Friday, July 31, 2009

Taylor Goes to Church Camp

In early June, the week before we went to Disney World, my babe went off to church camp for the very first time. She was so stinkin' excited about it that she couldn't see straight and, even though some unfortunate things happened shortly before departure to try to make her reconsider, she overcame and had an absolutely wonderful time at Mt. Lebanon.

Dave and I took her up to church together and Bo decided he wanted to see her off as well...

She would not look at me for a picture. Apparently the peer pressure of just having other kids around caused her to go into complete camera meltdown. Just another sign my baby's growing up, I suppose...

Father and son...these two are stuck together like glue. For real.

Here's the group as they were about to take off for a fun - albeit exhausting - week.

I was so worried about this little one all week. I prayed for her daily, sent her emails and had tucked a note for her to read each night before she went to sleep into her suitcase. She was absolutely fine, though, and had a great week away from mom and dad. In fact, she apologized to me for only reading two of my notes. She was just too busy. Funny how she managed to find time to open all of the envelopes with her daily allowance in them...

Anyway, she returned happy and tired and ready for Disney. But without a sunburn. Thank you, Jesus, for reminding her to use all of that sunscreen I sent. It would have been rough to head on a 20-hour road trip with a burnt child.

She came home with lots of new bracelets, necklaces and a lifetime of memories. She has made some new friends as well. Church friends. That's something I was totally praying for and got. 

Thank you, Lord!

She is absolutely amazing and growing up so fast I have whiplash but it's so much fun to hang out with her and I'm blessed beyond measure to be her mommy. Thankfully, she still asks for hugs each day, makes a point to tell me 'I love you' at least five times per day, and likes to cuddle at the end of each day. 

But don't tell her friends since she's all grown up and all now, ok?

Fore - Take Two

As you may recall,  Miss Taylor took golf lessons last year. She really enjoyed it and I just knew we'd found her sport. You know, after we actually finished a set of lessons since she broke her arm halfway through the first...

Anyway, she decided to take lessons again this year. I was a little afraid that we wouldn't fair as well with the instructor as she had absolutely loved Ryan (who also played football for Baylor and, if I do say so myself, will make one young lady very happy one day). Luckily, Ryan let me know shortly before lessons began that his friend Carmine would be teaching this year.
Carmine (the guy on the right in the pic above - that's Dave playing with Tay's clubs on the left) plays on the Baylor golf team, is a fabulous young man (wow - do I sound old or what) and Tay really liked him a lot. Unfortunately, she just wasn't all that into me taking pictures of her so I only have shots of the last lesson before we left for Disney. The quality of a few of them is questionable but keep in mind that I was having to duck, hide, point, click, shoot and then hide again before I got the stink eye from my precious child.

Just another day on the course...

Her new golf bag that apparently looks just like Boppy's...

Hmmm...which way do you think it will roll?

I'm so talented I can play with three clubs at a time!

Couldn't stand missing out on the fun...


Yeah, that's my ball in the hole. What about it?

Stance of success. Or not.
While Tay has decided not to actually take lessons again next year (probably a good thing anyway because I think she's reached the limit of what volunteer coaches at the YMCA can teach her), she is looking forward to playing on real courses with Davey. 

You know, once it's not 110 degrees in the shade here in sunny Texas. So expect some more golf shots in November or so - we'll call it the holiday edition!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Fourth of July Spectacular

My parents drove to Louisiana and picked Miss Taylor up after her fun-filled week with Maw Maw while Dave and I tried to put our house and life back together after weeks of upheaval. They came back to Texas on the Fourth of July and immediately headed over to Aunt Anna's (not related by blood but one of my mom's very best friends in the entire world) house for a little patriotic fun.

You see, Aunt Anna's house in Temple backs up to the HEB fireworks spectacular so the view from her pool is fantabulous. Plus, her nieces were there to keep Miss Thang busy and happy.


After our own little private fireworks show that may or may not have included a spinning one going into the neighbor's very dry and grass-filled yard followed by another landing on Anna's roof, the big show began.

I mean, it wasn't Disney but it was pretty awesome. My photography skills were apparently lacking that night because there were some amazing shots to be had during the finale but obviously I didn't succeed in capturing any. Sorry...

Boppy and his best bud, Jerry...

