Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Breathing again!

Eleven days ago, May 15th, we came home from Florida and basically hit the ground running! We have been so incredibly busy. Time to catch up!

When we came home we knew that there had to be at least one bed bug in our bedroom as I had bites appear while on vacation (bites can take 2-9 days to appear!). After searching the house Andy did find a dead one under my nightstand - they can hid anywhere - not just beds. We are taking it one day at a time and are praying for a complete erradication. I think being gone for two weeks and spraying the house (more like hosing!) down with pesticide helped our cause. Only time will tell.

May 16th we attended the wedding of Christine and Jack - two incredibly faithful servants of God for our church. It was a beautiful wedding and a joy to witness.
May 17th we went to church and then headed over to the Philadelphia Zoo for their members only opening of the new bird aviary. We asked PopPop John and Grammy to come as a kind of birthday celebration for Lois. She LOVES birds and is an avid watcher. She loved the aviary. So many neat and different kinds of birds! It is incredible to me the imagination of God! We had a great time walking around the zoo - even though it was incredibly cold compaired to our time in Florida!
This past week I have been going crazy trying to put Matt and Sarah's homeschool portfolios together. My plan had been to do it throughout the year as we accomplished things, but between teaching, searching for bed bugs and trying to get through life that didn't happen! So I spent a good number of hours - including an all-nighter last night - getting it all together. Thankfully, our evaluator passed us with flying colors and was impressed with all that we did get accomplished despite our trials. It is a testimony to God that I even made it this far with all that we have dealt with in the last 10 months. He is faithful even in our weaknesses and I am so grateful!

We were so happy to be done! I felt like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders as I walked out of the evaluators house! I took Matt and Sarah to Chick-fil-a where they happened to be having a Family Fun Night and Sarah was able to get her face painted! Isn't she beautiful! The woman was incredibly talented - it only took her like two minutes to do Sarah's face freehand!

After we finished eating we started heading home. When I go home along rt. 309 Berean Bookstore often calls my name! And since I still had birthday money left I decided to stop in. I was very bad - look what I got!
Now it isn't as bad as it looks as several of the books were only $2 and I didn't pay full price for any of them! So I am set for my summer reading! It begins tomorrow night! I look forward to this time of year as I get to read what I want to read as opposed to what I have to read for homeschooling.

Now that homeschooling is officially done for the year - well, I have to turn them in but they can't fail me if the evaluator has passed me so I am not worried - I have a thousand things I want to get done! But for now I am off to bed. 4 hours of sleep in the last 40 is starting to catch up with me!

Friday, May 15, 2009

At the airport

This morning we went to Magic Kingdom for the last time. Each kid picked their favorite ride and we attempted to go on it. It was incredibly crowded today - so unlike last week. Sarah chose to go on Big Thunder Mountain. We stood in line and got up to the gate to get on the ride when they announced that there was a problem and had to shut the ride down - the Schultz curse continues! We had to leave the ride. The good thing was that they gave us a Fastpass to return on the ride - if it was fixed for that day. We went back right before we had to leave and it was fixed, so we were able to go on the ride Sarah had chosen - she has started to like rollercoasters - but only in the daylight!

Matt chose to go on the Jungle River Cruise - it is a funny ride if you get the right driver. We went on earlier last week and loved the tour guide - he was really funny. The one today was okay, but not nearly as funny as the last guy. Daniel chose to go on........Pirates of the Caribbean. He is so funny - it was the 5th time we had been on it - and by far the longest wait for that ride- 30 minutes! He really like that ride - though I have no idea why.

While we were exiting the park we discovered some characters that were posing for pictures and Pinocchio was one of them! For some reason this is Daniel's FAVORITE Disney character - he talks about him all the time and loves the movie. He was so excited to meet him and give him a hug. It was a great ending to our trip!

