About Me
Name: Lauren         Location: Middle Tennessee, USA

Welcome to my blog! I am a Christian, wife, and mother who enjoys reading, running, and all things Disney. Stop by regularly for a glimpse into my life!
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Saturday, February 27, 2010
Run, Lauren, Run!
Remember this?

That day, for no particular reason, I decided to go for a little run. So I ran to the end of the road. And when I got there, I thought maybe I'd run to the end of town. And when I got there, I thought maybe I'd just run across Greenbow County. And I figured, since I run this far, maybe I'd just run across the great state of Alabama. And that's what I did. I ran clear across Alabama. For no particular reason I just kept on going. I ran clear to the ocean. And when I got there, I figured, since I'd gone this far, I might as well turn around, just keep on going. When I got to another ocean, I figured, since I'd gone this far, I might as well just turn back, keep right on going.
Well, my accomplishment pales in comparison to running for 3 years, 2 months, 14 days, and 16 hours like Forrest Gump, but I am thrilled about my progress. I am starting week six of my Couch to 5K program. At the end of week 5, I had to run for 20 minutes straight. I will confess that when I started running in January, 20 minutes sounded like forever, and even when I started the 20 minute run, I wasn't sure how it was going to go, but I did it! Now that I know I can run for 20 minutes, I am excited to finish the next three weeks. These weeks consist mostly of 25, 28, and 30 minute runs, but now that I passed 20, I know I can do it.

My short-term goal is to participate in a local 5K in April. I can't wait to cross the finish line!


  posted at 9:18 AM  

Thursday, February 25, 2010
A Fun Visit
At the beginning of January, my Dad retired, and he and my mom moved back to Tennessee. They now live in the town where I grew up, which is about an hour from where I live now. On the Sunday before President's Day, my husband left for a business trip, so the kids and I headed to my parents' new house for the night. Although we planned to return the next day, it snowed, so the kids and I got to spend several days there.

The kids enjoyed exploring Grammy and Papa's new house. My Best Girl found a harmonica that belonged to my Papa (my dad's Dad). I am sure he never imagined that his great-grandchild would one day play his harmonica very loudly and for a very long time. :)

Since it was cold, we enjoyed completing a few LEGO projects, playing UNO, and watching the Olympics. We did make it out to eat once (at Captain D's because my Favorite Boy really wanted to eat there), but we mostly just relaxed. We are excited that Grammy and Papa live so close, and we look forward to visiting them again soon!

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  posted at 11:54 AM  

Tuesday, February 23, 2010
What's On My Nightstand
It's already time for the monthly Nightstand carnival at 5 Minutes for Books. I have a few books in my pile, and since several of them are classics that I am hoping to read for the Classics Bookclub, I probably won't get them all finished in one month's time (I tend to read classics more slowly).

I am reading Little Women right now. I have never read it before, so when I was given the opportunity to read The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott, I decided to take the time to spend some time with Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy. I am about halfway through, and I am enjoying it. I also have Jane Eyre and To Kill a Mockingbird in my stack.

Sons of Thunder by Susan May Warren, Secrets of Eden by Chris Bohjalian, and The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith are the other fiction titles in my stack. Chi Running and Marathoning for Mortals are my nonfiction titles.

I am not going to take the time for links in my post today, but if any of these titles interest you, I have a new widget in my sidebar that shows the book I am reading now and the books that are next in line. Be sure to visit 5 Minutes for Books to see what others are reading this month!


  posted at 7:54 AM  

Friday, February 19, 2010
Small Talk at My House
A few fun conversations happened at my house today:

My Best Girl decided that she might be getting too big for kisses. Today, after I kissed her cheek, she told me, "Mom, whenever you kiss me, I am going to wipe it off; but don’t worry—the love will still be there."

Later, my husband surprised her with some flowers. After he pulled them out from behind his back, she grinned from ear to ear, hugged him and said, "Oh, I am definitely marrying you!"

I guess I have some competition!

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  posted at 4:07 PM  

Thursday, February 18, 2010
Disney, Day Seven
On day seven of our Disney trip, we returned to the Magic Kingdom. When we left our hotel, we were unsure how the day would pan out because it was supposed to rain a lot. We donned our ponchos and hoped for the best. We were thrilled when the rain fizzled out after an hour or so, and we were able to enjoy the Magic Kingdom with very low crowds. Unfortunately, I left my camera battery in the hotel room so I didn't get to document this day in detail. We prepaid for the Disney Photopass CD (thankfully), so I was able to get some pictures made by the Disney photographers during character greetings.

