jesus Christ.

4. Connor returned to his martial arts classes after a 9 month break. He has promised me to be more dedicated this time around, and I'm proud of his determination. He is currently a green belt, and he hopes to test for his next belt in the spring.

5. Canon is reading independently and doing wonderful in his school work. He just blesses my heart when I hear him sharing a book with his little brother, or when I find him off in a corner reading to himself. I'm so thankful that he's enjoying the fruits of his hard work.

6. Kelly is still working at City Utilities of Springfield. He has one more semester of college left, and he is really looking forward to having that behind him! He moved to a new shop on the east side of town this summer and it changed his shift to 4:30pm to 1:00 am. He likes the guys he works with and the challenges that come with the job. He's an amazing provider, and I thank the Lord for that every day.

7. Kelly took me to Eureka Springs in November for a weekend getaway. It was the first time since having kids that we'd gone away for so long. It was a beautiful setting - a secluded log cabin in the woods with no distractions. After all the craziness of the year, it was exactly what we both needed.

And before you could turn around, it was time to start the holiday festivities for 2010! I can't believe how quickly the year has flown by. I feel like we are constantly in a state of go, go, go. But I know these are the times we will cherish forever, and we HAVE to live in the moment before it's gone.

With all the changes we've gone through this year, I have to say that this month has probably brought the biggest of all. After nearly 13 years of serving at our church, Kelly and I have prayerfully decided that it is time to leave Evergreen. We have served there our entire married lives. We've raised our children there. Three of them have accepted Christ as savior and been baptized. We've made lifelong friends and grown closer to the Father. This was - and will continue to be - our family. I know change is hard (I don't know anyone who hates it more than I), but fighting against it is inevitable. For the first time in three years, I have a peace about moving on. I don't know what the Lord has in store, or where He would have us serve. But I know He's never failed us yet. I'm trusting Him to show us the way.

I pray this finds you all well. I'm thankful for 2010 and all the life lessons learned - even the terribly hard ones. And I'm anticipating that the Lord will show Himself to us in ways we never imagined in 2011. God bless you all!

Things we are looking forward to in 2011:
1. God will show us to our new church home
2. Connor and Chloe have parts in spring musical, "Everyday Heroes"
3. Canon hopes to start martial arts
4. Another trip to Disney World in May!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

My Little Man

Yesterday marked a momentous occasion. Robert Connor Quinn turned 9 years old. True, I know it isn't any magical number, but it's the last single digit birthday my oldest son will have. I am not a fan of change, as any of you who know me well already knew. And to think of my firstborn nearing the tweens, then teens, then...EEEK! This is why I hate dwelling on the fact that he's growing up! Because I don't like change. I don't like letting go. I go kicking and screaming into almost every life change the Lord throws at me, and yet He continues to trust me with events that will continue to evolve. Continue to move forward. Continue to. Change. He trusts me WAY more than I trust myself, that is for certain!
Connor is in the 4th grade this year, and yesterday was our first day of Lighthouse Christian Academy. He was not happy to have to go to school on his birthday - a first for him. So he convinced me we shouldn't have any homeschool that day...otherwise his day would be ruined. Nevermind the fact he was having 7 boys go bowling with him after school, and 5 were spending the night! What can I say, I don't need much convincing to take an easy school day! :)
It was a great day. Connor caught up with all of his buddies after a long summer break. We went bowling, we ate pizza, they played Wii for HOURS. I went to bed. Kelly got home and played Wii with them for HOURS. I slept. I woke up and got breakfast for them. They played Wii for a couple hours. Kelly slept. See a pattern here?
We had a lazy morning, then it was time to pack up all of the boys and take them home. There was still a day of school ahead for all of them! Oh, the joys of homeschooling! Before we went home to start our school day, we stopped by WalMart to let Connor spend some of his birthday money. He really wants drums, but that may wait till Christmas. He bought a huge Halo Lego set that he and Kelly will have a great time working on together - as long as we barricade Caleb from the room! :)
Happy Birthday, Connor. Mommy loves you so very much, more than I ever imagined possible. I'm so proud of the little man you are, and the man I see you becoming every day. I'm thankful you love the Lord already, and you push yourself beyond your comfort zones to serve Him. I can't wait to see His plan for your life continue to unfold.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Final Days of Disney

