Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Yes, I am raising a Mikey! Cause Mikey will eat anything!

After eating from a bag of Doritos that Maddy grabbed from the cabinet herself when I wasn't looking....

"If you need anybody to finish off any food around here, and if I like it, just call me!"

Monday, December 15, 2008

Quote of the Day

There is always something funny coming out of Maddy's mouth. I asked her to watch E for a few minutes so I could go downstairs and switch out the laundry. When I came back upstairs, she said, "E must be pooping out rubber duckies cause her bottom smells like rubber! Maybe she's got a rubber duck factory going on!"

Saturday, December 13, 2008

A party fit for a Princess

We had Maddy's birthday party this morning. It was sooo cute! They got their nails painted, put on lip gloss and blush, and then headed to the dress-up room. They got to choose from different dresses, and then they put on beads, high heel shoes, and feather boas for the fashion show. They sat around the table and had an etiquite lesson and learned how to hold their teacups like a fancy princess. It was so much fun and I think every little girl truly felt like a special princess. Enjoy the b-day pics!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Happy Birthday Beautiful Princess!

December 12, 2002

December 11, 2008

Sleeping in her Birthday present!

Her long awaited for birthday gift!!

This is one day early, but we'll be so busy tomorrow celebrating your special day that by the time the day is over, all I've have the energy to do is fall in bed!

Six years ago you came into this world. That was one of the most happiest days of my life, and one that I will never forget. I look at you and wonder where did the time go? It seems like yesterday you were looking into my eyes and smiling while you drank your bottle, and it seems like yesterday you were learning how to walk, with your hands held up in the air for balance. Someone once told me that by the time you grow up and get married, I'll be ready to let you go into someone else's arms, because babies don't go from the cradle to the altar. While most of that is true, I don't think I'll ever be able to let you go. It seems to get harder to "let go" as you get older, because now you are becoming your own little self with an amazing personality. I know there are days when you can't get my full attention because we are so busy. I apologize for that, and promise to make time for you every day, regardless if there are dirty dishes to wash or a floor to clean. I admire you every day for sharing your life with your your little brothers that left, and your little sister you have now. It takes a lot to understand why we take in children in need and provide them a loving home, but you understand, and give those babies all the love in the world.

You mean the world to me, and even though people say that children look up to their parents, I actually look up to you! I know that one day, you'll be a wonderful wife and an amazing mommy, even though you say you're not having kids when you grow up. I know you'll change your mind someday, and seeing you in that role will be so special and rewarding, but for now, I just want to hold you a little longer....


Sunday, December 7, 2008

A Masterpiece!

While we waited on the chili to cook for lunch, Maddy and I made brownies! I let her lick the bowl, and Ryan and I couldn't help but laugh as we sat in the next room listening to slurping and smacking sounds! Ryan asked her if she'd bring the bowl to him and let him have a lick too, and when she brought the bowl to him, she said, "Look! I made a masterpiece in the bowl!" I think we need more *masterpieces* in this house!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Pumpkin Time!!

In reverse order.... Baby Tweety with a mask on. Well, somewhat..haha!
Scooping out the guts. This is her 1st time ever touching the insides. She's always been afraid of the insides..LOL!

Maddy and me : )

Maddy washing the pumpkin.

Last night we carved our pumpkin. I waited till the last minute to buy our pumpkin, so the choices were limited. I don't know why I waited...maybe it's because dragging two kids to the store is more difficult than dragging one out.

Last night for supper, we had mummy dogs (hot dogs wrapped in croissants), Frankenstein fingers (french fries), witches hats (peanut butter cookies with a Hershey kiss in the middle), and Dracula's blood (aka..fruit punch)!

Maddy insisted that she wash the pumpkin before carving it because it was "dirty." She wanted an original pumpkin face with triangle eyes, nose, and a mouth. Ryan has carved some pretty neat pumpkins before, so he talked her into doing a Tweety face instead. He drew it on the pumpkin and then worried how he would carve it out..LOL! I have to say, I was a bit skeptical halfway through carving, because it didn't look like Tweety at all. It turned out to be okay, though. The way he carved it makes it look like Tweety is wearing a mask. I'm just glad he carved it instead of me, because I can't carve a pumpkin to save my life! By the time I get done with typical faces, you can't tell an eye from a nose!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Lucky Ducks!

The YMCA had their annual Halloween Party tonight. I don't believe in luck, but if I did, I'd say we were the luckiest people around! Maddy won twice at the cake walk, BooBoo won 3rd place in the costume contest, Ryan won the candy corn guessing game, and I won a raffle! We got two t-shirts, a ton of candy, free Firehouse sub, free car wash, free day of play at Partee Time, a water bottle, a Bible, and a free week of summer day camp at the Y! I fully intend on using the day camp! : )

BooBoo won't be Eeyore for Halloween this year afterall. I let Maddy talk me into buying her a Tinkerbell costume to match hers, so now we have big Tink and baby Tink! Both of them are so cute in their costumes! I'll post a pic later...it's been a long night!

