Monday, July 21, 2014
DISNEY // Part III

The next couple of days on our trip to Orlando were spent at EPCOT and Animal Kingdom.  We spent a half of a day at EPCOT and about a day and a half at Animal Kingdom.  EPCOT is a nice park to go to if you're looking for more of a laid back day after long days at the other parks.  Many of EPCOT's rides are interactive and in air conditioning which is golden when you're in Florida at the end of June!



We spent our final day at Magic Kingdom going back through rides we loved and making sure we crossed off every "to do" on our list.  The biggest highlight of the day was dining with Cinderella in her castle!  It was even more magical than I expected and completely worth the money spent.  When you enter the castle you are greeted like royalty.  Cinderella took photos with the girls and then we headed upstairs for dinner.  The service was spectacular and the food was delicious!  Throughout the courses princesses would be introduced and come by each table to introduce themselves and take photos.  We met Jasmine, Ariel, Snow White, and Aurora.


Disney goes above and beyond with everything they put their name on.  When Ariel came over to our table she told the girls that she wore her human legs and asked Paris how long she's had her human legs.  Paris replied, "11 years" and Ariel looked so surprised and said, "Wow! That's a long time!".  The girls loved it!  We forgot to charge our camera battery, so unfortunately we had to use the camera on our phone for the photos with the other princesses.






We also watched the fireworks from inside the castle.  It was so beautiful and such a fun experience!







Tuesday, July 15, 2014
DISNEY // Part II

After Paris made her grand entrance in Orlando, (you can read about that here) we had to change up our game plan.  I was so nervous that all four of us were going to end up with the flu.  Thankfully, we did not.  We decided to spend the morning at the pool and see how Paris felt in the afternoon.  Because our room was so close to the pool and Paris' health was improving - I was able to spend my time between the room and the pool.  Sophia didn't mind one bit.  Sophia could go swimming everyday and never get tired of it.  After a few hours at the pool, we were greeted by this beauty:


Minnie ears and all! Disney, the McNutt's are back in business! We headed over to Disney's Hollywood Studios and spent the afternoon there soaking in Disney magic, Orlando sun, rides, and then watching the spectacular show: Fantasmic!

Fantasmic was so fun and highly recommended.  There are pyrotechnics, dancing water, lasers, and of course, lots of Disney characters.  We had no idea the show was going to be so great.  Originally, we thought it was just Mickey's firework show, but it was so much more!  There were 7 Disney movies featured along with their villains. Mix that with water, fireworks, music, and synchronized flashing light-up Mickey ears and you can't help to smile the whole way through.  We used our FastPass here which allows you to bypass the lines.  We each had three FastPass choices to use each day.  With the use of our FastPass we ended up with GREAT seats - second row!







And just like we hadn't been awake the majority of the night before, we decided to head over to Magic Kingdom to hit up some rides and find funnel cakes for Mr. McNutt.  :) 




 

Pure bliss right there - warm funnel cake topped with ice cream, fresh strawberries, loaded with whipped cream, and finished off with a dusting of powdered sugar.  And Cinderella's castle in the background.  No big deal. :)

Wednesday, July 9, 2014
DISNEY // Part I

We've crossed off another "to do" on our McNutt Summer Live List: Take a family vacation.  Our trip to Disney World was magical, happy, and full of new memories - just as Disney promises.

We stayed at Disney's Pop Century Resort.  The resort features popular crazes during the 1950s through the 1990s.  It was fun to reminisce, but not so fun to have your kids tease us about our excitement over things we remembered from our childhood aka "the olden days" per Sophia.


The resort offered the Magical Express for pick up from the airport to the resort and also, to pick up our baggage from baggage claim and deliver it to us. Score! I hate waiting at baggage claim. We were so excited to get to Magic Kingdom that we opted to hop on the shuttle without waiting for baggage.  In the future, we will definitely bring a change of clothes as a carry on or wear lighter clothes on the airplane.  Marvin and I both wore all-black on the airplane.  Not our brightest decision ever as we were MELTING at the park. But it was our first day, so our excitement kinda took our minds off the fact we were mere moments away from passing out from heat exhaustion.



