Tuesday, December 20, 2011

It's Time to Get Out the Ax

Everything was going great. I had made my lists and checked them twice. Those lists were long but I was making good progress.  There were challenges, like how to get Christmas Cards out on time with a family picture when Kelsi only arrived home a week before Christmas.  But thanks to some planning and some fancy foot work we pulled it off.  

But then last night I remembered that not everyone here is as excited about Christmas festivities as me.  Now that we are really down to the wire I needed some extra help. After some scheduling conflicts and some complaining (on everyone's part). I went to bed grumpy (and I think I caused everyone else to  be as well). It's time for some reevaluation.  I think I've gotta chop out some stuff.  Bring on the heavy artillery! I've got some list reworking to do.

Friday, December 16, 2011

It's Never Too Late For Disneyland

QSo, this might not what you're expecting to see at this time of year but it needed to be recorded, so here we go. We went to Disneyland back in July.  It was a blast, but somehow with all the craziness of summer I never got it to the blog.  It's never to late to hear about the happiest place on earth though, right?

So we decided to save a little bit of money and stay in a "cheap motel" just south west of Disney, it was within walking distance (barely) but pretty much crap (i.e; broken bed that they wouldn't/couldn't fix -- I took care of it for them. I think they should have put me on the payroll, super limited breakfast options, bad directions, hard-as-a-rock beds etc.), other than that.  We did take the Monorail in every morning.  It was a fun chance to be together.

Buzz Lightyear ride
The competitiveness comes out here... who can score the most points.  Brady pretty much won (lots of video game practice, I guess)
It was easy to go on this ride over and over. Even when the line is longish it goes pretty fast.

Sleeping Beauty's Castle
Afton is trying to look like she is holding it up but the people kind of ruin the effect. She's cute anyway don't you think?

Splash Mountain
Afton was super concerned about getting wet.  We faired pretty well, although you would never know it by looking at the picture of Afton below. This is probably my favorite picture of the trip. I just burst out laughing when I see it!

Winnie the Pooh Ride
Brady put his hands up while going around the sharp corners.  He's a dude who knows how to live on the edge.

We HEART Tigger

Tiki Room
This one is just a funny one for our family. Sort of a dumb attraction in and of itself, but the kids have the song memorized and you've gotta be able to say you've experienced it. Not to mention the kids call me Tiki Head (read why, here).  So here I am with the fiercest looking one. I've embraced my inner Tiki Headness...

Also another hit of the Tiki Room is this is where they have pineapple soft serve and shakes and coolers.  My kids got tired of me saying that I needed some pineapple soft serve, but I finally got some.  And it was ever so worth it.

Tea Cups
This ride I've had to opt out of for the last few times we've gone to Disneyland.  I must be getting old. They make me motion sick.  (I'm sure it doesn't help that my family likes to be the crazy ones that are spinning so fast they practically run the cup off the rails)

Star Tours
If you haven't been to Disneyland recently, you have to know that they've totally redone Star Tours.  You basically never go on the same tour twice.  It's broken up into segments that play randomly (and run seamlessly) when on the ride.  It's kinda fun.  Also you now wear 3D glasses, you know, just to add to the experience.
This is why we love Brad!

Space Mountain
We stood in this line several times.  In my opinion is was the worst line.  Mostly out in the bright open sun and relatively long - even with a fast pass.  But in the end what could be better than riding a roller coaster in pitch blackness? Here's me an my cute guy.  Being with my family made the line a little more bearable.  Did you know that his shirt is in Brail (seriously).
After 3,000 times of going on the ride you start realizing where the cameras are.  We have a few hams in our family.  And again, I opted out of this ride due to motion sickness. I know so dumb...

Pirate's of the Caribbean
I never get tired of this ride.  Here we are posing with Captain Barbosa.  We really wanted to be with Captain Jack Sparrow, but his picture was by the line on the other side. I did finally get Kelsi by him later. Do you think it's just weird for Johnny Depp to go into this ride and see his likeness not just painted on the wall but depicted several times throughout the ride?

