...and he's OFF!!!!!

We'd known he was close. He's been traveling backwards for several weeks. So yesterday, I kept the camera close by just in case! And BAM...he took off!!!


It's Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas!

Well we are home and nearly all unpacked which was no small feat. Kids are back on track and we have jumped right into the holiday spirit. On Saturday, we payed a visit to Santa.

Then Gabi spent the night and Shawn went out and bought the girls each their own Gingerbread houses to make. It's so much fun to watch their creativity in action!


New Ticker

As you can see, I have created a new ticker! You know me, always looking forward to the next vacation and time away with my family. This trip will be extra special for a few reasons. First, it's back to Tennessee, a place we have fallen in love with. We began going each year, but have missed the last 2 years due to buying the house in 2007 and doing Disney in 2008. So it will be a visit that is long overdue.

In addition, our friends Howie and Teri will be joining us with their family as well. As you may know, our kids are the same ages and pretty much inseparable. But the last vacation we took together was in 2005 to Sesame Place. The girls, big and little, have been dying to travel together again.

And the best part is that we will be seeing our friends Shane and Jen! I met Jen (or "Gee-in" as they say in the South) about 7 years ago through Hannah's Prayer. It was a list serve for Christian families experiencing infertility. We struck up a friendship that we have maintained ever since. And as chance would have it, they happened to move forward with adoption plans at the same time we did. Our girls are only a few months apart in age! So in 2004, we met in person for the first time. They live in Western TN, so we all met up for a week at the Smoky Mountains. Never meeting in person, we have low expectations. Who knew if we'd "click" in person. And what about our husbands? Would they get along? Well those fears were dismissed immediately. We had an amazing time and have met back their for two additional trips.

And keeping with the pattern, they two are in the midst of their second adoption. Jen has always had a heart for the Chines children. They were just about to switch to the China program when their daughter Hannah was born. So they decided to go through China for their second child, Emma. Emma has lived in all of our heart for many years and it looks like it is finally almost time to meet her!!! They should be getting her referral in the next couple of weeks and should be traveling to pick her up shortly after that. I can't believe that after a three year wait...Emma will finally be here...in the US! And if the guesstimates are correct, she willbe right around Cullen and Ellie's age. So next summer, for the trip. We will have two sets of triplets! Do you see the same photo ops that I see????

So that is what we are looking forward to now. And we booked this amazing cabin overlooking Gatlinburg. Teri and her family will be staying with us, and Jen and her family close by. Oh the anticipation.

And check back for Emma updates. I am beside myself with excitement, I can't imagine what they must be feeling!!!


Too Mad to Even Care

Ya know, this vacation started out pretty crappy, I guess I shouldn't have been surprised that it ended that way too. All WAS well. Until I got home, that is.

I don't post things that I don't mind people reading. So I had intended to keep this little thing private. But ya know what? I am too pissed to even care! I don't care who knows. And I don't care who I offend. I just need to get this off of my chest before I explode and literally go postal on someone. And anyone who knows me knows that this is pretty out of character for me. I am pretty tolerant. I am patient and forgiving. But push me too far. And watch out. It's over.

I trusted someone. I trusted them with my house and with my pet. And they violated that. They violated me. And that hurts. Bad. Really bad.

I didn't expect to come home and find my house in pristine condition. Heck, I didn't leave it that way anyways. But what I came home to was unexcusable. I am not even sure where to start.

Maybe it is in the downstairs bathroom where all of my scrapbooking stuff was mysteriously placed. And where green toothpaste covered the entire sink. Or the brown milk shake looking substance that was all over my toilet and floor. No, the kicker there was actually my husband's electric razor that was used, left out and all of the hair all over the bathroom. Bad in itself, but worse since the razor was actually located under my bedroom sink upstairs.

But let's move to the kitchen. The microwave looked like a dozen burritos exploded in it. The sink was PILED with dishes and pans that had days worth of crusted on food. The dishwasher had so many dirty dishes in it that I actually had to unload half to run it. Oh and tonight making dinner, we find that half the plates in the cupboard have melted cheese and other food products clearly covering them. My Yankee candles were used. Totally used, as in gone. As was all of the aim-a-flame that lights them. I know. Boys apparently like fire. And who knows why. But things were taken off of the walls and put in the pantry.

