Thursday, December 30, 2010

Happy New Year!

Life is good.................... no......... REALLY good ! I am truly blessed and so thankful for all that 2010 has brought to me and my family. I am thankful for too many things to put into this blog, but let it be said that I am one happy girl. I am so thankful to the good Lord for all that 2010 has brought us and anxiously await all that 2011 will bring. I will admit it is a little scary to think I will be a mom to a 10 and 8 year old in 2011, where has the time gone!?!

Here is a bit of a year in review via pictures for you as we say goodbye to 2010 and hello to 2011.

I hope that 2011 brings you health and happiness, live each day as if it is your last,soak it all in......I know I do.



Friday, December 10, 2010


We have had a BIG change in our household this week........... Tim has gone back to work. The economy finally hit us with all of my courses cancelling at the University I teach at. I am SO thankful that my children and myself have benefitted from the years of hard work and dedication Tim put into running our home and taking care of the kids. This time also allowed him to dedicate time and energy into establishing his successful DJ and DVD production businesses as well.
As with any new venture anxiety did ensue at first but I am so proud of him for his smooth transition back into the work force outside of home. I did have to hustle and try to find after school care for the kids (he went in for a hiring conference on Wednesday and his first job was Thursday!) and found it through an amazing neighbor who is going to watch them from the time they get off of the bus until Tim or I get home from work.
I am so thankful and feeling so blessed right now, this could have been a difficult transition for all of us,but it has been so smooth. It's incredible how the Lord provides for us ALWAYS.

Monday, November 22, 2010

"I want to help!"

The other day Lauren and I were watching t.v. together and an infomercial to help starving children across the world came on and Lauren looked at me and whole heartedly said "I WANT TO HELP!" 
Well, we have a local organization called kidsagainst hunger - our Vacation Bible School donated pallets of food to them this summer. I remembered they asked for volunteers to come to their factory in Milford to pack food. I sent an email to them this morning -  I am hoping that I can show Lauren that if she wants to help and does help she can make a difference..........I will let you know how it all turns out.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

I would do it again!

Tim and I had such a fantastic time on our getaway to Disney.
I did feel guilty when we left at first but that faded quickly as Tim and I just enjoyed one another's company, were able to relax and enjoy without worrying about meeting the kids needs. It was wonderful reconnecting with Tim and just having fun together.

We enjoyed Food and Wine Festival, drinking and eating our way around the World Showcase, laughs with eachother and our friends, shopping, and some great couple moments, like going out to a fancy restuarant we have never been to before with the kids - just the two of us. It reminded me how much fun Tim and I have together just the two of us and how lucky I am to be married to Tim.

We got to experience Osborune Lights together, it was AMAZING!

 I am not one to cry at events like this, but when those lights came on, the snow fell down and the Christmas music started, I teared up - words can't describe it, it is truly magical!
That was honestly the only moment of the trip that I wished the kids were there to experience that with us- but I reminded myself that I can easily bring them back to experience it for themselves at another time and just to enjoy this time with Tim.......... and I did!
I absolutely loved our time away together. It was nice to see that the kids did indeed survive without us (had a good time with their grandparents actually). I love my kids and we did miss them and were showered with hugs and kisses the entire evening we returned which was wonderful!
I would definitely do it all over again, and can't wait to plan our next getaway.......just the two of us.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Second Honeymoon

Well, tomorrow it is!!!! Tomorrow night Tim and I head up to a hotel at the Columbus airport for our second honeymoon to Disney World. Tim and I haven't been to Disney without the kids since our honeymoon over 12 years ago. We are heading down for 3 nights at the Disney's Boardwalk resort to enjoy Food and Wine festival together:
Don't get me wrong, we will both miss the kids desperately, especially since we are going to Disney where we have vacationed together as a family since the kids were babies. BUT I need to keep reminding myself that this is for our family- to keep our marriage strong and fresh, to enjoy time just the two of us, to renew ourselves and thinking about it like that makes me SO EXCITED! I am thankful for Tim's mom and my parents for taking care of the kids in our absence, it helps so much knowing they will be in safe/fun/loving hands while we are away. Please pray for our safe travel, for the kids to be fine without us and for Tim and I to make some wonderful memories together.................I'll report back on how it all went : )

Friday, October 22, 2010

Is it that time ALREADY!?!

