Christmas Traditions | Part Three

Where do you go to celebrate Christmas or the days leading up to Christmas? We are just now starting a few new traditions in our house, but there are a few old ones that have lasted since I was a little girl.We haven’t done a whole lot this year in what we do for Christmas. Money has been very tight, but we have still spent a lot of time with the girls doing a few of our Christmas Traditions, and I am also sharing the few things that we will be doing next year during this time. Holiday In The Park Did you know that Six Flags Over Texas is still open and has Holiday in the Park going on right now? We took the kids down the other day to enjoy the weekend and to see the lights. We had a lot of fun and needed a rest day after a full 10 hours in the park. Our feet were killing us. Six Flags also has a lot of things going on during this time. We didn’t catch a show this time, but we did listen to a few of the stage performances as we were waiting in line for the riddler.  The kids got to pet a few farm animals and then we went to meet Santa Claus. Our FAVORITE thing to do!! Is their Snow Hill! Check out our video below! I couldn’t stop laughing. [wp_ad_camp_3] I won’t lie. This was partially my fault since we didn’t have a hairbrush or anything to calm the kid’s hair down, and they were not very good outfits for meeting Santa. I have a few complaints about our visit to Santa, but I have to give props to one of Santa’s helpers. She was what made our visit to see Santa great. First, even with a “reservation”, we had to wait another 30 minutes to see him. I stayed calm the whole time, but the other parents that made reservations, not so much. After getting into the cramped little room the squeezed Santa into, the Jolly Old Man was not Jolly. James even made a comment after that he seemed a little in his cups. He spent a few minutes with Rhyan, and wouldn’t even listen to her. Then he spoke all of two seconds to Skyler. I get it. She looks like a 15-16-year-old. But DON’T RUIN HER CHRISTMAS SPIRT by treating her any differently than her sister. I am still trying my hardest to keep her believing. Then we had a few pictures with Everyone. My next complaint is even with my season pass, I feel that the prints and everything were a little too much. Yes, I am a photographer, I know how much it cost to print. But with the number of portraits they are printing, they could at least lower the price a tiny bit.  Or allow just the digitals to be put on the season picture pass or online ordering. Just my two cents.   Christmas Traditions | Christmas Light Seeing One thing we have done since I was a child is going out to see the lights in my neighborhood. There is even one house near me that has the dancing light show. We see it at least 2-3 times per season. We enjoy going to the live concert the neighborhood has also. The next thing that we also enjoy doing is driving over to Highland Park, TX. We drive around the neighborhood there along with 100’s of other families to see all of the Christmas lights in the upscale neighborhood. Hopefully next year I will be able to get a Carriage ride with Circle G for their 1 hour light tour. This year we will just be driving. So look for the Instagram video and photos.Enchant Christmas is the worlds largest light maze! We should be going a few days after Christmas, so be on the lookout for our Instagram and Facebook videos of this! Six Flags Over Texas also has Christmas lights. As we did not do much video or photos, we only have a small clip in one area. Christmas Traditions | All Aboard! Train rides is one thing I have wanted to do with the kids for years now. Once again this is something that we will start doing next year, but it is something that I am extremely excited for. The Texas State Railroad has the Polar Express with SANTA! We can jump on this train and they read The Polar Express, serve Hot Chocolate, and then Santa comes and brings the first present of the season! Where To Ride in DFW Texas State Railroad Grapevine Vintage Railroad There are others but these are the two that I hear about the most. What Are Your Plans? What are you Planning to do this Christmas? Let us know down in the comments.

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Christmas Traditions | Part Two

