Tag Archives: Weather

Playing hookie at Disneyworld!

I have waited to write this post because I wanted to have time to do it justice, but I am accepting that there is never enough time…

…so I’m just going to do a quick intro, then caption a bunch of photos and say,

“We played hookie for a week and went to Disney!”

The intro:

It was a fantastic, last-minute, unexpected (but always hoped-for!) event.  Grammy and Grandpa came with us (thank you; we loved being with you!).  We pulled all the kids out of school to go.  The timing just worked…T was free because he’s not yet 3; H was easy because he is still very content to sit in a lap or ride in a stroller; the girls are young enough that being out of school is fine (allowing us to go when the crowds were very minimal); and although there was rain (and rain, and more rain!), the reality is that we do fine in the rain.  It’s the lines and heat that get us, and both of those were driven away by the drizzle.

First, a few memories that I don’t have photos for…

(1) The hailstorm on the way down.  Holy moly!  Kudos to my husband for driving safely through that!  And kudos to the kids for rolling with it.  It was so loud they couldn’t even hear us explain what was happening.  Side note: the manufacturer of our sound machine should add a “hailstorm” setting next to “whale call” and “ocean sounds”, because it put T and H to sleep in seconds!

(2) The hotel we stayed in en route.  We entered the lobby during “happy hour” and descended on the buffet like a herd of locusts.  The manager came over and played with the kids, brought them cookies from the vending machine (“since the fresh baked ones we’re making aren’t ready yet”, she told us), and upgraded us to a suite with no extra charge.  The kids were so excited about having a bed in the same room as a TV they went a little bonkers and were jumping on the mattress.  T was so excited at all the hoopla, he exclaimed between happy bounces, “This is awesome!  I love Disneyworld!”   . . . Ha!  I loved hearing that!  We could have just driven to the local Marriott and he would have been totally thrilled. : )

(3) The rides at the parks.  There were too many kids to juggle to get the camera out during most of the rides, but oh how we loved those roller coasters.  E did space mountain with her dad.  Both girls did thunder mountain and splash mountain with dad and me (while Grammy and Grandpa took the boys on a train ride).  And T loved the kiddie roller coaster.  He would have gone on the bigger ones if he had a few extra inches.  Oh well.  Next time!  (Note to future travelers: they insisted that each child have an adult with them on the rides because E is not 7 yet…thank you for braving the roller coaster with us Grammy and Grandpa!  Also, ask us for details on the fast pass and baby friendly “rider swap” program if you’re planning a trip…)

(4) The video I accidentally made, but will never share, on the way home.  I tried to film a short clip of the kids at a mall food court, but accidentally neglected to turn the camera off.  So what I actually have is a 40 minute audio tape of the 6 trips to the mall bathroom we made with the older 3 kids.  (Heaven help me, it was one of those “I have to go again” days and the lines were long and…anyway…it’s an awesome audio of the conversations we had about “what was your favorite part of the trip” and “I loved this” and other priceless memories from the week, interspersed with lots of horrific bathroom sounds.  What are the chances?!

And, of course, the photos:

Hard to choose which ones to share…The kids LOVED meeting the characters.  And we all just loved being together.  Here’s a random scattering:


a “high five” with Buzz

T after he defeated Donald Duck in arm wrestling.  One of m favorite T photos ever : )

T after he defeated Donald Duck in arm wrestling. One of my favorite T photos ever : )

Poured rain the day we had the princess breakfast...randomly caught a "carriage" to the castle and the girls were beyond thrilled..."a royal carriage" they still recall!

Sweetest S! We surprised you and E with special occasion princess makeup and sticker earrings this day in honor of your breakfast with the princesses.  It poured rain en route and we randomly managed to catch a covered wagon to the castle.  Grandpa and the driver sang to us as we rode.  The girls were beyond thrilled with the whole experience . . . “a royal carriage!” they still talk about : )

Jasmine and her twin, E

Jasmine and her twin, E

Aurora and her twin, S

Aurora and her twin, S

I don't know who those other characters are, but this is my dad and I LOVE him.

