Monday, March 31, 2008

Some baseball videos

Here are a few videos from Austin's baseball game tonight. Please bear with me as I'm totally hooked on my Flip video camera! :)

In this clip, he is on 2nd base after getting a solid hit to center field. I missed getting it on video because Reece needed me. You get to see Austin stealing 3rd base.

In this video, he is pitching to the last batter of the 2nd inning. In this inning, there were "3 up, 3 down". That means he faced 3 batters and got all of them out. The first was a ground out courtesy of the 1st and 2nd basemen. The next 2 batters he struck out.

In this last video, Austin tells us about the pitches he threw in that last inning. He was very proud of the good job he did! And so were we! :)

Austin's team won this game 14-6, and they are 3-0 for the season so far! YAY!

RDI with Reece, March 2008

Here is a segment for a new objective we are working on, actually 2 new objectives. This video was actually shot in February, before we started officially working on this objectives, so this is sort of like a baseline.

The first thing to look for is having different emotional reactions to tastes, sounds, smells, etc. and communicating those differences. Reece doesn't really seem to notice my reaction until the very end when she asks me if I'm joking.

The other thing to look for in this clip is me using more facial expressions. Our consultant wants me to be more expressive. I have a REALLY hard time with this, and even seeing the need for it with a 6 year old child (or a 12 year old). I don't think I did too badly! ;)

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Riley's ears

We took Riley to get her ears pierced yesterday and got it on video! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do! She sure is something else, huh? :)

Just a quick note about this clip: I took it with my new Flip Ultra video camera. It is smaller than my current digital camera and can take up to 60 minutes of video. Also, it uploaded this clip to YouTube in about 3 minutes. That is about 60 minutes LESS time than with my DVD camcorder. I'm hooked! We purchased it for use with the RDI OS, and I loaded a test video to that system and it took about 5 minutes as well. What a wonderful time saver!

(I just watched the video through my blog and wanted to note that the video quality on the camera is much better than what you see through You Tube. The software sends it to youtube in a smaller file size version for fast uploading.)

Friday, March 28, 2008

Weekly Review (3/24-3/28)

There won't be too much detail this week as we didn't accomplish much academically. It was finally time to make the big change that I'd been considering for many months, and I had to get that decision made. More on that later in this post.

Riley finished reading Five Children and It. She declared to one of our friends that it is her "favorite book". I cannot help but laugh because, when I handed it to her, she crinkled up her nose and said she didn't want to read it. She has done that SO many times with these Ambleside books, only to finish them and declare them the best book ever! :) She also wrote some thank-you notes for her birthday gifts, and did math on the computer with the Singapore Math CD-Rom, Vroot and Vroom.

Austin continued reading The Princess and Curdie, and did copywork from Spelling Wisdom. We began a new lesson in MUS Delta where he is finding a fraction of a number. It is blowing his mind, so we will be taking it easy and moving slowly through it.

Reece re-read some favorite books, played math on the computer with the Singapore Math CD-rom, Rainbow Rock, and wrote a couple of letters to her friends.

We didn't do history because that is where the major change is coming. We were planning to play our science human body game, Some Body. But there was alot of stuff going on around here that made that impossible. So we'll play it another time, even as we embark on the study of Astronomy next week.

We are nearly done with Nim's Island for our read-aloud. It comes out next Friday to the theater! :) Can't wait to see it! We're going to read Prince Caspian next, in preparation for THAT movie coming in May! LOL

OK, about the change-

Starting on Monday, Austin and Riley will be doing their history and literature completely separately. It was a hard decision to make, mostly because I have had this vision of our homeschooling where we are all learning together in bliss and sharing knowledge and there are birds whistling a happy tune at the window. I resisted switching everyone to their own rotation and time period. It just made me very sad to consider it. But ultimately, with the help of advice from my friend Tammy and from this article at Ambleside Online about combining years, I decided it was time to make this break, for the sake of Austin's self-esteem.

If I use my minor in psychology for a moment, I would probably admit part of the struggle I've been feeling was a result of a comment from the neuro-psych who evaluated and diagnosed Austin with Aspergers. She noted in her recommendations that Austin's younger sister was going to pass him up academically and that I would need to put one or the other of them in school to avoid either holding her back or damaging Austin's view of himself as a learner. I could sort of see her face going, "Ha ha! Told you so!"

