Thursday, July 12, 2012

Thankful Thursday July 12th Edition

Maybe I still have a chance at hitting 1/2 the Thursdays in 2012.   Oh well ... there's always next year! :)

1.  I'm thankful for the wonderfully relaxing (for the most part) trip to Colorado our family took last week.
2.  I'm thankful that Adam works so hard at a job that he doesn't always like so much so that I can be a SAHM/part-time para.  I love, love, love being home with my kids during the summer, but I can honestly say I'm very much looking forward to school starting again.
3.  I'm thankful that I have a "real" job that I'm excited to go back to!
4.  I'm thankful that instead of immediately saying "I don't like that!!!" when I told Joel what we were having for supper he instead said "Do I like that?  I just want to try it."  Small victories. 
5.  I'm thankful for the chocolate cookie crumble frappuccino at Starbucks.  Icy, cool, and yummy!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Disney 2012 - Day 3

Saturday, February 4th was our "lazy" day.  
While everyone back home was getting snow dumped on them, 
we spent the morning swimming ...

 relaxing in hammocks on the beach (Adam's favorite part of the vacation, I think) ...

enjoying the view and sunshine ...

and playing in the in-ground sprinklers at Downtown Disney!

We spent the morning bumming around the Caribbean Beach resort, then headed to Downtown Disney for some lunch and shopping (and unexpected water play, which led to more shopping - souvenir t-shirts for the kids because I didn't want them to ride back to the resort in soaking wet clothes).  I love Downtown Disney.  Its one of my favorite parts of our Disney trips, so I was really glad that we got to spend some extra time there on this trip.  We'd already checked out several places on our first night in Orlando, but we went back to hit up 365 days of Christmas and Goofy's Candy Company.

I love all things Christmas, so the Christmas store at Downtown Disney is one of my favorite stops.  The two times we've been there I've gotten each of the kids an ornament for the tree and bought a picture frame ornament with the year on it for my souvenir.  Kind of a fun keepsake/tradition.  We spent a lot of time this trip at "Once Upon a Toy", which is a kids dream.  Alyssa loved the Potato Head station where you can design your own Mr/Mrs. Potato head with every accessory you could imagine.  There was also a design your own lightsaber station, which had Joel been a LITTLE bit older, I'm sure we probably would have come home with our very own lightsaber.

Alyssa and Joel had SO much fun running through the water at Downtown Disney.  They probably would have been happy to have done that all day, but it we had dinner reservations with "Chef Mickey" to get ready for, so back "home" we went!

We continued Joel's birthday celebration with dinner at "Chef Mickey" at the Contemporary Resort.  Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and Donald Duck all stopped by to visit while we were dining.  Joel got a special souvenir placemat to help his remember his "big day" and we also pre-ordered a special Disney-style birthday cake complete with Mickey shaped sprinkles for our special birthday boy.  (And our server created a special "birthday pirate hat" just for Joel out of a napkin ... they've got pretty creative people all around!)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Thankful Thursday - first Thursday of summer vacation edition

Today was a very, very trying day for me full of frustrations and feeling discouraged.  So in the attempt to end my day on a "good" note, I'm going to do a Thankful Thursday 5 before bed if it kills me. :P

1.  Overall, I'm thankful that it is summer vacation.  I'm not going to think about TODAY too closely, but overall its been wonderful to be lazy in the morning, to hang out, to catch up, to play, to read, to listen to music, to watch the kids play with their neighborhood friends, etc. 

2.  I'm thankful for my amazing neighbors.  

3.  I'm thankful for my honorary Olson family.  They mean the world to me.  Our Sarah is undergoing open heart surgery tomorrow to fix her "broken" heart.  She's one of the most huge-hearted people I know ~ can't imagine what she'll be like when her heart is whole!

4.  I'm thankful that we now have digital cable which supplies me with 24/7 music stations for "background noise" during the day.

5.  I'm thankful that even on bad days, I still love my kids to the moon and back ~ from the top of their heads to the tips of their toes.

And now ... to bed I go! :)  (bonus #6 and #7 ... I'm thankful for "The Office" reruns and the TiVo that supplies them before bed).

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Disney 2012 - Day 2

Happy 5th Birthday Joel! 
After opening presents at the hotel, we headed off to our first character breakfast of this trip at Disney's Hollywood Studios at Hollywood and Vine "Play 'n Dine" with characters from Disney Junior.  The birthday boy was VERY excited to get to meet Jake from Jake and the Neverland Pirates!