Friday. I didn't want to face the fact that our vacation was almost over. I found myself going into panic mode again, wanting to fit it all in. Kelly stopped me quickly, told me to breathe and enjoy it. He's so good for me. :) The only drawback I worried about - I hadn't brought an extra sim card for the camera, and mine was almost full. I spent 20 minutes that morning deleting fuzzy pictures so I could capture as much magic as possible - then I'd just point at what I wanted Steph to take pictures of for me! LOL!

We were out the door early to catch the opening on Hollywood Studios, Star Wars Weekend. Oh, my goodness! THIS was one of the highlights of the trip. Star Troopers were staked out all over the entrance. They put on quite a show, and of course all the other characters were stationed throughout the park for photo ops. We saw Darth Vadar, Luke and Lea, Anakin and Padme, Asohka Tano, Mace Windu, Boba Fett, and so many others. I know for those of you who aren't Star Wars fans, this means less than Pig Latin. But for freaks like us, it was like meeting rock stars! It's the personal touch that makes Disney so special, and this is no exception. When we met Anakin Skywalker, he called me over and "warned" me to watch my youngling (Canon). He was concerned about his color preference of blade. Dark siders tend to carry red light sabers. :) He also really made up with Caleb, and informed me that the Force was strong with this one. It's cheesy, I know, but we were all so excited!

Besides the characters, the park was just awesome. I wouldn't say it's my favorite - come on, you know the Magic Kingdom stole my heart - but it was great. Jason and Kelly took off to get our Toy Story Mania fast passes, and I took Logan and Canon (yes, Canon!!) to ride Tower of Terror. I begged and pleaded, but couldn't get the others to do it. But my fearless five year old was all over it! Gotta love that kid! :) Logan was prepping him the whole way, telling him what to expect, and I think he felt prepared. He kept a death grip on my arm, and looked like the tan had been slapped off him when it was over, but he yelled, "I LOVED IT! That was totally wicked!!!" I let him pick something out from the gift shop to commemorate his first big boy ride. He chose a key to the haunted hotel.

We met back up and headed to Rock N Roller Coaster, which was out of commission - what a bummer! But it was just one of those things that I had to say, "Next time!" about. Star Tours was next up, since we had another hour to wait for our fast passes to be available. I have to admit, we were all ready for the Toy Story experience. We had such a good time, just wandering around this park. So much to see, it was great. Kelly and Caleb took off on their own, the rest of us went to meet some characters, then went to see Muppets in 3D. So funny - those old men always crack me up!

It was time - we were going to Toy Story Mania! Yippee!! I wondered, would this be a disappointment? It was one of those things so built up that I feared it couldn't live up to the hype. Boy, was I wrong! Think of any target game you've ever loved. My favorite was Duck Hunt for Nintendo growing up. Now think of that times 50, then put it on steroids, not to mention add your favorite Toy Story characters cheering you on. Then put yourself in a moving, swirling, spinning cart and add 3D glasses and you may just begin to imagine what this "ride" is like. One of my favorites of the whole trip. We were watching our tally and wanting to beat the others in our group, but there was so much fun around you, it didn't really matter if you hit all the targets. I just loved it. If it weren't for the 2 hour wait, I'd had gone over and over and over again.

We had fit all of this into about 3 hours. It was only 12:30 at this point! But Kelly and the boys were tired, and they decided to go back to the hotel. Chloe was heartbroken - she hadn't gotten to meet her favorite character yet, Asohka Tano. I felt so bad for her, and I wanted to stay as well. I thought it would cause an argument, so we all headed to the gate. But Kelly stopped us and encouraged me to stay with Chloe and let her see Asohka. It was the first, and really only time the whole trip we'd gone to separate locations, but it was a great thing. Chloe and I got some one on one time, the boys got to take much needed naps (Kelly included), and we all had a great outlook going into the next event - closing down Magic Kingdom again. We were going to meet up with Tia - finally!!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Final Disney post

And then Friday was upon us. We couldn't believe how quickly it was going. I was amazed at how much we'd seen, but how much more there was to see! I felt we'd barely begun.