We spent the afternoon and into the wee hours of the night frolicking around Magic Kingdom.  It was amazing!  We met Cinderella and Rapunzel, rode as many rides as possible, watched two parades, ate delicious food, and saw the fireworks!  The fireworks were even more magical than I remembered.  Cue my waterworks now.  Marvin and I looked over at the girls at one point during the fireworks - their eyes as big as saucers and Sophia was singing "Let It Go" from Frozen - melted me right into a ginormous puddle.






I would need to remember that magical moment when I awoke at 4am the next morning to Paris throwing up all over the bed she and Sophia were sharing.  I felt so horrible for her.  Room Service isn't so fast in the wee hours of the morning, so I wrapped up the soiled sheets, set them outside, and the 4 of us squeezed into me and Marvin's bed...queen-sized bed. :) Somehow, by the grace of God, we all finally fell back asleep around 7am until 7:15am when the cleaning staff pounded on our door with clean sheets.

Disney-1, McNutt Family-0.

Part 2 coming soon...



Sunday, July 6, 2014
4th of July Weekend 

Hope everyone had a fun-filled holiday weekend!  Our weekend was filled with celebrating, family, and delicious food!  We had a pretty laid back weekend.  I think we are all still recovering from our Disney trip!

Marvin's birthday is on the 4th of July, so we had double the celebrating to do!  The girls and I cooked breakfast for him, of course!  He's a cinnamon roll lover, so whenever it's his birthday or father's day I try to incorporate his favorite treat somehow by doing a different take on the cinnamon roll.  This year I made Cinnamon Toast Crunch french toast.  It turned out to be so delicious! Normally we don't like french toast because of the texture.  But using thick Texas Toast bread and the Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal made the french toast more crunchy/toasty rather than soggy (ew).  

My grandparents were in town this weekend!  As always it was great to see them and spend quality time together.  We had such a good time that we didn't take ONE photo together while they were here.  I'm so bummed that we forgot to take out the camera.

We celebrated the Birthday Boy and Independence Day by firing up the grill and eating cupcakes.  You can't go wrong with that formula. :)

We were invited to our neighbors 4th of July party to watch the fireworks over the lake.  The kids had a blast with all the neighborhood children and we had a chance to meet a lot of our new neighbors!





I'm so thankful that my grandparents were able to visit, see our new home, and spend time with Paris & Sophia.  I'm also thankful for God allowing my husband to see another year.  Happy (belated) birthday to my amazing husband! Your three favorite gals love you so very much! 













Monday, June 23, 2014
Many Thanks + Wedding Video

Thank you for all the love, support, and prayers I received after my last post.  I received so many heartwarming messages that make the healing process a lot easier to go through.  Thank you.

Right on time, our wedding video is completed!  It was such perfect timing when I received the email in my inbox.  I absolutely love it!  Bringing in a wedding videographer was a last minute decision and I'm so happy we did it.  We worked with Cinevation Films based out of Waterloo, Iowa. The guys of Cinevation Films were great to work with and I'm so excited to share this video with you!

The link is below and it's password protected.  The password is case sensitive: TheMcNutts.




Photography by Amanda Basteen // www.amandabasteen.com

Today will be filled with laundry, packing, and organizing for our Disney trip! This trip couldn't have come at a better time for our family.  Hakuna Matata!
Wednesday, June, 18, 2014
Untitled

I'm not really sure how to begin this post.  It is a very, very personal blog post, but I wanted to share my experience in hopes to help other women and families dealing with same situation.  Many people who know Marvin & I personally, know that we've been really anxious to add another child to our family.  When we decided that we were ready to start trying to conceive, we were amazed at how quickly I got pregnant.  I found out that I was pregnant on May 16th.  I had taken so many tests that week anxiously waiting for my positive.  When I finally tested positive on May 16th, I was so flipping excited!  Before I had gotten the positive result, I had been coming up with ideas on how to share the exciting news with Marvin.  I had decided that I would definitely record his reaction and I knew I had to wait to do it while Paris and Sophia were at school.