Can you believe we are only 62 days away from Christmas!?! My goal this year is to stay on top of things and get shopping and cards done early so I can sit back and enjoy the season instead of last minute rush and wrapping as in previous years. Although, I will admit, I'm already logged in to the various black Friday websites, I just can't resist that early morning shopping rush and I do anticipate being one of the crazies out at 4 a.m. for the deals.
The Christmas budget list is made and the shopping has begun, I SO love this time of year!
Last year was the first year that I didn't do the traditional store bought Christmas cards. I found it so easy to personalize my cards on Shutterfly with our favorite family pictures from the year then all I had to do was stuff envelopes and address them- LOVE it!
 I have already made a trip over to shutterfly to check out their new holiday styles :   They even have photo gift tags this year: ................. tempting.......
  My favorites are the "peppermint bliss" and the "many memories tree" styles- I'm trying to decide if I want a style with 3 pictures or 6.  Now I need to search through our family pictures from the year and decide which ones will "make the card cut".   Wish me luck ; ) Enjoy your own holiday preparations............. let the fun begin!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Celebrating Our Family

Today was the 2 year anniversary of my student Elli's death at the young age of 8. I loved Elli, she was so smart, and her laughter was contagious. She was at school on a Friday and passed away in her sleep that Saturday night - a very tragic time for all. On today, the anniversary of her death her father Scott wrote an amazing blog honoring her life:

I read the blog this morning before I went to work and I had left it up on my laptop. I got a call from Tim this morning at work and he told me with tears still in  his eyes that he had read it, and as a result he made the decision that today he was planning some fun/memorable activities for us celebrate our family and boy did her EVER!
The kids and I came home to a house decorated with balloons and streamers. Tim and I sat the kids down and reminded them about Elli and we told them about the blog (briefly) and how we wanted to celebrate being alive together as a family- they were so excited. Tim had a fun game planned for us. He filled up balloons in the corner:
I won't go into the details of the game, but just know that it was fun and involved us running with balloons between our legs and popping the balloons for prizes. We ALL had fun getting into the action:

We had such fun together laughing and playing the game. Tim made us our favorite dinner of spaghetti, meatballs, garlic bread and salad. We enjoyed a wonderful dinner together and enjoyed our prizes. We wrapped up the evening looking at some old pictures (I am amazed daily how fast my children are growing up). What a great night celebrating our family and our love for one another.
As a Christian I know that my time with my family here on earth is a blessing and is temporary, Elli  and other precious loved ones from my past are constant reminders of this. I am thankful for my loving family and our precious time together. Tim and I do the best we can within our family to enjoy all of our times together and to make memories that we can cherish- tonight was definitely one of those nights............I truly thank the Lord for my family! I am blessed beyond measure.................

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Happy Birthday Dear Lauren!

Happy 7th Birthday to my baby girl!
It seems like only yesterday I was holding your four pound preemie body in my arms in the NICU surrounded by beeping wires, my have you grown into a WONDERFUL young lady. I am so proud of your zest for life that sails you skipping and dancing through grocery stores, your caring and giving heart that allows you to stop everything and lend a helping hand to others,  your ability to light up a room with your smile and radiance, your sense of humor that takes us off guard and sends us into wails of laughter.
I am so proud to be your mom! 

Thursday, September 30, 2010


I am just outraged by the death/suicide of 18 year old Rutgers University student Tyler Clementi.
(Tyler is in the center, his roommate Dharun on the left, and the other accused Molly on the right)
 When is our world going to stop  judging others lifestyles and bullying one another with these types of crimes?  We should not tolerate this! Our world views need to change and I pray it is sooner rather than later!   His roommate Dharun Ravi's punishment will never suit this crime. What on EARTH would posess you to set up a webcam (without your roommates knowledge)  to stream LIVE when you knew your roommate would be having sexual relations with another? Could you IMAGINE if someone did this to you in the privacy of your own bedroom!?! Would he have set up the webcam and ran a live stream if Tyler wasn't gay? Would Tyler feel he should take his life due to the embarassment of this video if he wasn't outed as a result?  I do not think so and that is what saddens me even more. I am just so incredibly upset and saddened that the life of this gifted young man was taken due to ignorance, hate, and blatant stupidity!
Rest in peace Tyler, my prayers are with your family and friends.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Welcome Daisy!

