Our Week In Pictures (1/6/14-1/12/14)

This past week Hailey went back to school and Skylar and I eased back into school here at home.

Image

I finally finished up a gift for Chris’ mom.  

Image

We had our weekly visits with the chiropractor.  We LOVE this office!  They are like family!

Image

I started sorting through my craft room to decide which supplies I am ready to send to new homes.

Image

We spent lots of time at the library, one of my favorite places!

Image

I had rehearsal for worship team.

Image

We attended the missions dinner at our church.

Image

Awoke on Saturday to find Hailey looking through my Project Life album from 2012.

Image

Sunday was a beautiful day of serving, rest, & family time!

Ready & raring to go for another week of school, therapy, doctor’s appointments, exercise, and family time!

So thankful for my sweet family!

Make it great!

JuJu

Gracie Goes to Disneyland: The Adventures of Our Elf on the Shelf!

A few weeks before our family left for Disneyland, I asked Chris “How funny would it be if Gracie made the trip to Disneyland with us?” to which he replied “Let’s do it!”.  I’m so thankful for a husband who is game for my silly antics!

Gracie was packed & ready to go the morning we left!

Image

She sat up front with us.  The funny thing is, Chris and I drove by ourselves as the girls rode with my parents.

Image

Finally to the state line!

Image

They didn’t look too scary so I picked these two up!  What do you think the chances were that a bus-load of prisoners would pass us as we were taking this picture? Yep….totally happened!  

Image

Raring & ready to go the first morning!

Image

Checking out the crowd while hanging out on Aunt Jenny’s shoulder.

Image

Happy to be safe & sound with Chris!

Image

The obligatory photo op by the tree!

Image

Gracie had no idea that Space Mountain would be as fast as it was!

Image

It’s a Small World was definitely more her speed!  She was thrilled to see the North Pole! She rode the whole ride on Grandpa’s shoulder…he’s such a good sport!

Image

The Jingle Cruise was another favorite!

Image

Ready for our character breakfast on Christmas morning!

Image

She loved the attention from Rafiki!

Image

And thought Alice was definitely beautiful!

Image

Her favorite ride of all was definitely California Screamin’! She was happy to be sitting next to Skylar! (Sorry for the picture of a picture!)

Image

All in all it was an amazing vacation for Gracie!  She is hoping for a family Christmas cruise next year!  We sent her back to the North Pole with the message to Santa to help make that happen!

I hope you enjoyed Gracie’s adventure to Disneyland!

Make it a great week!

JuJu

*We clearly do not follow the “don’t touch the elf or she’ll lose her power” rule!  We were more than happy to include everyone in on the fun with Gracie!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Christmas Trip to Disneyland!

When we went to Disneyland in April in conjunction with our trip to see Skylar’s Mitochondrial specialist, never in a million years did we think that we would be going back for Christmas.  However, when your dad calls and says “I’m taking everyone to Disneyland over Christmas break!” it happens.  We went with my folks and my sister’s family so there were 12 of us in all.  I have some specific pictures and series of pictures from our trip that I will share seperately, but today I’m going to share some of my favorites that were snapped by either me or my sister.

I love this picture of Skylar and my niece, Rebecca as they got off the shuttle on our first day.

Image

The kids were pretty excited to find a short wait to ride the rockets.

Image

Hailey and Ben have always been close and this trip was no different.

Image

I love that my sister was intentional about snapping pictures of my mom.  She often steps out of the pictures.

Image

Our elf, Gracie made the trip with us (more on that in another post) and she hung out with Skylar for the Jingle Cruise, the Christmas version of the Jungle Cruise.

Image

Waiting for our report time for the Finding Nemo Submarine ride.

Image

My parents got suckered into going on the Teacups with my niece, Sam.  The other adults were pretty much adamant about not going on rides that spin!

Image

Peter Pan literally ran right in to Hailey while we were by the teacups so he took lots of time with our family.  He was awesome!  Such a fun personality!

