Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Now It's Time To Say Goodbye

You may be wondering why the title states the words time and goodbye together ... and I'm sure most of you already know ... but for those who don't don't panic ... I will explain all in a tiny tiny bit!  Just keep reading!


But to start, mom and Kristin were suppose to come out this past weekend but due to the lame bipolarness of flying they were not able to make it out.  Strangely enough I was able to make it home ... so on Friday morning I packed up and took a flight out to wonderful Dallas!  Kristin and mom picked me up from the airport and we ran around doing stuff for a bit.  Then Kristin and I went to Walmart to get stuff for our boys.  Once again Noah didn't know I was in town, so I bought 3 roses and some Disney princess valentines.  Then Kristin wrote on each note some clues.  I drove out to Dallas just to find out that Noah had to work until 9 (I got there about 6), but thankfully Bethany was free that night so we went out to Freebirds because I had been craving it practically since I moved.  At about 8:30 Beth took Noah his first rose at his work ... and then we waited.  I left the other one at the place we got together and then that clue led to a waterfall on campus.  When he drove up to the waterfall and began to walk up the hill to it I came from the other side and stood on the next hill with his last rose.  It was a lot of fun seeing him and getting to see his shocked smile again!

The rest of the weekend was full of simply hanging out, church and relaxing!!!  It was a lot of fun, but then yesterday morning I got up super early and took an early flight back out to Orlando.  Around 7 Lauren and I decided to go to Magic Kingdom cause it was open till 11 so we hopped in the car!  We drove to the tunnels cause we didn't want to deal with the monorail crowd at close, but when we got to the bus stop at the parking lot the security guard told us it was a "violation of disney code" to be in the tunnels when you aren't working ... which ps is a bunch of crap because I've done it before and my managers told me I could.  Anywho, so we drove around to the front of the park and finally got in.  We ended up riding the tea cups twice (there was a little 6 year old girl who's family couldn't ride it so we rode it twice with her cause she liked it so much), Peter Pan (where we got to fly!), Big Thunder 3 times and Splash.  Then we got to catch the end of the Spectro Magic parade which was awesome!  We got home around 11:30 and crashed from exhaustion.  

Today I had to be at work at 1.  Work was good but SOOOOO crowded.  I was suppose to get off at 9 but I guess it was more crowded then they expected so they kept the park open an extra hour.  So when my bump-out time came I called a manager asking what was going on and he was like oh yeah you were extended till 10 ... you should have already been told.  Uhhhh yeah I wasn't ... so I just got home not long ago and now I am cooking pizza cause I am STARVING!!!  
But for the title of the blog ... it is true ... Lauren and I are moving back home.  We have both put a lot of though and prayer into it and have both decided it is best for us right now.  Lauren has her personal reasons which you can read on her blog.  As for me it was a mixture of things.  I was honestly EXTREMELY confused about the situation and what I was going to do.  Lauren had told me she was going to be going back home and I was just overwhelmed with confusion.  So I began to pray a lot and my family was praying also, as well as I began to do a bible study on Ecclesiastes.  Basically what it came down to was being here is no longer beneficial.  I know that I was suppose to come down here because seriously God has taught me an insane amount in the past 6 weeks.  But one of the biggest lessons I have learned is how blessed I have been.  I had gotten stuck in a routine that I wasn't satisfied with.  God has provided me with so many blessings in my family and Noah and a wonderful school and the ability to get an education, but because of a bad semester and the boredom of life I failed to see His blessings.  Instead I searched for the next best thing, or as Matt Chandler puts it, I created a new 10 year plan.  I do not at all regret coming to Orlando.  It was been an incredible and amazingly fun experience, plus I would have never realized His true blessings without it.  But half the fun of being here has been getting to know Lauren better and getting to go to the parks with her.  Without her it simply won't be the same here.  Plus if I go home I can get a job where I actually bring home something and I can get caught up in my education so I can graduate on time, aka it is more beneficial.  

I was honestly worried because I was told before I came that if you leave early you will be considered "un-hirable" in the future at Disney, but today my manager pulled me aside and basically told me that I have done a good job and that I should feel free to return anytime.  So that was a huge relief and very refreshing.  So, I will begin the long drive home on Monday and plan to be back home in Dallas a week from today!  I already know I'm going to miss it here, but I'm also very excited to be back home.  I'm for once looking forward to getting a job and taking classes.  And this will now give me the opportunity to work the D-now at Hillside as well as get to go to Pink Impact, a woman's conference I've never gotten to attend because of school.  Just keep me and Lauren in your prayers as we journey home as well as that I can find a wonderful job!!!

Have a magical week!

Stephanie

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Relying On God's Will

So I know I haven't updated in awhile ... but pretty much things have been rather interesting and SUPER stressful.  Sunday night was my shift that was scheduled until 2 in the morning.  Thankfully we got done a little early and I ended up clocking out around 1:15 so I was in bed by 2.  Still I'm use to going to bed and being asleep by like 11 and getting close to 10 hours of sleep a night and Lauren has been waking up by 6 every morning so on Monday morning we both woke up with sore throats.  We weren't feeling all that great but we never get days off together so we decided since it was a rare moment we needed to go to a park.  Originally we were going to go to Blizzard Beach but we figured it wouldn't be a good idea to go to a water park when we were getting sick.  Instead we headed over to the Magic Kingdom ... which was awesome!  The park wasn't all that busy so we ended up getting to ride this little transport thing around Tomorrowland, the rockets in Tomorrowland, the Laugh Floor, Snow White's Scary Adventure, the Haunted Mansion, Philhar Magic and we got to explore the Swiss Family Robinson treehouse.  Lauren also bought us brownie sundaes at Mrs. Pott's Ice Cream Shop which was SOOO good but they were HUGE!  

Peter Pan and Wendy at Dream Along With Mickey!  I was SO excited when Peter Pan came on I literally starting squealing and jumping around like a little kid.  Many of you may be wondering why ... but as I explained to Noah, Peter Pan is wayyyy cooler then any princess.  Not only is he magical and can fly, but he never grows up!!!  The princesses on the other hand are not magical and like Snow White wasn't even smart enough to stay away from the poison apple.  I may be a nerd for thinking so much into it, but I'm ok with that.  Plus Peter Pan waved at me in the tunnels one day ... and the princesses never have!
My amazingly awesome and verrrrry sweet brownie sundae!
So Lauren and I were trying to find the rockets that go around like the Dumbo ride, but accidentally took the ride entrance next to it and ended up on this little tram around Tomorrowland.  This picture and the one below are our "uh-oh" faces.

In front of the castle!

