Tuesday, April 30, 2013

almost May...

We're preparing for what might be a long summer.

Ray's new job, which comes with many nice benefits, does have a significant drawback: He often works out of town.

Not always, but occasionally.

This summer, he will be out of town for 40 days.

We've juggled situations like this before, but never for this long.

Add in my often-unpredictable job, Millie's therapy schedule and having no daycare on Fridays, and things might get interesting.

But it's only 40 days. And the money will be good.

It's what we signed up for.

But I'd be lying if I said it wasn't going to be a challenge.

***

Meanwhile, we're actually getting a taste of spring here lately.

Lola even got up the courage to ask Ray to take the training wheels off her bike:

We've been talking about it, on and off, for a while, yet we never planned to push it this year. But her neighborhood friend, who is her age, has been wheels-free since last summer.

And she wants to be just like him.


Unfortunately, it didn't go well. 

Lola immediately started crying when she realized how different it was.
 

Once we explained to her that we had no intention of forcing her to try to do it, that she could just get used to the idea of balancing, etc., she was fine. Even a little intrigued.


But she went back to her bike with training wheels very quickly.

She should probably get used to just biking again in general again before we try to go up another step.

For now, we're just happy to be playing outside again.
 
Happy spring (finally).
 

 - Bethany

Friday, April 19, 2013

Our little 'Joy'

I turned on the radio the other day while driving to day care. A slower song came on.

Millie, alone in the backseat, yelped and whimpered.

I glanced back at her. She pointed emphatically at the radio, raised her left arm at the elbow, and pumped her little fist.

She's been doing this more and more lately, so I knew what she wanted.

I found a faster-paced song.

And she danced.

She loves to dance in her own little Millie way. 

Last night, after telling myself for weeks to take the time to get it on tape, I did.

She only dances when other people are dancing. So you'll see her waiting for Yo Gabba Gabba to get started and then immediately stops when they stop.

But just watch her smile when it's time to start.

It is the cutest thing.

She is the cutest thing.


Amelia Joy continues to amaze us daily. She is now drinking liquids from straws, walking around on her knees, and crawling up stairs with (some) ease.

On Monday, she will turn 22 months old.

Her vocabularly is expanding, though, admittedly, I don't think many people outside of her primary caregivers would understand her. We are starting a new program next week to help build her verbal and signing vocabulary.

But she is getting much better at indicating what she wants.

And making sure you listen.

She is starting to get into those Terrible 2s and has had her first set of time outs, one at home and one at daycare.

Neither came from me by the way. I still think of her as "my baby" and can't imagine that she's old enough to actually be acting out purposely. But, yeah, it's happening.

But still, she's our beloved little sweetheart who loves to cuddle and hold hands.




Happy weekend.

- Bethany :)

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Disney Diary, Day 9

(The final installment in ongoing recaps of our nine-day trip to Disney World.)

This was it. 

After nine fun- and sun-filled days (we didn't see a single rain drop our whole trip!), it was time to get ready to head home.

We woke up and got packed up.

We cleaned, we dressed, we tried to think ahead: What will we want on the plane? In Minnesota?

We dressed for 80-degree weather.

And for 80 below (or so it seemed).

Our flight would leave about 7 p.m. so we still had a half-day or so at a park.

So, on Day 9, we went to Hollywood Studios for our first, and only, time.

First things first, we watched Indiana Jones do some rather cool things.
  

 

Ray had to leave show early, though. Millie just wasn't handling it well. She didn't want to sit still.

And Lola would have liked to leave.

But I didn't let her.

She actually was interested and did pretty well ... until the fire and explosions at the end.

But I thought it was pretty cool.
 
then, we walked around, got some food, visited some shops.

We saw some street performers.


Lola got a new hat.


Notice how she's smiling? So big, so cute?

So happy?

Yeah, that didn't last.

Because my husband thought it would be a great idea to take her on this:


 The Tower of Terror.

Now you should know two things about Lola:

1. She loves drops. The dropping motion in roller-coasters? Her favorite thing ever. Even the Pirates of the Caribbean, which she hated, had a little bitty drop at the beginning and she still talks about how much she enjoyed that part (and that part only).

2. But she scares very, very easily.

Still, Ray thought she'd ejoy the Tower of Terror.

She did not.

