Thursday, July 19, 2018

Vacation Magic! Gaylord Vs. Greatwolf Lodge

Well we just got back from a sweet little Family Vacation. We took the girls up to the Gaylord Texan in Grapevine, Texas. We had been before to go to Great Wolf.. and as much as the girls LOVE Great wolf, its a bit of a grind for Adults.. I mean.. its a LOT of kids.. in ONE place.. A Few of our friends had told us about the Gaylord's Waterpark and how it was amazing, so we thought we would check it out.. (PS, if you are thinking about going to either of these place.. Check Groupon for some special deals, and Priceline.. they were both cheaper than booking directly through the hotels.)


Well I can tell you.. at first glance it looked like Gaylord was going to be Cheaper than Great Wolf.. Depending on when you go to Great Wolf (if you get a groupon, go in the off season, etc) But Great Wolf is pretty expensive.. I'll give you the Pro's and Cons of both in case you decide.. We'll start with Great Wolf..

Great Wolf Pro's:

  • You can pretty much stay there the whole weekend without leaving. They have plenty of Restaurants and things for your kids to do. 
  • You can go all year Long, because they have indoor Pools/Waterslides/Restaurants
  • You can Bring food and drinks with you so you don't have to spend $35 for a juice pack. So this means you can pack lunchables, juice boxes, Yeti's full of wine, etc.. (HINT) and it will save you a TON of money on snacks and drinks.. The Wine might also help you tune out the sound of screaming kids.. 
  • Free Parking with your Room Purchase
  • You Can purchase Family Suites
  • A Million life-guards all over
  • Wolf Family Characters stand outside the Swimming Area in the morning for hugs and pics
  • Goggles, swim shoes, suits, anything you might have forgotten on hand for purchase
  • Your Kids will think its the greatest thing that has ever happened if they are 10 and Under
  • Lots of Water things to do. A bunch of slides, rope course, and indoor/outdoor slides

Gaylord Texan Pro's:
  • Its a lot Prettier than Great Wolf. Beautiful Flowers, rivers.. etc
  • They have fun little theme dinners for your kids (like Breakfast with the smurfs)
  • Giant Cowboy and Character people on hand in the evenings to visit with your kiddos
  • There's more options for Restaurants
  • You press a button at the pool, and a waiter will come over and bring you whatever you want, including drinks
  • Plenty of Seating to sit and keep an eye on your kids
  • Its Spread out with lots of places to sit and relax
  • They have an indoor pool, outdoor pool, hot tub, and Paradise Springs Waterpark 
  • The Lazy River is really big 
  • Plenty of things for the kids to do on their own (go up and down the slides, check in with you, then go again)
  • Really Great Food (but its expensive)
  • Dippin Dots, Snow cones on hand for purchase
  • Zipline into the water (water is 11ft deep)
  • They have specifically designed areas for babies, and smaller kids, so they other bigger kids don't smash over them. 
  • Kids meals are offered on their menu, and the kids liked the food
Great Wolf Cons:
  • Its packed. All the time
  • If you go in the Winter its REALLY Packed because there is no outside pools open
  • If you have smaller kids they are not going to care about the 'Wizard games'
  • There's no place to sit by the slides and watch your kids go down (Because you will get sick of climbing 10 sets of stairs to go up there with them)
  • The Lazy River is not that Lazy. Its usually full of kids squirting you with a water gun, or smashing into your Tube. 
  • It always smells like Chlorine
  • They usually have to clear out the pool at least one time because someone has some sort of bodily function in it.. 
  • They have annoying game centers, build a bears, ice cream and magic crap that your kids try to talk you into going to every time you walk to the Swimming pools.. So your kids will constantly be asking you for it. 
  • The Food is not that great. 

Gaylord Texan Cons:
  • Its a Metropolis.. almost too big to navigate through. 
  • Takes a long time to park and walk to your room daily
  • The charge you parking PER day... even if you park yourself, and even if you stay there as a guest. Its about $24 to park there each day, tacked onto your already expensive bill. 
  • Food and Drinks are delicious.. but expensive.. Chips & Salsa is $18. (But its a delight)
  • A Mixed Drink is $14
  • A bucket of Beers is $35 for 5.. 
  • The last few days we were there they started a thing called "Premium Seating".. Meaning if you want a seat on the front row by any pool, it would cost you an additional $25.. That was crap
  • Your kids can see Great Wolf Lodge from the Drive-way.. so they will be like "Why aren't we at Great wolf Lodge mommy?" (blargh.. fail)
  • You cannot bring in ANY outside food to the Waterpark. They will make you throw it in the trash. So anything you want you will have to buy from them.
  • You have to take a Trolley to get to Paradise Springs (Waterpark) it runs every 15 min or so, so its not terrible, but its not really a 'walking distance' thing.. 
I mean all in all.. you can't go wrong with either place.. But.. My thought for my kids. .is if you go to Great Wolf Once, you will probably have to go back there the rest of your life.. even though, for Adults, the Gaylord is a way better option. I mean its a 3 hour trip from the City, so its quick.. and there's So many cute things to do in Grapevine.. We went to the farmers market.. walked downtown.. I got to visit the Orange Theory in Southlake, that is about 8 miles away. Oh, and Have I mentioned how much I love that Texas lets me buy WINE in the Walgreens and the HEB/Tom Thumb? Yes.. Yes I do.. 