Nana and one of her best buds, Teresa...notice Nana's super awesome hat - it was my grandmother's...

Aunt Anna (on the right) and one of her other Louisiana friends. Apparently she thinks we gals from the Bayou State are the bomb!

After the show, it was time for some more water logged fun...

Seriously - can you imagine a more appropriate shirt for this type of festivity? When Teresa got there, she asked if she should salute him. Cracked me slap dab up, y'all. For real.

We had planned to attend the Belton Fourth of July Parade like we do most years that morning but Pop's sudden passing changed things up a bit. After such a tiring week (or two) we were all glad to just celebrate with a low-key (but not low on fun) affair.

Next year we'll hit the parade again. And maybe Fourth on the Brazos in the afternoon like we did last year. And Aunt Anna's house. I suppose we'll have to see what all 2010 brings. (Is it just me or does it sound totally weird to say 2010?)

I'm trying to catch up quickly so I can get back to more timely info. You may be bombarded, though, so I'll apologize in advance. :-)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Journey Home From Disney

We set out early on Sunday to head to Maw Maw's house from our wonderful Disney World experience. We were all pretty worn out so it was a much more subdued trip than the journey to the magic. 

For the first time in a week, we ate somewhere that was not Disney related. Tay chose Burger King and, once we got inside, we realized it was decorated in a '50s theme. We, of course, ate at the car table.

Was there any doubt?

Once we got back on the road, we rested for a bit and then my mom called. While I had been optimistic about making it back to Texas before Pop passed away, it wasn't to be. He had gone home during the night - shortly before midnight to be exact. This is where the trip got even more subdued.

Tay asked me to take some pictures for her scrapbook at this point. I obliged. Below you will find the items she felt were essential in documenting her trip.

Giant Mickey rice krispie treat...
...and his friend, Donald...
Dave realized, at this point, that we needed a distraction so he suggested we take a little detour and have lunch on Pensacola Beach. We were all for that since the one thing we hadn't seen during our Florida vacation was a beach with white sand.

Heading over to the beach...

We had lunch at a great seafood restaurant. I think it was called Flounder's but I wouldn't swear to it (you know, if I actually swore) because I was a bit distracted. I left Tay and Dave to the cheese sticks, which were also served with fried jalapeno cheese cubes that were de-li-cious, to call my mom and see what the scoop was on arrangements. And also to see if my stepdad wanted Tay to come back with us instead of staying with Maw Maw...he thought it would be a good idea if she stayed in Louisiana and had fun.

When I came back, I found a very happy child...

...who was enjoying a Dr. Pepper for the first time in a week (Disney is a Coca-Cola park)...

After stuffing ourselves with a seafood platter (Dave and me) and popcorn shrimp (Tay), we headed out the back door to get some sand in our flip flops.

As we were leaving, Tay was amazed at the size of this clam so I, of course, documented it.

We stayed at Maw Maw's house that evening and enjoyed her delicious homemade spaghetti. The next morning we were off early again and Tay was in heaven for an entire week. She and Maw Maw went shopping, out to eat almost every day, and just had a good time lovin' on each other.

Dave and I made it back just in time for Pop's visitation. I attended it while he gave all of the dogs a bath after they came home with fleas. We buried Pop the next day and spent the remainder of the week helping my parents go through he and Nan's things at their home.

Can I just say that a couple who were married for 60+ years have a LOT of stuff?!?!

Anyway, this concludes our Disney documentary. Hope you enjoyed the trip. We will now return to regularly scheduled programming. Lots to catch you up on!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Disney Day 7: Pirate Cruise, Le Cellier and Illuminations

Our last day at Disney was a little bittersweet since we (meaning Dave and I) knew that Pop was at Hillcrest in an unresponsive state while we were at the most magical place on Earth. It also found us incredibly sleepy as we'd stayed out until almost 2am the night before!

But Miss Taylor had a pirate cruise scheduled to leave the Grand Floridian (Dave's next hotel of choice, remember?) at 9:30am. We managed to get dressed and on the bus to the Magic Kingdom in time to catch the boat to the departure hotel. We got Tay checked in and left our cell phone number because I was a wee bit leery of leaving my child at a theme park and headed inside for some breakfast.