Yesterday we started to talk about Christmas Traditions in Part one of this series. Today, I want to share with you about a tradition that we have had in our family since I can remember.Does your family create an elaborate meal? Turkey or a Ham, kinda reminding you of your Thanksgiving meal? Or are you more laid back about your approach to Christmas dinner? Do you have breakfast before you open presents? Or, do your children open their presents and you have a hard time getting them to sit down for a meal afterward? Christmas Breakfast We are that family that the first thing we do Christmas Morning is open presents. Normally after everything has calmed down some, I start to make breakfast. Our breakfast normally consists of Sausage and Gravy, Biscuits, and eggs made how each of us enjoy them. I am including one new thing, as I am normally the first one awake on Christmas morning. James loves cinnamon rolls. I have yet to make them for him from scratch so the night before, I will start to work on making my dough for him. Then while everyone is still sleeping, I will start to put them together. I will share my recipe here in the coming days. Christmas Traditions | Lunch and Dinner This is where we cheat! We don’t do any other cooking on Christmas! That morning while making the sausage, I will also be frying up more sausage and hamburger meat for our queso. I will put it in the crockpot, and let it melt into its melty goodness. Another recipe I will share in the coming days. The night before, I will also make deviled eggs that will be chilled overnight for everyone to enjoy when they want. But, our biggest thing for Christmas is our Deli Meat and Cheese Trays. [wp_ad_camp_3] This year we are getting our tray from Krogers. We have tried a few other large brand stores, but we are coming back to Kroger after trying the other stores. I have requested that beef pastrami is exchanged for the ham, as we don’t really eat deli ham. We also add a cheese ball to the trays. So with the trays, queso, and deviled eggs, everyone can pick what they want to eat when and where. I am really bad about not making sandwiches on the day of Christmas, but taking the turkey and swiss with a bit of mustard, then rolling it up and eating it like that. No real cooking is done on Christmas, and everyone is able to spend time together instead of in the Kitchen cooking. What do you normally make for Christmas Dinner? Let us know down in the comments below and don’t forget to check Part One – The Christmas Tree and Part Three – Oh The Place’s We Go

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Christmas Traditions | Part One

  What do you think of when you think about Christmas traditions? All families have them and some are passed down generation to generation. I know that some of my families traditions are only as old as my brother and I are, but I don’t know what I would do otherwise without them. I also know that now that we have James in our lives, we will be incorporating new traditions that his family has passed down to him, and I am even wanting to start a new one this year. This is Part One of our Christmas Traditions series. What is a Christmas Tradition? Christmas Traditions vary from country to country, but they can also vary from Family to Family. They are things a family does while celebrating the Christmas Season. Ranging from the Christmas Tree to how you open presents that are under your Christmas Tree. What your family serves for Christmas dinner may very well differ from how we serve the entire days meals. There is no wrong or right way to celebrate this wonderful day that is about giving and being with your family and friends. Some celebrate with Christian traditions, where some may celebrate with no religious traditions. So even though I am sharing my families traditions, I want to know yours also. Please feel free to share a few down in the comments below. We would love to learn more about our readers. Feel free to start a new tradition from one of ours. Christmas Traditions – The Christmas Tree 90% of the time we use an artificial tree. Somehow I lost part of our tree that we have used for the last 3 years. I don’t know how I did it, but it is gone. James also had a little itty bitty tree that he called his “bachelors tree.” We chose to head out to Lowes this year and get a live tree for the last time. We used James’ tree in the bay window of my office to be visible from the street. Now we can’t afford a Balsam Hill tree this year, but next year we will be getting the Fraser Fir Tree. These trees are more expensive than some but they are completely worth it. Balsam Hill has a 10-year foliage warranty and a 3 year light warranty.  Christmas Traditions -  Tree Decorating Can I share a little secret? I think we have the gaudiest tree in Texas! Wanna know another secret? I wouldn’t have it any other way! Instead of out shopping on Black Friday, we are pulling down all the decorations that we have accumulated since my parents were married. We still put up their wedding bells on the tree. I have my first ornament and the girls get new ones every year. Since this is James and my first Christmas together, we chose to get one ornament together that represented our relationship together. The present is the one we chose. Even if we have nothing, we always have each other. Rhyan chose the My Little Pony ornament, this one surprised me since she picked up around 15 different ones before insisting that this was the one she was choosing this year. Then Skyler chose one that surprised me even more. The BB-8 ornament. I knew that she was getting into Star Wars just as much as me, but I really thought she would have chosen the snow fox she carried around the store.     A post shared by Odysseys With Love (@odysseyswithlove) on Nov 28, 2017 at 12:18pm PST How is Your Tree Decorated? How did you decorate your tree this year? Are you more traditional with a color scheme? Or do you collect ornaments over the years like we do? Check back tomorrow for Part Two -  Christmas Dinner

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What If Money Wasn't An Object?