Marvin gets home from work in the afternoon, so it left me just enough time to share the news with him before the kids got home from school.  But it also meant that I had to wait TWO very long days to tell him because we had to get through the weekend.  It was kind of fun to have an exciting secret, but it was so HARD to keep it a secret.  I remember at one point during that weekend, while we were watching TV, I looked at him and just started smiling.  Naturally, he looked at me like I was crazy.

Monday finally arrived and I set up a little pregnancy announcement display, the tests I had taken, and hid our camera to record the whole thing.  I paced the house waiting for him to come home.  I blindfolded him and led him into the living room where everything was set up.  When I took off his blindfold and he saw the news, he went crazy!  Lots of kisses, lots of cheering, and a couple of runs through the house yelling, and we prayed.

I started taking prenatal vitamins before I got pregnant, ordered pregnancy books (it's been so long since I've been pregnant, I had forgotten what to expect), and started planning ways to tell our parents.  My pregnancy symptoms kicked in right away.  I had forgotten about the exhaustion.  I was squeezing in naps whenever I could.  Oh, and my emotions were insane.  We went out to see a movie and the preview for the remake of Annie came on.  I cried.  Like, I cried hard.  For a moment, I thought I might need to excuse myself, so I could collect myself.  Marvin just rubbed my shoulders and asked me if I was going to be okay.  So sweet.  A couple of weeks later, I had my first prenatal appointment.  We confirmed the pregnancy, grabbed so many pamphlets, and received lots of "congratulations" from the staff at my doctor's office.  Marvin and I were on such a high!  

The next night, Saturday, Marvin and I were watching TV.  He had fallen asleep and I felt a sudden dull cramp. It only lasted a few seconds, but it didn't feel right.  I went to the bathroom and I had started spotting. I immediately started crying and saying, "no, no, no".  I came out of the bathroom, woke Marvin up, and told him what was going on.  Marvin called the emergency room for me since I couldn't even speak.  We went into the garage to call them, so the girls wouldn't hear a thing.  The nurse on call had advised me to get in bed, elevate my hips, and monitor the spotting, and to call if anything changes.

The next morning, I still had some spotting, but no cramping.  We had planned to go to church and the girls were so excited to go.  To be honest, I did not have any desire to go to church, but I went because there's no way I could miss it with the girls urging us to go.  I knew if I stayed home, Marvin would have wanted to stay with me.  So, we went.  I felt like an empty shell.  Our church was starting a new series called Your Verse.  Every week a different pastor is going to preach on their favorite verse. The Pastor began by telling us that his verse came into his life when he and his wife suffered from a miscarriage. Wow. I felt as if the Pastor was speaking directly to me.

The verse is 1 Samuel 21:9.

And the priest said, "The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you struck down in the Valley of Elah, behold, it is here wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod. If you will take that, take it, for there is none but that here." And David said, "There is none like that; give it to me."

The Pastor explained how focusing on God's past faithfulness can change the way we respond to different situations in our life.  

Later that afternoon we called the ER again to let them know I was still spotting and to find out if I should come in. They advised me to rest and call to make appointment with my doctor the next morning. Monday we had an ultrasound scheduled.  Marvin and I sat in the waiting room and made small talk.  I was so nervous, I felt like my heart was in my throat.  We were called back to our room, the nurse asked us some questions, and the doctor came in.  I explained to him that I had light spotting, periodic mild cramping, and no nausea.  The ultrasound started and we saw our sweet baby and a color flickering on the screen.  The heartbeat.  The doctor told us there was a strong heartbeat and then turned on the sound and we heard the sweet, sweet sound of our baby's heartbeat.  I literally could have jumped off the bed and hugged the doctor.  I looked at Marvin and I don't think I've ever seen a bigger smile on his face and we've had some major smile moments during our life together!  My doctor printed our sonogram and let us know that our chances of miscarriage had dropped tremendously since the heartbeat was detected and to continue life as normal. The chance of miscarriage after a heartbeat is detected is 5% and spotting in early pregnancy is very common. With that knowledge, we decided we wanted to tell Paris and Sophia and our parents.  I placed an order for something I found on Etsy to share our secret with our parents.  My sister had made us a wedding gift basket full of celebratory drinks for all the firsts we would experience as newlyweds that she gave us on our wedding day.  One of them was sparkling juice with a tag that said "First Baby".  We popped it in the fridge and decided we would open it with the girls that evening.