So we ended up having a great trip. We also went to the Grapevine Aquarium (Buy your tickets on line because its way cheaper, and you can just scan your ticket and go in) Oh.. but.. on the Aquarium.. they do not open till 10am. Not a SECOND earlier.. so be prepared to wait in a LONG line just to get in. They do have a lot of cool things to look at though.. Sharks.. Sea Turtles.. Star Fish.. Seahorses.. and you get to walk through a cool see-through tunnel where all the sea life swims under, over and around you. Its worth going to.. just be prepared to wait a bit.. 

We also SAW Lego-land.. but it looked like a nightmare, so we didn't try to go to that one.. But I've had some say they loved it, and some people say they didn't think it was worth it. They did have a little lego splashpad outside that came with the entry purchase.. Both the Aquarium and Legoland are in the Grapevine Mall. Its got EVERYTHING you could ever want or need.. ITs a great mall.. They even have a Carousel inside.. 

Another HUGE highlight for the girls was the Princess Day Spa. OMGosh you guys.. this was so freakin cute. The girls came in and they walked them down a flower path to put on little silk Robes.. then they got into their pedicure chairs and they brought them "Drinks".. They got to pick which Princess Drink they wanted.. Elsa was Blue.. Ariel was Pink.. Etc.. They got their Elsa & Ariel drinks in little Champagne Glasses.. So cute. Then they got their toes painted with glitter, their nails painted too.. and then they put them in these little hair-chairs and give them a super cute do'.. Londyn got a little bun.. and Cross got an Elsa braid.. they sprinkle Glitter in their hair.. Then they put Elsa makeup and Aurora makeup on them (Which I didn't love, but they did) And then let them sit in a big Princess Chair, and pose on the runway.. I mean its super cute. If you have girls, they need this in their life! The people were so sweet (and wearing Tutu's) and the girls just loved every thing about it.. And if you book on a weekday, all services are half price! 



We also had some really great food! First.. I LOVE Einstein Bagels! So we had a really good breakfast and schmear there one morning.. The other Two mornings we went to this awesome Cafe called "The Old West Cafe".. that served pancakes the size of plates.. Plenty of options for kiddos too.. Cross loves Eggs so she had Eggs and Pancakes.. Londyn had toast and Jelly.. and Jordan and I had some amazing tex-mex breakfast dishes and Omelets! Super great service (Londyn hugged the Waiter) and really good food.. We went to the Rain forest Cafe.. its ok. I mean I feel like the animals need an update.. but the girls like it because you get to have an Ice Cream Sandwich (Priorities right?) We had a Great Hamburger at Jakes Hamburgers.. They had great milk shakes too.. Of course I picked the blue cheese.. b/c who wouldn't? But.. overall good hamburger place!

So we had a great trip.. Hopefully if you are planning to visit either of these places this will give you a heads up! 





Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Working Moms


Man. Sometimes being a working mom is hard. Especially a working mom with several jobs. Now Granted.. I did part of that to myself, but its still hard. I've run out of hours in the day.. some days I have great success filling all of the hours with meaningful, magical time.. Some days I don't. Some days I feel like I'm winning at being a Wife, Mom, and Employee.. Some days I'm not.

This week is Vacation Bible School, and Vacation bible School at Crossings Is LEGIT. I mean they have full size bounce houses INSIDE the church.. Amazing singers that teach them fun songs.. ITs LEGIT. I waited till the girls were old enough to go with excitement because each year we'd watch the videos and think "Oh man, that is so amazing" so they got to go for the first time last year, and I wanted them to get to go this year.. but this creates a few issues for the working mom.. For one, I go into work at 7am.. Bible School starts at 9, so I either have to wait till 9, then take them.. Or Go to work for 2 hours, send them to their school.. then go back and pick them up and take them to VBS.. Then they get out at 12.. So then I have to leave work..get them lunch.. and pick them up, then take them back to school.. and take myself back to work.. Its hard, but its worth it, because they love going, so we'll make it work.. just like we do everything else.. but being a working mom is hard.