OK, off the couch for now, and back to the details. All I'm really going to do is accelerate Austin slightly, so that he will start AO Year 5 in the fall (his 6th grade year). Riley will continue with what we've been doing since October, which is Year 3, and moving into Year 4. And Reece will begin Year 1 in the fall as well. I am prepared to make adjustments as necessary to the schedule in Year 5, for instance, we will not be starting Plutarch or Shakespeare (aside from reading from Lamb's Tales from Shakespeare). There are a number of the literature books that are available on audio (which is right up Austin's alley!), and I'm going to have him doing history 4 days a week, in order to break each assignment into smaller parts. We will continue to do science together next year, but the year after that he will be doing Apologia General Science on his own.

It shouldn't be much more work than I'm currently doing, because Austin and Riley will be doing the readings on their own for as many of their books as possible. I will just have to read to Reece, but I have two assistant teachers who are going to also be reading to their sister to take some of the load off me. Once we get into a groove, I think it will be good for everyone. So we're jumping in on Monday and getting our feet wet.

It is still sort of sad for me to think about it, because it's a loss of what I thought was the 'ideal' for homeschooling. And who knows? Maybe one day we'll be able to come back to more shared time with learning. I do want to incorporate small chunks where we learn things together, so that Austin can work on handling his emotions when he's feeling incompetent. But for now, he has to un-learn that reaction and replace it with some competence when he compares himself with his sister.

So there's what kept me busy this week! :) It does sort of make the planning for next year easier, since I already know what we'll be working on! I just have to order books, and arrange schedules! LOL But that is best done while watching Pirates of the Caribbean and eating too much chocolate! ;)

We may begin now!

It's official... the Sonlight Curriculum catalog arrived in my mailbox today! This marks the official beginning of the homeschool planning season.

Each year since 2003, the Sonlight catalog has heralded the beginning of a new and exciting time for me: convention and planning. This year is probably a bit different as I know that I'm staying with Ambleside Online (more on that in our weekly review post later this afternoon) so I'm not scrambling to figure out "What Are We Doing Next Year?" I am excited to get the catalog, but I'm not feeling quite as desperate to make decisions before convention in May, as I usually am. In fact, I'm not even GOING to convention in May! Did I hear a collective gasp from my readers (all 6 of you lol).?

I'm wrapping up our 6th year of homeschooling by asking myself a different question than I have in years past. Instead of asking, "What curriculum can I use to teach my children?" I am asking myself, "What books, and curriculum, will help ME meet the goals I have for MY children?" I think it's somewhat similar to how it is for classroom teachers. I remember my mentor telling me during student teaching, "When you start out, you will want to stick closely to the teacher's manual because it gives you comfort and a plan when you are overwhelmed with everything else. As you gain experience and confidence, you will branch off from the teacher's manual and add to it and modify it. And then, soon, you'll find that you use the teacher's manual as a bookends for all of your cool resources!" Maybe I'm at the bookend stage?

I guess I do use a curriculum, since Ambleside is a pre-made list and schedule. However, I am not afraid to modify and deviate from it where I need to for the needs of my children.

So let the planning begin! :) Have fun everyone!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

So Small

It's been awhile since God has given me a song. And I know that this is probably more of just a good country song than it is a praise and worship song. And the theology may not be totally on target. But it speaks to me right now in a big way.

So Small
Sung by Carrie Underwood

What you got if you ain't got love
The kind that you just want to give away
It's ok to open up
Go ahead and let the light shine through
I know it's hard on a rainy day
You wanna shut the world out and just be left alone
But don't run out on your faith

Cause sometimes that mountain you've been climbing
Is just a grain of sand
And what you've been out there searching for forever
Is in your hands
And when you figure out love is all that matters after all
It sure makes everything else seem
So small

It's so easy to get lost inside
A problem that seems so big at the time
It's like a river that's so wide it swallows you whole
While you're sitting around thinking about what you can't change

And worrying about all the wrong things
Time's flying by, moving so fast
You better make it count cause you can't get it back
Sometimes that mountain you've been climbing
Is just a grain of sand
And what you've been out there searching for forever
Is in your hands
Oh, and when you figure out love is all that matters after all
It sure makes everything else seem
So small, yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah

Sometimes that mountain you've been climbing
Is just a grain of sand
And what you've out there searching for forever
Is in your hands
And then you figure out love is all that matters after all
It sure makes everything else
Oh, it sure makes everything else seem
So small


Monday, March 24, 2008

This is the South, right?