The other day, we posted about dreaming of winning the lottery. I posted a few things that I would want to do with that money. It got me to thinking of all kinds of things that we could do if money wasn’t an object in our lives. Do you remember the largest Powerball jackpot ever? IT was split between three people but it was worth $983.5 Million Dollars in cash option, or $327.8 Million EACH! Just this year one woman won $480 million alone! I know I posted a lot about what I would do, but I won’t lie, I keep having dreams about winning one of the jackpots. If only I could remember the numbers. What If You Had $983.5 Million Dollars I have always wondered how the 1% lived, and I have always daydreamed about what it would be like to join their ranks. I played a few tickets in this jackpot, and only got my money back from it. What if I was the only one to win this jackpot? First, my new found wealth would not be the full $983.5 million. After taxes, which I will estimate as 50%, I would be coming home with about $491.7 million. You know that I had posted about being generous with our windfall with our family and friends. Setting up trust funds for the kids. Paying off all debts. Setting up investments so that we could earn an income from our win. Setting Up Accounts I would also set up separate accounts for different things. One would have to be for the house and furnishing our house. Another for cars, the RV, shopping and spending money. But the biggest account I would set up is to pay our bills, taxes, HOA dues. Things like that. Set it up to pay for them for at least 30 years. That account would not be used otherwise. Setting up an account for travel. That way I have to budget the funds for everything. I thought this was about money not being an object! Well, with $491 million in the account, it really isn’t an object. I would still budget out enough for the home, and other things so that the money isn’t just going down the drain like some lottery winners. If I invest correctly we would never want for anything. The House Where would you want to live? It has been a dream of mine since I found out you could live AT Disney World. I wrote about Golden Oak at Walt Disney World Resort in the last post and included the video of one of the houses I am in love with. I know that within Golden Oak there is the Four Season Resort, but if you turn off right before you get there, you will find The Four Seasons Private Residence Orlando. So far I have only seen three houses in this area go up, so even if I do not get one of these houses, there will be 27 more houses built in the Four Seasons area! Then there are the 5 other neighborhoods within Golden Oak. I am pretty sure even if it is another 10 years waiting to win this lottery, I will find a beautiful home located in the beautiful Golden Oak at Walt Disney World Resort. There are a few homes already in Golden Oak and The Four Seasons Private Residences that I am in love with. You Already know about the Capolavoro Home. This is the home of my dreams! But there is two others, plus one custom being built and one under construction right now. Check out the videos below of the two that are there now and click here to see the other two on the Four Seasons Website. Travel Dreams The first trip I am scheduling has to be a 7-Night Very Merrytime Western Caribbean Cruise, not just any stateroom, but I want to stay in the Concierge Royal Suite with Verandah. The Concierge Royal Suite with Verandah, AKA, Roy and Walt Disney Rooms, are lavish in their decor and the balcony! I would love to spend Christmas at Sea with the kids. I wonder if I could get a tree put up in the stateroom… Hmmm. [wp_ad_camp_3] If we are having to wait for our new home to be built, we would be hotel jumping at Disney World. I would be having my dental work done ASAP So having a place to stay while I heal will be important. So I would like to spend the first two weeks that we could at somewhere like the Polynesian Resort. After I get my fill of Disney World for our first two weeks or so, I would start my dental work and use the resorts as a place to heal while the kids enjoy themselves around Disney. Speaking of spending time at Disney, Our first week would most likely be spent with a guide, the Private VIP Tours. I would also like to see behind the scenes, so that would also be a tour we would do. After fulling healing and the home still isn’t finished, I would use the RV we would buy and start traveling around the states visiting all of the places below we would love to see. Some of them are below in our little slide show. Did you know that they have cruises for cruising around the world? Some of them are 100+ days at sea and included ports all over the world! I think this might be the best way for us to see all of the different countries. My only fear with this would be 99% of these cruises would not have many other children for the kids to get to know and have something to do other than with us, but this would be an experience I think the girls need to have, at least when we win the lottery. Cars! Cars! Cars! What is your dream car? I love the Dodge Challengers. 2018 Dodge has released the new Demon. I can not describe it so I am dropping another video! I can get it in PURPLE TOO!!! James wants a Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk and I love them and the Dodge Durango SRT. YES! I love my cars and yes I love more performance cars. Is it bad to just want a car for fun in the Dodge Demon? My daily driver would the Dodge Durango, and the Demon would be for special occasions.