Image

I love that Chris photobombed Skylar and Hailey’s picture with Rafiki.  We went to Goofy’s Kitchen for the character breakfast on Christmas morning.  The kids loved seeing all the different characters.

Image

Rebecca took a selfie with all the characters.  It was hilarious!

Image

My absolute favorite picture from the trip was actually the picture that was snapped as Hailey, Ben, Jenny, Chris, Rebecca, and Emily came down Splash Mountain.  I seriously crack up each time I look at it.  Everyone’s faces are hilarious, but my favorite has to be Rebecca!  I’ll just say that she had the most “expressive” response and to top it off, her hair went crazy!  She actually looks like she is trying to flee from the log ride.

Image

Looking forward to sharing more from our trip to Disneyland along with our experience with the new Disability Access Service Card.

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Make it great!

JuJu

 

Lately

juliehat

Lately…this is what I have looked like.  Workout clothes, a hat, & no make-up. Focusing on a healthier lifestyle, growing my hair out, & not wanting to fuss with make-up.

freezercooking

Lately…I’ve been freezer cooking.  I’m trying to reduce the stress of the “what’s for dinner?” worry each night.

librarybooks

Lately…I’ve been enjoying weekly trips to the library with Skylar.  There is just something about being surrounded by all those books that brings us joy!

rv

Lately…I’ve been dreaming about selling most of our belongings, buying an RV, and travelling.  Totally not kidding!  It’s definitely on my bucket list! (This is the RV that Skylar thinks we should get.)

What have you been doing lately?

Make it great!

JuJu

A Sweet Bond

Skylar and my niece, Sam have a really sweet bond!  They love to be together and no matter where we are, they love to watch Skylar’s iPad together.  

On our recent trip to New Mexico, my sister caught a great series of photos of Skylar and Sam while they were watching something on her iPad.  I loved how they turned out & was thrilled that she caught the genuine joy and love between them.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

So very thankful for this sweet relationship!  It makes this mamma’s heart very happy!

Make it a great day!

JuJu

 

 

 

 

Totally Groovy

Image

This past Saturday we had the opportunity to attend a 60′s themed dance being held by a local program that puts on activities and events for individuals with special needs.  The program is called SNAP (special needs activity program).  It is really neat how the Lord orchestrated our learning about SNAP through the free swim at the Y and one of Chris’ cadets.  

Skylar was really excited to go and after I was asked to help serve dinner to the attendees, we decided to make it a family event.  Skylar actually went online and googled different 60′s themed outfits to get an idea of what to wear.  We got a suede vest at Goodwill and I made the headband out of some brown cord that I picked up at Hobby Lobby and a sunflower I had in my craft stash.  I knew that it would be important for Skylar to be comfortable or she wouldn’t want to stay long.  

Image

Before we left for the dance we took a bunch of portraits on the front porch.  The picture below was my absolute favorite!  It is a great picture of what it is like in our home.  Just complete silliness!  I told Chris that his glasses looked a bit more like Elton John than John Lennon!

Image

Oh how I love this crazy man!  

When we got to the dance, Skylar immediately got into line to get her food.  I loved having the opportunity to serve dinner to the other attendees.  It gave me a chance to say hello to everyone.  So many smiles, so many thanks!

Image

This was pretty much all Skylar cared about!  The food!  One of the guys she had met the week prior at bingo asked her if she wanted to dance and I heard her say “Nope!  I’m eating! I’ll dance later.”  

Image

It was fun to watch Hailey and Chris eat dinner and chat.  They truly enjoy each other’s company.  

Not long after dinner, people started making their way on to the dance floor.   As I watched them start dancing, some by themselves and some as couples, I remarked to Chris that I loved how there was no pretense.  No one looked worried about what other people were thinking.  There wasn’t anybody in the corner whispering about anyone dancing.  There were only smiles, complete joy!  My heart was overwhelmed as I watched everyone dancing and saw all the caregivers just beaming.  These were truly our people!