However.. I know being a stay at home mom is hard too..and that is a job I'm just not able to do. I admire those that do it, and I'm in awe of their patience and tolerance! I've always just known that I wanted to be a working mom. Would I love to have a job that allowed me to do both? Sure.. Or only work a few days a week? FOR SURE.. Have endless amounts of money? Um, yes please.. But that is not God's plan for me.. and thats ok. My plan is not anyone else's plan. My plan is for me.

I want my girls to know why I work hard.. What I'm passionate about. What I'm good at.. Why I try to do better.. Why I went back on the radio to do something I love even though it requires more of me! I used to feel bad because I was not the kind of mom that said things like "I never lived until I had children" "My children are my World".. Yeah.. I've lived.. My college experience alone was legit.. lol And don't even get me started on some of the amazing times I've had on the radio!

I've had a pretty incredible life. My kids are incredible, but I'm a child of God, I'm a wife, I'm a daughter, and I'm a mother.. My kids are super important to me, but they do not define me, and I do not make them the Center of My universe. I want them to understand that we answer to someone bigger.. I want them to understand we all have to do crap we don't want to do.. we have to get along with people that aren't worth getting along with.. That I love their daddy and its important that we have time together by ourselves.. That We have to fall down and get back up.. That sometimes the world is Mean and Unfair.. We have to be disciples.. we have to be warriors.. we have to be supporters.. We have to be sympathetic, understanding, caring, and Kind..Even to people who don't deserve that..  And If I make them the center of the universe, do everything for them, Shelter them from everything scary, and move all obstacles out of their way, they are not going to learn that. Those are hard lessons to learn.. but I'm going to help them, and the Lord is going to help me through it all. But.......Its still hard.

IN a society of Busy.. I realize.. I'm busy.. I'm working two jobs, and I don't get to do a lot of things I need/Want to do.. For example, right now I'm neglecting my work as a Hospice Volunteer with my therapy dogs.. I just don't have the time to get to the nursing homes right now.. but I want to. I'm supposed to be taking Payslee & Sawyer on monthly visits to the Assisted Living Center.. but I feel like I run out of time. I'm leading a small group at church, but I am not able to research the lessons for us, because I run out of time! These are GREAT things to do! And I want to do them! But dang.. I just don't have the time right now, and....... I'm TIRED!!! lol.. Tired as a Mother is a real thing..

 I've had to really look at my life lately and decide What my Big Priorities are.. So as a result I've had to cut down on going to a lot of social events at church.. therapy visits.. hospice visits.. even though they are all important to me.. I just can't get to them right now, and you know what? Thats ok. Because eventually I'll get back to them.. But its hard to say no to them..

So whatever phase of life you are in.. busy.. not busy.. working.. not working.. momming, not momming.. Realize.. that Your plan is for you. Not anyone else.. Don't let others make you feel bad because you are not doing 'the norm' or filling a status.. God has a plan for me, and for my girls, and I'm excited to watch it unfold. I can't believe they are Five! Seems crazy.. its like some days stood still, and some days flew by in the blink of an eye.. Being a parent is hard.. Being a wife is hard.. and sometimes following God's plan is hard.. But we have to remember that through trials comes Grace, and while those little eyes are watching us, we can show them what it means to walk to the beat of our OWN Drum.. the Drum God created just for us.. not anyone else.. And I'm probably going to screw it up some days.. Because I run out of patience.. and time.. But all I can do is start over the next day and try again.. because as we all know, I'm not quitter.. and I hate losing..except for Weight.. and I've lost 65  pounds.. so Boom.. there's that.




Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Wizard of Oz time!

Man, can you guys believe the girls are almost 5!?! I cannot.. This year they decided they wanted a Wizard of Oz party, and you know I can't turn down a good theme, so we are now in full on party planning mode.. although, in fairness.. I do most of this about 6 months before the party actually gets here!

Mom is coming up to get the girls on Thursday and Friday so we can decorate accordingly.. I'll post pictures of all the magic after the party.. In the meanwhile it was NOT a great weekend at our house.. Jordan got sick at the gun-range on Saturday morning and almost passed out. I wasn't feeling 100% and then Londyn got sick Saturday night.. I had had my limit of vomit and mess by Sunday so I went out to get some soup for everyone.. only to have it spill all over my car.. and it was roasted red pepper.. so almost like MORE vomit.. Sigh..



