Jun 30, 2008

MeaningFULL Monday

Today is a lazy day after a weekend of small illness around here, but as I wipe noses and behinds, provide blankies and cover to my little ones and as Ethan helps out around here, I can't help but reflect on the goodness of God - - through the good and the bad.
DeClan (19 months) is talking so much it amazes me - - his vocabulary includes, but is not limited to the following: egg, mik, outside, ice, mama, dada, both brothers names w/ no vowels, football, basketball, toes, snack, cracker, cookie, shoes, comprende, no, "I got you", "I got it", purple, white, car and shoes. There are a lot of words we cannot comprehend, but that does not stop him from getting what he wants, WHEN he wants it.
Austin (newly 3) is talking so much and does not want to stop talking .. only when he sleeps. Austin decided to wait until he was 2 1/2 before he said anything outside mama and dada, that it had me worried ... so much so I asked the doctor everytime we visited if something was wrong with him and she said no, just give him time. I guess he is making up for lost time. A few weeks ago he took of DeClan's diaper and then told my husband DeClan needed a new diaper because he was "disgusting!". Disgusting? He was VERY serious. We asked him what that meant and he said he poopooed everywhere and that is disgusting. Hmpf.
Ethan (11 1/2) is savoring every moment of being home for the summer. He has enjoyed not having to get up and run the "race" of school, deadlines, homework, teachers, and not so kind children. He has mentioned homeschooling a few times, but is excited about starting junior high next year. Junior high? He was just in my belly.
I will admit though I am a little scared that my baby is no longer one, but asking where they come from. He is also asking about his life as an adult and who his wife will be since he discovered he cannot marry my uncle's beautiful girlfriend. (She is really pretty)
We had put of explaining the birds and the bees w/ Ethan because his memory was not that great after the seizures and he was behind maturity wise, but I think the last 6 to 8 months seizure free, the brain tumor no longer being an issue, we will have to sit him down and have a more frank discussion that what we have been doing. HELP!!!!
"D" (husband of almost 13 years) - I love him more and more each day. I don't always say it and demonstrate it in the best way, but I really do love him and am in love with him. I have thanked God for him in the past, but way more today and a sea of marriages around us have begun the great divide. I cannot say I understand who so many and why these particular marriages are broken, but I KNOW who can RESTORE, RENEW and REFRESH. Our great GOD. D and I do not have the perfect marriage by any means, but we have been blessed with a good one.
We have grown spiritually together and I pray for many more years to get to know each other and grow old physically and in the Lord.

Thank you Lord for this family you have blessed me with.

Jun 28, 2008

Call on Jesus

I don't mean to start this beautiful weekend with doom and gloom, but this has been another hard week. Not for me personally, but for people around me. The world seems to be falling apart .. broken relationships, unbiblical relationships forming, sick children, tragic deaths of young lives, ..... I then I made the mistake of watching the news last and the first 3 stories just sent me to my knees.

BUT GOD, thank God .. He is there for us to call on Him. He sees and He knows! He is NOT worried about the days ahead and I know I should not be either. I am going to trust Him and call on the Name of Jesus for every detail in my life and the things that are going on in this world.

Nicole C Mullen.

Jun 25, 2008

Final Days at Disney ...

Here are more pictures from the trip .....

We have A LOT of people to thank for this wonderful vacation (the first in 13 years for our family) but two non profit organizations get our family's "Above and Beyond" award!

Make a Wish Foundation - We had no idea when we were told 5 years ago about Ethan's brain tumor that once God healed him, we would be given the trip of a lifetime! MAW gave Ethan a bon voyage party a week before we left for Florida and gave the kids wish backpacks FULL of goodies! Even though this was Ethan's wish, the MAW staff did NOT leave out Austin and DeClan. You know around here we have to have 3 of everything.

We plan to continue working with this organization as a family for years and years to come! We were and ARE still today simply overwhelmed! Overwhelmed by the planning, the details, the friendly wish granters and on and on and on.

If you are thinking about a non-profit organization to support, please consider Make A Wish. Families dealing with sick and healing children need this "time away from the world".

