Monday, March 30, 2009

More Vacation Pics

These pics are from the less hectic (i.e, NOT Sea World) parts of our vacation. Enjoy these while I go rest up from a fun-filled weekend with my sister and her boys! (Last night wasn't the same without Cash snuggled up next to me. He is a big ol' boy with an even bigger heart and I already miss him tons!)

Road Trip!!! (This is only about 15 minutes in to the trip. The faces got decidedly less enthusiastic at about hour 3.)

The girls on the Riverwalk. Avery is trying to be silly. Reese is just being Reese.

Our hotel room had French doors that opened up onto this balcony area that overlooked the pool. Obviously, the kids liked it. (Not sure the other guests did, though.)
The boys having nachos on the Riverwalk.

The Children's Museum was the best part of our trip. It was also a fraction of the cost of Sea World.

Here's Avery, milking a cow at the museum. Rhett had a hard time keeping his hands off the udder once he figured it out. I don't know how I missed getting a picture of him!
But here he is, "shopping" in the grocery store they have set up in the basement. It was so cute, I didn't want to leave!
There are more pictures, but I have kids screaming at me to pay attention to them. How dare they need food and clean diapers when I have an Internet to surf?
More tomorrow!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

My Sister

My baby sister just saved me from, what was sure to be, an utter and complete mental breakdown. For those of you who don't know, I babysit two babies during the day. Most days it's ok. One of them has problems with digestion and therefore, poops constantly, often soiling her clothes and me. I've gotten used to it though. Oh, who am I kidding? You never get used to that. I bitch about it all the time. But it's become my norm. Now the other baby is on an antibiotic. ANd is pooping, literally, every hour on the hour. Doesn't sound like a problem, but it is. Because he doesn't just poop. It explodes out the top of the diaper, soiling his clothes, the carpet, the exersaucer, my pants, and anything else that happens to be in the vicinity. I've had to change his clothes three times a day for the past three days and frankly, I've had it. Yesterday, I had changed NINE poopy diapers (including Rhett's two) by 1:00 in the afternoon.
Add to all the shit, pardon the pun, that Aaron left town until Saturday and I'm just exhausted. (Did I mention that Avery has had the flu and was home from school these past two days? Day one was fine, yesterday was misery because she was better, therefore whining about being bored and arguing with her sister over everything.)

Ok, so I'm slightly overwhelmed, looking for a break and not seeing one. I actually prayed fervently this morning that I could make it through the rest of the week without yelling, crying or having a nervous breakdown. I needed something to look forward to, to help me get through the rest of this week.

And then, my wonderful sister called. She's going to come visit us this weekend. She and her two boys, Cash and Baby RJ are coming for the weekend, just because! Is this an answered prayer or what? I think so!!!

So, in honor of her graciously saving my sanity and therefore also saving my children's, I give to you my favorite picture of her, ever.
Thanks, Lauren!
(Were you worried it was going to be the librarian pic?)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Sea World (Warning....this is way too long!)

Does anyone remember the part of the movie, Vacation, where everyone is griping and whining and wanting to go home and Clark yells "We're going to have so much f-ing fun on this vacation, we'll have to have plastic surgery to remove the f-ing smiles from our faces!"? I always thought that line was hilarious, but after our day at Sea World, I think I can safely say that I know exactly what Clark was feeling at that exact moment. The day was a disaster and yet, for some odd reason, I kept acting as though the fun was going to begin at any moment and kept telling the kids to chill out and be patient. I was an idiot.

We should have turned around and gone back to the hotel after we got on the service road and saw the line to the entrance. There were at least 100 cars in line, just waiting to turn onto the road that leads to the entrance. But after you've told your kids they are going to Sea World and you've already driven around San Antonio looking for discount tickets (found them at McDonald's after 30 minutes and three different stores), you kind of feel like you have to go. So we waited. The kids were troopers in the car.