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2018 Bucket List

2018 is just around the corner now and I am excited about the few things that we will be doing over the next year and everything that we will be bringing to the blog. So this is our 2018 Bucket List of the different things that we will be doing. Booking Hotels We have been planning a few hotels that we will be staying at over the next year. Save on Resorts all over the world with Booking.com! Booking.com has been wonderful for us as we don’t have to put even a deposit down on the hotels that we will be staying at, and we can cancel  before our trip to that location.  My Cousins Wedding The first trip I already have booked is our trip to Fort Mill, SC in April for my cousin’s wedding. I booked our hotel room as soon as Amy sent me the save the date card. Yes, we used Booking.com to book our hotel room, and will be showing you our room at the Hampton Inn and Suites as well our road trip from Dallas to South Carolina!  Wedding Season As a photographer that is currently getting into shooting weddings, I have a client that wanted me to shoot her wedding, but she moved. In June, we will be heading down to the Four Points by Sheraton Galveston. So while I am off shooting the wedding, the kids will be able to enjoy the beach (again) and the small amusement park. Like with the Fort Mill, SC hotel, we will bring a hotel review. This will be another Road Trip that we will capture. Six Flags Fiesta Texas Yes, We will be heading to San Antonio for a few days in July! We will be visiting Six Flags Fiesta Texas and staying at La Cantera Resort & Spa! I won’t lie, I am EXTREMELY excited about staying at this resort! I already know that after a long day at Six Flags, relaxing at this resort would be wonderful! Look out for our review of our room and resort stay! We will also have posts featuring Six Flags, and other things that we will be doing while in San Antonio. If we can push it, we will stay more than a few days.  Camping Trips! We will be heading out on more camping trips this year since the hurricane canceled our last trip. We will be tent camping at a few different locations Big Bend Ranch State Park We are looking at camping down by the Rio Grand for a weekend trip with the girls once it starts to warm up a little bit. I keep thinking about seeing the stars while at Big Bend Ranch State Park and the wonderful images we will have. Padre Island National Seashore Yes, we will be going back again for another weekend camping trip right on the beach down at Padre Island National Seashore. This was our first camping trip as a family and I can’t wait to head back and hopefully see the baby sea turtle this time. Cedar Hill State Park Located right in our own backyard, Cedar Hill State Park is just around the corner from us in the DFW area. So this will be great for a few nights and to go swimming when we don’t have other places to go. Oh The Places We Will Go When we are not off doing overnight trips camping and hotel stays, we will be exploring our own backyard. There is so much for us to share with you in the DFW area, and sometimes just a short car ride away. Dallas City Pass Have you heard of the CityPass? You can save up to 39% off of Dallas’ top attractions with the CityPass. We will be visiting the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, Reunion Tower GeO-Deck (the big ball in the sky) and we have the choice of visiting The Sixth Floor Museum or Dallas Zoo and another choice between George Bush Presidential Library & Museum or The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden! Are you planning to be in Dallas more than a weekend? You have 9 days to finish using your CityPass. When we use our CityPass, we will be bringing you along with us, and showcasing all six of the attractions so you can make an informed decision on where you want to go. Ripley’s Believe It or Not and the Palace of Wax! Just up the highway, or in our case, on our way to Six Flags Over Texas, you will find Ripley’s Believe it or Not and several other attractions under one roof! I haven’t been to Ripley’s since Skyler was a little girl and Rhyan is going to love it when we head down there. Save up to $47 OFF Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Grand Prairie Odditorium +4 Attractions Combo Ticket. BUY TICKETS ONLINE NOW! Legoland Discovery Center Between James, Skyler, and Rhyan, this looks like a VERY fun place for our family. This will be another great place for us to showcase as we visit Grapevine quite often. I can only imagine what the big kids, James and Skyler, will get into while Rhyan and I have our own fun! Sea Life While down at Legoland, we might also get tickets to Sea Life in Grapevine also. Or just do combo tickets and do it all in one day! Let us know down in the comments what is on your 2018 Bucket List! Don’t see something you would like to know about? Let us know! Are you a business and would like to sponsor a location or post? Check out our Work With Us page or email us at work with us@ odysseys with love dot com! We would love to hear from you!