I had to share some funny things Maddy said today....

She is such a big helper and she was feeding E her lunch while I got Maddy's lunch ready. She said that her jar of baby food stank! I said, "It's got peaches, bananas, and apples in it." Maddy said, "No matter it stinks...whew!!"

While she was eating, she looked over on the bakers rack and said, "We have a book called Fix It Yourself." I said, "That's daddys book." She said, "Well why doesn't he use it??" Yeah Ryan, she's telling on you!!!! I said, "What does he need to fix?" She said, "The TV!" ((Our TV went out last week..ahh!!)) I told her that the book tells you how to fix things like floors, walls, electrical outlets, etc. I must not have made myself clear because she said, "What's a vegetable outlet?"
It's never a boring moment at our place!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Three Funny Princesses

Lunch is ready!!

Maddy has two friends over to play this morning since their mom had a meeting. I am cracking up at the sounds coming from the next room over......

They are making Snow White and her prince get married in the castle, and they are doing it up big! They're making invitations for the wedding and everything. So, here are some things coming from the playroom....

"You know, you have to get married to have a baby. Let's get our princess married to her prince so they can make lots of children!"

"Yeah, her leg broke off. That's okay, cause she'll be a one-legged bride."

"I have one naked princess. Let's pretend that this boy and this girl stole her clothes and that's why she's naked!"

Sweet little Rebekah needed a piece of paper to make an invitation, so she came to me and said, "I need a page."

"We need to go wash up all this ink on our hands." UH OH!! Better go check on them now!
From little Rebekah: "Let's pretend the sink is a horsey with water in his mouth and that's where the water is coming from." From the other two girls: "EEEEWWW!!!"

Well, it's lunch time, and I've got three hungry princesses and one sick tiny princess that will be waking up any minute now, so I'd better get lunch ready before these princesses work their magic and turn me into a toad! Looks like I better make a yummy lunch cause I just heard..

"Let's have a gymnastics contest and whoever does the best gets the yummiest lunch!"

Thursday, October 2, 2008

All for a bag of grapes!

This has been the day from doom! I could have said a lot worse, but I'll try to choose my words nicely! : )

I'll spare you all the details on how I tried my best to clean my house today with a "one step forward, two step back" process, or how my foster baby girl's sweet personality is missing somewhere and we haven't found it yet! Or how she had somehow managed to pull 4 diapers off her changing table while still in her crib and attempted to eat them when she was supposed to be napping! Or, the fact that it is 11pm and my stomach's growling because I didn't have time to stop and breathe today...let alone eat!

So I dropped Maddy off at gymnastics and told her that I was gonna go to Bilo and Kmart and I'd be back to pick her up when her class ended. She's finally old enough that I can do that now! I told her that if for any reason I wasn't back exactly when her class ended, to go into the playroom and wait for me. She said, "Well, can you be late, please?! I want you to be late every time so I can play in the playroom with the beanbags!" Yeah, um...thanks so much, Maddy!

I went to Bilo with 4 things on my list to buy: Sirloin tips for tomorrow's special home-cooked meal that I promised my husband, rolls, a tomato, and a cucumber. While I was walking toward the meat department I realized I needed dog food, so I almost threw my already hurting back out lifting the bag in the cart. Once I reached the meat department, I saw that they had everything covered in plastic! Everything! All meats, all refrigerated items, eggs, milk..everything. I figured something had gone wrong, so I kept on going to the produce department. While I was in that area, I noticed their grapes were on sale for 99 cent a pound, but it was just the white seedless ones. The original price and all the rest of them were $2.99/pound. I picked up a bag and headed to the check-out. The lady rang up my groceries and I noticed that the grapes rang up $2.99/pound, so I questioned her about it whenever she told me the total. The total was $13 and some change. She got a girl to run back to the grapes to make sure they were on sale for 99 cent/lb, and sure enough...I was right! Go figure! So the girl adjusted the price and my total now is....$13 and some change! Now had I not recently become a nitty-gritty bargain grocery shopper, I would have paid, taken my bags and my shy self, and left. But, with the price of everything going up these days, I had to question it. I'm getting brave as I get older I guess..LOL! Or maybe it's just that I don't care anymore, but with the 2 pounds of grapes I got, that equals $4 more than I should have had to pay, and maybe I want to buy my girl a Happy Meal tomorrow..LOL! So, I asked the lady (very nicely might I add) why I'm getting the same total give or take a few cent, when they just did a price adjustment. She tried to show me my receipt, but if you've ever tried to figure out a Bilo receipt, it will take all day!