We were off to Hollywood Studios to try our luck with Star Wars Weekend again. The weather was slightly cooler, we were going to be there at opening, and we had Jason and Steph with us. With all these bonuses, we figured it would be a much better day! :D And it was.

Opening ceremonies at DHS are soo neat! There were storm troopers on top of the

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Disney pt.3

Wednesday we headed for Animal Kingdom - yay! It was our first day in the park, and we were really excited to go on the safari - and I couldn't wait to try Everest! We got to meet some characters - Chirt from Tarzan, Baloo, and King Louie. We headed to get fast passes for Kilimanjaro Safari, then went to do a few other things. We watched It's Tough to be a Bug, which was SO CUTE!!

After the show, we headed over to get in line for Everest. We stopped on the way to see the monkeys. They were out and very active. They were yelping and hollering so loud that we couldn't believe that it was real - we kept looking for a speaker that was making all the noise! Then it was on to Everest. The wait was only 7 or 8 minutes. We couldn't believe it. I loved it, but couldn't convince any of the kids to go on it with me. Oh, well, next time, right? :)

When we finished Everest, we headed over to Kilimanjaro Safari to use our fast passes. I decided to reapply sunscreen on all the kids before walking over. Unfortunately, it was hot and the kids were really sweaty. The suncreen ran into Chloe's eye and really stung. She cried forever, we took her to the bathroom and rinsed her eyes out. Then we gave her a moist napkin to hold on her eye herself. It took a while, but she finally calmed down. I know that drama is going to be a good thing...one day! :)

The Safari was amazing. We were so close to the animals! I couldn't believe how realistic the safari was. The driver was very enthusiastic, and the kids really enjoyed themselves.

Then we stopped to get some lunch at Yak and Yeti's quick service. If you haven't tried it, you totally should. :D It was so yummy, and the servings were enormous! Then we headed over to Dinoland. On the way, we got a great surprise - we saw DeVine!! Oh, my goodness, this was so neat. DeVine is a park favorite, and pretty rare to get a glimpse of her, let alone have an up close and personal experience with her like we did. She is dressed completely in foliage so that she blends in with the trees. She moves very slowly on stilts, very cool to see. She came out of the trees after someone had spotted her. She moved toward us, and I was snapping pictures like crazy. She stopped in front of me, then moved on to Kelly, sliding right behind him. He was afraid to move for fear of knocking her over! It was very cool.

When we got to Dinoland, Jason and I headed over to Dinosaur with Logan, Chloe and Connor, while Steph and Kelly took the rest of the kids to the Boneyard. I was really looking forward to doing this ride, knowing it was going to be a lot like Jurassic Park. Chloe was feeling brave, so we let her go on it with me. Let me tell ya, that was a BIG mistake! We were a ways into the ride, screaming like crazy, when I realized Chloe wasn't screaming in fun. She was terrified! I put my arm around to tell her it was ok, but then she started crying inconsolably! She didn't ride anything else for the rest of the day.

We headed to Epcot from there, and Canon fell asleep on the bus! I felt so bad for
him! He'd gone hard all week, without complaint, and he literally just couldn't go any more. So when we got to Epcot, we let Caleb walk and put Canon in the stroller to sleep. He slept for two hours, then was good to go the rest of the night!
We had dinner that night at Teppan Edo. We celebrated Connor's birthday here, since it's his favorite kind of food. Unfortunately, the chef was the best part of the meal. Truly, our Japanese restaurants in Springfield are much better than anything we had here. But they treated us well, and gave Connor a chef's hat with Japanese writing to keep. He loved it. When we left the restaurant, we stepped over to the pond, and Chloe found a hidden Mickey on the grate. This was only the second one we'd seen the whole trip!

We took the kids over to ride Mission Space, then called it an early night, and headed back to the pool to swim. We didn't try to do a lot that night, because we planned on being there all the next day.

