Photos courtesy of Ryan Prouty

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Ringling Museum

Today I went with Holden's class as a chaperon for a field trip to the Ringling Museum in Sarasota. For those of you who didn't grow up here or in the circus, the circus used to winter right here in Florida. There is a draw bridge in Venice named the Circus Bridge because the circus animals used to live right near it in the winter. The trapeze is still up and used on occasion. I would love to try that some day (better make it soon since I am not getting any younger). Anyway, there is a museum now on the property of Mable and John Ringling and that is what the class toured. There were some pretty disappointed kids (Alayna included) that they didn't actually get to see the circus performance! Luckily there were lots of neat things to do and they were quickly distracted!
This is a miniature circus model created by an artist whose name I don't remember and it took him 50 years to complete it! This is only a tiny fraction of all there was:
These precious girls were my charges for the day: (from left) Rachel, Alayna, Jillie, Aubrey, Harmonie, and Vanessa. They were so good about staying together and holding hands. They were easy to find!After some looking around, lunch in the park (it was a BEAUTIFUL day), wandering through the rose gardens, playing red rover, checking out the outside of the mansion where the Ringlings lived (WOW), it was time to head back. BUT, when the driver tried to start the bus, it wouldn't turn over and a loud buzzing came from the back...lets check the battery cables (conveniently located just outside my window):Nope,battery cables nice and tight, check under the hood (by the way, yes, I did take some heat for taking pictures of this, but they cooled off when I explained that this was clearly blog worthy)The raising of the hood reminded the driver of the safety latch on the back door. He checked it, found it to be slightly out of place, relocked it and it fired right up. We arrived back at school JUST in time!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Prachar Family Fun Night: Part One

This was found on our doorstep last Friday! A package from the Rotzoll family in Iowa!! We were terribly excited and tore the paper off before I could get a picture! I got them to stand back for this one! The kids were excited that inside were not shoes:

Instead there was popcorn, M & M's, carmel corn cobs, Bee Movie, and a gift card to sponsor a Prachar Family Fun Night!We wasted NO time and popped some popcorn, popped in the movie and hung out together! We had a great evening!
Riley took some pictures of our movie watching. We don't have a TV in our living area anymore, just one in the guest room/Gabe's room, so we piled up there!
And even ate popcorn on the the Prachar kids know what a treat that is!!
Thanks so much Rotzoll family!! Be watching for sequels to this post!! We've got some more plans cooking!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Not Me! Monday

Okay, I was NOT secretly hoping MckMama would not hold her usual blog carnival this week. I do not wish I had not decided to write down the Not Me! moments from my week. I definitely did not need to write a couple of them down because they will be burned in my memory FOREVER! Alas, honesty is supposed to be good for the goes another round of being brutally honest and living to tell about it!

I did NOT forget to pick up my neighbor's daughter while carpooling this week. Thank goodness she didn't have to go get her herself AND get charged for after care! WOW, that would be so embarrassing and humbling and would prove that I am not trustworthy, so I am SO glad that didn't happen to me this week!

I did not spend the week stressing over the tins for my project that are not FINALLY coming today!! I trust the Lord's timing in all things and know that worry reveals a lack of faith, so I am glad I did not worry at all!

The worrying I did not do did not lead to several spats with my husband because I was short and distracted. I was not short of patience with my kids either!

I did not take all 3 boys to baseball tryouts on Saturday morning when we could have been sleeping in. I did not let Alayna chatter incessantly during the entire thing even though it had to be wearing on the nerves of everyone around us too. I did not allow her to tell horrible knock-knock jokes, or the one about "Why did the man eat the _____?" (fill in the blank with anything you can see at a baseball diamond) "Because he was hungry, really hungry, needing a snack, etc."

I did not eat potato chips for dinner last night, then out of guilt for my poor nutrition, eat a hot dog.

I did not forget to buy dessert for our church gathering yesterday. Who forgets dessert, especially when they're spending someone else's money and they have their choice of what to buy??? I think the real question is who forgets how to spell dessert??? I looked at it several times, changed it, then changed it back...should have looked it up!! I am not grateful to my grammar teaching sister for setting me straight! I am so glad I have NEVER made any other spelling errors here on my blog and likely won't again!!

