Family

The Summons

The three of us were spending a long weekend at my sister-in-law’s on the Eastern shore, 7/29 – 8/1, when I received an email from my dad. The hubs and I climbed into bed around 10pm on 7/29 and I decided to check my emails before turning out the light. I received this VERY formal email from my dad:

“(Your mother) and I tentatively are considering having a brunch for a dozen individuals next Saturday, August 6th. The purpose of this email is to inquire as to whether you would be available to attend such a brunch at our house around 11 a.m. on that date. I know this is very short notice but if it is feasible for you to reply this weekend as to your availability on August 6th (your mother) and I would appreciate you doing so.

Thanks.

Dad

P.S. I know that you are away at the beach this weekend, but I was hoping that you would be checking your emails and be able to reply.”

OK, first of all, the editor wannabe in me CRINGED at the words, “…tentatively are considering…” Either you are tentatively having a brunch or considering having a brunch, but “tentatively are considering” is SO WRONG. I was disappointed that it was so late and I was unable to call my dad about this email; it worried me. I read it to the hubs and he had the same reaction as me: “What’s with the formal wording?” We knew something out of the ordinary was up. My dad has been retired from the government for over 9 years, but this email sounded like it was written in “governmentese”. The hubs and I started joking around about why my dad was having this brunch and who the other “…dozen individuals…” could be.

“Maybe your folks won the lottery. Maybe they FINALLY decided to where they are going to retire,” said the hubs. Maybe someone is sick…., I thought. “Maybe someone has died!” I said. I know what you are thinking. Why would someone organize a BRUNCH over a WEEK in advance to announce a DEATH? Well, readers, let me explain my family to you! I am 39 years old, married and a mother with a brother who is a very responsible 42 year old. However, our parents still think we are incapable of handling “news”. Let me give you a couple of examples.

My grandmother (my mom’s mother) died while I was in college and I did not find out about it until after I graduated. And my parents did not VOLUNTEER it after I graduated; some time after graduation I brought up my grandmother and my mom said, WITHOUT looking me in the eye, that she had passed away. “WHAT?! WHEN?!” I exclaimed. My mother informed me that grandma’s death, funeral and burial had occurred during my final year of college and my mother did not feel it was necessary to inform me since I did not have the “ideal” relationship with my grandma. OK, I’ll give you that she was the “B” grandmother and not the “A” grandmother, but she WAS my grandmother, I was an adult when she died and I should have had the decision to go to her funeral or not taken away from me.

Flash forward 17 years and me, the hubs, my brother and my parents are having a lovely Christmas holiday dinner at my mom’s sister’s house. My aunt’s two children are there with one spouse and one finacee. I don’t recall the specifics to led to my conversation halter, but I brought up my mom’s brother who lived in Branson, MO. The entire table went silent. Everyone stopped in mid-rise of a fork to their mouth or just stared at me, open-mouthed. Everyone, that is, except for my mom, who continued to eat while staring directly at her plate. I looked around the table at everyone, wondering what I had said that was so wrong. Finally, one of my cousins said to me, incredulously, “Uncle Gordon died two years ago.” My jaw dropped and my eyes bugged. I turned to look at my mother, but she was still staring straight into her plate, and continued to move the fork from plate to mouth. “Why didn’t you tell me?!” I whispered. She said nothing. I looked at my brother, “Did you know?!” “No,” he said, quietly. I became furious. Furious at the belittling that I was still receiving from my parents as well as the embarrassment I had just suffered in front of family. So, you can understand why I would suspect that a family member might have died and my parents think it OK to invite us over to brunch more than a week later to inform us.

I told the hubs that I would call my mom (an early riser) as soon as we woke up the next day to find out WHAT this email from my dad meant. Then I rolled over, turned out the light and closed my eyes. I was about to nod off when the hubs exclaimed, “I bet your dad finally got his book published!” and scared the bejesus out of me. I thought for a moment and said, “Yes. That is quite possible,” and finally fell asleep.