Give Kids the World Village - This is the resort where we stayed. Home for all wish kids if they choose a trip to Disney. It felt like home away from home. 2 BIG bedrooms, whirlpool tub, pools, trains, video games, putt putt, and just flat out REALLY nice people, mostly volunteers. We all literally cried when we had to check out Friday. They catered to Ethan's EVERY need. Even had a pizza delivery to the villa every night if he wanted it and ice cream ooooo the ice cream .. D and I gained at least 10 pounds from the late night sundaes and shakes! :) All totally F-R-E-E! They also work with the local theme parks and attractions to make sure that the family has tickets to the parks they would like to visit, get free parking, and the parks make sure the wish child is able to move to the front of the line (whowhoo) no matter how long the line is (we were NOT rude when we moved in front of the lines, BUT thankful) and the parks also make sure that if there are some medical issues or needs, you have a place to "recollect" yourself.

Jun 23, 2008

Disney - Magic Kingdom Day!

This is DeClan .. the photo is supposed to be at the bottom of the page ...

Here is the whole family with Mickey and Minnie! I didn't think I was star struck, but boy I felt a little goose pimple when they called us to take our pictures! As you can tell Austin and DeClan have no interest whatsoever in taking a picture, but afterwards they got a hug from Minnie and decided to hug Mickey too after they noticed he was looking on. :) Oh and my hair, do not look at my hair! Florida proved not the place for my hair. It was very uncomfortable to whole week, but I decided to grin and bear it.

So, we were off to Disneyworld and planned to spend the whole day at one park. We gathered our frozen water and snacks and headed to Magic Kingdom. I had been to Disneyworld before, but never Magic Kingdom.

Once you park and get on the tram you still have to get on the monorail or the Ferry to get to the entrance of the park. Not a bad proposition, but remember we had 3 kids, a stroller, backpacks, and 2 WalMart bags full of frozen water. I had no plans of paying 2.50 for a 50 cent bottle of water. Ya know?

By this time in our trip D had become a pro grabbing the kids out of the stroller, closing the stroller and jumping on the tram in 15 seconds. I will admit the glide through the Disney property (we chose the monorail) was nice and we even went through Disney's contemporary hotel - - yes, I said THROUGH. Seemed odd to have a real live monorail passing through the lobby of the hotel, but if it works for them, okaaay.

We finally made our way to the entrance of the park where we had to have our bags and purses searched for an contraband, but I swear if you have kids and lots of bags, by the third bag it seemed as though the ruler was only being used to shuffle some papers. (kinda scary when you think about it.)

We went in the entrance and the first thing we saw was Cinderella's castle! It was beautiful, magical, bigger than I imagined and HOT! Ya'll at 10:00 in the morning, it was ALREADY hot! So yes, by 12noon all that frozen water we brought in was just as lukewarm and the water in my birdbath right now, but that is another story. eeeuuuwwww

Anyhoo, we just had to get some of those Mickey Ears - the trip could not have been complete without them Austin said, so we ponied up $30.00 for all 3 to have ears and $9.00 to get their names embroidered on the back. DeClan could have cared less .. he kept throwing his ears out of the stroller, but my pictures would have looked so bad without them. Mommies, you know how we want certain pictures to look? EARS HAD TO BE PURCHASED .. even if that meant me cooking or making sandwiches that night. (hehehe)

I also plan to have the ears framed in a two sided photo box so we can really enjoy the memories of this great vacation.

We met up with some friends and tried to ride every ride available to us at Magic Kingdom. We took frequent water breaks and might possibly know every shade opportunity in the park. Did I tell you it was hot? Ethan had a ball driving me around in the cars, flying up and down on Dumbo with his dad, eating very sticky cotton candy and lots of lemon icees, LOTS!

Before we knew it Ethan got sick from all the heat and we had to make our way to the Wish building to sit down and cool off. (Disney is so great with the Wish families). We checked in the wish area and sat down for about an hour. Ethan was able to play some games and watch Disney movies. He was better after 30 minutes or so. He has been doing so well, we tend to forget or are suppressing it) that he still has some medical issues.

I took time to cool down and then resume my mommy duties by changing diapers, pull ups and clothes and watering down the younger two so they could be a little more comfortable. Now of course everyone was hungry.

