Friday, November 20, 2009

A Memorable Day at Disney

I don't know what was different about today...but I still get emotional thinking about it. We took a family day to Disney. Our passes expire on Dec. 15, so I am beginning the mourning process already.

We started the morning at Hollywood Studios and got to ride Toy Story Mania (Donny and my favorite) twice! I even beat Donny (for the first time ever) scoring my all-time high of 194,200. After Hollywood Studios, we headed to Magic Kingdom. I wanted to see a few afternoon shows, so we decided to skip naps and stay most of the day.

We got lots of character pics that I had been wanting...Minnie, Tigger and Eeyore, and Peter Pan and Wendy. We even got to see Tiana, the new Disney princess. She is gorgeous. I love her gown. We also took some Christmas photos for the Christmas card this year, so it was a full day.

The moment that was so moving came during a parade that we have seen numerous times. In the Magic Kingdom, they do a parade called "Move It, Shake It, Celebrate It Street Party." The parade goes down Main Street and stops in front of the castle. It is a favorite for my kids...especially Millie. The special thing about this parade is that the characters get in the streets and let the kids dance with them. And Millie LOVES to dance with them. She has no fear and tries to follow every move just right. Today she had on tennis shoes and a little dress, and I felt like I was watching a miniature version of her (at 2 1/2) for when she is 15 and trying out for cheerleading (yikes!).

We always stand where Woody and Jessie (from Toy Story) stop so that Millie can dance with Jessie. Like I said, we have done this a lot...three times in the last month...and today I truly wondered if Jessie recognized Millie. Jessie seemed to give Millie such special treatment. I know it's Disney, and everything feels special...but I know Disney fairly well...and this was different. Every time the characters went to dance with the kids, Jessie grabbed Millie's hand. Jessie even knelt down for me to snap a pic with her and Millie...and they never do that in the parade. Millie got to walk along the street holding Jessie's hand. Then, as Jessie was getting back on her float when the show was over, she kept "eye contact" (as much as you can with a big plastic face) with Millie the whole time...waving straight at her and blowing her kisses. The parade even makes a loop around the castle courtyard, and when she came back around, Jessie still honed in on Millie. As the characters were leaving, I mouthed the words "Thank You" to Jessie, and she nodded. I knew we had just shared something special in the gift of time and attention that she gave to Millie...and to me.

I don't know what it was exactly, but I got so choked up seeing my little girl getting such star attention from one of the of her favorite characters. I almost felt bad for the other kids who wanted to dance with Jessie, because Jessie kept going back to Millie. It was just one of those special times when you get singled out and are made to feel more special than you would ever dream.

Even though it was Millie getting all the attention, I felt so special through her. There is something about being chosen. There is something about being picked out and given special attention. I know Millie will probably forget this experience...but I'm sure I won't. Maybe it's just been a while since I've felt so special like that...but I know that's how God sees me. In the crowds of people, my God knows my name and wants me to know him. Disney does hold a special place in my heart...probably too special sometimes...but today, God used that place and Millie's experience to show me something of himself. As my heart leapt over my daughter being given a second glance by some college-aged girl dressed up as a fictional cowgirl in plastic and polyester, I pray my heart will leap knowing my God has chosen me...and calls me his.

It was a special day in a lot of characters, our favorite rides...we even ran into a friend from church there. As a Disney fanatic, I would definitely say it was magical...but it ran a little deeper than that today. Can't believe I'm writing this...but the tender care from a character to my Millie in the midst of the spectacle of all things Disney reminded me today of the tender care and love of my Heavenly Father...who thinks I am so special and uniquely his. We have been talking with Hunter lately about heaven. He asks about it quite a bit. I look forward to taking the hand of my heavenly father one day in heaven and dancing in the streets in a way that I can't even imagine...a small glimpse of that today was found on the streets of the Magic Kingdom...and I am forever thankful.

Millie, you are my special little girl. My spunky little dancing machine. Today it thrilled your mommy's heart to see you dance with Jessie and to have her give you so much attention and treat you in such a special if you girls are best friends. My prayer is that you will always feel loved and special by your mommy, daddy, and brother...and that one day you will be thrilled to know you are special to God. You are. Even more special than the experience of a wonderful day at Disney is the experience of an eternity with God...who loves you more than we can possibly know or experience. For now, I pray my love will be a small taste of the love of God in your life...and that you will come to know his love as you grow into a lovely little lady and young woman. I love you, sweetheart.