I don’t know who those other characters are, but this is my dad and I LOVE him.

Oh My !!!

Oh My !!!

There is no caption to express how happy this photo makes me.  E is dressed as a fairy, and she was able to meet Tinkerbell and Rosetta this day.  S, though not pictured here, was dressed as a fairy also.  T spent part of the day dressed as Thomas the Train because, well, he's the best character ever obviously, even if he doesn't live at Disneyworld.

There is no caption to express how happy this photo makes me. E is dressed as a fairy, and she was able to meet Tinkerbell and Rosetta this day. S, though not pictured here, was dressed as a fairy also. T spent part of the trip dressed as Thomas the Train because, well, he’s the best character ever obviously, even if he doesn’t live at Disneyworld.

Thank you, Grammy!

Two fun lovin’ gals…Grammy and S!

Grandpa and H, taken back at home, but in honor of their many snuggles at Disney.

Grandpa and H, taken back at home, but in honor of their many snuggles at Disney.

Did I mention that it rained?!

Did I mention that it rained?!

H, wanting to hold his mama's hand on the ride home.

H, wanting to hold his mama’s hand on the ride home.  How I treasure these moments… (even though I had to climb into the backseat while we drove down the interstate at 70mph to get my thumb into position…you are so worth it, H!)

I’ll post a few more photos in a future post so you can see T as the cutest beast ever (cast in a short skit with princess Belle…here’s a preview..).

Oh, what a prince charming, that one!

Oh, what a prince charming, that one!

More later!

Public Service Announcement re: Strawberry Season!

So there’s lots to catch up on… I know I was AWOL for a few weeks… but the spring break, etc. recap will have to wait because I have an important public service announcement…

Strawberry picking season is here!

It caught me off guard this year.  Usually I don’t even think about it until May, but apparently the warm weather brought the harvest in early.  A friend mentioned they had been to a strawberry farm recently, and that the farmer told them the season would only last a short while longer, so today after we picked up E from school we headed into the fields.

How about these signs at the entrance to the farm?

The best part of this sign is the tiny note on the right side, which I have included a close-up of below.

Here’s the close-up:

Can you read it? It says that the sign is "sponsered by Koreberi", inserts the phone number, and recommends them "for all your PR needs". A friend and I wondered how much they charged for their PR services and decided it must be at least enough to cover the cost of some scrap cardboard and a sharpie, but not high enough to cover a spell checker. I am taking an informal poll on whether people think this was a joke (I vote yes. I mean, it has to be a joke, right?!) Feel free to weigh in!

Another amusing sign…

I know this one was a joke : ) Still, excellent incentive to keep your children close in the berry patch!

There was another set of signs that weren’t intended to be amusing, but caught our attention (one sign saying a row had been designated for “senior citizens we respect” with a little heart over the “i” in “senior” and another sign one row over simply for “senior citizens”…my friend gets the credit for noticing this distinction.  I does make you wonder whether pickers would be allowed to (1) self-select or (2) be interviewed to determine “respectability” and then assigned to a row : ) .  Anyway, I should have taken a photo, but by that point I had decided I’d photographed enough inanimate objects and began zeroing in on the children, who were animated to say the least!

Here’s a photo of T, who was absolutely into the berry picking, saying, “another one?!” after every berry he picked and put into his little yellow bucket.

"Another one, mama!"

And after taking a lick of dirt, I mean pesticides, I mean, well – whatever – from a strawberry… Pay and wash before you eat, T!

S and E picked tons too, and loved every minute of it.  Mama loved every minute except the one where I realized there were very active man-made bee hives across the dirt road from the field (that would be the dirt road we wandered across to get a closer look at the pond and some cows).  Yes, there was a rope to dissuade kids from getting to close to the hives, but yowza… no thanks on that!  We moved the kids away from that area pretty quickly.

Bees aside, we had a fantastic time.  The weather was perfect, the kids were great, the strawberries were plentiful, and the humor provided by the company and the signs rounded out a great spring afternoon.

