Emma and Eli: April 2015

April started with me wrapping up an amazing mission trip to Guatemala with North Cobb Christian School.  Clint is always so awesome with Emma and Eli when I’m gone and they were such an encouragement to me during the trip.  Thankfully we had wifi, so we were able to FaceTime in the morning and evening a few minutes to check in and pray together.  I love my crew and I’m so grateful for the technology that allows us to be “together” even when we are in different countries!
My flight from Guatemala returned in time for me to get home around 8pm on Friday, April 3 (Good Friday).  I did some quick laundry and we headed out at 4am the next morning to go to Disney World for Spring Break.  Our kids had no idea…they didn’t even know we were going anywhere!  Clint drove and the rest of us slept the first few hours in the car.  After breakfast Emma and Eli started asking lots of questions, but they still didn’t figure it out.  We stopped for lunch at Moe’s in Orlando and then headed towards our hotel.  Emma has become a really strong reader and she started studying the highway signs.  The moment she saw the Disney World sign…she and Eli both got so excited!  Clint and I love being able to have awesome experiences with our kids…the look on their faces for this one was worth every penny we saved to make this trip happen!  On our first day we went to Downtown Disney and ate at a pizza place near our hotel.
We stayed off property and enjoyed the hotel we picked.  It was large enough to spread out for the 7 days we were there.  Most days we opened and closed the parks, but a few days we came back to the hotel to rest, do laundry, and just cool off.  We went to the Magic Kingdom all day on Easter.  It was Emma’s second visit…we brought her just before she turned 2…and Eli’s first visit. They loved the Magic Kingdom and we loved watching them enjoy it!  Emma was a HUGE fan of Space Mountain and we all rode it multiple times…while Eli waited with one parent or the other and enjoyed snacks.  After a full day in the park, we ate dinner at Chili’s and stopped by Krispy Kreme for dessert since the hot sign was on (vacation Mom is much more fun!).
Monday we woke up early and went to a character breakfast at Tusker House in the Animal Kingdom.  Eli said the area that was decorated like Africa was alright…but not as authentic as they thought.  The character breakfast was entertaining.  Emma loved the characters.  Eli loved when they walked away!  We had lots of fun on the rides…especially Expedition Everest.  Around mid-afternoon we headed to the hotel to swim and just relax.  We woke up Tuesday morning and headed to Epcot for the day.  This was one of the hottest days and there isn’t a ton to do for little ones there.  Emma really enjoyed Test Track and Eli enjoyed Spaceship Earth and a few of the shows we went to.  We left Epcot mid-afternoon and walked around Downtown Disney for a while.  We visited the Lego store to get the free Legos they giveaway the first Tuesday of the month and ate dinner at the T-Rex restaurant.  It was pretty fun and we decided we were rested enough to head back to Epcot for the evening.  We did a few rides and then stuck around for Illumination…the Epcot fireworks…really fun!
Wednesday morning we went to Hollywood Studios.  Emma wasn’t too sure about the Rockin’ Roller Coaster at first, but she ended up really loving it and rode it over and over again!  We rode the Tower of Terror which Emma has since renamed the “Tower of Terrible”.  She rode it multiple times before declaring that she really didn’t like that ride!  We checked out all the rides, ate dinner at the park, and then stuck around to watch Fantasmic…their fireworks show.  It was really good!
Thanks to a tip from some friends, we got to Hollywood before it opened Thursday so we could be first in line to RUN to the Toy Story ride.  We are so glad we did!  The ride was a blast…but even waiting in line was enjoyable with all of the vintage game decorations they used in the waiting area.  We rode the Rockin’ Roller Coaster a few more times and then we decided to take the afternoon off to hit the beach.  We drove about an hour and a half to grab lunch and Moe’s and then spend the afternoon at Cocoa Beach.  It was a beautiful day and we loved the beach!  It was just the break that we needed!  We found a fun beach restaurant to eat dinner and then we wandered through Ron Jon’s Surf Shop before heading back to the hotel.  Everyone slept pretty well that night!
We woke up early Friday so that we could be at the Magic Kingdom right when it opened so we could RUN to the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.  Clint and Emma rode it first while Eli and I went to the Merry Go Round, Peter Pan, and a few other smaller rides.  Then Emma and I rode it before the whole crew enjoyed several rides around the park.  We left the park and ran through Chick-fil-A and ate lunch at the hotel before enjoying super long naps.  After everyone woke up, we went back to the park for dinner, more rides, and the Magic Kingdom fireworks.  Emma rode Space Mountain five times on Friday!  Such a fun day!
Saturday morning was our last day at Disney, so we got there super early and rode the boat across to the Magic Kingdom.  We got to see the Magic Kingdom welcome show and then ran to the Mine Train again so that we could all ride it once more before we left.  After riding a few rides, we went to a character breakfast at the Crystal Palace.  What a difference a week makes…Eli loved the characters and wanted pictures with all of them!  After our breakfast we rode all of our favorite rides one more time and then watched the Main Street Parade before getting in the car to drive home.  We got back pretty late that night.  We were totally exhausted, but it was such an amazing week full of laughs, smiles, and lots of fun with our crew!  We can’t wait to go again…in about five years!
School started back up after Spring Break and it’s usually a sprint from Spring Break to the last day of school.  Our family enjoyed lots of fun school events as well as meals and other activities with friends.  Emma was so excited to use the money she saved to buy her very own Kavu bag.  She is in a stage right now where she wants to copy just about everything Mommy does…and I have to admit it’s pretty sweet!
April had more rain that I can remember in recent years, but that led to lots of fun memories too!  Emma and I had a chance to go back and visit The Garden with the National Honor Society from NCCS.  The Garden is a place where women and children can live if they need shelter.  Our group provides childcare so that the moms can have Bible study and then we provide dinner for everyone.  It’s always a great time and it means the world to Emma to be able to go and help out.  We are so grateful for her servant heart!
The last Sunday in April was so special as we stood in front of our church family and officially dedicated Eli to the Lord.  When we brought him home last year, we had just missed the Baby Dedication for the spring.  It was really special to participate this year after he had been home almost a year.  Clint and I have been so blessed to get to do this with both of our children at Cedarcrest Church.  This time Emma joined us and she was about to bust with pride standing up there with her sweet brother.  We are so grateful for the partnership of both Cedarcrest Church and North Cobb Christian School as they join Clint and I in investing in the hearts and minds of Emma and Eli with the hope that they will live lives for the glory of God and the good of others.
Here are some pics from our really fun April!
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