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Dreaming Of Winning The Lottery | Dream Big Princess

Have you ever dreamed of winning the lottery? What about daydreaming of winning the lottery? Over the past few years, I have had several dreams of winning the lottery and it is always fun to think about what I would want to do with the lottery wins. I even have a secret Pinterest board of what I would want to do. I will set it to public as this post goes live. What Is The First Thing You Would Do If You Won The Lottery? Have you ever really thought about the first thing you would do if you won the lottery? This will tell you how much I have thought about it so far. I know that I would protect my ticket first and foremost as I start to put together a team to help me navigate my windfall. I would have to hire a tax attorney, family planning attorney, licensed accountant, financial advisor, CPA, whatever I needed to protect myself and the new assets. The State of Texas has laws in place that would allow me to remain anonymous, so it would be a huge help to keep people that I do not want knowing that we won such a huge amount. The attorneys would help me claim my ticket and let me know how to go about this. Let’s think of how much now I normally start playing the Powerball once in a while after it is over 150 million. I am going to give a say that the jackpot for this post would be about 500 million, and the cash option prize is at 250 million. After good old Uncle Sam takes his money from that, I would have a take-home amount of about 125 million. That is a good chunk of change! What would I give to family? The next thing I would do after claiming my win would be to pay off all debt. My team would help me make sure nothing is left unpaid. I am not sure how much that would be but I am going with a VERY generous estimate .05%.  After that, I would get my mother set up for the rest of her life. If she wants to keep this house, we would have it gutted and remodeled for her, even though I would prefer for her to move into the Edgemere. I have worked with the security team there and I would trust them with my mother. Since my dream would be to move down to Flordia, I would check and see if she wanted to come with us, or if she would prefer to stay local to Texas. Check out Edgemere below. I would then set her up with her own lawyers and team and a for all of I would set aside 5% just for her. 6.25 million should set her up for the rest of her life. My Children, Set For Life? After this, I would look at setting up Trust Funds for my children. Each of them would receive 8% in a trust fund for college, and at the age of 25, they would be able to start receiving a monthly transfer into their accounts. I would support them until that time unless they went to college, etc. This would be right at 10 million for them. [wp_ad_camp_3] As for Jacobs mother, I would have our family law attorney call her up so that we could set a new house for Jacob (we would figure out how to make sure the house was his) and funds for Jacobs upbringing to be transferred to her account to care for him. This would also set up him coming to Florida to stay with us whenever he wanted hopefully. I am not a mean woman and would never try and take a child away from his mother. Giving to My Brother and a few others. With both mine and James’ families, I would set up an account if they were to come to us to ask for money, or if they needed help with something. This way our attorneys can field what is given and to who.   After This is Set up, How much is left? Let’s look at what I have given so far in my Dream: So, I would have approximately 45 million after all major purchases Dreaming of Winning The Lottery? What About Investing? So, I would have around 45 million left. How much of that should I invest? 50% of it would be invested! 22 million would be invested. I would have 22 million to survive on for bills and HOA dues. I even took a few CD rate and looked at splitting them up between four banks. I have set asside a few accounts for things like the dream home and other things I consider major purchases. A New House! I already said I wanted to move to Flordia. The images I created for this post have Dream Big Princess on them. Can you image where I would want to live? No, I don’t want a house in Orlando, or around Disney World. No, I have to DREAM BIG! I dream of living AT Disney World. Have you heard of the community called Golden Oak? It is a community only four miles away from the Magic Kingdom inside of the Disney World Resort. I have looked at a few of the houses at Golden Oak, and I know which one I want. The first one that I REALLY want is The Capolavoro. The Capolavoro is located in the Four Season Residences area at Golden Oak. If I am talked down from this price range. I would love to have one of the ones under construction or move in ready at the other areas of Golden Oak. They have a list of homes on their website, and two others also in the Four Seasons area also. The Four Seasons one is a little under 8 million, and I would have to see if that would be doable with what I have left because it also comes with HOA dues. I don’t want to purchase something and have to do what a lot of lottery winners do and end up going bankrupt. What is also awesome about living there? Being able to call for a car and be taken to Disney World, and so many other amenities. I did put aside 15% for our dream home, and that is right at 18 million. If we do not use all of the funds, it will be added to our bill money account. Travel Dreams One thing that I also want to do other than live at Disney World, is to travel. I want an RV so bad and I dream of owning one. The Foretravel Realm. I want the LVB Bunk Model floorplan. Check it out below. MHSRV has it priced at $859,999, what an upgrade to the Jayco one we are currently looking at! We wouldn’t be able to do it with this amount that is set aside, so whatever is left over from the dream home could help with the RV. The other thing I would like to do is a cruise. Disney Cruise anyone? For the Walt Suite, on a 7 7-night cruise, its about 60K. Cars and More I have a list of cars I want a mile long, First is the Dodge Durango STR, James has the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk. The only other car I want more than anything is a Dodge Demon. Medical and Dental I have to have dental work done. I would be putting aside approximately 1% just for mine and James’ work that needs to be done. I need a full mouth of new teeth and would look at doing a hybrid denture. I am saving for a plain denture now, because you know implants are EXPENSIVE. I may consider full implants, but I like the idea of a hybrid denture also. I have played around with James about wanting it done, but I really don’t want any other cosmetic surgery. I may have a tummy tuck or things like that, but no boob jobs or facial work done. After two c-sections and two large babies, I would like a flat tummy. Since We live at Disney, What about the Parks? You knew this one was coming. Shortly after moving into our new house, I want to do the Private VIP Tour of Disney World. One day for each park. That way we can figure out how to get around and get a close look at Disney World. I also want to do some shopping for the house and for friends and family. I would also invite my family and friends for a trip out to Disney also. After we get accustomed to our new life. An estimate of this would be around $30K or so for all of the parks. Marriage on the Horizon? You already know that James and I plan to have the commitment ceremony this year. We may consider actual marriage after everything settles. When talking about paying off debt, I would be paying his off too, and the account would be both of ours. This would be our win. If we separate, which I already know will not happen, it is just like any relationship. It is split 50/50. If we do the actual marriage thing down the road, I want to be married at Disney World. We would be living there and living that life. Why not let good old Mickey Mouse marry us. What Would You Want To Do With A Lottery Winning? Have you ever sat down and thought about what you would want to do with a lottery win? I know 99% of people don’t plan like I have in this, but it was fun every time I have a dream about winning, I take the amount of the win and see what I could REALLY do with it. Pinterest and Amazon Things I dream of You can check out our Pinterest Board HERE and the things I would want from Amazon are listed below.

