Saturday, December 26, 2009


Cameron was in her first Christmas play and I'm sure it won't be the last. She played an angel and had one of the longest lines. She did so great! Her class also sang three songs, one of which they learned sign language, too. They all did very well!

Cami saying her line

The three blonde angels

On Christmas Eve, we traveled to Dixon to celebrate Christmas with my family. It was the first without my grandpa and things were a little different. However, no matter how many people we've lost, we're still able to celebrate Jesus' birth together. The girls enjoyed playing with their cousins & opening the gifts my aunts & cousin gave them.


For once, she posed without complaint!

This one has no problems posing for a picture!

A rare picture of us

For the first time ever, we spent Christmas Day at our house. We can see this becoming a new tradition for us. We actually woke up before the girls, then Rory woke up and Devon was trying to not wake Cami up, but she bolted up in bed as soon as he entered the room. Then he tried to quickly get out to start the song we play Christmas mornings..."You Gotta Get Up", but she was right behind him (and she has to climb down a ladder!) Anyway, it was great seeing their excited and slightly overwhelmed faces at all their presents and being excited for others to open their presents as well. I love that! My dad, sis & bro-in-law came over for presents in the morning and the rest of the day was spent eating & relaxing, a great Christmas!

Christmas morning

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A Magical Vacation

My awesome Dad splurged on our Christmas presents this year and took us to Walt Disney World for the week. My sister and I have been several times to the Magic Kingdom & EPCOT, but the last time was 14 years ago. Of course, this is my girls first trip there. I can't begin to tell you everything about our trip. Well, I can but it's going to be a fairly long post.

First of all, we stayed at the Bay Lake Tower at the Contemporary Resort. This part of the hotel opened just this past August and was amazing! We stayed in a 2 bedroom villa which was plenty of room for all of us (3 bathrooms!). It had a great pool with an awesome water slide. Both of my girls braved this alone (after we were told they had to). It only took a little convincing (or a push) and they loved it. You could hear Cami scream the entire way down! :) This hotel is right by the Magic Kingdom and offers great views of the castle if you're on that side or at least from the walkway to the main building. Great place to watch the fireworks each night.

We started our week at EPCOT where in the restaurant, Akershus, in Norway, you can dine with the princesses. I thought this would be a special treat for the girls (and me) and a great way to introduce them to Disney. It began with a complimentary photo with Belle. This is who Cameron was for Halloween, so I thought she would be incredibly excited, but lo and behold, my precious 4-year-old went all shy on me. Now, this is a normal occurrence. She typically takes a while to warm up to people, but this is BELLE in her beautiful yellow dress. A little overwhelmed, perhaps? At least Rory wasn't...we have a beautiful picture of her with Belle & one of the entire family with Cami's head turned away. Unfortunately, she now regrets it and says, "I should have looked at the camera." Learning experience? Anyway, the meal was really good. We weren't sure what to expect for Norweigan food, but we all enjoyed it and it was a lot of fun to have Cinderella, Aurora, Snow White & Ariel come to our table as we ate. We toured EPCOT's World Showcase & rode several rides in Future World, then headed back to the hotel for dinner at the hotel & a dip in the hot tub & pool.

Tuesday, we went to Magic Kingdom. I wasn't sure what to expect on crowds and such. I had been researching so much for this trip, reading Disney message boards, looking at touring plans for the parks, figuring out which day to go to which park and still there were mixed reviews on crowd levels for this week. Well, we were indeed surprised & thrilled with the crowd level the day we were there. We only had to wait in line for 20 minutes at the most and that was maybe 1 or 2 rides. Many of them we just walked on. Cami loved most everything she went on, except maybe the Pirates. I thought Haunted Mansion scared her, but she said she liked it & wanted to do it again. They rode their first roller coaster in Toon Town. I wish I had captured the looks on their faces. They had this strained, "holding on for dear life" face, but Rory said, "That was fun!" when we got off and Cami wanted to ride again. They both loved Dumbo & really loved the Tea Cups. They rode them twice during the week. Luckily, Devon loves them too. My stomach says No! :) We finished the day by meeting Mickey & Minnie. The girls loved it! Then, dinner back at the hotel & more swimming.