Here are the results of our picking:  An afternoon of fun and all these berries (these do not include the ones I threw out after we got home…we are not the most “selective” pickers, it turns out!) for $3.49.  Not bad, says frugal mama : )

And of course, E & S set up the “Sweet Soda Shop” stand they constructed a few weeks ago and delivered strawberry smoothies for dessert tonight.  Here they are:

Can you read the "sweet soda shop" sign? And see E & S drinking the profits?

For those who have not had the pleasure of an enormous “Sweet Soda Shop” box as part of their spring decor, allow me to explain that it’s like a lemonade stand, but inside my living room, and with a clientele of only myself and my husband.

Maybe if I connect them with the Koreberi PR firm, they can expand!  : )

Anyway, back to my original point: the public service announcement.  Apparently, strawberry season is here early, so if you want a fun afternoon and some delicious berries, get thee to the berry fields!  We had a super fun, super delicious, super great time!

Snow Day!!!

It snowed last week!

We took full advantage of what will likely be the only snow of the year, managing to do a lot more than you might imagine with only an inch of the white stuff.  Check us out…


So it kind of became "mudsliding" more than "sledding" by the end, but still great fun!

…making snow angels

…making (tiny) snowmen

See it? Right there by T's foot?! With the baby carrot nose?! Unfortunately, a few minutes later, someone walking through didn't see it, and the snowman met with an untimely demise...but we enjoyed Frosty's mini-me while he lasted!

throwing snowballs

See that one about to hit our unsuspecting neighbor in the navy jacket?! and the wicked grin on S' face?!

…and then, of course, coming in for hot chocolate.

Check out the size of that marshmellow E is about to drop in her hot chocolate? Either Aunt H or Nana brought those for the family Christmas, and we finished off the last of them during the snow day!

The best part is that the snow came on President’s Day (a school holiday), so we had already planned to spend the afternoon with our cousins.  By then, the snow had melted, so we excitedly loaded into the car and spent the afternoon hanging out at a museum with family and the evening enjoying some playtime and BBQ at their place.  Here are a few museum shots:

A floor piano... just like in "Big"!

The cousins exploring the dental part of the exhibit...

No BBQ shots, as my hands were too busy helping myself to yet another hushpuppy throughout the meal to pull out my camera…

Anyway, there is simply nothing like a snow day in the south…especially this type of day.  No shoveling, no icy roads, not even jackets required by mid-afternoon, but plenty of winter fun to go around.

With apologies to Punxsutawney Phil…

Punxsutawney Phil, America’s groundhog, saw his shadow Thursday, thereby predicting 6 more weeks of winter.

Oh, Phil.  How naïve, how naïve.

Perhaps you were unaware that the day before your prediction, I finally found – and purchased – a reasonably priced set of snowboots for T ($5, on sale…thank you, Target shoe clearance).

That means everyone in the family is now prepared for the February we had last year – (snow, ice and sledding!).

Phil, you must know that the fact that we are finally ready for winter virtually guarantees the early arrival of spring.

Better luck next year, Punxsitawney.

P.S. Don’t bother predicting weather for playgroup either, Phil (I say this in case your discouragement with your current arena of meteorology should tempt you to redirect your attention).  I have developed a knack for determining that weather as well.  Twice this year, I have hosted the group at my house (“It’s going to rain!” my organizational e-mails have predicted…only to greet the most beautiful days of the season.  This week’s e-mail announced, “It’s going to be gorgeous!” and resulted in playgroup lunch at the park in the drizzly rain.)

Bottom line: my prep for one type of weather virtually guarantees the other.

On the upside, I think this might be a marketable talent.  Hiring me to show up at your wedding with an umbrella guarantees a gorgeous day for the happy couple!  Farmers could pay me to show up in their drying fields wearing sunglasses, since it guarantees rain.

But I’m losing focus.

The point is that everyone should prepare for warm weather.   I have guaranteed it is coming.  We’ll be outside with you – wearing our snowboots, while rejoicing in the spring.

P.P.S.  Here’s two relevant photos:

The first is the groundhog E made at school, sitting next the one S asked me to help her make at home, both looking at their shadows on our kitchen table, clearly predicting 6 more weeks of winter.

