Friday, December 29, 2006

Time sure flies

Wow... we're over halfway done with the trip, and this is the first time when the spirit and flesh were willing to sit and post at the same time! Christmas Day was quite rainy here, but it didn't stop us from riding a bit at the Magic Kingdom.

The next day, we gave ourselves permission to sleep in and recover from the redeye flight of the previous morning. Once we were up and about, we headed for Animal Kingdom. Unfortunately, the new ride my thrill-seekers were hoping to ride (Expedition Everest) was having mechanical difficulties, so they didn't get to try it out. But we did all ride Dinosaur together and the 2 youngest and I were able to catch the new musical show about Finding Nemo. Because we got to the park rather late, the crowds were already picking up and making navigating difficult (not to mention making the lines longer), so we switched parks and went back to the Magic Kingdom again. We were meeting friends there for dinner later, anyway, so needed to go there eventually. After dinner, we rode rides together and then watched the 9pm fireworks show.

Wednesday morning saw us up bright and early and off to Epcot. We were able to meet up with our friends again and ride Soarin' and Test Track together. We did a bit more touring together until they had to leave for their dinner reservations. Here's a picture of us our friends took that day. Note the sweatshirts; we didn't need them too badly afer that day!

The crowds once again were getting thick and heavy by the afternoon and we left there to come back to the room for a bit. My feet were in agony and I was limping along pretty slowly; Brian threatened to get me a scooter for the next day. We wound up staying at the hotel for the rest of the night. I spent the better part of the evening in bed; Brian took the younger kids to the arcade, where they had a blast. They came back loaded down with whoopee cushions and stuffed animals.

Thursday was a much better day. My feet were feeling almost back to normal and walking was no longer a torturous procedure. We went to MGM-Studios and were there for the rope drop shortly before 8am. The crowds were very light. Brian and the big kids headed for the thrill rides (Tower of Terror and Rock 'n Roller Coaster) while I went to Muppetvision 3-D with Halle and Joel. There were about 30 people in the theater for our show. Afterwards, the 3 of us were able to reunite with our friends for a few more rides. Then we split up for a bit and met back at Prime Time Cafe for lunch. It was there that I learned that Emily lost her cell phone on the rollercoaster (never fear... a phone call to Lost and Found today revealed that it was recovered and we can pick it up at our convenience). Shortly after lunch, we decided to head back here for a rest and then off to Downtown Disney for dinner and shopping. While we were there, Emily discovered her room key/charge card was missing. Thankfully, all it took was a phone call to the front desk to get the card deactivated so that no one could make fraudulent charges to our account.

Today we were back at the Magic Kingdom. We got up early and went to the early opening for Disney hotel guests... 7am. Again, we split up; the little'uns and I went to Fantasyland and rode Snow White's Scary Adventures, Peter Pan's Flight, the carousel (twice), Dumbo, and saw Mickey's Philharmagic show. We had all that accomplished before the park opened to regular guests. We met up with the others and rode Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin and then went to Frontierland for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. After that, the boys and I went back to Mickey's Philharmagic, since Noah had never seen it. It was still a walk-on; other rides in other parts of the park were gathering long lines. After meeting up with Brian and the others again, we split up in the usual way. The kids and I rode a couple more rides and then were able to see a Captain Jack Sparrow impersonator, who did a really good job. Joel was conscripted into his service by taking an oath and received a nice little scroll souvenir. After this was over, we had some lunch and then met up with the others to watch the 12:30 parade. Then Halle and I came back to the room while the boys got haircuts at the barber shop on Main Street.

Tonight we are having dinner with friends at Chef Mickey's. We may head into the park again afterwards... or not. Tomorrow is Noah's and Emily's birthday (11 and 15). We'll probably be doing Animal Kingdom again in the morning. We have dinner reservations at Epcot at Le Cellier in the Canada pavilion, then a midnight fireworks cruise on Bay Lake. I'm guessing we'll try to rest up a bit between dinner and fireworks.

I'll try to get some pictures uploaded soon.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Heading out soon

We're outta here in about 2 hours to head to the airport. We're on a sold-out red-eye from Sacramento to Orlando, via Dallas. Let's hope everyone sleeps so we aren't too worn out tomorrow when we get to Orlando. We'll be "doing" Animal Kingdom first, since we won't be arriving at WDW till shortly before noon, and figure it will be the easiest (least crowded) park to get into on Christmas Day.

I'm hoping to be able to post a "picture of the day" at the end of each day; we'll have to see how that pans out. The kids all have new cameras for Christmas so they can take their own pictures of the trip as well. Maybe they can make scrapbooks after we get back.