The girls were beyond excited. They cheered. They asked a million questions. We took a poll on who wanted a boy or girl.  We popped the sparkling juice and we watched Look Who's Talking. :)

On Wednesday, the spotting changed to bleeding, and we went in for another ultrasound.  As soon as the ultrasound came up on the screen, I knew. It was empty and that beautiful flicker I saw 2 days prior was gone. The doctor stopped the ultrasound right away and then I heard it, "Unfortunately..." He spoke to us for about 5 minutes, but all I saw was his mouth moving as I immediately felt a heavy sadness take over my body. My eyes filled with tears. I looked over at Marvin and he just stared at the floor. 

My sadness quickly turned to anger when we started our drive home.  Why did we have to see the ultrasound we saw 2 days prior? Why did we have to hear the heartbeat? How do we explain this to the girls? What did I do wrong? Marvin and I voiced our frustrations to each other over our loss, we cried, and we prayed. And after Marvin had finished our prayer, I knew that I was meant to hear the verse and sermon I had heard just days prior at church.

The following day, I woke up and felt empty. I no longer had a bloated belly, my sense of smell went back to normal, and I just didn't feel pregnant. I felt sad and defeated. I didn't expect the early pregnancy symptoms to diminish so quickly and it made me so sad.  Throughout the day my mind kept going back to the words Pastor spoke the previous Sunday.  

God's promises are still available for me. For us. God's past faithfulness has certainly helped me get through this difficult time for our family. We are so blessed in so many areas of our life.

I may be mortified that I chose to publicly share our recent heartache after I post this. However, sharing experiences and opening up creates an opportunity for restoration and a new perspective. 

I encourage you to watch the June 7th service from our church, Elevation Church, here is the link: http://elevationchurch.org/sermons/your-verse


Monday, June 16, 2014
Father's Day Weekend

Our weekend was filled with hanging out by the pool and celebrating the extraordinary man of our house!  Friday night Marvin, Sophia, and I went to a local shopping market to listen to a DJ and have dinner.  It's a really cute area.  There's a fountain, a large yard, and a playground area.  We ate the carryout we picked up while Sophia ran around.  She met some new friends and showed us 386,309,201 cartwheels, backbends, and splits.



We packed a picnic lunch up and headed to the pool on Saturday.  The weather was beautiful and the girls had a blast having swim races and doing flips in the pool.


Sunday we really put the celebrating into gear! I made Marvin his favorite breakfast: cinnamon roll pancakes! The girls and I put together a burger basket full of spices, a patty press, thermometer and patty papers.  It may have been a bit selfish of us because we LOVE his grilled burgers. But he loves grilling, so it equals out. :)


Also, I had the 2nd edition of The Adventures of the McNutts drawn up.  Last year, I used the Superman theme to go along with the Superman Donut Bar.  This year I used Captain Marvel as I recently found out he is actually Marvin's favorite.  Who knew.  I had never even heard of Captain Marvel.  No surprise there.


We ended the day by watching Field of Dreams and snacking on a mini popcorn bar.  I couldn't believe that my baseball-loving husband had never seen Field of Dreams!


We definitely had a fun weekend celebrating our favorite man!  He deserves all of that and more.  Thank you, Marvin, for being such an amazing daddy to our girls!

Photo credit: Amanda Basteen // www.amandabasteen.com