Saturday, January 21, 2012



That’s right, #6 is on it’s way.  A few weeks before we left MD, we found out we were expecting.  Just as we prepared to head south, I started to get sick.  We decided to head on our way and see how it went.  I just feel miserable 24/7 until about 14 weeks.  But with the help of Kylynn we managed.  When she headed home, my mom came out for a 10 day visit to help out before David’s sister Suzie could join us.  Luckily I reached 14 weeks and started to feel better and get some energy back.  We had guests coming and trips planned so I needed to feel better, and the timing worked perfectly.  It was a blessing.


When we arrived in the Ft. Lauderdale/Miami area I looked up getting an Ultrasound.  I was 18 weeks and we wanted to find out –boy or girl.  For the last 3 pregnancies I have opted to not have the ultrasound at the DR’s office as it is a $350 cost.  My doctor reminds me everytime that it costs more because you get more—so she thinks.  I know they check over the placenta and baby’s growth and bones.  And they take measurements, but I can get all that done at a consumer ultrasound too.  In fact with Benjamin and Matthew we paid $99 for the ultrasound, and an extra $25 for the technician to take measurements, which we have then taken in to the DR for review.  So for less than half the cost, I got all the same info.  An ultrasound is not a necessary test during pregnancy as some other tests are; Dr’s are just fine if you opt to not have it done.  But they sure do get a little offended if you tell them you are going to a consumer place to get one done.

Well here in Florida I was pleased to pay $69 for a 3D/4D ultrasound.  In Idaho I have found they charge more for the 4D, and they don’t like to do them prior to 24 weeks as the baby does not have enough fat to look cute yet.  So to get both for less than we have ever paid was a nice surprise.  The ultrasound was done in a DR’s office, but on a Saturday.  I didn’t pay for measurements this time, as they mostly use those to help date your pregnancy and my DR did a freebie ultrasound for me at 11 weeks, b/c I recently miscarried AND I need the pregnancy accurately dated so I can be induced a week early—I have big babies and prefer to not have them grow any bigger than necessary.  She’s great! 

Maybe someday Dr’s offices and Insurance will realize the technology should not be costing us—the patient and consumer so much.  I am happy to use the consumer service and I hope it helps to drive down the Dr’s prices.  I’d have it done at the Dr if the price was reasonable.


I am sure you can guess, it’s a good view, but yes---it’s another boy!  We are excited to welcome him to our family this June.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Disney World, week 2


We had planned to just stay a week at Disney World with the Despain Family, but we knew that the week after we were planning to go would have super low crowd levels AND, after you pay for 5 days of tickets, to add an additional day ticket is only $8 per day per person.  It is sooo cheap to stay longer—you just have to pay for a place to stay and food. 

I needed to fly home the 2nd week of Jan, to wrap up year end stuff for our company… boring work.  So David decided that rather than hang out on the boat waiting for me to get back, they would just spend the extra time at Disney World.

Rather than stay in another hotel all week, we booked a condo thru Grandma and Grandpa’s timeshare.  This way we would have a kitchen and could lower our cost of food, but having breakfast in the morning and taking lunch and snacks to parks.  We would only have to eat out for dinner.  The kids, of course, were thrilled to stay another week.  However, on Sunday it was said “It is not as fun here with out the Despains”.  Our friends were missed.


Since we were spending a total of 10 days in the parks, we decided to stay and hang out at the timeshare on Saturday and Sunday.  They had a big pool with water slides and lazy river, so there was plenty to do.  Even in the condo the kids found activities.  DSCN0417Savannah collected lady bugs on the patio and opened a lady bug museum and exhibit, complete with observation notes.


On Monday, we were back in the parks and off to ride our favorite rides. David even got to be an extra in the Indiana Jones show. The week before we found that Benjamin was about half an inch to short for most of the rides.  On Monday we really wanted him to ride the Star Tours/Star Wars ride.  I knew he would love it, and Isabel really really wanted him to go on Tower of Terror.  We tried to put some folded napkins in his shoes, but it didn’t work, he was still too short.  DSCN0497

Later that day, Isabel begged us to try again, b/c she knew he would just LOVE tower of terror.  She was so persistent that we decided to get more napkins and try again.  His toes barely went in his shoes, and he walked like he was wearing flip flops, but he was tall enough!  He could ride Star Tours and Tower of Terror.  DSCN0495

And she was right—he loved them both!  He had a great time that week trying all the rides he could now go on.  He would turn to people here and there and say “my dad put napkins in my shoes so I could be tall enough to go on the rides”  with a big smile on his face.  He was so cute.  He even begged for more napkins to make him another 4 inches taller so he could ride another new ride.  That wasn’t going to happen.DSCN0479 

I left on Wednesday to head back home; David spent another 3 days in the parks.  After the end of the week he said he’d had enough DW this year. While I was gone they spent more time in Epcot, one of our favorite parks.  The kids love the innovation buildings with the learning games and going inside the big ball for the games in there. DSCN0510

The kids got to go back to Hollywood studios for a third day and participate in Jedi Training again.  It was fun to see the new changes they’d made to some of the rides in all the parks.  Star Tours was great, and so was Haunted Mansion’s changes. We got to help test a new game at Magic Kingdom called Sorcerers of the Kingdom, which is similar to playing Kim Possible in Epcot, which my kids love. We also got to see a Memories show, where they project onto the castle pictures and images and the castle changes shapes.  It was very cool, David LOVED it.  It was especially neat to be there at the holiday time of year to see all the beautiful Christmas lights. The castle is just gorgeous with its Christmas lights.   It will be fun to go back in a few years and see what else is new, and of course ride our favorites.


