Sunday, December 25, 2005

Christmas Fun!

Christmas is such a fun time here at the Haygood's! We both love decorations so getting Steve to help me decorate is easy! About the only thing I can't get him to do is help me decorate the tree. It seems now that the children are either grown or a teenager, that decorating the tree has fallen to me and Casper, the 14 year old Persian cat. Course, Casper doesn't do a lot towards hanging the ornaments on the tree. He supervises from one of the chairs in the living room. His most vocal opinion is likened only to a loud snore. Casper and I do a pretty good job though, don't you think?
I participated this year in a yahoo group called Christmas Notebook. It is a very helpful group with Rhonda leading us to an organized Christmas plan. While I didn'tÂ’t complete all my assignments this year (I will be working on the notebook throughout this year for next Christmas!), my Christmas went so much smoother this year. I got the decorating started the weekend after thanksgiving, went on vacation, then came back and finished up the decorations, gift wrapping, and baking. My Christmas shopping was almost completely done by the time we left for vacation. We had both sets of our parents here, all the children, grandchildren, and SteveÂ’s grandmother here for Christmas dinner. My daughter, son-in-law, grandson, and my parents stayed here for the weekend. What a fun holiday! This house was meant to be filled with people laughing!

Family started arriving here Christmas Eve in time for chili supper. Connor, with a little help from Lala, found the chocolate covered pretzels.

Mom, Jennie and I combined forces for Christmas breakfast preparation. We feasted on breakfast casserole, fresh fruit, biscuits, and coffee. Then it was time to pop the ham in the oven and dress before everyone else arrived!

Poppa and Connor discussing Santa, riding the tractor, and the Teddy Bear Tree.

Granddad and Cole sharing a cup of cappincino as they contemplate why Cole's mommie and daddy do not want him to whip those cocker spaniels.

Santa came to see Connor at our house this year! What fun to have a toddler experience Santa! Steve and I were the last ones to get into bed with our nightcaps and almost the first ones up Christmas morning. With a camera in one hand and a Christmas coffee mug in the other, we let Connor into the den to see what Santa had brought!

Connor showing his daddy how that trunk works! Look, Daddy, a real screwdriver and wretch in the trunk!

Jennie is sitting quietly among Santa. I think she is planning where in the house she is going to put it all!

The gang is starting to gather for dinner.

Here's Pete (my husband's grandmother) laughing and enjoying the children. By the way, Pete is 92, lives alone, maintains her own home, keeps a small herd of cows, and picks peaches every day during peach season. We think Pete is awesome!

Christmas dinner was served buffet style here. I really think this is the way to entertain. Put out the food and watch ‘em go after it!

Snickers was found sitting at the coffee table, wishing someone would help him go through the buffet line.

After dinner, Brenton, our 16 year old, donned his Santa hat and passed out the presents. WOW! The wrapping paper in our den would have wrapped Mt. Everest twice! While Brenton was wearing the Santa hat, Grammy was doing the "Mouse"!

Aunt Jennie & Madison spending a couple of quiet minutes in the midst of Christmas Hoorah!

This is my son, daughter-in-law and new granddaughter. They look like they are having a family conference discussing how to handle next Christmas when Madison is 13 months old! heheheWon'tn't it be fun?!?

Lala explaining to Madison that Christmas is really fun! I also promised this newest member of our large family that she could have a turkey leg next Christmas if she wanted it!

After everyone had hugged and said their goodbyes, Steve and I sat down in the after glow of a wonderful family filled day! I love Christmas!
Merry Christmas all!

Sunday, December 18, 2005

New Birds

New Birds

Harley, LemonHead, and Tweedy have joined our flock this week. While we were on vacation last week, my daughter’s mother-in-law called me. Her first question was, “Leigh Anne, do you still love the animals and birds?” Would you be interested in taking three birds from a friend of mine at work?” Before I even knew what species of birds, I quickly said, “YES!” At that point we had just gotten off Mission Space in Epcot. My husband thought I was still spinning around the planet Mars. I quickly told him the plan of picking up the birds on Saturday after we got back from vacation. Then Linda told me what kind of birds I was going to pick up --- a Harlequin Macaw, a Double-yellow headed Amazon, and a Jardine. Now I know I’m spinning around Mars!

LemonHead having a taste of peanut butter on a spoon!

Saturday I was up and at ‘em fairly early. I had to figure out where the three cages were going to go. They are not going to be small cages since these birds are not small birds. They have to be quarantined away from the rest of the birds and babies for a few weeks so that means they are going to be in the house –somewhere. Keep in mind, this is the Saturday before Christmas and almost our entire family will be here for Christmas weekend, the rest would be here on Sunday for Christmas dinner. Also keep in mind that the Martha Stewart, type A hostess mode, kicks in with me the week before an event is going to happen! Steve is starting to panic. Not only are three more LARGE birds coming

into this house with their cages, but Martha will be riding in on her broomstick at any moment!