I did not close out a K-Mart store last night! Someone from church told us that the K-Mart in Sarasota was going out of business and had baseball equipment on sale, so we did not haul our kids up there after youth group (7pm) and arrive 30 minutes before they closed their doors forever! They were not discounting EVERYTHING 95%! We did not purchase over $200 worth of merchandise for under $12! I can't tell you what we bought, it is unmentionable...we'll say baseball equipment...let your imagination run wild with that one!!

Okay, that's all we have time for this morning! I have tons to do and want to give a shout out to my mom and dad to tell them "HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!" Their birthdays are Jan. 25th and 26th. We love you guys whole big bunches!! Happy birthday also to Mya yesterday!! (our friends Bill and Sara's daughter) I know this will be a special birthday for her in her forever family for the first time!

Okay, what are you NOT up to?

Friday, January 23, 2009

Flashback Friday

This is Gabriel! He is our firstborn and is 3 months old when this picture was taken. My sister immediately dubbed him "Winston Churchill" when she saw this as I related how the usually smiley, agreeable, laid back baby REFUSED to find anything amusing at his first photo shoot! We finally settled on this one of him pretending not to see the funny lady sneezing the stuffed animal off of her head for his entertainment. The real point of my post is to let you know Gabriel has a birthday coming up! He is going to be 12 on February 5th. Gabriel LIVES to get mail, and I am asking his friends to send cards if you think of it. It would totally make his day! Me, on the other hand...I'm not sure I will get out of bed...I can't believe I have a child that will be 12!! He is almost a teenager and will be moving away soon...okay, now I have to stop before the tears start in!

Okay, and one more thing...I don't know if you read my comments, BUT, you should! I have a new (celebrity) follower. Author Jean Stockdale left me a comment on my last post! How she ever found my blog, why she bothered to read it, what made her decide to become a follower...only God knows! What a boost to my spirits that was! I know God lead her to me...why? Maybe because I am an author of sorts wanna-be. Maybe because I need an in to a publisher. Maybe because she needed a laugh and to admire some "darling" kids (hey, her words, not mine!!). Who cares, SHE FOLLOWS MY BLOG!!! (Hi Jean, how is your Friday going??)

Monday, January 19, 2009

Not me! Monday

Welcome to another Not Me! Monday. I have got to start writing things down, because I have to admit this list is pretty boring…maybe a reflection of my life, or maybe a reflection that I am not willing to share the really juicy tidbits…you decide. Anyway, click over to Mckmama to see what no one else has been doing…

I did not delete any items from this post because I thought they were just boring.

I did not drop off my kids at school every day last week (except one) after just crawling out of bed. I did not pick them up 2 of the days in the exact same condition. YUCK!

I did not stay up until 2 am 3 out of the 4 nights my husband was in the Dominican Republic. I do not have a problem stopping a task before its finished and going to bed when sensible people do! Not me!

I did not spend 12+ hours one day cutting out scrapbooking paper and tape to get them ready to go onto tins for my organizing project. I did not thoroughly enjoy this time to be creative and productive. I did not skip any meals while absorbed into my project.

I did not stress out about the new checking account I opened and the responsibility that comes with it (that I have skated out of for the past umpteen years because my husband manages our finances). I can not believe how freaked out I was when I couldn’t immediately find my checkbook! I have not missed this!

I do not bribe my children to help with chores by allowing them to earn time to play XBOX. It isn’t working out perfectly so far. I do not have all the help I could ever want…well, almost! I also do not love the peace and quiet that falls over our home when they are playing together. I have not noticed that it’s the one time all day they are not fighting. I am not at a loss as to how to make them get along better.

