Thursday, July 30, 2009

Dining with Alvin and The Chipmunks....and other vacation adventures

Day 4 of our "change of routine in a different environment".....

It was time to introduce the kids to some true nature. I thought it would be fun to head over to Taylor Creek to look at the Stream Profile, along the Rainbow Trail. It's a 1/4 of a mile along a creek so I figured it would be an easy walk without much effort for the kids.

As we started out, the kids seemed excited....pointing at various things along the way and asking questions like "Do wild snakes live out here?", "Who put all these trees here?", "Are bears human?" and "Who poured all this water in the street?". The street? I think they meant the creek....which reminds me I should probably get their hearing checked.

This is part of the stream that we walked along....

I could've stood there all day, listening to the sound of the running water off the rocks. I said to the kids, "Isn't this the most relaxing sound you've ever heard?". They listened for a minute and then Cole said, "What? I don't hear anything". I said, "How can you not hear the running water? Listen...." and he shrugged his shoulders and said, "Oh that noise? It sounds like someone who held their pee for too long....". Ahhhh, my little nature lovers.

We arrived at the Stream Profile and the kids looked at the fish. They seemed unimpressed....except for Garrett, who squealed with delight each time a fish would swim past him, "Look, it's Nemo"!, as he waved his Shrek pez dispenser at the fish...

As we walked back to the beginning of the trail, the kids whined about how tired they were, how much they hate nature, how hot it was, how unfair life was...blah, blah, blah. Then I happened to notice a bunch of tadpoles in the creek....all of a sudden, they LOVED nature. They couldn't get enough of the tadpoles and they were even more intrigued when they learned that tadpoles turn into frogs. Bella said, "And then they turn into princes....". I held my tongue as the words threatened to come out, ", most of them are still frogs, my dear, which you'll sadly realize someday".

After the walk, the kids were hungry so we drove to a picnic area by the beach and broke out the cooler and made sandwiches. A few feet away from us were a group of women doing a Bible study. What a lovely idea....getting together with your church friends to talk about Bible verses under the beautiful blue skies and the tall pine trees, enjoying God's green earth. Until my family appeared....

I kept having to remind the children to try to be as quiet as they could so we didn't disturb the women. The kids were quiet for a few minutes and then eventually their voices would get louder and louder. Garrett kept sticking his hands in the dirt right each time we washed them with antibacterial wipes and Tim had had enough....he finally yelled at Garrett, "Jesus Christ, will you stop doing're pissing me off, damnit". The women looked up at us. I held my breath, as I halfway expected God to strike Tim down with lightening right there on the spot.

Suddenly, we noticed little chipmunks scurrying about, very close to where we were sitting. The kids kept throwing pieces of their sandwiches to the chipmunks, completely entranced by these little creatures. "Look, Mommy, they like our sandwiches....". And they liked our grapes....and our apples....and our chips.... There was one chipmunk in particular who seemed to be the leader of the pack...kind of like Bella. Cole pointed to "the leader of the pack" and said, "I think that's Alvin...".

Here's Alvin enjoying a piece of bread....

Here's Simon also enjoying a piece of bread...

Where was Theodore? Cole said, "Maybe he's in the bathroom....or maybe he's on time-out". Bella added, "OR maybe he's on time-out IN the bathroom". And they both laughed hysterically as if they had just heard the best joke of the century. What I wouldn't give to live inside their little minds just for a day.

>After waiting for Theodore to join us and realizing that he was doing one hell of a long time-out, thus, leaving any chance of Alvin and The Chipmunks to perform Funky Town pretty much null and void, the kids were ready to leave. But not before Garrett rolled around in the dirt some more and got yelled at again by Tim. God still did not strike Tim down with lightening but there was thunder, oddly enough. I told Tim, "I think it's fair to say that you've been warned....".

The day ended on a good note....we went back to our rental home and hung out for a few hours, then went to dinner at a little restaurant on the beach. Not exactly the most quiet of dinners but the kids ate and went to bed with full bellies.....oh, most importantly, we weren't booted from the restaurant before we were able to finish our meals. That's a vital part to include, as well.

Day 5: We went to Sand Harbor beach and, let me just say, it was like heaven on earth. Beautiful, soft white sand....crystal blue lake water that was so clear you could see your feet as you walked along the was shallow enough where the kids could walk for miles.

While Tim took the other kids into the water, Cole and I built a little castle kingdom for The Naked Twins. All Bella's dolls are naked, for some reason. Upon receiving a new doll, she immediately strips them of their clothes. I've never asked her why she does this but I suppose I should just be happy that she's not dismembering them body piece by body piece.

"Welcome to our castle...make yourself at home....and don't hate us because we have perky boobs and 4 inch waists".

I captured this picture of Tim, dragging my kids off to the middle of the lake....while I sat on the beach, soaking up the rays and eating peanut butter out of a jar with my fingers. Why? Because I could....simple as that.

And what do you know....I guess sharks do live in lakes.

When we were done at the beach, we went to my dad's hotel and had a BBQ with them. We BBQ'd the fish we murdered caught at the trout farm....YUM! Cole was really bothered that we wouldn't let him eat the fishes' heads...he assured us it wasn't a problem because the fish didn't have brains. I'm not sure how any of that makes sense but I still wasn't going to let him feast on fish heads.

After dinner, the kids and Tim went swimming in the pool. You may not wanna watch this short video if you have a weak heart....

Day 6 (final day of "vacation")....A blogging buddy of mine, Sharlene at Double The Adventure (who's always going on fun, adventurous trips with her young twins), suggested we check out Fallen Leaf Lake. When I looked up directions on how to get to the lake, it said there was a waterfall called Glen Alpine Falls out there and the kids had been dying to check out a real waterfall (unlike the fake waterfall that my mom has at the edge of her pool).

When we saw the falls, it was like we had just walked into God's personal oasis....the beauty of it all took my breath away. Tim stayed behind in the mini-van since Garrett and Landon had fallen asleep so I went with Cole and Bella to check things out. We ended up hiking to the middle of the falls and scaled up and down it, walking through the streams of was amazing!

This is what we saw when we looked down from where we were parked....

We hiked down to this part....

Once we were in the middle of the falls, a nice man offered to take our I have proof that I was actually on vacation with my family (since I haven't been in ANY pictures until this point)....

I also took this video when we were in the very middle of the falls, as water was rushing by us....some serious beauty right there....

I took a quick look at my watch and noticed that we had been gone for about 35 minutes so I told the kids we had to go back to the mini-van to check on Tim and the little twins. Tim wanted to check things out, so we grabbed Garrett and Landon (who were now awake) and hiked down to the middle of the falls again, which is quite interesting to do with two 4-yr olds and two 2-yr olds. Never in a million years did I ever think I'd be hiking through a big waterfall with my 4 young children but I have to admit it was more fun than it was stressful.

Cole and Bella wanted to continue to hike to the top of the waterfall but it was pretty steep so I told Tim to go ahead and take them and I'd stay behind in the middle of the falls with Garrett and Landon. As I was sitting on a rock with G & L, swinging our feet in the water, I heard, "Hey Mommy....." and I looked up and saw this....