Tuesday I was suppose to work a 10 1/2 hour shift, but I was feeling worse so I decided it would be better to call in and rest.  So pretty much I didn't do ANYTHING except Lauren and I went to the store.  Tuesday was also Noah and my 1 year ... just fyi ... I can't believe it's been that long!  We couldn't be together obviously, but I sent him a video with tons of pictures we've taken over the last year.  It was funny cause the pictures went from all serious and posey to our true selves ... aka we don't care what we look like anymore!  Well, Lauren and I woke up this morning and were both feeling even worse, so once again I had to call in.  I had thought I just had a cold but I went to the doctor anyway.  Turns out I have yet another sinus infection ... I am the queen of them after all.  So I got an antibiotic which I am hoping kicks in like asap.  The doctor and the pharmacist both said it's a really strong antibiotic ... so let's hope!!!  I REALLY need to work tomorrow not only because I need the hours but since I called in 2 days in a row I currently have 2 points on my record card and if I get another point in the next 30 days I'll get a reprimand.  
Which brings me to my next thing ... if you could all just be in serious prayer for Lauren and I.  More immediate we both need to get healthy as soon as possible because we both really need to work.  Also, we're both just getting worn out with the whole situation.  We feel like we're working our butts off and barely bringing in any money.  It's literally a struggle for us every week because we work close to 40 hours and only bring home about $100, which is barely enough to pay for groceries and gas here.  And since I've been out so much this week I'm literally going to not get a paycheck and may even owe money for rent.  Thankfully my parents are AMAZING and they're helping me make it, but it's still quite stressful.  So if you could please be praying for us that would be amazing ... we are both also praying to see where God wants us next and what step to take next.  
Tonight we both pulled out our bibles and got online to listen to sermons.  Matt Chandler does series on different books in the bible and I started listening to a 13 part series on Ecclesiastes.  Tonight I went over the first chapter and basically it talked about how Solomon could ask for anything and he asked for wisdom and how on top of that God provided both wealth and power.  He also explained how we will never ever no matter how hard we try be as wise, wealthy and powerful as Solomon was.  Solomon wanted to understand more of life so he went and lived among the wealthiest men in the world and indulged in their luxuries and how he realized that those men were appealing to their 5 senses but they were longing for the simplicity of a poor man's life.  So then he went and lived among the poor and lived the life of a poor man appealing to their 5 senses and realized these men were longing for the lifestyles and luxuries of the rich.  Because of this he came to the conclusion that all life is meaningless and how we strive for these lifestyles but once we achieve them they're still not enough.  And then he explained how when we desire to appeal the five senses and live for that we will never find meaning in life because in the end the sun still sets and rises just as it did before and we will still move on in life without all the materialistic things we worked so hard for.  Then Matt Chandler explained how there's a 6th sense: faith.  He explained how when we strive for faith and look toward God then we move past the meaningless of the world and we rise above the sun to find true meaning.  It was super interesting!  Lauren listened to a different sermon, but by the time we were done we both felt a renewed sense of peace instead of panic.  It helped me re-direct my focus on not worry so much about the financial side of today but rather God's will for forever.  
Anywho, I took some night time medicine so I'm about ready to pass out.  As I said before just keep us in your prayers and thank you so much for all the one's you already said!

Have a good night!

Stephanie

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Ready For A Break!

So work is def getting outta control!  I feel like I've been working non-stop ... but I guess that is what I came here for.  The first two paychecks you get here get all screwed up because of rent and stuff ... so today I got my first "real" paycheck.  It was nice because I needed money ... but Florida taxes are INSANE!!!  I made close to $300 last week but between my $93 a week rent and taxes I only got $113 of it.  I guess that's not bad considering it was only for 1 week of work at $7.21 an hour ... but the $300 would have been WAY nicer!  


This week I once again had Monday and Tuesday off.  Monday I mainly relaxed and caught up on some much needed rest.  It was Lauren and Daniel's 2 year so I went to the store and got some stuff to decorate with.  I ended up with some candles, rose petals, a rose, heart candies and sparkling cider.  When she got home the stuff was set up all over her bed and then Daniel sent her an invitation he made to go on an online chatting date.  It was really cute and a lot of fun!  Then Tuesday my roommate Allie and I went to Epcot.  It's starting to get more and more crowded as it gets closer to March and Spring Break, so we avoided the main rides.  Instead we went on Journey Into The Imagination and then over to Honey I Shrunk The Audience.  Epcot has this new Kim Possible adventure so we got recruited to be secret agents!  We went over to Italy and were issued special cell phones that told us to go to Japan to stop the killer Bebe robots.  It was cool because the phone tells you to go to certain places in your land and look at certain objects to help fix the problem.  Like at one point we looked at a rock and then the phone would synch up to it and a Japanese symbol lit up ... it was crazy!  After we helped stop the Bebe's we shopped in Japan where I bought a pack of 50 incense with a stand.  Then we went over to Mouse Gear where I got a charm bracelet and a castle charm that says Walt Disney World.  I decided I was going to collect charms during my time here ... which I'm pretty excited about!  Also I bought another present ... but it's top secret!  

Allie and I excited about our Kim Possible phone and our top secret mission!
Lauren's bed on her and Daniel's 2 year!
Yesterday I worked from 1:00 to 9:30 ... but that wasn't the end of my night.  As I believe I have previously posted, Lauren and my smoke alarm was chirping every hour the other night.  I called the front desk and they claimed they fixed it ... but I guess they hadn't very well cause last night it started chirping again.  So we got Allie to stand on a table (cause she's the tallest) and take out the battery ... except the stupid thing didn't turn off.  She unhooked it and turns out the stupid thing was connected to 3 wires in the ceiling ... and since we had taken the battery out the darn thing starting chirping EVERY 5 SECONDS!!!  Lauren and I were so mad so we were planning on going to the fire department around the corner to get their help, but instead we decided to ask security.  They wrote down our information and said they would try and get help in a couple hours ... which by then it was 10 something.  We quickly figured out they weren't at all gonna try and get help ... so I called my dad and he helped me figure out how to unhook all the wires.  So now our fire alarm is sitting on our coffee table while there is a huge hole with a bunch of wires hanging out in our ceiling ... and maintenance has still not come.


Lauren yelling at the smoke alarm!
I was very angry at the smoke alarm ... if you can't tell!  (P.S. I'm well aware I look pregnant in this picture ... but I'm not!  Rather I have like 50 layers on cause Florida is FREEZING!)
The only remains in our ceiling!

