Tuesday, June 28, 2011

a weekend with rv

RV spent the weekend with us and it was a wonderful visit! Here's a recap of what we did:

Our first time to eat Jimmy Johns. Found out what everyone is raving about! YUM!

a visit to Braum's...Elle wanted the blue ice cream :)

playing at Mesta Park

some card playing

free music at Myriad Gardens with church friends

Plus... great conversations, RV's fantastic chicken salad, laughs, playing with cars and legos, and enjoying each other's company!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

thankful thursday: a great daddy

I'm dedicating this Thankful Thursday to Chris since we were not with him for Father's Day. I'm so thankful that Elle and #2 has a Daddy that loves them so much. He works so hard for them and wants to make this world a better place for them. He is the best person ever! His heart belongs to God and is such a wonderful example of a Christian man, father, and husband. He loves to cuddle and play with Elle. He constantly tells me and her how much he loves her. And he's so loving even when she's tired and grumpy.

He's willing to carry her in the really long Little Mermaid line and then the ride while she sleeps

He'll take her to swim in the freezing pool

He'll ride the carousel again and again because she loves it

He'll finally go on the Dumbo ride just for her

He loves her momma

And he spent a whole day in an airport to get us a free trip. Not to mention the fact that he didn't eat anything, but plane food to save money.

For Father's Day we got Chris some new running shoes, and I had seen this idea in a magazine, so the card and the gift went together perfectly! (I turned my back for 2 seconds and she went crazy with the marker! He still loved it though.)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

disneyland: part 2

Do you know this book?

It's what I kept thinking about the last day as we were trying to get home. We'd learned some lessons on this trip, but weren't too happy about the ones we learned Saturday. First of all, never underestimate LA traffic. We tried to go to Hollywood since we had several hours before we had to be at the airport. But we ended up being stuck in traffic most of the time and ended up with only time to eat lunch in Mahattan Beatch at Cozymel's, which serves "coastal mex". There's not very many around so I guess we got an out-of-the-ordinary experience. It was good and had a different flavor than tex-mex. Then we drove by the ocean on our way to airport.

Just before our flight they announced that it was too full and they were looking for volunteers to take $ and a voucher to take a later flight. After discussing it for a bit we decided it wouldn't be a bad idea if Chris wanted to do it. We had options about how to get back to OKC once we got to Dallas. So he volunteered. It wasn't until we were getting ready to take off that they then told him it was just a voucher. (At this point I refer back to the book.) It was pretty big, but still we felt misled. Then we found out Chris wouldn't fly in until the next morning. Thankfully my cousin took Elle and I in again for the night. The next morning Chris got his early flight to Kansas City, but when he got there his plane to Dallas had been used for another flight. Apparently there was a hail storm Saturday night and two planes were damaged. A lot of people were stranded and Chris wasn't going to get to Dallas until that evening. So he convinced them to send him to Oklahoma City, which they actually agreed to do because I guess it helped Southwest out. Elle and I drove back to OKC by ourselves, but as the day went on his arrival time kept getting pushed back. He finally arrived at 9 pm. So much for Father's Day!

other lessons learned:
*Disneyland is much more manageable than Disney World for little ones. You only have two parks instead of 6. It's also right in the middle of the city so we didn't have to stay at the resorts and was within walking distance (money saver!), found a grocery store to get food so we didn't have to eat all meals in the park (money saver!), and there were several restaurants or fast food places right there if we did want something else.
*The only bad thing about it being right in the middle of the city is there were more locals than at Disney World so there were a lot of unsupervised kids and teens around and it didn't seem as exotic.
*We packed breakfast foods, snacks, and to-go peanut butter and jelly packets in one of the suitcases so we didn't have to spend so much on food in the park.
*California Adventure was almost deserted in the morning when it first opens. Chris and Casey got on most of the big rides right away. However, it did get busy in the afternoon and there's not as many ways to travel around the park so you have to walk more.
*Elle can fit her head through the bars at the Dumbo ride, she just can't get it back through. Very scary moment!
*I'm the worst stalker ever! You know the guy who was on American Idol a few seasons ago who was blind? I recognized Scott MacIntyre as he got on the Dumbo ride ahead of us. Look at the shots I got and you'll see why I will never be a part of the paparrazi! It was him! I promise!

disneyland: part 1

I guess this was our first official family vacation since Elle was born. We left Tuesday evening for Dallas because we decided to fly from there to save a chunk of money. Yes, even with gas prices so high it's still cheaper to drive, park, and fly from there. My gracious cousin and cousin-in-law let us stay at their place for the night. We left their house at 5:45 (I guess Elle was so really excited because she was up at 4:30!) to drive to the airport. We picked up my mom and sister at their hotel and caravanned over to Dallas Love. Traveling with a toddler through an airport actually has it's perks. We always got special treatment in line through security and boarding!