Here we sit at the airport, while depression slowly starts to set in. I really have NO DESIRE to go back to Philly. I am almost sick to my stomach with just the thought. Why do we have to go back? I am close to tears as I sit here thinking about arriving back to that dreadful house. If only there was someplace else I could live - but it is not to be. I fear we are stuck in this house for the rest of our days in Philly. And I am assuming that will include the awful guests we have living with us as it has been almost eight months of dealing with them and there is absolutely nothing else we can do except continue to treat - which seems to be having absolutely no effect. I continue to pray that God will reveal to me what the plan is for this trial so that I may get through with it.

I will post pictures to this entry when I get home....

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Last Night

Today we went to Epcot - or Apricot as Daniel calls it! He is so funny. He has fallen in love with Disney and all the characters, rides, and shows. He has been such a joy to watch through all this. Matt, Sarah, and I went on Mission: Space. The first time around all three of us went on the Green Team. It doesn't spin or give you motion sickness. I liked that side. Matt really wanted to go on the Orange side - the g-force inflicting side. So being the "cool" mom that I am (according to the Disney worker at the gate) I went on with him. Sarah opted to not go on that side and stay with daddy. It was intense, but Matt loved it. I am finding that the longer I am in small restricted spaces the more I have to concentrate on not panicking. Is this a 40 thing? I don't know. It was still fun and Matt loved it. He really hopes to become an astronaut someday. We'll see if he can get through 7th grade first!

Since it was our last night here we decided to try and see if we could get a seating at the newest restaurant in Downtown Disney - T-Rex. We hit it at just the right time and were seated within 5 minutes. It is an incredible restaurant! It has a whole dinosaur theme complete with meteor showers, an ice cave, and active mechanical dinosaurs throughout. I didn't think Sarah would go in because it isn't her kind of thing - but she was brave and really enjoyed the whole thing. And the food was great!!! We had a great time and another new memory to add to our already fantastic trip.
After eating we walked around Downtown Disney one last time. We took a family photo - Andy has gotten so thin with all the heat and walking we have been doing! But he will always be my cute pirate!

Today was our last full day in Florida. We are all very sad. Daniel realized we were going home and hasn't stopped crying about it. I know how he feels. I would like to cry about it, too. It has been an incredible vacation - full of first time experiences, family bonding, tons of smiles, and wonderful memories. I feel relaxed, calm, and at peace. There is nothing I want more than to stay here in Florida. But as it seems this is not the place God has called us, we head back to Philly tomorrow. To our dreadful bed bug infested house, loud pot-smoking on the porch neighbors, and insane ministry schedule. There is a reason and purpose to everything. I have to trust that God knows what He is doing, even if I don't. I have to believe that we are going to get through living in Philly as that is where we have been called. I have to believe that peace and and a feeling of safety in my house are right around the corner - otherwise I think I may go crazy. "Where there is no vision the people perish" Proverbs 29:18 - I have to have a vision of what my home and life will be like - even though I have no idea when that may happen - may it be SOON!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Coming to an end

Today we went back to Universal. There were a few rides that the kids wanted to do that we didn't get to do last Sunday. It was much more crowded today. We didn't spend the whole day there. We were back to our condo by 4 pm. Around 6 pm the kids, Andy and I headed off to Disney Quest. It is really a fun place with all kinds of video games and virtual reality games to play for the price of admission. We really enjoyed playing the Pirates of the Caribbean virtual game and Sarah even joined us this time. There are five levels of accomplishment and we were able to achieve the top level thanks to Sarah's help! We also played human pinball, and created virtual rollercoasters! Matt and I created a level 5 - the scariest - including 10 different loops and upside down twists! You go into a pod that mimics the rollercoaster you created. It was cool! I really had a good time with that. Sarah and I made one and hers turned out to be a level one - even she thought it was boring! So she went back and created a level 3 that Andy rode with her. They looked like they had a good time!

After Disney Quest we had dinner at McDonald's and then looked around the Lego store. The kids love Lego's and this Lego store has some sets that are not available in other stores. We are going back tomorrow to make purchases the kids have been thinking over the last two weeks.