Today I worked from 8:00 - 2:00.  It was a short shift but probably one of the worst because it was FREEZING!  When I listened to the radio this morning they said it was 30 but felt 22 and was a record breaker for Florida!  Well I don't know what the deal is but all the stores in Fantasyland are open and for some reason they don't even attempt to heat them ... so for 6 hours I got to stand in weather that felt 22 degrees!  It was awful!!!  I was so excited when I got off and instantly put on sweats.  Then I went to get my new Netflix movies and Lauren and I got in our beds and started Pineapple Express.  We both ended up falling asleep for a couple hours and when we finally woke up Lauren made us chicken tacos and queso!  It was amazing but we're both so full we don't want to move ... so now we're back in bed watching the rest of the movie!  Tomorrow I work 1:30 to 9:30 and then I have another morning shift the next day.  

If you could all just be in prayer ... my sister and mom are suppose to be coming next weekend but the flights are getting sketchy.  In fact Noah and Daniel are coming the following weekend and they already had to buy tickets or else they weren't gonna get to come.  My sister and mom can't buy tickets so if you could please please please be in prayer that they have the opportunity to come.  Lauren and I are still enjoying ourselves but we're starting to get extremely homesick.  Knowing they are coming has been motivating me and it would suck if they couldn't make it ... especially since I'll have the whole weekend off when no one else does.  

I'm off for now ... I hope everyone is doing well!!!

Stephanie

"Be glad for all God is planning for you.  Be patient in trouble, and always be prayerful."  ~Romans 12:12

I was having a really hard day the other day because I got exhausted and just wanted to go home ... so Noah sent me this verse as encouragement!  It's one we all need to look upon!

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Lauren got a burst of energy tonight ... and this was the result lol!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Magical Moments

Work is getting more and more slow as I'm getting more and more use to it.  Besides the fact that it's a slow season ... yes let's just say time has been going extremely slow!  But I've learned to not look at the clock until I'm on a break that way I never know how much time has passed.  Yesterday I worked 9:00 - 5:00 which as stated before passed extremely slow.  But when I got off Lauren and I decided to head over to Hollywood Studios despite our exhaustion and deep urge to simply lay in bed for hours on end.  We first walked over to Tower of Terror but the wait was extremely long, like miserably long.  Both of us had heard how amazing the Toy Story ride is but the wait seems to always close to 80 minutes.  The sign stated that the wait was 70 minutes but we figured what the heck.  Incredibly enough the line is super entertaining ... there's a bunch of oversized 90's toys like Candyland and Linkin Logs.  There's also a huge Mr. Potato Head that talks and sings which was pretty much the coolest thing ever.  Lucky for us the line only took about 30 minutes and the ride was AMAZING!!!  It was exactly as everyone had said and so worth the wait!!!  After the ride ended we decided to check out Tower of Terror again.  The sign said a 40 minute wait but I guess it hadn't been updated in awhile because we literally walked on.  Behind us in line there was a couple with 2 four year olds convincing them that it was actually the hotel they were gonna stay in.  They were saying things like "Isn't it nice?" and "Aren't you excited to get up to the room and relax!"  We started talking to them and they told us the poor things were gonna be traumatized!  Lauren and I felt so bad for the precious things ... but I will admit those were pretty clever parents.



In line at Toy Story.  This was one of the picture slides where you would click the little lever and the disk would revolve to new pictures!  This was a Tomorrowland one and there was also a Peter Pan one!
In front of the talking Mr. Potato Head!  There's also a video at the bottom of the post ... although it's loud!
Our 3-D glasses on about to get on the Toy Story Mania ride!

Today I worked from 10:45 to 6:15.  The day started out TERRIBLE!!!  I was exhausted because the smoke alarm in Lauren and my bedroom was running out of batteries ... so we were both literally in and out of sleep all night due to a VERY loud beeping every hour or less.  Literally we would wake up with a jump and our hearts racing it was so loud.  Then one of my first transactions at work I totally messed up.  The lady had grabbed a pair of earrings but they didn't have a price tag so I went to grab some new ones.  After I had finished the transaction she came back up and told me I had rung up the wrong earrings ... they were similar but not the exact same.  Well it's a rule that you can't do a return or exchange on a transaction you originally had ... but I was alone on that side of the store with like 5 people waiting in line.  I didn't want to make the lady wait for a manager so I quickly went to the other side of the store and asked another cast member to help me out.  She finally came over to find out we were out of the earrings the lady wanted.  So she went to another store to check and they didn't have any either ... so she told the lady she was gonna have to call a manager anyway.  Well the lady got super mad and was like "can't I just take them and pay the price of the others?"  But we can't do that without permission because it screws up inventory.  Finally the manager came and let the lady leave without a problem.  Well then a few transactions later a lady had a small snowglobe which I succeeded to tip over and have shatter on the counter.  To top it off when I finally got on break I tripped over my own feet ... not a big deal but by that time I was just over it! 

After my first break my day finally started to pick up.  I ended up at Tinkerbell's all day and we have this thing where you can call Tinkerbell to the store from Pixie Hollow.  Whenever someone asks or it's slow in the store you give a kid a big bell and you tell them to ring it really loud and yell for Tink because she has to hear you all the way from Pixie Hollow.  Then there's a window that has a screen behind it and Tink appears in the window and winks at the guests.  I had one little girl ring the bell and when Tink appeared she got SO excited that she ran over to her sister to tell her.  A few seconds late she came back asking if her sister could do it.  Of course she could so when Tink came again the girl looked at me and said "Is that the real Tinkerbell?"  I told her it was and that she must be magic for having Tink hear her all the way at Pixie Hollow.  The girl literally screamed out "Mom I just saw the real Tinkerbell!" as she ran through the store.  It was SO precious!  Later in the day another girl came in.  She looked older, around 8 or 9 and normally girls that age play along but they don't get as excited because they know it's all make believe.  Well she was wearing all Tinkerbell so I asked her if she wanted some pixie dust in her hair.  She said yes so I sprinkled the dust in her hair and told her to make a wish.  Afterwards she asked if it was real pixie dust and where she could buy some.  I told her that it was and that it was a gift just for the store that Tinkerbell had given us ... by then catching on that she actually believed me.  So I asked her if she wanted to call Tinkerbell ... which she of course did.  When Tink appeared her face lit up and mouth fell open in shock.  Another girl had watched and asked if she could call her and after watching.  After the second call the girl looked at me and said "Is that a computer screen?"  I looked her right in the eye and said "Nope, that was really Tinkerbell all the way from Pixie Hollow!"  She looked in amazement and went to find her mom telling her who she had just seen as they left the store.  Finally after my second break I went to the other side of the store where there is a dress that the fairies from Sleeping Beauty fight over the color, so it changes from blue to pink.  A little girl came up to me and asked if it was the real dress from sleeping beauty and how we had gotten it.  I told her that it was and that Princess Aurora had given it to the store as a special present.  She was so excited and looked at her mom and said "It is real mom!  It was a present ... I told you so!"  

