Monthly Archives: April 2009

As Seen On TV….

We usually watch shows that we record onto the DVR and fast forward through the commercials. I really didn’t think much of it until the other day, when the TV was on in the middle of the day and Princess Diva discovered the excitement and promise of low-budget advertising. She’s made a list of things she wants for Christmas. Here a few of her top picks thus far:

p148083b*The Lord’s Prayer Necklace. “Mom, it has a secret stone with a prayer on it! And they said it would be good to have for Easter! And it comes in kids’ sizes!”

It’s apparently also good for first communions, christenings, confirmations, birthdays, anniversaries, graduation, and Christmas. I love it when the announcer calls it a “spiritual accessory.” So you may have all the weaponry you need with your shield of faith, helmet of salvation, and sword of the Spirit, but do you have the proper matching accessories?

images3*Acorn Stairlift: “Whoa! Mom! If your legs don’t work, this will take you upstairs.” Yep. After eleventy million loads of laundry shuttled up and down the stairs, Mom’s really close to indulging this wish of the Princess Diva’s.

images-1*Hoveround: “That’s so nice. It takes old people around the world.” She understands that this is geared towards senior adults, but she still wants one. Because as she told me, “Mom, I’ll be old one day, too.” Won’t it be nice to have a Hoveround just waiting for her.

Baby Boy’s pretty fascinated by the commercials, too. He ran in to tell me,”Mom. We have to get this. It’s not just free. The man said it’s ‘absolutely’ free.”

I think we’d better hide the phones, start turning off the commercials again, and make sure they never know that QVC is a channel on our TV.

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Wordless Wednesday: A Whimsical Weekend Wrapup

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Whimsical Weekend Continues…Chinatown, The Commons, The Public Gardens

Saturday afternoon, we decided to take the T and head to Chinatown. Because that’s what most people do when they’re in Boston, right? My sweet husband has great affection for Asian cuisine.  When we lived in Hawaii, he could not have been happier with our eating opportunities. I honestly believe that he would eat some sort of Asian food every single night of his life. So even though we still haven’t finished The Freedom Trail or visited the Minuteman Museum or seen all the battlefields, our first stop on the “Finish Seeing/Doing Everything in Boston Before We Move” tour was Chinatown. Because nothing screams Birthplace of our Country like steamed pork dumplings and a waving, gold cat.

cat_bank_largeI kid because I love. We love experiencing different cultures and we all truly enjoyed our jaunt through Chinatown, as evidenced by the following pictures:

img_0894img_08931img_0896The Littles’ favorite part of Chinatown? This slide and hanging pole:

img_0898img_0903Which leads me to an important piece of parental wisdom that we have gleaned from our travels. We will always look for amazing cultural, historical, and educational opportunities to share with our children. However, we have to remember that they can not fully appreciate the “cool factor” of these opportunities just yet. Even if they can’t fully grasp the significance of what we see and do together,  we will still take advantage of every chance we have. But as the grownups, we can’t get bent out of shape when they don’t throw a party because we just saw a piece of silver that Paul Revere made. To us, it’s a piece of history. To them, it’s a dinged up silver cup. We’re trying to add more “fun for fun’s sake” adventures into our day to mix in with the “still fun, but sometimes not as much” ones.

After a delicious dim sum supper, we decided to walk over  a few blocks to wander through:

img_0908I love this next picture. Look at the boys’ hands. That is not posed, people. They were actually having a moment. We had several of those this weekend. After church on Sunday, Baby Boy looked at his big brother and said, “Hey. We’re brothers. And I mean that literally.” 

img_0913img_0918The Commons are right beside:

img_0921One of the main reasons for wanting to come to the Gardens was to see the sculptures based on the book Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey. If you’re a parent and have never read that book to your children, I question your abilities. Not really, but just check the book out of the library, for Pete’s sake. It’s a great book and it takes place in downtown Boston. We were glad to see that Pack was back. He was stolen earlier this month, but he was recovered and is back with his brothers Jack, Kack, Lack, Mack, Nack,  Ouack and Quack.

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We’re going to have to come back another time for a re-do of all of The Littles sitting on the ducks, because apparently we gained an extra Little.

img_0928We want to come back another time anyway because we want to take a ride on these:

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It was an absolutely beautiful day in Boston. And you know what’s great about living in the northeast? I was not the fairest skinned maiden in the land. I’m so glad that pale truly is the new tan here. I am not lying to you, I saw a girl whose legs were as white as this page.  I want her to be my new best friend. I looked like a Bahama Mama walking next to her. K made me move away because I think I was starting to appear stalkerish. No, I did not take her picture. That would be creepy. And I couldn’t get the lens cap off quickly enough. But here’s another picture of the beautiful day instead.