Elle did wonderful on the flight and she had a blast. We got to LAX, boarded the shuttle to the rental car, got the rental car and some lunch, and drove over to our hotel. We dropped our stuff off and we had a 10 minute walk to the gate. Elle, my mom, and Casey, and I spent 2.5 days all over Magic Kingdom and California Adventure. Chris was presenting at Pepperdine on Thursday so he was in Malibu Thursday. The weather was wonderful! I think it got up to 80 one day the whole time we were there. We even wore jackets in the evenings. All and all it was a wonderful time! (Except the trip back, but more about that tomorrow.) Here's some pics from our trip:

I found these magnet paper dolls for Elle to play with in the car. It was well worth the money. She spent a ton of time taking the magnets apart and then played with them for quite a while.

Elle loved the planes,

looking out of the plane,

the free snacks,

and the in-flight movie.

She did not love the seat belt!

She was pretty nervous about getting too close to the characters, which actually worked out since the lines were so long this and one other pic was all we got. However, Elle LOVED seeing them from a few, or 50, feet away. (By the way, biggest Donald or Daisy, but plenty of Gipetto. Honestly, who wants their pic with him?)

Elle's favorite rides...Dumbo,

"Kissing Booty" Carousel (so named after trying to explain the pictures of the story),

and of course Pooh. (That's Elle's head up front!)

She got her first experience with fireworks. A little scary the first night, but awesome the second night. I'll try and get all the pics up on our shutterfly account soon.

Monday, June 20, 2011

mlm: disney

I'm trying to get back in the swing of things so I'm starting with a new Media Literacy Monday post. In keeping up the spirit of our vacation that we just returned from (Disneyland--more about this later) I thought I'd do two book reviews.

1) The Mouse That Roared: Disney and the End of Innocence by Henry Giroux
I actually read this book over a year ago for my media literacy class. I was drawn to it because I'm a Disney fan and I was curious. Henry Giroux is a professor and major figure of the media literacy movement and he's definitely in the critical media literacy camp. Basically people who are in this group focus more on the negative aspects of media. In this book Giroux calls out Disney as a corporation whose motives are to sell Disney products, rather than innocent entertainment. If you haven't figured out that Disney is trying to sell a product than you must not live on earth. I do think he points out some interesting contradictions in their message of innocence, but you have to consider the time period of the examples he gives. And it is a business! To me Giroux spent a good portion of the book talking as if Disney were the same thing as the public schools. He also left me with many unanswered questions. I'd also like to know how he feels about the recent Disney movies and movements (e.g., The Princess and the Frog, the Disney Princesses). If you're interested in Disney at all you might want to read this book. It does have some thought provoking information and facts.

2)Polite as a Princess by Melissa Arps
While looking for a new book for Elle to take on our trip I found this one. Chris and I are trying to be careful about Elle and the princess stuff, but I thought this was a good example of my previous thoughts on what the princesses should teach girls. It has all the regular princess characters and uses them to teach behaviors that are good manners. It's cute and if you know a little girl who's interested in the Disney Princesses she'd probably like this book.

Friday, June 10, 2011

thankful thursday...a day late

~celebrating casey's graduation
~air conditioning
~a good visit with Chris' cousin Amy
~girl time with crafts and yummy treats

Thursday, June 9, 2011

dissertation irony

One aspect of my dissertation focuses on whether cultural capital is a major reason teachers take field trips. Simply put, cultural capital is the accumulation of cultural experiences, which increase out-of-school learning. Some studies show that students with more cultural capital have higher academic achievement. So going to museums, zoos, libraries, theaters, etc are beneficial to learning; therefore, we should encourage more field trips to these places and take our children to these places as soon, and as much as possible.