So, even though my job can be tiring moments like that make it so worth it!!!   All the girls today were so precious and I loved being able to watch their faces light up when they believed the magic!  

Anyway, I have the next two days off praise God!!!  Tomorrow I will be just relaxing and catching up on some sleep.  Then Tuesday I believe Allie and I will be going over to Epcot to try out the new Kim Possible adventure ... supposedly you become a secret agent and go through all these trap doors and stuff throughout the land while on a mission.  I'll have to let you know how it goes!  Then it's back to work which the rest of the week won't be too bad.  Next week is another story!!!  Sunday I work from 5:15 at night to 1:45 in the morning!!!  I'll have Monday off but then Tuesday I'm gonna have a 10 1/2 hour shift ... which is insane!!!  Thankfully my mom and sister are coming that weekend so I'll have Friday and Saturday off ... praise God!

For now I am watching Cold Mountain while Lauren puts up her laundry.  Have a great night and a blessed week!

Stephanie
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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Work Work Work


Coming back from Texas wasn't how I planned, but the night ended up being pretty ok anyway!!!  Lauren got off work and we decided that we wanted to get some Disney movies.  So we drove over to the learning center at Vista just to find out they didn't have the movies ready yet but that the learning center at Epcot was still open.  We were gonna go to Epcot but decided on catching a few rides at the Magic Kingdom ... this was at 7:00 and the park closed at 8:00.  We got in the park about 7:30 and ran over to Space Mountain, which we got to walk right on.  Then we quickly walked over to Big Thunder Mountain where we got to walk on once again.  Lucky us we got to ride Big Thunder 3 times without getting off ... while the fireworks were going off!!!  It was so much fun and amazing ... although we both had a headache by the time we got off.  When we got off the ride we ended up catching the last few minutes of the nightly fireworks show Wishes.  It was such a fun night but Lauren and I were exhausted so we went to sleep pretty fast. 

The castle all lit up pink on Tuesday night!
The next day I worked 8 1/2 hours, from 1:00 to 9:30.  It was so exhausting and the time went incredibly slow!!!  But thankfully it was gorgeous here in Florida and I got to spend some time working outside!  I had gotten to work early so I rented Tower of Terror and Brother Bear from the learning center at the Magic Kingdom.  We stayed up until about midnight watching the beginning of Tower of Terror, which if you know us you know that since we got here we've failed to stay up that late.  So then today we woke up about 9:30 and threw on our glasses and some shorts.  Then we went to Wal Mart to get some groceries.  I had to get some new costumes so I left for work an hour and a half early.  Unfortunately Florida decided to change on me and by the time I got to the tunnels I was drenched from head to toe due to wonderful Florida rain.  The day started off slow but ended up quickly because I got two breaks, got to sew and ended up getting off half an hour early!  So now Lauren and I are finishing Tower of Terror and getting some sleep.

Tomorrow I work 2:45 to 8:45 which shouldn't be too bad, but then the next day is 9:00-5:00.  But yes as for Lauren and I were starting to get more into the routine of things but at the same time we're getting extremely anxious to see everyone.  Even though I just saw my family I already feel like it's been forever!  So, please just pray that time goes quickly and that my family as well as Daniel and Noah get here fast!  

Love you all!

Stephanie

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This is right before the finale of Wishes!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Hello And Goodbye

So the last two days went by ...  quick!  Well first off Sunday I worked close to 9 hours.  It was exhausting and my feet Killed!!!  But, the day finally ended and I came back to the apartment and packed until about 11.  I finally fell asleep just to wake up at 4:30!  I left my apartment by 5:30 and barely made it on a flight back home to Texas.  I landed in Texas about 9 and mom and dad picked me up.  We dropped dad off at home and then mom and I drove out to DBU to surprise Noah.  He had no clue I was coming out and I had texted him from the time I landed pretending I was getting ready to go to a park.  We got out to the school around 10:15 so I texted him asking what he was doing ... forgetting the fact that chapel is from 10-11.  So mom and I sat in the car talking until chapel was over.  I looked for Noah, but when the chapel doors closed I figured he was already back at his townhome.  So we go over to his house and the door was locked but his roommate Taylor and I saw him coming down the hill.  I went back over to the car and ducked down so he couldn't see me.  As he passed the car I stood up and he took a few more steps then turned towards me to see who it was.  Then he started smiling and backing away saying "You aren't suppose to be here!"  I gave him a hug and then he looked at me and started hugging me again.  It was pretty much the best surprise I've done and he was totally precious!  

After we surprised him we went to Chick-fil-A for lunch.  Then we drove back to mom and dad's house and just relaxed since I was awake so early.  He had to leave for a night class so mom, Kristin and I went to the mall to shop for Chelsey's wedding.  Then we went back to the house and ate some chili.  Kristin and James had to leave but Noah came back so we watched Grey's and John and Kate ... and then I fell asleep at like 10:30.  I wasn't planning on leaving until about 7 tonight, but mom woke me up at 8 saying it was starting to freeze and they were gonna start canceling flights.  So we were out the door by 8:30 so I could catch a 10:00 flight back to Florida :(  I was really upset that I didn't get to stay longer, but I talked to my mom today and she told me the flights in fact were canceling and that it was only getting colder ... so it was a good thing I left so early.  
So now I am sitting in my apartment watching the Sex and the City movie.  All the roommates are at work so I ran to get some lunch and fill up the car since I was running low on gas.  Oh the joy of days off.  Thankfully though it is warm here!  In fact I went from FREEZING cold and frozen roads ... to where I am currently wearing shorts and a t-shirt!  Crazy how things can be so different just a couple of states away.  But anywho ... I work tomorrow from 1:00 - 9:30 and then don't have another day off until Monday.  
I love you all!!!