Here's some things we talked about on the air this week!

How to get rid of flies:--How to get rid of flies with a banana



Fool that tries to take a selfie with an Alligator... DUMMY



Bizarre Facts of the day:

Michael Buffer the “Let’s get ready to rumble” guy had the phrase trademarked and as of 2009 it has generated $400 million dollars in revenue.

Silly string has military usage in the detection of tripwires. The string would settle onto the ground in areas without tripwires, but catch on to any that is present. The silly string reveals the wire, but it will not set it off due to its light weight.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Do tell.. Do Tell..

OH man. I have a lot to tell you guys.. I'll start with the fact that we went back To Great Wolf Lodge last month. This time Gigi and Pa went with us.. I will say this about Great Wolf.. To kids.. its the greatest place ever.. To Parents.. its.. an opportunity for ways to sneak beverages in a Yeti so that you can deal with the loud noise, Chlorine, screaming kids.. and people wearing things that should not be seen in public.. much less a kids water park..

I will give you a few tips.. Take your own snacks, your own Juices, Your own drinks.. You CAN take them down to the pool area with you as long as you aren't toting glass or an ice chest.. so that will save you a ton of money. Also, wait for a coupon, or a groupon, or a discount.. Those help.. But man, the girls love it.. they talk about it everyday and asked to go back the second we left.. so yeah, its a fun, quick trip.. and Grapevine has an Einstein Bagel.. which is Delightful, so #winning.

Ok, Second thing.. I'm back on the radio! I got offered the afternoon gig on 99.7 Hank FM from 3-7pm.. I'm so excited.. and through the magic of Radio, my regular day job at Loves, I'm able to do both and still be a good mom and Wife.. The girls are going to be making regular appearance on the show with me, so get ready for that.. I'm honestly just so glad to be doing something I love and having really supportive people at my Loves Job that encourage me. I'm mostly excited because I didn't know if I would ever get to be back on the radio again.. and when I look back at the way God has moved in my life.. its just fun to watch! You have to realize that through trials comes Grace, and when that Grace happens its such a blessing to see. God is good. I've setup a facebook page so you can interact with me while on the air.. go HERE-- https://www.facebook.com/kcsheperdcrankhank/

I was thinking about "God Moments" in my life today, because Today is my 1 year anniversary at Orange Theory Fitness. When I think about how crazy it was that I even got there.. its bizarre.. I saw a facebook ad For Orange Theory with a number to call about it.. It was a cold day and I was supposed to go down there and meet with a coach.. I cancelled.. He texted me and set up another time.. I agreed to go down there.. having NO CLUE what I was doing. I had not worked out in forever.. I hated to hear about people working out. I wanted to punch people that told me "Workouts are fun".. blargh. Shut up. No.. No. Stop talking.. But.. I put all that out of my mind and went down there. I somehow just felt like it was what I was supposed to do. When I went down there I met Jordan.. (not my Jordan, but another fantastic Jordan) and he went through the premise of Orange Theory.. I remember asking him 2 main things. 1) How do I keep from Dying. 2) How many times do I have to come here to see results..  He responded enthusiastically to all my questions.. and he was a muscly, good lookin dude, and he was a coach.. so how bad can it be? I joined.

The studio hadn't opened yet, so I had a few months to think about what I had gotten myself into.. but on day 1.. I was there.. I didn't have workout clothes. I had no idea what to bring. I was a probably a sad looking Sack for gym attire.. But I went.. There were a few times I thought.. Yup.. this is it.. My heart is going to explode.. Hell, there are days I still do that! It's hard! Its work! I fell off the rower.. I probably have looked like a fool more than once.. #yourwelcome But man, the payoff is good! And I love that its for everyone. Its go at your own pace, so if you are 14, or 84.. we can all go! I get inspired daily by the folks that go and literally hand me my butt on the treadmill. I mean..I started out power walking, and these folks come in in beast mode.. but I love it.. You do what YOU can do, and that is good enough! I also have crap knees.. so guess what? No lunges for me! No thank you. Pass.. So the coaches give me options that won't strain my knees. #winning. And sometimes I bring in Cross's Owl, Melba, and the coaches take pics with her.. See how Happy Khairi is With Melba?