At 1 PM today, Monday, MARCH 24th, I drove home in snow flurries.

SNOW flurries.

As in... SNOW. White stuff that falls from the clouds when it's very cold, in the winter, once every 4 years. Not in the spring when 2 days ago my children were begging me to let them wear shorts because they were soooo hot.

It reminded me of the beginning of the movie The Day After Tomorrow.

The weather is apparently confused.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

2 reasons to celebrate!

Today we have 2 awesome reasons to celebrate at the Black Pearl Academy!

The first one is Easter! Our savior Jesus is RISEN! Here is a picture of the children before we left for church this morning. Austin is wearing jeans because his nice pants that fit him 3 weeks ago when I was checking Easter clothes no longer fit him. Gotta love these pre-teen growth spurts! But still everyone looked wonderful!
Austin took a picture of me and the girls, too! I bought a new dress and shoes for Easter this year!
And we have a second reason to celebrate today: Riley turns 9 years old today! We did her cake and presents once everyone was home from church! She frosted her cake herself last night:
She got a $10 gift card to Walmart from her brother!
And she got a Himalayan cat Webkinz from her sister:

From mom and dad, she is getting ear piercing. But we'll be doing that next Saturday so Nana and Papa came come watch it happen! :)

It sure is a happy day here today!

Friday, March 21, 2008

RDI plans for Reece

This appointment was a very productive one! We reviewed some of the video from RDA 3 and 5, and then discussed new objectives for Reece and for us as parents.

We started off by viewing examples of the huge progress Reece has made in the areas of flexibility and resilience. There were only 2-3 times where she had gone back to her 'old' ways of dealing with feeling incompetent: crying, negative self-talk, and disengaging. But unlike the old times, she was anxious to re-engage, and she would be somewhat more flexible in order to do that!

I'm going to attempt to narrate our objectives, to help my recall:

1. The child objective involves developing an awareness that other people have differing emotions about smells, sights, sounds, textures. We are wanting her to be able to initiate a conversation about this. For example, in one of her RDAs, she said to me (unprompted), "This one right here is my favorite." When she masters this objective, she would then turn to me and ask (again, unprompted), "Which one do you like best, mom?" It obviously doesn't have to be those exact words, but just the recognition that I may have a different like or dislike than she does.

2. The first parent objective involves journaling about events, both good and bad, as they apply to our progress. This one will be fairly simple, as I'm used to doing that with blogging. It will just be more specific to RDI.

3. The second parent objective is a bit trickier for me to understand. It involves being able to recognize and distinguish between different types of dynamic gaze. Dynamic gaze is a fancy word for looking. I'm pretty confused about these different types of dynamic gaze, so for now, I'm just supposed to be looking for examples of a "thinking" gaze. We came up with a catch phrase for it of "Whatcha looking at?" Not very fancy, but hopefully it will help me remember it. I can be looking for it in Reece, or any of the children.

We'll be working on these objectives for the next couple of weeks, and then we'll go back and discuss new objectives for Austin. He's become my tricky one, as a surge of adolescent hormones have turned him into a grumbling guy who wants very little to do with mom (picture that word mom being said with rolling eyes). Thankfully, my CIT is also the parent of a teen boy with AS, so she knows of what I speak! LOL She will be able to help me figure out how to get him to want be an apprentice at just the age his body is telling him to separate from me.

Now it's time to get back into the groove of submitting our videos!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Weekly Review: 3/17-3/21

I know I'm technically a day early for a weekly review, but tomorrow is our nature study/math game/art study/composer study/geography light sort of day, and I have the RDI parent meeting to discuss the RDAs. So our work is basically done for the week, and tomorrow I will be wanting to discuss RDI, rather than homeschooling.

These are the times that try men's souls.

I'm pretty sure that is a famous quote, and it sums up nicely the way this week has felt. I know I had promised pictures and video from Austin's first game, but the game was full of unpleasant episodic memories, and I just didn't care to relive them. The team won, and Austin went 2-2 (meaning he got up to bat twice and got on base twice) with 2 singles (meaning when he hit the ball he made it to first base).