We took it easy the next morning (Thursday)and headed to Epcot about 10. We got our fast passes for Soarin', watched Circle of Life, went on Living with the Land, and got some lunch. We went to Soarin' right after that. Wow, was it totally worth it! It was so breathtaking, I couldn't believe the feeling of flying over San Francisco. It was one of our favorite moments of the trip! We then went to Journey into Imagination with Figment. Oh, it was so cute! Caleb just loved Figment, and so did Canon. We played a lot of the games and little experiments after the ride, which was a lot of fun. Then we went to watch Universe of Energy with Ellen. We loved it - the feeling of being surrounded by the screen was nearly as exciting as Soarin'. We were heading to Animal Kingdom for dinner at Yak & Yeti's. This was going to be Canon's birthday celebration. Unfortunately, he kind of got jipped. The waitress was really lousy, the food was only mediocre, and he almost didn't get his birthday cupcake. :( It was ok, though, because we caught the parade on our way out and he got to dance with Molly and Chloe. Now that's the way to celebrate your birthday! :)

Monday, June 7, 2010

Disney trip, part 2

Well, Stephanie pulled off the surprise proposal Monday night, and we were all headed to MK in the morning for a very fun-filled day. We met Rian and Heather at the bus stop. We decided to take the Epcot bus since the line was shorter and hop on the monorail to MK. Well, our time-saving trip backfired and ended up taking an hour to get there! :D Oh, well, it was an adventure!

We met up with the Daniels' in front of the castle, and away we went! So much to fit in for the one day that Heather and Rian were with us, but we managed to do a lot. Lots of rides, a couple shows, and a great lunch at Pinnochio's Village Haus. We headed back to Pop to get ready for dinner at the castle and to pick out a place to do the ceremony afterward.

Dinner at Cinderella's Royal Table!! Oh, truly, this was the highlight of the trip! I can't begin to tell you how exciting it was for all of us. Going in, you have no idea what to expect. Will the food be any good? Will the boys be bored? Which princess will we meet? Well, all the questions were quickly put to rest, and we knew this would be a memory to last a lifetime for ALL of us. We met Cinderella downstairs and had professional pictures taken with her. Chloe was on cloud 9, to say the least! The boys were polite, but to be honest not overly excited. Caleb was a little shy, and Kelly tried to get him to talk to Cinderella. She smiled and flirted with him a bit, and he finally came around. He kissed her cheek before we walked away, and he told her she was pretty! It was so adorable. We met a wonderful castmember named Callie. She came over and visited with us and told us that Cinderella told her we had a very charming prince in our group. We thought it was funny and had Caleb tell her what he thought of Cinderella. Callie said he was VERY charming and said she had something special for him. When she came back, she gave him a sticker that said "Honorary Prince of the Day". She told us to make sure we took lots of pictures, because the princesses would be looking for him upstairs. We had no idea what lay in store for us!

When our names were finally called, we all went upstairs together. It was beautiful. The tables, the walls, the ceiling - it was just amazing. We were seated and given our menus, and the waitress then brought the girls wands and the boys swords! They were pretty excited about that, but I was a little nervous! They behaved pretty well, though, and didn't break anything. Whew!

Once we had ordered, the introductions of the princesses began. What a grand affair! The announcer gave a short summary of each princess' story, and then she arrived to greet all the guests. It was very well done. We were seated toward the back, so we knew we'd be some of the last tables visited - but that was fine with us. We really enjoyed watching all the little girls meeting their idols. Some got so excited and would just jump and squeal!

Aurora was the first to arrive at our table. My favorite, and the princess Chloe was dressed as. She was very sweet, as you could imagine. She really made over Chloe and their matching dresses, visited with the boys, and told them to watch out for dragons. Then she saw Caleb. She looked at me and asked, "Is he the prince I've been waiting for all night??" I smiled and said yes. She quickly went and sat down beside him, and visited with him for a while. He kissed her, and she kissed him, she hugged him, and she held his hand. It was so precious. Little did we know it would almost become a competition of sorts!

