Well, we have returned from our quick trip to Snellville, Georgia where Aubrey competed in her first travel competition. It was hosted by Archery Learning Center. The competition began with sign in and practice Friday afternoon (Friday evening we had an awesome treat seeing my extended family, but more on that in another post).  Saturday, Aubrey’s scheduled start time was at 1pm. The shoot was 20 ends of 3 arrows at 25 meters(I am still learning the lingo so if I did not get that right sorry). Aubrey scored 471 points for the gold!!! The silver medalist finished with 409 points.  Then off to Mass (maybe more on that later). On Sunday the “children” were scheduled to begin a fun competition called the “Quest for the Best” where they shoot 3 arrows per end until someone get 6 points (or above if breaking a tie) to be “The Best”.  It was a lot of fun watching this exciting competition.  It was a fight to the finish, but finally in “overtime” Aubrey won!

Although Patrick and I were so proud and excited (I could have burst) there is no doubt that after Aubrey this victory belongs to Papa. Since Aubrey began archery almost 10 months ago, it has been Papa that has driven her to and from her classes, it has been Papa that has taken her day after day to practice at our facility at the Easton Newberry Sports complex, it has been Papa that has helped to control my Disney mania so that Aubrey would not be “away” from archery for too many days in a row, and it has been Papa that has kept me “on task” getting Aubrey the equipment she needed at each stage of her learning.  So Aubrey achieved gold and “the Best” for her division because God has given her a gift, because she is focused and takes her passion for archery seriously, and because her Papa loves this special “thing” they share.  Papa is officially the Archery Papa, Aubrey’s assistant archery coach, and also the Newberry JOAD Club WebMaster.

It was an awesome experience.  We met and made new friends, we “hung out” with friends from our JOAD team, and gained valuable experience for the next travel competition.

Here are some pictures of the event…

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First arrow

The first arrow of her first travel competition.


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Although, I also bought a turkey from Publix (my favorite supermarket), we are fortunate to have been gifted two awesome turkeys to add to our holiday meals. Yes, I will be butchering, plucking, and gutting “real” turkeys this year for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

One of the things I really wanted to know when we moved out here was whether or not I could take care of my family if going to the store for food was not an option. I have learned that yes, I can put meat on the table. However, I can not seem to do anything about putting veggies on the table. Apparently I was born without a green thumb.

Shhhh, don’t tell them this is their last 24 hours; I prefer they never know it is coming, Here are a couple of pre-dinner pics.


Aren’t they so cute? I love the noises they make. I think we will have to raise a pair to keep and breed. Who knew turkeys were so neat.

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They many not be glamorous. They may not be as smart as a bug. They may be a bit messy, but I love my chickens. Here is a pic of our latest clutch to hatch. The mother hen ,a tiny bantam, is Las’ daughter, Leona (ok, Aubrey and I just named her for this post). So anyway, Leona has had 7 chicks hatch. She is still sitting on several more eggs. Apparently, after she went broody the other hens continued to lay their eggs on top of her, so they are at different developmental stages. I am not sure how much longer she will continue to sit on the latecomer eggs. I am trying to encourage her patience by providing her with plenty of food and water within reach of her eggs.

***Update*** The final count is 8 adorable little chicks.

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Aunty Mary and Uncle Phil visit…

… time to party!

We had such a great visit. My family, my Dad, and I love being one of their stops on the trip to and from MA.

Aunt Mary and Uncle Phil, come back for Christmas and I’ll make another pinata — not to mention the food. :-)

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Happiness is…

…having a brother.


An unexpected result of Joshua’s archery class is that Max has discovered, life is much more fun with his brother. Since Max could walk, I have loved watching my boys run around defending our property from all the imagined threats. Now, I also have the joy of seeing them enjoy “just hanging out” playing board games together. I also appreciate their little voices in bed at night, talking about everything from their Wii plans to theology. I am so grateful they have each other.
Dear Lord, thank you for brothers.

Posted in Homeschooling, Joshua, Max, Prayer | 1 Comment

Disney Family Trip

In case you missed all my excitement you can read about it here… Disney Dreamin’ Post.  I had hoped our first family visit would ease some of my “Year of Disney” excitement, but NOPE, I can’t wait to get back there later this month.

As expected, I did cry a few times when we first got to Magic Kingdom, 9am Wednesday :-) .  However, after 12+ hours on my feet and an hour waiting in line to get to our car, I did not cry when we left :-P

I am very pleased to announce that the original Tiki Room show was back, although they did not return the water-fountain under the White Tiki Birds.

Max, who had been so excited to ride the roller coasters tried them first by riding Thunder Mountain. Heeeheee, it was his only roller coaster ride of the trip.  He decided that roller coasters do too much going up and down.  His favorite Magic Kingdom Rides are the People Mover, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Rangers, and Peter Pan.

Joshua, who had assumed he would like going on all the rides, was very pleased with the whole roller coaster thing.  He went on Thunder Mountain, Space Mountain and Splash Mountain all on the first day.  His favorite Magic Kingdom Rides were all the roller coasters, Peter Pan, the People Mover, and Buzz Lightyear’s Rangers.

Aubrey also enjoyed the roller coasters.  Her list of favorites is much more selective; Monster’s Inc, Thunder Mountain and the PhilarMagic show.

Patrick is not really a Magic Kingdom fan, he prefers Epcot, however he does have a few favorites, the Carousel of Progress, the People Mover, and Big Thunder Mountain.