The trouble came at the end of the game, when he was brought in to pitch relief. He completely fell apart. He cried on the pitcher's mound after he walked the first batter, which is something he has never done before. The umpires saw it coming and I am grateful with the way they handled it: they both came up to the pitchers mound and sort of surrounded Austin and were kicking around on the dirt like they were showing him something. It gave him time to calm down. He never got into a groove though. He gave up two runs, but got out of the game thanks to the great defensive plays of his teammates.

He told dh/coach that he was nervous, which is so out of character for him. Usually, he is out on the field running a script almost... he's pitching in the major leagues and he talks to himself and is sort of in his baseball world. I'm not at all sure why he was so nervous and excitable, especially since we were up by 10 runs. It was really hard for me. Baseball is his 'thing' and he is good at it. So much else is hard for him. It was hard for me to see him upset. And I couldn't help but blame myself, because I wasn't there at the start of the game like I always am. Maybe that threw him off? The other coach's wife told me he kept asking her, "Is my mom here yet?" :(

Anyway, here is a picture of him before the game. I took this at Riley's dance class before dh came to take Austin to the game. He looks very sharp in this season's uniform.
Today we finished our human body study and diagrams. You can see from the picture below that they turned out really well, and they are very cool! Next week we're going to play a human body board game, and I would like the kids to summarize/narrate what we did during this study. I am proud of the hard work that they put into this set of lessons, and I'm excited to start Apologia's Elementary Astronomy next.

Austin got a B on today's math test, which surprised me in all honesty. He struggled with this lesson on Volume. I had assumed that he would breeze through these last lessons in the MUS Delta curriculum, but I assumed incorrectly. He would have gotten an A, except he gave two answers as "24 4/4" and "22 16/16" when the answers were "25" and "23". This is something he has been doing for quite awhile, so I would not give partial credit. He understands that when you have a remainder that is equal to or greater than your divisor, it means you have to go back into your division and rework it. But that doesn't mean he will apply it. Anyway, a B is still quite good. He was a bit flustered because he couldn't remember that there are 7 gallons in 1 cubic foot of water, and he needed that tidbit of information to solve a word problem. I told him the information so he could solve the problem, and assured him that I didn't know that bit of information until Mr. Demme told us in this lesson! ;) I told him that's what Google is for.

Reece is reading some of the Real Kids Phonics Readers, Level 1 from the library, and she read 3 of them this week. Austin and Riley each read through these books, though I remember them better with Austin. I think Riley read through the entire 3 level series in a matter of weeks! LOL They are a great set of books, with photos of real children and highly decodable text. I am not using a phonics program with Reece, which makes me a bit nervous, but she seems to be doing OK nonetheless.

Riley began the Singapore Primary Math 3B book last week. This book begins with mental math across the addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. It's quite possibly my favorite part of math! Riley always said her least favorite subject was math, until we started with Singapore. It's not easy for her, because it requires her to stretch her brain... but she does very well with it. She doesn't need lots and lots of review, so the extra practice books I purchased for her sit and wait for Reece to use them, I suppose. She was a bit concerned because she's almost done with 3rd grade, and she was afraid she wouldn't finish the 3B book by then. I assured her that "3B" doesn't necessarily equal 3rd grade math, and she is certainly not behind. She does feel more positive about herself as a math learner, which is important to me, because math and working with numbrs has always been one of my favorite things.

We did actually manage to get through our Ambleside readings this week, except for Children of the New Forest. That is a very good book, but the language is complex, both for me to read and for the children to understand. We are behind the schedule in this book by a long shot, but we'll keep plugging away at it. We are also nearly done with Nim's Island, which comes to the movies on April 4th. I cannot WAIT for this movie... and I'm taking the kids to see it the day it comes out! :) The book has been very enjoyable, and I hope the movie stays fairly close. You can access the trailer for the movie on this page: Nim's Island Official Site.

That's our week... I'll update on RDI tomorrow, and then Riley's turning 9 this weekend so I'll have pictures of her! And probably a video of her doing something besides dancing! :)

Monday, March 17, 2008

Praises and Prayers

1. Reece did very well tonight at choir! They are practicing for the program in the big church, so they are in the old 'chapel' on the stage on risers going through the entire program. I counted tonight and there were 72 children! She was up on the stage on the risers, without me being on stage with her! There are 3-4 more practice sessions like this before the program, so we'll see if she actually does the show! For me, I already think she's done an amazing job and I'm proud of her regardless.