She called the manager over there, and all I wanted to know was why I'm getting the same total even though they adjusted the price from $2.99 to .99! He must have been in a foul mood, because he then jerks all of my things out of my cart, jerks them out of my bags, and throws his hands up before he starts to re-ring everything up! OMG!!! The baby was crying by this point because she was so tired and I am livid! Why do people do things like this when they're supposed to be there to please the customer?! Well, sure enough, after re-checking everything out, my total was.....$13 and some change! Apparently, the lady didn't scan something the first time around, which was why I got the same total (give or take a few cent) I did the first time...when my grapes were $2.99! Boy did I feel like the biggest idiot on the planet when he told me my total! I was embarrassed, mad, hurt, but I paid for my things, and got out of there as fast as I could! I'm sure they laughed me all the way home!

So now I've got a hurt back (darn dogs!), crushed pride, NO meat, a tomato, a cucumber, 2 packs of sweet rolls, and a bag of grapes that scream at me everytime I open the refrigerator! I don't know that I can even eat these grapes now because of what they have caused me! Maybe I can try to crush them and make some good wine, cause I sure could use a good glass right now!

Oh yeah, and in case you're wondering why everything was covered in plastic, it was because their power got shut off and they were running on back up generators and they wanted to keep all of their refrigerated stuff cool! Serves them right, the ol' suckers!

Don't worry though, Maddy Bugg...you'll still get your Happy Meal tomorrow, cause mommy will want a burger tomorrow for lunch. Lucky you, sweet girl! LOL!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Calling Customer Service! Are you out there? Do you still exsist?

What I want to know is, when did customer service go from a good thing, to a big pile of whale crap on the bottom of the ocean floor?

We decided, or maybe I just decided, anyway...to get a new camera. I spent a while last night searching for a good one (unfortunately it had to be within my budget..LOL!) and finally settled on one. I called the store (none other but good ol' Walmart) and after the girl kept me on hold for about 10 minutes, she came back to the phone and said they had 2 in the back, but couldn't hold one for me. The store was about 45 minutes away, I still had laundry going, floors to vacuum, and emails to check, plus I wasn't planning on going that way till later. I nervously prayed that they would still have this camera when I got there. Maybe anxiety got the best of me, but I just about sprinted into Walmart's front doors and headed to the Photo Lab. My heart was racing, probably cause I was still carrying my 5 year old in my arms, and...I really wanted this camera. Well, lo and behold, who else is propped up against the counter in the photo lab than the meanest ol' bitty I've ever seen! She looked like she was ready to bite someone's head off, and I was scared it would be mine! I caught my breath, and told her that I was there to buy a camera, and she just looked at me like she didn't speak English! I froze as she said in her deep burly voice, "what camera do you want?" I told her, and she rolled her eyes at me!! She asked a girl on the floor to get it out of the locked case, but I told her that the woman on the phone said they were in the back. She asked me, "Well why didn't you tell me that in the first place?" OMG!!! I don't care how big or how mean this woman was, I was about to use all my might and pull her across the counter. But then I looked down at the little face that looks up at me, and took a deep breath and decided I'd kill her with kindness! Apparently it didn't do a bit of good, because she was the same ol' sour puss when I paid for my camera and walked away!

Another situation happened last week to Ryan. We are not really a big TV watching family, but my husband got an itch to get the digital converter boxes, so he and Maddy set out to find one. He called (again...none other than) Walmart and the guy told him they were in stock. When he gets there, there are none. He asked the guy about it and the guy told him that someone must have came and got them from the time he talked to Ryan on the phone until then, which was probably about 15 minutes. He told Ryan, "If you see someone walking around with one in their buggy, just take it out of their buggy. I don't care." WHAT?!?!

Customer service used to mean so much more. Nowdays, it's just about a paycheck. Why oh why can't we live like we did when we were kids? Why do things have to change for the worst? It really makes me sad, because my daughter will grow up experiencing this mess. We try our best to teach her proper manners and how to be nice to people, and then she goes out into the world and sees people acting like they do. It's sickening! I guess the only cure for that is to just stay out of Walmart!!

