The winner of the Disney gift card is Trisha Larson! Congratulations!
Be on the lookout for an e-mail :)
We celebrated Christmas Eve with Dorsie and Terry (Pat’s dad and step mom). We ate a fabulous dinner, and just as we were finishing up, there was a knock on the door. I wish I would have had my video setting recording, because Santa walked in, and all the kids went crazy! Ledger began talking too fast to understand and jumping around, and Sawyer started spitting out every fact he knew about Santa. It was adorable. Santa talked to each kid individually, and gave them each a toy. I was extremely surprised when Santa called my name... and Pat, even more than me :) He brought each adult a thoughtful gag gift, along with a gift card we all appreciated.
Cannon in red, Cruiz in blue.
All the kids love Uncle Wyatt!
Santa brought me two helping hands :)
The adults held a white elephant exchange, it was hilarious! By far the best I’ve ever participated in. (Remind me to share details for all of you next year). Then we had the kids act out the Nativity scene. Ledger surprised us by taking his role very seriously, and my heart about burst out of my chest when he leaned over and gave “Baby Jesus” a kiss on the forehead. It’s those moments when you realize our daily scripture study had paid off. Cannon and Cruiz mimicked the older kids and even sat reverently.
I felt the Sullenger boys represented the Three Wise Men quite well.
We drove home while it was snowing (Yay, snow for Christmas!) and let the boys all open their Christmas jammies (Avengers theme). We told Ledger when he woke up the next morning, he had to come in to our room before anywhere else. Pat even put up the baby gate to stop him. Ledger eagerly jumped into bed because he knew Santa wouldn’t come unless he was asleep. Oh and picked up his room as well, he remembered me saying Santa likes boys who keep their room clean :)
About 8:00 Christmas morning, (Yes, the one day for our kids to sleep in!) I was laying in bed waiting for our kids to wake up, when I heard the baby gate being torn down, I jumped up and grabbed the back of Ledger’s shirt as he raced towards the Christmas tree and pulled him into our room. He didn’t quite make it into our front room, but got a glimpse of one of the presents Santa left. He immediately began yelling, “Little City People Skyway! Mom, Santa brought us Little People City Skyway!”
Waiting in our bed while we woke up his brothers.
This year my goal was to make it simple, and I can honestly say this Christmas was amazing. The twins mimicked Ledger’s excitement and we had three excited boys running around shrieking with joy. Ledger ran around flying his Toothless Dragon (How to Train Your Dragon 2) and Cannon and Cruiz ran around in their capes and masks with their McQueen sippy cups. Aw, my heart was incredibly full, and it was the first year my grief didn’t take over that day.
Cannon – Captain America, Cruiz – The Hulk
Santa found the neatest Toothless. He has a blue laser that shoots out of his mouth, along with mist… Not sure who likes him more, Ledger or his Dad.
A month later, Ledger still talks about Christmas daily at our house.
There wasn’t any snow the morning before!
My parents made the drive to eat breakfast with us. Thank you! The roads hadn’t been plowed yet. We ate amazing Eggnog French Toast and Biscuits and Gravy. Our boys were thrilled to show Grandma, Grandpa, and Uncle Rhett their gifts.
Once my parents left, we got ready to head to Patrick’s mom’s house. Michele cooked an awesome Christmas dinner, and Ledger was thrilled to hang out with cousin Ivy two days in a row. Michele and Layne gave Ledger two Ninja Turtles, which surprisingly replaced his three year Lightening McQueen obsession. He hasn’t put the toys down since and has been referring to himself as Mikey aka Michelangelo.
We were so blessed this Christmas season. To the anonymous person who sent us an envelope in the mail, we thank you! We are so grateful for your kindness.
Thank you to the Beckstrands, the Browns, and the Reams for sending us the Christmas decorations, we love you!
It seems like everywhere I turn, I hear someone talking about how they are planning a trip to Disney! So I thought why not team up with one of our sponsors, Krystin Turner, (Find her here) a Disney Vacation Planning Expert to giveaway a $40 gift card to Disney Store or Disney store online. I asked Krystin a few questions, posted below, to help explain how she can help anyone planning a trip to any of the Disney Parks. I know when the boys get a little older, we’ll definitely be using Krystin to help us plan our own trip to Disneyland!
What is a Disney Vacation Planning Expert?
I get this question all the time. People just don't quite understand what exactly it is that I do. I plan Disney vacation packages for families- although sometimes I feel like the CIA. Well don't worry- I can tell you exactly what I do.
How Much Do You Charge?