I did not allow my kids to make dinner for me just because I didn’t feel well and was cold. They did not make grilled cheese and tomato soup all by themselves. I did not get the best sandwich since they couldn’t find the cheese slices and started slicing the cheddar cheese. No matter what they might tell you, I certainly did not eat 2 sandwiches. I certainly did not keep the fact from them that my sandwiches were better than theirs (made with generic brand American cheese). I certainly offered them each a bite.
They did not leave a mess in the kitchen either!
I did not lose Alayna at Busch Gardens for a couple minutes. She was not scared senseless. I did not feel like the worst mom alive.

When we arrived at Busch Gardens (the 9th car in line to get in!!), I did not argue with a man that works there over what time the park opens. I did not tell him, "I was just here last week!" to prove I just knew he was wrong. I should not have to apologize for being rude.

Well, that’s all the trashy dirt on me this week. I do not hope there are some more interesting things that happen to me next week! What are you not up to?

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Someone else did this Sunday...also known as Not Me! Monday

Monday is coming...but I have plans to be gone all day at Busch Gardens with the kids (yes, again. No, I am not taking them out of school, its a professional day!), so I am cheating and doing my post on Sunday. As usual, you can head over to MckMama's blog and check out hundreds of other ladies' Not me's! It is NOT addicting!

I did NOT stress out and lose sleep over the fact that My eBay was telling me I needed to ship 7 items when I had already shipped them. I was NOT stumped at figuring out how to tell them I had already shipped the items. I was NOT bothered that eBay thought I hadn't shipped them. I did NOT feel badly because eBay might think I was being lazy. Who would do that?? Only a CRAZY person! Not me!

I was NOT so grateful to Kristen for telling me how to get eBay off my back!

I did NOT pick up my daughter's sucker off the ground and lick off the dirt so she could have it back and not cry over the sucker she just got unwrapped. GROSS!

My daughter does NOT cry over unimportant and tooth rotting things like suckers. Furthermore, I do NOT let her indulge in any such things either.

I did NOT open my first checking account all my own in 15+ years. It did NOT take almost 1 full hour. I will NOT be getting my VERY first debit card. I am very tech savvy, very up with the times and technology, I have been utilizing all these things for years! My husband is NOT planning to close our credit card account (we have not been FAITHFUL customers for 15+ years), and I am NOT a tiny bit freaked out about that. (WHY, I don't know!)

I did NOT take my daughter to church this morning after picking up her prescription for Decadron for her croup. I am NOT so thankful I have prescriptive privileges here in Florida! She did NOT wake up with it 2 days in a row. I did NOT decide she wasn't contagious since she didn't have a runny nose or cough. I am NOT completely clueless as to why she would have croup for 2 days with no other signs of the viral illness...weirdness! I am NOT completely satisfied that she seems okay during the day!

I did NOT have to rely on spell check to spell privileges right. I am a fabulous speller! I never spell things wrong or make type-os either! Not me!

Finally, I did NOT sell 26 copies of my project "Spring Clean Year 'Round" so far! I also did NOT get some fabulous marketing ideas from my friends, my blog readers! My husband did NOT tell me to just hold off since I am just barely to keep up with the current orders. I will NOT be utilizing your ideas VERY soon! Click here to find out more about my organizing system to keep your home clean all year long with minimal work!
I did NOT give up on listing my item at Etsy just because my photos were the wrong size. I wouldn't let a silly thing like having too many pixels stop me from getting this thing conquered. I understand exactly how these things work and have no trouble changing the picture's pixels to be the proper size so they will upload. Furthermore, I have tons of time to edit all my pictures down to the proper size...hey, they aren't calling my pictures fat are they?????

Okay, give it up, what are you NOT doing???

Friday, January 9, 2009

2009, My Year to Love

Our pastor's first sermon of the year was about love. Genuine love. Not pretending to care about someone, but genuinely, sacrificially, loving others. This was a conclusion to Pastor Matt's series on being connected. He drew the parallel about God being an initiator (no one can come to Him unless he is drawn by God, God is the initiator), and we are to be imitators of Him. Matt gave us a mantra, "Don't wait, initiate." In the US, we are physically detached from people (we live in neighborhoods often and don't even know our neighbors), and view ourselves as individuals much more often than as being a part of a collective body or group. This can lead us to believe that our sin affects only ourselves and is otherwise harmless. The reality is that my sin always affects others, either directly or indirectly, and needs to be repented of, followed by seeking reconciliation.

