Friday, January 30, 2015

A Pretty Quiet Week

Well, it's been a pretty quiet week around here. Alex has been working on finishing his big paper (think mini-thesis) that is due today at 5...well it's the rough draft, but it has to be complete and then will be revised once more before the final draft is due at the beginning of March. So, because Alex has been working nonstop on this paper, we've tried to keep the week pretty low key. With him gone most nights at school working, we had simple dinners, simple bed time routines, and tried to keep our after school activities minimal.

Alex, in the midst of working on his paper had a quick school field trip to D.C. to the Supreme Court to get sworn in to the court...pretty cool. They are mailing all of the certificates here, so we are eagerly awaiting that package to arrive.

Madison still had her gymnastics this week (M,W, F from 3:30-5:30). She is so close to getting her front hip circle. Once she has it, you better believe I'll be posting a video of her doing it unassisted. She's so close she can taste it. She did however perfect a new skill this week. I'll see if I can get a video of her either today at gymnastics or this weekend at home. If I'm being honest, I'm not really sure what it's called, but it's impressive. She goes into a handstand from a straddle position. It takes incredible strength in her arms and core, not to mention balance. I was blown away when I saw her do this on Wednesday because I'd never even seen her practice it and then when she was asked to do it, it seemed so natural for her. What I would give to have that kind of flexibility and strength once again. Madison was sore from her gymnastics on Monday and a tad stuffy, so Tuesday I tried to teach her the art of relaxation by making her a bubble bath with some peppermint and eucalyptus oils. She really enjoyed it, especially because she pretty much only takes showers these days, so it was a nice break in routine for her.

Hudson had a great week at preschool (he goes T, Th from 9:00-12:00). Tuesday was an interesting day though. It snowed Monday night, so Madison's school was on a 2 hour delay and some county's were cancelled all together b/c I guess that had more snow than we did. Anyway, because of the 2 hour delay Madison was able to go with me to drop Hudson off, which he loved. He was so proud that his big sister was walking into school with him. Then, when I picked up Hudson from school I found out there had only been 5 kids in his class that day because some of the families lived where they'd receive a lot more snow and the roads had iced over and they opted to keep their kids home to be safe. It snowed off and on that day until about 2:00, but while I was driving Hudson home from school it was coming down hard, which was fun to see. I actually had to use my windshield wipers. It didn't stick because the ground was too warm, but it was fun nonetheless and really that's how I'd prefer it :) I know. I know...I still have a lot of Californian in me. ;) My kids are still waiting for a good snow so that they can go sledding, build a snowman, make snow angels, and have a snowball fight.

We had community group last night. We are really enjoying our group and loving doing life with all of these wonderful couples. Alex helped lead last night because the husband who normally leads was out of town on a business trip.

Oh and I also had a fun get together with a friend this week to talk about oils :) Here's a little secret about me....I kind of love my Young Living Oils. I never knew that Essential Oils could make such a difference in our lives. I had always heard about them and finally back in October I decided to take the plunge and I'm so thankful that I did. I am still learning and growing in my execution of using these oils, but we've been able to make coughs go away, help headaches, arthritis, bursitis, sleep issues, concentration issues (or lack there of), allergies, dry skin, wrinkles, anxiety issues, cure the common cold (and prevent them all together), prevent ear infections that were starting to take root, clear stuffy noses and so much more. Anyway, I am really enjoying them and love to talk about them, so a friend of mine who had a bunch of questions came over and we enjoyed a fun morning of playing with my oils and discovering what would work best for her and her family. If you are curious too, I'd be happy to share what I've learned with you. I seriously don't know how I waited so long to start using them. We haven't been to the doctor since we started consistently using them and this cold and flu season has been awful!

So, that pretty much sums up our week. Hope you had a great week and that this weekend is filled with rest, relaxation and fun!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Sunshine is Good for My Soul

So, I'm a California wimp and I definitely have been not so pleased with the weather here lately, BUT I think I might be acclimating because today it was 55 and sunny and it was GLORIOUS.

Here is a cute picture of Hudson that I snapped as we were waiting to pick up Madison...isn't he just the cutest?!?

