Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thankful for health and Disney world

Well, unfortunately, I have to report that the delay in posting the photos from our family Disney trip has been due to some pretty serious health issues for both Curt and I. The good news is that it is looking like we have it all in control now and while this holiday won't be remembered for it's large gathering of friends and family like so many others are, I can be thankful for hours of reading in bed and good family and friends who take care of my family when I am out of commision.

Just so you can get an idea of (and I can remember) the blast we had at Animal Kingdom and the Magic Kingdom last week, here are a few highlights.

My guys all love the Teacups.

The holiday decorations at Disney were very pretty.

Mickey made sure that Clark got a good nap in the stroller.

The boys loved their edible Mickey ears. After all, who needs another hat when there is ice cream to be had.

And finally, a photo of the cutest 2 year old in the park.

We had the best time and can't thank my step-sister-in-law enough for taking us. I believe time spent together as a family is so precious and spending it in such a magical place was a really nice treat.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

My Baby is 2 now!

It's just hard to believe! I can remember giving birth to Clark like it was yesterday. It is possibly the most life defining experience I have ever had. Through the pregnancy and the natural birth I processed a lot and I couldn't be prouder of myself and my son. I consider it one of my biggest achievements in life.

We are having a big joint birthday party with friends this year since big brother will be turning 5 in just a few weeks, but we did have some family over to celebrate on the actual anniversary of his birth 11/11.

I do find it ironic that I have a son born on Veteran's day and one born on Pearl Harbor day. I certainly hope this isn't a sign that they will be joining the military, but if that is what they choose I will reluctantly support them. I used to think having their birthdays so close together and so close to the holidays was a drag, but honestly this year it's been really awesome. I am very nostalgic already this time of year and adding their birthdays into the mix just makes me even more so. I am already a pretty emotional person but this is the time of year that you will more likely than not find me sobbing happily over a gasoline commercial on tv...or even worse those sappy Publix commercials that usually start around this time of year. I can't help it, I live such a charmed life and sometimes the gratitude shows itself in tears of joy. Of course the biggest joys in my life are my sons and I consider myself super lucky to get to celebrate another year in the life of Clark Daniel.

Clark and Curtis helped me decorate the cake I baked for our family celebration. Both boys have a "one on the cake, one in my mouth" technique of decorating that they probably either learned from me by example or through my genetic coding. What can I saw, who can resist chocolate chips?

We think it turned out pretty nice and it certainly did taste yummy. In fact I just had another piece right now after lunch because the thing has been calling me from the fridge for 4 days now, and if you know me, you know I have little will power over sweets!

Clark did spent some time in the beginning of the week practicing blowing out his candles. We have a book with a picture of a boy blowing candles out on a cupcake and we read it every night for several nights in a row. Clark would get to that page and lean in and blow on the picture of the candles and then clap for himself in joy. I can't even do it justice how cute it is.

So when the big event came around boy was he ready. With only two candles, he didn't have much of a task in front of him, but he took it on with all of his focus.

Big brother enjoyed singing to his little brother and sharing his cake. I honestly think he was more excited about Clark's birthday than Clark was and I did overhear him in the week leading up to the birthday telling Clark about the cake they would have and the presents he would help Clark to unwrap. Curtis is an amazing big brother and has never really had any problems with jealousy or sharing with his little brother. It is almost as if they were destine to be brothers and grow together. The two seem to really enjoy spending time together and when Curtis is at school three days a week Clark asks about him often. It just warms my heart to see my dreams coming true like this for my family (ok, sorry,there goes the sappy nostalgic Tara again.)

Clark did receive a few gifts that night from his close family members. Curtis had lots of fun showing Clark where to tear the wrapping paper and he got some really fun gifts. His favorite seems to be this dancing rapping dog that Curtis picked out for him that sings "Hey shorty, it's your birthday, we gonna party like it's your birthday" over and over. It's very cute to watch him dance around like crazy to the rapping dog but I must admit I am already tired of hearing the darned thing.

