Archive for December, 2010

Grandmas piercing her nose

I am documenting this for proof later in life, like the naked baby pictures pulled out on first dates or the embarrassing stories told in front of your fiance.

Her:  Bekka called me yesterday and SHE GOT HER NOSE PIERCED!!!

Me:  Ooh. Yuck!  Was her nose plugged and she needed an extra hole to blow all of her extra snot out of?

Her:  No!

Me:  Did she find out that she is really a bull?

Her:  No!  I bet it looks so cool!  Can I get my nose pierced?

Me:  No.

Her:  Why not!  It’s very tasteful.

Me:  If you’re a bull. or maybe if you are featured in National Geographic.

Her:  Why are you so mean!  Why can’t I get my nose pierced?

Me:  Because I’m not going to let you do something stupid at 13 and have to live with it for the next 80 years.  How many 80-year-olds do you see with nose rings?

Hmm?That’s right, none!

Her:  I bet grandma would have had a nose ring if she knew about it when she was 13.

Me:  Why?  Was she a bull when she was 13?  Was she on the cover of National Geographic.

Her:  You are so mean!  You don’t let me do anything! It’s my body!  Why can’t I get a small nose ring?

Me:  When you are 18 and you no longer live in my home, you can pierce anything you want.

Her:  When I’m 18, I’m going to pierce everything!  I’m even going to pierce my, my, my  vagina!

Me:  Good luck with that.


and to balance the obnoxious teen

We were in the garage printing t-shirts and the Beatles came on the radio.

Her:  Is this the Beatles?

Me:  Yep.

Her:  Did you know that John Lennon was dead?

Me:  Yes, for quite a while.

Her:  He’s the one who married Pocahontas right?

Me:  What?

Her:  Yeah, John Lennon married Pocahontas and the Beatles broke up.

Me:  John Lennon was born in the 1950s.  That would make him in his 60s if he was alive.  Pocahontas was born in the late 1500s.  You did see that Disney movie right?  She was alive before things like electricity and records.  I take that back, we are studying American History this year aren’t we?

Her:  Okay, well she looks like Pocahontas.

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All of the amusement parks aside, we really drove to Florida to see a shuttle launch.  Only a few are left before American astronauts will be sticking their thumbs out for a lift on a Russian space shuttle.  I’m not quite sure if flying the family to Russia to see a shuttle launch will be in the budget.

In order to prepare the kids for the launch, and so that I felt a little less guilty about taking a three-week vacation in the middle of prime teaching time, we visited Kennedy Space Center.  Kennedy was really quite amazing.  If we lived closer we would definitely be annual pass holders.  It had the right mix of interesting exhibits for the adults and cool things to explore and climb on for the kids. 

Because we had toddlers we opted out of the lunch with an astronaut and some of the other cool tours.  We did enjoy the bus tour that came complementary with our admission.  On the tour we saw the crawler that moved the shuttle from the building to the launch pad.  The kids were amazed at its massive size.  Being about the same size as a baseball diamond and almost 6 million pounds, without the shuttle on it, was pretty darn impressive.  They were a little disappointed to find out that it inches along at 1 mile per hour.

The massive size of the crawler was just the beginning of being able to put the ginormous shuttle into perspective.

Do you see that little bit of water?  Crocodile infested.  Not that we saw any, but we were told.  Also, a manatee or two reside at Kennedy Space Center.  Supposedly we saw them, but I don’t think anyone spotted them but the bus driver.  He could have been pulling our leg for all we know.

This is how our kids looked during most of Kennedy Space Center.  Kennedy sold refillable space ship shaped soda cups.  According to the kids it was the best thing ever!  An unlimited supply of root beer, who wouldn’t love it!  The S U G A R!  I was able to justify all of those refills by saying to myself, at least it’s caffeine free.   But after the constant running and jumping and fist pumping and running and jumping, I was starting to rethink the whole sugar thing.  I was just hoping that the sugar crash would wait until we got in the car, not while we were experience the awesomeness of the space program.

that's what she said!

Just as the kids were beginning to complain about the absence of rides and the never-ending reading.

Marshall:  “We are on VACATION!  Why do I have to read?

We entered the last building on the bus tour where the kids began to complain and grumble and I noticed the sugar starting to wear off.  We were hustled into room where we watched a movie without seats.  Complain, complain.  grumble grumble.  I’m tired.  My space ship is out of root beer.  complain complain.  This movie is boring!

The doors opened into a mock control room where we got to hear the control room during Apollo 11.  We got to experience the anticipation and excitement, we got a taste of the intense noise and the windows shaking.  We got a little bit of the taste of joy and relief of months and months of hard work.

And then the doors opened on the far side of the room and there she was, Saturn V.   We all stood for a moment in awe of her massive size, the huge rockets that thrusted her into space.  And we walked and walked and walked what seemed like for ever until finally we saw something besides the rockets that housed thousands of gallons of fuel to propel them into space.  There was the small tiny cabin that the astronauts sat in.

They got to see space suits and the astrovan.  They got to hear stories from the astronauts.  They got to see the watch that one of the Apollo 1 Astronauts was wearing during the fatal fire.  I think here, in this building the kids finally appreciated the space program.