Of course, no character breakfast is complete without Mickey shaped waffles!  Yum!

As you can see we were one of about 4 families eating breakfast there that morning (hooray for vacationing during the "off" season!).  The breakfast characters (Jake, Special Agent Oso, Handy Manny and June from Little Einsteins) each came to our table at least 3 times.  Which was pretty special.  And pretty awkward by the 3rd time around.  The kids were encouraged to get up and sing and dance to Disney Junior songs with the characters and our special castmember Lindsay.  We suspect that Joel had a crush on  Lindsay ~ she was pretty cute!

Our first stop after breakfast was at Toy Story's Midway Mania ride, which is one of the most popular rides at Hollywood Studios.  We had to stand in line for quite a while, but there was lot to look at while we winded our way into the ride, which made the wait go faster.

Next up was the Muppets 3D show and then we were off to meet Phineas and Ferb!  While we were waiting to talk with the "boys of summer" there would pick kids out of the line to perform to various songs from the TV show and be "filmed".  Alyssa got picked to play tambourine for one of the music videos, which she thought was pretty cool.

After meeting P&F, we headed off to Lightening McQueen's race headquarters to meet the boy of Radiator Springs.

No birthday lunch can be complete without pizza from Toy Story's own Pizza Planet with a souvenir Agent P!

After lunch we headed off to the Magic Kindgom to continue on with Joel's magical birthday.  Alyssa's goal was to visit the Haunted Mansion and ride the Carousel.  Done and Done!

We also rode past favorites such as Aladdin's Magic Carpet, Pirates of the Caribbean and the Mad Tea Party.  Unfortunately, Alyssa was still fighting a virus, so by 7pm she had a fever of 101+ and was ready to go back to the hotel to go to bed.

We did sneak in a performance by the Disney Characters in front of the castle and got to glimpse a few fireworks before the BIG display that we missed.

And we did get to see Main Street all lit up at night. Not a bad way to celebrate 5 years with our VERY special boy!

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Thankful Thursday Week Missed-A-Few-And-Don't-Want-To-Count

1. I'm thankful for my new job. I honestly can say that I love every minute of it, even the "I want to pull my hair out" moments.
2. That said, I am thankful that there are only 20 more days of school left. We have a lot of great things plan for this summer and I can't wait to get started!
3. I'm thankful my kids are still sleeping.
4. I'm thankful that after almost 12 years together I still love, love, love, love, love my Adam.
5. I'm thankful for Mostcato. Perfect way to wrap up a day ...
5.5 I'm thankful that Boomer introduced me to Moscato several years ago, what would I do without it/him.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Disney 2012 - Day 1

I WILL finish blogging about this trip, or at least make it to day 2 since my blogging of our last trip ended with day 1. :P

It may be ridiculously early, but Alyssa and Joel are ready to fly!

Our day of flying was long after heading from Omaha to Minneapolis then to Orlando (really, we have to fly 6 - 7 hours straight north before heading waaaay south?!), but all the flying was worth it when we got check into our room in the Martinique Village of the Caribbean Beach resort and saw our view:
After dropping our carry on bags and jackets (so long Nebraska winter clothes, hello flip flops and capris!), we jumped back on the bus for Downtown Disney. I had made reservations at the T-Rex restaurant for our first night.

We were seated near the "ice cave", which was amazing! Honestly, the entire restaurant was amazing. You really felt like you were back in dinosaur times. Although with central air and electricity. :) Every 15 - 20 minutes the lights would dim and there would be a "meteor shower" complete with shooting stars and thunder. All throughout the restaurant there were lifelike (probably not life SIZED) animated dinosaurs and various animals from that era. We were sitting near a Mommy/Daddy Woolley Mammoth and baby that would start moving and making noise at random intervals, it seemed especially frequent if someone went over and scratched the baby between the eyes. One of my favorite parts of the restaurant was the giant squid/octopus that hovered over the bar.

One of the most amazingly fantastic parts of the meal came at the end. In the form of the "chocolate extinction" dessert. I think we may have to plan a trip back, purely for this dessert. It definitely trumps the Goofy Candy Company Cupcake that I previously thought was the most delicious thing I'd ever had. The dessert was perfect for our family ~ 4 servings of unbelievable chocolate cake drizzled with chocolate, caramel, butterfinger-ish pieces and whipped cream served alongside 4 scoops of vanilla ice cream. The kids' favorite part was the "volcano" in the middle ~ a martini shaker with water and dry ice in it, so that smoke spilled out over the plate.