Cute kids on Pirates.  Afton's come a long way since she used to bury her head in my lap when we would go on this ride.

Since Afton was on the verge of getting her Driver's License during this trip.  This ride was a hit.

We opted out of standing in long lines to greet characters even though I think this was one of Kelsi's favorite things.  You know how she is about her Disney Characters. Here she is with Burt from Mary Poppins (He didn't have a line;)

California Adventure

Famous photo op
It almost looks like we have the park to ourselves huh?

Mr. Incredible
Mr. I was offended that Brady was wearing a Green Lantern T-shirt. They had a little duel. He was fun and very entertaining.

Tower of Terror
Without a doubt The Hollywood Tower or theTower of Terror was our family's favorite ride.  
This was our first ride on TofT (the kids were dying that I was calling it this, lol).  The sign clearly said No Cameras.  I'm such a rebel.  And the lame thing is, I thought I was taking a video but I was just taking a regular old picture.  
So, our family is awesome of course, but I'm also enjoying the guy in the back in the blue shirt.

The Mickey Ferris Wheel

I love these pictures.  Why oh why didn't we get someone to do our whole family.  
This ride was scarier than it looks.  There is a point where it feels like the car you're riding in is going to slide right off the end of the rail, and you are going to go sailing right on out there (It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World humor)

Soarin' Over California
I thought everybody liked this ride (it was one of the first we ever went on at California Adventure a few years ago when the park was first open). Throughout our trip I was texting with my cousin Melanie, who is a Disneyland freak.  I was sending her random pictures to make her jealous and when I sent her this one she said, "No big deal! I don't even really like that ride." What? Blasphemy! Maybe you have to be from Cali to appreciate it.

I'm so over the shows at Disney.  I mean not that they are not spectacular and amazing and totally cool.  I just don't think it's worth it to sit in your spot for 3 hours ahead of time, fight the crowds and then not be able to see anyway because someone with a giant Mad Hatter hat is standing in front of you. Did you know you can't sit down during this show (at least in the spot we were in)?  About a half hour before this show started they came around and told us we all had to stand up. Then they crammed all of the people who were already sitting/standing around behind ropes.  And then shoved about 500 more people in las time went on. I felt like a mink being raised only for my pelt.  Also apparently some other more veteran (and not so considerate) Disney-goers knew about this turn of events, (they just happened to be standing behind us) and were just waiting for the opportune moment to simultaneously stand and push forward and somehow end up in front of us. Wow! NOT my favorite part of the night.

Barbershop Quartet

So it's only fair, since I shared my least favorite experience that I share my most favorite.

As you probably know, Brad isn't what we consider shy.  One morning as we were walking into the park we saw one of these fine gentleman.  Brad asked him, randomly of course, if he knew "Lida Rose" from The Music Man.  The guy said he did, but he was alone and couldn't sing without his fellow quartet members.
So, that was that, right??
Probably 8 hours later, as we were exiting the park, Afton was lagging a little behind and she suddenly calls up, "Dad, someone is trying to get your attention." We looked back and there was the whole quartet, telling Brad they were ready to sing Lida Rose for him.  Really! How many millions of people went through the park that day?  The guy remembered Brad from earlier (admittedly not all that hard), chased him down and then proceeded to sing to him. Of course he had to pose for a picture with them. Really, I think Brad's a wannabe singer (or is that streaker? -- ok, that's a post for another day) I was proud of myself to remember to take a photo AND a video. I am lame and had my finger in the view finder for part of the time, sorry.

So, as I've mentioned on other occasions, I often keep notebooks during certain trips, to keep track of funny or random things that are said or that happen.  This trip was no different.  I had also just gotten an iPhone and was obsessed with taking pictures with the Hipstamatic App. during this trip.  Here are some pictures I liked - mostly because they are random.  I'm going to intermix them with our funny quotes, just for entertainment purposes.  Obviously Brady was the quote king on this trip.