LemonHead sitting on top of his cage,waiting for a cookie!

Harley, hanging out on the back of Poppa's recliner.

The birds, squawking in their crates, and I arrived back home about 10 pm Saturday night. The two smaller cages were easy. They were in the back of the Tahoe assembled. The macaw cage, on the other hand, was in a pile of pieces. Poor Steve. He just wanted to start thinking about going to bed and I have arrived in full Martha mode, with three large birds, their cages, and have to decide tonight where they are going to be set up, get them setup and no, they cannot stay in those carriers overnight.

Tweedy - "but why can't I eat the candle?"

Well, the birds have settled into daily life with us! We love them very much. They have such individual personalities. LemonHead is an independent cuss who says, “come heeeerre.” We have learned the hard way, not to go when called like that. Tweedy, the jardine, is just a cutie pie. She talks her way through the day and give wolf whistles like I have never gotten before and all for a cookie! Harley, the macaw, is the sweetest bird! She talks softly to herself. I think she could escape from a padlocked box with a chain around it. They all love animal crackers which they call cookies.

Christmas is for sharing and I love sharing our home with our birds!

Murphy, our 12 year old B&G macaw, explaining to Harley, why he is getting the first cookie!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Trip home

Trip home

Today was a long trip home. Our usual 6-7 leisurely trip from Orlando (this includes eating, stopping to shop if we want, and bathroom stops) took us 14 hours! We stopped to visit an online bird friend in Ovida before stopping by another good friend’s house to pick up two sun conure babies. Of course, we had to stop along the way at two shopping strip malls, Cracker Barrel for a breakfast supper. We had such fun when we realized that our wireless modem was picking up wireless connections along the highway so I was able to check email and work on Steve’s website as he drove.

Vacation is always great but knowing how glad the dogs, cats, and birds will be to see us, makes it very easy to head home.

Now the Christmas panic can start…..

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The end of vacation is near!

This is our last full day at Disney on our vacation. This always puts us a little down-in-the-dumps, but we went back over to Epcot today so we could ride soaring again! What a ride! Soaring is the new ride at Epcot. It is a simulated hang gliding experience. The weather was beautiful again! Tonight we will watch fireworks as well!

I've gotten quite a bit of inspiration on this trip. I've really enjoyed taking pictures with the new camera too! We have great souvenirs and both of us are ready to go home.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Monday! What a way to start a week! VACATION!

The rain has stopped! My inlaws had to leave this morning. I'm so sorry they didn't get severalpretty days in the parks. Maybe next time.

This beautiful garden is located in Epcot right outside the Canadaian restaurant, LeCellier. I took them while we were waiting for our lunch table. We were seated in front of the fireplace which put us in the direct view of the chef's view. The kitchen staff voted us the cutest couple in the restaurant!

Did i mention that we never get out of our room until around noon? Being self-employed the morning hours of vacation are spent working! Also all through the day, we are answering our cell phones. Steve's shop phone is forwarded to his cell phone and the house phone is forwarded to mine, so we even work between shows and rides! Here you will see Steve hard at work before we went into the Living Seas Aquarium.

Steve gave me a new Canon digital camera as an early Christmas present! I had so much fun in the aquarium taking "under water" shots!

Because we always get a late start, we always stay in the parks until well after dark. While the rides and exhibits don't differ a lot between daylight and dark, the lights are spectacular at night! It's Disney magic at its best! We also love Disney during the Christmas season because they know how to decorate with lights!

The Epcot ball and fountain are just so pretty at night!
Epcot always has this lighted archway as you enter or exit the park. The archway does a light show that is breathtaking! The lights change colors and patterns every few seconds in time with the christmas music playing throughout the park!

In front of it is the Christmas tree which is very large! The lighted topiaries are on the other end of the archway.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Sunday of Our Vacation

Today we went to Animal Kingdom lodge. It was raining cats & dogs! We were hoping for pretty weather so we could really show Ruth & Dan all the magic of Disney. However, even with the rain, we saw more animals on the Safari ride than I think we have seen in all the previous trips combined!

Tonight was our night for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party too! The parade is spectacular, the castle fireworks are just awesome, and the hot chocolate & Christmas cookies are tasty!

Friday, December 09, 2005

First Day of Vacation

I guess I should have posted these pictures yesterday with our arrival at Disney's Boardwalk Resort but we really were too tired to even enjoy the lobby much less take any pictures of it. But here is a sample of the beauty that welcomes us home when we come to Disney. The horse chandeliar is just massive centered at the front door. The decorations adore a beautifully decorated victorian beach style lobby. Everywhere you look there is eye candy to behold!