Minnie and the girls at Hollywood Studios

Getting ready for Toy Story Mania

Family pic after Toy Story Mania...where everything is larger than life!

Family shot with Donald...but Daddy is still our favorite Donald!!!

Peter Pan and Wendy...a favorite of our kids.
We have never seen them before in the park.

Jessie waving good-bye to Millie after the parade.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Family Fun at Epcot

Donny has "reading week" this week which means that his classes don't meet...but his workload is HUGE right now. Thankfully, we were able to set some family time aside yesterday to take a little trip to Epcot. Our Disney passes have two months left until they expire. The heat is just about to die down (hopefully) here in Orlando, so I am hoping to make the most of the passes over the next two months.

A highlight of our day was getting Millie on Soarin for the first time. It has a height requirement that, with a carefully placed, really big bow, she met (or at least we say she one ever asked). It was fun for all of us to do that together, and Millie loved it.

I have a list of characters that I would like to get pictures with before our passes run out, so I was hoping to find Mary Poppins in the United Kingdom for a photo opportunity with the kids. Mary Poppins wasn't going to appear for a while, so we decided to go find Belle. On our way to find Belle, we saw Sleeping Beauty walking to her picture post in France. We were "those people" who totally stalked her. Once we got close, she started talking to Millie. Donny pulled her out of the stroller, and Sleeping Beauty took Millie's hand, and they walked and talked on the way to where Sleeping Beauty does her pictures. When Sleeping Beauty crouched down to get on Millie's level, Millie said: "I like your crown." Too cute. Sleeping Beauty let her touch the crown and kept on talking with her. I mean, it felt like Millie got this special one-on-one time with was too cute. Millie just acted like they were the best of friends. So sweet. I kept saying thank you to Sleeping Beauty, because I felt so blessed that Millie (and Mommy) got to have such a fun, unexpected princess experience.

Soarin for the first time as a family of four. So fun.

Getting ready to "soar" over California on Soarin'.

We thought we would get our first family ride on Test Track...but they measured Millie really closely, and we got denied. Oh well.

Hunter and I rode Mission Space. It was Hunter's first time and so fun since he is learning about space travel this week at pre-school. I think riding this made up for the fact we skipped school to go to Epcot, right?

Millie took some cute pictures with Belle, but then Millie started making silly faces for the pictures. I loved that Belle joined her in the silliness.

Princess Millie's stroll through France with Sleeping Beauty

Millie's new best friend...what a treat!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Back into the blogging world

Yes, yes, I's been a long time. So let me catch you up on our summer, and we'll just go from there.
We started our summer at the end of May when we were all part of Donny's sister's wedding.
Hunter and Millie made an adorable ring bearer and flower girl.

Then we went to Tennessee to intern at Camp Vesper Point. Yee-Haw, Cowboy!

We enjoyed lots of time with my sister, Jennifer, and her family.
The kids LOVED having so much time with their cousins.

On July 20, we were able to be there to welcome our newest nephew/cousin, Micah, into the world.

We are in the full swing of a new school year. Lots of changes this year including Pre-K for Hunter, and Donny is assisting teaching Greek at the seminary as a TA. I am even getting to take a class this semester on the book of Jonah. I will update more when I can.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Mommy and Hunter day at Disney (April 3, 2009)

A few weeks back, Hunter and I spent the weekend together while Donny and Millie went to Tennessee. We took one day and went to Disney (of course). It was really fun, because we had no strollers, no naptime, and we were able to hop from Epcot over to Animal Kingdom with ease.

It rained for a lot of the morning, and I took no rain gear, so we were soaked most of the morning. It was fun, know, just running from place to place in the rain. Just about the time we dried out from the morning, we got soaked again on the Kali River Rapids at Animal Kingdom. Hunter was really puzzled by his pruny feet once we got home and we realized that our feet were still wet.

What a fun day it was to spend with Hunter. I treasure those times of undistracted, quality time with one of my kids (or with anyone dear to me) when all I care about is having fun, connecting, and making memories with him/her.
Putting Donny and Millie on the plane...and then heading to Disney!!!

Test of Hunter's favorites!

Love getting pics with the characters...Flick was standing at the entrance of AK.

