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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Friday, December 31, 2010
More Christmas Fun: December 26th and 27th
On the day after Christmas, we were able to spend some time with my aunt, uncle, and cousins on my mom's side. After Sunday morning worship, the kids and I packed up and headed an hour down the interstate to meet everyone at Cracker Barrel. (My husband stayed home to puppy sit since Oreo isn't old enough to stay home all day by herself). We hadn't seen this side of my family in two years, so it was great to catch up. One of my cousins had a girlfriend with him, and my Best Girl made friends with her quickly. After a yummy lunch, we headed to my parents' house to visit more. Like Christmas Day, I was a lousy photographer. I have no pictures from this visit at all!

On the 27th, we hit the road again to travel to Grandma and Papa D's house (my husband's side). Here's our annual cousin picture with the kids on the couch.

We ate lunch and then opened gifts. Grandma used paper plates, so the kids were spared the long wait before opening presents. I remember waiting forever as a child while my grandmother washed dishes. It was pure torture! My kids don't know how easy they have it. :)

In addition to their presents, the kids got an envelope with money from Papa D. His one requirement was that each grandchild give him a hug. My Favorite Boy is NOT a hugger, but apparently he likes cash more than he dislikes hugs.

We had a wonderful day. The kids kept us laughing, and it was fun to catch up with each other. We look forward to seeing my husband's sister and her family again in March (they live in Atlanta).

We had a WONDERFUL Christmas. I am so thankful for the blessings God has given me, and they have been so evident during this holiday season!

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  posted at 6:48 AM  

Thursday, December 30, 2010
Christmas Eve and Christmas Day
After spending Christmas Eve Day at my aunt's house, we returned home for Christmas Eve with Grammy and Papa in tow. They have been at our house on Christmas Eve every year since my Favorite Boy was one because they lived far away and had to stay at our house during Christmas. Even though they are back in Tennessee, we decided they should spend the night anyway, so we opened presents with them on Christmas Eve, and they stayed until lunch on Christmas Day.

I now realize that I did a horrible job taking pictures on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. I have a few of the kids opening presents, but none of them with us or their grandparents. I also have no pictures of my Best Girl spreading reindeer food in the front yard or of us leaving milk and cookies for Santa. I will do better next year!

My Best Girl was thrilled with some new games and accessories for her DS, as well as lots of arts and craft projects. My Favorite Boy is always excited about new video games, but he also enjoyed opening some clothes this year. My husband says that's a sure sign he's getting older! Of course, all the clothing items were Under Armour or North Face, so I'd guess those items would make many eight-year-old boys happy. Thanks to Grammy, Papa, Uncle R, Aunt R, and Santa for showering them with so many wonderful gifts! (My brother and his family celebrated at home in New Mexico this year, but we are already excited that they will be coming around the holidays next year!)

We spent most of Christmas Day being lazy, which was wonderful! Even though my husband's family came for dinner, we had done most of the work ahead of time, so we were able to enjoy spending time together. In the past, we have always gone to my aunt's for lunch, so we usually have to rush out soon after opening presents.

Around 4:30, my husband's family began to arrive. Even though we were missing seven family members, we still had a full house with 33! Since my husband's grandmother is 90, every Christmas with her is special, and we enjoyed the evening. This year, Uncle D interviewed Granny and made a DVD about her life. We all watched it together, and we all got a copy to keep. Unfortunately, this family event didn't last long enough. The roads started getting icy, so everyone packed up to leave about 7:30. Although the evening was short, we were thankful to see everyone (and eat all the yummy food). It was a wonderful Christmas Day!

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  posted at 6:20 AM  

Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Christmas Eve Day
Our Christmas celebrating officially started on Christmas Eve Day, but first I have to backtrack to the 23rd. On the morning of the 23rd, my Best Girl and Favorite Boy headed to Grammy and Papa's house so that my husband and I could clean, clean, and clean some more in preparation for our Christmas Day meal (we hosted 33 of my husband's relatives for dinner). A big thanks to Grammy and Papa for keeping the kids so we could work. Also, a big thanks to my husband for checking off everything on his to-do list and then some. You know you married the right man when he comes in and asks, "Would you like me to clean the baseboards?"