The hubs was right. At the brunch, my dad announced that the book he had written about his and my mom’s first trip to Alaska had been published! And this isn’t just a travel book about the sights and sounds they experienced in a beautiful state. My parents almost died on this trip, when the state road they were traveling on gave way and their van plummeted down an embankment, rolling over. Of course, they did not tell us what happened and the first time I found out about the details of this accident was when my dad asked me to edit an early version of his book. *rolling my eyes*

It’s so interesting as a child to watch your parents get frustrated and angry at the stubbornness of THEIR parents and then watch your parents repeat this stubborn behavior to us, their own children. I am very proud of my dad for publishing a book. It is a dream of my own, actually, and one that the hubs has been encouraging me to do for quite some time. But my brother and I are in for the fight of our lives when the time comes for the parents to relinquish the reigns to their children…

Spandex, Balls, Scrunchiis and Shea Butter

I am so thankful for pants that are now made with a scoonch of spandex. I’ve been enjoying them of late, and just had to share that.

B came up to the hubs and me recently. He had a rubber ball with spikes sticking out of it and he had taped a piece of string to it. So, B is holding one end of the string and the ball is dangling off the other end of this 6″ piece of string. “Guess what THIS is,” B asked.

“A mace,” answered the hubs immediately.
“A disco ball. The New Year’s Eve’s ball that drops during the countdown. Mistletoe. A pinata,” I said.
The hubs started laughing.
“What,” I asked.
“This is so US! I immediately think mace and you think disco ball and mistletoe. I love how we are!”

He’s right. We have complemented each other from the beginning. And the best part is that B has both of us in him. It WAS a mace, by the way, but B wants a disco ball for his room and he begged me not to put the kissing crystal (our mistletoe) away at the beginning of the year, so that is why I thought he was going in that direction.

I want to tell you 2 things about the hubs that will sum up men, in general:

1)He was cooking chicken wings on the grill for dinner one night and I reminded him that B does not like the black marks on his wings and the hubs should grab a piece of foil to put under B’s wings. He stopped at the back door, holding a plate of wings and a pair of tongs. He stared at me, looked over at the pantry door on the other side of the kitchen where the foil is, looked back at me and sighed. “You’re right,” he said. I went downstairs to change the laundry and when I came back up, the hubs was outside. When he came back inside with the wings, they ALL have black marks on them.
“You didn’t get the foil,” I said.
“Nope.”
“You’d have used the foil if I had gotten it for you, but you just didn’t want to go back into the kitchen and get it yourself.”
“Yup.”

2)We’re at the grocery store and the hubs wants a new scrunchii for the shower. But not just any scrunchii; he said he has seen ones that are the fluffy ball kind on one half and a loofah on the other. I tell him I think he is thinking about what I use in the shower that is flat with terry cloth on one side and loofah on the other but he insists there is a scrunchhi ball with a loofah attached and it is sold at this store. So he looks through all the ones hanging on the wall but none are the one he is looking for.
“Come on; let’s go,” he said.
“Well, wait. What about the bins on the bottom shelf? What you’re looking for might be in one of those. Aren’t you going to dig through those, too?”
“No. There will be no digging.” And he walked away.

If you ever get a free sample of shea butter shampoo and conditioner, Don’t use it. Just throw it away. Trust me on this.

Wine Glasses and The Graduate

I am a member of my local Freecycle Group. If you are not, or if you do not know what it is, I highly recommend you look into it. You give your useful, but no longer wanted/needed stuff away, and you can receive other peoples’ useful but unwanted/unneeded stuff.

A couple of years ago, someone posted an offer of wine glasses on my local Freecycle site. Evidently this member was a wine lover and toured wineries for tastings. When you go to a winery and pay for a tasting, you get to keep your tasting glass and it has the name or logo of the winery etched on it. This Freecycler had approximately 30 wine glasses, each from a different winery and was offering them up. I, myself, am not a wine drinker, but the hubs is so I mentioned it to him. His response was, “I’d like to have those. Ask her if they are still available.”