Stephanie

Friday, January 23, 2009

2 Days Down ... A Ton To Go!

Well, my first two days of work are officially over with ... and dang were they crazy!!!  Quite honestly my first day was a MESS!  I was told that on your first day you will never be alone.  Well, first thing that happens when I sign in ... I'm alone at the Enchanted Grove cart.  And first thing that happens ... a guy asks me for another pair of sunglasses since the ones on display were bent a tiny bit.  So I checked the backstock we have right there, but couldn't find the exact pair.  We're never suppose to turn a guest away so I then ask him if he would like me to call a manager to check the backstock indoors.  Unfortunately he said yes.  All the carts are stocked with a phone that is usually by the cash register ... except for the Enchanted Grove cart ... it's on the railing in a box behind the cart.  So after searching for awhile the guy got irritated and left.  The next spot on my rotation was Sir Mickey's.  I get to Sir Mickey's and it's SO crowded!!!  And of course since I hadn't had much hands on training yet I had plenty of questions.  And of course the one lady I'm working with is not in the mood for me to ask questions and gets irritated EVERY time I do.  Finally I get rotated again to Tinkerbell's Treasures and am there for a couple hours.  Well whenever a rotation happens we are given a slip of paper that tells you to move to this position and that person to this position and that person to break ... and then it tells you what time to be back from break.  So another cast member comes up and says it's time for my tea party (Fantasyland lingo for break).  I asked him for the paper that had the time for me to come back and of course he didn't have it.  So I rushed through my food and was back up to Sir Mickey's to check in just to find out I was 10 minutes early and not allowed to clock in yet.  So I ran back to the locker room and checked my phone and then headed back up.  Well then I get assigned to Fantasy Faire ... which is fine for awhile but then I was by myself and in charge of the entire store.  So then a girl comes up and tells me once again it was time for my tea party.  I got so confused because I was under the impression I did not receive another break.  But I guess I did ... so I went on my break and then went back and was assigned to help close Tinkerbell's.  I go over to Tinkerbell's and there are only two ladies there and they basically are like "ok just help straighten!"  So I wandered around randomly straightening things.  Well when you work at Magic Kingdom you are allowed to clock out 10 minutes early for travel time since we have to take a bus to the cast parking lot.  So for example if I get off at 8:45 I clock out at 8:35 ... and if I don't clock out by 8:45 I get a point on my card.  By then it was 8:42 so I finally asked a girl if I was suppose to wait for someone to bump me out or just leave.  Turns out I was suppose to clock myself out, so I called a manager and he told me to go over to Sir Mickey's.  So I ran over there and the door was locked!  So I ran back to Tinkerbell's and thankfully the manager was there so I told him I wasn't aware I could clock myself out so he changed my time so I wouldn't get a point and I was able to go home!!!


So then today was a much smoother day!!! I finally was getting the hang of things so I was actually able to interact with the guests and have fun!  At my first position I was at the Enchanted Grove cart and my first customers were two little girls.  They were so so sweet and extremely polite ... and they were like 3 and 6 or something ... so I was able to give them Mickey stickers and pixie pins which are little Tinkerbell trader pins that you can only get from a cast member.  And we only give them out to people who catch our attention for doing something good ... so I told them since they had such good manners they got the special pin.  I had over an 8 hour day ... but it wasn't too bad ... my feet are just killing me!  My last position was on a patio of a store and at 8 every night they have the Wishes fireworks show.  There were so many families standing outside my store watching them and every time one went off everyone got so excited.  It was incredible just to see everyone ... entire families smiling.  And how even the adults became kids again.  One mom was even dancing in the street!  I've also met over the past few days like 3 families with Make-A-Wish kids.  It really made me realize just how lucky I am to be working here because I literally am helping make these families wishes come true.  And as cheezy as it sounds EVERYONE is happy ... of course how could you not be.  So yes ... I will admit I was tearing up during the fireworks!  It was just such an incredible thing to see.  

But I'm exhausted ... and my feet hurt ... and I have to get up at 6 to work from 8-3:30.  But then after I get off I believe my roommate Christina and I are going to explore some parks because she has the day off.  

Have a good night everyone!  Oh and please be in prayer ... Lauren is hoping to go home to see her family and Daniel Tuesday night so pray the flights will be open!  Also, just that we continue to enjoy it here and that God provides some incredible opportunities!

Stephanie

Thursday, January 22, 2009

First Day Of Official Work :/

Not much has changed in the past few days.  My last day of training was really good.  I had an awesome trainer, probably the best one so far so I learned more then I have pretty much since I got here.  We did some register practice and then we got to learn how to use the sewing machines for the back of the mickey ears!  It was crazy how many people get their named on their ears ... but it was fun and exciting to see everyone so happy when their ears were finished!  After that she took us around Fantasyland and quizzed us on everything we had learned over the past week because we then had to take a test to make sure we were ready ... which I passed yay!!! And then we had to go meet with one of the managers and talk with him and have him quiz us.  Disney is pretty intense!

Yesterday I had the day off ... which quite honestly I wish I had worked!  Lauren had to work so I slept in until about 8 and then literally laid in bed watching tv until noon!  When I finally got up I went to go find a post office.  The guy at the front desk of my apartments told me where to find one, but of course I couldn't.  So I plugged post office into my GPS and somehow ended up driving like an hour for a post office that was suppose to be 8 miles away.  I gave up on that one and looked at a sheet of local businesses I have and it told me of a UPS store next to Publix ... which is RIGHT around the corner from my apartment.  So I drove there and lugged all my stuff in.  Turns out shipping is way more expensive then I can afford.  Luckily Aunt Kim and Chels' stuff was small so I went ahead and shipped theirs.  But for my little familia waiting in Texas ... you're gonna have to come get it or just patiently wait!  And just for future note ... I probably won't be shipping anything else ... so if I do buy you something you'll have to wait till I can see you to give it to you!  Yes so after that I was kinda frustrated so I just went back home.  I made a chicken salad and then made Lauren and my beds ... yes I was that bored.  And then pretty much I spent the rest of the night hanging out and watching movies.  Thrilling isn't it?  Ooo ... I got kinda mad ... actually really mad ... because my tattoo on my foot has to be invisible for work.  So everyday I've been putting tattoo makeup.  Well the makeup doesn't come off unless I scrub it ... plus it like stains my foot if I don't.  Soooooo ... pretty much my tattoo is super faded now ... and lucky me gets to go through the money and pain to fix it when my program is over :(  And for now I can't scrub it anymore ... so I'm gonna have a REALLY stained foot!

Well today is my first real day on the job ... no trainers or anything!  I'm kind of nervous but I'm excited!  Hopefully the days will go much faster now since I'll constantly be busy doing something instead of simply learning over and over.  I'll have to let everyone know how it goes!

Also, I finally figured out how to make my comments work ... so yay you can all comment now!!!  

Last I found out that my mom and sister are coming out February 13 to 15!!!  I had asked for the days off too late but God blessed me and I have all three off ... which I was told never happens for CP's!!!  Then the next weekend Daniel is coming to see Lauren ... if only you all knew just how excited we were!  But for now it's time for me to shower!

Have a great day everyone!!!

Stephanie

P.S. If you haven't seen yet I was able to finally post pictures and videos on the previous post!  

Monday, January 19, 2009

1 Week Down

I has been quite an eventful past few days!  Well, after I last updated Lauren and I headed over to the Magic Kingdom.  It was pretty stinking crowded, but we ended up getting to ride the Carousel of Progress, Stitch's Great Escape, the Tea Cups, It's A Small World, the Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean.  It was a lot of fun and totally hilarious!  But about 9 we were both exhausted so we headed back to the apartment and went to bed.  