We have been working with the Golden Retreiver Rescue of Cincinnati since June trying to find the perfect new dog for our family and yesterday that all came to fruition.
We traveled down to Louisville to meet two potential dogs yesterday. We got out of the car at the first house and it got ugly really fast. The other dog was very aggressive towards Mickey and we had to go put him in the car fast, calm down the kids and wipe their tears and we headed over to the other house. I was joking with Tim saying: "Mickey must be thinking, thanks a lot guys, you drive me two hours to meet a dog that kicks my butt, thanks a lot!!!"  : )
Well, the next house was a household with two children and a beautiful Golden Retreiver with curly hair who is now our new baby........ Daisy.
Isn't she the cutest!?! She and Mickey look like brother and sister, only she has the curls (just like Lauren in our family). Lauren thinks she has found her soul mate with another curly haired girl in the house. Luke LOVES her because she is so friendly and constantly drops a ball at your feet to have you throw the ball for her, and Tim is happy because he finally has "his" dog (Mickey is definitely my dog, always attached to my side). Daisy is getting along great with Mickey and even with our cat which I didn't expect to happen to soon. She has fit in tremendously already and we feel so blessed to have her!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

It's Time To Get Real

I was reflecting on old pictures of myself today (from my 30th birthday) and I started getting very upset with myself......... I have let myself go. No, I'm not obese by any stretch of the imagination but I am a lot heavier than I was on my 30th birthday. I attribute that to lack of consistent exercise, lack of a healthy diet most of the time, not drinking enough water and my recent obsession with wine. I was not one who drank in high school or college, but about 3 years ago when my job got stressful I started indulging in wine and lots of it. I have a large glass with snacks EVERY single night. That can't be good for weight loss.
So...... it's time to GET REAL. I'm going to be brutally honest here so I can update you all on my progress because I feel I need some accountability right now.
When I started this weight loss adventure I was at 151 pounds (I only started this two days ago by the way). I am currently 150 pounds, my goal is 135 pounds.
For the record I have always been blessed with "good genes" so I have NEVER stuck to an exercise and diet regimen in my ENTIRE life, so this will be tough for me.
My guideline is my "Lose It" application on my Iphone. I input my goal of losing 15 pounds and it is giving me 1500 calories per day. It allows me to input everything I'm eating and my exercise/calories burned. I am also going to cut out wine during the weekdays, weekends only for now - if I find I am hitting a plateau then I will re evaluate and cut it, I'm THAT serious.
So............... wish me luck.............. I really want the "old" Lesley back, it's time!!!!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Happy Anniversary!!!

This Saturday Tim and I will celebrate our 12 year wedding anniversary.

I think back to our wedding day 12 years ago and think how little we knew. When you are young and in love you don't truly understand what it takes to have a happy marriage. We are selfish human beings, always looking out for "number one". You don't know how to argue effectively and love unconditionally. You don't know how to be a parent, how to balance your time so that you can be a loving spouse and a great parent at the same time.
We had to learn a lot and I am so proud of where we are today. In a world filled with divorce I am so proud that Tim and I not only are still together after 12 years but that our marriage is stronger now than it has ever been.
I realize there are certain things that have gotten us here. First and foremost our love for the Lord and putting him first in our marriage has been our glue. Having the faith to know He will provide for us during difficult times has always been our rock.
Here are some others:

Ever since our marriage Tim has made me laugh each and every day (often many many times per day) and I try and do my part to keep him smiling as well. We have (as you can tell from the photo above) taught that love of laughter and finding humor in life to our children. Having a family who is always laughing together makes you one strong happy family unit.

Having been married now for 12 years we know what one another needs and likes. Being unselfish in marriage is just picking up someones laundry when you know they have had a long day. It's picking up wine or drawing a bath for your wife when you know she's had a hard day at work. It's surprising your husband with something he has wanted for a while for no reason. It's arranging a date night spontaneously so you can spend some quality time together. Allowing your spouse to sleep in while you get up and take care of the kids.  It's a constant give and take and predicing what the other one needs and meeting that need without being asked to do so and the important step here, is doing so WILLINGLY and out of LOVE for the other person, not because you want something in return or feel obligated to do so, just doing so out of LOVE

My husband is my best friend in the whole world. I can tell him anything and he knows that he can tell me anything. I love having a relationship in this world that I know I can depend on no matter what. I know he has my back and will always be there for me. Our friendship has developed over the years and has made our marriage stronger.