Snow White arrived next. She was the most in character, I felt. Her voice was wonderful! She and Chloe talked about their best friends, and Snow White told Chloe that she was sleeping over with Cinderella that night! We pointed out Caleb and she exclaimed, "Did Aurora kiss you? She always kisses the handsome princes!" So she went to him and kissed him, too.

Ariel came after Snow White. I really enjoyed her, she was most down to earth. Chloe and the boys told her their aunt's name was Ariel, and she loved that. When it was her turn to meet Caleb, she went and sat down next to him very seriously. "Do you want me to kiss you like my friends did?" she asked him. He looked at her and said, "Uh huh!!" She grabbed her hands and said, "Well, okay, I will. But you have to promise not to tell Eric. He wouldn't like it at all!" We all laughed, but Caleb looked so serious and said, "Okay!" Ariel laughed then, and kissed him, too!

Finally, Belle came to greet us all. She was very nice, and she told Chloe what handsome beasts she had with her. She didn't stay as long as the others, but she gave Caleb a kiss before she left as well. It was such a blast, and the night wasn't even over yet. We still had a vow renewal to attend!

Steph thought about the wishing well for a great spot. But once we walked over there, we realized it was pretty busy traffic. She then decided we'd go over to Belle's story nook. It was lovely, shaded, and slightly off the main walkway, so we thought no one would bother us there. Bonus, when we arrived, CM's showed up and started taping off the walkway for the fireworks! I was a little afraid they may say something to us, but neither said a word.

Once we were settled, Heather and Kelly got the cameras ready, and Rian had me pray. Then he started the ceremony. It was precious. Jason and Steph are our best friends, and I was thrilled to share this moment with them. They are a wonderful example to so many people, and their love for each other and their children is evident. It was a short ceremony, about 15 minutes. But it was exactly what Steph was hoping it would be.

We quickly found a place to change clothes, then went to ride more rides before the night was over. We had a great time, and were looking forward to all the days we had left of the trip. It was going by faster than I imagined it could.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Our trip to Disney, Part 1

Hello, all! I am still on a Disney high, and we've been home four days! The trip was amazing, I'm so thankful that we were able to go. We left Springfield on Saturday, May 22. Not only was this the kids' first trip to Disney, it was also their first plane rides. So we started the week off with adventure for sure! Canon was a little anxious, but once we took off he was very excited.

We got to our hotel about 9:30pm, so we basically grabbed some dinner, got our rooms set up and took a swim. We were thrilled to start our Disney dreams first thing Sunday morning with breakfast with Mickey and the gang at Chef Mickey's in the Contemporary Resort!

We loved the breakfast at Chef Mickey's. What a great way to start off our first trip! We met the entire gang - Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald and Pluto. We had so much fun! The kids got pictures and autographs from everybody, and the food was pretty good, too. Then we were off to Disney Hollywood Studios.

This was the first park we would experience, and we weren't sure what to expect due to it being Star Wars Weekend. Boy, were we in for a crazy day! This was the hottest day of the trip, reaching 98 degrees. The crowds were unbelievable - I was kind of nervous to let go of any of the kids! I had a plan, thanks to my friend Kerry. She is a Disney specialist and made us a day to day schedule. Unfortunately, the plan fell apart for many reasons, and I almost crumbled right then and there. But after a few breaths and a little prayer, we quickly regrouped and chucked the plan. We couldn't ride Toy Story Mania because "Andy was home and playing with his toys". We weren't too excited to stand in line for over an hour to meet a couple of Star Wars stars. We decided to do the Studio Backlot Tour since it was a way to escape the heat and take a ride around the park. It was so much fun! The kids loved all the special effects and seeing props from some of their favorite movies. We got to go into Honey, We Shrunk the Kids playground, and it was cute. When we were finished there, the heat was exhausting us, the kids were getting cranky, and we all needed to rest. We were supposed to have dinner at Mama Melrose's and have reservations to see Fantasmic that night. But after talking it through, we decided it would be best for us all to cancel our plans and just go with the flow. I was hesitant to do this after all my planning, but I was so thankful that Kelly talked me into it! On our way out of the park, we caught the Block Party Bash. This was terrific! Chloe got pulled out to dance with some of the characters, Connor caught a bouncy ball, and we left in higher spirits, knowing that this was just the beginning of our dream vacation - we had plenty of time to do DHS again.
We went to the hotel and rested for a bit, then went to Magic Kingdom. MK was having Extra Magic Hours, so we got to stay till 2 in the morning. What fun! We experienced the fireworks, saw Mickey's Philharmagic, watched Stitch's Great Escape, rode Astro Orbiter, and so much more. Connor and Caleb were the first to wear down, but Chloe and Canon were still rearing to go. So Kelly took the two of them to Pirates of the Caribbean while the three of us sat down to rest. We got to see a lot of the park at our own pace, and the crowd level was not bad at all because we chose not to do the most popular rides. We got back to the hotel about 2:30 a.m. and slept in the next morning.