While at Grammy's house, my Best Girl got some sewing lessons. Grammy cut out some hearts for her and taught her to stitch them together to make a little pocket. My Best girl was so proud to give this red heart to me. This project was one of the highlights of Christmas for her, and she is now asking for a sewing kit. Unfortunately, she's going to have to get help from Grammy instead of me because I don't know how to sew!

On Christmas Eve Day, we met up with the kids, Grammy and Papa at my aunt's house for lunch. We always enjoy eating at my aunt's house, and we had a great visit. My cousin's children are always so gracious to my kids (and they now love our dog, too).

My Favorite Boy parks himself in this chair to play with the Xbox360. You would think he never has the opportunity to play at home, but he thinks it's cool to play on his cousin's system.

The girls played with their American Girl dolls and enjoyed each other's company. My Best Girl also spent a good portion of the day with my uncle and cousin. They love to give her a hard time.

My Best Girl also sewed a heart for my aunt. She filled it with peppermints and gave it to her as a Christmas present. Of course, my aunt loved it.

We had a wonderful Christmas Eve Day, and this was only the beginning of our wonderful weekend!

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  posted at 6:43 AM  

Tuesday, December 28, 2010
What's On My Nightstand - December
It's time for the monthly Nightstand carnival at 5 Minutes for Books. I haven't had time to make a post about the books that are currently on my Nightstand, but I did want to direct your attention to a recent post I wrote at 5M4B: My Year in Books. It includes some books that I read in 2010, and I highly recommend them. I also posted about City of Tranquil Light, a historical fiction book that I really enjoyed. I hope you'll hop over there and read about these books!

Stay tuned for Christmas posts...I am working on them!


  posted at 7:34 AM  

Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Christmas Fun
We kicked off our Christmas fun on Tuesday. We arrived at the mall to see Santa promptly at ten. Unfortunately, many others did as well. We finally made it to his lap at eleven. For the past two years, we were able to see Santa at Disney World. This year reminded me that we should visit the mall when Santa first arrives in November. The kids did great in the line, however, and we saw five families that we knew. My Favorite Boy has decided that the mall Santa is not the real Santa, so he only posed for the picture. My Best Girl attacked Santa with a huge hug (I think she almost knocked him off his chair), and then told him she wanted art supplies and toys for her puppy. Considering she had planned on requesting a cell phone and an iPad, I thought her actual requests were very good.

After seeing Santa, we ran some errands and then headed home. Somehow, my kids convinced their dad to open family presents on Tuesday. We will still have Santa presents and four more family gift exchanges, so the early opening won't spoil the fun. My Favorite Boy surprised his sister with the new Disney Sceneit? game. He also gave her a light-up necklace and a change purse shaped like a stocking. My Best Girl gave her brother an Under Armour hoodie and a book.

Dad recently gifted himself with a new Bose-style stereo, so my Favorite Boy gave him two new CD's that he wanted. My Best Girl made her dad a trophy at the local pottery place. It says #1 Dad.

I got some really nice gifts! The first present was a new pair of running shoes. The kids were excited to give these to me because they will be the shoes I wear during my half-marathon. My second gift was a new Dyson! I am glad we opened the presents early because now I can use it to clean my house before my husband's family comes for Christmas dinner.

After presents, I baked chocolate chip cookies and we played Sceneit. I hope Santa will appreciate that his cookies were made from scratch and not processed. :)

Later in the evening, we also played the 10 Days In The USA Game. My Favorite Boy got this for Christmas last year, and we just opened it this week! It is really fun, and I know we will play it many times during the break.

We are so thankful for this time together, and we plan to continue the fun. I love this time of year!