As Ray tells it, she screamed throughout the whole ride.

And not in the oh-my-gosh-it-is-so-fun-to-be-scared kind of way. More like the oh-my-gawd-I-am-completely-terrified-and-want-off-this-stuid-ride-right-now kind of way.

So then we tried some more kid-friendly activities.

Like a quiz to tell you which Princess you are most like.



And the Little Mermaid show.
 

 

We would have liked to watch the Belle show, but the times weren't so convenient. We've heard great things about it, and I think that would have been a awesome experience.

But it was getting late-ish...

And the Midwest was getting hammered by a(nother) snow storm.

I was worried about flights. 

I was antsy about catching shuttles and everything.

It was simply time to go.

So we gathered up. Hugged each other tight.


And said goodbye.
 


- Bethany :)

***

And, yes, we made it home.

Our flight was not canceled but another airlines' flight to Minneapolis that was scheduled for about the same time was delayed by about three hours while ours went on as scheduled.

We stayed in the Twin Cities through Tuesday, for Millie's appointment

And then drove back home to Bemidji, where we promptly got the car stuck in the driveway thanks to the 30-some inches of snow that fell while we were away.

Lola cried, "I want to go back to Disney World."

We all did.

And still do.

Just ask my husband, who was quoting me prices the other day for next February...

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Disney Diary, Day 8

(An ongoing recap of our nine-day trip to Disney World.)

It was Saturday. Our last full day.

It was on our minds all day. You could almost see it in the other's face: At this time tomorrow, we'll be leaving for the airport, boarding the plane, etc. Or, At this time Monday, we'll be in the Cities, surrounded by a fresh batch of 16 inches of snow.

We tried not to think about it. But that was a failing effort.

We spent our last full day at what became our favorite park: Epcot.

In fact, if you ask Lola today, What was your favorite park at Disney World, you'll get this answer: "I liked Eps-a-cot the best."

We all did.

 
On Day 8, we said goodbye to some of our favorite rides.

Like Nemo...
 

Ray and Lola went on Soarin' again, for what would be the final go-round.

Meanwhile, Millie and I spent some time in the sunshine.

 


We walked through the World Showcase, which was my favorite part of all of Disney World. 

I would have been happy here every day. Just walking around in the sunshine, shopping and watching different street performers.

It was quite perfect.

Even the sky was extra-special...


Later, we grabbed lunch in Mexico, at our second-favorite Disney eatery...


And then went off in search of our final Princess.

But she was taking a little lunch break.

So we waited, first in line, anxious for her return...



As we waited, the kids found some gecko friends hanging out on the wishing well, one of which they named Beatrice.


And while Lola was definitely excited about the lizards, they were nothing compared to the main event...


I don't know if Snow White is just generally that pleasant or if it was because we were her first visitors after lunch, but she was incredibly sweet.

She definitely was a favorite.



 

That evening was spent with Ray's sister's family as we all got together one last time, had some good food, great laughs and special times.

The kids played, the adults talked.

Late that night, we got on the shuttle bus to head home, but Ray had apparently lost his cell phone, so we disembarked the bus, then found said cell phone, got back on another bus and (finally) headed to our hotel for our last night.

Interesting times.

But good times.
- Bethany :)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

my life

I was in a funk last night. 

It was probably the Monday blahs, but I just couldn't shake them off.

So I took Millie to the grocery store and then Lola helped me make some mini muffins.

I took a bath and tried to relax.

I read some Tom Wolfe.

With Mustang curled up into an itty bitty ball on my lap, I sat down to watch some junk TV.

But I was distracted.

Restless.

Just a touch crabby.

So I handed off the puppy dog, changed my clothes and grabbed my stuff.

I'd planned on taking the day off, to simply be lazy and veg out.

But that, obviously, was not working.

I needed to clear my head.

So I left.

And as soon as my feet hit the treadmill I felt better.

Four-some miles later, I went back home.

Tired, but refreshed.

Much more upbeat.



How quickly things can change...

A year ago today, I took my first baby steps toward changing my life.

It wasn't just weight loss, though that was a big part of it.

It wasn't just exercise, though that, too, was a factor.

It wasn't just about tackling bad habits or going to church more often.

It wasn't just laughing more and frowning less.

It was all of that - and so much more.

It was life.

I just wanted to live differently.