Not only were they still available, the owner of the glasses said that we were the only ones who were interested in them! I can see that; it takes a certain, rare personality (read: cheap and/or I-don’t-care-what-people-think attitude like ours) to want to own an eclectic collection of wine glasses. So, I picked them up, washed them up, made room in the cupboards for them and my husband was very happy.

When the hubs has a glass of wine, he uses one of the glasses. Sometimes, when seeing daddy drink out of a wine glass at dinner, B wanted to drink out of one, too. So, on those rare occasions when we have apple, grape or pear juice in the house, we let B drink the juice out of one of these wine glasses. Recently, we bought a bottle of root beer and a bottle of birch beer at a local farmers’ market that was a brand we had never tried before. At dinner a few days later, we had a “beer” tasting. All 3 of us had 2 wine goblets at our place and each bottle of “beer” was divided among the 3 glasses. B thought it was loads of fun! This brand, however, will never get us to buy it again. I am a connoisseur of root beers b/c my grandpa used to make his own and a connoisseur of birch beer b/c I am from New England.

Last night, I hosted a Girls’ Night Out at my house. Instead of buying plastic, disposable cups for drinking, I pulled out these wine goblets. Since each glass was from a different winery, I didn’t even need to worry about not owning wine charms! In addition to the goblets, I also put out my collection of Coca-Cola glasses in 4 different colors, that we obtained years ago from McDonald’s, for the water/soda drinkers. I drank my Blood Orange Martini and then my water (b/c why dirty another glass? I’m the one who has to clean it, after all.) out of a wine goblet.

Then the hubs and B came home tonight after spending the weekend with my sisters-in-law at the beach, and us adults drank our dinner beverages out of wine goblets. I felt so…SOPHISTICATED…and…ADULT…which is the LAST word anyone would use to describe ME. So I have decided I am going to drink ALL of my beverages from a wine glass from now on! :o)

I want to read the book “The Graduate” by Charles Webb. I tried to watch the movie once, but just could NOT get through it. I got up to the point where Dustin Hoffman said to Ann Bancroft, “Are you trying to seduce me, Mrs. Robinson?” and I had to turn it off. To me, Ann Bancroft did not look attractive, did not look like someone a college-aged boy would be interested in sleeping with. I had suppressed my gag reflex long enough and had to turn it off. But I’ve always wondered how it turned out and books are so much better than movies, on the whole. Unfortunately, my county’s library system does not own the book. I can’t believe it! They own the sequel, published 45 years later, and 2 copies of the original movie’s DVD, but not the BOOK. The book is a classic, people!

My parents live in the next county over, so I called to see if they could get it for me. My mom, who REFUSES to learn how to turn a computer on, answers the phone. I tell her I want to read the 1963 book “The Graduate”, my county’s library system doesn’t own it, could she check and see if her library has it? She asked me who the author is, I told her, and she said she will have my dad look it up online for me. Both my county’s and their county’s library systems allows you to look up and reserve a book online.

Several hours later, my dad calls me. ***SPOILER ALERT!!!! IF YOU HAVE NOT READ THE BOOK NOR WATCHED THE MOVIE, LIKE ME, AND WISH TO DO SO IN THE FUTURE, DO NOT READ ON!!!!*** “Ya motha (my dad moved out of New England 39 years ago and has not lost his accent) said you want me to get you “The Graduate”. I have a question: Do you want the original version in which he, and the girl who is at the church to marry another guy, run away together in the end, or do you want the sequel to that one?”

*Long pause in which I am breathing deeply and counting to ten.* “I was looking for the original, 1963 version, Dad, and thanks for just ruining the ending for me!”

“What?” he asked.

“I’ve never READ the book. NOR watched the movie. That’s why I wanted to check it out of the LIBRARY. And you have JUST spoiled the ending by telling me what happens. I asked for THE GRADUATE. The sequel is called HOME SCHOOL. If I wanted you to get me HOME SCHOOL, mom would have told you that I was looking for HOME SCHOOL.”