This was EASY when we first got married and didn't have kids, but it took me some time to understand the TRUE importance of this once the kids arrived. As a working mother I always felt guilty scheduling date nights since I never saw my kids during the week. Tim would sometimes book a hotel without telling me just to get me to go away. Now that the kids are older we enjoy frequent date nights and I just love that time alone. Even when we go on vacation to Disney each year we make sure we utlize the child care services to get away and have a night or two just "us".  I had to come to the realization how important this time for us to connect is and what kind of parents would we be if our marriage isn't strong for our children? For our ten year anniversary we went away for an entire weekend and it was wonderful! I look forward to future adults only weekends we have planned, I just love getting away just the two of us.
Tim, Happy 12 year anniversary. Thank you for being the most amazing best friend, companion, father, and husband a girl could ever ask for. I am truly blessed to call you my husband. I look forward to many many more years and good times together in the years to come.  I love you!!!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Ending on a POSITIVE note

It was a ROUGH baseball season for Luke this year. His team had a wonderful year in our Kings league last year so they were bumped to a VERY competetive Knothole league this year. We were playing teams that were hand selected with the best players, using big barrelled bats and teams that travel to other tournaments. Our team is full of boys who have been playing with one another since t-ball, no hand selection, no big barrel bats, just good old fashioned baseball for fun.

Well, it wasn't fun this year. It's not fun being run-ruled EVERY single game. It's not fun striking out against great pitchers. It's not fun to FINALLY get a hit but playing against teams who are so perfect in the field you don't have a prayer of getting to first. It was a LONG season for the boys AND the parents.

We were THRILLED that when it was tournament time  the league took a look at our record this year and bumped us down into a bracket we could actually compete at..... and we WON the championship game last night.
Luke found out it is FUN playing in the outfield knowing you aren't going to get KILLED:

He found out that it is FUN to get a hit, make it to first and get ready to steal second with your dad as your first base coach:

He found out it's FUN to make it to third and then STEAL home and score for your team as your family and team cheers you on!

Baseball can be FUN, and it doesn't hurt to go home with a big trophy either : )

Thursday, July 1, 2010


I have so much to blog about and don't want to go on and on forever so I decided instead to just make this into a grateful journal of sorts.
Right now in my life:
-I am grateful for a strong and healthy marriage, being married to my best friend who makes me laugh, take deep breaths and appreciate life daily.
-I am grateful for my two lovely children who are growing up (against my wishes to stop time) into wonderful human beings.
-I am grateful for the Lord blessing us so we are able to go on many wonderful vacations together and create memories to last a lifetime.
-I am even grateful for going to Girlscout camp, enduring 95 degree temperatures and sleeping on the floor on an empty stomach to look over and see my daughter smiling and hearing her say "thank you so much for taking me here with you momma!"
-I am grateful to have summers off with my family.
-I am grateful for the beautiful days without humidity. The blue skies, cool breezes and birds chirping arent lost on me, I love every minute of it!
-I am grateful for the ability to lounge by the pool, and put goggles on and play games under water with my kids.
-I am grateful for my family, living close to my family and Tim's family and all of the blessings and memories we have made together and the wonderful effects it has had on Luke and Lauren.
-I am grateful for ice cream.
-I am grateful that my kids still reach out and hold my hand as we are walking ANYWHERE together, even in front of their friends.
-I am grateful for great friends both old and new.
-I am grateful for the way my dog loves me and is my faithful friend, and for a purring cat who rubs lovingly on my forehead as he sits on my chest.
-I am grateful that God created wine : )
-I am grateful for Luke winning a baseball game!!!!
-I'm grateful for movies like Toy Story 3 that let me experience a full range of emmotions including crying like a baby knowing my babies are growing up.
-I am grateful for summertime bonfires under the stars in our backyard, and of course Smores.
-I am grateful for the Lord, my salvation and knowing that I will see loved ones again.
I am just so blessed, so GRATEFUL, and enjoying life.......... so GRATEFUL! I encourage you to make your own "grateful" list, I think you will be amazed at how truly blessed you really are.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Off to our Happy Place!!!!

It's my FAVORITE time of year, school is almost out and we are going to get in the car and head to the Happiest Place on Earth in 7 days!!!!
I'm so excited because we are actually pulling off a surprise for the kids this year. We are staying one night at the Nick hotel and they have NO idea, can't wait to pull into the parking lot and surprise them. We are also going to the Blue Man Group show, we scored 2nd row PONCHO section and we are going to the show on my birthday, can't wait!
More than anything I can't wait to just make Disney memories with my family:

It has become more and more apparant to me lately how quickly my kids are growing up. Luke actually held my hand on a long walk the other day in our neighborhood and I was thinking to myself that my soon to be 4th grader won't be caught dead holding his mom's hand soon. Lauren is entering 1st grade and I just can't believe how fast they are growing up. So I am ready to escape with my family and enjoy some good old fashioned family bonding in the Happiest Place on Earth.........

