{almost} forgotten. oops!



Whew! I thought for sure I'd have us back to Orlando and park hopping by now, but this trip down memory lane has taken a short fo-evah. I do love me a good vacation pic or two, but I'm definitely beginning to miss our everyday. Almost there...


Our Saturday at Castaway Cay...the ship, the sun, the sand, the seashell, the slide (I let him wing it all by himself. He even made sure he was tall enough before he flung on a lifejacket and went for it.), the smell of Cookie's BBQ. Enough said.



Pouring water on it was twice the fun as building it.  


a letter to my sons


My intentions were otherwise, but I got a tiny bitta emotional and a whole lotta sappy today and wrote this letter to my sons. I hope you - and they - don't mind.


My Little Believers,

     Just before Thanksgiving, we spent three days and three nights aboard the Disney Dream. From Port Canaveral to Nassau to Disney's own private island, Castaway Cay, we experienced what was Disney World on the water.

Our last night at sea, we sat inside the Walt Disney Theatre one last time to watch "Believe" - a story about a girl and her dad - how her thirteenth birthday had almost come and gone, and her overly worked, overly tired, and overly stressed out dad had yet to spend time with his little girl. They clashed in more ways than one, but only one mattered to her - he didn't believe in magic anymore.

As the story played out, Disney's characters - beginning with Genie from Aladdin - helped him once again "believe". For her. Because she believed. Because she wouldn't always be this little.

I watch you get a little bit older every day. I see you grow. I can tell the minute you've changed.

And especially this season, I know the time will come when what you believe is real to you right this second won't always be real.

What you belive in will change and grow too - the questions we get asked almost daily are proof.

"Dad, is magic real? Mom, if I believe that Oscar is real...he's real right? Okay so was he the real Santa Claus?"

Our answers to you are and always will be this: If magic or Oscar or Santa is real to you...if YOU believe in magic or Oscar or Santa...then it/he is real, and we give you those answers because our greatest hope and prayer is that through them, we are teaching you to believe in what you do not see because you'll need to know how.  You'll need to know how so you can believe in the one most important person of all - Jesus.

I do. I believe in Him, and I believe in you.

You are my magic.

You are my elves, and you are my Santa.

You are my wishes and dreams comes true.

YOU are the reasons I believe in what my eyes have yet to see.

Keep believing, Babies.

With all my heart


"eers {cheers}, mommy!"

fun and real. real fun.

Last week:

...spent three of my work days on the road. The mornings came quicker, and the days spent mostly in the car seemed longer than normal.

...remembered the popcorn, the gingerbread house kit, the bottles of water, the gifts for their teachers, and the change in dress code from collared shirts required to pajamas on Polar Express Day.

This week:

...counting down from 5 to the start of our almost two week Christmas break.

Is it Friday yet?


Really, this trip was, in a nutshell, spectacular.

Not perfect...I got sea sick (We left Port Canaveral on Thursday just as it began to storm, and the swells, the director announced, were eight to ten feet high. I didn't eat dinner at all, and let's just say even ginger ale wouldn't stay down). Jim woke up on Friday with a migraine so painful that it caused numbness on the right side of his body for a short period of time. And if we yelled, "Guys, stooooop!" once, we yelled it a hundred times that many times.

Spectacular...I'll never forget the way we boarded (There were crew members everywhere, and as we walked on one of them asked our family name, how we were doing that day, etc. Then with her microphone announced, "Please help me welcome aboard the Landers family!", and everyone in the room applauded.) or the sound of the horn blowing every time sailed away from our stops (Instead of just one big long and loud blow, it "played" the first few lyrics of "When You Wish Upon a Star".). And in true Disney fashion, the entertainment, the food, the service - all incredible. We could watch a movie like Planes or The Lone Ranger in one of their theatres from morning until morning, eat ice cream at midnight, or check the boys into the kids club (parents weren't always "allowed") so they could play in a life size replica of Andy's room, craft something, or even hula hoop with Donald and Daisy. We rotated between all three dining rooms every night and a different live show afterwards. We swam, and we slept like babies (the bed Jim and I shared was more comfortable than ours at home, I think). On Friday it was all things pirates. The boys wore costumes to dinner and Jim and I wore the complimentary bandanas. All of the characters were decked out in their pirate attire too and out and about for pictures, and then late late that night they put on a show outside on the pool deck followed by fireworks. Every day, every minute...make it magical if you want it to be. That's how we rolled.

So I've sorted through about half of the snapshots that I took. Here are just a few (all from either the ship and our first stop...Nassau, Bahamas).

More to come.


{dreaming aboard the Disney Dream}


"A dream is a wish your heart makes when you're fast asleep." ~Cinderella

This quote was embroidered on the pillow that decorated our bed.

Just a little detail I didn't want to forget.

He's baaaaaack. And so are we.


The list of things that have kept me away...  The packing, the unpacking.  The sweet potato casserole, the laundry that we accumulated over eight solid days.  The Disney Dream, the sand.  The smell of new puppy breath.

Our November was busy and magical and full of reasons to be thankful and amongst it all, Oscar, our elf came back to hang with us until Santa Claus comes to town.  

He hijacked one of our suitcases and sailed all the way to the Bahamas with us.  Our first night at sea, he made a monkey out of towels, clipped him to a coat hanger, hung him from the wall of curtains in our room then tucked himself into Jake's bed so that when he pulled back the covers to go to sleep he'd find him.  The second night, he filled our room with every kind of animal you would find in a circus (made of towels) and became their ringmaster.  And while we ate our last dinner in the Animator's Palette, he ate all of the chocolates left for us except for one piece.  He left that one laying on the dog's paw (yep...towels) so we'd all think it was his fault.  We're sooo much smarter than that, Oscar, and Johann, if you're reading this, you are a magic maker, Friend.  We'll never forget it.

Right after our cruise ended, we spent three days at Disney Orlando - two shopping and one at the parks (We decided to save three days of our four-day passes and go back when school's out for the Summer.).  Oscar snuck into my bag the day we park-hopped, and while Jim and Jake were screaming it up in the Tower of Terror, he did the rest of Hollywood Studios like any magic elf should.  I even found him sliding in Muppetsville and this picture of him on my camera.  wink wink.    

Since we've been home, he's done things like roll down our stairs inside a roll of toilet paper.  He took a bath in a sink full of brownie-flavored marshmallows, and he wrote "Oscar was here!" on the boy's bathroom mirror with a tube of lipstick.  

The magic is here, Y'all!  I LIVE for this time of year!