The stereos and alarms clocks were all moved down stairs into various rooms, assumedly so everyone could hear the music. Which obviously worked as multiple neighbors commented to us about it upon our return.

The upstairs bathroom was similar to the downstairs except with an added treat. A stench that I can only describe as a decomposing animal on a hot day. Upon closer inspection, I discover it coming from a week's worth of wet towels all balled up and shoved in a corner between the plastic shower curtain and the decorative cotton one. Nice. Couldn't find the laundry shute?

My bedroom contained dishes. And mulitple empty boxes of cereal. I found a lighter at the foot of my bed. Which was particularly infuriating, because I have a small child who often plays in that very spot. Various articles of dirty laundry continue to be found in my bedroom. And then tonight I find a 6" KNIFE in MY CLOSET. My freaking bedroom closet. Can anyone tell me what right a person has to be in another person's bedroom closet! I feel violated and disrespected on so many levels. But don't worry. There is still much more.

When I say I have nothing to eat in my house, that usually means a family of four could comfortable survive for about 2 weeks. But just in case, I left a Wegmans gift card to pick up some favorite treats. Well, when I say we came home to no food. I really mean that. Nothing! It may have appeared that there was a few things, but alas even those boxes were empty. There was not a crumb of the 5 or 6 boxes of cereal left. No bread. No snack. NOTHING for Alex's breakfast. She had the only thing left in the house for breakfast. A can of clam chowder soup. Nice. Thanks for at least leaving her that. I had piles and piles of school snacks before we left and not a single one left for her lunch today. And Alex's Halloween candy that I SPECIFICALLY asked for some to be saved. Gone. All of it. Which means she had not a single piece of her own candy. Wow, that's super considerate. Hope it was good.

And apparently it was a make-shift fraternity house as numerous people were in and out all week. All day. And into the night. Another complaint from neighbors. One neighbor specifically commented on the loud vulgarity coming from the front porch on numerous nights. After one particularly troubling night, one neighbor even came over to introduce himeslf and asked to speak with the individual we left in charge. That was hard to do though since he wasn't even home. Which meant that people that I have never met were in my house unattended. What the heck was he thinking?

And the dog. You know, the reason for having someone at the house in the first place. Sounds like he was either outside in the kennel (even when no one was home) or left in the basement the whole time. And from the "presents" left in the basement, he oviously was not let out as he should have been. Just what one wants to contend with upon returning home from vacation.

Oh and upon confronting the individual, the only thing he could explain was a pole that was hit on out street by one of his buddies. What??????

Again, I am really sorry to post this here. Maybe I shouldn't be. But I swear I will go crazy if I don't. This is my space. My place to vent. And I really needed to do this tonight. Hopefully tomorrow I will be a bit better able to put this behind me. But not today. Definitely not today.


2 Much Fun 2 Blog

Sorry guys.  Busy having too much fun and no time to blog.  Uploaded hundreds of pics so far. I know, surprising!  Will be going through all of the photos when we return and I will try to condense them into albums at each of the parks.  The kids have been great and we have had so much fun in the last week!

So far we've made it to Magic Kingdom, Downtown Disney, Hollywood Studios and Blizzard Beach.  Tonight is Epcot and then likely the rest at Magic Kingdom.  To Alex, Disney World is considered Magic Kingdom.  Cullen has been so good, even for cutting THREE TEETH in the the last week.  He loves the music, character greetings and swimming.  Alex's favorite phrase is "Fast Pass".  Another surprise, I know.  Her only regret is not making the 48" rides.  The child will ride anything.  This, coming from a child who is afraid of buttons (?) is just baffling.

Hope all are well.  We'll catch back up in a few days :-)


Dry Land

No sense in rehashing the health issues that plagued us during the cruise.  Let's just say they were plentiful and shared by all and that hopefully we are past them!  And I am so incredibly thankful to have my feet firmly planted on dry land, as it appears the illness that I experienced was good ole fashioned sea sickness.  