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  posted at 6:03 AM  

Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Weekend Fun
We had a good weekend. On Friday afternoon, the kids and I attended Seussical at the Nashville Children's Theatre. We enjoyed the performance and the afternoon together. We couldn't leave the show without one of these:

On Friday evening, both kids spent the night with friends from church (which would have made for a great date night except my hubby had minor surgery on Friday, and he was on the couch the entire time). This was my Best Girl's first sleepover. Although she liked the idea of a sleepover, I could tell she was VERY hesitant when it was time for me to leave. She was brave, however, and she made it all the way through the night. I don't think she wants to do it again very soon, but I was proud of her for sticking it out. She is definitely mommy's girl, and she would rather be home. That's fine with me!

Sunday afternoon, my Favorite Boy got to attend his first regular season Titans' game. He was so excited that he painted his hair blue. Can this be the same boy that refused to participate on Crazy Hair Day when he was in kindergarten?

The Titans won, so he was super excited. I am glad he got to enjoy this special day with his Dad!

Although it wasn't technically on the weekend, I am happy to report that I ran 8 miles on Monday morning. If you had told me a year ago that I would run more than one mile, I would have laughed out loud. Who would have ever thought that I would run 8 and actually enjoy it?!? I have two more months until the Princess Half-Marathon. I'm getting very excited!

My husband is off work for two weeks, so we have lots planned. Because he travels so much the rest of the time, this is my favorite two week period of the entire year. I'll post about some of our Christmas fun soon!

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  posted at 5:53 AM  

Monday, December 20, 2010
Disney: Day Five
I was going to combine our two Magic Kingdom days together, but I just can't do it. Magic Kingdom has too much fun (and too many pictures) for only one post! So, here is day five. I will follow up with our two final days soon.

During our week at Disney, we were thrilled to meet up with three other families from home. On Tuesday morning, we boarded the bus for Magic Kingdom, and we were excited when our friends got on the bus after we did. My two kids had been together nonstop for four days, and they were very glad to have some other kids to save them from their siblings. My friends' kids were having similar issues, so we decided to spend the morning together at Magic Kingdom. This worked out SO well!

First, we hung out together at the entrance of Magic Kingdom waiting on the opening show (I LOVE this show: they sing a "Good Morning" song, and all the characters ride in on the train.)

We also ran into one of my best friends from college and her family (we knew we would see them at some point, but it was fun to run into them right at the beginning of the day). Her son is two, and it was his first trip to Disney, so I was thrilled to capture his face when the train full of characters pulled into the station.

We started the morning with the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, and then enjoyed other rides in Fantasyland. My Favorite Boy and his buddy had fun trying to pull out the Sword in the Stone.

At this point, I have to say thanks to Dr. B. He was nice enough to go and get Fastpasses for all of us. Since I was a single parent on this trip, his willingness to do this was VERY helpful. Thank you!

After Fantasyland, we headed to Toontown for a ride on Goofy's Barnstormer and to visit Minnie's house. Toontown will be gone the next time we visit Disney World, and my kids will be very disappointed. They love the Barnstormer, and my Best Girl could stay in Minnie's interactive house for hours!

After Toontown, we took a drive at the Tomorrowland Speedway. My Favorite Boy was so excited that he was tall enough to drive without an adult. After the Speedway, the bigger kids went to ride Space Mountain with Dr. B., and the younger ones and the moms went to Buzz Lightyear. At this point, my Best Girl stuck with the younger kids and skipped Space Mountain, but that changed later in the trip. Here are the younger ones shooting at Emperor Zurg.

We all split up about lunch time. My kids and I headed to Columbia Harbour House for lunch and then to Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain. I don't know how we got so lucky, but we managed to get absolutely soaked on Splash Mountain both days. (There is a big splash of water at the beginning of the ride that doesn't hit every log. We got hit both days.) We also spent some time pin trading with cast members and other kids we met along the way. My kids are really getting into pin trading, but my Best Girl has a difficult time parting with any of her pins, even the ones I buy to be used as traders.

We spent the afternoon enjoying Pirates of the Caribbean, the Jungle Cruise, Mickey's Philharmagic, and some other attractions (just a note for my own memory's sake: we had to skip the Magic Carpets of Aladdin because a bee took a liking to my best girl and her Itzakadoozie/popsicle; she ran screaming from the line). Then, my Best Girl decided that she wanted to try Space Mountain. Although I was proud of her, I wasn't too excited about having to ride with them. I enjoy coasters, but Space Mountain is jerky and dark, and it makes me sick! For my kids, however, I toughed it out, and my Best Girl LOVED it! Here she is after her first ride.

