Thursday, April 17, 2014

Star Wars:The Phantom Menace invades MINILAND at LEGOLAND Discovery Center DFW

We had a wonderful opportunity to preview the new large-scale, interactive LEGO model displays, chronicling the adventures of Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace at LEGOLAND Discovery Center Dallas/Fort Worth!

LEGOLAND unveiled their latest mural of the ultimate Star Wars bad guy - Darth Maul.  He really creeps me out!  This amazing mural was created with over 30,000 LEGO pieces and took over 400 hours to make.

My little Padawans had a blast with the thrilling Podrace with young Anakin Skywalker.

They had about 2,000 LEGO minifigs cheering them on in the race!

Rachel enjoyed the beautiful rolling hills of Naboo, with its ancient domed city (made entirely from LEGOS!) and cascading waterfalls. She launched the space ship from the hangar over and over and over again!  We just love LEGOLAND's interactive displays.  They are always so cool!

Make plans now to see this amazing Star Wars MINILAND exhibit.  While you are there, I have a challenge for you.  Can you find this Darth Maul fight scene?

We eventually left the Star Wars MINILAND and ventured out to enjoy the rest of the fun to be had at LEGOLAND.

My kids always enjoy building things with the giant LEGO bricks.  They fit together like real LEGOs but they can make some really big creations with them.

Nicholas loves this LEGO Chima guy.  He even has several of the LEGO Chima sets on his birthday wish list.

We spent quite a while in the LEGO 4D theater watching every single movie at least once.  

They never get tired of the 4D effects like wind on their face or "rain" falling from the sky.

The boys spent most of their time at the Racers station, building cars and racing them down the various tracks.  They could spend hours there!

Everyone loves the LEGO City Forest Ranger pursuit although Nicholas will soon be too big to squeeze into those little cars :)

Special Offers:
Save on tickets to SEA LIFE Aquarium Grapevine and LEGOLAND Discovery Center Dallas/Fort Worth with the 4 for $48 ticket offer.  For a limited-time get 4 tickets for $48!

SEA LIFE Aquarium
◦ Save up to $24!
◦ Available Monday, April 21 – Friday, April 25 and    
  Monday, April 28 – Friday, May 2
◦ Monday through Friday only
◦ Children 2 and under visit FREE
◦ Online only

LEGOLAND Discovery Center 
◦ Save up to $24!
◦ Available Monday, April 21 – Friday, April 25 and
  Monday, April 28 – Friday, May 2
◦ Monday through Friday only
◦ Children 2 and under visit FREE
◦ Online only

Purchasing an annual pass is the best way to play all year! For a limited-time SEA LIFE Aquarium and LEGOLAND Discovery Center are offering discounts on their annual passes. New individual annual passes can be purchased for $35 and a family of four is $135. Discounted annual passes can be purchased online and in person at each attraction through April 30.

LEGOLAND Discovery Center Hours: Monday - Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. - last admission two hours prior to closing. 

SEA LIFE Aquarium Hours: Monday – Saturday 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. - attraction remains open 90 minutes after last admission. 

SEA LIFE Aquarium & LEGOLAND Discovery Center 
Grapevine Mills Mall
3000 Grapevine Mills Parkway
Grapevine, Texas 76051
Phone: 877-818-1677

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Water, Water, Everywhere

At about 8:00 this morning, we woke up to Nicholas running up the stairs shouting that we needed to come downstairs quickly because there was water everywhere.

He had left his room to go to the bathroom and heard a weird noise downstairs so he went down to investigate.  He found the standing water and instead of freaking out like I probably would have done, he went forward to investigate.  He followed the sound into the downstairs bathroom which is right off of the kitchen.  He first looked at the sink but didn't see any water coming from there.  Then he opened the door a little farther and found the water pouring out from the supply line of the toilet.

We don't know how long the water was pouring out but here is a picture of a baseboard in our kitchen.  It is hard to see the actual water but you can see where the water line is by the reflection on it.

This is a picture of the kitchen floor taken from the school room.  Yep, there are ripples on the water! I'm around the corner in the kitchen sucking up water with Stuart's wet/dry vac.