Can you see the groundhogs, popping out of their little green "burrows"?

The second shows the shadow of the boots I bought T on clearance, virtually guaranteeing the arrival of an early spring.

“Non-returnable boots” trump “shadow of a rodent”, in terms of reliable predictions, wouldn’t you think?

It’s hard to complain about a busted transmission when there are severed heads floating around

I have decided not to complain about the fact that the transmission just died in our car, that the estimate to repair it was higher than the value of the car, or that unexpectedly purchasing a new (to us) car wiped out our emergency fund and left us figuring out how to put a car payment into our monthly budget.

Instead, I will say that I am grateful I now have a safe car to drive and distract myself (and you!) with a picture of the back wall of the “kids corner” in the car dealership.

Check it out:

When we go back to the dealer for our first tune-up, I am absolutely dressing T in his footed PJ’s that match the wall almost exactly.

You thought I was kidding? It really is almost a perfect match...

I am pretty sure he will look like a head, floating in the heavens (that is, if I can get him to stay in the “kid corner” long enough to snap a photo…when we were there last time, he was in a different kind of heaven…a display room completely full of cars).

It reminds me of when I was in elementary school, and our local weatherman (Gary Dobbs!) came to speak at an assembly, and we thanked him by giving him a sweatsuit in our school color – blue.  Mr. Dobbs apologetically told us he would never be able to wear it on air because it was exactly the same color as the bluescreen he stood in front of while giving the weather report (you know the blue area they overlay the weather map onto before transmitting the signal to your TV).  I remember him saying that maybe he could wear it to report the weather on Halloween, since on that day it would be appropriate to hear the weather from what looked like a creepy floating head.

He didn’t do that.  I actually tuned in on Halloween to see if he would and was seriously disappointed.

This begs the questions: (1) why do I remember the name of the man who reported the local weather in my small Alabama town during the 1980s when I cannot for the life of me remember the name of the woman who says hello to me every single day at Kindergarten pick-up?, and (2) why, of all the wisdom that must have been spouted from that lectern during assemblies, is Mr. Dobbs’ rejection of our blue sweatsuit the only thing I remember in such detail?

I don’t know the answers to those questions.

But perhaps I have distracted all of us from the saga of the car…

S’ first day in the 3’s at preschool! (also our first tornado tea party…)

I love every part of S.

That truth applies to all my children (“love you through and through” too, E & T!), but today, I am mentioning S specifically because it’s her big day.

Today, S had her first day of preschool in the big “three’s” class, and each student was asked to bring a parent along.

As I escorted her to – and through – her assigned hour to “meet the teacher”, I was able to see almost every side of S.

First, at home, the sleepy S…who I actually had to wake to go to preschool (this never happens…the kid was exhausted from our uber-fun weekend).

The smiling S when I reminded her it was her first day of school.

The twirling S when she put on her “Hello Kitty” dress (we do love that dress!) and her Dora shoes.

The startled S! when I accidentally knocked my glass off the kitchen counter (Smash!!! Oops…) on our way out the door.

The talkative S, regaling me with facts about turkey vultures (!) all the way to school in the car (why?  what do your kids talk about?).

The curious and worried S…as we passed an accident on the road (between that and the glass, it was already quite a morning!)

The playful S,  as she greeted a close friend and had a quick pre-preschool playdate in the church nursery.  (Fun for everyone, and part of a first-day-of-school childcare swap that allowed everyone to attend their “first day” sessions without siblings.  Later, another friend’s mom – thank you! – helped me by watching T.  Have I mentioned how blessed and lucky I am to have these friends?)

The eager S, who as the playdate ended and her “first day” session was starting kept saying, “Mom!  I want to go!  When is it my turn?”

The confident S, as she showed me that she could find her own name on her cubby and hang up her backpack.

The shy S, as she lowered her head and reached for my hand when the teacher said hello, and then again when a new friend asked her name.

The engaged S when she remembered this room had a doll house.

The anxious S, when – 30 minutes into our hour – a tornado alarm sounded and we had to go find T and evacuate the school wing in favor of the basement.