I kept telling myself, "Remain calm....God wouldn't let anything tragic happen in such beautiful surroundings". Then I saw this....

WTF??!! was my first reaction....I swear, this is the difference between men and women when it comes to their children. If it were me, we would've all been connected by hands....if one goes, we all go. But, he had no problem leaving one child behind as he guided the other child down the falls. I was screaming to him, "What the hell are you thinking?? Go back and get her NOW....vultures are gonna eat her, for crying outloud!!"

Once they were all down safely, we went back to the mini-van and headed out but not before taking some more breath-taking pictures of the lake (look at how clear the water is)....

Then it was time to start our trek back home....for the first 30 minutes of the ride, this is what we had to listen to....

Bella: Can we come back here again?
Cole: Yeah, can we?
Me: Yes, we'll come back again sometime.
Cole: When? Tomorrow?
Me: No, not tomorrow.
Tim: We'll come back again next summer.
Bella: Not even the day after tomorrow?
Tim: No, not even the day after tomorrow. I said next year.
Cole: What about next Wednesday?
Me: Nope, not next Wednesday.
Cole: Well, how about next month?

And this went on and on, until Tim and I finally had to drown out the noise with the DVD player.

The minute we set foot in the door of our home sweet home...the clock struck twelve and the kids' horns grew back and I was changed back into their personal maid. The good times don't last for long, do they?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Days 2 & 3: The Smoking Baby, Dead Bones, Captain Feathersword and the Fish Killers

A continuation of our "change of routine in a different environment....

Day 2: The day begins with Landon as our tour guide....he sits down first thing in the morning and scopes out the best places for families to bring their demon spawn children:

Then my dad and his wife (who made the mistake of planning his vacation in the same place we planned ours....hahahaha!!) called us and invited us over to their hotel to go swimming in the pool. Landon actually learned how to swim (with a swim vest but still....)

We had lunch at their hotel and then after that, my dad and his wife were yawning and saying things like, "Wow, I'm so wiped out...." and "I'm so tired, I don't know how you do this every day". We took that as a polite hint to basically get the hell outta there. We ended up down the street at the beach, where the water is usually a freezing cold temp of around 50 degrees. Yet, on this day, it was actually quite warm so we spent a couple hours in the lake. Well, me and the kids anyway...Tim stayed far away from the water because of his irrational fear of sharks. Yeah, I know...lakes and sharks....doesn't make sense to me either.

And of course no trip to the beach is complete until someone gets buried in the sand...

That night, all the kids crashed hard....they were all asleep by 7:30 pm. Victory!!

Day 3: On Tuesday, we got up and decided to hit Virginia City....the kids really wanted to ride the steam train. As I was reading more information about the city, I mentioned to the kids "Oh, hey, there's a really old cemetery there....". To my shock, they were excited. Excited?? Yet, these are the same children who are completely freaked out by the dark.

On the drive there, we had to go through Cave Rock.....

The kids were intrigued....intrigued enough to ask us questions about it for the next 20 minutes. I wish I were kidding about the 20 minutes but I'm afraid I'm not. "Daddy, how did they make a tunnel in the mountain?", "Mommy, did Jesus make that giant hole?", "Daddy, if there's only one tunnel then how do we get back...", to which Tim kept trying to explain that there were two on each side. They continued to argue with us about that fact, as if Tim and I were just born yesterday and had no clue about stuff like this.

We had some time to kill before the train ride, so we decided to stop and eat lunch. We were met with sympathetic smiles and anxious stares from the other customers, who were unfortunate enough to choose that same time and same restaurant to eat their lunch. The whole time we ate, Cole and Bella kept asking about the dead people in the cemetery...."when do we get to see the dead bones?" and I explained that first we needed to figure out where the cemetery was. Honestly, I was praying they'd forget.....but you think that would happen? Not a chance. Every store we stopped in, they asked the people working there, "Do you know where the dead bones are?". Lovely....

We stopped by a novelty of those stores that has every single candy known to mankind (including all those candies you can't get anymore, like candy buttons and pixie sticks). All the kids picked out some candy and a few toys. One toy in particular caught Bella's eye.....the smoking baby. She could've gotten the fake vomit or the pretend dog poop but my 4-yr old daughter insisted on us buying her the smoking baby. And how could we say no to this sweet face (hers...not the smoking baby's)....

When I asked her why she wanted this particular toy, she said, "I wanted it because Oma smokes". Oma would be Tim's mother. Wouldn't this make for an excellent "don't smoke in front of children" campaign?

Finally, we were ready to board the train....when I asked Landon if he was excited about riding the "choo-choo", this is the smile I sweet...

We sat across from a couple and their 2 young children, who were from Australia. Their son was 3 and their daughter was almost 2 and....get this....they had been traveling for the last 4 weeks across the country, starting in Florida and driving their way out to Nevada. No WAY on earth would I be brave enough to do that with my children, as young as they are. But then again, their children barely made a peep during the entire train ride, which was 35 minutes, while my kids sucked loudly on their lollipops and tried to spit on one another.

And of course, the huge water jug I had with us fell over, hit the floor and then cracked in half....water went EVERYWHERE. All I could do was smile, as embarrassed as I was....having no clue what to do. The Australian lady helped me grab some water bottles from our diaper bag and fill them up with the leftover water that hadn't spilled everywhere. The whole time I kept saying, "I'm so sorry....I'm so embarrassed" but she said, "Blah, blah, blah...". No, she didn't actually say that but I had a hard time understanding her because her accent was so thick. I just kept nodding my head and saying "yeah", while praying she wasn't asking me if Tim and I were swingers and interested in going to a party with them later .

Her husband was trying to keep the kids entertained as I was trying to clean up the water....oh wait, let me re-phrase that. He was entertaining MY kids, not HIS kids (who were still sitting there, strangely quiet, as if they had no clue that their mouths were used for talking, as well as eating). At one point, he looked at Garrett and Cole and said, "Can you say 'good day mate'"? They both just stared at him. Then he said, "How about 'ahoy maties'"? He had sunglasses on so his eyes were shielded from them....Cole leaned over and quietly said to me, "Mommy, you know who that is??" and I said, "No, we've never met him before....". "Mommy, it's CAPTAIN FEATHERSWORD from the Wiggles!!!". The guy just laughed and said, "Awww, yes....the Wiggles".

After we bid farewell to Captain Feathersword and his mute children, Cole and Bella were still talking about the dead bones so we stopped in the gift shop and I made Bella ask...."Where are the dead bones at?". The lady looked at us like "what have you all been smoking?". I said, "The kids want to see the know, because it's so old and historic" and she gave me another strange look and said very slowly, "Uh, the cemetery....many people don't usually come here and ask to see it". She gave us directions and we headed to "where the dead people are".

We parked in the lot and I stuck my camera out the window and snapped this picture....

Bella said, "Aren't we gonna get out and walk over there?". Yeah, right....I'm gonna let my children out of the mini-van and let them run all through one of the oldest cemeteries in Nevada? With my luck, I'd turn my back for 5 minutes and they'd have someone's Great Uncle Harry dug up. Then Cole said, "I bet Michael Jackson's buried there....".