Hope everyone has a merry Christmas!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Nearly there

Amazingly enough, I was able to get everything wrapped Wednesday night. I got a few things done while Noah and Brian were at his football game (the first one I missed), and then everything else done after dinner. I finished up around 11:00pm. Brian enjoyed an evening on the couch with the kids, playing Playstation and watching TV... something he doesn't usually get to do enough of. There were a few panic moments while wrapping when 2 important gifts couldn't be located. Turned out that when Brian was moving everything from the first hiding spot to the 2nd, he left a couple behind. I was quite relieved... I'm not sure how easy it would have been to find those presents in the store just 5 days before Christmas!

I had another hearing aid checkup yesterday and had more changes to the program... based on my feedback from the last couple weeks of use, the technician changed the algorithm they were using to process the sounds. What a difference! She even gave me a program I can use to help cut down the piercing quality my kids' voices tend to have (they have probably been talking so loudly all these years to make up for me not hearing them... it will take a while for them to learn to speak at a normal volume).

Today Emily has a 1/2 day at school. We have a few errands to run in the morning (stock up on batteries from Sam's/Costcos, dog treats from PetSmart), then friends are coming by in the afternoon to pick up the rat so they can watch her while we're gone to Florida. Afterwards, we will probably take in the new Night at the Museum movie.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Whittling away at the list

So now that the baking is done (btw, Joel says I make "great" snickerdoodles), I need to move on to the next thing on the list: gift wrapping. This is an especially urgent detail, seeing as how we are "doing Christmas" a couple of days early. Regular readers might remember that we are spending the holidays at Walt Disney World... we fly out at 0 dark 30 Christmas morning. So in order to give the kids a chance to enjoy their gifts before we leave, Santa will be coming Friday night so that the kids may open presents Saturday morning. So far, nothing is wrapped. I'm hoping to get most of it done tonight. Thankfully we kept things simpler this year than in years past, but I still have 4 kids to wrap for, so it will still take a little time to accomplish the task.

Saturday has the potential to be a bit hectic... I have to take the dog to the kennel, Noah has a football game, and I have a hair appointment in the afternoon. Then of course we'll be getting started on the packing for the trip. Orlando in December is always tricky... the days can be quite pleasant, but the evenings might be downright chilly! Or it could be cool the entire day/night.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Do you smell what I smell?

I have spent the better part of today making cookies. I started off the day mixing up dough for Candy Cane Cookies. This dough has to be divided in half and one of the halves is colored red. Then it must chill before being rolled into ropes and twisted together, baked, then brushed with egg white and sprinkled with a sugar/crushed peppermint candy mixture. After I mixed that dough, I made Monster Cookies. The name comes from the fact that the traditional way to make them is by using an ice cream scoop of dough for each cookie... hence you get a "monster"-sized cookie. I made more normal-sized ones, which meant I was making/baking until about 2:30 this afternoon. The main ingredients in these cookies are eggs, butter, peanut butter, m&ms, chocolate chips, and oatmeal. I wound up with somewhere between 10-12 dozen of these.

I started "assembling" the candy cane cookies in the late afternoon. I only made around 4-5 dozen of them, but it is a little tedious, so took a while. I had to finish up after dinner. Then I baked them, taking the last batch out around 8. I just finished cleaning up the kitchen a little while ago.

Tomorrow I plan to make Snickerdoodles. Those are one of Brian's favorite cookies, and ones that the kids all like as well. After those are done, I'd just like to pass out for a couple of days...

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Things to think about... and a little fun

I've come across some interesting things this week related to Christmas. One has to do with the whole Santa thing. Shaun Groves wrote an interesting "interview with himself" regarding why and how he and his wife "slayed Santa". As the parent of 4, only one of which still believes, I find it really thought-provoking and wish I'd heard of something like this sooner.

And then there is this video entitled Christmas and Capitalism: 1st Christmas in America. The young boys in it are missionary children who were born in Africa and had never experienced an American Christmas before.

Sure makes you think, doesn't it?
And a little fun I found at Beaner's: Elf Yourself!

Monday, December 11, 2006

I'm still here

We just kept busy over the weekend... Friday night, Halle spent the night with a friend and the boys and I went to see Unaccompanied Minors. We enjoyed it; it was surprisingly better than I expected it to be. Then Noah had a football game Saturday (they won!) and we had to meet Halle and her friend's family to get her and her things back home. We spent part of Saturday night getting the house picked up, cleaning the kitchen, doing laundry... Then Sunday was church, and we were blessed to get to spend time with some friends who came over to hang out. Each of the 3 younger kids had someone his/her age to play with, and I had adult conversation. What could be better??

Today was filled with more laundry and redoing a lot of the housework I did on Saturday. The kids and I also had to get out and meet someone from church to give her some Christmas cards Emily had signed for her. She hired Em to sign cards for her Mary Kay customers and stuff them in envelopes. We got home from doing that just a half-hour before time to head out to pick Emily up from school. Then Halle and Joel both had gymnastics.