Monday we had reservations for lunch with Pooh at the Crystal Palace, so we just hung out at the Hippy Dippy pool for a couple hours after breakfast in the room. Chloe made a friend named Lacie from the United Kingdom, and they played together all morning. She told us she was there with her "nanny", and I introduced myself to her so she would know who Lacie was running around with. They were very sweet people. Kelly woke up and joined us for a bit, then we headed back to the rooms to clean up and head to MK again. The Crystal Palace was beautiful. Pooh and his pals were so cute, and the kids really enjoyed bouncing with Tigger and marching in the parade with Eeyore. After lunch, we walked over to see the Swiss Family Robinson treehouse. We loved it! Thought of Meemaw and Papa the whole time. :D We then took the monorail for a ride around all the deluxe resorts, it was a nice little time to daydream! We went to Epcot from there.

We weren't sure what the night would hold for us. Jason and Stephanie were supposed to be in about 5, and we had planned on going to Hollywood for the evening. But plans changed when Rian and Heather were on the same flight out! The entire premise of the trip was Stephanie surprising Jason with renewing their vows for their 15th anniversary. Rian was coming to officiate. At this point, Steph was afraid they'd have to tell Jason up front instead of surprising him with a proposal. But they pulled it off, no thanks to Rian and his terrible skills at lying! Which, by the way, is a good thing - being he's a pastor and all! :D We ended up spending the evening at Epcot. We did the Seas, Spaceship Earth, Mission Space, and did a lot of looking around. This park is by far the biggest, and there was no way to see it all in one night - or 5, to be honest!

We went back to the hotel, and Stephanie decided she'd propose to Jason on the bridge. We got him out there on the fact that there was supposed to be a rocket launch that night. We let the kids play, enjoyed the view...and when the time was right, Steph handed me the camera, pulled Jason aside, and gave him the biggest surprise of their married life! It was so sweet, and we were thrilled to be a part of it. He was shocked that she'd pulled it off, a little embarrassed and we all laughed a lot! He was threatening all sorts of payback on Kelly and Rian, especially, but it was all in good fun. We were looking forward to spending the next day all together at Magic Kingdom!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Today I am thankful for my Heavenly Father and His unfailing provision. Even when we mere humans have no idea of the outcome of a situation, God's hand is in every minute detail. I am constantly blown away by how much more he loves my family than I ever could. As mothers, we have a fierce love and sense of protection toward our children. But a still small voice has reminded me this week - "Ammy, they are mine." How humbling. How amazing. And how relieving. Thank you, Father, for loving me and my children more than I will ever understand.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

We're Baaaack!!