On the way home, I was telling Tim about this trout farm that I had gone to a long time ago with my college roommates and I thought the kids would have a blast fishing there. The kids were all for this..."yeah, let's go to the fish barn". Where the hell do they come up with this stuff??

Shortly, thereafter we arrived at the "fish barn" and the lady running the place gave us instructions on how to catch the fish and what to do with them afterwards. As she said, "As soon as you pull them out of the water, place them on the tree stump and bang them over the head with this steel pipe.....", I saw Tim's face go white. "You want me to WHAT?", he asked. She explained it again....Tim looked at me and I said, "Oh yeah, I might've forgotten about that part....".

Apparently, according to the lady, it's more humane to whack the fish over the head so it dies quickly, rather than letting it flop around on the ground suffocating to death, which would be "slow and painful". The lady smiled at the kids and said, "The fish don't feel pain". All I could think was "Thank God this lady isn't a nurse in labor and delivery".

The kids each took turns throwing their lines in the water, waiting for a trout to bite and then pulling it out of the water. Tim then hesitantly grabbed the fish with a net and placed it on the tree stump and said, "I can't believe I have to do this....why don't you do it?" and I said, "Well, I have to take you have to kill the fish". Cole grabbed the steel pipe from Tim's hand and said, "I'll do it...." and he proceeded to whack the fish over the head. made me sick. There were tons of other people there (with kids younger than ours) fishing and none of them seemed to be as grossed out as we were about this part of the process.

Next thing we know, the kids are all fighting over the steel pipe..."I wanna kill the fish...", "No, it's my turn...move outta my way" and then Tim was yelling at them, "Stop!! You will all take turns hitting the fish or no one will do it". We both stopped long enough to look at each other for a minute and I said, "Wow, there's something so disturbing about that....". He said, "This'll be the only thing they'll remember about this vacation in 10 years....I'll bet you anything".

Perhaps the most disturbing thing was how Garrett reacted....he loves all things Disney, with Finding Nemo being no exception. As we headed over to the pond where the fish were, he was waving to the fish saying "Hi Nemo....Hi Dori". As he was banging the fish over the head with the steel pipe, he was yelling "Die Nemo...die". I said to Tim, "Let's pray he's not the one who the kids vote to take care of us when we're old farts".

At the end of the day, we went out for pizza. The smoking baby came with us and insisted on being in every single picture....(you know the drill, click where it says "click to start")

Everything was cool until Garrett got a hold off the smoking baby. Unfortunately, smoking baby met the same demise as the trout...

Oh, it was just a matter of time....

And now I need to go as the kids have found me....hiding in the closet as I type this. I guess there is no such thing as "parent rest time" during a "change of routine in a different environment".

Monday, July 27, 2009

Not a "vacation"...but more of a "change of routine in another environment"

Yesterday was the BIG day! No, not necessarily the first day of our summer "vacation", though I'm sure some would call it a "vacation". Those are the people who either don't have children or those smart enough to travel without their children.

Yesterday was the first day of our "change of routine in another environment". We spent all morning packing the bags....and I mean, ALL morning. I'm someone who has to bring every little thing because I always have to be prepared. I'm the one you can always count on to have a little first aid kit (chock full of band-aids, first-aid ointment, nail clippers, tweezers, bandages and tape), thermometer, vitamins, Motrin, Tylenol, sunscreen, antibacterial wipes, kleenex oh and of course my Wellbutrin. Could you imagine if I left that baby at home? Within the second day, I'd be curled up in the fetal position on the bathroom floor, crying so hard that Tim would have to consider calling the paramedics. "Um, can you send an ambulance please....I believe my wife has FINALLY lost her mind".

On the drive up, I decided to pay the kids back for the hellish car ride they put Tim and I through on the way to the beach a few weeks ago. Since this would be another 3-hour ride, it gave me plenty of opportunities to drive them nuts. Every 10 minutes, I'd turn around and ask them "Hey guys, are we there yet?" and every time I saw a cabin on the side of the road I'd ask "Hey, is that the house we're renting?".

At first, they giggled. They thought it was funny. But after about 90 minutes, they weren't laughing anymore. "Oh, what's the matter, guys? Am I driving you nuts??" and Bella said, "Yes, Mommy, please be quiet". That lasted for about 10 minutes and then I started asking again, "Are we there yet?"

Finally, we arrived at the house. They kids ran in with excitement to check it out, as Tim and I lugged all the bags and groceries inside (oh yes, I brought almost every single item of food we had at home). I reminded the kids that we are renting this house and we want to leave it in the same condition we found it...meaning no tears or stains in the carpet, no smashed food on the floors, no writing on the walls. Then Bella said, "Do we need to treat this house like our own house?". I laughed and said, "Uh, no....we need to treat this house BETTER than we treat our own house".

You'd think that would send the message but it didn't. Within the first few minutes, the kids were jumping on the coffee tables (which incidentally each have a little square piece of glass in the middle) and the sofas. They looked like a bunch of wild animals, rather than 4 civilized kids.

Our first night here, we went to the lake and the kids played on the beach. We didn't make a spectacle of ourselves until we hit the grocery store to get the things I couldn't pack (like milk, ice cream, cold beer for know, the essentials). The kids were running amuck, up and down the aisles...."Mommy, can we get fruit snacks...that counts as fruit" and "Mommy, since we're on vacation, can we buy some soda?" (to which I promptly answered with "Oh, let me correct you, dear child...we are NOT on vacation...this is in no-way what I would consider a vacation....and NO you may not have soda!")

Then of course that child turned around and asked Daddy for the soda, who said, "Why not? We're on you go" and he opened up the bright orange soda for my children to share as we waited in the line to be checked out. It took a total of 15 seconds for the sugar to hit their systems and next thing I know they're bouncing off the walls....people were staring at us and some were even laughing.

Go figure....Tim was extremely irritated when the kids were still awake at 10:30 at night, jumping on the beds. I said, "And what did you think would happen by letting them drink orange soda before bedtime??!!" Every once in awhile, Garrett would come out to the living room and say, "Hi Mommy, Hi Daddy" and we'd say "get back in bed". He'd laugh and scream "NOOOOOO". Tim would get up from the sofa (that pretty much had his ass-shape implanted on it already) and chase him back to bed and yell at all the kids ("GET IN BED NOW"), who pretty much ignored him. I might add here that all the windows are open and the neighbors officially hate us.

Yes, this shall be an interesting "change of routine in another environment". I'll be sure to take pictures for my next post. Expect either lots of humor....or me begging for my last rites.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Well, this is one advantage of my children not knowing how to read yet....

This morning I took all the kids over to Sports Clip for haircuts. All 3 boys desperately needed their hair cut. Bella came along too....well, because she honestly had no choice. Tim was working (or at least, that was the excuse he gave me).

Cole went first. He was brave and the lady cut his hair without freaking out, like he usually does. He looked so positively handsome afterwards. I know I'm biased but the boy is stunning....bright blonde hair, big blue eyes and a smile that melts my heart.

Then it was Garrett's turn....I actually apologized to the lady who was gonna cut his hair ahead of time. I said, "Look, the next 10 minutes is going to be pure hell for you but I promise I'll give you an awesome tip!". She definitely earned her awesome tip. Landon was surprisingly docile when it came his turn. I had to hold him on my lap but I kept reassuring him that there would be "no owies". Every 3 seconds he'd ask "all done?" and I'd say "almost". "Almost" lasted for 10 minutes.