On another note, I want to say that I feel good! For the past two weeks, I have not been myself. Ever since we got back from Disney World, I have not been motivated to do anything at all. My body is at home, but my mind and my heart is still on vacation. I guess it was the fact that we got to spend every waking moment with Ryan, and then we had to come back to reality, and I just wasn't ready! I felt like a kid about to explode in a temper tantrum lately. Nothing has gone the way I wanted it to, and even though it's getting close to my favorite time of year, I still felt the need to hide like a hermit in my house. I have been dreading Ryan leaving for business, and that's probably the root of this funk I've been in lately. Things have changed, though. We started our Friday co-op back, and I have to say also, that we have some really great friends! I have found that if I put myself out there and actually do things instead of thinking of doing things, I am a much happier person. For the past two days, we have spent with friends and now I know that we all need friends to lift us up. I am so thankful for the people that God has put in our paths, and one couple in particular will be greatly missed when they move. To friends, to family, to Maddy, and to Ryan...thanks for brightening my day...over and over again!

Okay...now I'm gonna go play with my camera!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Disney Tips have arrived!

Since I spent many many hours researching Disney World, and asking countless questions from friends who have been there before, I thought I'd put a list of tips together for those of you who are looking to visit Disney World! Keep in mind these tips are from two people with a 5 year old little girl, who learned their lesson on what to do and what not to do : )

*You will want to get a PhotoPass. The card is free, and you are able to view all of your pictures after your trip. You can spend around $13 for one picture, or you can spend around $100 and get all of your pictures, plus the copyright to print as many as you want. Pretty much a no-brainer if you ask me. We were able to get a lot of family shots this way. When you get the card from the Phtopass photographer, make sure you write the number down, just in case you lose your card. You can always get another card from a photographer, but if you don't write your photopass # down, there's no way to view your pictures from the card if you lose it. With the photopass, they will also do photo-edited pictures as well. Tinkerbell and Simba showed up in our daughter's hands! : )

*Photopass Photographers are not in the Character dining places, so you'll need to bring your own camera for character pictures at your table. If you chose the Princess Storybook Dining at Norway (Epcot), you will receive a 5x7 and four 4x6 of your child and one princess for free. I believe you get free Princess pictures at the Cinderella's Royal Table dining too.

*If you have a daughter, take lots of money! No joke! We thought we'd be able to hold off on buying things, but it is very very hard! Save up and treat your princess. How often do you get to go to Disney World anyway?! : ) In Downtown Disney, they have a toy store with some great deals. You can stuff a box with Mr. Potato Head (Disney Themed, btw) stuff for $19.00. The best thing to do is if you already have a potato head, just get the accessories, so that way you can get more, because you won't have a potato to take up space. You can also stuff a box of My Little Pony things for $18. They have all of the Princess clothes, and accessories for My Little Ponies that you can only get at Disney World. They also have a "Make Your Own Light Saber" station for the little boys in your life : )

*If you're going to Downtown Disney, get a map before you go. The place is huge, and you'll want to park close to the part you'll be visiting. If you're not going to any shows or the "nightlife" stuff, then you're probably gonna be going to the Marketplace side, which is where all of the toy stores, Christmas stores, etc are.

*If you do Character dining at 1900 Parkfare at the Grand Floridian, request a table in the center of the restaurant. You will get to meet all of the characters regardless of where you sit, but Cinderella and Prince Charming come out for a dance in the center of the restaurant, and Prince Charming will dance with the little girls sometimes.

*If you have little kids, start with little rides first. Trust us, we learned this the hard way, by taking our daughter on the big rides first. After a scary ride on Splash Mountain, she thought all of the rides were scary....even Winnie the Pooh : )

*In Magic Kingdom, get seated for the parade at least one hour before the parade starts. As the time gets closer, it's very hard to find a seat. The best place for the parade, and fireworks afterwards, is on Main St. USA right down from the bridge that crosses over into Tomorrowland, looking toward the castle. Make sure you look up to the right of the castle before the fireworks start, because you might just see someone flying from the castle! ; )

*In Magic Kingdom, right after you pass the bridge into Liberty Square, there is a lady that does silouhettes. It is only $8.00 per person and you get two copies. It is very cool, because she cuts your child's profile out of paper, just by looking at them! If you get any kind of drawing anywhere else, you'll spend a fortune! This was a really neat thing to have, and very inexpensive.

*If you are doing a character dining for lunch, schedule it for an early lunch. If it's a buffet, they will still have breakfast food on the bar, so you can get the best of both worlds! : ) My hubby enjoyed this at the Play N Dine at Hollywood Studios!

*The best way to meet characters is to do character dining. We went during off season, so we met a lot of characters in the parks, but I would imagine it's pretty hard to meet them during peak seasons. If you have a little princess that wants to meet all of the princesses, the best place is at Akershus Royal Princess Storybook Lunch in Norway at Epcot. All of the princesses come around to your table, so you don't have to worry about standing in line in the parks to meet them. The Hall of Fame tent in Toontown at Magic Kingdom is good for meeting several characters at once...and it's inside...so no standing out in the heat!