Image

Chris, Hailey, and I danced together for well over an hour.  Skylar didn’t want to be anywhere near us.  Total teenager!  While we were dancing, a sweet lady came up to me and shouted:

“Would you like to dance with me?  I am a FANTASTIC dancer!”

Well, how can you say no to that?

We danced for 3 or 4 songs and she sang her heart out the entire time.  It was awesome!  I loved hearing her sing all the 60′s music.  

One of my favorite parts of the night was watching Chris dance!  It was so funny. He had a blast.  He was definitely the guy all the ladies wanted to dance with.  He treated them all like princesses and they giggled with delight!  And just when I thought I couldn’t love this man any more than I already do, I watched as a lady in a wheelchair who was non-verbal reached out and grabbed his hand.  He took her hand, danced around her and just talked to her the whole time.  I fell more in love right there on the dancefloor!

The entire crowd errupted in cheering when the DJ played YMCA!  I told Chris that I was pretty sure that this was a 70′s song (it actually came out in 1978).  We figured that they must be playing a mix of 60′s and 70′s music.  That was until they played the Cha Cha slide, Celine Dion, and Taylor Swift.  That gave us a good laugh!  Not long after that, Skylar said her feet were tired and that she was hot!  These were both signals that she was done and ready to go home.

As we walked out to the car, both Hailey and Skylar remarked how much fun they had.  Chris and I definitely agreed that it was the most fun we’d had as a family in a long time.  One of the best comments of the evening came from Hailey. She said “I am so glad that I am a 21st century kid!  I could not have handled the clothes and the music of the 60′s!”  She is looking forward to the next dance, which is cowboy themed! (Can’t wait to see what Chris decides to wear to that one!)

We finished the night with a stop at our favorite frozen yogurt place and when Skylar walked out she said “This was the best night ever!”  I have to agree that it was pretty great!

And just to give you a little bit more of a glimpse into the silliness that is my family, I asked Chris and Skylar to look serious for a couple of pictures and this is what I got.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Heaven help me!

Make it a great week!

JuJu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Favorite Fathers

Image

These 3 guys are my favorite fathers on earth!  From left to right, my brother-in-law, Jeff, my husband, Chris, and my dad, Tom.  All 3 of them are dedicated dads, hard workers, great husbands, spiritual leaders, & they are all totally funny!  They always have a good time when they are together!

Image

I am so thankful for a husband who loves his daughters with an amazing kind of love!

Image

Who prays with them over FaceTime while at military training.

Image

Who is willing to picture text clothing options when his daughter is sick!

Image

Who sits in a warm hyperbaric chamber so that they aren’t frightened.

Image

I’m also thankful that he loves our nieces & nephew like they were his own!

Image

And that he is never afraid to be silly!

Image

I’m also thankful for Jeff!  I’m so thankful that he came into my sister’s life when my oldest niece, Rebecca was a year old.  He has been an amazing dad to my nieces & nephew and you only have to be around them for about 5 minutes to realize that they are CRAZY about their dad & that the feeling is mutual!  

Image

When my sister went through cancer years ago, Jeff never left her side & I never stopped thanking God for bringing him into our family.

Image

And then there is my dad!  He has been such a source of encouragement to me and to my sister for our entire lives!

He is silly!

Image

He is competitive!

Image

And he is always a helper for Skylar!

Image

But I must say that one of the things I love the most about my dad, is how much he loves my husband!  He has been a spirtual mentor to Chris and he is one of the first people Chris goes to for career advice.

Image

And it sure doesn’t hurt that they share a deep love for the Arizona Wildcats!

Image

I can’t convey enough to you how blessed I have been by these men!  I am so thankful that the Lord saw fit to place each and every one of them in my life.  

Happy Father’s Day!

Make it great!

JuJu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

January 2013 Wrap Up

Here’s a glimpse at what’s been going on with our little family.

January started off with sickness for all of us:  bronchitis, pneumonia, and sinus infections.  We went through 4 boxes of tissue in 36 hours.  CRAZY!