As I headed back to the counter to pay for the haircuts, I noticed there were 5 people waiting to get their hair cut. They were all staring at me. Not sure if they felt bad for me or if they were appalled by my kids....what do I care? Let them walk a mile in my shoes and then let them judge me...

We passed by a Panda Express in the parking lot and Garrett immediately started yelling "Pu Pan....Pu Pan". He's obsessed with Kung Fu Panda, obviously. So I promised the kids we'd eat at Panda Express if they could behave while we made a quick stop at Target. Much to my surprise, I didn't have to yell at them once...

So off to Panda Express for lunch....after all, I had stupidly promised them we'd eat there. They all sat at the table and ate their lunch, they didn't fight...we all shared a meal and a drink and no one fought over anything. I had to pinch myself a couple times to make sure I was actually awake.

Then, of course, we had to take a picture with "Pu Pan" in the background to send to Daddy, because "Daddy would be sad that he missed out". That made me laugh so hard I almost peed in my pants. Yeah, poor work writing software programs, while eating a sandwich from Togo's in total peace and quiet. Why is it they never stop to consider how hard I, they're always so concerned for Daddy. God forbid, he overwork himself....

As we sat in the mini-van in the parking lot, the kids wanted me to open their fortune cookies and read their fortunes to them. I seized the moment....I totally owned it.

Cole yelled to me, "Mommy, read mine first". I said, "Okay, Cole, yours says 'He who cleans his room as a child grows up to be a wise man who will someday be a famous race car driver'".

Bella's fortune read: "A child who eats all her vegetables at every meal will grow long beautiful hair, like Hannah Montana, and marry Troy Bolton from High School Musical".

Garrett's fortune read: "The child who sleeps through the night in his own bed is said to become a dragon warrior like Kung Fu Panda when he grows up".

Landon's fortune read: "He who no longer gets put on time-outs or talks back to his mother will become a train engineer someday, travling to wonderful far-away places".

They all stared at me in awe...."Wow, our fortunes really say all that?". I said, "Yes...aren't they awesome?". Cole said, "Yeah, it's like they were written just for us". I smiled and said, "Yes, son...they were....amazing, huh?"

What the hell am I gonna do when they learn how to read??!!

Random Question of the Day:
(as we're driving)

Bella: Mommy, how do you know if we're really moving when you put your foot on the gas?

Me: Because I can feel the car moving forward....can't you? Can't you see things passing us by?

Bella: Yeah but how do you know that we're not standing still and everyone else around us is moving?

Me: What?! Do you have a point with all this?

Bella: Nope, not really...just curious.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

10 excuses I'm gonna start using to get off the phone quickly....

I used to be such a social, outgoing person. I loved being around friends, I loved being the center of attention....I loved being the life of the party. I also used to love chatting on the phone with friends for HOURS....

"So, do you think you'll like go out with him again and stuff??"
"I dunno....he was all like 'you're really hot' and I was all like 'okay, dude, you're creeping me out!"
"No way....eeeeewwww. Definitely cross him off your list and stuff. Okay, so what about that guy who like totally sits in front of you in your journalism class, the one who wears those ultra-tight jeans, he's way hot...."
"No way, he's totally wrong. He's always like looking at me like he wants to eat me alive and stuff. I'm all like ' are way disgusting and foul' and yeah he wears tight jeans but if you saw him from the front, dude, you would be SO not impressed".
"Well, then let's like hit the club this weekend....toss back some drinks, meet some guys, scarf pancakes at Denny's at 3:00 am. It'll like totally rock, you know".

Oh yes, that was me.....back in the day, when I was fun and cool...before I was a wife and a mother. I'm lucky these days if I'm able to have a phone conversation for more than 30 seconds before one of the kids is bleeding from any given orafice (ugh....and as I'm writing this, I asked my husband how to spell "orafice" and he raised his eyebrows and said, "hmmmm, what are YOU thinking about....which orafice are you referring to...heh, heh?"....Um, clearly NOT the same thing you're talking about, you sex-obsessed pervert).

Okay, so where was I before I got side-tracked by David Duchovny over here....oh yeah, the OLD me versus the NEW me. I rarely answer the phone these days and when I do, I find myself having to rush that person off the phone because of some emergency that will inevitably go down when I take my attention away from my demon spawn lovely children.

Now, usually most of my friends are quite sympathetic, leaving me voicemails like, "Hey,'s me, know, Degeneres. I have a quick question for you...I know you're probably busy feeding the kids (or killing them....whatever....) but give me a HOLLA back when you have some time, even if it's 6 weeks from now." And these friends are actually cool with it...they know I'll get back to them eventually (usually by e-mail) but nevertheless....

But then there are THOSE people who are clearly offended when I can't talk for a long time or THOSE people who get irritated that I don't call them back right away. THOSE people who don't have the slightest clue how serious I am when I say "um, I need to go now....a kid is to you later". But they just keep chattering away..."oh, okay....oh wait....did you ever hear back from that lady who runs those music classes??". Why yes I did...let me fill you in on the details, while one of my kids bleeds to biggie.

So I've come up with a list of things I'm going to start saying to THOSE people when I need to get off the phone in a jiffy....

1) (sound of a baby crying in the background)...OH. MY. GOD. A baby just fell out of my vagina...(click)

2) Great...just boys are peeing on the neighbor's cat again (click)

3) Oh no, I have to run....I just realized I'm late for a dr's have my eardrums ripped out (click)

4) My kids are being chased by African killer bees (click)

5) Oh, another re-run of Roseanne is other words, parenting class has just begun (click)

6) Oh wait, that's my call waiting....I'm gonna have to take's Brad Pitt again...geez, can't the guy take "NO" for an answer? (click)

7) Yeah, so, uh....I'm gonna go gouge my eyes out with a pencil now (click)

8) (sound of knocking on door) Oh's the police...and they have 2 of my kids! I guess leaving the kids on the side of the road when they called my bluff was a bad call...(click)

9) Hey, the UPS guy just rang my bell....I'm about to find out "what brown can do for me" if you know what I mean (click)

And finally.....

10) What part of "I CAN'T TALK RIGHT NOW" don't you understand??!!

Random question of the day:
Cole: Mommy, do you think Barney is a boy or a girl dinosaur?
Me: I dunno...what do you think?
Cole: I think he's a little bit of both.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

It was the final straw...

As I approached it, I actually groaned outloud. Why me? Why did I have to be the one? I'm not good at this kind of makes me wanna scream until my vocal cords give out.

"Mommy, please....please....please.....just do it", my kids pleaded with me. I groaned again and said, "Can't you all just wait until Daddy gets home from work? This is HIS thing...not mine".

They just stared at me with huge, pathetic eyes...."No, we can't wait....we won't wait....just do it....please".

I looked at it....again and again. My stomach turned...I felt nauseous. Oh, the anxiety was enough to send me over the edge. Why can't I just say no? Who's idea of a punishment was this?

"Mommy, come's not that bad", they said. I laughed. "Yeah, right...then why don't YOU all do it?". One of them said, "Because we're just kids".