We ate breakfast in the car while we waited and, all in all, I was proud of them. They were more patient than I would have thought. Of course, they thought all kinds of excitement was waiting for them. So did I. We were all wrong. All that waited for us behind the gates was, well, more waiting.

Here we are, waiting for Dad to purchase the tickets.

Of course, the tickets we purchased weren't discountable, so the 30 minute search for discount tickets turned out to be more wasted time.

It only took him about 45 minutes in this line. We all had to go potty anyway and the bathroom line was about 20 minutes, so it wasn't like we had anything else to do. Can you see the writing on Avery and Reese's legs? I put their dad's cell phone number just in case they got lost. Don't laugh. I was trying to think of ways to kill time.

After getting in, we headed to the middle of the park. Avery was dying to ride a ride, but we thought it was only fair that Rhett and Reese got to stop at the kiddie area before we got in yet another line.
As you can see, Reese is not a climber. She's really just not that adventurous and was pretty adamant that her dad not force her to climb. But dammit, we were there to have fun and climbing is fun, dammit! So climb that net, dammit! She did and requested that she not have to do it again.
Avery, on the other hand, loved it. She scrambled up and down nets, up in towers, and all over the place. I waited for her while Aaron took the little ones to get in line for one of the kiddie rides. After about 10 minutes, I met up with him. Still waiting in line. I took the girls to the concession stand for some popcorn and Cokes. 20 minutes and $12 later, we had one popcorn and one Coke for the family to share. Aaron was still in line. We realize that Rhett can't ride. He's too little. And he's poopy. So poor Aaron takes him to the bathroom while the girls and I ride. He's still bitter over it. He waited in the long line, only to end up NOT getting to ride the stupid cracked eggs. I keep telling him that he didn't miss anything and that he wouldn't have even fit in the stupid egg, but he's still mad.
In all fairness, we really do seem to be having a good time here, don't we?
Honestly, we were just hamming it up, pretending that this was what we had been waiting on for the last 3 hours.
Five minutes later, we're on the ground again, looking for the next ride, I mean, line. Avery and I head toward the Steel Eel. She's too short. (Thank God, because the wait was over 2 hours.) We head to the Texas Splashdown, a log ride. We all waited for a bit and then Aaron offered to take the little ones to do something else. Avery and I stood in line for about 20 minutes before she said 'How much longer will we have to wait?" I looked up at the sign that said The wait is about 1 1/2 hours from this point, and said "A long time." She said "I don't really want to ride it, Mom. Can we do something else?" Bless her little heart. She was dying to ride. But who wants to wait 2 hours for a log ride? Not me. Luckily, not her either. We found Aaron and the little ones at an Arcade. Which costs more money. But they each won a stuffed animal, so it was definitely worth it. Reese won a penguin the size of Rhett and it was the biggest pain in the ass ever, but she loves it. Here she is, loving it.
This was the look on her face almost the whole time. The rest of the time, it was a full blown cry. The penguin tripped her twice, so she was bleeding before we left the park,but she screamed any time someone else tried to carry it.
Did you notice that her stroller is not the same stroller that Rhett was in earlier? What happened to the other stroller? Funny you should ask....apparently, while Avery and I were in the log ride line, the wheel to our Graco stroller fell off (To be fair to Graco, it's lasted through 3 kids). Aaron kept putting it back on, but it would only stay on for a few rolls before it would come off again. When I met up with him, he was beyond irritated. I thought he was going to lose it. Every time the wheel fell off, and everyone around us would go "Awwwww," as if it was breaking for the first time, his face would get redder and more sweat would start pouring down his face. Finally, after about the 6th wheel-loss, he just stopped. He told everyone to just "SIT DOWN. We are just going to sit here. I need a break." I really was worried. Usually, if someone is going to freak out, it's going to be me. So to see him losing it really alarmed me. I told him "I'm going to the front. Just sit here. They have strollers to rent."
I had a $20 in my pocket and I left him there with the bags, the kids and the busted stroller.
I ran up to the front and saw a "SOLD OUT" sticker on each picture of stroller, double stroller, and wagon. Holy shit. There are no strollers left. I'm a bit panicked. I can't go back to Aaron with nothing.
Then I see a man standing with some little red strollers. I ask him how much to rent one and he says they are $30 to buy. They aren't available to rent. I tell him I have $20 and he responds with, "These cost thirty dollars." I try to explain our situation and he doesn't seem to care. He does, however, point me to the manager. I go over and wait for the manager. He comes over and I immediately start my sob story. "Sir, I only have twenty dollars, but my husband has more and I can bring the rest back to you but our stroller broke and he's freaking out and I can't go back with nothing and we've been here like 4 hours and have done one thing and we're miserable and I need a stroller and I'll bring you the rest and I have three little kids and he's way in the back with them and I just can't go back with nothing can you please help me please please???"