Started the day at Epcot and finished at Animal Kingdom
(and dinner at Chick Fil A). What a day!!!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Millie's 2nd Birthday

Today was Millie’s 2nd Birthday. I really can’t believe my little girl is 2. We took her to Disney (of course) to get her picture with Cinderella and the other princesses. We did that last year on her birthday, so it was really fun to see the difference. Last year I had to walk her up to Cinderella. This year she just took off and said “Hi, Cinderella.” She climbed up by herself on the little bench where she sat and said “Ta Da!” Really, Millie walked around in her new Cinderella dress (Thanks, Mimi and Ddad!) like she owned the place. It was hilarious. She really thought she was a princess and was right at home.

When she went to see Sleeping Beauty, she asked: “Where Cinderella?” Take that Aurora. We really don’t like you anyway. Belle (from Beauty and the Beast) was between Cinderella and Aurora. She caught some one-on-one time with Hunter while Millie was saying good-bye to Cinderella. Hunter said: “They kept calling me ‘Prince.’” I think he liked the attention too.

Among the presents today came a potty seat with some Dora and Princess underwear. She really wanted me to put the underwear on her tonight as I was changing her diaper for bed. I think we’ll be pulling out the potty chair really soon. For now, she just sits on it as her throne (and sits her new Cinderella doll on it too). Hopefully the new Sesame Street books she got will serve as good bathroom reading material and her potty seat will serve a greater purpose than being the throne upon which she sits in her new Cinderella dress.

We ate birthday lunch as a family and had our second year of birthday donuts instead of birthday cake. Millie was pretty ravenous with that donut. When it was done, she asked: “Where my donut? In my mouth.” Then she started asking for cake…a smart one, she is.

Millie, you are my darling. I am so thankful to have a little girl I can put in a “Birthday Girl” t-shirt and bow and show-off all day. I am so proud of you and proud to be your mommy. I told your Daddy today how remarkable I think you are…particularly with your verbal skills. You impressed the pin lady today at the park when you told her very clearly all the characters on her lanyard. You are fun, adventurous, and silly. I love that you request different songs every night before you go to bed. I never know what you will want. Tonight it was Nemo. Tomorrow it might be Noah or Bolt or Shmah (Daddy’s Hebrew song). I feel like everyday is an adventure with you. Sometimes those adventures can make your mommy tired…but I relish the adventure.

Two years old…I remember holding you in the hospital in the middle of the night just you and me while Daddy slept and no visitors were around. My 10lb. love…you captured my heart from the beginning. You are my treasure. I look forward to the years ahead…praying for many…looking forward to seeing God work out your life before my eyes…and thankful I get to be the mommy who helps along the way. Good-night, my sweetheart. We’ll wake up tomorrow and start a fresh, new day. It’s a day, however, that will probably seem a little different to me…no longer a baby and on your way to becoming a lovely little girl.

I love you dearly,

Birthday icing with sprinkles...yum!

Loving her new potty...hopefully she'll be putting it to use soon.

Every princess' day needs a little pirate action!

Mommy loves her little birthday princess!!!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Death and Taxes

Happy Tax Day. As I type, I am listening to a song by Natalie Grant called "Held." It is a song that I was introduced to last summer when I was tracking with the life, struggle with cancer, and eventual death of sweet Joseph Peabody, the 4-year-old son of a college friend of mine.

Our family has been through the ringer over the past month. We lost Donny's Grandmother Levi on March 16. Last Saturday, April 11, we lost Donny's Grandmother Friederichsen to a very quick battle with cancer. She was diagnosed less than a month ago. We have been faced with death so much in the last month. Donny performed both funerals. I sang in Grandmother Friederichsen's funeral on Monday. We both played integral roles in both funerals and have carried a large part of the spiritual and emotional burden for the family. It has been a hard month.

I believe with all my heart in God's sovereignty. I also believe right now that His sovereignty often hurts. It is still for my good and for his glory...but it often hurts. I just got word today that another friend we knew in college and here in Orlando just lost a baby in her 34th week of pregnancy. I thought mourning the loss of our grandmothers was hard...but to mourn the loss of a child never known...I can't imagine.

I am not sure why I feel compelled to blog about these hard things. I guess the saying goes that the two things we can count on in life are death and taxes. We got our taxes done in January. So here I am trying to work through death.

Here are the lyrics to the chorus of Held:
This is what it means to be held
How it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive
This is what it is to be loved and to know
That the promise was when everything fell
We'd be held

Donny's Grandmothers were a treasure to me. I lost my Grandmother in feels like longer, because my Grandmother had had Alzheimers since 2001. Donny's grandmothers brought me in as their own. I called both of them "Grandmother" and meant it with the same love and connection that I did my own Grandmother. As the song says, the sacred does get torn from our lives, and we survive...and I need to know that I am held through it...that the sovereign arms of my heavenly Father, through whom these circumstances first passed, are the same arms that hold me today. We are trying to pick up the pieces from our very hard month. I have loads of laundry, piles of papers, and inherited pots, pans, and other miscellaneous items to wade through...right now, they are reminders of the chaos and brokenness.