At First I only Went 2 days a week.. Then 3.. Then My friend Eileen (who I worked out with, and loved because she cussed as much as I did through the workouts) told me 5 was the magic number.. FIVE! FIVE???? I'm DYING at 3! I'm sore! I can't do it! I'll miss all my lunches! No!.. Ok.. Ok.. Ok.. I'll go five.. and I started going 5.. I met new friends.. I met new Coaches.. I loved all of them.. I loved the OTF Family.. and I started getting muscles.. I started losing weight.. NOW.. Keep in mind, at this point I had no desire to eat healthy. Baby Steps guys.. baby steps.. So I would literally go to Orange Theory on Mondays so I could go to Qdoba $1 Taco days after.. My reason for OTF was to eat whatever I wanted.. and I still lost 20 pounds.. Then about 9 months in I decided to start eating right.. I joined Profile in Edmond. My OB, Dr. Goff had lost 75 pounds and told me about it, so I gave them a call. When I first talked to them I was like.. No thanks. Pass.. But after thinking about it.. I realized I needed a PLAN.  They provided me a coach, meal plans, food, etc.. and I lost 25 more pounds in 8 weeks. So here I am. Its hard. But I still go. Because other people are holding me accountable.. I love to encourage new OTF members because they are in the same place I was when I started.. and its been an awesome journey. People have encouraged me.. complete strangers will come up to me after class and high-five me.. or Ask me how much weight I've lost.. Its a journey, its a family, its been a good God moment for me that led me to some awesome people.. and 44 pounds lighter.. Plus My heart is in better shape! 4" off my chest, 5" off my waist, 9" off my hips.. And I still really like going.. so there's that.. My favorite part? Yeah, its still when its over.. but I'm glad I did it!

So I can't complain.. I started the process of enrolling the girls in Deer Creek.. then stopped.. Because they will just turn 5 at the end of May, and would've started school in August.. and I just don't see the point in putting them in early. They are in Pre-K right now at the Childcare Network and they love their Teachers and friends, so we are going to put them in Next Year when they are 6. I think that is the best solution for them and hopefully they will have gained some Emotional Maturity where we don't flip out at our sister wearing our Shoes, or because you didn't get the bike on the playground.. however, I don't want people wearing my shoes, so I guess that is Valid. We'll see..

IN the meantime, I'm on 3-7, and even have a Bio so please.. feel free to be Crankin It to Hank.. and Yes, I'm working on breaking out Helen, the Accordion for your listening pleasure, so give me a few weeks and I'll get that started up.. You can also download the app and take me with you! Boom!

We are super excited for Easter At Crossings. Its my Anniversary there too, and if you are looking for a service that will MOVE you.. Come Join us at Easter. I can guarantee an amazing Musical performance, Message, and gathering. We have several Services, so take your pick. I'd love to have you join us! There's a Maundy Service on Thursday that will be incredible.. Good Friday at 12, and 6pm, and all the Easter Services!  Look at what we have put together with just a small little Tail Tie (These are the ties I used to put my Heifers tail in when I was showing, but I think normal people call them Zip Ties). Just goes to show you that we are all small Pieces in God's Grand Plan, but when we are all working together, we can do amazing things!






Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Twins.. twinner.. Twinnest..


You know.. there was a time when I was pregnant with twins that I thought I might not make it.. And there have been several times since that moment that I thought the same!

I found out I was pregnant with twins when I was literally 10 days pregnant.. I had a dream to pee on a stick.. I know.. I know.. I can't make this crap up.. But I did.. So I did.. and there was a faint line.. In thinking back it probably showed up because there were TWO babies in there at the time..

I remember being insane until I got to that first doctors appointment.. Everything was new and weird.. I had never been pregnant before.. and there were so many things that google told you that would scare the crap out of you..We didn't tell very many people.. only a few because we were scared.. That actually STARTED the fear..

Fast forward to the 8 week appointment when they nonchalantly told us there were two babies.. this was a horrifying experience.. if you would like to read the details.. here's THAT blog.. Its pretty entertaining.. But.. at the point where we found out there were two babies.. After completely losing it in the Dr's room... I remember just feeling the overwhelming peace that the Lord was in full control of this situation.. How? Why? Um, well because it had never even OCCURRED to us we could have twins.. or it was a thing.. So I had a complete sense of Peace that "God has to have this one, because this is certainly NOT my plan".. and from that moment on I knew that God had this one.. Even when I got admitted to the hospital at 26 weeks.. I never really worried about it.. Now, I was annoyed about being in the hospital.. but I always knew that the girls were fine..

