Saturday, October 1, 2011

We're Going To Disney!!!

I'm so excited! We are going for Thanksgiving. Which kills two birds with one stone (vacation for us... avoiding interpersonal conflict at the family get together for me)

We've been debating this trip for the past year... Mr F's work schedule is so deadline intensive that managing a full week when he can be out of the office.... has been impossible. I think the girls had kind of given up hope at this point. But, they are the perfect ages... Baby still believes in the characters but is finally tall enough to ride the real rides, and Kid is old enough to enjoy the roller coasters but is still willing to go on the little kid rides and wait in line for autographs. So going now will mean we don't have to split up and spend our family vacation in two separate ride lines the whole time! Plus, (serious bonus) Baby is still small enough to pass for a 3 year old... so... guess who doesn't need a park admissions?! (I think God will forgive us) That shaves $300 off our trip... and next year... I don't think we'd be able to pull that off.

I just booked our hotel... and we're... (gulp)... going to drive. Mr F's work benefit is the free car & gas, so we just couldn't get around it when trying to make this trip affordable. Driving for two straight days there and back?! Yeah, I'm not really looking forward to it, but at this point, there is no denying we are a long haul driving kind of family and the kids are used to it. So, we'll make it through. Plus, it saves us the $1200+++ to fly.

We're going back to the same off-site hotel we stayed at a couple years back. It's an all suites hotel, with free parking, really nice pools (including kiddie pool, water slide, and life guard), and it's close to WDW. In fact we found we got to the parks faster driving then we did staying on-site and taking Disney transportation. We're staying at the Caribe Royale, and we totally recommend it. The rooms are massive compared to on-site, and I'd say it's at least as nice as the deluxe level Disney resorts, yet, you can get a one bedroom suite for less than $100/night. We got a corporate deal, but you can easily find reduced rates for this resort, just keep your eyes open. We were shocked at how nice it was, and what you could get for the price, compared with the Disney resorts... however... you need a car to make staying here worthwhile.

We are extremely excited to be going back. We are so happy that Mr F could take the time off, and that we'll have 9 days together just relaxing (well Disney's not exactly relaxing...) and having fun. I can't remember the last time (ever?!) that Mr F took this long of a vacation with us. I think it'll be a great time for the kids.

FYI, So far the trip is running us about $1650 (hotel, WDW parking at parks, WDW admission for 6 days w/ park hopper). Food and motels for our drive & food at the park is not included... I can't remember what we spent last time, but I think we did our food for $400 the whole trip... I'll keep our receipts and let you know. In comparison our WDW hotel quotes had us (even at a moderate resort ... which sucks compared to where we'll be) at around $3000 for this length of stay.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

This Doesn't Happen Very Often Anymore

Things around here have been FULL.

Everything is going surprisingly well, but we are definitely walking the edge of "how busy is too busy?".

Homeschooling, of course, takes a pretty big chunk of my day... and at different times either requires my computer or my actual presence... so... there goes blogging.

I really miss it, and would like to find a way to get the time back in the morning when I usually have the right frame of mind for writing.

Unfortunately, for me, that is also when Kid has theoright frame of mind for math... and she does that on my computer. So that takes precedence. (But I may be really hoping Santa brings her a really cheap computer of her own... if Santa could get over everything having to be a Mac... since Santa cannot afford another Mac...)