The tired S, as she grew weary of standing (really too many people to sit without tripping somebody), then went with me to a different (equally safe) room where there were chairs.

The thrilled S, as daddy surprised her with a visit to preschool (and was surprised to discover that instead of being in class, we were in the midst of a tornado exercise… “this is not a drill” …thank God there was no ultimate cause for worry…)

The disappointed S… as she realized her school hour (most of which was spent in the basement) was over, and that daddy had to get back to work.

The hysterical, inconsolable S, on the car-ride home, as she made her disappointment known to everyone in our car, and to anyone whose eye she could catch through the window.

And the amazing S, who – once home – regrouped, helped me pick up E at school and when asked how we could celebrate such a big day, insisted that school days – especially schooldays with tornadoes, must be celebrated with (what else?) a princess tea party.  Well, by golly, polish the princess china, because we are ready.  And get T his Mickey Mouse plate.

(You’ve got nothing on us Nero.  You may have fiddled while Rome burned, but could you sip tea during a tornado?  I doubt it…)

(OK, the image of us sipping tea during an actual tornado is a slight mischaracterization, but still – for my crew – a tornado exercise in the morning is an all day attention-grabber.  For my girls, this was school/tornado day, and it merited a tea party.  Who’s going to argue?  Not this mama…wait, is that another tornado siren? No, just the tea whistling…)

But, I digress…

My point is that only S (and her inspiration/accomplice E) could find a way to top off a day that began with smashing glass, school firsts and tornado warnings.

We love every part of you, S!  Keep inviting us to your tea parties!

We hope you have a great year at school!

This week’s sign that the apocalypse is upon us (re: our mailbox)

This week’s sign that the apocalypse is upon us?

Our mailbox was hit by a boat.

No, we don’t live near any water.

Instead, a Hurricane Irene evacuee who was towing his boat to “safety” banged it into our mailbox, knocking it down.

Ok, I wrote this thinking I could upload a photo of our mailbox, but someone just came to fix it before I snapped a picture. So this is a stock photo that represents (as close as I could get to) what our mailbox looked like four hours ago…

Does this technically count as “hurricane damage” that hurricane insurance would cover?

We don’t know.

What we do know is that we are now in a very select group of people.

I mean, how many folks do you know who have had their mailbox hit by a boat?

Maybe I am the natural disaster…

As you may know, on Tuesday we felt the earthquake that measured 5.9 on the Richter scale.

Please tell me I am not the only mom who thought the house was shaking because the kids were playing during their “quiet time” upstairs.  (The term “quiet time” is kind of a misnomer in our house.  It really means, “no one is supposed to ask mom for anything for the next 45 minutes”.)

Anyway, a play-by-play of our reaction to the earthquake…

Mom’s first reaction: an under-reaction:

“What are y’all doing up there?!”

Mom’s second reaction, an over-reaction:

“Get in the bath-tub!”

(I actually gave the kids each a cookie to keep them in there in case the big one was coming…)

Mom’s third reaction, a ridiculed reaction, was calling dad, who ratted me out to his colleagues by relaying what he heard E saying in the background:

“Dad!  Can we please get out of the bathtub now?!”

Whatever.  That is emergency preparedness, mom-style.

To defend my actions, I actually went online to prove that the bathroom was the safest place to be during an earthquake, but it turns out that you are supposed to go to a bathtub during a tornado (assuming you have no basement, and your bathroom is window-free).  If there is an earthquake, the recommendation is that you hide under a sturdy table or run into an open field (hmmm…like the one right outside our house…).  The only reference to “bathtubs during earthquakes” that I uncovered during my research (ahem, google search) is the recommendation that you plug your bathtub to prevent sewage backup, which I did not do.

This essentially means that if there were a much larger earthquake, in addition to surviving the seismic event, my children will have to survive a mom that puts them in the one place in the house that may become filled with raw sewage and tells them to eat cookies.  Awesome.

You would think, with the number of minor daily disasters we survive, we would be more prepared for the big ones.

Oh well!  We do have a chance to redeem ourselves.  Apparently a hurricane is on its way…