My services truly are free. No fees. No surcharges. Disney pays me a commission on what I book so you don't have to pay me a dime. Imagine how many people go on a Disney vacation each year. Now imagine how many people need help, or have questions. Disney would have the largest work force in the world if they hired enough people to plan and assist in guests vacations. Instead, there are travel agencies and travel experts like myself that are here to answer those questions for you. I am very fortunate to say that I am employed with one of the absolute best agencies, Dreams Unlimited Travel. Also please note- I am not a travel agent that will treat you any different if you are spending $2,000 or $20,000 on your trip- I am not motivated by the commission or money I make. My passion is making people happy, and ensuring they have the trip of a lifetime.
That being said. I also don't have a book of special prices- I will find you the same package price that you would get if you went on disneyworld.com or called Disney yourself.
So why would you want Krystin planning your vacation, even if it's free?
For one, there are a million options when it comes to even thinking about planning a trip. Want to know how much a trip may cost? Here's where we start:
-Party Size of your Group
-Ages of your Group (yes, there are different prices for certain ages)
-Potential Travel Dates
-Days of Park Tickets (and do you want to park hop, have your tickets expire, etc.)
-Tickets to special events (like Mickeys Not So Scary Halloween Party)
-Dining (there are different plans that fit different needs)
And I try to do all of this while staying within a specific budget. Of course, sometimes that doesn't always work- for example, if you have a large group or family, sometimes you'll need two or more rooms...you can't fit eight people in a room that Disney only accommodates four in.
After I book your trip- for a price that accommodates your checking account, we move on to the fun trip planning.
I'll try to make sure you meet specific characters, while spending the least amount of time possible waiting in line. I want to make sure you utilize the MyFastPass+ system, so you don't miss out on a ride because you spent 4 hours waiting to meet Elsa and Anna. I'll give you specific advice on which restaurants to visit or avoid, and make reservations for you, if you desire. I'll help you navigate the My Disney Experience website and app on your phone, which can be confusing.
There's also some troubleshooting I can do for your Disney vacation. Sometimes it's the good stuff- Disney comes out with a discount for your dates, then I spend hours waiting on the phone to get you the discounted price. Sometimes my clients don't even know they qualify- so getting an email saying you saved hundreds or thousands of dollars is certainly a fun surprise. Other times its the not so good stuff- maybe you have a medical issue or family emergency before or during the trip. I'm able to provide specific on what you should do and what your best options are.
I provide an almost always available contact for something that is a very large purchase. Purchasing a Disney vacation is exciting, but it's also a risk. If you are going to invest thousands of dollars in a trip, you want to make sure you have the trip of a lifetime...no matter if you go once every thirty years, or two times a year. My job is to make sure each trip is memorable for the right reasons. And I love every minute of job.
What Disney Parks do you work with?
I plan all Disney properties- Walt Disney World, Disney Cruise Line, Disneyland, Adventures by Disney, as well as Universal.
To enter to win a $40 gift card to Disney Store or Disney Store online, use the Rafflecopter widget below! Good luck.
On December 19th, Patrick graduated! I was, and am still sooo proud of him. He didn’t want to walk, but I begged, (He’d probably say forced) him to. I felt he deserved to celebrate such a big accomplishment!
Pat graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Exercise Physiology.
Its been a long road for Pat, and throughout the entire process, he blew me away with his determination. School was going great for Pat, but when we lost Pres, things changed. I feel this was one of the places that affected Pat the most after her death. He struggled concentrating (Something I’ve learned is pretty common during grief/depression) He decided to take quite a bit of time off, and then changed his major. But he never gave up, and while watching him walk across that stage, I couldn’t have been more proud!
Ledger was thrilled to have three sets of grandparents to himself!
Ledger was so proud of his dad. :)
Graduation was late on a Friday night, and I could not find a babysitter! We ended up putting Can and Cruiz to bed at my parents house, and had a girl from their ward watch them. Both boys woke up just before we walked in through the door. As you can tell by their reaction, they weren’t too sure about a strange girl standing over them.
I’m sure many of you are wondering what’s next. Well, we are officially looking for a job. Pat hopes to work in medical sales, (Orthopedic sales, Pharmaceutical Rep, etc.). Know of any openings? :) The thought of starting the next chapter is… freeing. I feel like we’ve been a little stuck since losing Pres, and I’m excited to move forward onto something different.
Congrats babe, I know it frustrated you at times that it took you longer to graduate than you expected, but you should be proud. You earned your degree, while having 4 kids, burying one, pulled all nighters doing homework while feeding twins, and supported a family of six.
We are all so grateful and proud of you!