*If you choose to use fast-passes, get them early. Some of the most popular rides only allow a certain amount of fast passes per day. If you choose to use the fast pass, make sure it's something that you really want to ride. If you get a fast pass at 1:00 and it tells you to come back at 3:00, you can't get another fast pass until you ride the ride at 3:00. If you don't mind being split up on rides, the easiest and fastest way to ride is using the single rider que. You can pretty much walk right on the ride, and beat the line!

*Ellen's Dinosaur ride is pretty neat. However, depending on what your beliefs are, you might want to skip it. They talk about how the world came into existence by the Big Bang, and for us, personally, we believe it was God that created the world and not from something just all of a sudden exploding, so if you choose to ride this ride, be warned!

*You'll want to get drinks in bottles instead of cups with lids. You're allowed to take bottled drinks into shows and rides, but not drinks in regular cups with lids. You'll have to leave those outside.

*Epcot has a KidCot thing, but all it is, is just coloring. You can color a mask and go around to the different countries and get a stamp from the different countries, but it wasn't worth spending time on in my opinion.

*If you're looking for something really educational, go to the American Theater in Epcot. It's got a lot of information on the history of our Country.

*Epcot has the best fireworks I have ever seen in my life! Don't miss them!

*Animal Kingdom is not worth spending the money on! It is very hot and humid and almost imposible to find your way around, even with a map! You almost need a GPS in that park..LOL! They have a neat safari ride, and the Everest coaster is really cool, but it's not worth spending your quality time on. We won't be doing Animal Kingdom when we go back.

*If you have a small child, definitely check out Turtle Talk With Crush from Finding Nemo at Epcot. Crush interacts with the kids, and the kids love it!

*Be sure to check out some of the 3D shows. Be prepared, because they do have special effects!

*When you get into the park, be sure to pick up a times schedule in addition to a park map. The times schedule will tell you what time everything is open, the shows, parades and fireworks times, and where the characters are and at what time.

*As far as the hotels, you get what you pay for. The budget hotels are pretty small, but it was fine for the 3 of us. If you stay at a higher-end hotel, you get to ride the monorail to the parks, instead of the bus.

*Take VERY comfortable walking shoes, and if you're not already walking everyday, start now! LOL! We were very sore from all of the walking, because we weren't exactly used to it. We would have enjoyed ourselves much more had we not been hobbling around from sore feet! : )

We hope you'll get some use out of these tips, and keep in mind, these are just our personal opinions! : ) Hope you have as much fun as we did! : )

We saw the magic....and then we cried!

Getting Sprinkled with magic Fairy Dust!
Isn't she beautiful!
A picture I will cherish forever! This was her expression after seeing the castle for the first time!
A Tigg-er-if-ic TiGgEr and Maddy!
Sitting by the fireplace in Minnie's House
Ariel's Grotto! Maddy was soaking wet from playing in the fountains, but I guess it fits!
Cinderella's Castle before the fireworks.
" Welcome to MY place!"

Princess Jasmine and Princess Maddy...and Dumbo!
Princess Cinderella and Princess Maddy
Our Princess with her favorite Princess of all times....Princess Belle!
Play N Dine at Hollywood Studios.
What happened to my roll of film?!?! LOL!

We're back! We had such a great time at Disney World! We've got lots of pictures to share, so these are just a few of the hundreds! There's so much to tell you about our trip, but I'll stick with the basics, because there won't ever be enough time to explain to you what fun we had!

We started the trip by taking Maddy to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique for a make-over. We were hesitant to do this, because it's pretty expensive, but the memories we all share from the experience was worth far more than what money could buy! Maddy chose the Princess Package and they fixed her hair up like a princess...complete with a crown and "fairy dust"..aka glitter! We left the Boutique and went to have supper with Cinderella, Prince Charming, Anastasia, Drizella, and Lady Tramaine. It was quiet an experience. They all played their parts very well. Maddy was a little hesitant to have her picture taken with Lady Tramaine (Cinderella's step-mother), but we talked her into taking a picture. Maddy and Lady Tramaine have the same expression in the picture! A big frown!

After supper we went back to our hotel for the night. We stayed at All Star Movies in the Mighty Ducks building. We had a huge 3 story duck hockey mask on the side of our building, and our pool was called the "duck pond." It was a pretty decent hotel for the money.