I'll never claim my life is perfect.

But it sure is better now than it was 365 days ago.

- Bethany :)

Monday, April 8, 2013

Disney Diary, Day 7

(An ongoing recap of our nine-day trip to Disney World. I just might finish these yet...)

This was the day we officially hit the "oh-my-gawd-we-have-172-more-things-we-have-to-get-done-before-we-head-home" phase of our trip.

In other words, the panic stage.

Ray hates having set schedules. And while I thrive on them, we had a deal, in advance of the trip, that we wouldn't set plans. Other than the Tuesday, which as you'll recall turned out not so ideal. Anyhow, the plan was to go with the flow, and, if you know me at all, that's just not in my nature. Yet I loved it. Until these last few days, when I got worried about not doing "everything" that we had hoped to get done...

Luckily, that was my issue.

The kids were still having a fantastic time.


Nonetheless, we knew it was "go" time. And Day 7 (Friday) was the last day we would spend at the Magic Kingdom.

So I kept a mental checklist of all the things we wanted to see and do before we left.

Like meet the remaining princesses.
 


  




Lola was super sweet throughout the whole trip and, surprisingly, prettye easy-going when it came to the 1,200 pictures I took in nine days (no, that's not an exaggeration - and it's also not including the 300-some from the Disney photo service).

But while I sometimes got a forced, grin-and-bear-it kind of fake smile, she would also occasionally knock one out of the park.

Like this one.




She had just finished meeting the pricesses and insisted on taking a picture with Goofy. I didn't direct her at all - she just ran out there and posed like this on her own - and it's one of my absolute favorite shots from the whole trip.

She's such a cutie.

Anyhow, we also went on the Walt Disney World Railroad for the first (and only) time, fulfilling one of Lola's top requests.




Amelia liked the train too.



Actually, Millie was a sweetheart all day.

She was in a terrific mood, just loving the sunshine and being there with everyone.





Later, Ray also, finally, got to take Lola on the Speedway.


He was so looking forward to this...



Unfortunately, Lola hated the whole thing.

I don't know if you can tell in the image, but trust me, Lola is scowling. It was quite humorous.

Actually, this wasn't Lola favorite ride day, to be honest. The kid has a thing about boats - she hates them. So we had to practically force her to go on the Pirates of the Carribean.





And the the ride broke down.

While we were on it.

She didn't necessarily freak out (well, maybe just a little a bit after about 15 minutes of the stand-still) but she was not happy. She was a little scared. But we were all together so I think that made it easier on her.

But I know she won't be going on it again one any time soon.

("I hated that ride, Mommy. I never ever never want to go on that ride again," she says, when I ask her if she remembers anything about it.)

I'm actually surprised Ray got her to go on It's a Small World shortly thereafter. Yet, she liked that one. Go figure.

A while later, we went on the new Little Mermaid ride, which was super cute and enjoyable.
 



And then, of course, Lola went on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad another half-dozen times or so.

Meanwhile, Millie and I walked around the park and met some new friends.


(Full disclosure: I have no idea who these guys are. I know Grandpa Roma told us before, but I already forgot -- maybe he'll pop on here and "remind" me? hint, hint.)


That afternoon, we caught the parade again. And Lola was just as excited this time as she was the first time around.





We went back to the hotel for a bit in the afternoon, letting everyone cool off (including me; I was pretty badly sun burnt).

Millie went swimming. And while I don't know if she loved it, she certainly had a good time.






That night, we went back to say our goodbyes to the Magic Kingdom.

And we had the best time.

Lola saw the fireworks while she was riding on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Millie slept through them in her stroller, unimpressed.

But they really were quite lovely.




And then we had front-row seats to a nighttime show.

Cinderella's castle became a blank canvas as sorts as they projected a light show onto its exterior.

It was amazing.

Both girls were mesmerized. And, I think, us adults were, too.






Afterward, we had our Magic Kingdom family picture taken in front of the now-pink castle.



But, for some reason, I begged my family to cooperate for "just one more" about 10 minutes later, from a different vantage point.

Lola didn't really want to. But Ray bribed her and we all gathered for one more picture...

... And I'm so very glad we did.


It is the only family picture from all nine days in which every one of us is smiling.

It was just that kind of night.

Perfect.
- Bethany :)