The first picture is me on Small World!
The second picture is the gate that I pass under everyday when I go to work!  I first pass under a Disney World gate and then this is the Magic Kingdom one!
The last picture is me in front of my apartment complex.  Lauren and I actually live on the third floor on the opposite side of this building.  I LOVE the apartments ... they are gorgeous!

The next day I got to sleep in and went to work from 12:30 to 6:30.  Once again I was in a group with two other girls and our trainer took us up to Pooh's Thotful Shop.  There were two open registers so our trainer intended on us all switching out.  Well I guess the other girls didn't have a ton of previous experience so it ended up for about 3 hours I was alone on a register with a CONSTANT flow of people checking out.  It was crazy!!!  And even though it was stressful I was kinda excited because it made me realize just how fast the days can go since it will most likely always be that crowded.  After that we headed down to the cafeteria for break and then we did some computer training.  Finally we got to do some pin trading and then I was off!  Lauren and I did laundry and got some Starbucks.  Once again I was exhausted (welcome to working for Disney!) so I turned on Atlantis and was asleep just past 10.  


So this morning Lauren and I had the luxury of sleeping in until just past 9 ... something very exciting for us!  We got ready and then stopped by Wal Mart where they finally had my camera card reader in stock!  Then we headed over to Animal Kingdom.  We got fast passes for Expedition Everest and then went to ride Dinosaur which was HILARIOUS!  By then we were starving so we walked over to Asia and had some honey chicken and then watched Finding Nemo: The Musical.  It was only about a 30 minute show but it was REALLY good ... I recommend it!  Once that was over we went and rode Primevil Whirl which was another really fun one.  Finally by that time the we were able to go on Expedition Everest which of course was amazing.  When we got off we were already tired so we got back to the car and went over to Property Control.  I got 2 shirts and a Mickey jewelry holder for about $14.  And now we are back at the apartment taking showers and winding down for the day.  Our roommate Christina is on her way home from work and then she's gonna make us homemade chicken alfredo!  Yay ... I love my roomies!!!  



This first picture is Lauren and I excited to go on Expedition Everest.
The second one is our ride picture when we were on Dinosaur and the T-Rex was about to eat us!  It's blurry cause we took it off the Disney tv thing ... but we thought it was hilarious cause we were screaming so much!

So tomorrow I work 10:30 to 4:30 which is my last day of training.  Then Wednesday I have off and then starting Thursday I'm on my own at work :/  yikes!!!  But for now it's my turn for a shower!

Love and miss you all!!!

Stephanie


video video

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Property Control!!!


Another two days have gone by and it's getting more and more busy!  Yesterday was my first day of Fantasyland training.  I met at the costuming department and we split up into smaller groups.  I was with two other girls and our trainer, Jack.  He took us over to Fantasyland and gave us a more detailed tour of the land, mainly of the different stores and carts we will be working at.  He also showed us where the restaurants and the bathrooms are so when people ask we would know, which came in handy because about 10 minutes later I had a lady asking me where the bathroom was.  After that we went to the cafeteria in the tunnels and then met with one of the managers over Fantasyland.  She gave us pin trading lanyards which was super exciting ... I got a green one which means I get to trade with children ages 3-12.  I got off about 5:30 and went back to the apartment where Lauren and I cooked dinner.  I received my first two movies from Netflix so I watched the first part of The Women and then we went to bed.

Today I had to get up about 6:20 and head over to the university.  I had a class on how to combine entertainment and merchandise which included a TON of training on the register.  We got off about 12:30 and took the bus over to the cafeteria in the tunnels at the Magic Kingdom until 1:30 when we had to go back to the university for a computer class.  When we finished a girl I work with, Meaghan, and I went over to the cast stores.  One store was decent priced, mainly anywhere from like 10-50% off, but since it's all Disney merchandise a ton of it was still rather expensive.  BUT then we went to the other store.  It's exclusively for cast members, so if you come unfortunately I can't take you there.  At this store they sell lost and found stuff that is never claimed.  I didn't even touch that stuff cause personally I think that's a little strange.  But they also sell damaged stuff.  Some is obviously damaged but other things they claim are damaged but they really just are trying to get rid of them.  So, I got presents!!!  I ended up with 7 items and spent $14!  I'm gonna try to ship everything Tuesday, but I'm not promising anything.  And just fyi ... I got something for Noah, mom, Kristin, Aunt Kim and Chels.  It's nothing big so don't expect a ton, but they all reminded me of you in some way.  Also for those of you who didn't get something like dad and James ... I promise I'll keep my eye out.  They just didn't have ANYTHING you would like today.  So now I'm back at the apartment just relaxing although in just a bit Lauren and I are gonna go over to Magic Kingdom and see if we can get on the rides since the younger kids will be gone!  
Tomorrow I work from 12:30 to 6:30 and then Lauren has the day off.  Magic Kingdom is open until 11 so I think we're gonna go there since most kids won't be out until that late.  And then we both have Monday off.  It is Memorial Day which will probably be crazy, but we're planning on braving the crowds and going to Animal Kingdom!
Also, random little fact which I think is very exciting, but you may very well not.  I joined Netflix and was planning on renting a bunch of Disney movies.  I figured since I work for Disney now I should brush up on my movie watching.  Anyway, so I received Atlantis, one AMAZING movie that I haven't seen in so long so I was pretty excited!  Well, throughout the Disney property there are places called Learning Centers, including one in the tunnels that I pass everyday going to work.  Here, for free, I can check out pretty much any and every Disney dvd ever made!  So, even though you may not be excited, I though it was pretty cool!

Have a blessed weekend!

Stephanie

P.S. Here are Lauren's two costumes!  She is in Housekeeping at the Animal Kingdom Lodge!


This is her janitorial one.  She's not sure when she'll wear it, but she thinks it looks like an Asian chef.  I have to admit, it's pretty funny!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

First Day of Training ... Check!