The next day we went to Magic Kingdom. Seeing Maddy's expression after seeing Cinderella's castle for the first time was absolutely priceless! All she said was "LOOK!" Of course Ryan and I cried like a baby! I don't know why we get so emotional when she gets so excited, but we do. Maybe we just love her like crazy! : ) We made the mistake of taking her on Splash Mountain for her first ride. She wanted to ride it, but I don't think she expected it to drop like it did. After Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (small coaster), she was very hard to convince that the other rides would be okay. Ryan and I thought we were going to pull our hair out because of how she was acting. Now we can laugh about it! She would always ask questions like, "Is it gonna be dark? Is it scary? Does it drop?" It was pitiful, but at the same time, when you're trying to get a child to ride Winnie the Pooh and she's freaking out, it was quiet stressful! After she rode all of the other rides and she realized that it wasn't a scary ride, she was perfectly fine, and she rode them again...and again..and again! I got to ride Dumbo for the first time! There's a story that goes behind that! When I was 6 years old, I went to Disney World and was in line to ride Dumbo when a big thunderstorm hit. I didn't get to ride Dumbo, and I threw a fit all the way out of the park screaming, "I WANNA RIDE DUMBO!!!" My parents will never let me forget that, but now I can tell them that "I GOT TO RIDE DUMBO!!!" : ) We had supper with all of the Pooh Characters (Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, and Eeyore) that night. Maddy enjoyed meeting all of the characters.

We spent the next day in Hollywood Studios. It's a really cool place! Maddy got to play in the Honey I Shrunk the Kids area, and it was made just like the movie set. Blades of grass were 10 feet tall, and the kids could crawl through the fake ant hills. It was really neat! I got to ride the Tower of Terror finally! It was definitely a thrill ride! We saw the Beauty and the Beast Show, and had lunch with the characters from Playhouse Disney. Maddy got to meet two of the Little Einsteins and Jojo and Goliath from Jojo's Circus. The kids get to go up to the front of the restaurant and dance. Maddy loved dancing with the characters! We also took a movie ride to see how they film different movies and had to walk through the Villian side. They had costumes that the villians wore in the actual movies. Maddy was excited to see the witch's costume from Enchanted that Susan Sarandon wore.

The next park was Epcot. Of course, Maddy was freaking out in the big ball, but now she says she liked it. Go figure! LOL! We got to ride on Ellen's Dinosaur ride, the Star Wars ride, Finding Nemo, and got to meet Crush from Nemo! They have an interactive show called Turtle Talk with Crush and Crush is on a big screen, and moves his mouth and interacts with the kids. It's really cool! We visited all of the countries, which was neat! We had lunch at the Akershus Storybook Dining at Norway. All of the princesses came around to our table to meet Princess Maddy, and she was sooooo thrilled! The fireworks at Epcot are a must see! They were amazing!! I've seen great fireworks, but nothing like they have at Epcot!

Wednesday we spent the day at Animal Kingdom. I was less than impressed! The safari ride was neat, and the Everest Roller Coaster was wicked, but other than that, it wasn't exactly a good park. They do have an awesome Nemo show, that is inside, in the cool! It was just really hot that day, and very humid. We left Animal Kingdom and had supper at Chef Mickeys. Mickey, Donald, Goofy, Pluto, and Minnie came to our table for pictures. Maddy liked Donald the best because she said he was soft! The food was really good....all of it!

We spent the last two days in Magic Kingdom. Maddy's favorite ride was Small World and Peter Pan's Flight. Favorite ride, after she got over her fear, of course! I think we rode Small World about 10 times, and Peter Pan at least 6! Ryan surprised her with a big Princess Minnie and a Small World pin when we got off our 3rd ride on Peter Pan. We bought her a Dumbo too, which is now her prized possession. It's a baby Dumbo, and I have to admit he's sooooo cute! They're inseparable now! Thursday we ate at a nice Italian restaurant that was themed after Lady and the Tramp. Friday we ate at Liberty Tree Tavern with Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, and Pluto.

We got to meet just about every single character except for Daisy. It was a great time to go. The crowds weren't bad at all, and the most we had to wait to ride a ride was 20 minutes. It was such a great trip, and we now have memories to last a lifetime. We're already looking forward to going back, after my feet re-cooperate from all of the walking! LOL!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Beautiful Biltmore