All sickness aside, the cruise was wonderful!  The service was amazing. Disney Cruise Line has truly thought of EVERYTHING.  The crew consisted of the most incredible staff I have ever encountered.  Everyone was always so kind and helpful.  And since we were often one parent short, crew was always on hand to eagerly lend a hand with plates, doors and even watching the kids.  And everything they do is orchestrated with perfection down to the tiniest detail. Disembarkment this morning took only a few minutes and we were then whisked off to the resort.

Checked in to the resort late morning, had some lunch here at the hotel and then headed for a sneak peek of magic Kingdom.  Alex got off to a rough start, but quickly came around.  And after a short nap, Cullen too was up t his cheerful self.  Both kids were asleep in the stroller by 7pm!!!!  So we came back to the hotel early to unwind a bit.  

Tomorrow is a big day.  Alex's princess makeover and lunch at Cinderella's Royal Table.

Photos to follow.

Things Are Looking Up!

Spoke to Sue and Shawn this morning. They sounded much better! Cullen seems to still be battling a bit of a cold, and Allie has an occasional cough, but otherwise they are PRAYING that the entire family will actually ALL be HEALTHY at the SAME time!!!

They were on their way to check into the hotel and were going to hit Magic Kingdom as well.


QUARANTINED! (among other things...)

Yup, you read it correctly! Hi all this is Teri, guest blogging for Sue. So, so, so much has been happening to our dear friends on their vacation!

They made it to Orlando as planned and without incident on Wednesday. YAY!!! Yesterday, they boarded the ship. Allie was having a bit of trouble with side effects from her Augmentin, so they had been speaking to the Dr. about switching to a different prescription. Dr. said he would fax the script to the ship. As we spoke, Allie was putting on her swimsuit for a dip in the pool. They had already enjoyed a wonderful lunch and were ready to set sail.

Today, Shawn sent a message indicating that the ship couldn't fill Alex's prescription. So, I have picked up her new medication and have overnighted it to the hotel that they will be staying at after the cruise on Sunday. Phew! Let's pray it gets there safely.

Unfortunately, last night Sue became terribly ill. Seems she caught the horrible stomach flu that Alex had just been through. It was so bad that the ship medic had to come and give her a shot in the bum. Due to all the vomiting she was quarantined to the cabin until 7pm tonight. :( The family missed going the the shore at Nassau today. Of course, Shawn and Alex have been so wonderful and understanding. They just want Mommy to feel better!!

Pray that Sue feels better QUICKLY and that Cullen and Shawn are spared that nasty bug.

Hopefully, the rest of the vacation will be PHENOMENAL!!!



The vacation that almost didn't happen...

What a night it's been! As many for you know, both kids have been sick. Alex has had the worst of any of us. The latest started on Sunday with uncontrollable coughing, gagging (and eventually throwing up). After 2 days of this, she was given a breathing treatment and sent for a chest x-ray which confirmed she has pnuemonia. Lovely. That was as of 5pm last night. Then at midnight, she began violently vomitting. It continued every 5 to 7 minutes through 4am when we took her to emergency. We spent several hours getting her hydrated with IV fluids and an anti-nausea med was give, which helped immensely. They don't believe the two were connected and think it was/is some sort of a tummy bug. Her school called and said 30+ kids were out today with something similar. (So consider yourself warned Heather.)

But the docs were all very confident that we should proceed with the trip as planned and that the zofran would work and help keep her comfortable until it passes. So off we go to Florida in hopes of leaving all of this poor health back in NY!

Cruise sets sail tomorrow afternoon, and hopefully we are all back to good health by then!


Birthday Wishes

Happy Birthday to Cullen's birthmom and our dear friend, Melissa! Wishing you the happiest of days! We hope it is filled with much love and happiness. We love you and miss you.


Happy Halloween

The kids had a great Halloween. We all met at my inlaws for dinner and then the cousins were all able to go out trick-or-treating together.
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