Sadly, this vacation is coming to an end and I'm not quite sure how I am going to handle it. Tomorrow is our last full day here in Florida. We fly out Friday, late afternoon. We should be back in Philly by around 8 pm. In 48 hours I will have to go back into my bed bug infested house and feel my blood pressure skyrocket 40 points. It has been so wonderful to see my kids smile and see how relaxed they have been. I hadn't realized the stress that this whole ordeal has given them. Matt has been relaxing and smiling more. Sarah hasn't been biting her nails to the quick. Daniel is being such a kid and enjoying running around. Andy has actually been sleeping and I have been reading, relaxing, and feeling so stress free. As Friday grows closer I am beginning to feel the level of stress rise. I don't want to go back to my house. I don't want to have to deal with bed bugs anymore. I don't want to have to live out of plastic bags anymore. I just don't want the stress. Haven't we dealt with this long enough? Apparently not. I think it a sad commentary when one views their house as the enemy - a place that is supposed to be a sanctuary of peace, a safe haven. I am beginning to believe that our house will never be that again. I wonder where this is all leading us? I pray we find the answer soon.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Swimming with dolphins

A few years ago my mom, sister and nephew swam with the dolphins at Discovery Cove in Orlando, FL. Since then my mom, who is NOT a swimmer, insisted that we needed to experience this incredible activity. It is not cheap - but my mom scrimped and saved and paid for the kids while Andy and I saved our pennies to pay for ourselves (parents need to do it with kids). Today was the day! And I have to say, if you ever are given the opportunity to take part in this activity - DO IT! It was so much fun and an incredible experience with one of God's most wonderful creations! The pictures say it all!One of the neatest things was that at the time they were going to take our family photo they spied Daniel on the beach with my mom. You have to be at least 7 years old to participate in the swimming with the dolphins, but they let me bring him into the water for the family shot and he, too, was allowed to pet the dolphin and give him a kiss, though the photographer missed the shots :-(! He was so funny and loved it as much as we did! I love the family photo - I think it should be our new prayer card - Andy thinks not! We could send an announcement about the newest member of our family - Dexter the dolphin!

It was a great day at Discovery Cove. There was also swimming with the sting raysand snorkling in the coral reef. We spent the whole day there until a HUGE thunder storm rolled in and we didn't make it out of the park fast enough. We got stuck in one of the buildings. It was a really loud thunder storm and one crack hit right next to where we were standing - EVERYONE jumped it was so loud! Poor Sarah was a mess as she HATES thunderstorms, but she made it through.

I am so thankful for all we have been able to experience on this trip. It has been a true blessing and one of refreshment and family bonding. I am still not looking forward to Friday. I am praying for God to change my heart and mind.

Monday, May 11, 2009


What is MANTA? The most incredible new rollercoaster EVER!!! Sea World built a new coaster and it isn't suppose to premeir until May 22, but they are testing it over the next ten days and Matt and I were able to ride it - TWICE!!! Again, there was absolutely NO ONE in the park today and so the wait time was only 10 minutes at the most - and most of that was the walk to the front of the line. It is an exciting ride. It tilts you forward and you spin around and do loop-di-loops and feel like you are going to crash into the water or the people below. It is a great ride! I am so glad Matt likes rollercoasters or I would feel really guilty about going on all of them by myself! I just can't help but go on them - they call to me! We also rode Krakan and Journey to Atlantis. I liked Krakan - but Manta is WAY better!

Daniel loved Sea World. He loved seeing the Shamu show.... and petting the sting rays. He loved the Sea Lion and Walrus show - but really enjoyed Shamu's Happy Harbor - a play area for kids his size. He loved getting soaked in the fountains again as it was still 93 degrees today. I planned better today and packed a swimmy diaper for him to run around in! Unfortunately, pictures are few as I was bad and didn't charge the battery - boo! I missed a lot of good shots, but I guess we'll just have to go back later this week and take more.The kids all liked Shamu and were all fighting over who was going to get the stuffed animal - but I learned from my friends, the Hinsons, to NOT talk any one kid into a different animal - so they ALL got a stuffed Shamu. And they are all very happy with their Killer Whales! I tagged their initials on their tags so they don't get them confused. They all actually do play with their stuffed animals, so it will be fun to hear the stories they come up with when we get home.