The schooling is going EXTREMELY well. I'm super organized and we definitely have a strong "school" day this year, without it being extremely regimented. Which means, I have a schedule with all the days lessons and assignments and we work through them and check them off... the order and the time we do them is flexible. Which is good because 2 days a week Baby has preschool and that requires picking up and dropping off, one day she has dance, one day she has library storytime, one day Kid has Brownies, and one day she has horseback riding, and another day she's gone all day at her electives program. Plus, we seem to have a field trip or special class 2-3 times a month (and this month an extraordinary amount of doctor's visits). Our school day takes about 4 solid hours, sometimes we can get that all done before our afternoon activities (my preference), but other times it has to be worked around we might have a subject or two to finish before dinner. And I'm trying not to be too rigid about the lesson plans... Kid has had a couple of freak-outs during handwriting and journaling, and we've been able to use those as good therapeutic exercises. We're trying to work through the frustration she can have (the OCD perfection drive), take a time-out, speak up about it before it's too late, and walk away.... not lose control scribble so hard all over your work that you rip through the pages and ruin your finished work from last week. So we're working on recognizing the feeling and acting on that, putting the assignment away and coming back to it (today or another day) when she feels she can finish it. Not feeling badly about herself if something is triggering her, just accepting it in a non-judgemental way, setting the work aside and coming back to it later. We've had 3 weeks of handwriting assignments that went perfectly, then this week one letter just pushed her over the edge... I just erased the handwriting lesson plans I had scheduled and we kept working a little (very little) bit at a time on the one hard letter and until 3 days later she'd finished it. I'm trying to teach her that it is OK to say "I can't handle this right now" as long as we don't give up, and keep trying until we can finish it. This is hard work for her (and me), but it is the work we need to do. Some things are harder for her, but they are not impossible. It's been extremely rewarding for her, it has helped remove the guilt and shameful feelings she'd have when she'd ruin a project or feel that something was just too hard for her. She's learning that she has some harder days and that she can still succeed if she works around them... not necessarily through them.

Having said how well things are going, it is no surprise that I am contemplating changing them! We've decided to try and get both kids into a charter school next Fall. I think that will be best for Baby at this point, and it is K-8 so if she gets in Kid will have an in for the next opening at her grade level. (There are not a lot of openings since there is only one class per grade... and it's a lottery) If we get in next Fall I think we'll try it. If it works for both... great. If not, we'll know (and more importantly Kid will know) exactly what we're choosing with the homeschooling, and we'll feel like we have exhausted our free options. If Baby gets in and there are not any spots for Kid, we'll keep homeschooling Kid until one opens up for her (extremely likely in the next couple of years). If neither kid gets in?... shoot... Kid will homeschool next year and I'm not sure what I'll do with Baby. Then we'll just keep applying until we get in.

I think homeschooling is an excellent option, better in many regards, but the bottom line is that Kid really likes school, being around kids, and having an easier time socialzing (her shyness and anxiety can make it very hard for her to make friends when she doesn't see them everyday)... and there is value in that experience. If we can find a school that can work for her academically and provide her with a positive social experience, we're all for it. If not, we'll move forward with homeschooling (which has many positive attributes that school can't provide). At this time we feel we need to exhaust our options before we commit to this as a permanent solution. A small school that Baby & Kid both attend, would be awesome.

Of course, then I'd have to get a job...

But that is part of it too, for us. We aren't living off a ton of income, things are doable, but they take careful planning. The curriculum and extra curriculars we're doing cost us several thousand dollars a year... and the kids are just 4 & 8. I feel they are imperative to round out the homeschooling experience, and would likely only get more expensive as they got older. Mr F is already in his mid-forties and we're not expecting him to make that much more money in the future.... such is the lot of his industry. So, living off one income wasn't ever our long term plan. And it's not a plan I just want to blindly sign up for... it really needs to be a necessity, in order for us to try and swing it.


I'm still working out like a fiend. I keep forgetting at the right week & day to take the progress picture... I'll try to do it next week. I'm starting to get back to food journalling this week... I would like to speed up the weight loss at this point. While I am in much better shape, I'm not dropping pounds the way I'd hoped, through the exercise alone. Time to step it up.


I'm totally back into a stocked pantry & freezer and the meals are mostly planned. I may get back to posting that soon. Feeling really good and in control on that front.


Migraines are back full force. Two this week.


Getting Meek's Cutoff in the mail today from Netflix... SO EXCITED. I mean... SO FREAKING EXCITED.


Organizing the kids activities so that we have no evening activities (except Brownies every two weeks), has made my life so much better. I have time to prepare and sit down to eat a good dinner every night again, and I also have time to workout at night again. It also just makes our family life less stressful, allows Mr F to spend more time with the kids, and overall just feels better. Bedtime is less stressful and rushed, dinner time is less stressful and rushed, and I have time for myself. This is what went wrong last year, and while it makes my days a bit more hectic, it's manageable and being done at 5 is worth it.
Blog Widget by LinkWithin