“Oh. Well…I went to the lieberry’s (not a typo, just how a New Englander with no R’s in his alphabet pronounces it) website, typed in “The Graduate” and both books popped up.”

“I can see that. They are both written by the same author. But they BOTH don’t have the same TITLE do they, DAD?!”

*long pause* “OK. Now that I know which one you want, I’ll get right on seeing if I can get that for you.”

I quickly hung up.

Now that 2 hours have passed since this conversation, my temper has cooled after venting to the hubs. I tried to console myself and make light of the situation by thinking, “At least I am not the ONLY one who puts their foot in their mouth occasionally! He-he-he.” But upon further reflection, I have this man’s DNA. And I have to face the reality that at 65 years old, I will STILL be putting my foot in my mouth. Yeah.

Yin and Yang

For Mother’s Day, I got breakfast in bed, the hubs checked B in and out of Sunday school at church for me, a drive in the country and 2 kittens! :o) We’d been going back and forth about pets for a year. He claims to be a dog person and I am a cat person. However, we have had 2 cats in the past, and they loved the hubs more than me! He is a closet cat whisperer. ;o) We rent, so permission was needed from the owner to get any pet. The hubs told me he had received permission from the owner six months ago to get a dog but I was not OK with it. One of the many things I love about my marriage – we do NOT make big decision, like getting a pet, without the OK from the other. So, we had no dog but no cat, either. Unbeknownst to me, the hubs contacted the landlord in late April and asked her if we could have a cat; she said yes.

After church on Mother’s Day, the hubs told me we were going for a drive in the country. We ended up at our county’s animal shelter. I was so excited when he told me, “We are here to just LOOK. LOOK!” This man has been my soulmate for 16 years; if he drove us here, we were getting a cat. It was 11:10am, and although their website stated they were open from 10am – 4pm, their 10am hours were administrative; they did not open for adoptions until 12pm. I was worried the hubs would take it as a sign and chuck the cat idea altogether. Luckily he didn’t.

There is a farmer’s market further down the road that we frequented last Summer, so the hubs suggested we go piddle around there while we wait for the animal shelter to open for adoptions. As we perused their fruits and vegetable and savored the smells of their homemade breads and pies, I remembered a visit from last year. While we checked out the previous July, one of the owner’s daughters came up to us with a kitten. “Would you like to take a kitten home with you? They’re free,” she said. My face lit up, but the hubs informed her that we rented and were unable to have pets. I quickly reminded the hubs of our last visit as it was our turn to check out. As the gentleman was just about done ringing up our purchases the hubs said, “You know? The last time we were here, you had some kittens to give away…” A woman behind the checkout man stepped up immediately and said, “KITTENS?! Do you want a kitten? Some kittens? Our barn cat has had another litter and they just happen to be ready to leave the mother right now! After you pay for your things, I’ll ride in your car out to my farm and you can choose whichever one you want!”

True to her word, she followed us out to the car, climbed in and proceeded to direct the hubs to her farm. We got out, walked to the barn and the owner ushered us in quickly, so as to not let the kittens out. They were so beautiful! There was 5 in the litter and they were 7 weeks old. The owner had started them on cat food 1 week prior, so they were weened from their mother’s milk. Three kitties were grey and black tabbies like their mom. The sole girl and one boy were what I call tuxedo looking – all black except for white paws and a white diamond on their chests.

I really wanted a girl. Our 2 previous cats were girls and very loving. My favorite cat that I owned, Emmie, was a grey and black tabby. I was so disappointed that all the tabbies in this litter were boys. The owner put the only girl cat in my arms and she let me pet her. Paul picked up one of the tabby boys and placed it in B’s arms. Although the cats were not used to being held at all, they were calm while in our arms. I was torn and the hubs could tell. He said to the owner, “I’m worried that a cat who has never been inside a home and is not used to being held by humans may not adjust well to our situation.” My heart sank and I refused to look up at him and show my tears. I just continued to nuzzle the boy in my arms. “I was wondering,” the hubs continued, “if taking two cats, instead of one, would make the transition easier on them…” My head shot up, and I dared to be hopeful as I looked at him. He was trying so hard not to smile at me! The owner replied, jokingly, “I actually think it would best if all 5 of them stayed together.” We all laughed at that. “But you are right. Two is better for them than just one. In fact, if you were to adopt from the county shelter, you’d be hard pressed to just get one. They want animals to be adopted in pairs so they have company.” I happily left with the girl in my arms while B was just as proud to be carrying a boy!

