Thursday, April 24, 2014

How I Ruined My Daughter's Life

This morning, I was getting ready upstairs, when I realized Emily would need me to spray some styling gel in her hair before we left for the hairdresser to get her coiffed for the prom.

I called down the stairs, "Emily, could you come here for a minute, please?"

She came pounding up the stairs, her eyes wide.

"I need to spray some goop in your hair before it dries so it will hold the style," I told her.

"Oh, good!  I thought I was in trouble!" she said with relief.

"Did I sound like I was mad?" I asked.

"Well, since you never yell when you're mad, I can't tell if you sound mad or not.  You sound the same all the time.  I never know if you're calling me up here to tell me a joke or to tell me to pick up my clothes off the floor.  You should yell at us when you're angry so we know.  You never yell at us and now I can't tell when you're angry and it's probably warped my sense of how people interact with one another and you've probably ruined me, you know."

"By never yelling at you?"

"By never yelling at me."

So if anyone ever overhears me screeching at my kids like a banshee, it's not because I'm mean.  It's because we are doing an in-depth study on elements of conflict and exchange in sociocultural interaction norms in America.


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Six Flags

This year, for the first time ever, I bought season passes to Six Flags.  I decided that we are going to spend the summer riding rides, going to the water park, and attending concerts so we may as well get the best price on it.

I also bought the meal plan, where you pay one flat fee and you can eat lunch and dinner every time you go to the park.  

We may go there every day just to eat.

We decided our first trip to the park would be this past Friday.  Most kids are still in school and parents are working so I felt like it wouldn't be terribly crowded.

I was right.

I love it when I'm right.  

The first half of the day we only waited in line for ten minutes to ride some of the most popular attractions.  As the day went on, it got a little more crowded but we never waited more than 30 minutes to get on a ride. 

But I get ahead of myself.


The day started off with us waiting in line to get in the park.  I realized while we were standing there that I had inadvertently left Katie's season pass at home and brought Kerry's by mistake (he was at work and couldn't join us).  I had purchased our season tickets on line and had to print out a page for each of us with our season ticket on it, a page for each of us with our meal pass on it, and a page for each of us with a season parking pass on it.  I had quite a stack of papers in my hands and I was hoping I wouldn't lose my grip on them and have them blow away.

We made it up to the entrance of the park and when I explained the situation, they sent me over to customer service to have a voucher printed for Katie.

We waited in line for 20-30 minutes at customer service.  If this had been our only trip of the summer to be able to go to Six Flags, I would have been very antsy over the wait.  Knowing that we can go back any time we want made it much better.  We were calm and happy.

I handed the guy at the window the three vouchers that I had brought with me and explained that I had accidentally brought my husband's voucher rather than my daughter's.  He printed a new one for me and handed the three papers to me.

I looked at the three pages he had handed me and realized Katie's name was at the top of all three.

"Um, these all have Katie's name on them," I told him.

"Yes, he responded," that's her season pass, meal ticket, and parking pass."

"Yes, but you didn't give me back my season pass or Emily's season pass. Or my husband's season pass.  I need those to get in the park."

Thank goodness I realized it before we walked away from the window.  I would have been mightily unhappy if I had had to wait in line again to get my passes back.

Still calm.  Still happy.

Vouchers in hand, we went back to the entrance line and waited to get into the park (again).

When you go into the park for the first time with your season pass voucher, they give you a hard plastic card in place of the paper you have printed out and carried around with you.  They don't put the parking pass or the meal ticket on there at this point, but they tell you that you can have it put on there at some building near the ferris wheel.  Okay, we'll take care of that later.

First things first.  We were hungry, it was lunchtime, and we decided to put our meal vouchers to immediate use.  We were thrilled to find a Panda Express on the grounds.  We love Chinese food!

We hot footed it into the restaurant and started to order only to be told they don't accept the meal vouchers.  Apparently, they aren't included in the meal plan and you have to pay for whatever you want to eat there.  Bummer.  

Less happy but still calm.  We can deal with this.

We headed to a hamburger restaurant next door and tried to use our meal vouchers there. 

"Oh, we don't take the paper vouchers.  You have to have it put on your plastic card and then we'll accept it."

Crud.  We trotted across the park toward the ferris wheel to find the building where we were supposed to have all this stuff put on our cards.  

We found ourselves facing a line of people (who had probably also just discovered at lunchtime that they couldn't actually get a lunch until they stood in this line) which looked to be about an hour wait.

We were too hungry for that.

Somewhat calm.  Not at all happy.

We decided to bite the bullet and just pay for lunch.  I had to head out to the car to get money since I had assumed we would be eating with our meal plan and wouldn't need much cash.  I had brought in a little bit of money but not enough to feed all three of us.  The girls went on a ride (their first of the day) as I trotted across the park, out through the rows and rows of cars in the parking lot, back through the rows and rows of cars in the parking lot, and back across the park.