2. I've been feeling the stress this weekend. I've been wanting to separate Austin and Riley out completely in their academics, to eliminate the competition between them. It's not solely about the competition, but also about helping Austin to feel more competent while his younger sister sails past him. It's just not as simple as it sounds. I was wanting to keep them in the same history period, but I'm having a hard time finding history spines for him. In the meantime, I have been feeling paralyzed. I realize that I need to pray over this more. I have spent hours, literally, researching. It's frustrating and exhausting and stressful. And it's getting me nowhere. So I'm just going to keep moving forward, and pray that the Lord will lead me in this decision. We're going to continue on with Year 3 of Ambleside, as written, while I wait for some direction.

3. Baseball season begins tomorrow and I'm going to have to miss the beginning of the first game because it conflicts with picking up Riley from dance class. I feel terrible about it, and therefore, stressed. I just cannot get used to having to put aside one child for another. I'm an only! My mom never had to do that to me. Nothing was ever more pressing than what I needed. I can't imagine her missing my first anything. I know it's not his first first game, but it is the first game of this season. I haven't asked if he's starting pitcher or not. I'm afraid to know.

4. I am still working hard to TRUST in the Lord. It's exactly times like these when I get stressed and overwhelmed that I tend to want to start trying to take control. Hmmm, does that sound anything like what we learn about in RDI with our children on the spectrum? When they are feeling a lack of competence in a MESSI world ("MESSI" stands for Multiple,
Emotional, Simultaneous, Surprising, and Imperfect!), they tend to try to control the world around them and fall back on routine and imposing their own rules and order, rather than look to a guide/mentor to lead them through the confusion. It helps me to remember that I need to look to MY guide... Jesus! But it certainly isn't easy... I'm stuck in stage 1! ;)

5. That reminds me... Reece had the last part of her RDA on Friday, and SHE is doing much better in her role as an apprentice than I am! :) We colored eggs, which is something we never do at home. It has nothing to do with being afraid to attempt a messy activity or not being crafty. It has everything to do with the fact that I am apparently incapable of making hard-boiled eggs! LOL For some reason, they never turn out right. Anyway, during the process, she knocked over the yellow dye cup and it spilled all over. She didn't meltdown, or try to run and hide. We poured what we could of the dye back into the cup, and kept on going. Also, we were able to add color back to her activities. We had to stop this back in the fall as she was obsessing over rainbows and if she couldn't make rainbows, she would have a meltdown! I keep meaning to post a video of that, now that she's over that stage! LOL

So anyway, the RDA is over, and our planning meeting is coming up this Friday. I feel like we and the kids have made excellent progress! :) I am ready to re-focus and see where we are headed next! Of course that reminds me that I have a ton of e-learning modules and webinars to watch on the RDI OS, too!

OK, deep breath... trust in the Lord... get some sleep! Hope everyone has a lovely week, and I'll be posting pics and video of baseball over the next day or two! :)

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Disney trip

I'm sorry it has taken so long to get around to writing about my trip, but I came home to a whirlwind! In the last 7 days we had 2 doctor appointments, 5 dance classes, 2 baseball practices, a birthday celebration, and a Nascar race. Plus school! And the 18 hour days I was sailing through at Disney caught up with me in a major way! LOL

But enough of that! Here is my trip... I left on Tuesday night to drive to my mom's house. We had a 7 AM flight, and if we had flown out of Atlanta, we would have had to leave my house around 4 AM. To get to her airport in time, I think we left around 5:30 or 5:45! And we still had plenty of time! Here are the details of the trip, as much as I can remember! I journaled every night, but left my journal in mom's bag! So I'm going on memory, which is frightening! :)

The plane was tiny... tiny, tiny! We had to walk outside to get on the plane, and I nearly had to duck to get inside it! I was quite nervous even though mom tried to reassure me that she flies this sort of plane for business all the time! The flight wasn't that bad, and we were in Orlando at 8:30 in the morning!! I was so excited! We took the "Magical Express" bus to the Animal Kingdom Lodge resort and we were checked into our room by 10:00. Our room was ready, which was great... we took a look around the savanna view, dropped off some stuff, and by 10:30 we were ready for our first stop.