We tried to come up with names on the way home – Luke and Leia; Sonny and Cher; Donny and Marie – but none seemed to fit. We got them home, let them loose and they promptly disappeared! I do not know how the 3 of us had no clue where the 2 cats were, but that’s what happened. We decided to give them some space to adjust to the new environment. After a few hours, however, we became concerned. We started to search and found them under a sofa. The hubs had lifted it up, and they were curled up, butt to face, asleep. B and I said at the same time, “Awe! They look like the Yin Yang symbol.” *Light Bulb Moment* We all exchanged looks and yelled, “That’s what we should call them!”

They were perfect names for our pets! The hubs and I have alway felt that we are Yin and Yang to each other. We never saw differences when we got together; we realized that we complemented each other perfectly. His strengths were my weaknesses and vice versa. So, Yin is the boy and Yang is the girl. I decided on that to make it easier for ME to remember which is which. I am a Grey’s Anatomy fan and Christina Yang is one of the characters. That is why I named the female cat, Yang.

But they have proved to be perfect names for the cats, as well. They are complete opposites, or complements. Yin is very trusting and loving. Yang is defensive, protective of Yin and independent. Yang will rub up against you and purr, but as soon as you start to pet her she takes off. Yin wants to be held and petted all the time. Neither one wants to use the litter box alone, however. One stands outside and mews for the other and they both go in together. It’s getting mighty tight in there; don’t know how long this can go on.

Yin was on the sink in the master bath (I was getting ready to clean it, that is why I let him up there) and looking in the mirror. He kept pacing back and forth, trying to get into the “other room” but “another cat” would NOT get out of his way! He was so annoyed! LOL!

The first time I pulled the vacuum cleaner out of the closet was hilarious. They looked up. Heads turned to the side. Eyes widened. Pupils dilated. “Hmm! What’s that? Let’s go see.” They ran up to it and started sniffing. After sniffing around it they looked up, up, all the way to the top. “Wow! That’s big! And so pretty – blue and purple! I want to climb it!” Before they could climb, I started unraveling the cord and they were distracted. “Game! Get the cord, get the cord, get the cord… I got it, no wait, another piece! I got my front paws around this piece and my back legs around that piece and I’m gonna bite THIS piece….” Before turning it on, I warned them. “I think you may want to step back now. It makes a loud noise!” I nudged them with my foot. “Go on, now, shoo.” “Are you kidding me?! Not with all this heavenly cord to attack!” “OK, here we go!” I turned on the vacuum cleaner and they took off like bats out of Hell! They poked their heads around a safe corner in another room and glared at the vacuum cleaner with a mixture of fear and defiance in their eyes. When I turned it off to move a piece of furniture or pick up something off the floor, they both attacked the vacuum with all their might. “Yeah! You’re not so scary now, are ya, Big Blue! Not when mommy ain’t holding your hand! You’re not that tough. We can take you!” WHRRRRRR, went the vacuum, as I turned it back on, and those cats ran so fast you’d think Scotty beamed them out of the room! They are so funny!

They can be frustrating, too, though. As they were running all over the place, reeking toddler-like havoc this evening, I was getting annoyed. Then I had a Divine intervention. I have those from time to time. Usually they save my life in traffic or prevent me from putting my foot in my mouth. This one whispered to me, “They are preparing you for the real thing.” What was that? What does that mean? I’ve learned to be still in moments like these, listen and this is what I got from it – we are almost 9 years older than we were when we had B. And we had B later in life than most people. Having another child or baby is going to be so much harder on us. But we want one; have prayed for one. Dealing with these kittens and kitten-proofing the house, may be training, preparation for the real thing. Now, I am NOT claiming to be Mary’s cousin, Elizabeth here! And another child to love may never pan out. But I heard something, and I will be open to receive. If there is one thing I have learned in my 39 years it’s this – God doesn’t always answer your prayers the way you want Him to, but he does answer you.

