Thursday, August 28, 2014

(Not) Back to School

This morning at the lake. 
Just another beautiful school day for us!

The arrival of this week brought with it the start of a new school year for the school kids in town. We haven't shifted into our new rhythm just yet as we are taking this week to "just be" after our very busy week in Florida last week (we hope you've enjoyed all of our stories and pictures so far. There's still much more to come). Instead, we are using this week to bask in the glory of our world -and our usual haunts- no longer being crowded. We're preparing and planning for all the fun we'll have in the days, weeks and months that lie ahead. We're replenishing things like glitter and googily eyes and stickers, and sharing our hopes and dreams for all that we'll learn together. But mostly we're just rolling as we usually do, seeing where each day takes us and the teachable moments that we'll encounter along the way.

This morning, while the girls were still sleeping and the house was it's most peaceful, I came across this blogpost that a friend of mine had shared on Facebook. It resonated deeply with me, and so many of Rachel's words could have been my own. And gosh, isn't every day fairy day (or gnome day) in everyone's homes?!

For a wee bit of humor during this not-back-to-school week I share with you this post. I've been giggling about it ever since (and I also love how much my mom loved this one too)!

And finally, it's always exciting when we come across homeschoolers in the things we love most. Case in point the character of Hazel in Dolphin Tale ("I'm homeschooled that's why I'm such a chatterbox!") and Martin and Sylvia from Sparkle Stories. We were thrilled that one of the current free back to school stories (scroll down to "Butterfly Gifts") is about Martin and Sylvia making gifts for their teachers- their mama and papa! Listening to the description of what homeschooling looks like in their family is like listening to what homeschooling looks like in ours, and for this reason the girls were even more enchanted with these sweet stories and characters than they already were. It really is such a treat for them to hear that others live like we do, especially at this time of year when it's all about back to school.

I've got some ideas bouncing around in my head about how we can celebrate the beginning of our new school year next week (here's to hoping that the items I ordered arrive on time). Regardless of whether they arrive on time or not we'll continue as we always have- living, learning, laughing and loving together each and every day. xo

Be sure to scroll down to see our post from this morning about another part of our Disney adventure last week. 

Twelve Years

August 17th. A gorgeous night out celebrating twelve incredible years. Here's to a lifetime more! xo

Be sure to check back later tonight for pictures from our adventure this morning. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Peach Picking

Since our first attempt at peach picking didn't pan out we figured we'd try again once we got home from our trip to Florida. With the weather looking divinely summery today, and a local farm where it was $1.00 per pound for pick-your-own peaches we figured now was as good a time as any to go. We went first thing this morning so as to beat the heat, and we were excited to have the orchard to ourselves. Before long the boxes in the wagon were overflowing with peaches, and our work there was done. Now, just to wait for them to get a wee bit more ripe and then the canning of them can begin! xo

Be sure to scroll down and see the beginning of our Disney adventure if you haven't had a chance to read about it already. 

Our Disney Adventure Begins

 Sunday brought with it our first trip to the Disney parks. We decided the night before to begin our Disney adventures that day so that we could take a day off midweek to just hang by the pool (a brilliant idea courtesy of Dave's dad). Epcot is pretty much my favorite of the Disney parks, and with how much the girls love learning about the countries that make up our world Dave and I knew that it would be a hit with them too. It was the perfect first park for them and the perfect way to begin this next leg of the adventure!
 First up: a family picture in the UK!
What a treat to get to chat with and meet Mary Poppins! 
 I just adore this picture of the girls walking in to France. Everything about it is simply wonderful. Someday, sweet girls, we'll see France for real. 
Looking very relaxed with her ice cream in France.  
 Chatting with Grandpa Ron while enjoying her mint chocolate chip ice cream. 
 Since we got a later start on Epcot we didn't do all that much this day. We did head to The Land before heading back to the resort. We knew that the girls were adore The Land and I am so very glad that we got to take them on it before calling it a day that day. 
With so much of Epcot left to visit (and Dave and I with a dinner reservation that night since it was our anniversary) we decided that we would head back later in the week to spend another day there. I am so very glad we did as it allowed us to see the rest of the countries and to visit The Land again (blogpost on both our anniversary dinner and second visit to Epcot to come)! Epcot really was the perfect beginning to our Disney adventure! xo 

Be sure to check back later tonight for pictures from our peach picking adventure this morning. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Flying High

A visit to the dentist for the girls this morning equaled two new planes (from the treasure area at the dental office). There is just something so magical about these little planes. And goodness, can they fly! xo

Be sure to scroll down to see our adventure at Clearwater Marine Aquarium if you haven't already!

A Visit To Clearwater Marine Aquarium

 Clearwater Marine Aquarium here we come! This picture was taken before the girls knew where we were going. Dave and I couldn't wait for them to see where this part of our adventure was taking us. The girls were just thrilled to be in a new place in search of new adventures. Little did they know that a dream that they've have for quite some time was about to come true! 
I don't think they really believed we were at Winter's home at this point. Ever since they first saw Dolphin Tale they have wanted to meet Winter. For those who haven't seen this movie yet we highly recommend it. It is truly a family favorite (between the dolphins, a character who's homeschooled and Physical Therapy all in one movie how could it not be?)!
 Winter's best friend Hope was in the tank when we arrived. 
It was only by seeing her tail that we knew it was her. 

Watching Hope. 
 Finally, we made our way to the tank where Winter was. While Hope was having a private session Winter was swimming around and communicating with Hope periodically. Normally, they are both together, but every now and again they each have some time without the other. 
 It was right about here that I got choked up (for the first time). It was hard to get a picture of the girls watching her (there were so many people) but trust me when I tell you that watching them watch Winter was one of the most amazing experiences of my time as their mama. They have long dreamed of seeing her in person. To make this dream come true for them was simply incredible, and a moment that we shall never forget. 
 Waiting for the sting rays. 

 We were so excited to be able to attend a behind the scenes tour while we were there. We got to learn about the wonderful work that Clearwater Marine Aquarium does in regard to rescue, rehabilitation and release (their ultimate goal). We learned many facts about the animals that call CMA home and the ones who are simply there getting the care they need before heading back into the sea.
Grace got to try her hand at removing a hook from a sea turtle. 
 Peeking in one of the operating rooms. 
 Do you see Hope in the distance?
 Winter and her Physical Therapists. 
 Watching Winter. I am sure that we could have stayed twice as long as we did! The only thing that I wish we could have done differently would be to have had the chance to truly meet Winter (as in get in the water with her). Dave and I contemplated paying for a picture of all of us with Winter, but it was clearly stated that only one person could touch her. While we do have two of the most patient and understanding children walking the Earth we felt that that would be even too much for the sister who didn't get to touch her to bare and so we opted for the behind the scenes tour instead. A personal audience with her would truly have been the cherry on top of the sundae of this day, though! Could you imagine?! 

What an amazing first adventure in Florida! It was incredible to be able to be there and to see the animals that we loved and the space where the movie was filmed. CMA is a small space but the work they do makes a big difference and we are happy to have been able to support their work while we were down there! xo 

Don't forget to check back for a second post today- a little glimpse into what we were up to today!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Monday Morning

"Look mama, I drew me and Grace. Grace has the longer hair."