Our main goal this time was to watch the shows, and for that we needed schedules. We started off at the closest park, and our favorite: Animal Kingdom. We got the schedule for that park and realized that we were in perfect timing for the Festival of the Lion King show. It worked like that all week long... we walked right up and the bus would be there to take us where we needed to go, we would walk up in perfect timing for a show or a ride. It all went incredibly smoothly! :) We saw that show, which was incredible! I got my hair wrapped, picked up a more secure lanyard, and we saw another show. We managed to see everything at Animal Kingdom that was on our list!

We headed over to the next park: Hollywood Studios. To our surprise, we were able to get the schedules for the rest of the parks for the rest of the week! What luck for a planning person like me! LOL Mom let me plan our time... I put everything into the spreadsheet I had drawn up! I LOVE planning, and she didn't mind me taking it over so she didn't have to think about it! We had decided to see Fantasmic at Hollywood Studios at 7, and IllumiNations at Epcot at 9. It was going to be tight, but we thought we could make it happen --- and we did! LOL

I know there is more that I'm forgetting right now... but that's OK! We did 3 parks in one day... came back to the room to journal and crashed into bed!

I slept SO well in the bunkbed! We woke up at 6 AM, and looked outside in the dark to see the animals grazing right out our window! It was amazing! I just about couldn't get mom out of the room! LOL We left around 7:15 to get to our breakfast reservations at Cinderella's castle at the Magic Kingdom.

We had decided that Thursday would be our official birthday... so we stopped by the guest relations and got our birthday buttons. When we got to the castle for breakfast, we got our picture taken with Cinderella, then were escorted to our table. It was a table for two, right next to the window so we could look over the Magic Kingdom! It was absolutely perfect! Shortly after our food arrived, our waiter brought over 2 pieces of cake, and 2 birthday cards from Cinderella! I asked mom if she had prearranged it, but she had not! They apparently saw our buttons and worked that all up while we sat! It was amazing! The food was good, even for this picky eater! And the cake was yummy... little mickey shaped sprinkles. The other princesses came around and signed our autograph books and birthday cards, and I got my picture taken with each one! I was a little girl all over again! :)

I called the girls at home to tell them all about the breakfast! Reece asked me if I got Ariel's autograph (the Little Mermaid, and Reece's favorite). Yikes. So mom and I headed for Ariel's Grotto and stood in line for an HOUR to get this autograph for Reece! LOL I do love that girl! :) We were going to be back at the Magic Kingdom for the Pirate and Princess Party that night, so we left again and went to Epcot. At least I'm pretty sure we did.... I can't believe how hard it is to remember! I'm so glad I wrote everything down in my journal!

At Epcot, we rode Soarin', and Spaceship Earth (which were both absolutely wonderful!), and I rode Test Track which was fantastic! Austin would love it, I'm sure! I think we went to Hollywood Studios to watch the Stunt Show this day, too. I know we watched it and it was absolutely amazing... Austin would love it as well! Before we knew it, it was time to go back and get ready for the P&P party!

Mom and I had costumes to wear, and we looked absolutely awesome! We arrived back at the Magic Kingdom, and it was dark and magical looking! Pirates at the entrance put us up on the retaining wall and sang Happy Birthday to us! We got our pictures taken together, and headed for the Pirates of the Caribbean ride! I could ride that over and over forever and never get tired of it! But after riding it once, we came out and it was time for the tutorial. Captain Jack came out and I was totally speechless... he looked JUST like Johnny Depp and sounded just like him too! I knew then that I wouldn't be able to do the character meet and greet. LOL (I'm gonna pay for that comment when my husband reads this! Hee hee). About 2/3 of the way through the tutorial it started to POUR. Jack ran off in a hurry, and mom and I put our ponchos on. We got a bite to eat, and watched the parade and it was still pouring. We were getting wet even with the ponchos on. We wanted to wait for the fireworks so we went over to watch SpectroMagic which was really good! When we came out, the fireworks were underway and they were amazing!! I nearly drowned trying to look up to watch them! The water would drip off my poncho onto my mouth and nose! By the time the fireworks were over, mom and I were sufficiently soaked and cold. We headed back for the room! Our shoes were still wet 4 days later! LOL

The forecast was not encouraging for the Braves Spring Training game, but we were determined to not give up. We spent this day at Hollywood Studios, because that's where the only bus to the Wide World of Sports picks up. We got there early so we could take in the High School Musical show for Riley, and get lots of video. While we waited for that, I got my picture taken with the pompoms so Riley would think I'm cool! LOL After that, we saw Beauty and the Beast which was absolutely fantastic! Then it was time to go to the Braves game and the weather was holding out!