Please Start Writing Obituaries

I am an avid reader of obituaries in my local paper and I have a love/hate relationship with them. I cannot stop myself from reading them. Every week when the paper arrives, I open to the obit section hoping that, THIS time, I am going to read something that will make me smile through my tears. Most weeks, however, I am just saddened. But those rare occasions that make me smile are so worth weeding through the rest. So, I have to speak up about this issue, because everybody deserves a great obituary.

There are so many great things about obituaries. The lovely, full names, some of which have not been used in decades or generations. The number of years this soul lived here on Earth. Anything over 80 gets an automatic smile and no tears from me, because I tell myself, “they lived a good, long life”. But I don’t really know whether they did or not. Some can accomplish their life’s purpose in a few years while others may coast through decades, expecting to have plenty of time until time is no more for them. But I still hope, so I read on to see what this stranger’s life was like. I rarely find out.

What I do know about 99.9% of the souls written about in the obituaries is the name of every relative who preceded them in death and every relative left behind. I understand the main purpose in this part – you might not know the full name of this soul but you may find that your friend/neighbor/co-worker’s loved one has past away and you can now offer them some comfort or take a burden off them for a while. I don’t begrudge such lists but I am angry for the departed soul when such lists are the ONLY details we receive. Everyone deserves more than that.

Each one of us has a life or many lives. We experience joy, disappointment, accomplishment, heartache. We have dreams, goals, setbacks, comebacks, fights for what is right or what we believe in. Some of us make a difference in the life of another, some in the lives of many. And everyone of us deserves to have our story told in the paper at least once in our lives, even if it is only in our obituary.

My “smiling through tears” moments have come when I read about her prize-winning pie that everyone looked forward to at the church social. His volunteer work as Santa visiting a shelter. The business he started as a teenager, worked for 40 years and passed onto his son. Service to our country and countrymen as soldier, sailor, nurse, riveter, bandage wrapper, teacher, spiritual leader, greeter, usher, parent, foster parent, ice cream maker, singer, bringer of sunshine and smiles to everyone they met. Doing something when no one had ever done it before, whether it was landing on the moon, standing up to the bullies of the world or hugging the outcast in town. I’m proud of my fellow citizens, I rejoice in their lives, their happiness and their achievements when I read these things. It gives me hope for humanity, that there is better in my neighbors than the indifference and rudeness I see in the living.

But when you have to write an obituary, you can’t always think of these wonderful things. You are grieving; in shock; just want to draw the curtains to the world, curl up and drown in your loss. But you have things to do and people to notify and with every call you make it gets worse. Something is released to the local paper to assist with announcing this soul’s passing to those who cared about him or her. You’ve done the best you could under the circumstances. So let’s change the circumstances.

Everyone, please start writing obituaries. Now. When you don’t HAVE to. Write one for your parents, spouse, best friend, yourself. Get in the habit of reminding yourself about this person’s life – THEIR life, THEIR story. If you don’t know it, ask them. One of the greatest gifts you can give someone is to listen to their story. Remember it; write it down; save it, so that when the Holy Spirit comes to usher your loved one into the presence of the Lord* you will have this loving honor to them already taken care of. You’ll read it and remember their good, long life. It will help you and the others who have been left behind. It will honor those who have moved on. It will touch the lives of strangers reading about them in the local obituaries by giving them hope.

*Paraphrasing a description I read in one of my favorite obituaries.

Life’s Questions

One of my favorite benefits of homeschooling is that B is able to ask all the questions he wants as he thinks of them. We’ve had a lot of rain and sunshine come and go throughout recent days and I told B to look out for rainbows. He asked, “Why do rainbows appear? I mean, I know HOW they happen; but WHY do they show up?” That was a great question that led to a science discussion as well as a Biblical one (God’s promise to Noah).

