Our Blessed Chaos

My hubby + a 1st grader + twins in kindergarten + 4 critters..... Yeah it is chaos, but we are blessed!

Today's Verse

1Corinthians 15
Verses 2-4, 23

2 And it is this Good News that saves you if you firmly believe it-unless, of course, you believed something that was never true in the first place. 3 I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me-that Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. 4 He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, as the Scriptures said.
23 But there is an order to this resurrection: Christ was raised first; then when Christ comes back, all his people will be raised.

These verses are the basis and the foundation for the Christian faith:
- you are saved if you firmly believe in the Good News
- the Good News is that Christ died for our sins and was raised from the dead on the third day
- Christ will return and when he does all his people will also be raised from the dead

If you are asked what you believe in or why you are a Christian, what do you say? It should be the three points above. This concept should be second nature to you if you are a Christian. These points are the basis for your belief system and your faith.

Lord thank you for the precious gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. There are so many who claim to be Christians, but do not have this saving knowledge. I pray that you will open their hearts and minds and bring them closer to you. In Jesus name, Amen

Last year hubby brought back a bunch of his Mom's stuff that has been in storage for years. Lots of it we still haven't gone through, but slowly we are getting to it. One of the things that I found was her jewelry box filled with costume jewelry. Unfortuantely she passed away before I came along so I never had the privilege of getting to know her. But from many stories I understand that she was definately a girly-girl type of lady who was always put together very well and of course everything always matched!

When I found the box I knew that I would never have much use for most of it - I rarely wear jewelry and I am doin quite well if I actually match! But I did go through it and found a couple things that I kept, I now have a string of pearls that belonged to my husband's mother. At least I think they are real - but I am pretty clueless! Anyway, finding it was perfect and special.

I didn't know what to do with the rest of it, but the kids solved that! They were so excited with all the necklaces that I let them play with it all for awhile. I told them that they were Grandma Renee's and that she wanted them to have them. I think Grandma Renee would be thrilled!!!

I don't think that Carlee has been converted to a girly-girl. Afterall, the reason she does not have a shirt on is because they had just come inside and she was so dirty that I couldn't salvage the shirt and it ended up in the laundry. Beleive it or not, she was even dirtier than Ben!
My friend Helen said it perfectly - a tomboy with her bling!

Today is Gratituesday which is hosted by Laura at Heavenly Homemakers

We have moved, we have mostly unpacked, and we are getting back to normal - well whatever normal is around this crazy place! We have moved into a beautiful home in the country. Everything that we wanted and more! Well, until we got here and discovered that there are a few problems, most of them due to the house being vacant for three years.

Our bedrooms are upstairs and the upstairs air conditioner is not working so it is about 100 degrees up there when we go to bed.

The microwave has quit working - I never realized how much I rely on my microwave!

There is a huge colony of ants living somewhere near the kitchen. Nearly every day I find a long stream of the nasty little critter making their way to various treats they find on the floor, on the counters, and even in the cabinets. I am very disgusted with ants right now and tired of destroying their ant trails!

This house has a beautiful hot tub on the deck, but the hot tub is not working.

So many complaints!!! What do we really have to worry about? The upstairs air conditioning not working! Oh what a disaster! The downstairs a/c still works, we are still in the lap of luxury during the day. So, what do we have to worry about? The microwave not working? Oh what a disaster! I can't defrost meat quickly or make popcorn - oh my gosh how horrible that I have to rearrange my schedule!!! It must be that we need to worry about the hot tub not working! Well good grief the world must be coming to an end!

I mean seriously! Do you think I could stop whining and complaining for half a second to simply realize these are so unimportant. Well I did realize it, probably while destroying a nasty little ant trail. I realized that we are so blessed! With all that could be wrong, all that could go wrong - we are blessed.

We are so blessed to have three healthy, beautiful, and happy children who amazed us at how well adjusted they are with this move. It really never phased them at all! We are blessed to have found this house. A place where our children can be safe and simply be kids!