Wednesday we went to Hollywood Studios. This is a great place, especially if you love movies, but it's not necessarily the park for my girls' ages. They loved the High School Musical production that went on right in the streets and they loved the Playhouse Disney show. They were also able to meet or see several characters as several of them are often out right in the center of the Studios. However, there are a lot of shows which is great for adults (I'm still sad I missed out on Beauty & the Beast), but we weren't sure they'd sit for long productions. We did see "Voyage of the Little Mermaid" and even that scared them. I guess a gigantic Ursula as well as feeling some of the effects was a bit much. There are also a few shows and thrill rides that are a bit too scary or they're too small for. However, for us adults, Rock-n-Roller Coaster was AWESOME! Unfortunately, we missed out on Toy Story Mania, which is the hot new attraction there. Next time, we'll go there first! We ended the day in the "Streets of America" where they have the Osbourne Family's Spectacle of Dancing Lights. I'm sure there are videos on youtube and I tried to take some video, but I'm sure it doesn't do it justice. It's this amazing light show set to music with an unbelievable amount of lights.

Thursday, the weather wasn't as great as it had been the first few days, but coming back to this cold weather, I can't really complain. It did rain a little, but we still enjoyed a little bit of Animal Kingdom. Basically we walked through one "forest" to see some gorillas & miscellaneous animals and we went on the safari ride. The jeep drives through small waterways and over bumps that were created to simulate a real African safari. It seems like the animals could come right up to you. The girls loved that, but after a quick lunch and the rain not letting up, we decided to head back to the hotel to rest. After our naps, we went back to EPCOT for dinner at the Coral Reef restaurant. We dined by their almost 6 million gallon aquarium, watching Rays & Sea Turtles, fish & sharks swim by. After dinner, we headed back to the Magic Kingdom for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party where we got to ride some rides again, take in a special show in Tomorrowland and watch the great parade & fireworks show. Both were spectacular!

Friday was our final day. We had breakfast at Chef Mickey's in the Contemporary where Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Pluto & Donald came to visit as we ate. Then, we decided to tour the two other hotels on the monorail line...the Polynesian & Grand Floridian. Rory enjoyed playing in the sand by the Polynesian and we saw two different wedding parties by the Grand Floridian. One of them we witnessed actually getting into a Cinderalla carriage pulled by miniature horses! We went in the Grand Floridian to see the huge gingerbread house (they sell goodies from inside it) and huge Christmas tree, then headed over to the Magic Kingdom to enjoy some attractions again as well as try some things we hadn't done yet.

It was an awesome trip and I'd love to go back, especially when it's decked out for Christmas. I'd never been at this time and Disney goes all out (as they do for everything). It's amazing the amount of detail they put into decorations, shows, etc. to make Disney even more magical for Christmas. I'm so glad my girls got to experience it and hopefully will get to again and again. Oh and yes I have pictures. I'll post a few on here soon.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Oh the conversations I overhear when my girls are playing! Sometimes one of them repeats something that I've said...usually a disciplinary statement. That's always fun. Sometimes they sing songs or quote movies which is really cute.

Presently, they are playing with Barbies & Princess dolls. Rory was making two of the girls kiss. Cami says, "Why are you making two girls kiss? You need to kiss a boy." Rory replies, "Oh I need to kiss a boy. Okay." That's all. Thought it was funny & cute.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Birthdays and other days...

Today would have been my mom's 52nd birthday. She's been gone for almost 6 years and it still seems surreal at times. Fairly often, I catch myself thinking, "She can't really be gone". As much as I am thankful that she is in the most beautiful, wonderful place, sitting with her Savior and has no more sickness and pain, I still so badly want her to be here with me, her family & her friends. I want her to be a mother to her adult daughter who is now a mother, to be a grandmother to her granddaughters, to enjoy the little things together like shopping and TV shows and movies.

It's just another day. There is rarely (if ever) a day I don't think about her, but birthdays (of hers, of mine), holidays, and of course the anniversary of the day she died, are prominent reminders that she's not here. The hurt hasn't lessened at all. I wonder it ever will. I'm sad. I miss her.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Princess Belle & Minnie Mouse had a great time trick-or-treating! We hit up several friends' homes around the area, as well as Hy-Vee and the Trunk or Treat at the Fairview church next to Hy-Vee. Final stop was the fire station near our house for a good bowl of chili, "driving" the fire truck & of course candy. The candy haul should last us for months!

Also, on Friday, Cami had her first school Halloween party. They trick-or-treated through the other classes at school and then paraded outside and waved to the cars passing by.

Her whole class outside

Cameron with some classmates

Our princess & mouse

Monday, October 26, 2009

Cameron's Pumpkin

This is what Cameron & Devon did with her pumpkin. Since she picked such a petite pumpkin, it turned into a pretty small jack-o-lantern. With the candle I put inside (which is just a tealight), you can't put the top on or it starts burning the pumpkin lid, but oh how cute it is.