I know, it's been a while. Too long, in fact. We've just had a lot going on, and emotions have been crazy. And as my mom has always said, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all!" :D
We have had a busy 2010 so far, and I thought I'd catch you all up in one fell swoop!
School is going well, we've had many milestones hit this semester. I'm proud of all the kids, and all they have succeeded in this year so far.
Connor has his multiplication tables mastered and is doing great at his cursive writing. In fact, Stephanie and Shelley saw his recent bible verse on the fridge this weekend and told him how nice it looked. It made him very happy, and me too!
Chloe enjoys all of her subjects and does very well at all of them. But I think my favorite thing to do with her through the week is listen to her read. She has such a beautiful voice, she knows how to express herself so well. I love her intonation and expression, and I know it's a gift that she will use for a very long time.
Canon is reading!! Canon is adding!! Canon is skip counting by 2's and 10's!! Seriously, is this the child I was so hesitant to begin formal schooling with last fall? Yes, there are still the occasional days when he has no interest in doing any bookwork. But for the most part, and on most days, he absolutely eats it up. I'm so proud of him.
Co-op is still one of the highlights of our week. I know I look forward to it as much, if not more, than the kids most weeks. I love being with my sisters in this rollercoaster homeschool life and sharing our needs and blessings with one another. The spring musical, "Parablelooza" is almost upon us, and Chloe and Connor will both be in it this year. They are both very excited about it.
There has been a lot going on at Evergreen this year. But through it all, I know the Lord is in control. We are all learning to trust in Him, and waiting on His timing. Through all of the turmoil, we are becoming a closer family. The children's wing is truly on fire! We are seeing amazing growth in the kids, and I'm so thankful to be a part of it.
We had a great turnout for the Valentine's banquet and talent show, "Evergreen's Got Talent". Chloe performed her first worship dance to "Who Am I?" by Casting Crowns. Kelly and I are so proud that she wants to worship the Father with her talents. Connor, on the other hand, does NOT share his sister's love of the stage! So he brought some of his artwork and hung it up for people to look at. I love that he's found something he enjoys, and he is getting to be a very good artist. I see so much of me in him when he is sitting at the table poring over his drawings.
Now one of the biggest milestones of the year so far: Caleb turned 2 on the 3rd. I can't believe how big he is getting. Time has really flown, and it really is bittersweet. He is no longer a little baby, but a full fledged toddler - with all of the attitude to go along with that title! Honestly, though, he is such a joy to me, and brings a smile to my face all the time.
I'm glad to be back to my world of blogging. Thanks for reading, and I'll talk to you again very soon.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Back to normal??

Today was such a great day. We had our last day of winter break, and what a perfect day it was for that! Snow like we haven't had in ages - but the temperature was dangerously low. I think the high was 14 today. But that's not enough to scare the Quinn kids! We bundled up everyone, even the baby, and hit the powder! We started up the four wheelers. Connor rigged up a sled out of an old crib mattress that I "wasn't using anyway!" according to him! It was a blast. We only lasted about 20 minutes, but it was a lot of fun. Hot chocolate and cheese chowder was definitely called for on a day like this. We watched tv, played Wii, got out the art set, played knights and gymnastics. It was so much fun. Now it's back to normal tomorrow...
Co-op starts tomorrow!! Yay!! I know a lot of people are dreading it, but I just can't wait. I have such a great time with the kids, and I have an amazing bunch of friends that just light up my life. They make me laugh, they share my sorrows when I have them, they lift me up in prayer, and so many other blessings. These ladies know what I'm going through in this crazy, hectic, homeschooling journey, and they are there to encourage me - and I, them.
We'll start our schooling back up on Wednesday, and I am pretty excited. I hope to get the kids pumped about being a little more independent. I plan on letting Connor start a research project about whatever topic suits him. I'm going to let Chloe continue with her knitting/crocheting lessons with Nana. I hope to have a little more one-on-one time with Canon. I am going to encourage the older two to meet the challenge Pastor Rian gave them about studying their bibles for 10 minutes a day, all by themselves...and I hope it works out that I may get to as well!
My prayers for the rest of the school years are these: that Chloe's love of reading and language continues to grow. That Connor FINDS a true love of books - he looks at it as a chore and avoids recreational reading like the plague. That Canon stays excited about learning and continues to make progress. That I can give Caleb the attention he needs when he needs it, and that he doesn't feel left out when I'm working on school with the big ones.
A new semester, a new year, a new decade, a new journey. I pray that you all may see the glorious hand of God in your life in 2010.