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Harry Potter

Mike:  It’s my birthday!  It’s my birthday!  It’s my birthday!  Let’s celebrate with ice cream and soda for breakfast!

Me:  Though that sounds delicious, and terribly nutritious, but I don’t think it sounds filling.  How about instant oatmeal made with L-O-V-E, love?  And you can pick which flavor you’d like first?

Mike:  Yes!  (emphatic fist pump)

And after breakfast and we were off to Universal Studios Islands of Adventure, which was by far our favorite park.  We skeedadled to Harry Potter land first. For some of our kids (the teenager) it was the only thing making the 3,000+ mile drive bearable.

To prepare for the whole Harry Potter experience the kids watched all of the movies on the drive to Florida.  I was worried that it wouldn’t live up to their expectations.  It was everything that they had imagined though.  It was also what I had imagined too, crowded and long lines.  The only thing that made the lines bearable were all of the neat things to look at and the beer stands strategically placed in the middle of the never-ending twisting ropes.  There was a 2 hour wait to enter Ollivander’s Wand Shop.  Yep!  A two-hour wait to shop and for the possibility to get chosen to choose a wand! We chose not to wait in that line.

I did wait in a very long line to buy butter beer and pumpkin juice in an overpriced mug. Our consensus was that the butter beer was amazingly good while the pumpkin juice was rejected by everyone but the toddlers.

We went on every ride in Harry Potter land.

The toddlers were too short to ride most of the rides.  Universal has come up with an amazing system (amazing is dripping with sarcasm) to deal with the vertically challenged riders and the parent stuck with them.  At Disneyworld, they give the rider staying with the toddlers a parent swap pass.  The parent with the toddlers can then leave the ride and shop, ride a kiddie ride, or eat while the other parent takes the bigger kid on the rides.  After they are done, the parents switch and the one with the toddlers can now take the older kids on the ride again with no line.  This is ingenious.  It’s like when the end of the ride lets you out at the gift shop, they’re giving you extra opportunities to exercise your buying power and help the economy with one over priced souvenir purchase at a time.  At Universal, small riders have to wait in the long line along with their parents and the rest of the riding party.  They get the impression that they are going to get on the really cool ride, only to be whisked to shorty jail once they get to the front.  The jail was a short, skinny room with no windows and nothing to do but wait for your party.  And then when they finally come, they get to stay in there again while half the party rides again.  For the parents, it’s not terrible.  It’s at least air-conditioned, which most of universal didn’t seem to be.  It was also quiet, which is very nice in an amusement park.  The only draw back is the tandem toddlers who feel gypped because they waited in a long line and now they have to sit in kiddie jail with nothing to do but complain.  After the third or fourth ride, the air conditioning wasn’t quite so sweet.

Universal also doesn’t allow you to bring outside food in.  Water is allowed, they were probably tired of people getting heat stroke and keeling over from dehydration because they refused to pay for overpriced water.  As we approached the bag check to enter the park, I saw the poor security guards face fall when I plopped my bag on the counter.  He was afraid he’d have to tell me that I couldn’t bring my lunch in.  And then I’d start to cry and tell him I have five kids.  Does he know how much it would cost to feed 7 people inside the park?  And that would not be how he’d like to start his day off.  But alas, we’re rule followers, and it was only water.  We filled our insulated bag with all of our refillable water bottles and figured we’d pass on the $4 water bottles inside the park and make the security guard happy.

As a consolation prize, Universal offers unlimited dining packages.  For a very reasonable price we were able to feed everyone all day long as much as they wanted.  We had brunch and lunch and second lunch and dinner.  It was really a little bit like a display of gluttony.

After lunch we visited Jurassic Park and everyone made it out alive.  Then we went off to cartoon land where the older kids and Dave rode all of the water rides twice and the twins and I played in the water fountain. Let me just say that the allure of cold water during a hot and humid day is like wishing for a c-section during the middle of labor.  The payoff is never very good.  Quite a few of us got to walk around in sticky, wet clothes for the rest of the day because clothes just don’t dry very fast when the humidity is 80%.

After the water we split up.  McKayla and Marshall went to Comic Land to ride all of the scary big kid roller coasters and Dave and I took the younger three to Dr. Seuss Land.  Mike was very discouraged and disappointed that he was too small for all of the roller coasters that made you feel like you might throw up at any moment.

Oh great!  I get to ride all the baby rides while McKayla and Marshall get to have all the fun!  and it’s my birthday!!” grumble.  grumble.  grumble. 

We consoled him with ice cream and riding every ride in Dr. Seuss Land and watching all of the shows.  It was quite a long time.

After we joined back up we went back and rode our favorite rides again until the park closed and they shut down all of the rides.  As we were leaving the last ride, I noticed that Mike wasn’t with us.  (yep, so far, I’ve lost 3 out of 5 kids on this vacation.  One a day in Florida.  The odds for the other kids aren’t looking too good).  I sent Marshall running back to the ride.  Seriously, it was less than 200 feet from us.  They came back and Mike was sobbing.