Field Trips

Cami's school has taken several field trips already. They first got to tour Hy-Vee & Shakespeares's, then the fire station near their school. Rory & I were able to join them on their trip to Peach Tree Farms where they got to feed animals, take a hayride, go through a maze and pick out their own pumpkin. It was a cold day, but the kids had a lot of fun anyway.

Posing by the pumpkins

Feeding the goats

On the hayride

Picking out their pumpkins

The whole class (Cami seems to be hiding)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Catching up...once again.

I'm so bad at this blogging thing. I thought I would be good. I like to write and I love to get my thoughts out by way of journaling. I thought this would be a good venue to just share what I'm thinking and yet it the majority of the posts are about what's going on with our family. Which is fine, I guess. It keeps people informed, but then I'm always behind on sharing what's going on as well. Oh well, a work in progress, I suppose.

Anyway, the big development that's happened is that Cami started her Pre-K preschool class. At this moment, she is finishing up her 2nd week. See how behind I am? The first two days I dropped her off, she loved it! Then the 3rd day came and tears and screaming were involved. Heartwrenching! Of course, she ended up being fine and did not have to come home or anything, but the tears have come each drop off time this week as well. I think the crying period is shortening, but it's still hard. I know she likes it and participates and she will almost always share something about her day. Just this morning as we were packing her lunch, she told me her favorite things were playing outside & Bible class! Here are a few pictures of her first day...

Walking in with Rory

A little shy at first

Checking it out

Finally, a smile!

Rory didn't want to leave her sister at school

Thursday, August 06, 2009


Nine years ago I married my best friend. We still have fun together, enjoy being with each other, love raising two beautiful girls and just doing life together. I look forward to many more years with a wonderful man, husband & father.

Monday, July 13, 2009


Just a few cute pics from the summer so far...

4th of July Weekend

For the 4th, we got to spend some time at Goose Creek Lake again. Our friends' parents have bought a newer lake house with 6 bedrooms where all of their family as well as the four of us fit very nicely. Good thing, too, since we spent the majority of Saturday inside! Friday, however, was very nice and we spent the day on, in and around the lake, enjoying the beautiful weather, good friends & cold drinks.

Floating on the intertube

The little girls piling on Katie & Kyle

Group Hug

Two dads, 3 blondes & a redhead out for a boat ride

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Father's Day Weekend

We went to the Cardinals/Royals baseball game in Kansas City Saturday, along with my Dad, sister, brother-in-law & his parents. It was the girls' first Cards game and they I think they had a good time. We almost made it through the entire game and probably would have had there not been an hour & a half rain delay. We left in the 0th inning, missing out on Khalil Greene's 3-run homer, but definitely not missing Albert Pujols' 2-run homer earlier in the game. Plus, the Cardinals were ahead and won 7-1!

The updated "K" stadium is pretty cool. We walked around the ballpark, stopping for a while at the play area behind center field, hung out on the concourse until they finally announced the new game time, then enjoyed the view from our high up but really good seats.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Grandpa Wolf

After a short battle with lung cancer, my grandpa (my mom's dad) passed away a month ago this week. He was not only an incredible man & grandpa, but my last grandparent. We lived in the same town growing up and for quite a while, just around the block. In my small town, we could walk to my grandparents' house and did that often. I wanted to blog about him at the time, but feared I wouldn't portray him as I'd like. I still don't have all the words, but here are some great things about my grandpa.

He gave me a nickname that (sometimes unfortunately) has stuck. Most of my family & many family friends still refer to me as..."Bootie". My grandpa used to sing, "Bootie go to night, night" and the nickname stuck. You can see why I say unfortunately, although I do love being the grandchild singled out. :)

He loved to travel and some of my greatest childhood memories involve vacations with my grandparents. We always traveled to Florida, via my grandparents' van, playing games on the long drives. My first encounter with the ocean was with him, as well as my first trip to Disney World and several other amusement parks. When I get a copy, I'll post a poem he wrote about his many travels.

He was an giver, encourager and "filler". My aunt read a children's book at his funeral about filling people's buckets. My grandpa did that in all aspects of his life. He loved his family & friends unconditionally and lifted people up just with his presence.

He was a joke-teller. Every time we saw him, he'd have a new joke. He loved to make people laugh!

He was always genuinely excited to hear from me or see me when we visited. After I had children, he always wanted to see them, wanted to know how they were, wanted to see us more.

He was an incredible Christian man and I am thankful I had him as an example in my life. He lived an incredibly full life, to a grand 87 years old. Though I'm still sad that he's gone (and even caught myself about to ask my Dad just last night on the phone how Grandpa was doing), I know he is with His Savior now as well as being reconciled with my grandma, mom and many other relatives & friends.