BRING IT!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

I'm Freaking Awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am a huge Jason Mraz fan and read his blog daily. Something he posted this past week has stuck with me and I have been showing it to others and watching them smile and decided I had to post it here.
Why is it in this life it is so easy to put ourselves down, and think negatively of ourselves. What happened to our innocent selves in our youth who LOVED ourselves!?! Imagine what it would do for your life and your self esteem to start your day off like this young lady in this Youtube video, JUST LOVE THIS... I think she has it all figured out (sooooo reminds me of Lauren):

So.................. start singing your own praises...............

Friday, May 14, 2010


Our church (River Hills Christian Church) started a new series this past Sunday called "HOUSE". What a wonderful series and I am so excited about it already. I learned so much at the first service that I wanted to share the outline for you here.

Essential Investments From God's Word to Build a Blessed Life at Home............

1). Invest in Mutual Acceptance
- This is HUGE isn't it. None of us are perfect, we each have our own quirks. My favorite thing they shared was "stop judging each other". In our families we need to accept and love one another for who we are, not hoping to change them into something they are not.
Accept one another just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. Romans 15:7
2). Invest in Effective Communication
-You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry James 1:19
That's a HARD one isn't it. Do you know that the AVERAGE couple talks to eachother alone only FOUR MINUTES per day!?! AND they watch an average of 47 hours per week of television together. What a sad and startling statistic. I will make sure that our home does not ever live out this statistic.

3). Invest in Considerate Behavior
-Show your love by being helpful to each other Ephesians 4:2
SO important. This was such a touch one in the beginning of our marriage as we had to let go of the "I" and concentrate on the feelings of the other person. I think Tim and I have grown so much in this area and I'm proud of how strong our marriage has become as a result, NOW the struggle is getting our children to learn these lessons and apply it to their lives as well.

4). Invest in Deliberate Surrender
-Love does not demand its own way 1 Corinthians 13:5
-Love one another deeply, from the heart 1 Peter 1:22

5). Invest in Encouraging Words
-This one really struck home with me and Tim and I talked about it and we have really concentrated on encouraging one another this week as well as encouraging the children. We have always done a decent job at this, but we know it can be better and it WILL be better.
-Ephesians 4:19 "Don't say anything that would hurt another person"
-"Encourage one another and build each other up" 1 Thessalonians 5:11

6). Invest in Real Affection
"Love one another with genuine affection" Romans 12:10
"Let the husband render to his wife the affection owed her, and likewise also the wife to her husband" 1 Corinthians 7:3

Tim and I do not hide our affection from our children. Luke and Lauren have grown up in a home where their mom and dad hug and kiss eachother daily and they see this. I kiss my kids and hug my kids and tell them "I love you" every chance I get. I think it is important for them to be surrounded by love and for them to have the example of what a loving marriage is, that should not be hidden from them.

7). Invest in Ongoing Forgiveness(this one of course can ALWAYS be a struggle).
-"Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you." Colassians 3:13
-Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:32.
WOW, that can be a tough one, but I will be working on it.

I want to have a strong marriage and to have a positive relationship with my kids. I am taking these steps to invest in our HOME by following these biblical principals that will make our HOME BLESSED.


Monday, May 10, 2010

Beautiful Inside and Out

My sister n' law took this picture of Lauren on Mother's Day, when I opened it I was just taken aback by her beauty:

What I love about my daughter is that she is just as beautiful (if not more so) on the inside than on the outside. What a blessing she is to me.............

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

I hope you have had a wonderful Mother's Day today.

I spent it with my two wonderful children who the Lord has blessed me with and my amazing husband. I was able to spend time with my own mother who I am fortunate enough to live close to and we shared a fun day together as well. I also was with my brother and his wife and got some cuddle time in with my nephew.

Today I spent a lot of time reflecting on how fast my children have grown. It seems like only yesterday I was carrying each of them in my belly,bringing them home from the hospital for the first time. I just can't wrap my mind around how blessed I am by my amazing children, I just love them so very very much! I cherish these days where I am still the center of their universe. They still say "mom, will you play with me?" "Mom, can you snuggle with me?" Ohhhhhhhh how I cherish that and I know that it will be gone all too soon and it makes me cry.