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It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas

If you walked into my living room over the past weekend, you would have thought a fairy exploded in there. We had that much glitter all over everything. That is when you know it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in our household. This Christmas will be James and my first Christmas together. So we are slowly adding new things to our Christmas Decorations and adding his decoration in with mine. We purchased all new poinsettias this year because the ones that we did have were falling apart. Most of my decorations with the exception of the large wreath, we have collected over the last 40 years and more with a few ornaments on the tree. I made the large wreath a few years ago, but most of the decorations on it were ruined in our attic over the last year. Decorations From Years Past We have decorations from 40+ years ago, including my parent’s wedding bells. We have a lot more that we don’t hang on the tree, and a few, the photos didn’t turn out. My father’s favorite things were the Santa’s and his village that we display on our mantle. We have also had a “Elf on the Shelf” for years before the Elf on the Shelf below was a thing. Shiney and New One tradition for our house is that we purchase a new ornament every year. We are changing that a little this year as we purchased only one for James and I. The girls also get one new one every year. Artificial to Live Tree We have been trying to save for a Balsam Hill Tree for the last few years but something always seems to stop us from getting one. We have had an artificial the last three years and somehow I lost the middle section of our tree! How I have no idea how I did it. James has his “Bachelor’s” tree that was a four-foot tree that we are now using in the office window. Off to Lowes, we went! I found a 6-7 foot Noble Fir tree for $50.00, plus on Black Friday, they had a deal for a fresh cut tree where we would get a $10.00 rebate. I originally picked up colored lights, but after telling my mom that I found blue lights, I went back and returned them to get the blue. It took us all weekend and a lot of frustration to actually finish putting the tree up and decorating it. I did end up putting icicles on the tree after picking up a few of the presents at Walmart yesterday.    Latest News! Did you see the newsletter or our Instagram post? I said YES! Well, you knew that we were planning our Commitment and Promises to each other for Christmas Morning, but as we were going through the packages that arrived Sunday, and I promised James not to peak at what he got for me, he got down on his knee and asked me to spend the rest of our lives together.  