We started out with the Indy Speedway and the Teacups. Then, my Favorite Boy and his dad went to Space Mountain while my Best Girl and I went to meet Tinkerbell and her friends Fawn and Terrence. This meet-n-greet is so fun. The fairies really interact and play with the kids. My Best Girl enjoyed it so much.

We also stopped in to visit with Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty. My Best Girl and Cinderella had a fabulous time.

We spent the rest of the morning enjoying some of our favorite attractions, and then we ate corn dogs at Casey's on Main Street. After lunch, we posed for a castle pic. We can always count on my Best Girl to really pose.

For our afternoon, we planned to split up: the boys went to Disney Quest and the girls went to the Grand Floridian for a tea party with Alice and the Mad Hatter. Before we left the Magic Kingdom, we fit in a ride on Pirates of the Caribbean and stopped to say hello to Lilo and Stitch.

My Best Girl had a ball at her tea party. The girls decorated cupcakes, played games, and did craft projects (I scanned the souvenir picture; it's the only one I have because I forgot the camera battery).

After the tea party, we decided to go back to the Magic Kingdom to see the castle lighting ceremony (they do a show with Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, Cinderella and the Fairy Godmother before turning on the icicle lights). Because we had a little time to kill, we grabbed a funnel cake in Liberty Square (one of my favorite Disney treats) and decided to wait for the next Tiana meet-n-greet. We visited Disney World the week that The Princess and the Frog was released, so this was a popular spot. We were the first in line, but only because we arrived 30 minutes early. Our funnel cake and new friends helped pass the time (isn't it amazing how children make friends so quickly?), and it was worth it. My Best Girl was thrilled to meet the newest Disney princess and her handsome prince Naveen.

After meeting Tiana, we found a spot and watched the castle lighting. The way they turn the lights on is truly spellbinding. My Best Girl got so caught up in the emotion of it all that she reached over and hugged the little girl standing next to her. I guess that little girl was feeling the magic as well because she hugged right back. It was so sweet.

After a fun day, we were tired and headed for the hotel where we met back up with Dad and my Favorite Boy (who had enjoyed their video game marathon at Disney Quest). Coming next...Day 8 at Animal Kingdom.


  posted at 6:49 AM  

Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Kid Picks
Thanks to several ideas I got from the last Kid Picks carnival, my kids have enjoyed some great books this month (I would love to give credit to the bloggers who suggested these books, but because I accidentally deleted my old blog, I can't look back to remind myself who gave me these great ideas).

My Favorite Boy finished all the books in the Fudge series this month, and he is now enjoying the books in the Clementine series. He thinks they are very funny! Up next are the Henry Huggins books.

My Best Girl and I have read all the Mercy Watson books in the last few weeks, and she loves them! I especially like the brightly colored illustrations in these books. My Best Girl and I are also reading the My Father's Dragon trilogy. These books were the first chapter books I read to my Favorite Boy, so I thrilled about sharing them with my Best Girl now.

These are the books my kids are reading right now. To find other suggestions for children, visit 5 Minutes for Books today.


  posted at 6:38 AM  

Thursday, February 11, 2010
Small Talk at My House
We've had several conversations lately that I would like to document. Last night, my Favorite Boy was looking on the back of a book and noticed the pricing information.

FB: Why does everything always cost more in Canada?

Me: I don't know.

FB: Oh, I bet I know! Canada is further from China!

I thought that was pretty good reasoning, and I didn't bother to tell him that not everything comes from China (surely some things still do come from other places, right?).

My Best Girl watched The Wizard of Oz earlier this week. After the movie was finished, I was singing some of the songs, and the following conversation ensued:

BG: How do you know all the songs?

Me: I watched The Wizard of Oz when I was a little girl.

BG: You mean you saved your DVD for me?

Me: No, we didn't have DVD's when I was little.

BG: Wow! That must have been a long time ago--like when the Israelites were in Egypt!

I told her that it was not quite that long ago, but I am glad she is retaining information from her study of Moses.

And finally, my Best Girl has been tucking in some of her stuffed animals when she goes to sleep. Before bedtime on Wednesday, we talked about that.

Me: I noticed how nicely you tucked in your animals. You are going to be such a wonderful Mommy one day.

BG: Do you think I'll be as great as you?

Me: Oh, yes. You'll probably be even better.

BG: Yeah. That's what I was thinking, but I didn't want to hurt your feelings.

HA! I had to hold in the laughter on that one. And for the record, it didn't hurt my feelings. If there is anyone who approves of my mothering, it has to be my Best Girl. She never wants to leave my side! I am confident that I have high approval ratings with her (for now).


  posted at 7:12 AM  

Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Disney, Day Six
On day six of our Disney trip, we headed back to Hollywood Studios. At park opening, we went straight to Toy Story Mania. Outside of the attraction, we were given some very strict orders by these guys.