This wonderful, beautiful man then looks at me and says "Ma'am, I'm sorry you're having a bad day. I think I can help you."
He rings up a stroller for half price. $16.74 with tax, to be precise. I seriously grab his hand and tell him I love him. He seems uncomfortable, but I do not care. I won! I got a stroller! I have saved the day!!!

Ok, so I take Aaron the stroller. He is happy. He says "We are back in the game. This is our turning point!" I have saved the day!!! (Did I already say that?)

We leave the Graco stroller by the trash. Aaron had put the wheel back on to keep people from pitying him, but kicked it off again before we left it.

This still makes me laugh. It was all so ridiculous.

And you know what? I didn't save the day. I don't have that kind of power. We went to see the sharks and then the dolphins, which the kids loved. But when I went up to get dolphin food so the girls could feed them, they were out and it was going to be at least 30 more minutes before they got anymore. There was 30 minutes until the next Shamu show and we just decided not to press our luck. We knew there would be an hour line, and only half of the poeple would get in. We felt sure we weren't going to be in that lucky half. So we left. Pissed, hot, tired and hungry.

Never again, we said. But we will. Our tickets are good for a year, so we plan on going back in September and getting our money's worth....and then some.

The best part of this day? Bo and April drove all the way from Kingsville (2.5 hours) to have dinner with us and then drove back.

The second best part of this day? The huge margaritas they have on the Riverwalk.
There should be a Survivor show about amusement parks on Spring Break. If you can make it out with your sanity and any money at all left in your pocket, you win. (We would have been voted off 4 hours in.)

Friday, March 20, 2009

We're Back!

We are back from San Antonio. Actually, we made it back on Wednesday, but I was buried under piles of laundry until last night. And now, I have a cold. I need a vacation from my vacation.
Anyway, I'm here, but sick and tired. Stay tuned for a recap of our Sea World adventure. Horrible. And kind of funny. But really horrible.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

I Married Clark W. Griswold

The thing is, I didn't fully realize it until this morning. You see, we are going on our first "real" family vacation next week. We are driving down to San Antonio to go to Sea World. We'll be there three nights and Clark, I mean, Aaron, is obsessing over it. Last night, at dinner, he was talking about what time we would leave on Sunday morning. He knows I'm not going to want to bust my butt getting the kids up and out of here by 7 a.m. on a Sunday morning, but he was hinting at it. He kept saying "Well, not the crack of dawn or anything, but, you know, I'd like to get a full day in."
Today, I woke up to four emails from him (I get up at 6:45, if that tells you anything about his level of excitement). Each one was a different link to a fun and exciting activity in or around San Antonio. After all, Sea World is only one day and we have three whole days there (four if I don't completely ruin Sunday by sleeping until 8:00.)
His last email said, "Call me." I called him and he started going on and on about how awesome all these things are. Children's Museum, World of Wonder, and of course, the Alamo. He has it all planned. We'll do Sea World on Monday, Children's Museum Tuesday morning and the Alamo Tuesday afternoon. Then, on the way home Wednesday, we'll stop at the World of Wonder cave thingy and wear the kids out. Then they'll sleep and we'll have a quiet ride home. I cannot believe he has an itinerary.
I'm in awe. It's amazing what a man can accomplish when he's excited about something. And, to be honest, I'm kind of turned on by this show of initiative and determination. I'm thinking of putting on some Alamo booby tassles this evening and see what that gets me.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Teddy Bear Parade

To culminate the week-long (or maybe two, I can't keep track) Bear Unit, the Kindergarten classes at Avery's school hold a Teddy Bear Parade. The kids make a float and bring a bear to ride in the float. They then parade all around the school for the older kids. Parents are invited and this year, we all stood outside and watched the parade. It was hysterical, as usual.