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National Adoption Month

  have been told one story most of my life that has always brought a tear to my eye. It is the store of how I came to this earth. My mother has wanted children all her life, and she was blessed with a son. She went out one night to gaze at the stars and she made a wish for a daughter, as she reached up to pick one of the millions of stars, she picked my star. From that day forward I was her child. National Adoption Month November is National Adoption Month, and it is the month to celebrate both my brother’s and my adoption. I was chosen out of millions of other little children waiting to be adopted. It was not an easy road for my mother and father. The day I was born was three months too early. The woman who gave birth to me did not want me and had done something terrible to cause early labor. Even after leaving the hospital, my mother and father worked around the clock to make sure I stayed breathing. I am grateful for them, as I know if it were not for them, I would not be here. As I was growing up, I was not an easy child. I had learning disabilities, and I could not speak like other children. My mother was my advocate in all things for my education. I would not be where I am or who I am without my parents. Being Thankful After meeting my biological mother, I see how blessed that I am to have been adopted. I may somewhat look like this woman, but I am not her and that is due to the way I was raised. I have only recently found my biological father and have found two more siblings. I am still unsure of how I feel about this as I lost my father over 10 years ago. Hardships Later Down the Road My mom has said a few times she regrets adopting children so late in life. I try to reassure her that she should have no regrets in adopting me. She worked hard to care for me unlike a younger mother could. She taught me things a younger mother could never have. Yes, there is a hardship now, has been since I was 13 years old and my father fell sick. We had a few good years after he passed away, and now I am caring for her, just like she cared for me. I wouldn’t change this for the world. Those Wishing to Adopt As an adoptee, I have to say I am astounded by the love that you have in your hearts. To love someone else’s child is an amazing thing. I know some of you are waiting years, but don’t ever give up hope while you are looking for your star in the night sky. Keep looking and one day he or she will be there. Sometimes you wish for a newly born star, but sometime the star that is meant for you may be a little older, that star is still for you, and still needs you. Those Waiting to be Adopted I was one of the children adopted from birth, it happens every day. I am reaching out to the older children. Never give up hope, your forever home is just around the corner. I hope to be the mother to one of you one day. To The Adoptees Love and cherish your forever home. I hurt my mother when I was a teenager by saying your not my real mother. That was the most foolish thing I could have ever said to her, as she is more my real mother than if she had carried me for 9 months and given birth to me. Adoptive parents may not have given birth to you, but they have chosen you, given up things to bring you into their home and raise you with a love so fierce. When you get curious and start to find out who your biological family is, don’t forget to lean on your family if things don’t go your way. Don’t get your hopes up when you do find your biological family, as they are not always what they seem. You may have been given up a good reason, or you may have been given up like I was, money. Always keep an open heart.  

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Whats going on at Odysseys With Love