The focus verses were Romans 12:9-15
"Don't just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. When God's people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you. Don't curse them; pray that God will bless them. Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with each other. The phrase "genuine affection" is more clearly described as an affection a father or mother has for their child. Do I love others the way I love my children? Good question! I am not sure I do, no, I am sure that I don't! Especially the person who pulls out in front of me, or honks at me (wow I hate that), or won't let me change lanes. Or my husband who didn't say something JUST the right way.

Hebrews 10:25 "And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near." Let us continue to meet, in person, or here on this blog. Let us be an encouragement to each other. Let us practice hospitality together. Let us spur each other on in these last days...His return is so near. Did you know that there are no more prophecies that need to be fulfilled before the return of Christ for His people?? They have all been fulfilled, and we are a trumpet's sound from meeting Him in the air! Some scholars of end time prophecy believe the rapture will occur within the next 10 (that's TEN) years. What are you doing to prepare yourself and others? I hope you'll join me in making 2009 your year to love.

John 13:34-35 So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples."

Busy week, all work and no play...

Ahhh, its been a crazy week. Not like the past couple weeks where the busy week has produced 200-300 fun photos to help hold on to the memories though. No, this has been a crazy work your tail off week. I am not complaining though! I am so excited to be having trouble keeping up with the orders for my cleaning system, Spring Clean, Year 'Round! Yes, I know those words in the title are probably supposed to be underlined, but I haven't figured out how to do that in a post yet...anyone??? Anyway, I have had so much fun scurrying around getting these things put together and decorated (my favorite part) and shipped (my least favorite part), and desperately trying to figure out eBay (I have never sold anything on there until now), and trying not to lose sleep over the fact that eBay tells me I need to ship 7 items that I have already shipped and can't figure out how to make eBay stop making me feel bad. I must be totally neurotic because I let that bother me...anyone else?? No, just me. So, I am feeling computer illiterate lately.

Well, if you are keeping track, I have now officially sold 19 sets of my cleaning system (and I still have 5 completed, but unsold). I am absolutely amazed at how much of my money eBay gets for handling the payment part of this for me. Can you tell they are completely under my skin??? Anyone have a better suggestion for me? I did pitch my idea to a publisher this week. Paul called them up in person and spoke to a woman in their receiving department, explained what I have made, and she wants one...I'm thinking that's got to be helpful! She told Paul she would put together an email to the owner of the publishing company with the materials I submitted. I know all of this is completely up to God. He can make hearts favorable to me, or completely close the door in my face. I pray that whatever He does, He does it quick and painlessly...that sounds like something He would do...or NOT! I have a feeling this will be an opportunity for me to grow some patience...the P word! And I have already learned this project has been an opportunity for learning perseverance...another P word. I have been amazed at the roadblocks I have had to overcome. Let me list them out to help me remember to be thankful, and to see how far I have already come: NO ONE makes pretty patterned index cards that I could buy to print on, NO ONE prints index cards (like Vista Print), NO ONE makes pretty OR matching number and month dividers. NO ONE makes cute index card boxes. Meanwhile, God has presented me with a way through these roadblocks. I found pictures for each of my index cards on Google images. Yes, I did spend FOREVER finding them and making them the right size. Some of them are pixilated and stretched, but they still look fun and cute. I have discovered I can print 4 to a page on card stock and cut them out with the large paper cutter at Agape. I also found supplies to make my own dividers. I print onto the labels and put the labels in place on white index cards BY HAND at the appropriate intervals, measured BY HAND. God brought me a woman who offered (before I could even ask) to sell me the boxes at wholesale after I tried multiple stores, who didn't carry them and who weren't interested in taking my money to order them and then sell them to me at retail. Last time I picked up the boxes (actually tins) from her, she also sold me adhesive, at wholesale, to use to decorate them. She encouraged me to purchase whatever Provo Craft sells at wholesale, that she would place the order for me! They sell scrapbooking supplies if anyone is interested in ordering anything at wholesale prices!