Here are the parade leaders. They are obviously older kids. I'm sure it's a huge honor to be able to hold the sign for the Kindergarten Teddy Bear Parade.
(Note: At this point, "Bear Necessities" (the song from The Jungle Book) is playing on the loudspeakers.)

We were instructed to bring bubbles to blow as the paraders paraded, as if it were a wedding procession. Here's Reese, borrowing from a nice lady who noticed that Reese's mommy bought the cheap, dollar store bubbles that didn't blow worth a hoot. Thank goodness for kind strangers.
(Note: Purse and shoes...always.)

And the piece de resistance....Avery Jackson.

The idea obviously came from her dad. And doesn't it show how much I love Avery AND her daddy, that I would allow such a hideous piece of crap to be made in our house? (I don't really think it's hideous, but I hate OU, so I have to say that.) Not just allowed it, in fact. I did all the details...Aaron was in charge of concept and wheels. I was in charge of decor and hot glue. Avery was in charge of the bear and the stickers, basically.
I think it turned out pretty good. She liked it. So do the other kids. Reese is just dying to make one...we may work on that this week, but I guarantee it won't have anything Sooner-ish on it!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Tuna Melt

I think I'll start calling Big Tuna, Tuna Melt instead. I think I've mentioned that he melts my heart. I dare say I love him even more this week. I know it's because I feel sorry for him when he's sick and this week, he's had pneumonia, so he's been extraordinarily sad, needy and therefore, snuggly. But what happened the other night was one of those I'm-so-glad-I'm-a-mommy moments. You know the ones-the ones that make your heart feel as if it will explode right out of your chest if you don't hold your breath. I have to get this one in writing so I never, ever forget it.
So, it's 3:30 a.m. Tuesday night. Rhett is sick with pneumonia and has been waking up every few hours, needing Motrin or Tylenol to get his fever down. It's not like he just enjoys the medicine and goes back to bed. No, you have to turn on the light, measure the meds, fight him for 5 minutes to get it down his throat, clean up the part that he spewed out of his mouth and get the lights back off. I want him to calm down so that, once the Tylenol kicks in, he isn't bouncing off the walls. We lay there, with me rubbing his back, in dark silence for a while until I hear his little voice. He's singing. "Tomorrow" from the movie, Annie. Only he can't really talk much, so it's like "Oo-mah-woe, oo-mah-woe, I wuh woo, oo-mah-woe, uh uh me a day a way." It was such a quite, high pitched little voice. He's so new at the talking thing that his voice still seems to surprise me. He sang for a good 3 minutes until he began to fade off. Today, as I write this, I still get tears in my eyes thinking of his little baby, raspy-from-coughing voice singing "Oo-mah-woe" to me as we lay in bed together.
I hope I never forget that moment...that's why I write these things down. In case I do forget, y'all can remind me!

P.S. Can you also please remind me that, letting Avery sleep with us when she was a baby has been the biggest mistake of our lives so that I won't start to let Rhett sleep with us just so I can hear him serenade me from time to time? Thanks.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Another Sideways Video

Sorry in advance for my horrid, screeching voice...but I had to share this. For years, I've been dying to unload the name Dodi. It's been the source of much heartache and embarrassment most of my life. I have been overjoyed to make the change to Mommy.
Then Tuna comes along....

He does it at least twice a day. Little toot. (Little Toot has pneumonia, by the way. Poor guy...we're off to the doctor for the 2nd time in 2 days now...wish us luck!)