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Favorite part of the Public Gardens for The Littles? Running around the empty fountains.

img_0961Just a few more random pictures from our day:

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img_09634img_0946Just a word about this last picture. Princess Diva said, “Hey, Mom! Take a picture of me like this!” I asked her how she knew how to do so many modeling poses. She rolled her eyes and said, “I’m a girl. Girls know how to do stuff like that.”

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There’s No F-A-I-R in Fair!

Have you ever seen that circus act where the clowns stuff themselves into a Volkswagen and everyone marvels in amazement and wonders, “Just how many clowns can they fit into that little car?” Well, you would be wondering the same thing about The Snoodles this weekend. “How in the world did they pack so much fun into one little weekend?” Now you’re probably wondering, “Surely, Wordy Van Wordsternson won’t give us another epic blog. We’re still trying to recover from the Patriots’ Day/Boston Marathon saga!” I hear you, I hear you. I know you can only handle your entertainment in fun size bites (and now I’m craving chocolate…I wonder if we have any of those Easter Snickers bites left…) so I’ll break it up into more manageable pieces.

Let’s start with Friday. K and I thought it would be great fun to take the kids on a Duck Tour. It was an amazingly beautiful day and we wanted to spend it outdoors. The Duck boats seemed like a great idea to us, but when we presented our idea to the Littles you would have thought we were inviting the kids to get family root canals. The Ducksters think highly of their tours, and I’m sure they’re worth every penny, but K and I decided not to risk forced fun with surly children. You see, the Littles already had an idea of what they thought would be a fun Friday adventure. A few days ago, we drove by  one of the local churches and discovered that they had crammed every single piece of traveling amusement park equipment ever manufactured into their parking lot. I thought at first that they were using the parking lot as a staging area and would spread the attractions over both of their parking lots. Nope. They were finished. We drove by at night when all the neon lights were blinking on and off, screaming, “Hey, kids! Come on over! If your parents say, ‘Not right now,’ don’t give up! Work this parking lot into every conversation until their eyes start twitching. Pester them until they cry. You can do it, kids!”

So, Friday afternoon we headed to Parking Lot Land, a low-budget Wally World. As K was buying our tickets, I started thinking about every news story I’d ever heard where a kid loses a limb or his life at a traveling amusement park. I was pretty sure they all happened in little towns in the northeast just like this one. I wondered if we’d have time to call my parents before they saw the news of our demise on the CNN news crawl. Of course, it’s hard to call when you’re dead, but anyway…I started inspecting screws and bolts on the rides as we passed by. I wondered who would play me in the made-for-TV movie based on the tragedy.

First stop at Parking Lot Fair? Food! I love some good carnival food.  I had been adding our expenses for our afternoon thus far: admission into the parking lot, Family “Value” Ticket plan, and now dinner. At this point I decided to stop my mental math. Way too many numbers to carry. Plus we were fast approaching the admission cost to Disney World. Hmm…better just to enjoy the day and make it a Visa moment. Time spent with the family? Priceless. Apparently so.

Here’s the fam enjoying their bacon-wrapped filet mignon corn dogs and water from Holy Grail cold beverages:

img_0849Next, it was off to the rides. The Littles took turns selecting attractions. For a few of the rides, Princess Diva and Baby Boy rode alone and Firstborn decided to save his pick for something a little more adventurous. Here are Princess Diva and Baby Boy on the “Crazy Bus.” What was crazy about it? Well, after going in a circle clockwise, that deranged and insane contraption started going around COUNTERCLOCKWISE!! I know!! Oh well, they enjoyed it.

img_0883Firstborn’s favorite? The bumper cars! Note the intense look of determination:

img_0862This was definitely his all-time favorite ride of the day.

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I’m a little concerned about what’s going to happen to our insurance rates in about seven or eight years.

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Besides the bumper cars for the Firstborn, want to know what they loved the most? The little playground with the ball pit. I had to finally just walk away from the ball pit because in it are some of my deepest fears as a mother. Remember the stories they tell all new moms about the ball pits? The cesspool of disease and filth and vileness that is this little contained area of plastic spheres? The horrors of the friend who knew someone whose neighbor’s cousin contracted a deadly illness from a dirty hypodermic needle hidden among the balls and then was bitten by the brood of vipers that was nesting in the pit of poison? For a brief period of time, I just threw caution and good sense to the wind and let them play. I figured we’d just Clorox them all when we got home. And realized that my parents were probably at home experiencing cold chills and the sense of impending doom and had no idea why. They’re just reading about it now. I know how you feel about the ball pit, Dad. I still have the forwarded emails and I know you don’t care about the research I conducted at Snopes.com about the snakes and the needle. But don’t they look like they’re having a great time in the Deathpit of Doom?