We are blessed with wonderful family. Even though we are not living close to our families, we are blessed to know they are there for us and that they love us. We are blessed to have this blog and the ability to share our daily lives with them.

We are blessed to have been led to a wonderful church family in North Carolina. We made some life long friends there even though we were only there for a year. We continue to be blessed as we have been led to another church where we have been welcomed with open arms.

I could keep going and going with all that we are blessed with. The point is to find the ability to stop yourself in the midst of whining and complaining and be grateful for what you do have. Children, family, friends, and church - nothing else matters If you have our gracious God in your life you will be blessed.

On the dryer there is a sticker with an explosion hazard warning symbol. Sam asked what it was for,

Mama - If we don't use the dryer properly it could explode
Sam - and make a loud noise
Mama - Yes, explosions are very loud
Sam - (ponders for a minute) Sooo, if there was a KASPLOSION (throws his hands up)we would get dead?
Mama - (trying not to laugh) Yes, if there was an explosion we could get badly hurt or die
Sam - (ponders some more) Sooo, how could we get not dead, I mean could Daddy get us alive-er, No-No wait I know!!! Jesus will keep us live-er!!!

As I slowly get settled back into routine, I realized I totally blew it with Memory Monday! I think I need to simply start over. Let's see if I still know the first verses I tried to memorize.

Psalm 23
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want,
He leads makes me to lie down in green pastures
He leads me to still waters
He restores my soul
He leads me down in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake

Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death
I shall fear no evil for you are with me
your rod and your staff they comfort me

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies
You anoint my head with oil, my cup runs over
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the day of my life
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Well, not too bad. This week I will start the Roman Road again with Romans 3:23 For all have sinned; all fall short of God's glorious standard.

Will you join me by memorizing scripture each week? I am so excited to be starting this again! Joanne at The Simple Wife hosts Memory Monday, visit her blog to find more people participating in Memory Monday or to participate yourself. It really is for your own benefit!

1Corinthians 14
Verse 3 But one who prophesies is helping others grow in the Lord, encouraging and comforting them.

When you think of someone in today's world claiming to be a prophet, how do you picture them? Someone like David Karesh perhaps? What about your own pastor or simply the person in your Bible study that often has words of encouragement or gentle advice.

Today the commentary in my study bible put a deeper meaning into what prophecy is. This is a direct quote from my NLT Study Bible. "Prophecy may involve predicting future events, but its main purpose is to communicate God's message to people, providing insight, warning, correction, and encouragement."

We are quick to judge, even when it comes to making a judgement on the meaning of a word. We should be careful to judge, instead let's dig deeper into the Word of God. The gift of prophecy is just one example. When we more fully understand what the gift is we can develop it in ourselves, if that is our gift or encourage others who are displaying the gift.

Lord, your Word is so precious and beautiful. Thank you for opening my heart to a deeper understanding of your word. I continue to pray for all of us to have discovery and understanding of our spiritual gifts. May we use our gifts for your glory. In Jesus name, Amen!

1Corinthians 13
Verses 4-7 4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. 6 It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

This is the Love chapter, often read at weddings - including my own. But as I read this chapter I was suddenly struck by the context and it took on a completely different meaning for me. It is not just about how I should love my husband, but how I should live my life.

Chapter 12 is about spiritual gifts and how they work together for the church to be effective. Chapter 13 then speaks about how spiritual gifts cannot be used properly if we do not understand how to love.

I recently heard a portion of a sermon on the radio about how to apply this chapter. You are to replace the word love with your own name and decide if you are doing that. For example verse 4 would then be: Carrie is patient and kind. Carrie is not boastful or proud or rude. And then I need to ask myself if this is always true. Of course it is not, but I can certainly learn from it and try harder to be these things more often and more consistently.

Lord your Word has so much to offer us, it is precious and perfect. Thank you for revealing your word to me today in a deeper way so that I now have a much clearer understanding of how you want me to love. Please guide all of us through these verses, making them more clear and help us to apply them to our lives. In Jesus name, Amen!

