Saturday, December 8, 2012

4 years with Santa


Unnecessary!

We took the boys to Hollywood Studios to see the lights tonight.  As we were walking, Jonah said "even that bicycle has lights on it.  I find that unnecessary!"  

I find that unnecessary?!?!?  How old is he?  93??  His vocabulary and correct (most of the time) usage of words blows my mind.  He's a smart one!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Charity

Teaching your children to be giving during a time that is so focused on getting has proved to be quite difficult for us over the last few years.   It seems that every person Jonah encounters, including us,  asks what he wants for Christmas then somewhere around Christmas day, we have to talk to him about not being so selfish.  It is really mixed up.  He's only a kid and that is confusing when we talk about making lists and then when he talks too much about those lists, he crosses the line into "not caring about others as much as himself."  We certainly haven't mastered how to raise a grateful and giving child yet.  We try.  But, we aren't there. 

So, I was so grateful to receive this note from Jonah's teacher (who is AMAZING, by the way!) earlier this week.  His class is focusing on charity.  It isn't a contest.  There isn't a prize.  There is no goal for him to raise.  The whole idea is to make him think outside of himself and to do something for someone in need. 


So, if you are local, and have a chore that Jonah could do to earn $1 or $2, would you consider calling us? He could pick up sticks in your yard, pull weeds from your flower bed, sweep your front porch or read you a book. Maybe you have a different idea of something he could do to earn a dollar from you. He is really excited about "choreing" to make money for "unfortunate people!" And, maybe, if we've done our job right, he might just thank you for the opportunity to help him help others. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

2012 Thanksgiving Vacation: Days 1 & 2

At some point in the weeks following my surgery, a friend mentioned a cabin in Murphy, NC that she often visits.  I got a crazy idea to look into that for a Thanksgiving vacation for our family.  And, by vacation, I mean, like a real vacation where you go away, do things together and enjoy life as a family.  So, I contacted the owner of that cabin and she thought it might be available.  It was right on a river with a nice deck and flat ground for the kids to play.  And, it was VERY affordable.  We got very excited.  Dan scheduled to be off.  I talked to my doctor about going and got the OK.  Then, the owner emailed me to say the friend she had offered it to did want it for just Thanksgiving Day.  Boo!

Because we were so excited, Dan encouraged me to look for something else.  The only problem was that hers was priced so much lower than any others I had seen.  So, finding something we could afford that could accommodate us all would a little bit of a task.  But, after a couple of days, I found another cabin in the same town, double the size, for just about $50 more for the entire stay.  So, we booked it and looked forward to the week of Thanksgiving. 

Jonah went to school Monday morning and we picked him up at noon and headed out.  We planned only to go as far as Atlanta that night.  We had a free hotel night we could use there so that saved us one night of cabin rental.  Had the hotel not been free, we would have gone on to the cabin because it was about $30 cheaper per night than a hotel.  But, since we had that, we made plans to stay in Atlanta and meet one of our college students there for dinner. 

The boys both traveled great.  Micah had a few times that he just wanted OUT!  But, I could easily distract him and he would be okay again.  We looked a books, watched movies, played games, ate snacks, played with toys, giggled, screamed, sang, etc.  It was definitely not a quiet ride but it was certainly better than I expected.

We stopped for lunch at Chickfila so the boys could play.  Dan barely ate.  He kept saying he didn't feel great.  I chalked it up to lack of sleep.  We finished lunch and headed on our way to meet Katee for dinner in Atlanta.  About 1.5 hours out of Atlanta, he said "I've got to stop RIGHT NOW!"  He got off at the first exit he came to and pulled into a sketchy gas station and took off inside.  He was in there FOREVER!  I really started to worry about him.  I would have gone in to check but I was afraid to get out of the car.  Did I mention it was sketchy?  I got Micah out of his seat and change his diaper in the front seat.  I let him just sit there and play until Dan came back.  By this time, it had been 20 minutes or more.  I was convinced he was dead and someone would be by soon to kill us.  (No, I'm not at all dramatic!!)





He finally came out and said he had been in there SO SICK.  He had thrown up and thrown up and thrown up some more.  He assumed it was just something he ate because he felt so much better.  We drove on to ATL and got to Pappasito's just on time to meet Katee. We had a great time chatting with her and hearing all about college life.  God's gonna use that girl for BIG things!!  BIG!

We enjoyed our visit with her but I noticed that Dan barely ate.  We got in the car and he said he was feeling bad again. We rushed to the hotel, got checked in, went up to our floor and then saw this sign. 

Yeah, they put us on the quiet floor.  You know, the one according to the sign that would have NO CHILDREN!  They upgraded us to the nicest floor and I was appreciative but putting us on a floor known as QUIET was not a good idea in my opinion.  This would only be Micah's 2nd time to ever sleep in a hotel.  This would be his first time to ever sleep in a real bed.  This was a recipe for disaster.  Nevertheless, we took our things on to our room and got settled. 