People (Usually people that have a new baby) frequently come up to Jordan and say to us "Man.. How in the hell did you do it with TWO babies.. we are dying with One".. and our response is always the same.. "We didn't know any better, and we didn't have that option".. I'll be honest though.. We don't remember much of that first year. I asked Jordan the other day "Do you remember the girls saying Mama or dada?".. Jordan.. "No".. lol.. We were delusional.. We didn't sleep.. We both went back to work.. I was pumping until the girls were 13 months old.. I mean it was sheer survival.. If we went anywhere it was Two of those ridiculously heavy car seat carrier things.. We were taking swings, bouncers, bottles, rattles, blankets, and bags.. It was like a circus coming to town.. We felt like we missed on the "fun" parts of having a baby.. because we always had two that needed us..

But....... But........ Now.. fast forward to when the girls were about 2.. our lives suddenly got much easier than the lives of people who only had one.. Why? Because ours started playing.. with each other.. Which meant we weren't solely responsible for entertaining our kids all day! Twinning! So now.. I feel like our lives are easier in many ways than those who have one kid.. then later have another.. We don't have to go back and potty train again.. we don't have to get bottles all over.. we don't have to buy different clothing sizes, and start over.. So Now.. NOW ladies and Gents.. I feel like we are winning at the child care game!!! lol

AS I was listening to the girls laugh last night in the bath tub.. and then get out and play barbies for an hour.. I thought.. YES... YES! This has actually become EASIER now. The girls REALLY like us.. they want to be around us and each other.. What! I know! They mostly listen to what we ask them to do.. they play nice.. they are nice to our animals.. I mean.. its Good! Now I know all you parents are saying. 'Oh you silly goat.. you just wait'.. And yes.. I know there is going to come a time when I go back and read this blog and think.. "oh man. Those were the days".. because the hard years will arrive eventually.. but I trust that God will carry us through those like he carried us through the twin pregnancy and those first few years.. This is his plan.

For a good portion of my life I treated God like a back seat driver.. I let him in the car.. enjoyed having conversations with him.. but I was always driving.. Having twins MADE me turn the wheel over to him.. I had no choice. I had no clue, was oblivious, and scared.. "Jesus take the wheel!".. Right?? Everyone (including us) has stress in our life.. Life is not easy. People are not easy to deal with sometimes. We go through situations every day that test us.. and try our patience.. Its always going to be that way.. And there are still  times when I still try to correct him from the passenger side.. or suggest he take an alternate route.. but at the end of the day.. He's driving.. and I'm ok with that.. He's a really good driver, and the scenery on his route is a lot prettier..

Thursday, December 21, 2017

You're Gonna Miss this..

Man, what a magical time of the year if you have kids.. Is it insanity and dang near impossible to keep the perspective on Jesus? Well sure.. but its also magic.. I feel like the months from May to Now have just FLOWN by..and I'm waking up and its 3 days until Christmas!

The girls are so much fun.. they love everything Christmas.. I look at my other friends who have older kids and know they are missing this age.. 4.. 3 was fun too, but 4 has been a lot of fun with the girls because they are starting to 'get it'.. and you can still totally threaten them with Eliza the Christmas Elf and Santa! So.. winning.. But this year they have just seemed to take it all in, and really love it.. They giggle with Glee when they see Awesome Christmas lights.. or really anyone who made the tiniest bit of effort on lights, lol.. They watch Christmas movies over and over.. And they even ask to watch the old classic versions of Frosty, Rudolph and the Grinch.. because their little minds have no idea what CGI is.. or High Def.. or all the new technology that makes Cartoons nowadays.. they are just as happy with the weird old Snow Monster and Rudolph with his stoic leg movements.. They sing Christmas music so loud and love it! Frosty the Snowman, Santa Claus is coming to town, Jingle bells..and I'm still trying to get them to love the Il Divo Christmas Collection and Clay Aiken's version of "Mary Did you know".. We may have to save those for next year..

Its really been fun so far.. but with all the Commercialism of Christmas these days.. and so many trying to leave Jesus OUT of Christmas.. Jordan and I have been trying to fit him back IN.. I realize they are only 4.. but each day on the way to school we talk about the Gift that Jesus gave us by coming to the world as a baby.. They love The Christmas Story so we take time to tell it (and yes, they do still think their Donkey, Kris, is THE donkey that carried Mary to Bethlehem) I somehow think finding out that part is not real might be worse than finding out about Santa! We have been rehearsing how we say "thank you" for gifts that we didn't always ask for.. and how we should always be Grateful for something someone gets us because they thought enough of us to get us a gift.. But man.. It feels like a daunting responsibility.. to teach your kids to be Thankful.. Grateful.. and Peaceful. Marty Preached about Peace last Sunday and it was a great message.. a Message that no matter what happens over the stressful Holiday season we can feel Peace because Jesus has overcome the world.. But its still hard.