Next, we convinced my Best Girl to give the Tower of Terror a try. As you enter the Tower, there is a short pre-show that is a little scary. We told her if she could be brave for that, she would be fine. After the ride was over, we asked her what she thought. She replied, "THAT WAS AWESOME!" We stopped as we left the ride for a picture. My Best Girl was still very excited about her experience.

Next, we headed over to meet some of our favorite characters. Even though you can't see my Favorite Boy's face, I love this picture with Mike and Sulley.

We also stopped to visit with Lightning and Mater.

As we walked away from the Cars, my Favorite Boy made his first pin trade. This picture isn't very good, but it was a fun moment for him.

For the afternoon, we headed back to Blizzard Beach so the kids could enjoy themselves one more time before the temperatures dropped. It was a little bit rainy, but that didn't ruin their fun.

After the kids swam, we went back to Hollywood Studios to enjoy Toy Story Mania and Tower of Terror again. We also revisited the Osborne Lights, but the lights weren't dancing because of the drizzling rain. My only regret from this trip was that we didn't see Fantasmic (the spectacular nighttime show at Hollywood Studios). My Favorite Boy was scared of Fantasmic when he was five, so we played it safe with my Best Girl. Fantasmic will be a must-see for us next time!

If you are wondering, we had 10 days of Disney fun. These posts will end eventually. Up next, back to Magic Kingdom for day seven!


  posted at 7:04 AM  

Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Running Update
I recently mentioned that I am participating in a Couch to 5K program. I am happy to report that I started Week 3, Day 1 on Monday. Each week, the running intervals get longer, so I conquered three minutes yesterday (in the beginning you alternate between walking and running to help build endurance). Next week, the running interval goes up to five minutes, which sounds long to me, but once I have done three days at three minutes, I will feel more confident about it, I'm sure.

I haven't gone out and bought a lot of running gear, but the one purchase I did make was a nice new pair of running shoes. I went to a local running store and got help with choosing the right shoes for me. I am very glad I did this because I have very narrow feet. In the past, I have gotten shin splints easily, and the salesperson told me that my feet were probably moving around too much in my regular width shoes. I left with one of the most narrow pair of shoes they had, and they feel great! I can really tell a difference in the fit, and I hope this purchase will help me to avoid some unnecessary problems. If I am going to stick with running, I want to set myself up for success!

I know this program will get tougher as the intervals increase, but I am excited about the baby steps, and I am looking forward to the challenge. I'll keep you posted on my progress!


  posted at 7:03 AM  

Saturday, February 6, 2010
I'm Tired, But Happy that He's Happy
We've survived our first big sleepover. My Favorite Boy decided he wanted to have eight boys spend the night in celebration of his birthday. We were supposed to party last week, but the snow kept that from happening. Last night, we ate pizza and cake, opened presents, played with Legos (the boys got a Lego car to create as their party favor--this worked great because it was also a party activity), played basketball, air hockey, and Wii, and watched a movie.

Around midnight, they fell asleep. By 7:00 this morning, they were back up and ready for more fun. They had Mickey Mouse waffles for breakfast and played until their parents picked them up at nine.

I think I got between 3-4 hours of sleep last night. I kept hearing them move around. I never realized how loud nylon sleeping bags are! Hats off to Dad as well. It was his birthday yesterday, and given the choice, he might have celebrated differently. Although we are all in desperate need of a nap, I am so glad my Favorite Boy had a great time, and I am thankful he has such well-mannered and sweet friends!

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  posted at 11:40 AM  

Friday, February 5, 2010
Disney, Day Five
Day five of our Disney trip was laid back because it was moving day. For the first half of our trip, we stayed at Disney's Pop Century Resort so we could get the free dining deal. For the second half, we stayed at the Doubletree Guest Suites in Downtown Disney because we had six free nights there. Although there are definite perks to staying on property, particularly the Disney transportation system, the rooms at the Doubletree are huge. This was a welcome change after five nights in a 260 sq. ft. room. We spent the morning switching hotels, and in the afternoon, my Favorite Boy visited Disney Quest, a four-story video game wonderworld, while my Best Girl napped.

Around 3:30, we headed to the Magic Kingdom to enjoy dinner with Pooh and friends and to watch the Spectromagic Parade and Wishes fireworks display. On the way into the park, we stopped for photos in front of the Main Street Train Station and the Magic Kingdom Christmas tree.