Okay, I am done ranting about how difficult this all has been. I am sure one day it will be a foggy memory. I do have some pictures of my work:

I should also give credit where credit is due. I worked my mom and sister like SLAVES when they were here. They helped print, cut and trim index cards, decorate boxes (as seen in this photo), and make the dividers. We were able to get 18 boxes completed while they were here...I would still be working on #3 I am sure without their help!! Thanks ladies!! LOVE YOU!

Alayna is also seen here "helping" by modelling the boxes for Riley who was snapping pictures I intended to delete before downloading...oops

We made quite a mess of the living room!

I pray your week has been less stressful than mine. I would really treasure any ideas or encouragement you could throw my way regarding this eBay thing!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Not me! Monday

Okay, after a week off, I am sure everyone is ready for another Not me! Monday. Click over to Mckmama's blog to catch up with several hundred other ladies' less-than-put-together-moments and see the rules...and consider joining in yourself! Its freeing to confess and be vulnerable...being brutally honest and living to tell about it!

I was NOT totally relieved to see there was no Not me! last week. Preparing for company, entertaining one guest, helping out at 4 kids' Christmas parties, wrapping gifts, buying gifts, organizing Christmas cards/letters/Agape newsletters were all perfectly under control and I had plenty of time to write a post for last week. I did NOT completely forget about it...again!

We did NOT go to Busch Gardens on Tuesday. Good thing too, since everyone and their dog did NOT decide to go that day too. We did NOT have to endure LONG lines, and I was not completely frustrated that I only rode TWO rides all day long. We did NOT have our time at the park cut short by arriving later than planned after I forgot to bring the tickets with us. My sister did NOT nonchalantly ask (30 minutes down the road) if I brought the tickets. I did NOT drive through the median to turn around. I did not go through several scenarios in my mind that would prevent us from having to drive all the way back home (like: make my husband go to the house and fax them to us somewhere, send them in an attachment, upload and print them somewhere...oh, no computer with us...just go home and get them!). I did not think any bitter thoughts about the people who paid extra for the "fast pass" that allowed them to skip the line and go to the front...therefore making the poor peons wait even longer...not one bitter thought...not even now.

We did NOT decide to go back to Busch Gardens on Friday and be there when the gates opened. This was NOT the best idea ever! We were NOT one of the first people into the park, we did NOT get to ride whatever we wanted, sometimes multiple times in a row! My kids were NOT nearly perfectly behaved (very important since I was outnumbered 4 to 1), and so fun to hang out with all day! Alayna was NOT so brave, riding a roller coaster that went upside down...hey, she is only 4 years old!! I did NOT find it impossible to not scream on the Cheetah Chase when it seemed I was going to fly off the side of the roller coaster every corner it took (which was about 40 corners). My children did not give me a hard time about my incessant screaming! Alayna was NOT upset about being too short to ride this ride (it did look pretty innocent from the ground), she did NOT pout and cry and blame me for having her last, asking why I couldn't have had her before Holden! I did NOT laugh out loud while she was so serious...that would have been rude! Not me!

We did NOT invite an entire house full of guests over for lunch yesterday after the pastor's sermon about being connected in our church and being initiators. The pastor and his family were not part of our swaree too. Pastor Matt did NOT crack us up with his watermelon teeth. He did NOT so kindly pose for this picture even though I warned him this was blog material: Later, we did NOT break out the new Risk game we gave our kids for Christmas (we did not re-gift this gift to them after Paul got it at our staff Christmas party's white elephant exchange)...and Dave did not ANNIHILATE everyone. We are NOT planning our revenge...

I am NOT excited about all the things I will be able to get done around here with my kids back in school!! I do NOT still need to take down all the Christmas decorations inside and outside, do some prep work for the Children's ministry I am helping with at church, finish making more copies of my project (detailed below), finish cleaning up from yesterday's festivities, and plan and make dinner. Who gets excited about crossing things off their to-do list?? Not me, how nerdy!