Mikey:  Sure, no one cares about Mikey!  Just keep on walking.  Leave Mikey behind at Universal Studios.  Who cares that it’s Mikey’s Birthday?  No one.  Everyone just leave Mikey behind and go and have a good time.

At this point we are all trying not to laugh, because when isn’t talking about yourself in the third person not funny?  He was inconsolable until Dave told him that his parents once left him at a gas station.

Mikey:  I don’t belive you.  Grandma Sharon wouldn’t ever forget someone.

Dave:  Really.  I was left at a gas station.

Mikey:  Yeah, but I bet you were a teenager.  Who cares if a teenager gets lost.  You could find your way home.  I’m just a little kid.

Dave:  No, I was probably 4.  I did get an ice cream though.

Mikey:  Can I have an ice cream.

And then everything was better.


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Over Thanksgiving week we visited my parents, family, and friends.  Because of the mileage between us, I don’t get to see everyone as much as I’d like.  Also, because I am terrible about returning phone calls, I don’t talk to them every day.

Now, almost a month after returning from our Disneyworld voyage, I wonder if anyone hasn’t heard about it.  I’ve told everyone within ear shot about our expedition (in what seems like gruesome detail).  And not that I don’t love you internet, but I am busy with the nitty-gritty of life. Things like toilet cleaning, teaching the children, cooking, driving, cleaning — all those fun things, seem to take precedence over you, blog.  I imagine one day, I’ll be able to sit down and work on a hobby.  I’ll be able to finish a book, sew a quilt, crochet a scarf, or write a novel.   I’m just not sure when.  The idea of being able to sit and do something quietly by myself seems ludicrous.  Plus, internet, my laptop decided to die.  She didn’t die a slow and painful death, it was more quick and easy.  Let’s all take a moment of silence for her.  She lived a very hard life.  What this all means is that it’s rather hard to blog.  I can no longer blog in quiet secret moments while pretending to be teaching the kids using my laptop for internet reference.  (hint, hint, santa).

So visiting everyone we haven’t seen in eons awakens the long-lost Catholic in me.  Especially with some of their inventive ways to bring up my blog.

Friend 1:  So, I was waiting around for someone with nothing to do.  I decided to watch porn on my phone (and as an aside, remind me to NEVER let my children have a cell phone).  And that got boring pretty fast.  Then I decided to look up dirty words on the wikipedia.  You know, things like clitoris and nipple.  Then I realized that I hadn’t read Chanel’s blog in a long time. There’s some pretty funny stuff in there.

I’m not quite sure how my blog and clitoris are linked, but I’ll take it.  If things like children vomiting, teenage angst and dead dogs make you think about clitoris, more power to you.  And thank you for the compliment.


My sister:  I’ve been pimping your blog out to everyone I know!  Whatever happened to Harry Potterland?  Did you go?

I’m pretty sure that this is the story she shares every time.


My mom:  I’m still waiting for those DisneyWorld photos.  I take them from your blog and show all my friends but then you stopped blogging.


Friend 2:  What happened to your vacation?  Did you make it home?  Did you have enough candy bars?  I have so many questions!

To answer some of the questions without spoiling the whole trip:

Did you have enough candy bars? We did have enough candy bars.  I didn’t hand out candy bars if we didn’t get out to take a picture.  Also, the twins had to share a candy bar.

How did you take those state line photos? We meant to bring the tripod, but alas it was forgotten, next to the front door.  Dave precariously balanced the camera on the car door, set the timer, and ran.

They really didn’t look that dangerous. You have no idea!

Did you rent a car? We did not.  We took our 8 passenger minivan.  She got an oil change when we departed and needed another when we got home.

How did you fit all of you and your stuff in your car? Magic.  Dave is a packing ninja.  He is rather amazing.  We fit 6 suitcases, a full size ice chest, tons of food, toys, blankets, cameras and electronics in the car.

How were the kids? They were incredibly good.  There wasn’t very much fighting, whining or crying.  I give all of the credit to the candy and Harry Potter book on cd.

What did you guys do in the car? Mostly we talked.  The kids listened to their ipods, watched movies, and played their video games.  The twins brought a ton of small toys and waged a full battle in the back seat, noisy, but occupied.  We listened to book on cd.  I brought an aersonal of car games, but no one wanted to play with me.

Did you pick your hotels before hand? Yes, we did.  We picked which cities we wanted to sleep in and booked our hotel through hotels.com

Did you eat out the whole time? No.  We ate breakfast at the hotels free continental breakfast.  We brought food for lunch and stopped at rest stops so that the kids could run around and get all of their wiggles out.  I packed tons of snacks.  We planned to eat dinner at restaurants during the drive but we ended up eating dinner at any fast food chain with a playground and a toy included in the meal.  Disneyworld allows you to bring food into the park so we brought our lunch in every day.  We ended up only buying one meal in the park.  Our hotel had a full kitchen, so we made dinner and breakfast every day.

Hopefully that answers some of your burning questions, if you have more please let me know.

And so here I am, back until life gets in the way again.


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