Here are some of the places the kids have been sleeping...

First night in our new house, they all thought it was so much fun to sleep on an air mattress. It took awhile for them to calm down and quit bouncing!

Unpacking was hard work!

Looks like Carlee should have been having a nap too - Miss Grumpy!

Still unpacking! But at least this time Ellie is there to make sure Ben does not fall off the chair.

After all getting out of the van, Sam walked over to the grass and was going to pee on grass. Ben was standing next to him and Sam told him, "Hey Ben, go under my pee!" And Ben started to bend over and would have gone under the stream if I had not yelled at them. Of course I had to immediately retreat to the other side of the van to avoid them seeing me laugh my butt off!

1Corinthians 12
Verse 7 A spiritual gift is given to each of us as a means of helping the entire church.
Verse 27 Now all of you together are Christ's body, and each one of you is a separate and necessary part of it.

If you are a Christian you have been given a spiritual gift by the Holy Spirit. We are to use this gift to help the church. All of us are a part of the church and all are to use their gifts for the church. Even though some gifts may seem more important or more visible than other gifts it is essential for all of us work together.

God has given each of us a place in the church and when we do not fulfil that place or when we do not work together the church becomes less effective.

Our responsibility is to know what our spiritual gift is and to then continually strengthen and use that gift. We should also be encouraging others to discover and use their own gifts.

Dear Lord, in your amazing love and kindness you have given each and every one of us the special blessing of a spiritual gift. Please help all of us to know and understand our gifts so that we can all be more effective in the church and spreading the Good News of salvation through Jesus Christ. Amen

I made a change to the look of my blog a couple days ago. However there were a couple of minor issues with the blog template. I am sure that they were things that I could easily fix, but who has the time to figure out HTML code!!

So I started looking for another template and found this one. I have always wanted to go to Tahiti and stay in these huts over the water!! And with all the chaos in my everyday life, it is kinda nice to have a calm serene place to imagine myself!!

Anyway, I will try this one out for awhile - even though I am guessing it might have a couple annoying little things too. I might have to break down and learn some more HTML stuff afterall!

While Daddy had a few days off he did not shave. One day he gave Sam a kiss and Sam said, "Ow Daddy! The sparks on your face got me!"

A couple times this week Daddy and I have been talking and Sam has tried to get our attention. His latest tactic is to say "You-Who! You-Who! I am trying to talk to you!"

1Corinthians 11
Verses 23b-26 On the night when he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took a loaf of bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me." 25 In the same way, he took the cup of wine after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant between God and you, sealed by the shedding of my blood. Do this in remembrance of me as often as you drink it." 26 For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are announcing the Lord's death until he comes again.

The Lord's Supper or Communion represents the New Covenant, in which we can all approach and have a personal relationship with God. Our bridge to do this is Jesus. So when we have Communion we are remembering what Jesus did for us and that he will return. Partaking or the Lord's Supper should then never thought of as a simple church ritual. It is so much more than that and we should treat it with reverence.

In the verses following verse 26, Paul gives us instruction on how to prepare ourselves for the Lord's Supper.
Verse 26 reminds us of the importance of remembering the purpose, it is to announce the Lord's death until he comes again.
Verse 27 we should act in a worthy manner, giving the act its proper respect
Verse 28 before partaking we should examine ourselves for unconfessed sin or improper attitudes
Verse 33 wait for others so that all may have the opportunity to partake

Dear Lord thank you for giving us the New Covenant and allowing us near you through Jesus. Please help us to know our own hearts and prepare ourselves reverently for whenever we are about to eat the bread and drink from the cup of the New Covenant.

One afternoon weneeded to be out of the house so that it could be shown to a potential buyer (who didn't buy our house ...sigh...). It was rather annoying that they did not give a specific time that they would be there, just sometime in the afternoon. I realized very quickly that once the house was clean it would be impossible to keep it clean - my little helpers are not all that helpful in this area! So I loaded the kids and the dogs and off we went to the river for a couple hours.