I met up with the girls and we quickly ordered lunch.  We get mean when we get hungry, it's best to keep us full.

Then at long last, we were able to finally check out the rides and enjoy the park.

Calm and happy.

Emily - homeschool rebel.

View from the top of the ferris wheel.

We even stopped in and got our meal vouchers and parking passes put on our plastic season pass cards so we would be able to eat when we wanted to!   The line was a lot shorter once the lunch crowd was gone.

It was about the time we got to a coaster called "The Boss" that we ran into some trouble.  Katie and I were riding together and Emily was riding solo.  They like to match people up who are riding alone so  when they asked for people who needed a seat mate, Emily raised her hand and she was able to get on the ride a couple of cars sooner than Katie and I did.

The tram she was on pulled back in as Katie and I were about to board.  "Do not get on this one!" she yelled at us.  "You'll hate it!"

I turned to the people behind us and said, "You can take our place, we're not riding," and we stepped through the car, out the other side and walked off with Emily.  The ride had shaken her so hard, her neck and back were hurting.

Emily needed Tylenol so I stopped in the nearest restroom and found a dispenser but it needed four quarters and I only had three.  I offered a dollar bill to anyone in the restroom who would give me a quarter, but no one else had quarters either.  So we headed off to the first aid station where we were able to get Tylenol for fifty cents.  (Insert eye roll here.)

Emily needed to sit for a while to let the medicine take effect so Katie and I went on the log flume.  When we were done, Emily said she really just wanted to go home.  She was hurting to much to enjoy herself any more.  We decided to finally use our meal vouchers and have a very early dinner.  We stopped in a BBQ restaurant and pulled out our passes to order.

"Oh, I'm sorry, you can't use those between 3:30 and 4:30." It was 3:35.

I stared at the folks behind the counter.  "You have got to be kidding me."

"For the meal card holders, lunch is served until 3:30.  Dinner starts at 4:30.  It's just a way of keeping the two meals separate so people don't order both their meals at one time."

"That is absolutely ridiculous," I snarled.  "We paid for these meal vouchers and yet we have not been able to get one single meal with them all day!"  We stomped out in a huff and left the park without eating.

Decidedly not calm and quite angry.

Ah well, next time we know.  All in all it was mostly a good day.  We had fun on the rides, the park was clean, the employees were friendly, the lines were short and the weather was fabulous.

And we'll be heading over to Six Flags on a regular basis just to eat lunch and dinner whether we go on any rides or not.

 I'm getting my meals, ya'll.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Supermodel

Didn't know I was a famous supermodel, did ya?

This was a total fluke.  A friend of mine who is a Mary Kay lady was holding a fashion show featuring Chico's clothing and Mary Kay makeup to debut the new Mary Kay car which is a BMW.

One of her models had to back out a few days ahead of time due to a family emergency.

So, naturally, she called me.

I'm everyone's favorite choice to model.  Five feet three inches, mom of three, closing in on fifty - it's a wonder the agencies aren't beating down my door.

She asked me to run down to Chico's and let them pick out two outfits for me to model.  

I thought I'd be in and out in a flash but it actually took a while with me standing like a human Barbie doll while three ladies mixed and matched clothes and jewelry on me.

It sounded something like this:

"Let's put the denim top on her."  "We only have one left in the store and if people come in wanting one like it, we won't have any to sell them."  "How about the denim crops, the white tank, and the white jacket?"  "No, the denim pants look all wrong with that jacket.  Put on the white pants."  "The pants look good but now I don't like the jacket."  "Get the aqua jacket."  "Get a smaller jacket."  "Get a bigger tank top."  "I like that, how about a necklace?"  "Put on this necklace."  "Take off that necklace." "Put on these three long necklaces and this one short necklace."  "I don't like that."  "Take it all off."  "Where's that other necklace?"  "This bracelet goes with that necklace." "It's too much, we need a different bracelet."  "These bracelets are too shiny, they make the necklace look weird."  "What about earrings?"

This was a running litany which put way more thought into jewelry than I ever have in my life.  I have to admit it was fun having people pick and choose clothes and jewelry for me.  I wish I had someone like that with me whenever I go shopping.

I understand now why models have such a far away look in their eyes all the time though.  They've probably heard this conversation every day of their lives and they tune it out because their opinion on what they are wearing is not solicited.  Not one sentence of the above conversation came out of my mouth.

I was quite nervous about doing the modeling and seriously considered calling in sick at the last minute.  I've been teaching the girls, though, that they should always try new things and step out of their comfort zones.  This was a chance for me to set an example but I was dreading it, to be honest.

When I got there, I was pleased to discover all the models were older moms like me.  Only one was tall.  Everyone was nervous.  One told us how she had flatly refused to wear one of the outfits they had picked out for her.  I couldn't believe she dared.  Turns out they just put the outfit on one of the other models.  