Tomorrow is Discovery Cove - Matt and Sarah's birthday gift from my mom. The four of us, Daniel is too young, will be swimming with the dolphins. I really can't wait! My sister lent us her underwater camera to take pictures - hopefully it will work and I will have some great pictures to post. Thanks for all your prayers. We are still having a wonderful time and loving life in Florida!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

I can't imagine a more perfect Mother's Day than the one I was given today! It was a beautiful 97 degrees here in FL - a record breaker - spent with my mom, three wonderful kids and incredible husband! We decided to go to Universal Studios today. We picked a great day as there was NO ONE in the parks today. The longest we had to wait in line was 10 minutes and most of that was walking to the line! Matt and I started the day by going on the Hulk Rollercoaster - I LOVE THAT ROLLERCOASTER!!!! It is such a thrill! We even went in the first row! By then end of the day I convinced Andy to go on and he also enjoyed it!We then went on several water rides and proceeded to get soaked - but we really didn't care since it was SO HOT today. Poor Daniel wasn't big enough for the water rides so he enjoyed getting soaked in the various fountains that are located throughout the park. I had forgotten they had these there and didn't prepare very well - the poor kid had denim shorts on! Next time we will wear swim suits! But he had a blast and felt very refreshed after playing in the water!

My favorite area of the park is Seussland - all Seuss, all the time! Daniel also loved it - especially the One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish ride! You get wet if you don't follow the directions of the song - which he LOVED! He also enjoyed meeting the Cat in the Hat, the Grinch, and Sam I Am. The whole day was full of fun!

Tomorrow we are heading off to Sea World. The kids LOVE aquariums and I really can't wait to see Daniel's face when he see Shamu for the first time. I don't believe he really understands just how big this whale is! He has been such a joy to watch throughout this whole vacation - he gets excited about everything!

It has been an incredible vacation and I am starting to get sad that we only have five days left. I have no desire to go back to Philly - to the bed bugs that I know are there because I have come to FL with several bites that are still irritating me. My head is having a hard time wrapping itself around the fact that I will have to go back to that dreadful house. It has now been 7 1/2 months and I am beginning the think we will NEVER get rid of them. There is nothing more we can do. I just can't believe there is a reason for this - I am beginning to struggle. In the meantime I plan on enjoying every minute of the next five days as I know I will NOT enjoy life come 8 pm Friday night when our plane lands in Philly.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

A Day of Rest

Today we took the day off from going anywhere. It was actually kinda nice! When we awoke this morning none of the kids wanted to go anywhere and my mom voted with them - so Andy and I were out voted! That was fine with us. Daniel took a 3 hour nap! He was really tired! After his nap we got the kids all suited up and enjoyed one of the many pools in our new resort. While the kids were swimming I actually went and used the elliptical in the gym right next to the pool for 60 minutes. It felt good to get back on the exercise machine! They also had a scale there and so far it says I have only gained 2 pounds! Pretty good with all the junk I have indulged in! My sugars have also been excellent throughout this whole vacation - nothing above a 120 - even after I eat. I think maybe my stress free living is helping the blood sugars, too!
Tomorrow we are heading off to Universal Studios - Adventure Island. I can't wait to see Daniel's face when he sees Seussland! He loves Dr. Seuss and the Cat in the Hat. Matt and Sarah are excited about seeing Spiderman and Dinosaurs. Both Universal and Sea World are only open until 7 pm at the latest this week - so we should have more decent bedtimes. I think we are wearing poor Daniel out!
The picture above is one taken on my 40th birthday yesterday. I love it! Doesn't Daniel look cool?!?! Even though I didn't reach my goal of 40 pounds by the time I turned 40 - I did lose 28.5 pounds. I feel so much better than I did nine months ago. I can't imagine doing this trip almost 30 pounds heavier. Now my new goal is to lose 30 more pounds by September - when we go to Ocean City, NJ for our week at the beach. According to Philippians 4:13 I can reach that goal - with God's help. I am bound and determined to do it. I want to feel good and be able to do all that God has called me to do - mostly be as good a wife/mom as I can be. Keep watching! Thanks for all the prayers! We are still having a great time and are not looking forward to going back to Philly!