Image

When Skylar feels bad, she insists on sleeping on this mat.  This is pretty much where she spent most of her days and nights.

Image

Sickness brought a LOT of television watching for us.  We got rid of our satellite t.v. last summer so we watched a couple of new shows on HULU and Netflix.

Oh Downton Abbey…how had we not met before?

DowntonAbbey

And this show is totally addicting!

Unknown

With the start of a new semester in school, we started a new curriculum!

Image

We are LOVING this curriculum!  Both the girls really love the art lessons.

Image

They also love the cooking segment each week.

Image

After studying the state of Massachusetts, we made a Boston Creme Pie.  It was delicious!

Image

I also had the opportunity to attend the It Works Global conference in Tampa.  One word:  INSPIRING!

IMG_2398

I got to dress up for a party one night of the conference.

IMG_2402

The night before I flew out to Tampa, I stayed at my sister’s house.  I loved taking silly pictures with my niece, Rebecca.

IMG_2387

Jenny, Jeff, Chris, and I also enjoyed a date night out when I returned home from my trip.  It was great!  The four of us don’t get to go out by ourselves very often.

IMG_2417

And last, but certainly not least, we finally got therapy services set up for Skylar here at home.  No more driving 4 hours round-trip to Phoenix every week.

IMG_2385

So there you have it.  A month filled with illness, travel, and new adventures.  It was crazy, but it was good!

I can’t wait to see what February holds for our family.  I’m planning on doing lots of reading, crafting, and wrapping!

You can read my full post on It Works! HERE

I’d love to hear what you all have been up to!

Make it GREAT!

JuJu

The Antics of our Elf on the Shelf, Gracie!

Hello friends!  So excited to share the adventures of our Elf on the Shelf, Gracie with you today.  I need to give a shout out to my grandmother and Aunt Carol who shared the Elf on the Shelf craze with our family last Christmas.  I admit that I was originally against adding in this tradition, but I am really glad that we decided to do it!  The girls LOVED Gracie, but I’m pretty sure that Chris and I had even more fun with Gracie’s antics.

For those of you who are new to my blog, both of our girls are on the autism spectrum.  They are very literal and we usually know exactly what they are thinking, as it just spills out!  Hailey cracked me up with her almost daily comments about what Gracie had done.  I’ll add her thoughts below the pictures.

WHAT A “CUTIE”

IMG_4732

This was our first morning with Gracie and the girls thought she was pretty funny. Hailey jumped in on the fun and continued to take parts of the orange away during the day.

GOING FOR A SWIM

IMG_4766

“Good thing she didn’t eat all the Cheerios, Skylar would have been mad!”-Hailey

ENJOYING THE VIEW FROM ABOVE

IMG_4751

“That’s hilarious!  She must not be afraid of heights like you are mom!”-Hailey

HIDE AND SEEK

IMG_4780

TAKING A BUBBLE BATH

IMG_4806

We went down to Phoenix for an overnight trip and the girls didn’t want to take Gracie with us.  They wanted to see what she would do while we were out of town. This presented a challenge for Chris and me.  Gracie got all settled into her bubble bath right after the kids got in the car.  When we returned home the next day, the marshmallows were pretty stiff from sitting out for about 24 hours.  Hailey said, “Well that can’t be comfortable!  Why would she want to bathe in hard marshmallows?”

TAKING OVER

IMG_4810

“I can not believe that Gracie knocked the angel off the tree!  That should definitely put her on the naughty list!”-Hailey

SUCH A JOKER

IMG_4843

CELEBRATING SKYLAR’S BIRTHDAY

IMG_4861

“I can’t believe Gracie didn’t eat all of her cake!  It was SO good!  Can I have the rest?”-Hailey

JUST A SIP

IMG_4862

“Well that’s a waste of a perfectly good straw!”-Hailey

A LITTLE LIGHT READING

IMG_4864

This is a really blurry picture, but Hailey’s comments were some of my favorite.  She said, “Oh my word!  Why is she reading Twilight?  Who told her those books were good?”