Saturday, January 7, 2012

Happy Birthday Savannah


Savannah had a great birthday this year.  We had friends come out to visit us on the boat and planned a week visit to Disney World with them, which ended on guess who’s birthday?  That’s right—Savannah’s. 

Isabel already asked why we couldn’t go to DW for her birthday—which was a mere 3 weeks before Savannah’s.  We are going to be in trouble over the next year with the other kids birthdays—all wanting the fun time Savannah had at DW.  She was given a “Happy Birthday” pin at DW which let everyone know she was celebrating her birthday.  She wore it all week and received “happy birthday” cheers everyday.  Often at meals, she would get a special treat and singing. 

While she was celebrating everyday for a week, we couldn’t let her actual birthday go unnoticed.  We were not at home or on the boat, so we didn’t make her a cake, but bought her an ice cream cake to celebrate with.  She was very excited that on her real birthday, we didn’t forget her.

She is 9 this year and growing up fast.  She is a huge helper with the little kids and is excited to be learning skills to be a babysitter.  She gets Matthew up, dressed, and fed almost every morning.  This is a real test of her patience and creativity as Matthew is not often cooperative with her.  He much prefers mom and dad.  She still loves to read and devours books.  She is currently finishing up the Nancy Drew classic series and loves the Baby Sitters Club books.  Homeschool was an adjustment for her, but she is doing really well and will finish 4th grade this spring.  She is a fantastic swimmer and enjoys practicing her swim strokes in the pool and racing Calvin.  She has learned to drive the boat this year and is a huge help with lines and fenders when we dock.  She loves helping in the kitchen and has learned to make a few meals all on her own.  Her favorites to make are Spinach and Cheese Ravioli’s, and Chicken and Cream Cheese Roll Ups. 

We are very proud of Savannah and love her very much.  It is a joy to watch her grow and learn.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Disney World, week 1

We headed to Disney World and checked in to a resort on property on Jan. 1, 2012, which meant we were on the disney dining plan all week.  We love to at least spend a couple days in a DW resort for a few reasons:  1. the dining plan is great if you plan accordingly, meaning you spend your credits on character meals.  Then we get to spend time meeting characters and eating at the same time, rather than waiting in line somewhere in the parks to meet the characters.  And the food is really good at most of the character meals.  Luckily Diane took care of all the meal planning and booking.  Its takes a lot of planning! She did a great job and we loved each meal. DSCN0266 2. when you stay on property your room keys and tickets are all on the same key card.  With these room key/ticket cards they offer extra magic hours, and what they check for at the rides during these hours is these room key/ticket cards.  So If you buy extra tickets and then stay off property after a few days on property, all your remaining tickets stay on these key cards and you can continue to use magic hours, which usually has less crowds.  DSCN0309




This time, since we were there with the Despain Family we had a whole week on property.  It was a fairly busy time of the year for Disney, but every day the parks got less and less crowded as kids went back to school. Both of us would have preferred a less crowded time of year, but with spending a week on the boat and then coming to DW, this was the week that worked, so we made due with the crowds.  The kids all loved being there together. 





One of the things we had seen in a past trip there, but had not been able to participate it is Jedi Training.  The Despains found out that you needed to sign up first thing in the morning and where to go to sign up.  So on the morning we spent in Hollywood Studios we rushed over to sign up for Jedi Training.  They require you be at least 4 years old to participate, so Benjamin quickly became 4 so he could train to.  Each trainee got a chance to fight Darth Vader and resist the dark side.  They all chose to stay with the force.DSCN0394The kids love all the rides, but we love watching them meet their favorite characters.  Isabel LOVES belle.  They share part of their same name, and they both have brown hair.  So of course Belle is her favorite.  Savannah really likes Sleeping Beauty.  Savannah is growing up and out of meeting the characters, but that didn’t stop her from dressing up like Sleeping Beauty when we went to the Princess Dinner.  The characters do such a great job of interacting with the kids and listening to them.  It makes them feel so special at each meeting.DSCN0408

Saturday came to quickly and it was time to say goodbye to the Despain family, as they headed back home to Idaho.  Saturday was also Savannah’s 9th birthday.  Lucky girl got to celebrate ALL week.  DW gives you a birthday button to wear, and then all the cast members wish you a happy birthday.  Sitting at the Nemo show, during the applause, Dori came over to wish her a happy birthday.  At the restaurants the servers arrange for a special birthday treat and song.  It was a special birthday week for her.