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I think this was when the carnival worker was telling Baby Boy to stop throwing the diseased spheres of nastiness.

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Suddenly, the fun came to a sudden and complete stop. Why? Because of this piece of pink fluff that cost us $9 and was probably worth about $2.34. Note the fair worker standing behind the Princess Diva with the large stash of cash in his hands. Can’t you hear his maniacal laugh as he fingers his moustache and mutters, “Suckers!”

img_0885The kids talked us into playing one of the games that plague every single traveling amusement park.  They played the one where you shoot water into the little hole to blow up your balloon and the person whose balloon pops first wins a prize.  Well, Princess Diva won. She was beyond thrilled to pick out her prize. She loves that dog dearly and her father and I could not be any prouder if she had won a scholarship. Her brothers, however…..

They were less than thrilled. They didn’t pat little sister on the back or give her a high five. No, they pouted. And whined. And complained. And sulked. And demanded that we play games until they were winners, too. (And they were having none of Mom’s “But to me you’re ALL winners!” Yeah. Save it for Barney, Mom.) After all, isn’t that what the carnies (Nomads. Smell of cabbage. Small hands…Name that movie reference.) were yelling as we walked  through the parking lot? “EVERY one’s a winner!”

Try explaining to a five-year-old and an eight-year-old that there’s no F-A-I-R at the fair. Try telling the oldest that even though he is doing an AMAZING job on his YMCA basketball team, he probably won’t be able to sink that shot. Kevin Garnett probably wouldn’t be able to make that basket. Try explaining that when the carnie says, “First shot is free,” he doesn’t really mean that you’re actually going to get to walk away without spending money.  We could see it on their faces, “Why would these loving fair workers who obviously have nothing but our best interests at heart do ANYTHING that would keep us from winning a prize? They WANT us to take some of those treasures off their hands. They SAID so!” We wasted a lot of words and breath that day. The Littles lost interest in the fun rides and the little one-track-minded boys could not shake their focus from the prizes that they knew were rightfully theirs. There were tears and tantrums and pouting until K told me to quit acting like a baby and that we could ride one more ride.

No one would ride the Tilt-A-Hurl or any of the fun, fast, exciting rides with me, so we settled on the caterpillar “roller coaster.” This helped lighten the mood of at least one little boy.

img_0888All said, even with the whole prize debacle that threatened to steal our joy, it was a good afternoon. Who would have thought so much fun could be crammed into the parking lot of a little church? 

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When I Don’t Know What to Do

When I Don’t Know What To Do
Tommy Walker WeMobile Music ©2005 CCLI #4556332

Lord I surrender all to
Your strong and faithful hand
In everything I will give thanks to You
I’ll just trust Your perfect plan

Chorus:
When I don’t know what to do
I’ll lift my hands
When I don’t know what to say
I’ll speak Your praise
When I don’t know where to go
I’ll run to Your throne
When I don’t know what to think
I’ll stand on Your truth
When I don’t know what to do

Lord I surrender all
Though I’ll never understand
All the mysteries around me
I’ll just trust your perfect plan

Bridge:
As I bow my knee
Send Your perfect peace
Send Your perfect peace, Lord
As I lift my hands
Let Your healing come
Let Your healing come to me

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Looking Good for the Sake of the Children

I really need to buy new make-up this weekend. I was thinking about that this morning and was reminded of a conversation I had with Baby Boy when he was three years old.

ME: Go get your shoes and I’ll help you finish getting dressed. We need to leave for Tumble Bears.

HIM: Um, Mom? (pause) Are you going to put on any make-up?

ME: Do you think I need to put on make-up?

HIM:  (longer pause) Well, I just want you to look pretty.

ME: Do I not look pretty now?

HIM:  Not yet.

I guess for my children’s sake, I’m going to get ready for the day and go look for new beauty products! We’ve talked about it before, but do you have any more recommendations for this mom who doesn’t need to embarrass her kids?

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Run, Forrest! Run!

img_0832(I wanted to try a real artsy shot of running feet, but to do that required an actual photographer who knew more about her camera than how to set it on the automatic setting.)