Here is the school room.  This is the most upsetting room for me because important things are here like the kids' school work, school books, and all of my scrapbook and craft supplies.

More ripples on the water as I continue to work with the wet/dry vac in the kitchen.  Thank goodness we had that.  We called insurance and they called a water restoration company but no one could get to the house to help for a couple of hours.  I can't just sit still in a crisis so it felt good to at least be doing something to help the problem.

The kitchen floor under the table.

Lots of water everywhere...under the refrigerator, stove, dishwasher...up against the base boards of the walls and cabinets.

Once the standing water was gone I started sorting through things.  My favorite leather purse had been on the kitchen floor so it is ruined.  Unfortunately my cell phone was in my purse.  It is currently sitting in a bowl of rice to help absorb the water from it.  

The school room was sad because of things like books that the kids had made during their study on Pilgrims that they were going to put into a big lapbook.  Ruined.

Serv Pro water restoration showed up and helped us start emptying shelves so they could move everything away from the walls in order to start drying out the baseboards.  Lots of school stuff ended up in boxes and piles upstairs in the already crowded office.

The table, chairs and all the other school stuff ended up in the playroom downstairs which is a step higher than the rest of the downstairs so it was mostly unaffected by the water.  Things that were clearly water damaged went out to the garage where we will later have to take pictures and inventory those items for the claims adjuster who will be out here on Friday.

I was doing my best to handle the stress but it got to be overwhelming at one point.  I was still discovering things that had been damaged but trying to stay focused and work on clearing things out of the rooms for the guys to work on drying things out.  One guy started trying to move things and I went to help him because he didn't realize that the box he just picked up had crystal glasses in it but then another guy started moving the wire cubicle shelves in the school room to get them away from the wall and the cheap things started coming apart and things started falling and spilling out so I went to help him.  I couldn't keep up with where I was supposed to be working.  

Then the first guy started going into the little closet under the stairs which still had standing water in it.  There isn't a light in there except for a little tap light stuck on the wall but it was jam packed with school supplies, science equipment, camping gear and more.  I knew they wouldn't know what was what so I stopped to try to help unload the closet.  I got some of the stuff out at the front of the closet and started working my way to the back where the ceiling slants down under the stairs.  I was trapped into the weird little spot, in the dark, where I had to duck under the short ceiling, squatting in standing water, and found our beautiful pendulum wall clock in the back of the closet, sitting in water.  Stuart's mom had given it to us years ago and we had never gotten around to hanging it on the wall.  I was getting anxious but then realized I couldn't even turn around because the water guy was inches behind me with his wet/dry vac sucking up water.  It was just so overwhelming.

But the guys were really efficient and nice and very gung ho about their job.  We just have too much stuff crammed into our little house so it made for a stressful clean out process.

They set up blower fans and dehumidifiers to try to dry out the floors and walls.  The downstairs air will be really dry and hot (about 80-90 degrees) so they put up a barrier at the bottom of the stairs.  It's just a tarp with a zipper in the middle of it but it limits the amount of air that the dehumidifiers have to process and it keeps the hot dry air downstairs and the cool comfortable air upstairs.

There are 23 little green blower fans set up around the downstairs.  They look like little pods.  There are also 2 of these tall dehumidifier machines.  They will run non-stop for about 3 days.  They run at about 80 decibels which is pretty loud like a busy street or an alarm clock.  You definitely have to raise your voice to talk over them.  Therefore we will be spending the next 3 days in the upstairs of our house.

Tubing running from the front door into the living room.

Our living room.  That darn old couch will probably survive fine but the wood floors will probably at least need refinishing.  The black pads have vacuums on them to try to suck up water and the tall thing is the other dehumidifier.

Our little green pod family that has come to stay with us for a few days.

This is looking down the hallway from the kitchen to the school room. The fridge is pulled out from the wall with a blower behind it to dry the wall.  Fortunately we can just barely still open the fridge door.  Here there are also fans pointed into the pantry, the washer/dryer closet and the closet under the stairs.

