Animal Kingdom {Summer Bucket List 2015}

  
Aunt Krissy adores Mason and wanted to do something extra special for him. So she arranged for Taylor and Uncle Noah to watch the girls while she and I got up early Saturday morning and snuck Mason out for his first trip to Animal Kingdom. He loves nature and animals, so this was so perfect for him. Plus, he loved the attention.

   
Thankfully, Animal Kingdom is pretty shaded, because it was a million degrees outside, even at 9 am. We were guzzling water and drenched in sweat.

Our goal, however, was to stay until noon and see as much as possible. He loved the Congo Rapids ride, because it was fun getting drenched, but the safari was the most fun. I was surprised by how many animals he knew.

 Mason’s favorite part of Animal Kingdom, however, was earning Badges throughout the park by learning about nature and conservation. He is such a smarty pants! 

  
Of course, we met a few familiar friends throughout the park, too. Slowly but surely, he’s getting his smile back!!

  
 

 

Daddy’s Coming Home! 

 

Jackson Dogg

 
One of the things I adore about Mista Justin is his love and tenderness with my animals.

I wasn’t sure Jackson Dogg was going go make it after he was attacked and left with two broken bones in October, less than two months after my separation. I was worried about him— he is 12+ years old, and I thought losing his Daddy, who he had been with since he was 8 weeks, would leave him down and out. 

However, Mista Justin has become his “adopted Daddy” and they adore each other. Jax gets so excited when he comes over, and likes to snuggle next to him. It also helps that Mista Justin likes to drop lots of food for him and Molly.

A bit ago, Jax was laying in my lap, and I said, “Daddy’s coming home!” Within seconds, he jumped down and ran to the window to keep watch. I am so glad he has someone to love in his old age. He sure deserves to be treasured and not cast away. In fact, we all do! 

American Girl {Summer Bucket List}

 

While Uncle Noah spent boy time with Mason grilling steaks, Aunt Krissy, Taylor and I took the girls for a special Friday night dinner.

 

Krissy

 
Taylor is my God-daughter, and I am shocked by own grown and beautiful she keeps getting. Time flies too fast!  

Taylor & Me


The girls had no idea they were going to the American Girl store. Their little faces lit up when they saw the sign!

 

Taylor, Miss Julia, & Bella


We ate in the bistro, and the girls got to borrow dolls to play with during our fancy dinner.

American Girl Bistro

American Girl Bistro

 

American Girl Bistro


Dinner was regularly priced for a night out, and the food was really good. Shhh…. Don’t tell anyone, but I liked it better than the lunch I had eaten earlier that day at the Grand Floridian.  

The girls, of course, could not wait to tour the store. Miss Julia picked out a new Bitty Baby to go with her Baby Rose. She named this one CAROLINE. It looks just like she did when she was a baby. 

Bella found a horse that she loved and wanted over a Bitty Baby. Just so happened, Taylor had the doll to match it and gladly gave it to her. It was like brand new. Aunt Krissy bought her a new book, as well. 

I would say these were two happy American Girls! 

American Girl, Orlando

Let It Go {Not a Disney Post}

I’ve been hearing my Mama’s voice a lot lately. It is very strong in my ear, and she has even been speaking through others. Last week, my best friend Tanya referenced Mama’s famous words to me several times. Thank goodness Frozen was not out yet when she died, because it would have been nightmare for me. She was always telling me to Let it go.

It being my need to control things, to make things perfect, to win the argument at all costs, to be victorious. 

We were so very different in so many ways, and I think we had a hard time understanding one another. Or rather she had my number. And now, I have a more fierce version of myself in Miss Julia that I am being humbled by. 

Mama wants me to Let it go. It is time for me to heal. This time, it is not the relationship itself that I am holding onto. I would not wish that back again, ever. Instead, I am holding on to control out of fear.

I discussed this at length with my counselor this week, and it all became clear as day. I worry sick about my children when they are not in my care. It breaks my heart being away from them and not knowing that they are okay without their Mommy. However, I am not exercising my faith as I should. I say I am trusting God, but I am not fully letting go and believing that He will take care of them.

I told my counselor that I had been led through my prayer and journaling to the book of Job. When I told her that I was surprised I had never studied that book before, she rightly pointed out that I’ve never needed to. Now, I do.

So I am going to begin reading Job.

But there is another lesson that God keeps sending my way and that is contentment. I wrote about the sermon that was preached a few weeks ago at Ephesus’ Homecoming. Yesterday, I sat down on my porch and listened to another sermon by one of my favorite pastors, Jesse Pickett, on contentment. Whoa, did the Holy Spirit convict me! 

 

sermonaudio.com

 
My friend, Mrs. Anne Hebrock, keeps reminding me of the old hymn, “It is Well With My Soul.” After the sermon, I YouTubed it and listened to a traditional version by Hillsong United, which I love. But then I stumbled on the version below and sobbed like a baby, as God spoke directly to my heart through its lyrics. 

Let go, my soul, and trust in Him, the waves and wind still know His name.

Praise Jesus, that I can let go and let Him be in charge. Afterall, my babies belong to Him anyway. 

Please pray for me if you think about it as I try to deal with this issue in my life. As my friend Sunshine pointed out, it is not that I do not have faith in God. I have Satan trying to put worry in me, because he knows my kids are closest to my heart. 

Thankfully, LOVE wins. 

Disney, Part 1 {Summer Bucket List 2015}

 

Aunt Krissy and Uncle Noah recently moved to Orlando and, for her birthday, all she wanted was to take the kids to Disney. How great is that?

Only she flipped the script a bit and started our weekend with a belated birthday surprise for Miss Julia. She arranged for her and Mista Justin’s daughter, Bella, who had never been to Disney before, to start our vacation with a tea hosted by Alice in Wonderland at the Grand Floridian.

   
 
While the girls had tea, Mason and I got to have lunch together in the hotel. We then strolled the grounds together and had a lovely time looking around. 

 

I was a little worried about dropping Miss Julia off, because she’s been suffering through separation anxiety. However, she did great! Having BELLA there helped.

When I picked them up, the hosts told me she was a “firecracker” and, apparently, the Mad Hatter adored her and wanted to keep her. She even entertained them with her own song and dance. 

Meanwhile, Bella was an angel.

   

  


    

  

Blueberry Picking {Summer Bucket List 2015}

Blueberry picking is not even on our Summer Bucket List, but we have made a tradition of it. This year, we invited our buddy, Kaleb, who was celebrating his birthday. 

 
We also had Corinna in tow and met up with our friends from Tallahassee for a play date.

We got there after 9 am, and it was already scorching hot. The kids were excited and remembered how to pick, and they enjoyed running through the beautiful rows with our friends.

   

Afterwards, we enjoyed cups of refreshing blueberry tea while the kids played.

   

   
 

A big thank you to Green Meadows Farm in Monticello for making our summer memories so special. These are the experiences that the kids will remember the rest of their lives.