Well, it has been a busy busy busy past few days.  Yesterday I have my first day of paid work which was a class called Traditions.  I woke up about 5:45 and rode with my roommates Christina and Allie to Disney University.  The class started at 8:00 and was 4 hours long.  At first it was a lot of fun because we got to learn a lot about the history of Disney and play some games.  I won a little Tinkerbell, Minnie and Tigger figurine.  But after about the first hour it got a tad boring.  We of course had to go over the typical new hire information like how to handle a situation of sexual harassment and what standard Disney expects of you.  I also got my beautiful Disney name tag!  I had woken up at 3 that morning with a sore throat and knew I was getting a sinus infection since the week before Noah had one while on the cruise.  So, after Traditions ended I headed over to a Centra Care and was lucky enough to get right into a doctor.  I flat out told him my boyfriend had a sinus infection and I was around him the entire cruise ... and that I've had thousands of sinus infections in my life since my body seems to love them ... and that I started training for Disney the next day and COULD NOT get sick.  Literally the doctor didn't even ask my symptoms.  He just looked in my ears, looked at my throat and listened to my breathing then prescribed me one of the strongest antibiotics!  So thanks to the wonderful doctor and power of Zpack mixed with Nasonex and Advil cold & sinus I have felt much better today!!!  But anywho, so after the doctor I ran some errands to get like toilet bowl cleaner, a new blanket and a mattress pad ... since the Disney mattress pads for interns feels like you're sleeping on a rock.  When I got home my precious roommate Allie came in my room and gave me a picture she made saying feel better and a little stuffed Eeyore.  It was just about the sweetest thing ever!  Then she invited me to Epcot with her and some other girls, but by that time I was exhausted so I decided to stay behind.  I picked up Lauren from Vista Apartments after her class, ate dinner and was asleep before 10.  
Then today I got up at 5:15 so I could be at Disney University for my 7:00 training.  I know many of you may be thinking why get up so early before my shift ... but Disney expects you to be about 20 minutes early for all shifts, therefore I left the apartment around 6:15.  This is actually lucky ... when my actual shifts at the Magic Kingdom start I will have to learn about an hour early due the the fact that the employee parking lot is about 20 minutes away and then I have to take a bus to the employee tunnels where I have to navigate my way to Fantasyland!  But anyway ... so I get to the University at about 6:40 and probably close to 8:00 we loaded buses and headed over to the Magic Kingdom.  Then we toured the park not only around the actual grounds but in the backlots and underground tunnels for employees while learning about some of the history and culture of the park.  It's incredible how much detail there is to everything and how every little aspect of the lands follows a theme and story.  They talked a lot about how at Magic Kingdom they want the guests to feel "Fantasy" so basically they want you to feel like you're dreams and how it's our role to help make that fantasy come to life.  During this time we also got to ride the Haunted Mansion and Buzz Lightyear!  Yes ... I got paid today to tour Magic Kingdom and ride rides.  It was a lot of fun, but also somewhat exhausting as well as kinda sad.  Trust me ... rides aren't NEARLY as fun when you aren't with a friend or family member ... it fact they're kinda lonely.  The whole time I wished I could be back in October with my family!!!  Also, it was kinda weird knowing all the ins and outs of the Magic Kingdom.  When you're a guest in the park everything is so magical and even though it sounds kinda ridiculous you almost believe the characters and all the workers are really a part of the story.  But after training you begin to see them all as the normal people and employees they actually are.  Also it kinda takes away some of the magic when you know all the backstage type of stuff.  When we were done we went to a Disney theater and split up into our roles, such as food, merchandise, etc.  We then took a bus over to costuming and tried on our costumes ... which was extremely entertaining.  Even though my costume isn't great I am extremely blessed because some people had terribly ugly shirts with black pants that go up to you belly button and get skinny towards the ankles and stop at about the ankles so you don't walk on them.  Mine on the other hand is a white blouse with some embroidery and a navy skirt with little birds and flowers on it that goes up to my belly button and down past my knees.  Then I have to wear panty hoes and some basic classic black shoes I bought at Wal Mart after my shift.


This is a picture of my costume.  It's kinda small and blurry cause we took in on Lauren's computer camera since Wal Mart still doesn't have my camera hookup in stock.  I also have a yellow and red coat because lately it's been pretty cold.  Like today it was in the 60's and tomorrow it's suppose to be in the 40's.  The coat is ridiculous because it's a small but I'm like drowning in it and it looks totally ridiculous.

So after I got home I changed and then Lauren and I went over to Hollywood Studios around 2.  It was exciting getting to park and getting inside for free!  So we went over to Rockin Roller Coaster and got fast passes.  Then we went over and rode Star Tours.  We then went to see how long Toy Story's line was, but it was like 80 minutes and we didn't feel like waiting.  After that we stopped because there was  a show going on with the Bug's Life, Monster's Inc and Incredibles characters.  When that ended we went over and Lauren faced her fear of the Tower of Terror, which was incredible!!!  It was one of the best times I've been on it because it dropped up like 5 times ... we were both laughing so hard!  We also saw a High School Musical show and a couple old Hollywood characters performing in the street.  Also, we walked over to New York and saw some New York landscapers perform some songs on their landscaping truck.  They were called Rake and Roll.  Lauren and I were trying so hard not to start dancing right in the middle of the street!!! (I posted a short video I took of them on my phone which is at the bottom of this blog ... it's kinda crappy and hard to see but it was one of Kristin's favorite songs when she was younger so I had to take it!)

By then it was almost 5:40 so we walked to the other side of the park and rode Rockin Roller Coaster which was amazing!  We were laughing and screaming so loud.  By this time we were both exhausted so we once again headed back to the apartment where I succeeded to set off the fire alarm while cooking bagel bites ... go me!  So now it's currently 9:30 and Lauren and I are both in bed watching Grey's getting ready to sleep.  She starts her training tomorrow at 8:30 and I continue mine at 10:30.  For now I'm only working 6 hours a day since I am still training, but who knows what my schedule will look like when I actually get out on my own.  Magic Kingdom has extra magic hours for resort guests every Thursday morning and Sunday nights.  For example, today the park opened an hour early at 8:00 and on Sunday it was stay open two hours late which means it won't close until 2:00 AM!  Yes ... I could be working in the middle of the night when you are all nice and asleep.  

One thing I have noticed is the magic that goes on everyday at the parks.  When you're another guest you tend to not recognize such situations, but even after my short amount of training I'm beginning to see how easy it is to make someone smile.  Like today when we were at Hollywood Studios watching High School Musical we saw two moms standing on a wall dancing like the dancers on stage and even making up some of their own moves.  It was amazing to see just how easy it is to become a kid again at Disney.  Then when we were walking down the main entry road one guy yelled out something like "Guys watch out, two ladies are walking down the street" and then when I was on the phone with my mom another said "Good tell you're agent to lower the price and I'll think about it" ... just the little things that made you enter the world of old Hollywood and put a smile on our faces.  And it was incredible to see how everyone around us copied the same smile and were so happy! 

Anyway ... I'm exhausted.  I'm already missing everyone SO much and am attempting to convince them all to come visit.  So if I haven't talked to you yet you should really come see me :)  

Good Night Everyone!