I sat down and examined it....I shook my head and pleaded with them again, "Please, let's just wait for Daddy to come home".

Then they said the magic words, "Mommy, if you do this for us, we won't bug you the rest of the day....we promise". That was all the incentive I needed....

It took me 3 hours to do it. I wish I were joking but I'm afraid I'm not. I had to start over at least 5 different times. I had to lock myself in the bathroom at least cry out of pure frustration. I had to take several breaks to gather myself (and drink some wine....)

Finally, it was kids call it "the most awesome thing EVER"....I call it "the final straw that almost sent me to the psych ward".

Maybe it doesn't look that complicated....but, trust me, it was. I'm not cut out for this kinda stuff.

But look at these happy faces....I guess, in the end, it was worth all that frustration. Now where's that bottle of wine.....?

Random question of the day:

Bella: Cole, why does that happen?
Cole: Because it does.
Bella: Oh.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Time outs, marshmallow fluff and other things I've learned....

1) Kids are gullible. For instance, tonight Tim was giving the kids a bath (try not to keel over in shock...) and I was downstairs cleaning up the kitchen from dinner. The kids kept yelling down to me, "Mom....Mommy....Mom....Mama". I thought that by ignoring them, they'd eventually stop. But 10 minutes later, they were still yelling to me. So in my best Spanish accent that I could come up with, I yelled to them, "Mama no here....she say goodnight...she see you manana". Nothing but quiet.....if a pin had dropped (in Africa), I surely would have heard it.

2) Extra large zucchinis are not to be wasted. Apparently, when one goes a couple days without checking on the garden, zucchinis can grow rather large.

I have been informed by several people that zucchinis this large do not taste very good and are best to be scooped out and used to stuff with all kinds of odds and ends.

But me?? Well, I see other opportunities for which an extra large zucchini such as this one can be used for......

Yes, that is Cole doing a time-out....holding a giant 3.5-lb zucchini over his head. Not 2 minutes after the previous picture had been taken, he hit Garrett over the head with it. I said, "Do you realize how heavy this zucchini is? That really hurt him". It was at that very moment that the idea popped into my head.

3) Large zucchinis should be used for good, not evil. After Cole did the time-out, I started to worry that the kids would view vegetables as something bad. I didn't want them to have a lifelong fear of zucchini. So I decided to switch gears.

The zucchini, now named Marian, has become the reward for good behavior. You laugh....but I've never seen 4 kids behave so well in my entire life. It's amazing what a 3.5 lb zucchini can do to turn your demon spawn into little angels.

4) Desperate times call for desperate measures. When you are stressed out and overwhelmed, it's perfectly acceptable to grab a jar of Marshmallow Fluff and lock yourself in the laundry room while you eat the entire jar, as your kids bang on the door. If you forgot to grab a spoon, no's also perfectly acceptable to eat the Fluff with your fingers.

5) Something is better than nothing. Ever since the whole turtle debacle, Cole has been begging for another pet. After getting tired of listening to him whine about this, I filled a plastic bag with water and put one of his rubber sharks in it. I handed it to him and said, "Here you go....a hand-made fish tank with a shark in it". He stared at the "hand-made fish tank" and then looked back at me. I shrugged and said, "Hey, something is better than nothing, right?". Then he smiled and said, "I'll bet none of my friends have a pet shark".

6) Sometimes silence is the best response. My husband often thinks he's being funny. Like tonight, after seeing a Yoplait commercial on tv, he thought it'd be cute to repeat the Yoplait slogan while grabbing his private parts and saying, "Yeah, sweetie, enjoy life's little pleasures". Nothing but silence on my part. It was then that he realized that all he pretty much did was insult himself. I didn't have to say a word.

7) The only explanation you'll ever need. "But all the cool moms are doing it". Enough said.

8) Words will always come back to haunt you. Like, when you tell your husband, who's fuming over something you think is just downright silly, "Don't go away mad...just go away", make sure the kids are not within earshot. You may think they've forgotten about it but they'll repeat it one day.....and, chances are, it'll happen out in public at the playground (that you always go to at least 2-3 times a week). You'll stand there in shock as you watch your child grab a sand toy away from another child, who runs off to tell his mother....while your child yells out to him, "Don't go away mad...just go away".

9) Playdough and Moon Sand = A mother's worst nightmare. I'm convinced that whoever developed these two items for children did NOT have children of their own. I'm further convinced that it's THE BEST gift to get that one child, whose mother you can't stand, for his birthday. You know, the mother who makes you feel inferior and imperfect because she hand-knits all of her kid's hats and mittens, because she feeds him nothing but organic food, and because she owns a pair of Jimmy Choo shoes and you don't.

Random question of the day:

Bella: Mommy, why is the sky blue?
Me: Because it's God's favorite color.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Ouchies Review and Giveaway....

When my kids get an owie, they always insist on a band-aid. It doesn't have to be a major owie either...even the slightest owie requires a band-aid to make them feel better. Oh, and a kiss from Mommy or Daddy, of course.

As my kids have gotten a little bit older, they no longer like the plain, boring band-aids. They want the ones with designs...Hello Kitty, Superman, Sponge name it, they want it. The problem with these lovely looking band-aids, though, is that many aren't strong enough to hold up after a day or two, especially after getting wet. So we go through a ton of band-aids in a short amount of time, which costs extra money. I don't think there's ever been a shopping trip to Target where we have NOT had to buy new band-aids.

So when I was contacted recently by Ouchies to try their unique product, I jumped at the chance, just knowing my kids would love them....and I was hoping they'd be strong enough to endure my extremely active children.

Ouchies were developed by Ian Madover, a father himself, who was disappointed that the only bandaids available were just plain, boring beige bandages. He wanted something cool and fun....something that would allow children (and even adults) to show off their personality and style. Thus, the concept for Ouchies bandages was born.

When we received the packages of Ouchies in the mail, I immediately loved them! I even wanted to wear one! I received a box each of the "Teen-Ages Girl Bands" and "Teen-Ages Boy Bands" (the specially designed tin box is pretty hip, I think!). How cool are these??!!

Each box comes with 20 bandages. Both sets of girl and boy's bandages come in cool, funky designs, like Surfers, Girls Rule Tattoo, Blue Camoflauge with lizards and Dragon Tattoo.

The first one of my kids to receive an injury was Cole, of course. He was crying as I cleaned up the owie on his shoulder, a result of getting scratched by the family cat as he was trying to hold her. I pulled out the Ouchies and asked him, "Which bandage do you want?". All the kids went nuts...they each wanted one. And because I didn't want them all hurting each other on purpose just to get an Ouchie bandage, I let them each pick one.

Here are the boys modeling their Ouchies....

Even Ted E. Bear loves Ouchies....

I was very pleased that the Ouchies managed to stay on after the kids had a bath and into the next day, when they played in the sand at the playground. They're thicker than average bandaids and they are wider, as well.

In addition to the Teen-Age Girls and Teen-Age Boys bandages, Ouchies also sells a "Make Your Own" bandage, for kids who want to design their own bandages. They come with 3 markers (blue, red and purple) and the box has 5 different colored bandages (pink, orange, blue, yellow and purple) for the child to decorate.