Of course it was Ben that found the mud hole. He got his feet dirty then ran to the water to wash them off, then back to the mud hole.

Sam & Carlee thought he was a "silly goose" until they realized it was rather fun.

1Corinthians 10
Verses 11-13 All these events happened to them as examples for us. They were written down to warn us, who live at the time when this age is drawing to a close. 12 If you think you are standing strong, be careful, for you, too, may fall into the same sin. 13 But remember that the temptations that come into your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will keep the temptation from becoming so strong that you can't stand up against it. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you will not give in to it.

The events in Verse 11 are referring to the events of the Israelites. It shows the importance of studying the Old Testament. In doing so we are reminded of their mistakes and can avoid repeating them.
Verse 12 is a warning for us to beware of falling into the same sins as the Israelites.
Verse 13 gives us encouragement for those times when we do face temptation.

The encouragement of verse 13 can be summarized:
- we are all faced with similar temptations, others have faced and resisted the same temptations we might be facing right now

- God is faithful to us, He will never allow us to face anything we can not stand up against. We therefore have the ability to face and to resist every temptation! That is such a revelation isn't it!!!

- God will show us the way out, or the way to resist the temptation! When we are faced with a temptation are we paying attention to God showing us how to resist? The answers are there. When we recognize the temptation we should also be able to see how to refuse to give in to it.

Dear Lord, thank you for being so patient with me, your presence is comforting even when I am lacking in my prayers to you. Thank you for showing me exactly what I needed to see today. With your glorious presence and your grace I have the power to resist anything I am faced with. Please help all of us to open our hearts to you and see the path leading us away from those temptations we are faced with. In Jesus name, Amen!

Late last fall I found a tiny little orange kitten at our doorstep. He was so tiny and so cute, but absolutely terrified of the dogs. I brought him inside so the kids could see him and then let him go. We never saw him again so I assumed that he found his way back home where ever that was, or sadly, never made it - it was pretty cold for such a little kitty.

Well we never saw him again until spring that is. He showed up one day and never really left after he decided that the dogs weren't so bad. I think he was so desperate to be a house cat that he would sneak into the house any chance he got. Of course this is easy to do with three kids going in and out all day long, rarely closing the door properly!

Soon the little orange kitty was being called Tigger-kitty. Tigger and Boots soon had what I thought was a cat fight - complete with cats yowls and growls. Turns out they were just playing. They soon became inseparable and play fight every day. Often I found them cuddled up and grooming each other or sleeping in the same spots.

When the time came for us to begin making plans to move we had to wonder what to do about the cats. Boots was already ours, but I didn't know what to do with Tigger. He was technically a stray cat that we were just feeding. We initially were going to leave him with neighbors, but then decided that it would be a shame to seperate the "stupid cats" as I so affectionately refer to them. Plus, with all the sheds at the new place another cat might be useful. I was convinced.

Shortly before we left North Carolina Tigger-kitty had trip to the vet that ended his life of being a stray cat. I still am not sure how we ended up with two cats, considering that when I left Canada I said I would never have cats again. I chuckled a couple days ago and told hubby that Boots & Tigger-kitty are our souveniers from North Carolina. We lived in California and ended up with three kids and another dog, NC got us two cats. Makes me wonder what Maryland will have to offer!

This was taken at the house in North Carolina. I didn't even know he was in the house, I often found him lounging around having a nice nap!

Of course the kids adore all the pets, and on this day were reading Tigger-kitty a story.

I love the expression onhis face, almost like he still isn't sure that he is allowed to stay! he is a cute cat,so I guess he can stay. He has even caught some mice outside, so he is being useful!

We were looking for a new place to live at the beginning of April, with no leaves out yet. I knew that there was a big tree in the front of the house and that there were trees along the lane. I was looking forward to seeing how the yard would look in the summer with all the leaves.