It's hard to get around in the kitchen with our pod friends camping out here but we will manage.  We may need to make a few fast food runs but we'll get by for a few days like this.

Serv Pro will come out every day to check the moisture readings to see how the progress is going.  The blowers are drawing a lot of electricity and a couple of fuses have blown but I think we've got things adjusted and situated so the power stays on even though we have to deal with some flickering lights from time to time.

It has been a very stressful day but God is good and somehow He will use this for His glory.  We don't know what the damage will actually be until a few days from now.  Some things will improve as the air dries out but other things may just continue to swell.  The insurance adjuster will be here Friday so we will know more then.  Just keep us in your prayers that dealings with insurance go smoothly and repairs can be done quickly and in the most cost effective way.

For the kids, they will have a relaxed school week.  We can get some things done upstairs but I will be dealing with other pressing issues, like finding some of their school books in the piles of stuff, so we definitely won't have full days of school this week.  But I have a peace about things that it will all work out in the end.

Scriptures we are holding close to our heart this week:

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." John 14:27

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7

"God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and mountains quake and with their surging." Psalm 46:1-3

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and mountains quake and with their surging.” Psalm 46: 1-3

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Easter Egg Scramble 2014

We had fun at the Flower Mound Easter Egg Scramble.  They don't hide the eggs and candy.  They just throw it out on a field and let the kids race for it so it is called a Scramble instead of a hunt!

The kids were divided up by age groups.  I took Rachel to the field for ages 5-6 while Stuart took Nicholas to the field for ages 7-9.

The kids were all packed in at the gate waiting to be let loose on the field.

While we waited for all the eggs to be placed, I tried to get a picture of Rachel.  She just whined and said, "Come on Mom!  There will be plenty of time for pictures after I get the candy!"

The kids were let loose!  There was loose candy scattered all over along with some plastic eggs that contained either candy or a ticket to claim a special prize!

Rachel got tons of candy and a few eggs... 

...but most importantly she had lots of fun!

After the egg scramble, we headed to the bounce houses to wait to meet up with the boys.

Stuart caught some pics of Nicholas at his scramble.  Here he is ready to go.

He got tons of eggs and candy too.

A short while after the kids finished their egg scrambles, there was actually another scramble that was just for the adults.  Stuart and I both participated.  It was actually fun and it was humorous watching adults trip and fall as they scrambled for eggs like silly kids.  I actually got a prize ticket in one of my eggs.  

I went to the booth to claim my prize.  I knew some of the prizes were gift certificates to local businesses so I said a little prayer to get a massage gift certificate.  That didn't happen.  Instead I was handed a brand spanking  Yep, I won a basketball.  So I handed it over the Nicholas and tried to roll my lip back up to my face.

There was a cute little petting farm where Rachel got to hold lots of different rabbits.

They were all so cute and furry!

So were the baby chicks!

I've heard the kids mention that they want a pet rabbit.  I just ignore them and change the subject :)

Rachel had to snuggle each and every bunny.  I just couldn't get her to leave the petting farm!

She was just so happy spending time with the cute little critters!

Nicholas and Stuart played with the basketball.  It was neat watching them throw the ball to each other.  It makes me glad to have one it and I hope they get to spend some time playing basketball together at the court at the school down the street.

As I watched Nicholas play with the ball, I was overtaken at how grown up he looks.  He will turn 10 years old next week.  I just can't believe how quickly the time has flown by.  It makes me want to savor these days with my kids even more than ever.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Texas Bluebonnets!

We headed out to the lake to look for bluebonnets.  It's our favorite place to find blankets of the beautiful flowers each April.

We followed the path through the trees and rounded the corner to see the beautiful flowers everywhere!

Here are my favorite pictures from our outing....

After I had a few pics of the kids in the bluebonnets we decided to follow the path for a while.

I love watching my kids hold hands.  So sweet!

The path went up the hill and away from the lake so the kids wanted to head back to the water.  

They couldn't wait to check out the lake.

Before we left I did let the play at the water's edge for a while.  But oh my, my kids still found a way to get soaked and muddy.  More pics to follow.