Once we started down the runway, I just decided to give it my all and have fun.  One thing I've learned from watching tons of high school plays - the kid who's embarrassed to be up there sticks out like a sore thumb and everyone notices them (and is embarrassed for them).  Which is probably the opposite effect of what they wanted.

 I just wanted everyone to have fun and not be bored so I strutted my stuff down the center, struck poses, and smiled at everyone.

I waved at people and acted like it was the most fun I've ever had.

I got some laughs and the girls told me I was the best model up there.

Now I'm just waiting for these photos to go viral, and for Hollywood to come knocking on my door!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Horses, Horses, Horses

While we were in Kentucky, a good friend asked if we'd like to see the stables.  Horses are cool, so of course we said yes!

I realized that the girls have a horsemanship badge to earn for their scouting program, so I quickly grabbed a handbook to see if there were any requirements we could check off from this visit.

We were able to mark off three for Katie!

Emily discovered shortly after our arrival that she is very allergic to horses even if she doesn't touch them.  She spent most of her visit in the car waiting for her eyes to stop itching.

Katie (that's her little head peeking out from behind the giant rump) learned how to groom a horse, attach a lead line, saddle a horse, and the difference between Western and English riding.

And, of course, how to clean up after a horse.

I snapped this shot as she was leading the horse back out to the field.  It is now one of my favorite photos ever!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Tumbling

video
We went to see the tumbling team at Ben's college perform their final show of the school year.
These are clips I pulled that feature Ben.
It was one of the coolest shows I've been to - very high energy and lots of fun!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

A Late Night Snack

Last night, after everyone had gone to bed, Kerry and I were discussing the possibility of making pancakes for breakfast.

That made us hungry.

We both talked about wanting to get up, go downstairs, and eat something, but we try not to eat late at night so we each said several times, "I'm a little hungry, but I'm fine, I'm not going to eat anything."

We were both really craving pancakes by that time.  One of us (I don't remember who) said, "We should go to IHOP sometime for breakfast.  We haven't been there in ages."

"I'd go to IHOP right now if you wanted to."

We joked about it a few minutes, both of us knowing we would never do it.

The next thing I know, Kerry popped out of bed and said, "I'm going to see if the girls want to go."

I didn't even get out of bed.  I wasn't really sure he was serious, and I also thought the girls might say no.  They like their sleep and will usually choose to continue sleeping rather than pretty much anything else.

Kerry came back in our bedroom and announced, "All right, we're going!"

I jumped up and started pulling on some jeans when I heard the girls talking right outside our bedroom door.  I opened the door and they were standing there huddled together, talking.  They look at me with hopeful expressions and said, "Is he serious?  Are we really going out to eat?"

"Yep!" I responded with a grin.  They squealed with delight and took off.

We all yanked on clothes and headed for the car, the girls giggling like we had just announced an impromptu trip to Disneyworld.  

We quickly discovered that IHOP was closed* so we headed to Denny's instead.  We really wanted breakfast food and we looked like poor white trash so we couldn't go someplace nicer.

The girls were so tickled by this late night trip, they vowed to make sure they do this with their kids one day which made me and Kerry start sharing some of our favorite memories growing up.  

Kerry started talking about a favorite memory of when his mother made homemade pretzels.  "It was pouring rain, we couldn't go outside, and there was nothing to do....." 

"Did a big black cat walk in on his hind legs and start talking?" Katie interrupted.

"What.....?" Kerry was baffled.

Emily laughed, "Dad!  You just quoted the first few lines of 'Cat In The Hat'!"

We had some of the best laughs we've had in a long time last night.  I don't know what it was about doing something so common, but at a different time of day than we ever have that made it seem so hilarious but boy, did we have a good time.

"Why haven't we been doing this all along?" the girls asked.

"Well, when you were younger, by the time we got you kids wrangled into bed, we were exhausted, and the thought of getting you up and then going through all that again was not appealing.  Just wait until you have kids, you'll understand!"

But now that everyone is old enough to get themselves back to bed (stuffed like ticks, no less) this might be a more common occurrence. 

And it just goes to show......when it's too much effort to get up and walk downstairs to make yourself a snack, it's perfectly acceptable to get in the car and drive across town for moons over my hammy.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Pass the Milk!

Emily has been sick a lot lately - headaches, losing weight, nausea.  We've been to the doctor and she's had lots of tests done trying to pinpoint the problem.  

While we haven't yet pinpointed the cause of her illness, we did discover that her milk allergy has reduced markedly.    The allergist told her she could definitely start eating foods that are baked with milk ingredients in them.  Cakes, cookies, donuts - look out!

She'll have to go back at a later date to actually drink a glass of milk while they observe her to see if she reacts.  

We promptly headed out to Olive Garden so Emily could have a breadstick.

Her joy knew no bounds!

After which, she promptly felt sick.