"In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace
that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding." Ephesians 1:7-8

Friday, May 31, 2013

Florida: Sea World and Mini Golf

We've been back from Florida for two weeks and phew, we've been busy! We finished our final week of school, had end of the year required testing, and much more!!!

I want to be sure to document the rest of our Florida trip before I forget. After Legoland, we went to Sea World for one day and then enjoyed a day playing mini golf and swimming in the hotel pool. We've had such a cool spring that it was awesome to enjoy the warm (but not too warm) sun!!

 Really enjoyed the sky writing! The boys were amazed. 

 The best part about Sea World were the shows. Especially the dolphin show. Amazing!

This mini golf course was a workout -- lots of steps, big hills, etc. It was also a workout of my patience muscles because you can imagine the boys were very interested in climbing all the rocks. This is an area I really need to grow in -- to know when to let them just be boys/kids and how to have appropriate expectations so I can enjoy them where they are and not be so uptight!! Oh my! Very thankful for a great last trip together as a family of five, but really longing for Irina to join us so we can be a family of SIX! We miss that sweet girl!!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Legoland, Florida!

We arrived in Florida on Sunday after two days of smooth driving. (boring scenery, lots of bugs hitting the windshield, but excellent passengers!) A delicious Mother's Day dinner out:
And yes, we were that dorky coordinating family. It got us way too much attention. 
Not sure if it will ever happen again. ;) 
On Monday at 9:30 we were ready for our day. (Well... the boys were ready at 6:20, 
but they needed to do a little school first and eat breakfast, of course!)

Riding the lego jousting horse and loving it!

Camel - made entirely of lego bricks! So cool!

Safari trek

This elephant and many other safari animals were made of lego bricks. Really amazing!

My ride buddy

Boating school - what a handsome crew!

Driving school - This was hilarious. The track was for 3-5 year olds and it was 
so cute to see these little squirts zipping around the track in lego cars. 

Driving school for ages 6-13. Complete with stop signs, yield signs, traffic lights and lanes. You better believe my little rule follower obeyed all the traffic rules. ;) Also crazy to see all these young kids buzzing around in cars. Almost gave me a heart attack to realize that in 7 short years, Luke will be driving!

Mesmerized by fun shows, tricks and stunts!

Our crew -- missing one sweet girl who was never far from our minds. 

Lego Miniland was stunning. This NY scene is made entirely of lego bricks. 
I was completely blown away by the detail in this section. 

All in all, a terrific day with fabulous weather! 
(and tired boys ready to crash once they were tucked in bed around 7:30. Hooray!)

Friday, May 17, 2013

Surprise Trip

Last Saturday, we surprised the boys with a unexpected trip. They had no idea we had packed their clothes and necessary belongings. It wasn't until we were ready to load the car on Saturday mid-day that we told the boys our plan. For as curious as they are, I am so surprised they didn't notice the packed luggage in our closet or their missing clothes. I'm telling you, this is the BEST way to go on a trip. Not sure if we could ever pull it off again, but it was awesome. No pre-trip stress, anxiousness or excitement.

We were determined to squeeze the trip in before all the kids get out of school and before we travel to Ukraine and our lives change forever. That coupled with a super homeschool deal at Legoland, Florida made us charge forward.

So here is their reaction to the news:
Luke was busy building birthday legos and still in his pj's. Ethan and Aaron were doing gymnastics and apparently hot and sweaty. ;) They are seriously jumping for JOY!

And then the happy dance!!

Monday, May 13, 2013


Friday, May 10 we celebrated Luke's 9th birthday. 
We took the day off from school and enjoyed a day with a few friends and family. 
The week prior to Luke's birthday, Ethan was insistent that he wanted to buy a gift for Luke. He counted his money in his wallet ($7.65) and repeatedly asked to go shopping. Although, we've never done this before, we made it happen. I suggested several low price items that Ethan could buy so he wouldn't spend all his money. However, he was not swayed by my suggestions. He insisted on buying a lego set that cost $7.34 with tax. It was really such a sweet moment (that I NEEDED to see!) -- Ethan so delighted with giving his gift and Luke realizing what a sacrifice Ethan had made by spending all his money on him. I couldn't have planned it better. 

The week before, Darin and I had fun making a "Luke 9" sign out of legos. 
What a great surprise for our lego lover Luke!

Luke requested ice cream cake, so I kept it simple with a homemade strawberry/vanilla ice cream cake. No crafty creations for me this year. It was a bit of a relief!

Of course, wearing the traditional "9" shirt! I love this tradition!!!
 After lunch and cake, we relocated to mini golf with a few special friends. Our plan was to try out a new mini golf course. We had scoped it out, looked at pictures online and gotten really excited to try it. Unfortunately, this Mommy never considered calling since we had such a small group. Imagine the disappointment when we pulled up to find it was CLOSED for a company picnic!!! We had one sad 9 year old on our hands. I'm so thankful he bounced back and made the best of a change in location to a less exciting course. (Too bad his brother didn't change gears nearly as maturely! bummer!)
9 year old at the NINTH hole!

Golfing buddies and friends since 2004!

We finished up the day with gymnastics class and dinner out with all the grandparents. (So fun to have Grammy, Poppy, Grandma and Grandpa join us for our traditional birthday dinner.)
Phew! What a marathon day. Boy, do I love this 9 year old and the fine young man he is becoming.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Last Day to be 8!

How can my first born be turning 9 tomorrow? I should be sleeping, but instead I'm reminiscing.

Luke - 2 years old
4 years old

Seven and the last day of being EIGHT!

I'm so thankful for a great afternoon exploring a new park and celebrating Luke's last day as an eight year old. He made sure to wear his 8 shirt, since he won't be able to wear it tomorrow. ;)

(Aaron thinks he is 5, but he has exactly two more months left!)

 Exploring with bikes, water, dirt and rocks...couldn't be any more fun for these guys!

 Super glad they kept the bike helmets on for all their stunts. ;)
 What a fabulous day! Can't wait to celebrate him being 9 tomorrow!