All I can say is "WOW!"
Ryan and I in front of our wanna be home!
And a kiss for good luck!
Amanda in the gardens.
Ryan under some sort of cabana thing. It was so breezy and cool under there!
So I've lived in SC all my life, and I can't believe I've never taken the 1 1/2 hour trip to Biltmore. Now I know what I've been missing! Ryan and I continued our celebration weekend with a trip today to see this magnificent place. I was blown away! So apparently, George Vanderbilt built this house, later married, and he and his wife had one child....ONE CHILD....and this big house!!! The house has 250 rooms, but the tour only takes you to about 65 or so. There are 40-something bathrooms, all of which cannot be used. There's about as many fireplaces as bathrooms. What they call their "small pantry" is about the size of my living room! What I thought was a bit funny is how George and his wife, Edith, had separate bedrooms! Very interesting! I wonder which one their baby girl was conceived in? Okay, that was out of line..haha! Their basement was wild! They had an inground swimming pool, their own bowling alley, everything! It's a house where if you lived there, you'd never have to, or want to leave. I think my favorite room was the main dining room. The dining table was 40 feet long. It was absolutely amazing! Words cannot describe the beauty of this house. If you're ever up that way, I highly recommend a trip! We left the house and went to the gardens. I love flowers, but I don't have the patience to deal with them, but there were more flowers than you can imagine in the gardens. I highly respect whoever takes care of them all....that would be one heck of a job! We visited the winery when we left the gardens, and got to see how the wine was made, and we did our first wine tasting! I'm not a big fan of wine, but I think I could be after today! LOL! We got some Christmas presents bought today for the wine lovers in our family! One thing I forgot to mention earlier was that George and Edith's only daughter, Cornelia, was born on August 22, 1900. There was a quote on the wall made by her mother the day after she was born, August 23, 1900. It was ironic that exactly 108 years later to the day, we were standing in the room where baby Cornelia was born! So needless to say, we had a wonderful day, and now I'm headed to bed...with aching feet! Enjoy the pictures..they speak for themself.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Ten years?! Really? WOW!

It started with a kiss and wound up like this....and the rest is in the making!

Ten years ago I met a wonderful man, who later became my husband! It's so hard to believe it's been 10 years. Yes, I know that's cliche, but it's so true! So, this is the story of how we met, and how it took a really funny turn.

Ryan sent me an IM on AOL on August 20th, 1998. I was in the process of signing off AOL, and had already gotten the "sign off" confirmation when all of a sudden an IM pops up, because he was in the process of sending it as I was signing off. Normally, I'd get those idiots IMing me saying, "Hey, got a pic?" or "18 year old male here, what's your stats?" But for some reason this one seemed sincere. It said, "Hey, wanna chat?" It was from a person who identified himself at CUSaxMan. Something was telling me to sign on again and talk to this person, so I did. I gave him my number, and he called me that night. We talked for 4 hours, and decided to meet the next day. All I knew was that his name was Ryan, he was 21, and was finishing his senior year at Clemson, and he was a saxophonist. So somewhere around 6 that next night, 8/21/98, this man I didn't know pulled into the driveway. He came in, and we talked for a bit while my mom sat on the couch with her skeptical face! Ha!

Then we went to Pizza Hut for supper. We had a mushroom and green peppers pizza with extra cheese : ) Now here's where the funny part comes into play. Ryan assumed that Pizza Hut took a card, so when he went up to pay, he gave him his card. Well, Pizza Hut didn't take a card back then..only cash! I saw the sweat forming on his forehead..haha! He turned to me and asked if I had 20 dollars. Normally I wouldn't have carried cash with me, but it was a good thing I did that night! So, needless to say, I paid for our first meal. That's something that I'll never let him out-live. I still nag him from time to time about it : ) Everytime I ask him where my 20 dollars is that he owes me, he laughs and says, "I think you've been more than paid back." Haha!

So after supper, and after I paid (((Hint hint, honey!!))), we went to Blockbuster and rented "The Ghost In The Darkness". It wasn't a movie that I would have rented myself, but it was alright. The best part was sitting next to this man and cuddling with him. Yes, we cuddled. I barely even knew him, but something about it just felt right. I didn't feel the least bit uncomfortable, despite what friends and family warned me about "Internet Lovers".

He took me back home that night and was a perfect gentleman! He leaned into me and before he kissed me he said, "May I?" So, he kissed me! LOL! I'm normally not much of a kiss and tell kinda girl, but I'm not ashamed..hehe!

We really hit it off and never broke up, well, not for more than 30 minutes anyway! We were engaged 14 1/2 months later, and married almost 8 months after that. We've had some great times, and some really bad times together, but that's what makes us stronger. So, on our 10 year meeting anniversary, I want to tell you, Ryan, that I do love you more than life itself and thank you so much for 10 short years!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

New Blog

I've created a blog about our homeschooling journey through K5! Check it out! www.amandakouvolo.blogspot.com

Monday, August 18, 2008

Maddy through the years

When my friend's kids throw tantrums, I just bow my head and say a prayer for them..LOL! It's hard for them to imagine Maddy throwing a fit, because they know her now, but here is living proof that "I've been there!"
5 weeks old and adoring her daddy!
8 weeks old, and already a Ham!
15 months old in her favorite chair
This was her sneaky grin! I could always tell she was up to no good when she made this face!
First hair cut. She was born with barely peach fuzz, so she didn't get her first trim till she was 2!
I realized that most of my friends that I have now only know Maddy as she is...a cute, busy little 5 year old girl. I thought I would add a few pictures of Maddy from a baby until now. There are so many more I want to add, but not enough time to go through every set. We were very much into snapping her picture round the clock. She got so used to it she would start smiling as soon as she saw the camera.