Stephanie



video

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

All Moved In

Hey everyone!!!  It's been a busy last few days ... so I thought I should update before more happened.  Anywho ... after we left Pensacola we drove straight to Orlando and checked in at Days Inn.  Then the group of us went to Downtown Disney to just look around and get all Disneyfied.  It was friggin crowded ... so we stopped by Goofy's to get their AMAZING giant cookies that we were addicted to on vacation back in October ... and then we headed back to the hotel for showers and an early night.  The next morning we got up early and headed over to Vista Way apartments for check-in.  The boys and mom had to go to a family meeting thing while Lauren and I waited in line.  All together including a super long line and background check we were there about two hours.  We were assigned to a two bedroom apartment at Patterson Court, a brand new apartment complex that opened in May.  It's gorgeous!!!  Plus Bahama Breeze is on one side and an outlet mall is on the other .... so of course I'm happy!  So we moved in a ran to Wal-Mart to pick up move in stuff and groceries.  Then we had a housing meeting at 3 for about an hour and a half.  When the meeting ended mom and I took Noah to the airport which sucked :(  Then we went to eat at Logan's and got a hotel room.  

This morning I got up about 7:15 and after getting ready I headed over to the apartment to pick up my roommate Christina.  We then went over to Vista and did the second part of check in.  I found out I'll be working the stores in Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom.  It's the area with all the kids rides, so I'll be working like a Pooh store and a Tinkerbell store ... which should be a lot of fun!!!  I also got to sign up for a Exploring Marketing class.  It starts at the end of February and is only two hours every Tuesday.  I don't have like any tests or anything ... basically it's just a series of lectures where every week I get to meet with and learn from the leaders of marketing.  Like one week I learn about marketing the merchandise and another the vacation club and another the cruise line!  The whole process only took about an hour so mom and I went to the outlets and got me some new dress pants and shoes and then went around a bunch of places to look for shelves and things.  Then we headed into Disney World to find Disney University where I'll be doing training.  It was fun because it's actually behind Magic Kingdom ... so we had to drive through the Magic Kingdom area and then go into the backlots.  We saw a bunch of the parade floats and the Christmas decorations they were getting ready to store.  After we found the university we went back to the apartment and organized all my millions of clothes.  Then it was time to take mom and Daniel to the airport ... which also sucked :(  I REALLY don't like goodbyes!
But yes ... so tomorrow I have Traditions which is a class about the history and expectations of Disney.  The class starts at 8 at the university so my roommates and I are leaving at 7:15 ... and then I think it's about 4 hours long.  Then that night there's a block party with all the dog characters like Pluto!!!  Then the next day I have to be at the university by 7 for my first day of training ... which will last until 1.  Lauren doesn't have work that day so we're thinking we'll take that afternoon to get to go explore a park ... which I am SUPER excited about!!!  Friday is my second day of training which is from 10:30 to 4:30 and I believe that's when I'll get my costume!  
So ... for now Lauren and I are both on our bed writing blogs.  And she's laughing at the farting noises my computer is making when I slide my wrists against it.  AND we're killing mosquitos ... yes ... there are mosquitos in our bedroom in the middle of January!  Anywho ... I have to dress up tomorrow so it will be an early morning for me.  Which means to bed I go!!!  

I miss you all!!!

Stephanie

Oh and P.S. I promise I'll try and post pictures ... I didn't find my camera while unpacking today but mom left me hers.  I still have to buy a cord ... which I might do tomorrow while Spive is in her Traditions ... who knows!  But I promise I'll buy one and try to get pictures of our apartment and everything up soon!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

On The Way

It's Saturday the 10th of January and we're officially on the way to Disney!  The past week has been incredibly busy but amazing and the perfect pre-Disney vacation.  On the 4th mom, dad, Kristin, James, Noah and I left for a cruise on the Carnival Fantasy.  We left Keller about 5 am and drove to New Orleans.  That night we explored the city, including the wonderfully disturbing Bourbon Street.  After watching some street acrobats we ate at Hard Rock Cafe for dinner and then went back to our hotel ... where I fell asleep at 8:30! 





The next morning we got up and boarded the Carnival Fantasy.  Of course we just relaxed and ate a ton!  The next day was a day at sea where we sat out by the pool for a bit ... although not for long since we were all pale from the freezing Texas winter.  On Wednesday we were in Cozumel, Mexico.  The town was a trip away and the beaches cost to get on, so instead we listened to an hour sales pitch for a resort right by the pier and in return got to spend the day on their gorgeous beach as well as have access to snorkling and free food and drinks.  It was amazing just to be able to sit back and not worry about anything.  After a couple of hours we stopped by a few local stores and then got back on the ship for the night.  Thursday was incredible!  Carnival gave everyone a $55 credit to use in any way you liked, so we chose to put the money towards and excursion from Progresso.  We got up early, loaded onto a little charter bus and drove 1 1/2 hour to Uxmal, one of the most famous Mayan ruins in the area.  We got to spend over an hour with a tour guide explaining the history of the area and people.  After the guided tour we got to explore the area for ourselves and take TONS of pictures.  It was incredible to see the famous temples and the intricate detail of the stone carvings the Mayans used for decorations on their buildings.  Also to hear about their religious beliefs and rituals was insane!  James has all the pictures on his computer but as soon as I have access to them I'll try to get some on here.  The next day was another day at sea where we literally spent most of it out by the pool reading and soaking up the sun.  
And then today came.  We woke up at 6:30 and got ready and packed then had breakfast.  After we finished breakfast we got in line to get off the ship.  Everything was alright until we got into the parking garage and I knew I was going to have to say bye to my dad, sister and James.  To say the least I lost it ... for awhile.  Literally about an hour later after much debate about wanting to back out and talks with everyone I said my goodbyes and we got in the car to leave.  Mom, Noah and I decided to find a mall upon my request, so we plugged it into the GPS and we were off.  So ... we're following the directions and all of the sudden we're in the middle of some back roads with no clue where we're going.  All of a sudden the lovely little GPS lady tells us to get on the ferry ... what?!?!  So yes we took the ferry to the mall ... and it was great! The mall has probably one of the most amazing Forever 21's EVER ... where I got some new clothes.  After leaving the mall we began our drive to Orlando.  We stopped a couple hours ago in Pensacola where Lauren and Daniel met us about an hour ago.  So now we're all taking showers and getting some much needed rest before we complete the final 7 hours of driving tomorrow.  
The main thing I can ask right now is for your prayers.  Lauren ad I are both excited but are having a hard time leaving everyone behind.  I can say for myself it's taking a lot for me not to think about everyone back home because if I do I know I will loose it.  So please just pray for God to provide us with peace and that once we actually get there and moved in the distance will become much easier.  
But anywho, my turn for the shower! 

~Stephanie

Jeremiah 29:11