MISSING SANTA

IMG_4867

REPLACING OUR STOCKINGS WITH UNDERWEAR

IMG_4868

“Wow!  I hope those are clean!!!”-Hailey

SUGAR HIGH

IMG_4870

GREEN MILK

IMG_4872

“EWWW!  How’d she do that?  That is really weird!”-Hailey

VANDALIZING

IMG_4877

“What a waste of toilet paper!  You’d better save that, I’m sure we’re going to need it!”-Hailey

Thanks for reading about our adventures with Gracie!  The girls were excited that she left a note saying goodbye and that she would be back next year.

Blessings for a great New Year for all of you!

Make it great!

JuJu

A Majorly Awesome Day!

This week was Chris’ promotion ceremony to the rank of Major in the United States Air Force.  It was truly an awesome evening with family and friends.  We have a lot of family who were unable to be there so I thought I would do a recap of the ceremony in pictures.

First and foremost, I am so thankful for a husband who has devoted over 20 years to serving his country!  I come from a long line of military service members and marrying military was a completely natural step for me.  Being a military spouse isn’t easy, but I wouldn’t change a thing!

Chris asked my dad to come and perform the promotion ceremony.  My dad is a retired Colonel who served 27 years in both the Marines and Air Force.  He has been a tremendous mentor for Chris not only professionaly, but spiritually as well.  My dad also commissioned Chris 10 years ago as a 2nd Lieutenant.  I was extrememly emotional as I watched the 2 most important men in my life interact with one another.  My sister snapped the picture below before the ceremony of the 2 of them discussing the order of events.  I posted it on my personal Facebook page yesterday and a friend of ours said “It looks like they are planning an invasion!”

After talking about Chris’ military career, my dad administered the Oath of Office. My heart swelled as I listened to the words my husband spoke:

“I, Christopher Eli Coryell, having been appointed a Major in the United States Air Force do solemnly swear to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I about to enter.  So help me God.”

The ceremony was held at the university where Chris teaches the leadership level course to the ROTC cadets who are Juniors.  It is an elite, aeronautical university that has over 200 cadets.  All the cadets were in attendance.  I love the shot below of the cadets standing at attention as the Oath of Office was administered.

The girls and I then went up and pinned on his new rank.  I was so proud of both of the girls and how well they did in front of such a large group of people!  They both struggle with anxiety, but Chris was so great to walk them through the process before the ceremony and tell them what to expect.  Skylar leaned in at one point and whispered “Mom, how do I do this?”  I was so proud of her!  For those of you with kids on the spectrum, you know this is HUGE!

After the pinning, Chris spoke for a bit.  I love this shot of him below.  It looks like he is trying to lead the group in a choreographed dance!  He is so animated when he speaks!

Thankful for all of our family who was able to attend!  Chris’ mom came all the way from Maine.

Her brother, Dick and his wife Bonnie were visiting family nearby and were able to drive over for the day.  It was really neat to have them there as Dick retired after serving 26 years in the Army.

My sister and her family drove up from Phoenix.  My niece Samantha had a HUGE smile on her face during the ceremony.  She sure does love her Uncle Chris!

And her Grandpa!

My nephew Ben was a hoot the entire evening!  First he chatted with the Colonel asking him if he had flown his plane during the war.  Love that my dad is totally cracking up.

Then, Ben and Chris had a lesson on how to salute properly.

I love this shot of the Colonel, Chris, my dad, and the Lieutenant Colonel together.

Chris gave me a dozen roses for being a totally awesome wife and mother! (HA!)

On our way back to the car we came upon Ben and Hailey doing the Tango.  I totally laughed that Hailey had a rose in her mouth!  Who did she learn that from?

Here are a couple more of my favorite shots from the day!

Thanks for reading about our special day!  I’m so thankful for all the sweet memories!

A HUGE thanks to my sister, Jenny for snapping most of the photos you see above!

Make it great!

JuJu