She was born on December 12th, 2002 at 7:58 weighing in at 8 lbs 15 oz, and 21 inches long. People said her cheeks were so rosy, so my mom called her "Rose Bud". Ryan and I were crazy and clueless and gave her applesauce at 2 months, which she loved, but her tummy didn't. She celebrated her first Christmas when she was only 12 days old. She went to her first Church service at 10 days old. She was Eeyore for her first Halloween, a lady bug for her 2nd, Dora for her 3rd, a "fancy witch" for her 4th, and Dorothy for her 5th. She got her first tooth, crawled, and pulled up all in the same week. When she was first starting to walk, she would hold her hands up in the air like a mummy! She started taking gymnastics when she was 13 months old, and has become a great gymnast, if I say so myself. ; ) When I took her to her 1st class, they sat in a circle and rolled a big ball around, and Maddy clapped and screamed out "BALL!" She's always been such a great sleeper. She started sleeping through the night about 9 weeks, and until she was 3, she would sleep 12-14 hours at night, plus take a 3-4 hour nap during the day! I started missing her after a while! Two weeks before she turned 14 months old, she morphed into a monkey and climbed out of her crib. I put her in the crib, and shortly after started hearing a bunch of commotion coming from her room. When I opened her door, I saw her standing in the middle of her room, everything dumped off her changing table, and she had two Q-tips hanging out of her mouth like a walrus, and was clapping her hands..wanting praise for her "great accomplishment!" She took her first cruise in 2006, and loved it! She was known as "Monkey Maddy" around the boat. She got her hair put in braids and beads by a lady that lived on the island in the Bahamas. She still asks me when can she get her hair braided like that again! Her birthday themes were 1st: Dragonflies and butterflies, 2nd: Elmo, 3rd: Chuck E Cheese, 4th:Ariel, 5th: Belle, and she is forever changing her mind about her 6th birthday theme! She has never been much of a baby doll lover, but instead she adores stuffed animals. She had two old ragged bunnies that she used to drag around from place to place. Their real name was Peaches, but when she was learning how to talk, she called them "Chi-Chi". Both Chi-Chi's became a valuable part of our family. It was like having three kids, because where ever Maddy went, two Chi Chi's would follow. She drug them when she was learning how to crawl, carried them when she started walking, and she finally quit carrying them when she turned 3 1/2. They were horrible looking by then, but I cried because, like I said, they were part of our little family! We still have those Chi-Chi's packed away somewhere, and as long as there is breath in me, we'll be holding onto those things! So, if you've read this far, God bless you! Maddy is such a special little girl that we just can't seem to get enough of! Sometimes I have to pinch myself because it feels like such a dream, that God would allow me the un-deserving priviledge to be this little girl's mommy! I love you, Maddy Bugg!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

~*Pretty as a Princess*~

Getting ready to leave for the tea party!
My little *brown-haired* Cinderella!
Looking at the other girls card to make sure they "really did have Bingo!"
The yummy food and punch!

Maddy went to a Princess Tea Party at Chick Fil A tonight. This was her 2nd tea party there. The host actually laughed a little when we walked up, because she knew we would be there. If it involves a princess, we're there! Maddy won a tea party a few months ago from a raffle at gymnastics, so the lady will be coming to do her very own Princess tea party in December! They played Princess Bingo, got their nails painted, had an etiquite class, ate chicken mini's and cake, and had punch. There were lots of little princesses there. Maddy's favorite was the little girl dressed just like Cinderella. She had her blonde hair balled up and everything! My favorite princess was the cutie pie in the white dress! : )

Saturday, August 9, 2008

First Trip To The Riverbanks Zoo

Baby Flamingos in the Bird Nursery!
For some reason this one reminds me of the kids song "Matilda Gorilla"
"I've got my eye on you!"
The Penguin exhibit was great!

Maddy and her mommy standing in front of the penguins.
" Surfs Up, Dude!"
My Two Tigers....on a Tiger!
Maddy holding a stuffed giraffe, and standing near a *real* giraffe!
"I'm gonna eat you up!!!"

We took Maddy to the Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia today. It was her first trip. We all had a good time, but it was so HOT! The sea lion was being lazy and sleeping, the gorilla was hiding, and they were all sold out of giraffe food, but we did get to see some great animals, including a grizzly bear!!! We're planning on taking another trip there, but it's gonna have to drop below 70 degrees first!