At this point, we headed out of the park for our dinner reservations at the Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue. On the way out, we stopped for some pictures, and this castle shot is one of my favorites from the trip. My kids love the magic shots with Tinkerbell. What you can't see in these pictures is how GRUMPY the kids had gotten. We definitely needed to head for some laughter at Hoop-Dee-Doo!

As I knew it would, the show changed our moods entirely. Not only are the fried chicken and cornbread delicious, but my kids laugh and laugh and laugh. The show is a "Hee-Haw" type performance full of slapstick comedy. Since my Favorite Boy can be too serious sometimes, I love to see him laughing this hard.

This show is truly one of our favorite experiences at Disney World, and we highly recommend it. It was a great way to end our first day at Magic Kingdom!


  posted at 5:08 AM  

Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Disney: Days Three and Four
On Day 3 of our November Disney trip, we headed to Hollywood Studios. Although the crowds were very low, you can always count on lines at Toy Story Mania. This attraction is the most popular attraction at Disney World, so we always head there as soon as the park opens (with several thousand of our closest friends). Our strategy is to grab Fastpasses for later and then get in line to ride. Toy Story Mania is a 3D arcade-type experience, and it is fun for everyone. I captured a shot of my Favorite Boy ready to play.

After TSM, we headed to the Tower of Terror. Both my Favorite Boy and Best Girl love this ride (although my Best Girl could do without some of the scary introductory scenes). You can see the Tower behind us in this picture. Did you know it is 199 feet tall? If Disney had made it one foot taller, a pole to warn airplanes would have been required.

We returned to Toy Story Mania, and also watched the Voyage of the Little Mermaid. Then we met Lotso from Toy Story 3. My Best Girl was scared of Lotso in the movie, but she thought he was very cuddly in real life. She decided that he is only mean to toys.

After meeting Lotso, we headed to the Honey, I Shrunk the Kids playground. Since we were days away from bringing Oreo home, my Best Girl was excited to pose by this giant dog nose.

We decided to break for lunch at Toy Story Pizza Planet, and then we watched the Muppet's 3-D movie. After one more adventure in the Tower of Terror, we decided to take an afternoon break. On the way out, we ran into this little alien (my kids love these "magic" shots):

We returned to Hollywood Studios in the evening for the Osborne Spectacle of Dancing Lights and Fantasmic. The Osborne Lights are amazing. The display includes millions of lights synchronized with Christmas music, and Disney even manages to have snow falling.

We left the lights and headed to Fantasmic. My Best Girl had never seen this show because there are parts that are scary. The show is about Mickey's bad dream, and almost every Disney villain is included. It was getting late, and we were wearing down, so we almost changed our minds about staying. A little popcorn revived us, and we all enjoyed the show. We can't wait to take Dad next time (he has never seen it).

On Day Four, we spent the day at Blizzard Beach. The kids enjoyed playing in the water all day, and it was a great break from the parks. After a fun day of water slides and pools, we headed to Chef Mickey's for dinner. As we waited for our turn to be seated, my Best Girl had to rest from a tiring day. She held the buzzer next to her ear so she wouldn't miss anything.

Chef Mickey's is our favorite character meal. You can't beat Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Donald and Goofy, and we enjoy the buffet. I particularly like the desserts, and I threw my healthy eating out the window for these little guys:

My Favorite Boy had quite a few of these as well. You can see the proof in his teeth in his picture with Donald.

Days three and four were fabulous. Stay tuned for five and six: our fun-filled days in the Magic Kingdom!


  posted at 5:17 AM  

Previous Posts
  • A Disney December, The Final Chapter
  • A Disney December, Part Five
  • A Disney December, Part Four
  • A Disney December, Part Three
  • A Disney December, Part Two
  • A Disney December, Part One
  • Backtracking
  • December Happenings
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