My first impression when I drove up was WOW. Then I saw two bunnies hopping up the lane to get out of the way of the van. What a greeting! Here are a couple pictures to show you how different it looks now. I just love the huge tree in the front, it provides so much shade and will be a fantastic picnic spot. if I can ever get that organized!

And so we are through yet another move. Hubby's time off is unfortunately over and he starts his new job today. I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel - the house is nearly unpacked, with only a few odds and ends to find places for and the toys to be organized. We don't have a play room in this house, which might actually be a good thing. My plan is to organize all the toys into boxes and bins so that they can be stored in the attic. We will then rotate toys with the hopes that it will be easier to keep tidy and the kids will play with them more as they will always seem somewhat new. Oh yeah and there are still about 17 thousand boxes in the shed still to be unpacked and organized! Most of it is hubby's stuff though so he will have lots to do on weekends. I wonder if I should tell him it should all be organized before he can do hunting in the fall? Haha that just might work if I tell him I will go hunting with him!

And so all that is left to do is regular stuff like meals and snacks to make and clean up, the impossible task of keeping three busy kids relatively clean, the endless picking up of the trails of stuff, mounds of laundry that mysteriously never go away, fights to break up, boo-boos to kiss, and the most aggravating of all things I have to do - several times a day conduct search and rescue missions for missing juice cups. Of course this leaves plenty of time for all the yard work (that has not been kept up for three years) and the couple acres of grass to cut and trim (remember the beautiful long lane with lovely white fence - yeah well that all needs trimming!). Okay so maybe I am complaining slightly but I really am feeling blessed that we have the life we have. I certainly always have a million things to do and I seriously do not know how anyone has time to work!!!

I have not been at the computer much in the last couple of weeks while I was unpacking. Somehow I could not justify blogging when I was still tripping over boxes. But now that it is nearly done I am going to allow myself to take a break once in awhile! Yay for me! I also thought this blog needed a new look so I wasted a bunch of time - I mean took a break one evening to look for a new blog background and found some really nice ones. Then I found this one and it is just perfect - these three mud covered kids could be ours! I cannot take credit for the background of the picture, that has to go to Lena at Simply Fabulous Blogger Templates. But I can certainly relate to three kids getting incredibly dirty on a daily basis!

As always, please leave comments so that I know you were here and also let me know what you think of the new look.

One morning, just before lunch I was on the phone with hubby. I had called him to remind him of something. And of course, I had to complain that because our microwave was broken I could not make the lunch that I had planned.

Sam then came in and said that he wanted to talk to Daddy, I only heard Sam's side of the conversation, but this is what I heard...

Hi Daddy!
We are going to McDonald's that has a playground and I am going to have orange drink and fries and cheeseburger that has cheese in it. ANNNDDD Ben and Carlee are coming too and Mama is coming too. Are you coming?
Oh! Are you at work right now?
Okay, well, Be safe when you are coming home after you are done work all right?
And make sure you put on your seatbelt so you can be safe.
Bye Daddy
I love You too!

My observations about this little exchange:
-Apparently we were going to McDonalds for lunch and I didn't know about it! Sam came up with that little plan all on his own!
-Sam is such a cute sensitive kid trying to make sure Daddy is safe
-Watching Dora helps kids to know why we wear seatbelts - so we can be safe
-We have a super loving kid we are proud of

We did go to McDonalds for lunch that day. I couldn't bear to break his heart after he was so darn cute about it. Plus fries sounded kinda good! We did not go to the one with the playground. They were all sleeping soon after we left home so I went to one with a drive-thru and then found a park with a playground and waited until they woke up. Next time I will plan better so that I can prepare a picnic lunch to eat at this cool playground we found.

Today is the day that I am planning to be driving to our new home in Maryland. I was sneaky and pre-wrote several posts, scheduling them to post on days that I would be away from the computer.