Divorce is becoming more prevalent in B’s life because of friends and family. A couple of weeks ago he asked the hubs if we were going to break up. Breaks my heart he is aware of the issue and worries about it, but thankful he comes to us with his questions and concerns, instead of continuing to worry about it.

I was watching the show “The Fabulous Beekman Boys” the other day. Josh and Brett were in NC on business and Josh wanted to stop and see Brett’s family. Brett said no b/c his family does not accept Josh. B and I had a discussion on why Brett’s family would not be happy for Brett and why they do not accept Brett for who he is nor Josh. That night was the hubs’ turn to put down B and evidently B brought the subject up again with the hubs. My son mulls things over for a while and then comes back with more questions. Once again, so blessed that B feels comfortable talking to both of us and that both of us are made aware of what issues the other is talking about with him.

I teach 2nd grade Sunday school at my church once a month. My students informed me recently that they are taught cursive in 2nd grade. Ooops, haven’t been teaching that at home. Oh, well, something to add to the list.

B’s asthma flared up in February and he had to be put back on a sterroid daily. >:o( I have not given him sterroids in a couple of years b/c he had some roid rages when he was younger and attacked me. My only complaint with the insurance plan we’ve had for the last 7 yrs has been that B’s primary physician does not believe roid rages even exist, in anyone. So he would not offer me any alternatives to a sterroid. This time I sent the hubs with B to the doctor when he got sick. Although the doc still held the position regarding roid rages, he did offer a different sterroid and a lower dose. How come that option was never offered to me?!

Anywho, sterroids can make my already “sensitive” boy more “intense” emotionally. I.e., crying more often over little things, his Irish temper flares more frequently and he is frustrated more often. Two other side effects, though, is that he is eating more and he is cold all the time. The thing I love about kids, including mine, is that they are born with the instinct to eat only when their bodies’ NEED food and they listen to their bodies when they are full. I wish I was still like that…Anywho…the sterroid “provides” extra, nervous energy and increases his appetite. Luckily, the 2 cancel each other out, so there is no weight gain; just strategizing on mom & dad’s part to funnel the energy into things that don’t annoy the heck out of us! ;o) He is old enough now that he is aware of what is going on in his body and is taking control of his reactions instead of just letting his body take over. It is amazing the maturity and changes in him this year!

B has been showering himself completely without any help from us (not even to adjust the water temp or dry off), he now does his own laundry and finally goes in the basement alone to play. He wants to take on so much and be more independent that we are ready for. I came downstairs to find him heating something up in the microwave one day. Although he was smart enough not to overcook it (he only put it on for 9 seconds), he needs to ask me 1st, so I can tell him what to do and watch a time or 2 to make sure he’s got it. He also pulled a santoku knife out of my knife block last week b/c he wanted to cut up some fruit for himself. It’s hard for the hubs and I to switch gears so fast with B’s new independence.

We had a Couples’ Pampered Chef party last month. We did not have a big turnout, but I completely get that. If you are going to hire a babysitter to go out, chances are you want to be alone with your spouse. But I have a small house and an even smaller kitchen, so the turn out we had allowed all the husbands to participate in the cooking with the PC consultant. Us wives just sat back, learned all about the new tools and went through the new cookbooks. :o) We had such a great time together, we’re entertaining the idea of a cooking club. Not a dinner club, where each family is responsible for a course, but a cooking club, where we all bring the ingredients for an assigned course and cook it together. It would be nice to start something like that with the warmer weather here. We’ll see what happens!