Alex is working on his paper all week so, after we picked up Madison from school, we loaded up in the car and grabbed Madison's little friend next door and we were off to a beautiful park here: Pen Park. When we pulled up, I realized everyone else also had the same idea. It was CRAZY busy with mom's from all walks of life chasing their toddlers and preschoolers around the park. Thankfully, all of the big kids (including Madison and her friend), were very considerate of all of the little people and made them (and their hovering moms) feel at peace.

Hudson had a blast running all over the place. He is such an outdoorsy boy and we've been cooped up on our house far too long. He took full advantage of the freedom that the park offered. I was able to get a little workout in too!

Madison and Rachel had a blast swinging, playing tag, playing hide-n-seek, racing each other to the fence, spinning each other around on some crazy part of the playground equipment, and just talking and being girls.

Hoping the weather decides to stay and just skip all of the snow I keep hearing is coming, but for now I'll take my sunny day!

I love how God always knows just what we need, and a little ray of sunshine was definitely needed today to help me feel refreshed and ready for the rest of the week.

Missing Family and Friends a Little Extra Today....

We have made some wonderful friends out here in Charlottesville, but today is just one of those days when I am really missing our family and those friend that feel like family. There are few people I wasn't able to include in my collage b/c I didn't have recent pictures. Know that I love you just the same, it's just that much longer since we've seen each other. Love and miss you all....





Sunday, January 18, 2015

Snow Day?!?

We had our first ever snow day this past week and what was suppose to be our four day weekend has been cut short to a three day weekend so that they can make up the snow day. Boo! Oh well, I'd rather the kids be in school Tuesday than be extended at the end of the year.

Anyway, back to this snow day business....there wasn't even enough snow to build a real snowman, so we did the next best thing.

I thought it was funny, but the kids were really disappointed that we haven't been able to build a real snowman yet. We missed the first snow of the season when we were at Walt Disney World, but this is the 2nd snow this winter and the kids were disappointed to say the least. 

However, when we walked to school the next day, Madison in particular, was very excited to see that there was still some snow on the ground and that she was going to get to walk to school "in the snow." 

So, that was our snow day story, wish we had more to share, but we did enjoy a nice fire, many books, a movie or two, some hot chocolate and a lot of snuggling to keep warm. I enjoyed the day, even if the kids felt let down. I was able to make memories with the kids that will last a lifetime and I'll be able to share with them "remember that time we had our first snow day...." and all of the love and warmth felt in our home that day will fill my heart. Hopefully, they will one day look back on that day with fondness as well. :)

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Walt Disney World

Well, after Alex had returned home from his deployment, we had planned to take a Disney Cruise. After doing a little more research we discovered that since Hudson was under 3 at the time (and not potty trained), Hudson wouldn't really be able to participate in a lot of the fun activities, so we decided to wait until the summer after he had turned 3 (because we were suppose to have 1 more year in San Diego and it was our 10 year wedding anniversary). As you know by now, we ended up moving this past summer instead, arriving at our destination about 4 days before our anniversary after a very long road trip...not exactly what I call a family vacation, maybe a family adventure for sure, but not a vacation.

So, with all of that being said we decided it would be fun to take a trip down to Walt Disney World (since none of us had been) over the Thanksgiving break. We decided to keep it a secret from the kids. We woke up at 4:30 in the morning the Tuesday before Thanksgiving and got ready real quick and then got the kids out of bed and told them we were going on vacation. We still didn't tell them where we were going. We simply got in the car and drove....and drove....and drove. It was pouring on this particular Tuesday, so what was suppose to be a 12 hour drive turned into about a 17 hour drive, BUT we made it!

I had been anticipating the kids' reactions all day long. We had heard that there was a big arch that you'd see as you drove up that said, "Welcome to Walt Disney World." So as we got closer, Alex and I could see the sign, but our poor kids had already passed out...I mean it was almost 10pm at this point. I felt horrible, our kids were excited all day in anticipation of finding out where we were going, they put up with the horrible rain that dumped buckets on us and then they missed the great "reveal."