We made our way to an Old-Fashion Hot Dog/Corny Dog stop and ate until we could not eat anymore. Everything was fresh, everything was good (it better be at $35.00), but we felt refreshed, which was all that mattered at that point. Have you ever been around 3 kids who are starving? Even though we had just had snacks an hour earlier?

Just as we finished eating, the mid afternoon Magic Kingdom parade started and we knew we were not moving because we had the best seats in the house. Number one we had seats, number two we were right up front. Boy was it a hoot! All the characters (I know they were dying in the costumes) came riding through on the floats and the kids were so giddy to see all their favorite characters.

The parade ended, D joined at the table (he was taping the parade for us) and we left to see more Magic Kingdom. Out of nowhere ... the wind started blowing, lighting started dancing across the sky and rain, heavy rain started coming down in buckets .... and we had to hide out and wait.

It had rained a lot this vacation, but most of the time the showers would cool us off and stop within 10 minutes. NOT this time. We waited for more than an hour and a half and when it let up just a little, we decided to go home.

We made it back to the monorail where the line was so long, I knew it would be forever before we got back to the village. Not to mention that the monorail IS electric, so weren't just able to HOP on .. so we waited more, but met some very nice families while we were in line, because DeClan had become our family ambassador, waving and winking at all the ladies around him.

I cannot for the life figure out how to get the pictures under or over the right paragraphs. Any help would be appreciated, thanks!

Jun 21, 2008


I have not been able to particpipate in TSMSS in a while so I thought this might be a good weekend to join in. People told me for weeks that I would need a vacation AFTER the vacation and I will admit, I didn't believe them, but boy o boy, this week has really been hard.
Yes, I AM thankful for the week long totally paid for vacation (PRAISE GOD), but I believe the highs of it all left an opportunity to come crashing down if I wasn't careful. Unfortunately, I came crashing down the last few days..... BUT GOD got me right back up again after I prayed and absorbed all that He has done for me and my family. God put things in perspective for me.
Makes you wonder though .. how in the world do people live this life we have without God? There is NO WAY I could have made it through the last few days, 5 years or all of my life for that matter without having the Father to come to, depend on, lean on, cry out to, praise for, thank Him for .. there is NO way.
And yet, I do matter to Him. He has a gazillion things and children to take care of (stated so nicely in a childlike manner), but even in all of that .. He knows who I am, where I am and what I need.
So today, my contribution to TSMSS is from Anthony Evans, not Pastor Evans, but his son ... A song called Meaningless. This life, my life IS meaningless without Jesus.

Jun 18, 2008

Disney - Animal Kingdom/Epcot

Monday we visited Disney's Animal Kingdom and Epcot. Here you can see Ethan right up close with a Scarlet Maccaw! Ethan has had no problem remembering all the names of the wonderful animals God created that he was able to see. This was by far one of the best places at Disney. Everything is hands on and up close!
We got on the infamous Safari ride at Animal Kingdom at I simply could not believe how close we were to all the animals. We will definitely be back! We took pictures, but because the jeep ride was so bumpy, none of them turned out right. So if you are headed to Disney - look at this first. You gotta go on this tour.
Later Monday afternoon, we went to Epcot where the kids were sort of hohum, why did we come here, but D and I enjoyed the journey through time and technology.
We managed to get on the Nemo ride so the kids could say they we did something for them, but for the most part, I think, Epcot may be for older kids and adults. Oh and thinking about dining at one at the favoured resturaunts? Better make reservations at least 3 months before you trip. We ended up eating $30.00 hamburgers and fries at the Electric Umbrella!
Tuesday, we are off to Magic Kingdom!

Jun 17, 2008

Disney - Day Two Universal Studios

This is the place known as the Gingerbread House where we had breakfast EVERY morning. Scrumptious, mouth watering full grandma Minnie's breakfasts. Eggs, hash browns, sausage gravy, biscuits, waffles, bacon, ham, fruit, cereal and yogurt.

Needless to say, we ate and ate very well.

We visited Universal Studios Sunday, but I cannot find those photos ... sorry, so click here and you will get an idea of what we did.