They are currently designing a line of Mr. Men and Little Miss bandages.

Try can either purchase Ouchies directly on their site (here) or at select retail locations across the US.

WIN them! The cool people at Ouchies have generously offered to give away 2 boxes to one of my readers!!

For your main entry for the giveaway, become a fan of Ouchies on Facebook by clicking here. Then come back here and let me know in a comment.

For extra entries:
Please leave a separate comment for each entry.

-- Visit the Ouchies site (here) and tell me which bandage is your favorite
-- Post about this giveaway on your blog and link back to my blog
-- Add yourself to my follower list (or let me know you are already following)
-- Follow me on Twitter and tweet about this giveaway (leave the URL of your tweet)

This giveaway ends on Saturday, July 25th at 9:00 pm PST. One winner will be chosen via Please leave your e-mail in your comment if it is not listed on your profile.

Friday, July 17, 2009

As if there wasn't enough to worry about already?

I took the kids to one of the nearby jumper house places the other day. They had a ton of extra energy to burn off. Plus, I've received 4 magazines in the mail over the last week that have just piled up and they're begging to be read, especially the parenting magazines. Oh, ESPECIALLY the parenting magazines. I need to be enlightened at least once a month on the RIGHT way to do things so my kids don't spend their entire adulthood in therapy. I know they'll require SOME therapy to undo the damage but I'm okay with that. I just don't want it to have to be a lifelong process for them.

As soon as the kids got their socks on and wandered off to go play, I sat down at one of the tables and spread out my magazines, opened up my nice chilled water bottle and did eeny-miney-mo to decide which magazine to read first. Then the cover of Parents Magazine caught my eye: "Stress Less...How To Chill Out Before You Burn Out". I immediately opened it up and searched for that specific article.

About 10 minutes later, as I was trying hard to absorb all the wonderful information in the article (the noise in those jumper house places is enough to make you go deaf after 5 minutes), Bella came up to me and said, "Mommy, I have a sore in my mouth and it hurts". I asked her to open her mouth so I could look and at first I didn't see anything.

I asked her to open her mouth wider and that's when I saw it....something white behind her lower left incisor. I thought maybe it was a blister so I put my finger on it and realized it was hard. It felt like the tip of a tooth.

She must have noticed the stunned look on my face and she immediately said, "What is it??" and I said, "I'm not sure....when we get home we'll look at it under some better light...but it's nothing to worry about".

As we drove home, she repeatedly told me "Mommy, every time I rub my tongue against it, it feels sore". Each time, I'd reply, "As soon as we get home, we can put some ice on it..." and "If it's still bothering you, I can give you some tylenol". After hearing it from her at least 5 more times, I finally said, "Well, then STOP RUBBING YOUR TONGUE ON IT if it hurts when you do that!!" Sometimes I think my children simply lack an understanding for the most obvious things in life.

When we were home, I looked at it again with a flashlight in our kitchen, which has a ton of natural light coming in the late afternoon. Sure enough, it looked like a tooth but how was that possible?? She's only 4 years old and her baby tooth was still in place. It looked like such an odd place for a tooth to come up, which was what was bothering me the most.

The picture isn't very I was trying to get a picture, she kept drooling all over my fingers. I drew an arrow where the permanent tooth is starting to protrude....oh, and try to ignore the fact that she has bits of chewed up pretzels stuck in her back teeth.

I went to my laptop and googled "permanent tooth coming in behind baby tooth in young child".....I'm so happy I was born in a day when you can simply sit at your computer and find out anything you want to know. One specific site stood out to was a blog called "Pediatric Dentistry" written by a pediatric dentist (I tried to ignore the fact that even though his profile said he'd been in practice for over 20 years, he looked like he had just graduated from high school).

Apparently, this is somewhat normal for young children. It's sometimes referred to as "shark teeth" because of how the teeth look if the permanent teeth come through before the baby teeth fall out. Take a look....

The dentist describes this as sometimes when the child doesn't have enough room for the permanent tooth, then the tooth may not come up right under the baby tooth. Even when the child does have enough space, the new tooth may not be able to reabsorb the baby tooth's root quickly enough so it begins to come in behind the baby tooth.

From what I could gather from his article and the comments others left in his comment section, if the baby tooth is already starting to come loose and the permanent tooth is just starting to come in, his opinion is to wait and see if the baby tooth will come out on its own within a couple weeks. If not, then the baby tooth may need to be extracted by a dentist.

At this point, I wiggled Bella's baby tooth just to see if it was loose and I was surprised to find that it was. Not extremely loose but I was definitely able to wiggle it a bit. Because our dentist is on vacation until next Tuesday, I figure we can wait and see if the baby tooth comes out within the next few days on its own. Either way, I need to make an appointment because I want to make sure everything is okay and if something further needs to be done, then we can get it done.

In the meantime, as I was explaining this to Bella, she became alarmed and started crying. She said, "I don't want shark teeth...." while Cole was intrigued by the picture of the shark teeth and he tried to convince her how cool it was. He said, "Dude, that's so awesome....". Then she started sobbing even harder, expressing her fears that the dentist was going to give her a shot and yank her baby tooth out. I held her as I tried my best to comfort her, assuring her that everything would be okay, while being careful to avoid making any promises that her tooth wouldn't need to be pulled. "Everything's going to be okay....the dentist won't do anything without talking to us first...", I kept repeating to her.

Part of the reason she was a little freaked out was also because we had talked to her previously about not losing any baby teeth until she was around 6 or 7 years old. So she was upset about why it was happening now and wondering if there was something wrong with her, especially because Cole wasn't having this issue.

I tried to focus on the fact that this was a sign that she was growing up and how cool it would be for her to get a visit from the Tooth Fairy, sooner than expected. Finally, she was starting to see the positive side of all this, though she kept telling me, "I don't want to have shark teeth...."

Within an hour, she was completely over it and had moved on to something else. Then Tim came home and we showed him the new tooth coming in and he said, "Oh, I had this same thing when I was younger, though I wasn't quite as young as her." I kept giving him the "eye" know, the look that says "can you please not say anything else because you're going to traumatize our daughter??"

Did he notice? Of course not. I'm telling you, I could strip naked and light myself on fire right in front of him and I doubt he'd notice. Remember, this is the same man who completely did NOT notice a beautiful bouquet of roses that a good friend of me sent me for my he stood right in front of the roses, eating his dinner....

So he continued, "I had to go in to the dentist and they gave me laughing gas and then he yanked my tooth out....". I immediately screamed, "TIM..." but I could already see Bella's chin starting to quiver. "Great....just great....thank you for coming in here and upsetting her again after it took me awhile to calm her down about this....", I said.

Surely, nothing else could go wrong after this, right? Don't be so quick to shake your head. Then my wise husband said, "Bella, do you know what this means? It means you're growing up....just think, soon you'll have big boobies just like Mommy".

Now my poor daughter has forever been traumatized....not only is she worried about having "shark teeth", now she's worried that she'll be the only 4-year old in kindergarten with huge boobs.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Memo to the bosses....