We have 4 Christmas's to go to.. It makes our life hectic trying to get to everyone's house on time.. make everyone happy.. haul the girls around.. haul the dogs around.. Get everyone's hair fixed, packages wrapped, food cooked.. All while reminding the girls that we are NOT going to ask about opening Presents 6542 times, and we are NOT going to tattle on each other every 5 minutes.. Its stressful. Its easy to lose perspective and forget the Reason for the Season.. Its easy to lose your peace.. and your mind when the girls are trying to slap each other in the back seat.. Its hard realizing at some point this holiday season someone is probably going to be upset about something.. But.. We have to keep our Peace.. We have to keep our perspective.. Especially this time of year. I just read an amazing blog from my awesome friend Karen that talks about how easy it is to let Satan steal your Joy and Peace..(Read Karen's Blog because its awesome, so click here)  and its so true.. I'll admit this morning when that person in the Audi rode my car bumper all the way to work.. or when I ordered all my groceries online to avoid the crowd.. and then realized they forgot the dates for the date roll.. it was tempting to let my Peace be stolen.. But if I look at the big Picture, man, I'm so blessed. So Very blessed.. like beyond anything I deserve..

This has been an Amazing year. I love my Husband and the fact that he puts up with me telling Puns to MYSELF and then also laughing at MYSELF until I can't breathe.. The girls have grown and said some of the funniest things ever to me.. and each day we see more and more of their awesome little personalities. My family has been healthy and happy. We've had so much fun at the farm this year with getting chickens, riding 4 wheelers.. playing with Cows..  Jordan and I have good jobs that help us provide for our family. I love my bosses and my co-workers.. I LOVE my Minivan.. Yup, I said it.. I freakin love that minivan..I found Orange Theory Fitness and my heart and my waistline are healthier.. I also made some amazing friendships there that I have really enjoyed this year. I love my church.. the blessings I get from that place are incredible.. I love my Small Group and all the people who give me perspective, and a kick in the butt when I need it.. I love the girls Pre-K Teacher, Mr. Daniel, who is by-far one of the most patient men I've ever know.. (he has to be right?) I love my radio gig.. Even though its part time, its still allowed me to be back doing something I love and that is a Great Blessing. Its not hard for you to look around and see your blessings. I realize sometimes its harder to see them because something else is happening that makes you forget them.. but remember.. Have Peace.

I'm going to wake-up in 4 days and Christmas with my twins is going to be over. I'm never going to get that time back with them. Its a once in a life-time deal.. So even when they are being annoying.. when your family is being annoying.. when your friends are being annoying.. You have to remember.. that moment is fleeting and once its gone.. its gone.. I know there's going to be a time when my kids are not as excited about Christmas.. or ME for that matter, so we have to celebrate these little nuggets they give us! Its an awesome thing that God Gave us for Christmas, so Celebrate it, and Enjoy his Peace this Holiday Season! Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Branson Vacation Magic!

Hey Everyone! We've been busy at my house.. A few weeks ago we all piled into Dolly (my Sweet Mini Van) and went to Branson with Gigi & Pa..



WE had an awesome time! Drive there was pretty and I'm not sure if I made us stop more to pee, or the girls.. but the beauty of having girls is I can blame it on them either way.. The girls watched Wizard of Oz and I read my book.. Overall not a bad drive with twin 4 year olds!

WE did a bunch of fun things.. But here are a few of the highlights.. First the place we stayed was incredible. IT was called The Lodges at Timber ridge.. From the Welk Resorts.. Holy Moly.. Awesome. 3 bedroom lodge/type place, 2 fireplaces, giant balcony, big Porcelain Tub.. I mean it was just beautiful and awesome..and we all loved it! The other great thing they had.. was tons of stuff to do, including a Christmas Elf that came to tell your kids bedtime stories, and gave them Cookies & milk! The girls loved that.. and even though the elf mispronounced "Rendezvous" (which made us laugh secretly at her because it was a rhyming story and she said "Ron-Dee-Voss).. she was still pretty awesome.. And the girls loved her. So that was amazing..

The Butterfly Garden was also great. We had bought a Groupon before we went, so it saved us a little money.. And we had a great time. Now, I realize in these pics the girls look like Snow White.. just welcoming Butterflies to land on and love them.. however, that was not entirely accurate.. Cross may or may not have swatted and ran from them at some point.. Londyn liked them pretty good and she was not bothered by them.. but Cross didn't like them swarming her (which they do b/c you are holding a nectar flower up to them) so there's that..


They showed a cool litter Monarch Butterfly Movie and the girls got some butterfly treasures that they liked.. Londyn is still talking about it..