(Grumpy teenagers. They weren't really grumpy though. This was Disneyland! The happiest place on earth)
QUOTE #1 -- Mom, why are you putting on your sweater are you cold?
No. I just want to cover up my arms.
Because they are fat and white. 
(I was perfectly serious in my statement, and if you are middle age mom, I'm sure you'll understand.  But my kids thought it was hilarious)

QUOTE #2 -- Afton: Why is that guy wearing nice pants and a nice shirt... And a duck hat? (about some guy that looked like he just came from the office except the Donald Duck accessory)

(I was telling Brady that we were going to the Pooh Store.  He couldn't wait for me to finish my sentence and he shouts out "Poost??? What?" I tried to say again, "We're going to the Pooh Store" and again he is too impatient to hear me out, he get's all irritated and says, "Poost? Mom! What is Poost?" Really, who is THAT impatient?)

QUOTE #4 -- Brady, pointing to his cheekbone: Mom, how do you get gumbo right here!? (you just have to be a talented eater like me)

QUOTE #5 -- Brady talking with him mouth full: "A chin-aga, fin-aga, foke!" Interpretation: I saved it from getting on my clothes. (it's amazing how often this quote can fit into real life)

(I don't have a quote to put by this picture I just wanted you to see Brad's arm muscles! Seriously I'm going to print this one out for my nightstand)

QUOTE #6 -- Guy behind us on It's A Small World ride when he saw an Disney employee fixing a part of the ride inside: "Hey! She's not singing." (he actually said funny things throughout the whole ride)

(I just have to point out Brady is this photo - totally makes me laugh)

QUOTE # 7 -- Brady: Opra has a big head. She should get married to George Lopez (huh?)

QUOTE #8 -- Brady: Mom! Don't squeeze and scratch! Geez! (I was just excited about something, and he was seriously grumpy)

(Brad and Brady played a lot of slapping games while we were standing in line. Definitely boys)

Other Famous Photo Op
So most people take this famous photo as they are entering the park on their first day, but because we bypassed this entrance everyday (see monorail pictures above) we had to make a concerted effort to get out here at the end. We were moments away from getting a call from our neighbors telling us our dogs had escaped on to the back hill.  They were leaving, it was getting dark, we were 6+ hours away from home.  What were we to do? Sadly, nothing.

Friday, November 25, 2011

We Shop in the Middle of the Night Because We Can

Definition: Black Friday; The day of pure craziness!! Not intended for the weak of mind, body or soul.

For Brady: it really was to get a good deal.  He and Brad stood in line at Best Buy starting at 9:30 p.m. for a Midnight opening time.  He got the last one of an XBox bundle he's been eyeing for  awhile. (Xbox console, wireless remote, 1month free or XBox live, and 2 games) for $199.  Regular cost $395.  He got the last one out of 12 (he scoped them out the day before to see what his odds were).  He said there were no more left, and then a guy right next to him set one down and walked away.  He also reported than when the doors actually opened, the end of any sort of civility ended.  People were rushing the door and trampling others to get in.  (Push and Shove people, push and shove...) Brady said he dove through a small opening at the side of the door, and left Brad behind because he was too slow.
 (Brad's comment on this photo about 11:00 was, "I think he's sleeping in there. At least he's warm." -- It was bordering on freezing last night.)

The line extended further than the eye could see.  There were tents and all sorts of crazy stuff. You can see part of a tent in the top picture.  (Side Note: Not to be gross, but I hesitate to think what that wet spot on the ground is next to the tent... just thrown' that out there.)