However, my sneaky plan was not completely successful as I have now run out of time. As I am writing this on Sun May 31 it is almost midnight, the movers are scheduled to arrive in the morning so I cannot guarantee that I will have time to be on the computer, or even if I will have a computer. It depends on which rooms they pack first. Have I mentioned how wonderful it is to have movers come in and pack everything for you! That is simply the best part about a military move.

Anyway, I thought I would take a moment to post my schedule for this week so you know where I will be...
Monday - movers packing
Tuesday - movers packing
Wednesday - movers loading the truck and me appearing in court (oops have to make a post about that)
Thursday - driving to Maryland
Friday - movers unload the truck
Saturday and onward - unpacking

Once I get my computer back up and running I will be back to blogging

We are very sad to leave our home here, we have made some wonderful friends. But here are some photos that will show you why I am excited about our new house. I will certainly miss our beautiful wooded yard, but I have to keep reminding myself that we were at the new place before there were any leaves out. I am very excited to see what the yard looks like now!

This is taken looking down the lane towards the road, the house is behind me. The best part about this lane is that it is paved. The kids are going to have so much fun out here on their motorized jeeps and their tricycles (soon to be bicycles) . Right now the only pavement we have is in our carport. It is hard for them to pedal on grass and the jeeps do not do well on the uneven lawn. They ride them quite alot now, but I expect they will be out there even more, and probably will get many more scraped knees too. I will have to stock up on bandages!

Here is the front of the house. There are lots of really big windows and it makes it a very bright house. Even on this day when it was cloudy the house was very bright inside, especially the kitchen.

I simply am on pins and needles with excitement to get this kitchen set up! The kitchen we have now is old, outdated, small and very very dark. This new kitchen is the exact opposite - new, fancy, huge (this is just one view - to the left is many more cupboards, lots more counter space and the fridge and stove), and it is very very bright! OH! I am thrilled with the light fixture (top corner of the photo) over the island. Yes! The island - my new best friend - more workspace, huge storage space for big cook items like roasters and crockpots, and the best part - the option to kick everybody out of my way by saying "nobody is allowed past the island".

This is the back of the house. We will all love the screened porch for eating outside. But the very best part about this deck is that just outside of the screened area there is a built-in hot tub! All I can say about that is AHHHH!!!!

And finally (for now), here is a photo of some of the old out buildings on the property. There are several more, but this gives you an idea. Some of them will need some work before we can store much in them but there are a couple that should be okay for storage right away. And who knows what other plans I might come up with for this area!

For now though, I have to concentrate on unpacking, getting organized, tackling the never ending drama (and probably hopeless battle) of getting my hubby organized. Hopefully we will accomplish all that and get back to some sense of normalcy by mid-summer. That may be a far reaching goal, but it is something to work towards! I will certainly keep you updated.

In April when my parents were still here we decided to go to the beach. Before we left I called hubby to let him know what we were doing and he told me that he got a $15 parking ticket. Of course I gave him a hard time about it. And in hindsight, I should have kept my big mouth shut.

On the way there I was pulled over for speeding!!! Apparently I was going 70 in a 55mph zone and received a $151 ticket. OOPS!!! But I really think that it is not my fault - here's why...

1. the road I was pulled over on was a divided highway. Who has ever heard of 55mph on a divided highway. To me that is just silly!

2. I was only on the particular road for about 6 miles, and when I went back to the beach with Mel we noticed that there was not one single speed limit sign! So how was I supposed to know that it was only 55! Well besides the fact that since this happened I did see a sign that states that NC speeds are 55 unless otherwise posted. To me that is just silly!!

3. My van was bought in California - it is built for LA freeways and posted speed limits of 70-75!!! So therefore my van didn't think it was speeding! HAHAHA not my fault!!!

Ok so maybe the judge will not be sympathetic to these points of brilliant wisdom. But I am going to appear anyways and here is why...

1. because the cop (pardon me - I must correct myself so my hubby doesn't), I mean the state trooper told me that I could appear in court and likely have it reduced. HUH -I had no idea what that meant at the time.