And finally, I am NOT hoping to get a low number at Mckmama's blog just so I can get people to check out my cleaning system "Spring Clean Year 'Round". I do NOT have a copyright and a prototype made up and several copies sold just from my blog! I am NOT hoping to get a publisher to buy my idea so I won't have to do all this work. Though, I admit, its fun work (truly)! I do NOT hope you will click this link to check it out! I do NOT think you will love the idea and agree you need one at your house! Besides being so practical, its so CUTE, or is that NOT cute??Okay, now, what have you NOT been up to??

Saturday, January 3, 2009

The New Paint Job

I hesitate to title a post this because some of you may think that I painted something at our rental house again. Let me reassure you, I learned my lesson! The new paint job is complete on Agape's plane, the King Air 90! The pilots and mechanics went to get it one year from the day that the Caravan went down in the ocean. It was brought to the Agape hangar in Venice and loaded immediately for a flight that it took the very next day. Paul and Tim and the kids went to meet it and load the plane. This is very exciting, since the entire mission revolves around flying supplies and mail to the missionaries in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. We finally have our own plane that is ready for service and available for every need. It was amazing that we went a year without our own plane and were still able to do the work and get all of the items needed for the missionaries. We thank God for the safety of all the pilots this past year. Now with our new plane, we know God has awesome plans for Agape Flights. Won't you join us in our journey by praying for Agape Flights, the missionaries we serve, and our family?

The King Air before the new paint job

and after, by the Agape hangar.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Busch Gardens--disappointment turned to exhausted fun!

We decided to check out Busch Gardens on a Tuesday (surely there won't be many people there, right?), so we went on the 30th. Not New Year's Eve, where it would surely be packed, so the day before should be fine, right? Not so much! There were so many people at the park, you couldn't stir them with a stick! It was difficult just to get in. Okay, lets tell the truth, it was difficult for us to get there. I have to confess (and its not even Monday yet!) that I forgot to pack the tickets when we were loading up for the trip. We had planned to be there around 10:30 am and the park is about 1 hour and 15 minutes from home. About half an hour into the trip, Jo nonchalantly asked if anyone had the tickets. We turned around and drove back to the house. Very aggravating! We hit TONS of traffic near the park and had a terrible time getting there (bad sign) and parked in the absolute furthest corner from the park in a grass lot (bad sign),and then were surprised to see the crowds! Every ride had LONG lines. We felt a lot like this:

Holden and Alayna got to ride the first ride (since the wait was reasonable on a kiddie ride) and actually enjoyed it, contrary to their looks in this picture! We wandered around a bit trying to come up with a plan of attack. We finally decided to split up. I took Gabe and Riley and Jo and Mom took Holden and Alayna. We went to a roller coaster to wait the 90minutes so we could say we did something with our day there. We rode the Shiekra. It was SCARY! It had two 90 degree drops, went upside down and went over 60 mph. At one point during the biggest drop I had to stop screaming to take in more air to continue the scream! It was worth the wait that ended up being only 60 minutes. I think I am getting too old for this stuff because while we were climbing to the top, I was asking myself what in the world I was thinking and wondering if it was too late to get off!! We still had some time before we were to meet up with the rest of the clan, so we managed to ride another roller coaster, the Gwazi. Its a wooden roller coaster and it went fast but not upside down. It was fun and the wait was only 30 minutes. We left for our meeting place outside the ice rink where the other crew had gone to watch the show. They had the camera:

By the time we met back up, it was 4:45 and some were starting to leave, and the sun was going down and it was starting to cool off (in Florida terms, that's below 70 degrees), so the lines for the water rides were short. Gabe, Riley and Holden rode the Tidal Wave and the rest of us watched. I managed to catch them at the top of the big drop (you can see Riley and Gabe in the very back row, Holden was in front of them and must have ducked down):
Alayna ran to meet up with her brothers on a bridge that goes over the water and another boat came down the hill and splashed water up all over the bridge and her:
We left at sundown and endured a long line for the tram (which we couldn't bypass because we had no idea how to get to our van without it), and a LONG, cold tram ride! We tried to figure out what we did manage to enjoy in our 6 hours at the park: Travis: Shiekra, Gwazi. Gabe and Riley: Shiekra, Gwazi, Tidal Wave, Holden and Alayna: Gwazi Flyers, Log ride, ice skating show, Grammy and JoJo: ice skating show, log ride. Pretty pathetic. I know the only thing that kept me from totally losing it was knowing we can go back ANYTIME we want. The cost difference between a one day pass and a year long pass was $5, so we did the year passes (Christmas gift) and knew we could come back all year long. We have the Miller family coming to see us in March and we will return with them too! Hopefully we will know the place well enough to show them around!