For Afton: it was more of an experience than how much she was actually going to save. She and 4 of her best friends went out to the Gilroy Outlets between 2 a.m. and 5:30 a.m.  Although looking back that was probably a smart idea, seeing how Brady and I went back to the outlets at 10 a.m. -  Yeesh! I will NOT be doing that again anytime soon. YIKES! Pure chaos and NO parking!! (we did get Brady 3 pair of $10 jeans -- you can't beat that with a stick) Afton did say it was crazy in the wee hours, but at least they could find parking.

Afton, Cassie, Emily, Shaelyn, Nicole - lookin' good for the middle of the night!

 Apparently there was lots of hat trying...

This is the scene that greeted me when I woke up this morning at 7:30. (Shaelyn, Afton, Emily, Cassie and Nicole). 
Unfortunately something I learned about Black Friday and some of the crazies that are out there (that just might ruin such an experience for those of us that really want the items on sale) are those that buy it "just because" it's a good deal (or maybe out of the pure mania of it all).  In Zumies when we couldn't find the right size of shirts for Brady, the sales girl told us, "Unfortunately when there's a day like this people will come in and buy up everything, just because..."

I also saw this on a friend's Facebook status:
Black friday is just another excuse for impulse buying.
Some guy at target: "i bought two xboxes!! I dont really need them! I dont even really play games!" as he walks down the isle with a flat screen.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

...All that and a Bag of Chips

8th grade is a time of "mosts" - most athletic, most likely to succeed, most likely to become a hair model, most likely to join the circus... Brady might even win a few of those (I'll let you be the judge of which ones) And as fun and as silly as that is, the one that will forever stand out in my mind as a truly meaningful award, is one that was presented yesterday (never mind that I missed the awards ceremony, because I am senile and thought it was today - LAME mom award for me).  My Brady, my boy who hasn't had an easy go of it (faulty teachers, holes in his education, short attention span, inability to stay on task and possible a little bit of laziness) received the "Most Improved" award for all of the 8th grade.  He is currently getting straight B's.  People, don't judge. This is HUGE I tell ya! And I am so proud of that boy.  Last year he finally realized HE was in charge of his grades.  He was working to be on the honor roll so he could get a cell phone. Suddenly it wasn't the teacher's fault, or the kid sitting next to him, or the grass that got in his eye at recess.  If he wasn't doing well, he knew it was his own fault.  It didn't mean it became easy, it didn't mean there still weren't some crap teachers.  It meant that he knew he was in charge.  Last year he also gave up his PE period (hard for someone who needs a physical outlet) to take a special class called "Read 180"(do you get it? It's supposed to turn a students reading around 180 degrees) For Brady it worked.  He was able to fill in some gaps, read consistently and work hard on his comprehension.  Only he and one other kid tested out by the end of the year.  I also see a direct correlation between this class and the improvement he made on his CST's.  The improvement was dramatic.  His scores even went up in Math and Science.  No doubt because he could read and understand the directions and the problems better.

I just had conferences with his teachers last week, and with the exception of the, "Brady has a hard time staying on task" comments. And the, "Brady likes to do things that make people laugh" comments. They all said Brady is in pretty good shape.  Tears are springing to my eyes. This boy makes me proud, this boy makes me happy, this boy IS all that and a bag of chips!

(Amazingly enough, he also got the "Advanced Reader" Award - Go Brady!)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

In the Interim

So, while you're all anxiously awaiting my next post... which I'm working on and will be coming soon {... silent cheers of joy...), could you all please go make some comment on my last post.  I thought it was a great post, but because of the lack of comments my delicate ego has taken a beating. 2 comments... that's all I got??? 2! The cute pictures alone should illicit more than that, don't you think?  Go take another look, I'm sure you will agree.
(Annette and Erin, you're exempt... unless, of course, you feel compelled.)

Ok, I'm really just kidding... (mostly)
And to show you I'm not (that) vain, I'm posting the following picture in all it's glory, untouched and at it's largest possible size. This is quite possibly the worst picture EVER taken of me!

Be nice.

Holy Honk! Who is that beast?