I am thankful for my own mother and for her example to me over the years of how to be a mother.

I hope that one day my own children will grow up and view me as a true friend as I view my own mother.
Happy Mother's Day! I hope it was a great one for each of you, I know it was for me!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Feeling Free

We recently took a wonderful trip to Kiawah Island South Carolina. Being able to sit on a beach with my family and soak in the rays is something I will never take for granted. My favorite picture from the trip is this one:

I love how the beach allows my kids to just be kids and be FREE! There is way too much technology in this world and I am just as guilty as all of the other parents out there with the portable DVD players, Nintendo DS's, and I have two kids (well one more than the other) obsessed with online games such as Club Penguin. That is why I cherish these FREE moments, when it is just "us" being a family. Those are the experiences in our family that will mold my children into who they are in this world, it is what brings us together as a family and bonds us. I hope you get away some this year with your family and experience some freeing moments and make memories, it's what our life here on earth is all about!

Monday, April 19, 2010

So... You are going to Disney... Where should you stay??

So…… you are going to Disney World, where should you stay?
The big debate when planning your Disney vacation is should you stay ON property or OFF property? We have weighed these in our minds over and over and on property has always won for us, but I do understand why those who are more budget minded would opt for the off property locations. In this Disney planning installment I will discuss ON property and the next I will discuss OFF property.
The PRO’S for staying on property are:
-If you are flying free Disney Magical Express bus service to and from the airport to your Disney resort.
-Location Location Location, you are RIGHT on property so you don’t have to fight traffic, you simply get on your Disney convenient transportation bus at your resort and at the park and are at your destination in no time.
-The other LOCATION perk is being able to hop on a Disney bus (or boat depending on the resort) and go back to your resort easily and quickly for afternoon pool breaks or naps (this has been HUGE for us over the years).
-You will have the option to use the Disney Dining Plan
-You will have a “Key to the World Card” which serves as your room key, if you are on the dining plan your “dining key”, your park tickets (if you book a package that includes tickets), and you can use it for room charges.
-Any purchases you make at the parks or Downtown Disney can be sent back to your room at no charge so you don’t have to lug them around with you.
-The theming – you are on Disney property so the theming of these hotels are great.
-The customer service, when you stay on Disney property you are surrounded by Disney cast members, I have not seen customer service like this in any other hotel we have stayed in, Disney just knows how to do it right.
-You can make your dining reservations 180 days in advance PLUS 10 days, so all of your reservations can be made in one phone call for your entire trip when staying on property.
I’m sure I am leaving some perks out, but these are the biggies.
Now, if you decide you will be staying on Disney property for your vacation then you need to determine where you would like to stay. Disney has several levels of hotels: The Disney Campground, Value Resorts, Moderate Resorts, Deluxe Resorts, and Vacation Villas.
Before I go into the resorts I want to tell you to check out GREAT site that is always updating the current deals on Disney including the discount codes, this is where I found my first discount code years ago for only $124 a night at Wilderness Lodge and we were hooked on deluxe resorts and NEVER looked back.
MY FAVORITE Disney website is if you are planning a trip to Disney you MUST visit this website, look around and post questions, they answer you quickly, GREAT forum!
O.K, onward to the on property resorts:
The Disney value resorts range from 82.00-130.00 per night depending on the time of year you travel, type of room you request (you can request a preferred room that is closer to the food court and bus stops, I do NOT recommend doing this, I recommend saving your money and putting a specific location request on your reservation instead). These are the RACK rates for this room and often throughout the year Disney will give public discounts that really knocks the price down per night.
Value resorts are the smallest room size, come with two double beds and have outside access to your rooms so if it is raining and you get off of the bus and you have a hike to your room you WILL get wet. We stayed in a value our first year and we had a great stay and the kids LOVED it!
If you decide on a value resort our FAVORITE is the POP Century Resort.

It is the newest of the Value’s, has great larger than life icons, a nice main pool and pool bar with pools in each “era”. You can stay in the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, or 90’s locations. Each decade has it’s own theme, icons, and music to go with the theme, just LOVE that about this resort, and it’s own POOL! Pop has a nice big food court, doesn’t share buses with any other resort (which is a huge plus for us), and a nice arcade which our kids loved. Value resorts are the smallest room size, come with two double beds and have outside access to your rooms so if it is raining and you get off of the bus and you have a hike to your room you WILL get wet.
The next step up are Disney’s Moderate resorts. The average price for moderate resorts are $149-$249 per night (again these are the RACK rates, often they come out with discounts). You still have the exterior access to your room, but the rooms are a tad bit bigger, beds are bigger (queen sized), and the pools have slides and hot tubs. Our favorite moderate resort is Port Orleans French Quarter.