My list is considerably more extensive as each ride holds old memories and new fascinations.  I am particularly fond of It’s a Small World, Peter Pan’s Flight, Pirates of the Caribbean, the Carousel of Progress, the Jungle Cruise, the Rail Road, Big Thunder Mountain, the Tiki Room, the Haunted Mansion, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Rangers, the People Mover, and a new surprise favorite Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor.  Monsters Inc was very, very funny.  It helped that the people in the audience that were “picked on” were awesome, perfectly chosen.

Day two was very eventful.  We started our day in Animal Kingdom.  Joshua and Aubrey joined Patrick for trying out Expedition Everest.  Apparently it was intense.  Joshua was a bit more nervous looking after he got off that one and Aubrey admitted it was pretty nerve-wracking, although she is looking forward to doing it again.  I thought Dinosaur was a great ride; Max was not impressed.  Max did enjoy taking pictures of the animals on the Kilimanjaro Safaris.  Sadly the heat and soar feet drove us out of there around lunch.

We ran to Cici’s Pizza, less than 10 minutes away, and then headed to Hollywood Studios.  There we encountered Max’s all time favorite ride, Toy Story Midway Mania.  Aubrey really liked the Star Wars ride. Joshua enjoyed both.  I was heartbroken that the Narnia attraction had just recently closed, for good :-( .  Patricks highlight had to be meeting his childhood play thing Army Football Guy(see pic below).  I enjoyed the Great Movie Ride.  It was fun trying to identifying all the different movies.  We were not able to see the Indiana Jones Show as we got there too late in the day, so it is up first on our next visit.

At around 7pm we ran over to Epcot.  Yes, that is 3, THREE parks in one day.  Did I mention really wanting to squish in as much as possible in 3 days :-P . At Epcot we set our expectations on 2 rides, Spaceship Earth and Soarin’; neither disappointed. After that we headed back to the wonderful timeshare with Kim, Rick and the kids.  We did not really get to see them much until Friday when they joined us at Epcot, except a little bit in Magic Kingdom for the Pirates of the Caribbean ride and show, the Tiki Room show, and Sarah joined us for the Jungle Cruise.

On our third and final day in the Parks we went to Epcot.  We arrived a bit before 9am and proceeded straight to Soarin’, this time with Rick, Kim and most of the kids, poor Luke is still not quite tall enough.  We then headed to the Living with the Land ride which I really like and the Circle of Life show which I do not.  The rest of the day we enjoyed a slower pace going from one ride to the next taking our time to explore the exit areas games.

I must mention here that I am a big baby about roller coasters, as in I can’t do them.  Test Track, however, is not a roller coaster per say, although it is the fastest ride, topping out at almost 65 mph.  We all loved it so much we went on it twice.

For dinner we treated ourselves to eating at the Mexico exhibit.  The days prior and the next few days we have been/are studying Mexico.  Joshua said “Mom, I love this empanada!  This has been the best part of the day! Can we always eat here?”  It was amazing how much energy we recouped sitting there enjoying our meal in the cool breeze by the lagoon.

Saturday was spent with Kim, Rick, their kids and their friend Jan.  Thank you Jan for the nice pool pictures.  Rick, Kim what can I say?  THANK YOU!!!

Although the kids and I already have our next trip scheduled, planned, and ready, the wait is killing me.  :-)  On the one hand I hope this intense excitement wears off a bit, and on the other, I love feeling like a kid again, so excited for the future.  Late in October, Pat and I are going to treat ourselves to the Food and Wine tasting festival to celebrate our 17th wedding Anniversary.  I am so excited I can’t wait.

Mr. Walt Disney, thank you for everything you did to bring your dream to life for all of us. Eternal rest give unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God rest in peace.  Dear Lord I thank you for your abundant blessings.  Thank you for providing my family with this incredible opportunity.  May your grace shine upon us.  May we be ever appreciative of our many blessings. May we use this time wisely to continue to build our family bonds and to strengthen us to continue to fight the good fight and stay the course to You.  God Bless all those Disney Cast Members that each day bring “Disney Magic” to those that they encounter. Amen.

Instead of putting each picture in individually I am just going to post it as a gallery.  To see any pic larger just click on it.

Posted in Aubrey, Disney, Homeschooling, Joshua, Local Attractions, Max, Patrick, Prayer, Sussette, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Too Good to be True

The last few days have given us incredible weather. In N. Florida incredible September weather means low 70′s most of the day.

Misty seems hopeful that fall and so soon winter are on their way as she lies here in front of the fireplace awaiting the first fire of the season. Poor Misty she still has a bit of a wait.


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Summer is over Catholic Folk Toys is Back!

Woohoo!!!  I am happy to announce my friend over at is back in the painting saddle after taking a long overdue summer vacation.  She is hosting a give away of one of her incredible dolls, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. What a great way to kick off the new school year.

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Open Book

One of the great things about living my life as an open book is that my friends know me, really know me. For instance they know I would sacrifice even my Disney tickets to be there if they needed me. They know that even if my house is trashed and I am grumpy I will smile and welcome them for a visit with open arms. They know I am often not the person I want to be, but that I know it. My friends know that if their children find a cool exotic looking bug I will cheer and google it for them. My friends know I hate to answer the question “job title” with “house wife”, because I am a terrible house wife. Really, I am not sure how old the dish at the very bottom of the sink is. My friends also know I have a very OCD personality and that when I am focused on something I am very focused on it.
Why is this great? Presents!!!! Did I mention I can be very materialistic? Heehee! Yesterday, Sharon, a friend whose husband works for Disney brought me official, real Disney cast member binders. Today my friend, Lorrie brought me the cutest hand soap dispenser.

Being an open book can be humbling, but it also allows me to know my friends love me, the real me and that is priceless.

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