This is one of the many garlands that hang throughout the resort.

This elephant is one of the everyday pieces but I happen to love elephants so I zoomed in on him and snapped his picture. You might be seeing him in a future quilt design.

Below is a picture of part of the lobby as you come through the front doors. Boardwalk is one of our favorite Disney resorts. It is always beautiful, but during the Christmas season, it is absolutely gorgeous!

Onto the rest of the story....

First Day of Vacation and the rain continues….
We woke to rain Friday morning, but decided to have a magical day anyway! We ate breakfast in the room, dressed, worked for a couple of hours then headed out the door. We walked through Epcot and caught a bus to Wilderness Lodge to check it out for a future trip. After a wonderful chili and fruit lunch at the lodge, we explored that lodge like it has never been explored before. Steve and I could just visualize the children and grandchildren in that lodge.
Here's a few photos of Wilderness Lodge. As I said, it is very rustic but very comfy and cozy.

The pool at Wilderness lodge is so pretty! There's rocks and shrubbery all around so you get the feeling of being in the wilderness but with a heated pool! The pool even had steam coming off it. I tried to get the duck's picture while he was swimming in the pool but some kids moved in on him before i could get his photo.

Another guest was hanging out in the lodge when I was taking pictures of Steve in front of the Christmas tree. She offered to take our picture together. We don't look too bad considering we had been exploring in the rain all afternoon!

Here's Steve in the long hallway that leads back up from one of the little sandwich shops to the main lobby in the lodge.

This is the totem pole in the lobby.
Once again, a very nice cast member saw me taking pictures of steve with the topiary Mickey. He had a extremely large load of luggage but stopped and took our picture together.

Did i mention the gorgeous decorations at all the Disney resorts? This was in a very cozy little nook in Wilderness lodge. This particular nook had a very cozy sitting area around a fireplace with game tables set up for chess, checkers, and backgammon. Steve & I have decided that we will be staying at Wilderness lodge the next time we come down....

This was the scene we saw as we waited on the bus to return to Boardwalk. I love our "explore and hangout" days when we go down to Disney World. We usually have at least two of these days during our week. It's a nice break from the Parks! What a nice way to end the day!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Vacation Begins

Vacation has begun….

We finally got away from home about 3:30 this afternoon. After weeks of planning, I realized that there was one more load of laundry to wash, dry and fold; food to pack, and oh, my…. I had to go to the Feed & Seed to pick up an extra bag of bird food just in case Otis needed it before we got back…. I spent most of Wednesday cooking birdie bread and shopping for fruit & veggies for the birds, but he might need another 40 lb bag of food….. Steve waited until that morning to make the run to pick up dog and cat food. Hmmm… planning, what planning? LOL…..

At last we were ready to go…. It was still raining! AGGGGGHHHH. Even though Steve has been telling me for weeks that December is Florida’s dry season, I just wonder…. We honeymooned in Orlando in December….it rained every day except the day we left then! But we’re off to see the Mouse!

Remember that Steve and I are both self-employed so when we go on vacation, our cell phones, day runners, laptop, and briefcases go with us…. So here is Steve driving to Orlando. Steve does most of our trip driving, not because I can’t, but he says I always have “stuff” that I can do while I ride, like knit, read outloud, scan radio stations, knit, embroider, chat with him, sleep, play sims2, you get the idea….. anyway, he says he can’t sleep in the car and doesn’t knit, quilt or embroider so he might as well drive. (image placeholder)
I’m convinced that God puts everyone together with their perfect mate if we are patient enough. Steve is the only man I have ever met that has a bladder as small as ine. We agreed early in our marriage to make very frequent potty stops. We travel very well together with this agreement, but were so very glad to see tis sign! We were almost “home”! We thnk of Orland o as our second home… that’swhat the cast members (Disney employees) say to us when we arrive everytime – “WELCOME HOME!”

By the time we saw this sign, it was about 11:00 pm EST. We were so glad to see this sign, I made Steve stop on the side of the road so I could take its picture with my new camera.

Oh, during our ride, Steve handed me a Christmas gift bag with a big “Merry Christmas!” grin all over his face. He gave me a new camera for Christmas… a Canon Powershot 52 IS with a zoom lens! I’m so excited! Guess what I’m going to be doing this whole week! Oh, I love taking pictures……

After a short little ride from our friendly hwy. 192 exit sign, we arrived! Tired but very happy to be back home at The Boardwalk Resort at Disney World!

After checking in and being greeted very warmly, we finally got to our room. Here’s Steve after being my driver in the rain…. He really is my knight in shining armour, but here he just looks tired.

And what a room it is! We have a studio unit until Sunday and it is just very comfy and cozy, just right for the two of us. We have a small kitchenette and privat e balcony. What more can we ask for? Till tomorrow… niters!