Next, we headed to dinner at the Crystal Palace. Who can resist these lovable guys?

We had enough time after dinner to fit in a few rides, so we headed to the Jungle Cruise. My Best Girl was thrilled when she got to be the skipper and steer the ship for a little while. I loved this because I got to do the same thing when I was eight, and my mom has a picture of me as well.

Following our cruise, I staked out our spot for the parade while the kids and Dad rode Haunted Mansion a few times. Then, it was time for Spectromagic. This parade is truly wonderful, and it is a highlight of any Disney trip. We were so excited to enjoy the experience with buddies. (I won't bother putting pictures of the parade here because my pictures don't do the parade justice.)

After the parade, we headed to our favorite viewing spot for Wishes, the Magic Kingdom fireworks show. On the way, my Best Girl and I stopped for a picture in front of Cinderella Castle in its Christmas finery (you can see the icicles, and it changes colors as well).

After the fireworks, we headed back to our suite at the Doubletree. We were glad to spread out in two rooms and get some rest!

Coming next...Back to Hollywood Studios for Day 6.


  posted at 1:57 PM  

Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Disney, Day Four
I haven't recovered my previous Disney posts from the lost blog yet, but I want to continue documenting our trip. My apologies to those of you who don't want to read every little detail of our trip. I enjoy writing it all down so I can look back and remember!

On day 4, we headed to Hollywood Studios.

We did not pose for this family photo on our way into the park. Instead, we headed to Toy Story Mania, one of the most popular attractions at Disney World, as quickly as possible. This is such a fun ride; it's Disney Imagineering at its best. If you visit Hollywood Studios, get to Toy Story Mania as early as possible to avoid the long waits. It's a ride that is popular with just about everyone. My Favorite Boy and his best bud stopped for a quick pose with Mr. Potato Head as we entered, and my Best Girl was ready to ride with her 3-D glasses.

After Toy Story Mania, Dad took my Favorite Boy to the Tower of Terror (we didn't know if my Best Girl would be up for it, but stay tuned for Day 6), and I took my Best Girl to Playhouse Disney Live On Stage. After the show, my Best Girl met some of the Little Einsteins, and she also made her first pin trade. She was very excited about this!

After lunch and playtime on the Honey, I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure, we went to meet the Incredibles. My Best Girl is a huge fan of the movie, and meeting Mr. and Mrs. Incredible was number one on her Disney to-do list. Unfortunately, Mr. and Mrs. Incredible were taking a break. Frozone was there, so we met him, and then the kids and I waited in line to talk to Mickey while Dad kept an eye out for Mr. and Mrs. Incredible.

As soon as we finished with Mickey, Mr. and Mrs. Incredible appeared. My Best Girl was thrilled! (Take a look at my Best Girl's double-jointed elbow in the second pic. It bends backwards just like mine.)

After an afternoon break, we returned to Hollywood Studios for the Osborne Lights. This is truly a sight to see! Over 5 million lights dance to Christmas music, and snow falls (it's really soap, but it looks like snow). We met up with a third family from our church who happened to be there, and we had a group picture made.

If you have never been to Disney at Christmas, it's worth it to see the lights. All of us were amazed, and you couldn't help but feel the Christmas spirit! (After this past week, I can also say that I like experiencing fake snow while wearing short sleeves and capris much more than the real cold stuff).

Coming soon...Day 5: Spectromagic and Wishes!


  posted at 2:14 PM  

Tuesday, February 2, 2010
I Read It
I Read It!

On the first Tuesday of the month, 5 Minutes for Books hosts an I Read It! carnival. This carnival is to encourage bloggers to share reviews of books that they have read based on the recommendations from 5 Minutes for Books (or any other recommendations).

Almost a year ago, Lisa reviewed Jane Austen Ruined My Life (linked to Lisa's review). I had a rough 2009, and I don't really remember seeing Lisa's original post; but, a few weeks ago, Lisa reviewed Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart by the same author, and it caught my eye. I decided to pick up a copy of Jane Austen Ruined My Life at the library.

I am not going to write a full review because Lisa already did an excellent job. I will say, however, that I loved this book! I have read all Austen's books, and it is so fun to reconnect with the characters in some way. I know that others must feel the same because there is no shortage of books related to Miss Austen's works. If you are an Austen fan, I recommend this book. I enjoyed it so much, that I am off to start Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart right now. A special thanks to Lisa for sharing her copy with me!

Be sure to visit 5 Minutes for Books to find other I Read It posts.


  posted at 6:45 AM  

Previous Posts
  • A Disney December, The Final Chapter
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