Brian is on his way home from St. Louis (according to the airline's website, his plane is taxiing to the gate right now). He was able to accomplish quite a bit while he was there... getting his mother's things out of the house she was sharing with her ex-husband (looooong story there; suffice it to say it was one of many bad choices made), having powers of attorney drawn up for medical/financial decisions, decorating his mom's room for Christmas... He will probably tell about his trip on his blog when he has time; I feel like it is his story to tell, since it is his mom and his family.

Tomorrow night we have Emily's school's choir Christmas concert. There will be the middle school and high school choirs performing. It's no ordinary concert, though... they will be serving dessert. We have to buy tickets at $15 a pop for adults, $10 for students. Ouch! I wonder how many other private schools charge for choir concerts?

Friday, December 08, 2006

I promised

So I really should be cleaning house, but before I do, here is the fun stuff I promised.

While browsing The Disney Blog the other day, I found this YouTube gem:

Interesting parodies of the Mac/PC commercials here. I find them quite amusing, although I do have mixed feelings.

And lastly, for a little holiday mirth... a little something Emily and I heard on XMas Special 107 (XM Radio) yesterday morning. Hear it in streaming audio if you go here) I'd give it a PG13 rating.

Buttcracker Suite

(Parody of Nutcracker Suite)

“Thong March”

What a delightful gift idea
Magical shorts that disappear
Buy your loved one this noel
The kind of gift you can’t resell
Because it kind of smells
If someone else has tried it on

You could be dancing cheek to cheek
Wiggle the string play hide and seek
Buy your workmate or your boss
The proctologic dental floss
That really works a hair across
His astronomic bum

“Dance of the Plumber Fairy”

See the repair man go
Tink-a-tink, tink-a-tink, tink-a-tink
Working on the sink
Bending way down low
See the big tool belt go
Slippy-slip, slippy-slip, slippy-slip
Sliding down his hip
Say it isn’t so
See the rear cleavage go
Peek-a-boo, peek-a-boo, peek-a-boo
Cheekie sneaking through

See ya at so ‘n so
See the plumber
Doesn’t even show
What a bummer
Get a dial tone
Called a number
On the telephone
Hire someone else

“Wedgie Dance”

Spin around and stretch and lunge
And Leap!
Do a kick and shake your buns
And fix those wedgies everyone
Let’s go!

Double dip and somersault
Then Split!
Shuffle back and twist and fall
And fix those wedgies
Fix those wedgies
Let’s go people
Fix those wedgies

Cracks are flyin’ just keep pryin’
And pull
Pull hard!
And pull
Pull hard!
And pull
Pull hard those leotards!

“Waltz of the Buttcrackers”

Please just say no to crack
When you spot butt crack attack
You can see a trucker change a tire
Or a cable worker fix a wire
Let him know his bottom line is looking out
Somehow you don’t admire it

So everybody please just say no to crack
Give all those crack backs a sack
If you see a plumber show a breach
Or a tubby hubby on a beach
Sneak right up behind his back and strike a match and drop the burning sulfur right between his cheeks

Because as sure as pants and men surround us
Cracks are all around us
Slacks fall to the ground as
Miles and miles of spoil going up and down

Don’t be unbound near a crowd get a grip
Fix your drawers
Every Fall ride along take ‘em back
To the stores

Show some class and hide that massive astronomic butt crack

Get in the truck
Cover the crack
Gimme the thong
Hurry along

Buttcracker’s joys are sweet

Thursday, December 07, 2006


Brian is in MO now... he flew out early this morning (12:30 a.m.) to be with his mom and siblings as his mom gets accustomed to her new living situation. They have placed her in a skilled nursing facility (why does that sound better than "nursing home"?) and right now, she doesn't realize that this will probably not be a short term arrangement. However, they aren't going to let her know this at this point, so she'll be more motivated to work with her therapists.

Basically she only has the use of her right arm at this time. The stroke took out her left side. She needs help to even sit up in bed. Time will tell if she'll regain any function, but considering her history and her MS...

Tomorrow I'll post something fun. We need some humor around here now!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

And now it begins

Brian's mom had a stroke last night. We don't know a whole lot yet, other than it has affected her left side, the side that used to be her best side (she has multiple sclerosis and her right leg was pretty much shot before this). She can't move her left leg or arm, but can wiggle her toes on her left foot. Her left face droops and her speech is slurred, but Brian was able to understand her on the phone last night. His brother and sister both live in the area, so they are handling things for now. He may have to head back there this weekend.

All this comes after he and his mom had been discussing the need for her to find a new living situation... some place that could offer her assistance and care. I suppose this rather forces her hand. We were hoping to be able to get plans in place ahead of time and not because a crisis had occurred. Not to be, I suppose.

Prayers are appreciated.

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