The theming here is great, kids love the pool with the huge serpent slide, and they have a boat that takes you to Downtown Disney. The other reason we love this moderate is it is BY FAR the smallest Disney moderate resort so your walk to the food court and bus stops is minimal, the other moderate resorts are SO spread out. We also love Port Orleans French Quarter because it does share transportation with Port Orleans Riverside but French Quarter is picked up first and dropped off first so we have always gotten a seat to ride on (I don’t like standing and riding on Disney buses). The food court here is good, and the arcade was nice as well, we really enjoyed our stay at this resort.
Also included in the Moderate category for the same rates listed above are the Fort Wilderness Cabins. This is a great option for larger families and it includes a full kitchen as well. We have not stayed at these but have heard wonderful things about them.

The NEXT step up are Disney’s Deluxe Resorts. There are two big differences in prices of the deluxe resorts. If you stay on the monorail you will pay a LOT more. Our favorite deluxe resorts that are not on the monorail so are in the lower tier of pricing are Wilderness Lodge:

or the Animal Kingdom Lodge:

These resorts are VERY similar (the all under one roof concept and so you have covered walkways from the bus into the nicely air conditioned lobby – this is GREAT in the summer). They have sit down restaraunts as well as food courts at the deluxe resorts, they have the pool slides, etc. The difference between Animal Kingdom Lodge and Wilderness lodge is the theming, obviously there are Animals at the Animal Kingdom lodge and that is just AWESOME! Both resorts are incredibly beautiful and have wonderful pools with pool slides. Wilderness Lodge is VERY close to the Magic Kingdom and offers a boat to and from the Magic Kingdom which is a GREAT perk. These two resorts range in price from $240-400 per night (depending on room size, view, etc). Both of these resorts do offer a bunk bed option so you can have 2 queens in your room or a queen and a bunk bed which is great for families with kids. All deluxe resorts also offer a balcony which we loved because when the kids were falling asleep we could step outside from some privacy.
So those are the Disney ON property locations in a nutshell (that was hard to summarize and it was STILL wordy) . Next Disney blog I do will be on OFF property perks and locations, then I will do one on our favorite tips and tricks to getting around the parks and avoiding crowds.

Don't worry, I did NOT ignore the other part of the survey results that said many of you still want to hear about my family, I am NOT abandoning that either, more updates on our family will be continuing on this blog as well. Thanks for reading!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Votes are In!

So, the votes are in (thanks for those who voted) and Disney Planning won with 74% of the votes cast, I didn’t get a single comment telling me what you want me to discuss in Disney planning, so I will just start blindly but PLEASE if you have anything Disney Planning related you would like me to discuss from Hotels, itinerary planning, budgets, Disney dining (including meal planning, our favorite places to eat, making reservations), favorite tips, etc. PLEASE post a comment.
I’m off to work on my first installment “So you are going to Disney, where should you stay?”, stay tuned!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Cast Your Vote!!!

I have added a poll to the blog, (it is located to the left of this post). Please take a moment to vote, this will be open the next few weeks. I am curious to see what you would like me most to blog about. So far Disney planning is winning, I do have a LOT to share in that arena so I look forward to blogging about that, if there is something SPECIFIC about Disney planning or the other topic you vote for please post that as a comment in response to this poll.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

What are you doing this Mother's Day??

This Mother's Day I am REALLY hoping my family will take me to see the movie "BABIES" that comes out. Have you seen the previews for this movie? I CAN'T WAIT to see it, looks AMAZING! (and makes me miss the precious moments when my kids were babies)
When you click on this it will take you to a publicity page, click on the "play trailer" :

So............ what do YOU think??