I helped the boys get ready for bed while Dan headed straight to the sauna downstairs.  He was gone for over an hour.  He didn't take his cell because of the steam.  After 30 minutes or so, I really started to worry.  I couldn't figure out how to go check on him because of my two boys sleeping in our room. He finally came back and said he had been throwing up down there too.  He sat in the sauna for 30 minutes then took the hottest shower he could.  He said he felt better.  We decided if he was sick the next day that we would just turn around and go back to Florida.  It was crazy to travel 2 more hours north only for him to be sick the whole time.  And, I'm certainly not recovered enough to take care of him and 2 kids in a strange place on my own.  I could do it at home but not away.  So, we went to bed a little sad about the possibility of vacation ending before it really started.

Dan woke up at 1:30 a.m. sweating so he was sure his fever finally broke.  He pretty much felt okay from that point forward.  Whew...dodged a bullet there!  Oh, I forgot to mention that I did call the front desk and remind them that we had children.  She said it was fine that the hotel wasn't all that full but there were people on each side of us.  She offered for us to move but my kids were dressed for bed and our stuff was unpacked.  Would you believe those boys of ours were quiet as a mouse?  Micah settled down and slept just fine.  

After Dan got up and realized he was feeling okay, we headed downstairs to one of the hotel restaurants for breakfast.  We only took one of our bags into the hotel and we knew the boys were going to swim so we just left them in their pajamas for breakfast.  Micah was in a grand mood.  That boy usually sleeps 12-14 hours per night plus a long nap each day.  He didn't nap the day before and he slept only 6 or so hours the night before.  When he woke up at 5:30 a.m. and realized he was in the bed with mommy, he wanted to "PWAY!!!"  You'll notice a short video that will document the mood he was in.  It was fun!!!

The tables were set with place mats and full place settings.  I immediately moved Micah's away when we sat down.   He kept pulling on our place mats.  I took mine away and told Dan to do the same.  He didn't listen to me.  Not long after that, Micah pulled that place mat and the entire glass of orange juice landed on Dan. 

Trust me, the smile on his face was not indicative of his true feelings.  At this point, we were both DONE!  He was still recovering.  We were both exhausted.  He didn't have any other clothes because he was wearing the jeans and tshirt that he planned to wear after swimming.  The car was parked a long way away in a garage.  I convinced him to go upstairs and change into his swimsuit and the shirt he wore the day before.  He marched right back into that restaurant looking like quite the vagrant!  I could not stop giggling.  And, if that wasn't enough, Micah kept whining.  And, Jonah smashed his finger and started crying.  At one point, I felt like we were on Candid Camera.  If it could go wrong, it did.  Seriously, it was so bad, the General Manager came over and offered his assistance.  I believe his words were something like "I will do ANYTHING to help you!" 


Yeah, we were THAT family!  You know the one.  All the business travelers were looking at us as if to say "Why THIS hotel?  Why THIS morning?"  The older people were looking at us as if to say "you really should learn to control your kids."  It was so bad that the Restaurant manager came over and comped our entire breakfast and tipped the server for us himself.  Yeah, it was that bad!  Needless to say, I gave that Crowne Plaza a fabulous review on Tripadvisor.com.  Between the laundry service, bottles of water sent to our room, comped parking and comped breakfast, he gave us over $100 worth of services.  Add that to the FREE night we had and they came out WAY UPSIDE DOWN!  But, after watching us for 45 minutes at breakfast, I'm pretty sure that was just fine with them.  ANYTHING to get us out of there and on our way!!

After breakfast, things picked up substantially.  They took our clothes and washed them while the boys swam.  I read for some time while I watched them.  I decided to run upstairs to shower and gather our things while the boys expended some energy. 













I came downstairs and grabbed Micah so I could bathe him and hopefully get him back to sleep.  He was severely lacking the sleep he is accustomed to so he needed that nap.  While I rocked him, Dan text me these pictures of Jonah "working out!"



It did not take long to get him to sleep.  That little guy slept 3.5 hours.  We finally had to wake him  up so we could travel the final 2 hours to our cabin.  We had originally planned to do something fun in Atlanta but scrapped that after the early morning breakfast debacle.  I'm glad we did because the nap was so needed.  (Guess how we purposefully woke him up?  Yep, the camera flash!!)


Jonah and I went downstairs to grab our finished laundry while Dan dressed Micah.  Jonah used the time to check out some of the Olympic stuff in the hotel. 



We grabbed the cart and headed back up to the 14th floor so we could load up and get on the road. 




We were very happy to finally arrive at our cabin in Murphy, North Carolina. 




The boys were so happy to be out of the car and to just run and play.  They took a quick glance around the cabin and then took off outside to play. 










We got unpacked and then headed out for a quick dinner and trip to Wal-Mart for groceries. 
We were so ready to get back to our home for the week so we could put on pajamas and settle in for the night.  We rented a few movies from Redbox and planned to watch those after Micah went to bed each night.  Jonah enjoyed the fire while I read my Kindle and Dan put Micah down. 


After getting Micah down, the three of us moved downstairs to the game room/Den to watch Mirror, Mirror.  Jonah loved the "special time" with Mommy and Daddy.  We were all exhausted by the time the movie ended but we loved hanging out with just him as well.  It was a great ending to our first night at the cabin. 



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