July 16, 2009


To: My employers -
Cole, CEO of Crying For No Reason
Bella, President of Being Extremely Sensitive and Emotional
Garrett, Vice President of Being Overly Demanding
Landon, Director of All Things Smelly

From: Your dedicated, hard-working employee (aka - Mommy)


First, let me start this memo off by saying how wonderful it has been working for you all. When I was hired for the position of "Mother", I truly underestimated just how fulfilling and rewarding it would be. Each day is full of new adventures, among other things (yeah, let's just leave it at that, shall we?).

There are some things I've been wanting to address with you and I feel now is as good a time as any. I mean, it's not like you all could fire me.....right?

1) My hours: When I was initially hired, I understood the position called for 24-hour shifts. I had no problem with that. It was a new job for that I had never done before and I welcomed the hours with open arms. However, over time, I feel like you all have been taking advantage of me. You never mentioned that the 24-hour shifts would be never-ending. I'm being paged at odd hours almost every single night (like 3:15 am) and I'm expected to work overtime quite frequently (although is there such a thing as overtime when I'm working never ending 24-hr shifts?)

I am proposing a change in my hours (don't you love how I make it sound as if it's your decision but we all know it's really not). I would appreciate not being expected to clock in any earlier than 7:00 am and I'd like to complete my work day by at least 8:00 pm, if not earlier. I'd also like to only be on-call at night for emergencies only, like when you have a nightmare in the middle of the night or if you wet your bed.....emergencies that do not constitute paging me: you have a booger in your nose that's not quite within your reach or because you're scared that your eyelashes are going to disappear if you close your eyes for too long. I haven't decided if "my butt itches" is considered an emergency....I suppose it depends on WHY your butt itches but, chances are, it's something that can wait until the next morning.

2) My benefits: This falls right in line with my hours (see above). I would like to be able to take personal days here and there, as needed. Of course, I would give you advance notice so you could find a temporary replacement (might I suggest your father, who is perfectly capable of filling in for me). Oh, and you are no longer allowed to cry, whine and scream to me "Mommy, I want you...." as I'm running out the door. Guilt trips will no longer be acceptable. I also would appreciate regular 15-minute meal breaks and 5-minute potty breaks for every 2 hours that I work. I think that's very reasonable. Furthermore, I will be taking sick days, as needed. Nothing excessive but if I should come down with a blinding migraine (that, chances are, you all caused...and I say that with all due respect of course), I'd like to know that I won't have the added pressure of having to work that day. Again, your father is a willing and able substitute in my absence (he may not be aware that he's willing and able but, trust me, he is).
Even though this is not a paid position, it would be nice every once in awhile to receive a gift certificate from you for a massage or a mani/pedi (just to show your appreciation of all my hard work).

3) My job responsibilities: While my job responsibilities were never really clearly discussed in detail, I did have an idea of what the position would entail. With that said, as time has gone by, I've taken on so many more responsibilities that have left me feeling overwhelmed. I feel like I'm not able to give my full attention and devotion to other aspects of my job because I just have so much on my plate on a daily basis.

The following is a list of jobs I will no longer be doing:
  • wiping the butts of those of you who are potty trained
  • running around like a chicken with my head cut off at meal times fetching "this and that" for you all that I never get a chance to sit down myself and eat
  • providing constant and never-ending entertainment
  • cleaning up the toys that you take out but never seem to put away (I'm not buying the whole, "But I don't know how to put it away" excuse anymore)
  • no longer responsible for scissor cut your own hair, it's your problem; oh, and no longer protecting any of you from chopping off your own less finger means less nose-picking, which you already know annoys the hell out of me
  • breaking up fights 24 hours a day (one can only say "use your words" and "we don't hit" so many times a day before she is deemed legally insane)
  • warming your milk twice a day in the microwave (man-up already....from what I know, cold milk has never killed anyone)
  • fighting with you all to brush your teeth twice a day (if your teeth rot and fall out, you'll just have to drink all your food through a straw).

4) My right to privacy: Now this is something I feel very strongly about and I feel that it's gone on for way too long. I am now requiring total and complete privacy when I'm in the bathroom (that includes going potty, taking a shower, getting dressed, etc). The harrassment that I'm subjected to on a daily basis is just inappropriate and downright rude. No employee should ever have to sit there while the bosses ogle her and scream out, "Look at her boobies", while each of you take turns trying to grab said boobies. Last time I checked I was no longer required to fulfill the job responsibility of breast feeding.

From now on, you are no longer allowed to enter the bathroom when I'm in it (including sticking your hands under the door and yelling, "how many fingers can you see now?" over and over until I scream "leave me alone please", banging on the door repeatedly with the hopes that I will eventually cave and let you in, and beating each other up outside the door with the expectation that I will be able to hold my pee long enough to break up the fight).

Lastly, I would like to thank you for the wonderful learning opportunity you have provided me with. While I'm sometimes guilty of making mistakes and not performing tasks to the best of my abilities, I appreciate that you all have continued to encourage me with your never-ending smiles, hugs and kisses.

Someday, I hope to be promoted to the coveted position of "grandmother".

Monday, July 13, 2009

It's not every day you find THIS in your backyard....

Last Thursday, I walked out to the side of our house, where our fabulous veggie garden is continuing to blossom, to grab the hose to water the veggies. As I was about to open the gate to our backyard, I looked down and saw this....

I stooped down and looked closer and....holy was a turtle. Not just some little tiny turtle either. This turtle was a good size...he was just sitting there, hanging out in the warm morning sun. Cole ran out to the backyard to help me water the garden and I said, "Hey, can you go back inside and grab my camera?" and, much to my shock, he actually did. He came back out, camera in hand, and said, "What are you taking a picture of?" and I pointed to the turtle and said, "That...."

I opened up the gate, thinking the turtle (if it was smart) would hide in his shell or walk the other way. But soon as the gate was open, he booked it right in to our backyard.

By now, Bella had come out into the backyard and they both stared at the turtle in complete amazement. Cole screamed, "Can we keep him?" and Bella said, "Let's get rid of the hermit crabs so we can keep the turtle....". Nice. I bet they'd kick me to the curb just as quickly if they thought there was a chance that the Tooth Fairy could be their new mother.

I called around to various animal shelters to see if anyone had reported a missing turtle but had no luck there. I finally called the local Wild Life Society and I got a biologist who laughed at me for at least a minute when I said, "Hi there, I found this turtle in my backyard and I don't know what to do....".

Then he started to talk about the proper care of a turtle, what to feed it, how to handle it properly and I interrupted him and said, "Oh think I'm gonna keep this turtle?? No, I need to know where to take him....I have no intention of keeping him".

Cole was clinging to me and crying, "Can't we please keep him?". The biologist dude asked me to look at the turtle's feet and if they were webbed that meant he was a turtle who lived in water. Okay, cool....the little guy has webbed feet. Mystery solved.

The biologist said, "If you live near some water, just take him there and release him...". Fine with me...but now I had to break the news to the kids who were practically kissing the turtle and trying to figure out a name for him.

They had lovingly placed him on a cement block in the hopes that that would keep him from wandering away. But he was a turtle on a mission....he stared at them, as if he were saying, "Ha, I laugh at, be gone" and he crawled off the block and headed towards the grass again.

I grabbed a huge diaper box that we had in the garage and Cole managed to coerce the turtle into the box. I think I might have actually heard the turtle mutter, "Oh shit...."