From what I’ve been told, the Boston Marathon is a big deal for runners. Was that an understatement? I have several runner friends who have expressed a desire to run this race at least once in their lifetimes.  If I may be frank, when my friends express their Marathon dreams, I say things like, “Oh, yeah! That would be amazing, wouldn’t it?” What I’m actually thinking is that the only way I’d run 26 miles, 385 yards (I googled it and Wikipedia is NEVER wrong, right?) is if my life depended on it. Even then, my eternity’s secure and I know I’ll be with Jesus when I die, so I’m thinking, death might be a legitimate option if I had to make a choice. I used to say the only time I run is if I’m being chased. I’ve since amended that to say whether I run or not depends on how bad the thing is that’s chasing me. I think I may have mentioned before that I’m not really known for my athletic ability.

However,  I am an excellent fan. Believe me, you want me to cheer for your team. The teams I support don’t always win, but I promise you this: They feel the love! So, I was excited when my friend C asked me if I wanted to go with her to cheer on a friend of ours from church who was running in the Boston Marathon. Monday afternoon, C and I piled six kids into her minivan and navigated through the streets of town to find a good vantage point from which to cheer. I didn’t really know what to expect, but I certainly did not anticipate that I was going to get so caught up in the excitement of the day. The streets are lined with people all along the route, all 26 miles, 385 yards of it. Some of the spectators have friends or family in the race, but many were just there to lend encouragement to random strangers running past them.

Some of the runners have their names written on their chests or arms and as they passed, we would all yell specific encouragement to them. “Go, Bob! Great job!” If we didn’t know the runners’ names, we’d yell out names associated with words on their t-shirts or tank tops. “Go, Idaho!” “Way to go, Navy!” “Woo hoo, Nike!” Every now and then a runner would have an identifying physical characteristic that could be used. “Go, Blue!’:

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I realized that I don’t know a lot of good running cheers. I tried, “Run! Run!” I tried, “Yay, YOU!” I did a few, “Way to GO!” but I stopped that because that seemed a little cruel in a marathon since it’s a LONG way to go and I didn’t want to remind them of that. Mostly I did the standard, “Woo HOO!”

I can’t tell you how fast my heart was beating while we waited for our friend to run around the corner. We were receiving text messages to alert us of his progress, but we could only wait for him to run through our section.

img_08191Recognize the hat?

When our friend rounded the corner, we were SO excited that we all started screaming and waving and jumping up and down like a bunch of crazy people. I completely forgot I was holding a camera and was supposed to get a picture of him and he was going so fast, that this is the best picture I was able to get:

img_08438He’s the one with the white cap and the South African jersey. You might not be able to tell, but he was going pretty fast! His final time was 3:02:00. For any other non-runners, that’s 3 hours and 2 minutes!! In a row!! When he ran by he was smiling and waving. I think I would have been cussing and crying. Just kidding about the cussing part…probably. He was a little disappointed because he was four seconds over his goal time. I wanted to be sympathetic, but what I was really thinking that if I finished in the same calendar year that I started, I would throw a party. Four seconds? Really? Yeah, whatever. I hate that for you.

A strange thing happened to me as I watched these runners. I have no idea how long most of them trained, but I’m pretty sure no one woke up Monday morning and said, “Hey, I think I’ll run 20-something miles with a few thousand of my closest runner friends.” Plus, I was told you can’t just get a notion to run the Boston Marathon. You have to qualify. But my point is, these people have worked really hard for this day. You could see the grit and determination on their faces.

img_08351And suddenly I was so very proud of all these random strangers. They didn’t seem so crazy to me anymore. They set a goal for themselves, and Monday, April 20, 2009, they were going for it. They were going to make all of their hard work pay. The more I thought about it, the harder I clapped and the louder I yelled. This is going to sound crazy, I know, because it sounded crazy in my head when I thought it, but I was almost a little jealous of them. They were all living a little part of their dreams. They chose an adventure that would be difficult to accomplish and they did what they had to do to make it happen. Runner or not, I think that’s very cool.

For half a minute, I thought that maybe I could do this. Maybe I could run a marathon. I thought, “I’m going to get some crazy, ugly shoes (didn’t see any of those at the race, by the way, High-Heeled Mama) and I’m going to start eating pasta and training.” (I’ve heard there’s pasta in running.)  Then I remembered how winded I was after walking up the hills just to get to the place where we were watching the runners. Hmm, maybe I could start with walking a couple of miles and work my way up from there. But who knows? Maybe one day YOU will be coming to Boston to watch ME run the Marathon. (I’d hold off on buying plane tickets until you hear from me first.)

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