My favorite gift is of course a hand made one. Clark's Paw Paw (step Grand Dad) made him this really cool wooden truck. I just love hand made gifts and this one comes with logs to haul that are actually made from Clark's old crib, which was recalled and given to Paw Paw to create with. So not only is it hand made, it is made of recycled wood! You can't get more green than that (or PC for that matter). I know my parents have been giving each other hand made Christmas gifts for years now and I'll always remember the Christmas we moved and we had to make all of our tree decorations from things around the house. There is just something about the love and simplicity of a hand made gift.

So here I am, days after his actual birthday, planning our family trip to Disney world tomorrow. Yes, you read that right, my step Sister-in-Law works for Disney and is able to get us in on Monday to celebrate both the boys birthdays! We can't wait to kick off this next year in our children's lives at the happiest place on earth. It is really fitting since I feel like the happiest person on earth these days!

Friday, November 06, 2009

Autumn in Florida

Autumn in Florida is a lot different that it is in NC or NJ, the two other states I've spend most of my life in. It is much cooler at night, but still really warm during the day here right now. I remember wearing thermals under my halloween costumes growing up, but down here we have to find short sleeve costumes because it is still in the 80's during the day. I'm used to it now after 8 years here, but it still is a little weird at times.

We also miss out on the changing color of the leaves down here. There are a few trees that get some color, but it is nothing like it is up north. Sometimes I get nostalgic for the colorful leaves and then I see film of people digging out of snow on the news and I remember how thankful I am to live in the tropics during all seasons of the year.

Recently we took a trip about 45 mins north of our town out into the country. We met some friends of ours at a Christmas tree farm that has autumn activities for the whole family. It was lots of fun.

Here you can see my baby boy smiling in the pumpkin patch at the farm. They had some really big pumpkins there and we all marveled at their size. I think this one probably weighed almost as much as my skinny little guy!

The boys got the opportunity to have pony rides while we were there and they both jumped at the chance.

Little Clark amazed me riding this pony named "Spooky" all by himself. I walked along side expecting him to get wobbly but he was very steady and focused the whole ride. Maybe he'll be a jockey when he grows up, he certainly is small enough right now!

Of course Curtis also got a turn to ride "Spooky" but his favorite thing about the farm was playing with his friends in the hay pit. It's amazing how much fun preschoolers can have with just a big pile of hay.

And finally here is a photo of the boys on the "Spider Train". It was a really bumpy ride but both boys loved it. They wanted to keep going and going.

So while we may not have vibrant leaves or cold winds, we do still have some aspects of Autumn here in Central Florida. The acorns all over my driveway remind me of the season enough every day even if the temperatures don't. There is a saying that says you should grow where you are planted and I feel pretty lucky to have planted my family in such a wonderful area.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Halloween 2009

I think my whole family agrees that this may have been the best halloween ever. We spent most of the morning carving pumpkins and decorating the house for our halloween party.

Here you can see my two boys helping my big boy carve our pumpkins. Little Clark is so funny because he doesn't like getting messy with the pumpkin guts. You can just see the "EWWW" look on his face.

And here is a shot of my perfect little halloween kitty. She hung out with us while we were carving pumpkins and drank the milk from the bottom of my cereal bowl. This is such a nostalgic time of the year for me so I can't help but marvel that I've now had Fani with me for about 14 years. We've been through a lot the two of us and are now living a very charmed life. She might be the only all black cat that brings good luck, not bad.

And here are a few cute shots of my boys out trick or treating after our awesome party . We had some of our favorite friends over for a cookout in the afternoon and some of them even stayed to trick or treat with us. It was a lot of fun having a big group to go out with and the kids did get pretty excited about going door to door and getting candy.

And here was the scene back at the house after trick or treating. Some of the bigger kids sat down to trade candy while the little kids marveled at the loot they got. It brings back memories of me and my neighborhood friends checking out our candy after hitting the old Yale Rd neighborhood back in the day. Some traditions never lose their magic!

All in all I'd say there's not much that could top this past week when it comes to halloween festivities. We went to a party with one group of friends, hosted a party with another, hit a cool pumpkin patch with a friend who lives just north of us (photos to come), and had a most awesome party here at our house with great food and fun. I think the only thing that could have made it better would have been the Phillies winning, but I'm confident we'll come back and take the Series, so no big deal!

Now I'm spending the day cleaning up and organizing so I can tackle our next celebration which will be my baby boy turning 2 on the 11th. My how time flies!