Day Six at Disney – Leaving :o(

I forgot to tell you another thing we did at Epcot in my last post – Turtle Talk with Crush! We went into a small auditorium with the adults sitting on benches and the kids on the floor up front. The screen in the front of the room is supposed to be like the side of an aquarium and you can see the ocean. Then Crush from Finding Nemo swam up to the “glass” and had an interactive conversation with the kids! B was the 1st kid he talked to and he was so excited. It made up for Mike Wazowski not using B’s joke on the Laugh Floor in The Magic Kingdom. Back to day 6…

Our original return flight left Orlando at 8:40pm to allow us at least another half day in a park before leaving. The airline cancelled our flight and put us on one 3 hours earlier. Since we were taking the Disney Magical Express back to the airport, they told us we had to get on the 2:30pm bus. I guess we could have arisen at o-dark-thirty, packed and hightailed it out of there to a park, but we didn’t want to rush and be stressed. Flying out of a busy airport is stressful enough.

So we had breakfast, packed up everything, stored our bags in my parents’ van and checked out. I was worried about the amount we would owe at check-out. Although we had the meal plan, that does not include tip at your sit-down restaurants. Plus, we had charged our souvenirs to the room. We got 2 surprises at check-out. 1) We only had $86 and some change on the room and, 2) my dad had paid that amount for us. He also did the same for my brother. :o)

During the week we had been on all of WDW’s modes of transportation but one – boat. So we went down to the dock behind the resort and got on a boat. We rode to Magic Kingdom and then to The Floridian Resort. We got off there to explore and had lunch. It’s a very nice, resort, but not for me. I think it would be the perfect resort for my ILs to stay at – quiet, elegant. I encountered my one and only rude cast member at The Floridian – a senior citizen working in the gift shop. B was in the restroom with the hubs and I was browsing. I noticed she had a pin lanyard, but it was turned around so that I could not see her pins. B was looking to collect a specific series of pins and I wanted to see if she had any. If so, I would have brought B in there to trade with her. When I asked if I could please see her pins, she responded rudely, “No! Trading is only for CHILDREN!” OK, I did not have a child with me and some of these pins are collectible items and could be worth money, I guess. So, there are probably some adults out there who try to trade to get good ones for themselves or to sell on eBay. But that does not mean I deserved to have her opinion of such people unleashed on me. I told her that I was aware of that, but that my son, who was in another part of the resort, was looking for something specific so I wanted to just SEE what she had. “Oh,” she huffed. “Fine,” and she flipped her lanyard around. Walt would not be happy with her and I wish I had said that to her. I told the hubs about my encounter and he wanted to go in there and give HER a piece of HIS mind. I stopped him. I did not want our vaca to end like that.

We got back on the boat and headed to the Polynesian. Although there was no one on The Floridian’s beach, the Polynesian’s beach and pool area was full of people. We did not get off and explore. We had to get back for our bus. We said goodbye to my family and boarded the bus. The driver was even able to tell us which terminal our return flight would be located. Riding back to the airport was like walking the plank. All of our hearts were heavy b/c we did not want to go.

We got into the long line for Security and slowly shuffled forward with the masses. Than it REALLY hit B that we were going home and he broke down! He started ugly crying and telling us, loudly, he didn’t want to go home and wanted to go back to the hotel. People were staring, but we didn’t care about that; people ALWAYS stare at my little performer. What we were worried about was him drawing Security’s attention and them not letting us through until they were certain we were not kidnapping him. But this was not one of his typical Drama King moments; his heart was genuinely breaking, the adrenaline was finally wearing off and the late nights and exercise was catching up with him. The hubs picked him up and held him while he cried. B just laid his head down on the hubs’ shoulder; my heart melts when any child does that and my boy looked so young and vulnerable just then. *sniff, sniff*

A snowstorm had hit home while we were gone but our friends had taken care of us. We got picked up at the airport and came home to a shoveled out house and the heat turned up!

As a Valentine’s Day surprise, the hubs created photo albums online and had them shipped to us, my parents and my brother. It is our 1st official coffee table book and that is where it will stay! When we get caught up in the hustle and bustle or are having a blah day, we stop, snuggle up on the couch and go through our book to relive the magical memories. And it WAS a magical trip. I will always be thankful for and grateful to the hubs for whatever sacrifices he made to take us to WDW. After B and himself, it was the best present I’ve ever received.

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