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Thursday night, the kids and I headed to the International Mall in Tampa to enjoy the best kinds of fun we can have. The kids were treated to food, ice cream, and every Build-A-Bear frivolity you can imagine. The parents were treated to an awesome dinner out and afterwards, we were gifted with beautiful Christmas portraits of our kids. We came home with a Ballerina Cat named Molly (named after the daughter of Sara, our Little Tales director), a High School Musical Poodle named Presley (named after a new little friend, Peyton’s age with Leukemia) and a Pirate White Husky who is much too manly to need a name. Each child went home with a special new friend and a night of memories to cherish. The parents went home with achingly full bellies and another great opportunity to connect with other families and share our trademark brand of normal.

Friday was a day full of great experiences. Like, walking through Khol’s and watching a salesperson fall off a ladder when she hears Peyton ask the question “What’s a vagina?” Did we not all know that was coming at some point? We’re browsing mittens…checking out the jewelry…sniffing some perfumes…what’s a vagina? I know that’s what I thought when I first smelled Celine Dion’s perfume. Are you kidding me?

So, my very clinical and honest response was “Would you like one of those bracelets over there? Aren’t they pretty, Peyton?”

Catastrophe diverted. I should work for FEMA.

But we did get our wintery hats, mittens and scarves…and carried them to the car in the 80 degree weather. I practically had a heat stroke just holding the bags.

Before we jaunted to Orlando, we got to participate in a birthday party for our friend Mathew Gliddon. The great news is that he got to go home from the hospital on Friday, so he was all smiles and happiness at the party. The bad news is that he will be returning to the hospital for more treatment very soon, but at least he got to spend his birthday celebrating with many loved ones, surrounded by friends who just adore him. He had a combination Cars/Thomas the Tank Engine themed party, and it was enjoyed by the masses. There’s nothing quite like getting a group of immune-deficient cancer kids with low platelets together and giving them a stick and letting them swing it with all their might. We’re proud to report that two piñatas went down, but not a single child. There were a few close calls and many parents had to jump in to save a child here and there, but it was a completely head-wound free party….which is always a success in my book.

Can I just tell you what neat thing happened? One of my favorite websites to hit each morning is Woot. Woot has 1 thing that they sell all day, it might be something great, it might be something very random. But they only have 1 thing, and you never know how many there are so if it’s something really cool, it might sell out fast. They have great prices on the 1 daily item, so I always have to check and make sure it’s not that THING that I’ve been waiting on forever. They even sell a thing called “Bag of crap”…you never know what you’ll get, it might be Dead Sea Scrolls, it might be pencil erasers…who knows! It could be three completely awesome things that you never even realized you needed, or it might be three stocking stuffers for your in-laws. Anyways…this really isn’t an advertisement for Woot…a few weeks ago, the daily Woot was a train set, a miniature working train set that I saw and immediately ordered as a Christmas goodie for my dad. He’s a big train buff and thought he’d enjoy it for his office or something (I think you know where this is going, so SORRY, Dad). It arrived the afternoon that it was decided that we would be throwing a party for Mathew’s birthday and that it would involve trains. I love my dad, but no one could have enjoyed that train set more than Mathew and no one deserved it more. How is that for God providing the perfect gift when you didn’t even know you needed one?

After the birthday party, the kids and I headed straight over for Orlando. We were staying at the Gaylord Palms Hotel…which my kids decided was the greatest place ever. We were in a beautiful room that overlooked the atrium that was full of plants, waterfalls and Christmas decorations. Just a huge warning for you all!…unless you are extremely hard of hearing, bordering on completely deaf…don’t ever let them try to convince you that the Atrium room is an upgrade. Although it was gorgeous and the kids got the biggest kick out of the balcony view of the atrium, it was the loudest room I’ve ever stayed in…and that’s totally not counting the three Mayhew kids INSIDE the room.

But, the hotel was fantastic, the decorations were out of this world, the people were so tremendously kind. We got checked in late, so we weren’t able to do any of the Christmas shows, we had time for a snack, a bath and bed. But thankfully, my kids got my up at 6 AM so we would have time to enjoy some of the hotel…thankfully….oh yes, thankfully. We met up with our other friends who were able to make it, both those who stayed the night and those who came over early in the morning, and we were given a private tour of the ICE exhibit.

That’s a huge koi pond behind the kids. Picture the conversation that went “Hey! Look at that big fi-” “GRAB your sister!”

WOW. If you’re local and you’ve never seen it, you are missing out on a spectacular opportunity. Apparently, in China, the art of ice sculpturing is more than something you see at dinner parties and cruise boats! These artisans are just amazing. We went from scene to scene, rooms completely created from blocks of ice, animals, buildings, flowers, people, a complete Nativity scene…and were just blown away by the skill it took to create this place. There was even one whole room that was huge ice slides for the kids to go down, with stairs made of ice, railings made of ice…you get the picture. The kids LOVED it! I can’t even begin to explain how gorgeous it was, the detail was extraordinary and it was an event to remember.

The CandyLand themed room

An angel

The life-sized Nativity scene


It was also flipping cold! It’s kept at 9 degrees all the time to preserve the ice, and for us Floridians, you would have thought we were touring the Arctic Circle. We’re pathetic. Anyone with snow on the ground would probably welcome the chance to take a swing on us.

Thank you so much to the Children’s Cancer Center for each and every event we were a part of this weekend. Thank you to the Gaylord Palms and Coke-A-Cola for allowing us to come and stay and be a part of their wonderful ICE exhibit….and for totally spoiling my kids on a Comfort Inn for the rest of their natural born lives.

Pete’s missed out on all this fun and it would probably be making it a better time away from us if we were sad and pining for him, but he knows that we’re having a good time, so that makes it harder. We so wish Dad was with us, the kids said it countless times. But Pete’s doing well up there. He loves the new workplace and he’s still getting his feet on the ground, but I think it’s going to be a great fit for him. Today he got his reclining chair and bed delivered. The man has spent the week on an air mattress! So, he’s going to be enjoying his first night on a bed.

I have to let you in on this funny little tidbit. For a going away present, I got him an alarm clock. As I’ve mentioned before, Pete’s a heavy sleeper….think borderline hibernation. This alarm clock is on wheels, and after you snooze it, it is programmed to roll off of whatever surface it’s on and HIDE. It roams around for a place to hide and then it goes off, and it continues to go off until you locate it AND are able to reach it. Pete’s first experience with it this week was when it burrowed itself under the air mattress went off and freaked the ever living daylights out of him!! Needless to say, he got up.

f.r.o.G…fully relying on God

3 Comments on “Cold!”

  1. #1 Cara
    on Dec 9th, 2007 at 5:46 pm


    I [B]NEED[/B] to know what the name of this alarm clock is and where I can get one! I have a little sister who is desperate need of one of these for Christmas!

    Please email or post it if you can! Thanks, Cara :WINK

  2. #2 David
    on Dec 9th, 2007 at 6:50 pm


    You're a Wooter as well? Stephanie makes fun of me making her man the PC during "Woot-Offs", just waiting to get a Bag of Crap!

  3. #3 jen
    on Dec 10th, 2007 at 4:43 pm

    Good to see all the kiddies looking so cute and healthy! Have a great Holiday Anissa – you are an inspiration! Love to you and yours – Jen 🙂