2. several people at my bible study told me I should go to court to have it reduced. HUH - I still have no idea what this meant but now I was thinking I should check into it.

3. I received several advertisements in the mail from lawyer offices advertising their services so that the effect on my insurance could be reduced. Oh boy, this is starting to sound serious!

4. I call my insurance to find out how much one speeding ticket could affect my insurance. She told me that because I was more than 10mph over the speed limit my drivers license will receive at least 2 points. Because of those two points she estimated that my insurance would go up about $350 a year for 3 years. WHAT!!! For one speeding ticket!!! That is insane!!

Okay, so now I have some facts and need to make a decision. Obviously I need to go to court and try to have it reduced to below 10mph over the speed limit, which apparently is quite a common thing to happen. This would only put 1 point on my license and have no effect on my insurance. Of course that is assuming I have my lead foot amputated and don't get into any more trouble! Lesson definately learned!!!

The other option is quite a fascinating one. North Carolina has something called "Prayer for Judgement Continued" where basically you plead guilty to the charge but the actual judgement is not entered into the system and would not go on the driving record. Quite bizarre if you ask me.

It will be an interesting morning and hopefully one that will result in a ticket that does not increase my insurance! I will let you know what happens once the computer is up and running after our move.

Oh yeah, and when hubby brought home another $15 parking ticket a couple weeks ago, I never said a word. I simply smiled sweetly and wrote the check!

As you remember from the last post, it was an absolute nightmare getting out of the park with three very grumpy kids. But at the exit we got handstamps so that we could get back in later. I thought that at the very least Mel could go back in and ride the other roller coasters while the kids had a nap and maybe some supper. So that's what we did. When the kids woke up we ate and then I found a playground where they could play until it was time to meet up with Aunty Mel. I figured we would pick her up and head home, but the kids had other plans.

They were in exceptionally high spirits and talked about how they wanted to go and give Elmo a big hug and kiss and touch Big Bird's feathers to see if they were soft and fluffy. They told me that they might be a little bit scared but they would be brave and do it this time. They also mentioned the water playground and the Elmo ride that we didn't go on before and they really really wanted to go back. Oh yes, and they promised that they would not be grumpy and that they would have lots and lots and lots and lots of fun!

How could I refuse! We went back to the park to have some fun! I managed to get them all on and off the tram by myself and we quickly found Aunty Mel. The Sesame Park area was fairly close to the exit so I knew we could make a quicker escape if we needed to. Afterall, we were going back at about 7pm which is close to their regular bedtime. I didn't think we would be there long. But they surprised me and we had alot of fun. I could not believe that we were there until the park closed at 9pm.

When we got back into the park the first thing we did was to go back to see Elmo and Big Bird, but we had three statues again. Oh well, at least I got to give Elmo and Big Bird hugs and Aunty Mel got her picture taken with Big Bird. They still tell me that "we were to scared to hug Elmo and Big Bird, but not you Mama, you were very brave to hug them".

The best picture I got was when they sat down to wait for me to get drinks. As I started to walk away Bert stopped to say hi to them! But you guessed it - statues!

Then we took off their shirts and let them play in the water playground. They are not huge fans of being splashed in the face so this activity was soon over.

They had much more fun in Oscar's Yucky Forest, which is basically a big padded play area with tunnels and ramps to run up and down.

Then I finally talked Sam into leaving the play area to go with me on Elmo's tower ride. I have included a short video of it so that you can see what is does, rather than me trying to explain it. Although I will say that it dropped fast enough to create a small amount of g-force. It was enough to make it a fun ride for me and Sam really enjoyed it too, especially when he saw an ambulance in the parking lot. He was very excited to be so high that he could see so much.

After our ride we went to get Aunty Mel, Ben & Carlee so we could all go on it. This time I sat between Ben & Carlee. I was slightly concerned about Carlee, I really wasn't sure what her reaction was going to be. I was quickly relieved when she started to laugh. Then I started to laugh hysterically because every time we dropped, she laughed hysterically. Meanwhile, whenever I looked over at Ben I could not see his face because he was leaning forward into the shoulder harness. I finally asked him to look at me and when he did he had a huge smile on his face, he was loving it too. I think he was trying to watch the ground.