My 40th Birthday!

Today, May 8th, was my 40th birthday - and what a birthday it was! I just had so much fun! The kids were all sweet and all day kept wishing me a happy birthday. Sarah bought me a really cute pair of Mickey Mouse earrings and Matt bought me the Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest musical score CD. I love the music! Now I have all three Cd's. My kids know me too well!

Instead of going out to eat we went to Epcot tonight and used up the rest of our snacks and quick service meals (part of the Disney Dining plan - an excellent idea!). For our quick service meals we purchased fish and chips from England - I love their fish and chips! Totally bad for you! We then had 18 snacks left over from the week - and they expired at midnight! We headed over to France and had a four of us got a chocolate eclair - only they were filled with chocolate cream, They were still good. But Daniel got the most incredible chocolate chip cookie! The chips were the size of Hershey kisses! Andy got a raspberry schuss - it had lemon in it, so I didn't much care for it.

We then headed to America to try and get a funnel cake, but they weren't part of the plan - but the guy making them saw it was my birthday and gave me one for free! Cool! We then went to Germany and got one HUGE soft pretzel to share and a few sodas. Andy got an apple strudel with vanilla cream sauce - the sauce was wonderful! Since by this time we were completely full of JUNK - we got 3 Mickey Ears ice cream pops and 3 Mickey Ears ice cream sandwiches and a soda and brought them home to enjoy another day. The meal plan really is an excellent idea - it saved us so much money as meals can get pretty pricey here in the land of magic!

We are now at our new location - the Sheraton Vistana Resort. It is only about 10 minutes from the parks. I like this place better because it is a two bedroom suit and we are all in the same place. Last week Sarah and my mom shared a room while the boys and I shared the other room. The other good things about this resort is that 1) there is an exercise room - so I can exercise this week and 2) there is free Internet! So I can, hopefully, blog every day!

Right now it is off to bed. I am exhausted - must be that old age thing! Thanks for all the prayers - we are having a great time and loving every minute of this vacation. I'll put up pictures tomorrow!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Sweet Day

Swimming at the French Quarter
As much as I love my family, my dear husband knows that I NEED quiet time. He discovered that way back during our honeymoon. Sweet guy that he is he allowed me to stay back with Daniel while he took Matt and Sarah to Hollywood Studios for a few hours. It was great! I read a little, roamed the Internet and watched part of a movie. It was quiet for almost 3 hours while Daniel napped. I was then ready for more family time!Slide at the French Quarter
After I woke Daniel up - apparently 3 hours wasn't enough! - my mom, Daniel and I headed off to meet the others at Hollywood Studios. I rode the Aerosmith Rockin' Rollercoaster with Matt and Sarah one more time and then ate at Hollywood and Vine - a buffet. It was okay. We then received a ticket to get reserved seating at the Fantasmic show. We still had to arrive an hour before the show started, but we had good seats and talked to a bunch of different people - mostly from PA!!! Isn't it funny - you go a distance away only to meet people who live in your back yard? I think it's funny!

Fantasmic was pretty good - but different than what I remembered. It was shorter and did not include as many characters as I remembered. Daniel loved it - but wasn't at all crazy about the bad guys depicted in the story. He loved the dragon! That is a pretty cool thing to see!

After Fantasmic we headed over to the one ride we have been trying to get on for days - Toy Story Mania. I had no idea what to expect - all the description said was "a 4D game in which everyone wins". It was so cool! You play several games from a car and shoot at targets to gather points. All the while the characters are talking with you and encouraging you to shoot at different targets to earn more points. Matt won with a total of 101,500. Andy came in 2nd with 91,700, I came in 3rd with 82,500, Sarah was 4th with 59,200, and Daniel earned 27,200! Pretty good for a 3 year old! It was a great ride and I can see why the wait is no shorter than 50 minutes! We are definitely heading back to challenge Matt! Wii needs to come out with a version similar to it!