Once we were all checked into our room, the kids sort of figured out what we were doing, but it wasn't until they woke up the next morning that it really set in where we were and what we were going to be doing. We were going to be spending four days at Walt Disney World!!! I don't know who was more excited!?!?

 Madison loved the big Mickey Sorcerer's Hat

Waiting in line for Star Tours

 Hudson is obsessed with Big Hero 6 Right now, so he was thrilled to get to see Baymax and Hiro.

 We spent a good 10 minutes talking to Mike and Sully. They were great! The kids were over-joyed to see these two.

Toy Story Ride

So, on Day 1, we headed to Hollywood Studios (which is sort of like California Adventure, for all of my California friends). We had a blast. Hudson was finally tall enough to ride on all of the rides with the 40" height requirement. We hung out with Mike and Sully, we rode Star Tours, we went on the Toy Story Ride along with a few others and then that evening we happened across the Osborne Family Lights (we had no idea they were even there). Oh my, it was beautiful! Not to be all cheesy, but while we were in the middle of the street that was filled with more lights than you could possibly imagine, we had hot chocolate in hand, and Christmas music was playing and tears welled up in my eyes. It was perfect.

On Day 2, Thanksgiving, surprise 2 happened. We hadn't told the kids yet that we were meeting Auntie Emma, Uncle Jordan and their cousins Mason and Hope at Magic Kingdom! What a magical morning that was (I mean the whole day was amazing, but seeing the Caro Family after far too long and seeing the looks on all of our kids faces was priceless).

Probably the best picture we've ever had of all of us, plus this is the first time Hope has been in a picture with all of us :)

We actually were able to go on a ride (Big Thunder) by ourselves! It was so much fun and one of my fondest memories!

We wandered all over Magic Kingdom going on rides, taking pictures, enjoying yummy food, watching parades, waiting for the Frozen Lighting of the Cinderella Castle Show, and so much more. It was perfect! (and on a side note Cinderella's Castle is so breathtaking....Sleeping Beauty's Castle at Disneyland is sentimental, but Cinderella's Castle...WOW)!!!

On Day 3, we went back to Hollywood Studios with the Emma and Jordan and the kids. It was another day filled with watching the magic unfold through the eyes of our children. I will forever remember listening to Hudson and Mason talk about Star Tours after they rode it together. Both of the boys (and Madison too) are really loving Star Wars right now...Alex is a tad giddy about that! :)

It was very sweet, we often found the big kids walking like this.

Madison was captivated by her Uncle and I was so thankful to capture this sweet moment shared between them.

The Bigs

Our traditional picture every time we get together.

On Day 4, we started the morning at the restaurant inside of the Wilderness Lodge. Oh my goodness, the food was AMAZING!!!! Emma and Jordan had suggested it and well, since they are veteran Walt Disney World Property gooroos, we listened and boy are we glad we did! Man, not only was the food amazing, the resort was gorgeous and the waitress we had was hilarious. If you ever go there, just remember to ask them for ketchup! ;)

The kids' breakfast...too cute!

One last group photo before we say "until next time"

Day 4 also came with the bitterness of having to say good-bye to Emma and Jordan as they were not visiting any of the parks that day and we still and one more ticket in our park hopper package to use up. So, we hugged, cried, laughed and hugged again and said "until next time" even though we don't know when that next time will be at the moment due to the Marine Corps not having told us where we're going to be moving to next, but we will be making every effort to see them sooner rather than later because let's face it...we need more Caro Time in our lives. :)

Anyway, we finished up our fourth day back at Magic Kingdom and felt like we really did everything that we had left on our "to do" list, including going on the Seven Dwarfs Mine Ride (after a 90 minute wait) and the infamous Peter Pan Ride (which poor Hudson slept through and still asks why we didn't go on it). We even were able to get fast passes for the Electrical Parade which gave us phenomenal seats and I got to see DOPEY (one of the only times you'll even see him inside of the park)!!!!
Our poor little Hudson sleeping through Peter Pan.

This was an amazing family trip that created life long memories. We are so thankful that God blessed us with the ability to spend time together enjoying each other in this stage of life as well as to spend time with our amazing friends to finally getting to meet our niece, Hope. This was a trip that won't soon be forgotten.