They decked the kiddos out in black life jackets, gave them all tattoos and tied their hair up in bandanas. They really looked the part.

Don't ya think?

Argh - shiver me timbers! 

The staff talked in pirate, which was awesome for Miss Thang. She made a friend immediately and was more than ready to set sail without us. They sailed around to each of the hotels with docks located on the Seven Seas Lagoon. At Fort Wilderness, they had lunch and at each stop they had to search for a piece of the treasure map.

Apparently Tay found two, including the one with the actual 'X' on it. Later she confessed that her friend had helped her a bit as she'd done this activity during a previous trip. Either way she had a great time and was very proud of herself.

Dave and I chilled out in the lobby (which was absolutely gorgeous, by the way, and had some to-die-for flower arrangements but I was so worn out I didn't take pictures of them) while she was gone. We checked on Pop - no change - and chatted with my grandmother in Louisiana as we were overnighting as her house the next evening. Tay was staying with her for a week as well...

Then it was time for the adventure to end and here they came - treasure (in an actual chest) in tow...

Each kiddo got their own tiny treasure chest and bag filled with giant baubles, beads and gems. She had an absolute blast and I highly recommend this activity for little ones...

Afterward, we headed over to the Magic Kingdom with the sole purpose of purchasing souvenirs. It started raining hard so we dipped into our trusty poncho stash again. We picked up coffee mugs for Nana, Boppy, Maw Maw, Paw Paw and Libby. Tay and I got matching vintage Mickey t-shirts and Tay got a stuffed Stitch.

At this point she'd pretty much exhausted her souvenir fund :-)

Then we went back to the hotel for a little R&R. I think someone was a wee bit tired...
Then we headed over to Epcot for our final dinner reservation at Le Cellier. We had been anticipating this one for months as well. We got there early because Tay wanted to do the Kim Possible Adventure and, oh, am I glad she did!

We stopped right inside the park and she was able to print out a departure ticket for doing a mission with Kim. (Those of you without kids this age may not have been inducted into Kim's world yet but she does missions and gets clues from her trusty sidekick via cell phone. We watch it a lot at our house.) We headed over to the World Showcase and picked up her cell phone and set off for an adventure in England.

This was the coolest thing for tweens, in my opinion, in the entire Disney experience. Many of the dolls in the windows actually talked and gave us clues once the cell phone activated them. We also got a clue from one of the storekeepers and one of the windows even filled with water drowning the bad guy.

She was in heaven! And I didn't get any pictures because we were engrossed in this activity with her. When it was over, she wanted to do another one in Japan. Dave wasn't up to it so he went to have a few cocktails in Canada. We completed another mission that was totally different but just as much fun and then turned in our trusty cell phone.

When we'd been in the World Showcase early in the week, Tay had received a mask and charm from England and The Land. Each different country had its own so we set off to collect them all at this point. Also an incredibly fun activity. In Japan, they wrote her name in Japanese and the same happened in China. Everywhere in between brought its own unique charm. An awesome keepsake!

Once we were done, we headed back over to Canada for dinner. They said they were running late so Tay and I checked out the O Canada! show, which was shown in circlevision. It's exactly what it sounds like and was very neat.

Then it was time for dinner. Check out the gardens around the restaurant.

This is actually Le Cellier...

And the inside of Le Cellier...
The food was phenomenal! We all had steak...

Tay and I had chocolate moose. Literally.

While Dave stuck with his trusty Celebration Cake.

Then Dave headed back to the hotel while Tay and I stayed for the fireworks show, Illuminations. While not as mind-blowing as the one over at Magic Kingdom, it was still fun and had a giant Earth that floated into the middle of the lake.

A perfect way to end the evening.

The only hiccup occurred when we got back to the hotel. For days, Tay had been asking to have her hair done with string (they wrap a small section with lots of string and it apparently stays that way for a long time) but the booth by the pool hadn't been open any time we were there - and we were there A LOT!

Anyway, when we got back the girl was actually open and Tay got all excited. Until the lady told her she was closing for the night. My child started crying in front of this woman and she didn't care. At all. So I took my crying child back to the room, gave her a bath and tucked her in.

And prayed that would not be her lasting impression of the Disney World vacation we'd planned for most of the year.

Thankfully, it wasn't.

Next up: Journey Home from Disney