After dinner we stopped by the Lego store to check out the impressive wall-o-legos as well as the impressive lego "statues", like Woody!

We had seen a sign earlier in the day by the main stage at Downtown Disney that there was going to be a dance party that night. I thought Alyssa and Joel might have fun watching people dance, but we were all pleasantly surprised when we found out that it was a dance party FOR the kids. They had one of the Disney choreographers teaching the kids different dances to popular Disney/Disney Junior songs (think High School Musical to Mickey Mouse Clubhouse's Hot Dog song). I was floored by how quickly he could teach them the dances, just by breaking it down and teaching it 2 - 4 moves at a times. The dancing was followed by a hula hoop contest, which the Koch kids did NOT participate in, but they had a great time watching!

The current theme at Disney World is "Let the Memories Begin". Amen! :) Stayed tuned for day 2 ... Joel's birthday day!

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Friday, February 24, 2012

For Anna

**disclaimer, I wrote this Friday night and saved it, unpublished. Wasn't sure if I was ready to share it with the blogging world.

Dear Anna,

My wall almost broke today. The wall that I've had up since Monday, February 6th @ 11:31am when I stood next to our gate in the Orlando airport listening to the message that your dad left on my cell phone to call him. As I was listening, my call waiting beeped and I looked down to see that Brandy was calling me. I instantly knew, in that moment, that this was one of THOSE moments. One of those moments that would change my life forever. Never did I dream that the next few words I would hear that you were gone. That might have been the very last thing I ever would have expected to hear. I've kept that wall up so far. Because I don't think I have the strength to cope with the reality if that wall comes down.

While my kids have rest time, Tracy plays music. Its always just a random jumble of Disney songs, lullabies, etc. Today "You Are My Sunshine" came on. Until I was probably 17 or 18, I would immediately think of your Grandpa and my Grandma Nelsen. I remember my dad and grandma singing it to me when I was little. They probably sang it to your mom, too, because I know she sang it to you almost every night of your life. Even when you were in junior high and on a sleepover, you called home to have your mom sing to you. Whether you really "needed" to have her sing it to you so that you could go to sleep or if you were just being a typical pre-teen messing around with your mom, putting her on speakerphone so that your friends could hear, I'll never know. But I know your mom wouldn't care, you were her Sunshine and she would sing to you any time, any where. Because she loved you.

When I heard the familiar words, I reflexively started singing along in my mind. But then, when I realized what I was singing, what the song was, what it reminded me of, I had to stop. To put up my guard. To distract myself. To not think. To avoid thinking the words that would make me believe. I don't want to believe. I can't believe. Not yet. Part of me thinks that maybe I won't ever believe. I'll convince myself that you're too busy to talk, too busy to visit, that you don't care, that you don't need me. The way I've felt for the last few years. Its easier that way. Because there's still the potential of getting MY Anna Beth back. The small chance that you'll come to your senses and realize that you need me. That you want me to be part of your life. That I'll get back the Anna Beth that adored her Aunt Christi, the Anna Beth that Aunt Christi adored back. I lost that little girl a long time ago. But there was still hope. Hope that someday, she would come back around. Someday we would find our way back to each other. I NEED that hope. I'm not ready to give that hope up.

Regardless of the state of my wall, regardless of how you felt about me over the years, regardless of what I did or said, I loved you. And I love you still.

Aunt Christi

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Thankful Thursday Week 4

Really, 4 weeks into 2012 already? That went fast!

1. I"m thankful I started Thankful Thursday, it gives me something to blog about at least once a week. I should come up with other theme days!
2. I'm SUPER thankful this week for the employment opportunity that came my way. I'm trying not to get my hopes up too much, but I'm thankful that at least the ball is rolling ... perhaps the dream will become reality!
3. I'm thankful that it is the eve before our monthly Moms Breakfast AND that this month I will be going solo ... no plus 1 in the form of baby Blake. Love hanging out with my mommy friends from school, eating yummy food and drinking drug-laced coffee that leaves me jittery the rest of the day.
4. I'm thankful that I am NOT coaching Alyssa's cheerleading squad this year after sitting in for Coach Debbie tonight. WOW.
5. I'm thankful that I was invited to the most amazing speaker this past Tuesday. She was one of the most phenomenal speakers I've ever heard and did such a great job presenting her material. The presentation was supposed to be on how to set healthy boundaries for children, but I came away really reflecting on myself as a parent and inspired to change myself for the better.