Next we went on a spinning ride that was almost to much for my tummy. I could ride roller coasters all day long, but forget the spinning rides! The kids seemed to enjoy it though.

By now it was about 8:30 and we decided to see if we could get on the train that makes a trip around the park. We were lucky to get to the boarding station just as the train pulled in. Of course it was starting to get dark by this time, so the kids thought it was quite fun to be going through the "spooooky forest". Once we got off the train we stopped for souvenirs and headed for the tram and the parking lot. It was nearly midnight by the time we finally got home!

In the end it was a great day and a fabulously fun week with Aunty Mel. We have already started to make plans for next year!

When Mel & I decided that we would go to Busch Gardens I told the kids about it. For days it was all they could talk about - Aunty Mel is coming to visit and she is taking us to Sesame Park to see Elmo. They all said that they were going to give huge hugs and kisses to Elmo and Cookie Monster and Big Bird.

We had planned to go on Sunday but it was pouring rain all day, so it was postponed to Friday, which turned out to be an absolutely beautiful hot day. When we arrived at the park we could see one of the roller coasters. The kids thought that looked fun and wanted to keep hearing all the big kids screaming.

The first thing we did was go to the Sesame Street 4D show, which they all really liked. But I think it was a good thing that Carlee happened to sit in the only seat that did not spray water. I was worried she would freak when the water sprayed her.

Next we went into the Sesame Street Park area. They have an area set up where you can see the characters and have your picture taken with them. We saw Elmo first and my kids turned into three frozen statues - they would not go near him. We also saw Bert & Ernie and Big Bird, but nothing I said or did would get them anywhere near the huge scary monsters!

So we gave up on that idea, went on a small boat ride. There was also a water playground and some other rides, but there were lots of people in this area and so we went on a sky tram to the other side of the park. This was very exciting for the kids and they said liked being above the trees. Here was Ben's expression on the skytram.

The area we ended up in did not have much for kid attractions, so Mel went on a huge rollercoaster while I had ice cream with the kids. I like roller coasters, but ice cream is pretty good too! Then we went to another area that was for kids, called the Land of Dragons. The first thing we did was ride the "orsies" on the carousel. I took their pictures before the ride started and each of them has a look of expectation on their faces. I guess they weren't too sure what was about to happen. And Aunty Mel, well, nice try trying to get out of the shot hahaha

Then we climbed up into the dragon's treehouse and at the top was a slide to go down. Sam and Aunty Mel went down with no problem, but Ben & Carlee both refused to go and started to have meltdowns. I finally had to grab both of them and carry them down the stairs kicking and screaming. Carlee recovered fairly quickly when she realized that we could go on more rides. Ben took a little longer, then he saw the "ay-dee bug jeeps" and he really really wanted to drive one. And of course a little bribery in the form of "if you stop crying you can drive a jeep" always helps to reverse a meltdown. They all had fun on this ride. At least until I tried to get Ben out - instant meltdown! Good thing the next ride was a boat ride, because he really really wanted to drive a boat...more bribery.

After the boat ride was the dinosaur egg ride, and he wanted absolutely nothing to do with eggs. He was done, so we sat on a bench - rather I sat on the bench and he continued his meltdown beside me. Aunty Mel took Sam & Carlee on the egg ride and they enjoyed it. Then we decided it was time for a drink, but this was about the time that they all decided to have meltdowns. I was done - time to go. But the skytram was broken down, so now we have to walk through the entire park (a very very large park) to get to the exit, then to the trams to take us to the parking lot. It was hot, there were lots of people, and it was a nightmare. At this point I was upset with myself for even taking them there - we were not having fun.

I will post more tomorrow to let you know how the day ended, maybe you will be as surprised as I was!