So it's important to me to take Elle to the zoo, the library, the farm, to the student's orchestra performances, etc. Basically, anywhere that she'll see something out of the ordinary and that will encourage her at some point to do some out-of-school reading, research, and learning.

Well, there's only one problem...I'm a megalophobic! I'm afraid of big things. Here's one definition from a fellow megalophob's blog: Megalophobia is the irrational fear of large objects. In some cases megalophobia is manifested as a fear of objects that are larger than they should be (for example, clown shoes, novelty sunglasses, oversized pants) however, in most cases Megalophobia is simply a fear of objects significantly larger than one's self. There is no standard measure of when something has become large enough to unsettle a person suffering from megalophobia, it is entirely subjective and unique to the individual sufferer. It is often the case that a megalophobe's anxieties are heightened on the ability of the large object to move.

I'm terrified of dinosaurs, whales, sometimes planes or other aircraft, some mounted animals, trains, statues, etc. I don't know why it started, but for as long as I can remember I've been scared of big things. I freeze, start to hyperventilate, cry, shake, etc, basically turn into a big baby. I've had numerous nightmares about being near whales or something else large. I couldn't take Elle to parts of the Mayborn in Waco because of the mammoth skull or other statues. I cringe if I have to drive by the history museum by the capitol because of that plane hanging there in the window. Some parts of Woolaroc are goes on and on. If we go somewhere new I have to research it, send someone to look ahead, or peek around corners. The elephant building at the Tulsa zoo and parts of the Smithsonian on our trip to D.C. were off-limits. And now I can't take Elle to the Sam Noble Museum even though parts of it look really interesting. (I was starting to feel the panic just watching a short video about it yesterday!)

Chris thinks I should just confront my fear, but he hasn't been successful in getting me to do this. In fact, two parts of our honeymoon were not very pleasant for him when he decided to take me on the Universe of Energy ride and the Maelstrom ride at Epcot. But, yesterday he brought up my dissertation and how sad it was I couldn't take Elle to a museum so now I feel like it's time to do something serious about it.

If you have any suggestions, or want to use me as a psychotherapy project let me know. I know I don't want to just take Elle to the museum by myself and cause her to be alarmed if I panic, but I don't know how else to get rid of this phobia.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

casey graduates!

If you don't know, Casey is my wonderful baby sister. We're 13 years apart (Yes, my mom had a kid in the 70's, 80's, and 90's!). Saturday we celebrated Casey's graduation from Edison High School. I cannot begin to tell you how proud of Casey we are! I know my dad would have been hollering right there with us. She's excelled in school and is headed to TU in the fall. Seems funny to think the year I started TU Casey started kindergarten!

Some of my favorite parts of her graduation:
*Casey being honored for a 4.0+ GPA
*The class song: "You've Got a Friend In Me" by Randy Newman
*Class quote: "Believe in yourselves. Dream. Try. Do good" by Mr. Feeny on Boy Meets World
*Good Morning America does a "sum up your week in 3 words" so this year they had the graduates submit a video of their 3 words and then the mashed them together and put it to music. Here's Casey's video:

Congrats Casey!

P.S. Next week we're celebrating with her at Disneyland!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

thankful thursday

Today I'm thankful for:

*maintaining patience on Elle's first day of potty training
*a surprise-to-me orientation meeting to scope out the new juniors
*a much needed nap

This week I've been thankful for:
*hearing the baby's heartbeat
*Elle getting to have bible class with Aunt Beth
*a quiet week in the dorm
*being able to cook for my family

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

the last days

Our last week or so with the students was busy!
Senior Swim Party...

Awards ceremonies, Junior move out day, Graduation practice, Graduation party with a water ballon fight...

Here's Chris sneaking up on the kids with his super soaker from high school

and here the kids are chasing him...

and here's where they tackled him (he's in the middle of this group) and broke the gun...

Graduation on the capitol steps...
This is the best shot I got because Elle and I lasted all of 5 minutes before we had to go find a shade tree on the side to sit under

So while I listened to the program, Elle played with rocks

and in the dirt

and finally senior move out (insert crickets)

I had my moments of tears. It's probably the pregnancy hormones, but I kept thinking those are somebody's babies moving on and someday, too soon, it will be Elle too. We'll miss our girls, but it sure is nice this week with no flushing toilets to wake us up and actually fixing our own food.