Sunday, March 28, 2010


I have an aunt named Holly, Holly happens to have Down syndrome. Holly has always been a big part of our lives. She is my mother's younger sister and when I was little she lived with my grandmother and grandfather in Indiana and then they made the move to Florida. My grandfather was an amazing man and planned for the days when he and my grandmother wouldn't be around to take care of Holly anymore. He put a lot of money aside to make sure that Holly's every need would be taken care of. Now that my grandparents are gone my mother has to make sure that all of Holly's needs are taken care of. I don't think that people realize that when you have a child with special needs the siblings of that child will eventually need to take up the reigns and take on the role of parent in that relationship.
Of course Holly is a part of our family and we all love her very much. Holly is around for most major holidays (Thanksgiving, 4th of July, Christmas time,etc.), weekend visits, goes on family vacations with us throughout the years, and for frequent visits- typically long weekends. Holly was a bridesmaid in my wedding, it was important for me to have her be a part of it.
Holly shaped me at a young age and I believe I am in the field of special education as a result of my relationship with her.
I have enjoyed watching Luke and Lauren with her as they have grown up. It is great to see how much they enjoy being around Holly, and how Holly makes them laugh and brings out the inner child in her:

Tim has really bonded with Holly over the years as well, in fact I think he is her new favorite. She always bypasses us to get a hug from "her Tim" first, it is funny to watch them giggle together.
Holly has taught all of us patience, acceptance and unconditional love. I am happy to have Holly as an aunt and an important part of our family unit.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The blessings of Grandparents

My kids enjoyed some quality grand parent moments lately. Every time that I think of moving south towards Florida (which beileve me crosses my mind a LOT) I think of all my kids would miss out on not being surrounded by family.
We had a family getaway to Clifty Falls Indiana for my mom's birthday, it was a WONDERFUL getaway with our family, my mom and dad and my brother, his wife and their new baby.
I was happy the kids spent some quality time with their grandparents:

We took a walk in the woods and this snapshot of my dad walking with Lauren flashed me back to when I was a kid, walking hand in hand with my dad when I was her age, so glad she has these memories now too:

My mom and Luke have this incredible bond, and it is so fun to watch them goof around together:

The getaway was wonderful family bonding time at it's best!

Then this week Tim's mom came into Luke and Lauren's school and did a wonderful demonstration about their Ukranian heritage, her great grandfather's journey to America as an immigrant from the Ukraine, and all of his successes when he arrived in America. Here she was talking to the kids:

She did an amazing job teaching the Ukranian heritage to the kids and really holding their attention. Then she demonstrated how to make Ukranian Easter Eggs. The kids were happy to have their grandmother come to school and speak:

Funny that BOTH my mom AND Tim's mom are named Georgia, that is why we chose it for Lauren's middle name.
I would be remiss not to mention Tim's dad here as well. He is a wonderful grandfather to my children, comes up with fun and creative games with the kids which they BEG to play. Here is Luke playing his favorite "left right" game at our recent family night. Tom (Tim's dad) yells out "left foot, right foot, right arm" etc. and the kids have to do it quickly and when they get it wrong they are squirted with water, HUGE hit with the grandkids.

Today I am thankful for loving grand parents, my children are blessed to have two very loving sets of grandparents and for that I am TRULY thankful!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

My Bologna ........

So, I am going to try and due this "inside joke" a little justice.
To understand this you must understand two things:
1). I am ALWAYS going around singing "my balogna has a first name, it's O-S-C-A-R" at the top of my lungs goofing around the house with the kids, just something I've ALWAYS done.
2). My middle name is Marie
So........ I had a stressful day at work today and Tim knew I needed a smile so he bought me some beautiful flowers and this AWESOME card:

Does it GET any better than that???
Isn't it great when someone you love does something special that puts a HUGE smile on your face and let's the worries of the day just melt away instantly.
That card will go down in emphamy, LOVE it!

Thursday, February 25, 2010


Have you heard that song by LUCKY by Colbie Caillat and Jason Mraz? (I put it in my song list in case you haven't).
Well.......... I am LUCKY to be in love with my best friend.
In this world we live in, having a strong family is definitely a rariety. I see people so unhappy in their marriages just going through the motions, constantly fighting, not connecting, it's sad really. I feel that investing in my marriage and making sure it is strong is not only healthy for us, but so very important for our children, their well being and emmotional stability.
Of course, just like all strong marriages, Tim and I have had our up's and downs, but we are stronger for it and, after 11 1/2 years of marriage, we are stronger than we have ever been. I am indeed LUCKY to be married to my best friend. Tim makes me laugh daily, keeps me strong, is my motivation, is my coach, and more importantly my very best friend. I am so blessed that the Lord has given me such a wonderful partner in life.

A part of keeping our marriage strong is getting away, just the two of us sometimes. This weekend (as my Valentine's Day gift to Tim) we will escape to a VERY nice hotel in the Downtown Cincinnati area, enjoy a nice dinner together, movie night and hotel getaway, I CAN'T WAIT!



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