I was out on my porch this afternoon, sitting still for as long as I could (which wasn't long), and I asked God: "As I endure these things that you have allowed, would you help me not miss you in them?" All I want to do is put the pieces back together. I need to care more about my broken heart right now than my broken house...I pray I will be faithful to give God a glance here and there as I cope...because only in his arms will I find peace and healing in the hurt.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Maundy Thursday Reflections

In the midst of teaching Hunter and Millie about Easter and preparing their hearts for this week and this Sunday, I realized last night that I needed to prepare my own heart. Of course, this is not the only time of the year I can reflect on Easter and Christ's death and resurrection...but it is a special time of remembrance...and I have been more intent on cultivating the soil of my children's hearts than my own.

I have been following a reading plan to read through the Bible in two years. Right now, I am in Leviticus (which I do not recommend reading each morning over breakfast...yuck). I decided today that Leviticus was just not what I needed to connect my heart with Easter (although I'm sure it could...I just need something a little more obvious today). I sat down to read Matthew's accounts of the Last Supper, Gethsemane, and the betrayal and arrest. After reading, I pulled out Hunter's Jesus Storybook Bible (which we highly recommend) and read the same stories.

Here is how it recounted Jesus' words during the Last Supper:
But this is how God will rescue the whole world. My life will break and God's broken world will mend. My heart will tear apart - and your hearts will heal.

I feel broken...and those words meant a lot to me today. Our family has been dealing with some hard things lately. Last month we said good-bye to Donny's maternal Grandmother who died in mid-March. Sometime soon (probably before the month ends), we will do the same with Donny's paternal Grandmother. We feel that we are swirling in death and sadness. In this, as I feel torn apart in so many ways, I hold to the hope that as Jesus was broken and restored in his resurrection, so we are and will be restored in newness of life through him. I am trusting that my heart will heal...due only to the love, kindness, and sacrifice of my Savior.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Happy Birthday, Aunt Becky!

Today was Aunt Becky's birthday. Becky is Donny's older sister. She lives in Plant City which is about an hour and a half from us. She took the day off work, and we enjoyed taking her to Disney to celebrate her birthday. Hunter and Millie fought all day long over who could hold her hand...and Becky was a trooper being willing to hold the kids for WAY longer than we ever do at the park. They were spoiled...and loved it. Aunt Becky was definitely the superstar of the day...and we are so blessed that we could spend a large part of her birthday with her.

Happy Birthday, Aunt Becky!!! We love you!!!

Mickey's Philharmagic

Millie and I caught some time with "Frontiersman" Donald while waiting for Hunter, Donny and Aunt Becky to ride Splash Mountain.

Hunter eating a HUGE popsicle...something else that happens only when Aunt Becky is with us.

My new favorite parade at the Magic front of the get to dance in the streets with the characters!

What a FUN Day!!!!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Downtown Disney...2 1/2 years later

Hunter, Millie and I trekked out to Downtown Disney yesterday...mainly to get some free trading pins that were being given to passholders. To say we had fun is a HUGE understatement. If you are ever in Orlando but don't want to pay for Disney, visit Downtown Disney on a weekday right at opening (9:30 a.m.), and you will have the place to least that is how we felt for the first hour or so.

Anyway, one of many favorite things we did was play in the stores. I was reminded of a picture we took of Hunter when he was Millie's age (22 months) in 2006 when we spent a summer with Crusade down here in Orlando.'s what 2 1/2 years of little boy growth looks like:

July 2006 - 22 months old

February 2009 - 4 years, 5 months old

So, after that trip down memory lane, we had lots of fun playing at Legoland, exploring the new T-Rex restaurant and Rainforest Cafe, and splashing in the fountains. It was a fun day I hope I won't soon forget. The kids had happy hearts, were very obedient, not many crowds, great weather...a day to be very thankful to live in Florida with young children. There even came a point when I lost a $5 bill. I went back to the store in which I thought I had lost it, and they had it. I mean, really, there are few perfect days in our lives...but this morning was pretty close to it. Thank you, Lord. What a blessing.

In the World of Disney store...having fun with all her "friends."