I explained to the kids that we had to return the turtle to his home....Bella was cool with it but Cole began sobbing. "Why can't we keep him?", he cried. I said, "Because he's not ours to keep...his family is probably sad because he's lost so we need to return him to them, where he belongs".

He continued to cry....then I said, "Look, if you were lost, wouldn't you want someone to return you to us". He didn't say anything. I think he might have actually been thinking about it. I'm surprised he didn't say, "Well, if they gave me ice cream for dinner and let me stay up all night, I'd probably want to stay with them".

I used all kinds of excuses why we could NOT keep the turtle:

-- Daddy is allergic to them
-- Turtles eat eyeballs...and little kids
-- The turtle would probably pee in their beds
-- The turtle would eat all the Apple Jacks and not leave any for them
-- Turtles can turn themselves into snakes anytime they want to, mostly at night when they creep around looking for things to eat, like eyeballs and little kids

Still....he was insisting he wanted to keep this turtle. I finally had to put my foot down and say, "We are NOT keeping him....he needs to return home, with his family". And with that, we all got out of the mini-van and Cole carried the box over to the rocks. I said, "Okay, put the box down and let him walk out on his own...he'll know exactly where to go".

With much reluctance and tears, Cole placed the box on the ground and the turtle crawled out and headed towards the rocks....(click on the arrow at the bottom of each picture to see what the turtle has to say...)

We watched the water for a few more minutes and the turtle returned 3 more come up for air. I convinced Cole he was coming up to say goodbye and thank the kids for returning him to his home.

On the drive home, Cole cried and cried..."Can we come back and visit him later?" and I said, "No, he has a busy day ahead of him....first, he'll have to attend a news conference where he'll be interviewed about his adventure, then he'll be taken to reunite with his family....and then they're gonna have a huge party to celebrate his return. We'll come back and visit him another time, maybe next week".

Once we returned home, I held Cole on the sofa while he continued to sob as if there were no tomorrow...."I'm so sad...I wanted to keep him....I'm worried about him...I wonder if he misses me....I'm soooooo sad". I continued to comfort him the best I could and I looked to Bella to comfort him as well. I was hoping she'd give him a hug or say, "Cole, it'll be okay...".

She rolled her eyes, patted Cole on the back and then said, "Mommy, when's Christmas gonna be here?" Such a loving twin sister, yet so unconcerned...

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Have you been to the "happiest place on earth"?

The first time we took Cole and Bella to Disneyland, they were 13 months old. We dragged my mom, stepdad and brother with us because we weren't sure how well the kids would handle it, being so young...would they be overwhelmed? Or would they be completely in awe with all the magic of Disney, just as I was when I was a young child?

Well, they are MY kids, afterall, so they fell in love with Disney! We've been back every year since then and each time it just gets better and better for us.

This past year, in fact, I'd have to say was the BEST year so far. They had just turned 4 years old and they were well aware of all things Disney....the movies, the characters, the princesses, the rides....that's all they talked about the whole drive down there.
When we had lunch with Ariel the Mermaid, along with some of the other princesses, met Mickey and Minnie Mouse in person and watched Tinkerbell sit upon a float at the parade, Cole and Bella were the happiest I've ever seen them. We have yet to take Garrett and Landon with us but we plan to do that the next time we go and I can hardly wait to see their faces light up, just as Cole and Bella's did on their first visit to Disney.

Of course, one can't visit Disneyland or Disney World without wondering how it all started. Most everyone knows that Walt Disney (pictured to the left) was the brains behind it all. As a teenager, Disney worked on his school's newspaper as a cartoonist. He soon dropped out of high school and, within time, found himself eventually creating ads for newspapers, magazines and theaters. While working for a film company, Disney discovered an appreciation for animation and decided to pursue that as his career.

As he became better known in the community for his cartoons, Disney was able to acquire his own studio but soon it would become bankrupt and he would have to start from scratch all over again. It was then that he and his brother pooled their money together and started a cartoon company in Hollywood, CA. They had much success with their Alice Comedies and Oswald the Lucky Rabbit series but unfortunately that too ended in misfortune and Disney found himself on his own yet again.

This is when Disney created the character we now know as Mickey Mouse, which was based on a pet mouse Disney had owned while working in a Kansas studio at one time. Originally, Mickey Mouse was named "Mortimer" but Disney's wife didn't feel like that name suited the character very well and, thus, the mouse was renamed Mickey. What many people do not know is that Disney was the voice and personality of Mickey Mouse for years. Many of the movies that Disney produced starring Mickey Mouse became instant hits and eventually Walt Disney signed a new distribution deal with Columbia Pictures.

In 1932, Disney won a special Academy Award for the creation of Mickey Mouse. Soon after, he created the characters of Goofy, Donald Duck and Pluto. Donald Duck became the 2nd most successful character of all time created by Disney.

After much success with many other films, he built a new campus for the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, CA in 1939. In the meantime, movies such as Snow White, Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan would bring him even more success.

In the late 1940's, he began drawing up plans for Disneyland in Anaheim, CA and that became his main focus, while his studio continued to expand its other entertainment operations. Disneyland, one of the world's first theme parks, officially opened on July 17, 1955. His dream of creating an amusement park that "looked like nothing else in the world" had finally come true.

Disney went on to start making plans for an even more elaborate theme park which would be located in Orlando, FL. When he died in 1966, his brother, Roy, came out of retirement and took full control of Walt Disney Productions and he continued to oversee the development and building of the theme park. In 1967, Roy Disney and the rest of the Disney family officially opened the park, which would be called Walt Disney World in honor of the late Walt Disney. Epcot was the second phase to be designed and it was added in 1982.

While he is mostly known for his creation of the Walt Disney Resorts, in his lifetime, Disney received 59 Academy Award nominations and won 26 Oscars, including a record 4 in one year, giving him more awards and nominations than any other individual. He also won 7 Emmy Awards.

Today, the Walt Disney Company owns, among other assets, 5 vacation resorts, 11 theme parks, 2 water parks, 39 hotels, 8 motion picture studios, 6 record labels, 11 cable television networks, and 1 terrestrial television network. In 2007, the company had an annual revenue of over U.S. $35 billion....not bad for a man who originally began his career as a cartoonist for his school's newspaper.

Like many other families, Disneyland will continue to be an annual vacation spot for our family. No matter where else we have gone on vacation, Disneyland continues to be our most favorite place. We always stay at the Candy Cane Inn , which I highly recommend. It's literally a 5-minute walk to Disneyland and the hotel itself is clean and kid-friendly. For those families who plan to visit Disney World in Orlando, check out these Orlando vacation rentals. You can find some great deals there.

Every once in awhile, I'll stumble across someone who has never been to either Disneyland or Disney World. What?! Never been to Disney?? I mean, it IS the "happiest place on earth"....where dreams come true. I always say, "Well, what are you waiting for??? have to visit there at least once in your lifetime!!"

So tell me....have you been to either Disneyland or Disney World? How often? If you have children, have you taken them yet? If you've never been to either theme park, do you plan to go at some point?

I figure that if the children are alive when my husband gets home at the end of the day, I've done my job.

----Roseanne Barr

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