Tonight is our last night at the Port Orleans - Riverside Resort. We head to the timeshare my cousin gave us. I hope Internet is free or at least as cheap as this resorts. If it not as cheap, then I may have to find another place to blog. So be on the look out! Thanks for your continued prayers! They have been a blessing and God is hearing them - we are having a wonderful time together as a family and the weather is gorgeous! Praise God!

Never Ending Fun!

Downtown Disney - Lego Store

I am still crazy about Florida and am extremely thankful to be here. This vacation has been the best one of my life and I think Andy and the kids would agree. Yesterday, Andy, the kids, and I all ventured out to Blizzard Beach. It was FANTASTIC! I generally love water parks, but this one was super fun! Matt, Andy and I all conquered Summit Plummet and Slush Gusher - two extreme water slides. Summit Plummet is 13 stories high on a 60 degree angle and can get up to speeds of 60 mph. It was a 30 minute wait for a 4 second slide! But is was worth it! We laughed so much at each other. Slush Gusher goes just as fast, but there are three hills that you go down and at times feel as if you are airborne. We loved them both! Daniel was a nut as predicted, but LOVED going on the slides he was able to go on. I spent most of the morning catching him and helping back up the sides of the pool so he could go down the slide again. Like I said - his new favorite word is AGAIN! Sarah enjoyed the lazy river as well as the wave pool. She likes to take it easy at these things - which is just fine with me! We were pretty water logged by the end of the day - but had a blast! We enjoyed it so much we found out we were able to add on extra "fun" days to our pass for only $9. So we are looking forward to going to Typhoon Lagoon next week! Since it costs $33 for a child's ticket we thought this was a good deal even if we only use it to go to Typhoon Lagoon - though we get two other days to either Disney Quest or back to Blizzard Beach. We'll have to see what time allows.

Today we started our day off at Downtown Disney and went to Disney Quest. Matt and Sarah have been looking forward to this trip for forever. Disney Quest is a huge indoor arcade. It has a ton of different virtual video games and activities for kids of all ages. My favorite was the Pirates of the Caribbean Virtual game. You had to wear 3D glasses
and then either be the captain and steer the ship or be the crew and shoot the cannons at the ships to get their gold. It requires a lot of team work and is the neatest video game. It was a lot of fun! This place also had Mario Kart - we liked the Wii version better - Nascar Racing, Guitar Hero, Air Hockey, Aladdin's Magic Carpet (a virtual reality game - funny helmet!) and so much more! We were there for only a couple of hours and barely put a dent into all they have to offer. We are planning on going back one day next week.
After Disney Quest we headed over to Epcot where we started exploring the World Showcases. We only made it through Mexico, Norway,

Norweigan Troll - 1st time Sarah would even go near the thing!

and China before we had to head over the United Kingdom for dinner. After each country I asked Matt and Sarah three questions each about what they had just seen/ heard. It was a pass/ fail quiz as I counted this as a day of school. Thankfully, they each passed as they listened to what was being spoken. We ate dinner at the Rose and Crown Pub - excellent food!

Daniel play hopscotch while waiting for dinner - shocked us all by already knowing how to play!

Daniel's picture of fireworks over the Magic Kingdom Castle! Pretty smart!

We ate there tonight as you have the opportunity to stand outside their property to get a great view of the fireworks display. Daniel has been in his glory as each night we have seen fireworks - he LOVES fireworks! Epcot's display is by far the best one in all of Disney. He loved them.

God is truly blessing us with wonderful weather and incredible opportunities to enjoy our kids. I am loving this vacation. I am still planning on NOT returning to Philly. Each day that goes by it gets more difficult to think about going back to the stress and craziness back there. Each day it gets easier to convince Andy to leave it all behind and find a life that is less stressful. He is sleeping so much more here and we are actually smiling a lot more at our kids and saying yes instead of no all the time. We have met several people who work for Disney that have actually grown up where we are currently living - they say, too, that they never want to go back and love life in Florida. God is going to have to do a mighty work in my heart to get me back there. We'll see......