Sorry if it seems we have gone MIA the last few days! It has been a hectic few days over here at the Odysseys Household. I wanted to share with you whats going on with Odysseys With Love. We have a few new things to share and several updates for you. Whats Going On: Giveaways We have a Giveaway currently running right now until midnight on February 14th, 2017. What is it you ask? A Seven Piece Nightmare Before Christmas Ornament Set. Our favorite movie to watch between Halloween Night and Christmas Eve, as we can NEVER figure out when we are really supposed to watch this one. Check it out below and use the signup form to win! Whats Going On: Skylers Blackouts Some of you may have seen a few post about Skyler’s doctor’s appointments that we have had. Luckily we were able to see the neurologist last week and she is wanting us to have an MRI and EEG done to look at her brain as we have ruled out the cause being her eyes. We also received word back from her speech therapist for the assessment for in-home speech therapy. So we have a lot going on with this one medically. Whats Going On: Weekend Adventures? I posted the video earlier this week of Skyler’s Archery Class, but in case you missed it, I will link it down below. Skyler has bugged us for weeks about getting a bow and arrow. When it was time to go to the class, Skyler was EXTREMELY excited. I even talked to the main trainer about scheduling Skyler private One-on-One classes with him as I am afraid Skyler will not receive the attention she needs in the larger class if this is what she is wanting to do. A New Baby! That’s Whats Going On No, no, no! I am not pregnant, nor have I just had a new baby. But, Skyler’s Aunt, well I call her my Sister-In-Law, just had her little one this weekend and I had the most mind-blowing experience! I got to sit in the operating room with her while she had a c-section! I caught her little one’s first moments and I couldn’t be more excited! She trusted me enough to call me when she needed me, I am VERY bad at being social even with family. Just a little capture from shortly after she was born! FREEBIES! Did You Know Whats Going On? Yes, by signing up for our email list I have a LOT more than just freebies for you! I have a huge section of resources available for both Bloggers wanting tips and resources for writing, but I have another for everyone else that reads the blog! I have a Photography and Video Tips and resource sections also! You will also get a coupon code for all of the digital products in our store to get them for free!

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Early Morning Risers – Help is on The Way

With the exception of James, my family is not early morning risers. Unless Rhyan decides that she, in fact, does want to wake up early. That means that EVERYONE wakes up early. This is something that I have been battling since Rhyan could get out of her own bed. It isn’t an everyday thing, but it happens too often. Most morning, I prefer to wake up and get at least half a cup of coffee before I hear any other voice around me. This morning was a battle. Rhyan chose to wake up an hour before it was time for me to get ready for the day. I am curled up in my warm bed, getting my much-needed sleep. I went to bed late as I was working and researching our next trip. She came into James and my bedroom talking loudly. “Mommy, I need something!” “It’s time to wake up mommy!” “Mommy, wake up!” After telling her many times to go back to her room and back to bed, or watch TV, something. Anything. This didn’t happen I was up, walking to the coffee pot, to try and make sense of my world. Early Morning Risers Help One morning, while reading through my facebook timeline, I saw the help I needed. The Mella: All-In-One Clock. Mella is a sleep trainer for children. I had to click on the link. I have been too excited about this product since reading about it. Little Hippo has launched their Kickstarter Campaign, and are looking for backers but they have been funded! So what exactly is Mella? It is an all-in-one children’s clock. The sleep trainer part of the clock helps to teach your child when it is time to go to bed and a gentle child-friendly way to start the day. Rhyan has to have background noise when she is sleeping, the Mella has three sleep sounds; rain, white noise, and ocean. Rhyan loved the beach so much and fell asleep quickly while listening to the water, the ocean would be perfect for her. Another thing Rhyan, and a lot of children need to sleep well is a night light. Her lamp is on all the time. The Mella offers five color option to create a soft glow. Rhyan does not need a nap timer, as she stopped taking naps a while ago. The nap timer feature doesn’t have to just be for naps. It is a great option for timeouts. You can use this feature for timed play activities and so much more. Sleep – Play – Wake What I love more than anything about this? It would be Mella’s Sleep, Play, and Wake features. When it is time for Rhyan to go to bed, Mella will go to bed with her. The Mella modern yet, cute. With the sleep sounds and night light. Rhyan will still wake up early in the morning at times. With the Mella, she can tell its ok to get out of bed, but to play quietly in her room. When the alarm clock goes off and the light around Mella turns green, its go time. It is now time to get started with her day. Backing on Kickstarter. Little Hippo and the Mella is fully funded on Kickstarter. I have not backed, yet. I will be sending my pledge in a few days at the $40 or more level. Who wouldn’t want their Limited Edition Mella? They are releasing it in green and it is only available to Kickstarted backers and will not be available once it is sold out. But what I REALLY want for Rhyan’s room is the purple one once they reach their first stretch goal. Other colors available is arctic blue and blush pink. What to back them too? Head to their Kickstarter campaign and get in on the early delivery and so much more.

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Welcome!

Hi! Im Megan! I am a photographer and writer behind Odysseys With Love. I am a Mother and Wife and enjoy sharing our everyday life journey. From our The Mesquite Texas Guide and Wandering In DFW to helping other bloggers work from home, I love what I do. 

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