We got to the Braves game and our seats were right behind home plate! The weather was sunny and warm and we had a fantastic time! I got my husband a spring training ball cap! :) It was very different from games at home though.... nobody clapped and sang and did all the fun dances like they do at a regular game. I was just about the only person to do the YMCA, besides the ushers! We tried to get autographs, but were unsuccessful.

After the game was over, we made one of the best decisions of the entire trip: we decided to finish shopping for souvenirs! We went back to the lodge and took off our new shoes we bought for the Braves game (to match our pink shirts... note to anyone reading this: never wear brand new shoes at Disney! OUCH!). We then headed to Downtown Disney to shop for the kids. After a couple of hours we were done and the rain was starting. We had planned to finish the night at Epcot, but this time the rain was acommpanied by lightning and storm warnings. We went back to the lodge, took care of our poor feet, and watched the storm.

It was hard to believe we had to go home already! That's why I was so glad we finished our souvenir shopping the night before, because this last day we could spend at our favorite park just relaxing: Animal Kingdom!! There was no better way to spend that last day! The weather had turned windy and quite cool, but that was actually great for seeing the animals on the safari! We did the safari 3 times that day, I think.... I know we did it at least twice! I also rode Expedition Everest which is THE best roller coaster ever! Mom doesn't do rides that jerk her around, so I rode alone like I did on Test Track. We absolutely love the safari, so neither of us minded doing it over and over, and we saw new animals each time!

Alas it was time to ride the "Magical Express" to the airport. We were able to check our luggage directly in to our flight home, so all we had were our carryons. And when we got to the airport we just went to the gate! It is all very convenient that way! Our flight was delayed so we ended up getting back an hour or so later... then we had to drive back to Atlanta because my mom and dad were taking Austin to the Nascar race on Sunday! LOL

The trip was magical and wonderful and amazing! I was so glad to spend so much time alone with my mom... it's been years since she and I have had time like that! I'm so grateful to her for taking me on this trip!!! She asked me on the bus ride to the airport where I wanted to go for our next trip --- I said Disney! LOL I mean it, too! There is something magical and wonderful about Disneyworld! I can't wait to go back again! :)

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Riley's creative arts show

I have SO much to blog this weekend! I'm going to start you off with Riley's show she performed in last night. I know it's not good to be a boastful mom, but isn't she talented?? (She's the one on the left... or at least that's where she starts off!) It's hard to believe that this is her first real year of tap class! She had a 30 minute tap class when she was 4 years old but it wasn't true tap. She really rises to the challenge of something new! I'm so proud of her!

Monday, March 10, 2008



1. drained of energy or effectiveness; extremely tired; completely exhausted; "the day's shopping left her exhausted"; "he went to bed dog-tired"; "was fagged and sweaty"; "the trembling of his played out limbs"; "felt completely washed-out"; "only worn-out horses and cattle"; "you look worn out"
2. depleted of energy, force, or strength; "impossible to grow tobacco on the exhausted soil"; "the exhausted food sources"; "exhausted oil wells" [ant: unexhausted]
3. drained physically; "the day's events left her completely exhausted--her strength drained"

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Where dreams come true

I'll be back in a few days! :)

Monday, March 03, 2008

Happy 6th Birthday, Reece!

Reece was up before dawn this morning, terribly excited about her birthday! She's been like this for the last 3 days! I can't remember her ever before being so excited about her birthday -- it's very exciting, and exhausting at the same time! LOL As soon as the sun came up, I let her open her presents!

The first present are 2 "I Can Read" books from Austin. These are Fancy Nancy books, who is one of Reece's favorite storybook characters!
The next present was from mom and dad, a pink and white polkadot dress! Reece saw this dress at Target about a month ago, and has been wanting it every since!
And finally, the present she's been waiting for! From Riley, a pink and white cat Webkinz!! Riley arranged with my mom to get this Webkinz, as we couldn't find it anywhere locally, and Riley knew how much Reece wanted it! Ad you can tell from Reece's face, she was absolutely thrilled!
And here is the birthday girl this morning at Chuck E Cheese! I can't believe how much she has grown!
I have a video to upload, like I always do for her birthday! I'll put that below as soon as I can get it on youtube! :)