So, the time came to take Grammy and JoJo to the airport :o( They had to be there at 7:30 on Friday, just a few minutes away from Busch we went. Just me and the kids. I really had no idea how this would go. I wasn't sure if they would stay by me or if I would be freaking out all day when one of them wandered off. But, we have passes, so we discussed the expectations and off we went. After dropping at the airport, we went to breakfast at Bob Evans (because I had a coupon for a free meal) and got to the park at 8:58 (the parking lot opened at 9 am). Here is the line of cars we were near the front of (and that is my ticket in the lower right corner blocking the picture...oh yeah, I have a long way to go in the photography department!): We parked so close to the front that we were able to walk to the entrance.
The park opened at 9:30 and we were one of the first ones in the gates. We rode the Montu roller coaster first thing and were able to ride multiple times in a row since there were not many people there yet. It was my favorite roller coaster in the park. Next was the skyride. This gave us a view of the entire park, lots of the animals that are there (we didn't enjoy this attraction at all, it is really a mini zoo and looked like lots of fun), and also took us to the opposite side of the park, to an area we didn't make it to at all earlier this week. We couldn't all go together, so Gabe and Riley went and I went with Alayna and Holden. It was hard to let them get on without me:
A view of the Montu (tall roller coaster at the very back of the park)
We rode the Kumba (another roller coaster), this is the one that you dangle under the track and nothing is under your feet. It was fun, but you couldn't see where you were going, so not my favorite. Alayna and Holden were so patient at the rides they were not tall enough for, so we found lots of rides they could enjoy in the Timbuktu area:
The Cheetah chase was one that A wasn't tall enough for, but H was, so the boys went together, then I swapped with Riley and G and H got to go again with me. THIS WAS A FUN RIDE!! I screamed almost non-stop!
Next we went to the Land of Dragons which is an area for babies to bigger kids. I am sure they could have stayed here all day!
They posed for a picture and then the boys promptly disappeared to climb and jump. Alayna checked out the water feature:She thought the streams of water were perfect for her time we'll take a swim suit!
Finally, we rode the train. This was the only thing Alayna felt strongly about doing, so we did it on our way out. The train took us through the animals and told about their lives at Busch Gardens and fun animal facts. Here are a few of our favorites:
We waited for the train longer than any other attraction today! We only waited 20 minutes!!
From the train we had a nice view of the rollercoaster we ALL went on. I couldn't believe Alayna was tall enough for this ride, OR that she wanted to go on it. I kept asking her if she was sure and reminding her that she will not be crying if she didn't like it half way through. She did GREAT! She didn't even mind that her head got slammed repeatedly against the (padded) side of the car since it was a rough ride. She screamed a couple times, but out of pleasure, not terror! I watcher her as we went upside down and she wasn't strong enough to keep her head up with the centrifugal forces. She was almost folded in half, but still laughing!
We loved seeing the rhinos
We rode the tram to the van, leaving after 3 pm and couldn't believe what we got to enjoy this time around. We really got to do everything we wanted. We rode all the major rides and tons of others. I was EXHAUSTED! The kids were SO good, they stayed with me, never wandered off, listened and took the news that they were too short to ride some rides in stride (mostly). The Cheetah Chase was the one Alayna really wanted to ride and she cried the entire time her brothers were on the ride and then blamed me for having her last, making her too young and short to go on the ride! That still makes me giggle! I told her she would have to take that one up with God. It was His plan after all!! I hope this has made all of you decide you will come visit and go with us next time!