Next Stop was the Drive-Thru Zoo.. (WHO KNEW).. The Drive Through Portion was not as awesome as the part where we got to get out. Cross got to see TWO huge live Owls.. which made her day.. Later that night when she was saying her Prayers she said "Thank you God for those owls".. lol.. We got to feed Kangaroos, Goats & Camels..



The weather was nice, so we just walked around and enjoyed the animals.. Next Stop was the singing Diner.. Mel's Hardluck Diner is in the Grand Village Shops, and the wait staff all sings songs while you eat.. Well one of the waitresses of course found Pa to sing too.. (this always happens to Steve.. they can sense fear and discomfort and go right for it) and the girls thought this was amazing.
Then we had to go to the giant Chair and let the girls sit in it.. (because thats what everyone who visits Branson does) 
We also happened to run into Santa and Mrs. Claus while we were there.. He was a really good Santa, and Mrs. Claus had Candy canes, so winning! There was a lot of times on this trip we heard "Are they twins?"..........Me-- YES.. "REALLY???".. We get that a lot.. 

WE saved one of our evenings for the Dixie Stampede.. Let me tell you Jordan was less than enthusiasitc about this.. He thought it was going to be a Dolly Parton Concert.. which would have been fine with me.. but we all had so much fun! The show was awesome, food was awesome, service was aweosme and the girls loved it! They bring you out chicken, bread, potatoes.. all to eat without utensils.. which yes, does get messy, but it was really good food! They did a really moving Nativity Story and some really funny horse-riding racing fun! It was great! 


The girls also got to sleep in a big Queen bed together which they thought was awesome.. I tell you, they may fight.. and tattle.. and everything else, but their sweet little bond makes my heart happy! Did I mention that our Lodge also had an Indoor waterslide? YUP! So Saturday we spent swimming and going down the giant waterslide 223 times.. I saw WE.. I mean Pa and Jordan.. Mom and I supervised from the side-lines.. But the girls had a blast with their daddy and Pa catching them at the end of the slide! 

Oh.. and did I also mention that we all dressed alike one day? Yeah.. how could I forget that magic!!! (Watch for matching PJ's at a later date) 

On Saturday we went down by Table Rock lake and looked at all the sites.. they had a Riverboat Party Cruise.. but it was docked because the wind was blowing really hard that day.. but it was pretty scenery.. the leaves were changing and everything looked pretty. We had pretty good weather the whole time we were down there.. 

The only Schmowy, ruiney portion of the trip was Silver Dollar City.. A cold front moved on and it was COLD.. Now I realize this is probably user error on our part.. But I was calling it bad named that rhyme with "City" by the end of the evening.. WE didn't leave to go out there until around 3..and there had been a wreck on the main highway to get out there.. so traffic was backed up for about 1.5 hours.. in which I had to pee.. and I couldn't hold it.. so yeah, I had to pee on the side of the road.. #country And by the time we got to the front of the line for 'Preferred parking".. they were SOLD OUT and sent us on down to the commoner parking.. which was about 982 miles away.. in which we had to get on a BUS to get to the entrance.. so after we do that it was almost dark and we got in line to ride ONE ride.. That ALSO closed once we got to the front of the line #thisshouldhavebeenasign... But we powered on.. by then it was very dark.. lots of awesome lights, but we have no idea what we are doing, or where to go.. so we ended up staying for the Light-up Tree, and the Lighted Parade which was really good..  But overall.. we would do something different with that.. go earlier.. stay later.. etc.. We will be ready next time! 
ON Sunday morning we got up to go have Breakfast at this great little Place called Grandma Ruth's Cinnamon Rolls or something like that.. and it was great.. and we even had a guy.. at EIGHT O CLOCK IN THE MORNING performing.. He sang "Somewhere over the Rainbow" and Londyn was an instant Fan! She jumped on stage with him to help him finish and he gave her a picture.. it made her day.. 
Now.. why is he singing at 8? No clue.. Was he on key? Not really.. But.. We appreciated the effort.. What we didn't appreciate was Crosslee spilling her 'coffee' all over the floor..then somehow flipping out of her chair and into the floor.. Because that was NOT ideal.. but #kids  So there you go.. It can't be perfect ALL the time.. But we did have a pretty perfect trip. The girls loved it, and we also had a much better time than we thought we were going to have! We will be ready to do it next year.. 

Now we have moved into the Christmas Season.. Hope you guys had an amazing Thanksgiving.. ours was EVENTFUL.. but I'll write about that next week.. b/c too much drama for one post.. see you then!