Ethan got to meet SPIDER MAN and take a photo with him!!! Wooohoo!

Jun 16, 2008

Disney - Our resort village

We arrived in Florida from a wonderful, dramaless flight and there was an attendant from our resort village waiting for us holding a sign with Ethan's name on it. The attendant helped D with the luggage, walked us through the maze of the Orlando airport, straight to Avis where a fully loaded van complete with 3 DVD/gameplayers and carseats was waiting for us.
The directions were perfectly provided for us. It was a beautiful day and when we arrived at the resort village we were AMAZED at what we saw. A place just for kids like Ethan!
After checking in, we were escorted to our own private villa and given a tour of what we would call our home away from home for at least a week. The kids jumped out of the van and straight for the rocking chairs on the porch. Something they have not seen before, but knew just what to do.
One of the photos above is of the ice cream shoppe, where you could have ice cream ALL DAY LONG anyway you liked it ... on a cone, in a sundae, or a shake .. with sprinkles on top! Whatever YOU wanted for FREE ... yes, FREE .... needless to say, the weight that was once lost before the trip is now found!
Ethan and the kids were also able to play putt putt all day, swim, ride the trains, authentic video games, boat racing, fishing, did I mention ice cream and homemade lemonade? All day. We had been told a lot kids do not want to leave the village to do to Disney because they are spolied rotten at GKTW and that was the case with Ethan as well.
I attended the parent orientation and recieved the free tickets and parking passes for DisneyWorld, Universal Studios, and Sea World.
D and would have to sit down and plan the week. What a problem to have!
Praising God! Praising God!

Jun 15, 2008

Disney - Day One

Hats off to the Make a Wish Foundation for blessing us with this fantastic blow your mind vacation!

Saturday - we woke up at 3:00am so we could go to the parking and ride where we would leave our van so they could drop us off curbside at the airport for a 7:20am flight. We made it just in time, 5:15am.
We packed 4 suitcases to be checked and 3 backpacks for the flight FULL of snacks for the trip. No thank you to the 4 dollar breakfast sandwich!
We checked in, gave the AA rep our suitcases and got in line for the security check. But wait ... who had the tickets? Me? D? I checked us in while he was loading the bags and handling the stroller, but we both had to shown ID. Did the AA rep give us the boarding passes? Oh no, she just went on break ... go back and retrace our steps ... whew, there they are right there on the FLOOR!!! I breathe a HUGE sigh of relief and pray this is NOT the way things will go from here on out.
Thank you God for watching over the tickets!
We go through security with 3 kids, a stroller and backpacks for each person, oh yes and we had to take our shoes off of course! We wait for the flight to board and take one more bathroom break. We finally board the plane and we are off to Florida!

Jun 6, 2008

Packing so soon seemed like a good idea ...

I wanted to start early so I could a handle on things and be o so prepared for the trip ...

I have been washing clothes and finding outfits that have been in storage that would be just too cute on the young men while posing for pictures in Florida ... and now the suitcases are overflowing and spilling out of the den .. a stark contrast from the photos the other day .. I'm too embarrased to take a picture .. hehehehe

You would think that having a washer and dryer in the room would help me pick 4 outfits and make it easier .. but unfortunately it has made me even crazier about WHAT to pack ..

What to do .. what to do ... gotta figure out something soon ....

Jun 2, 2008

There are some things that have taken me away from you ....

(Please forgive the jumbled post, blogger is on the fritz today)
For more than a month now, I have been packing for a week long trip that is more than a week away ...
Hubby thinks I am crazy for starting so soon, but I needed to know that everything that needs to be packed will be packed. I don't feel like finding a Wal-Mart to fill in the gaps while I am on vacation. (SMILE)
We have only allowed 1 suitcase per person (I guess that is enough) so it has made packing and planning very interesting. (Thank you very much airline officials), especially with two todds in tow.
And so the suitcases have become part of the decor as I add to my list of things we don't have in groups of 5, but it will all be over soon ... the suitcases will close, the trip to the airport will come, we will land and get to the resort and discover that even after all this careful planning ....
"Mom, I forgot my toothbrush" will come ringing in the first day at Disney!
Have a great day!