We all loved being a little "Goofy."

The kids enjoyed looking around (notice the Lego built dragon in the background).

Hunter really got into "pin trading" with the free set we picked up.

We capped off the day playing in the fountains.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Millie's New Favorite Naptime Song

Millie's First Dog Ears...what a cutie!

We don't have a lot of naptime/bedtime routines in our house besides the necessities (teeth brushing, diaper change, potty, etc). Sometimes we read together. Sometimes we don't. There are no necessary songs or routines. We have gone through phases of when Hunter was 3 I had to rub his belly and sing the "Rescue Pack" song from Go, Diego, Go! For the most part, we have tried to keep bedtime simple. That way, anyone can put our kids down to sleep if we are out (which is seldom these days...but still nice when it happens).

Millie, just a few days ago, as I lay her down for a nap, said: "Jesus love" I have never tried to teach her that song before, so I was shocked and excited, and my heart just melted. Anyway, I sang "Jesus Loves Me" before she went down for her nap. For the next few days, she asked for it, but she has now changed the words a little. She now says "Jesus love me...Bible tells me so much." Donny and I have been marvelling at the wonder of our daughter, her sweetness, and mostly the profound truth that Jesus loves me...the Bible tells me so much. Needless to say, I will be keeping that routine with Millie for as long as she wants.

Sleeping during playtime in her crib. Sleep well, sweet girl.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Our 7th Anniversary

Monday, January 5, was our 7th anniversary. We got a babysitter (actually, 2 babysitters) and spent the day at the Ritz Carlton Spa. It was the day before Donny started back with classes, and it was just what I needed to start the new semester.

Seven years...7 seems like a small number. In my dream of spending 60+ years with Donny, 7 is but a fraction of the time I long to spend on this earth as his wife. BUT...what, really, have I ever done for 7 years? I guess elementary school was the last thing I did for 7 years. I have been driving for more than 7 years. I have been on my own, out of school for more than 7 years. years...a lot happens in a marriage in seven years. In seven years we have lived in 3 states, 4 cities and 5 different homes. We have had two children. It was on our 2nd anniversary in 2004 that we found our we were pregnant with Hunter. Donny calls that day the day I waved the stick I had just peed on in his face. We have had three different jobs in seven years. There have been many highs and a share of lows.

Snapshots of our seven years:
  • Beginning our marriage with living room furniture consisting of a coffee table, a bean bag, and two picnic chairs
  • Having a hard time with the name change (Friederichsen is a toughy...I still sign my receipts with Kim F with a long line after the F)
  • Working on our wedding scrapbook soon after we were married while Donny watched this new show..."24." Although I was not interested in it AT ALL at the time, I type this now anxiously awaiting the start of season 7 tomorrow night trying to figure out if I will have to pull Hunter out of children's choir early to make it home in time.
  • Lots of trips to Dairy Queen for chocolate peanut butter blizzards in our first year. I think we are still paying for that little routine.
  • Moving to Lexington...and having the ice storm of 2003 within our first month there.
  • Donny's surgery on his polynidal cyst in June 2003 - A time in our marriage when I had to repeat "For better or for worse" over and over to remember the vows I had made as I dressed his wound.
  • At 3:00 a.m., Donny jumped in front of me (7 months pregnant with Hunter) as we heard a LOUD crash outside of our house. A drunk driver had just run into BOTH of our cars while we were fast asleep in our house. Donny has always been a strong and faithful protector.
  • Helping Donny learn how to change his first diaper (Hunter's...not his) in the hospital.
  • Donny sweetly coached me on Hunter's first night home to wait just a little longer to see if Hunter would fall asleep on his own...and he did...and I have been so thankful ever since. I think our kids sleep better because of Donny and his wisdom on that very first night.
OK...I've written for much longer than I thought I would...and I only got three years into our marriage. Oh well, you get the point. I love my husband...and I love that God provided him for me. That was part of our vows...the only part we added to the traditional vows (thanks, Emily and Forrest). "I, Kim, receive you, Donny, as God's provision for me."

Life is always interesting. Here we are, seven years in, and we are in school still trying, in a way, to "find ourselves." What fills my heart, though, is knowing that I and my husband find ourselves today "in Christ," and in his will and loving him and his Word. I am thrilled by the thought of many more years ahead...that, looking back 50 years from now, 7 will seem like a drop in the bucket...but a significant drop nonetheless.

Donny, I love you.

Lord, I thank you for my sweet husband, your provision for me.