Thursday, March 29, 2007

I'm still pretty discombobulated these days so it's been hard for me to form a coherent thought, let alone a post. But here's what's new here - for the 4 or 5 of you who still read my blog.

I volunteer with my church's RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) program, which pretty much spans the school year. It starts in late Aug/early Sept and runs through May. We meet one evening a week with adults who are interesting in converting to the Catholic faith, and those who may have been baptized but have not received the sacraments of communion and confirmation. I really enjoy it, having gone through the RCIA process myself in 1999-2000. (I've volunteered every year since, because it's fulfilling, plus I still feel I have a lot to learn.) This year's group is wonderful, but something has just felt 'off.' I can't really put my finger on it, but for the first time in seven years, I'm actually looking forward to the end of the process. I can't really explain why I feel that way. As I said, the people coming into our faith are amazing folks. Without going into too much detail, we had two new volunteers with our team who had some concerns, but rather than bring their concerns to the team, or two the clergy who lead the team, they took another approach and it caused a bit of drama. They've long since left the team, but things linger. I don't think their intentions were mean-spirited but nor do I think they took the best approach. I honestly don't believe the folks who will be receiving their sacraments at Easter Vigil are even aware of what happened. I get the sense that they feel this has been a positive experience - that's the way it should be.

Son #1 has been pushing my buttons lately. As I've mentioned previously, he's wicked-smart but 'young' for his age. He has been behaving impulsively in the past week - certainly not in an age appropriate manner. This could be related to his ADHD, but there's a teeny part of me who wonders whether it's something more. He has a checkup on April 12 with his regular doctor and I'll discuss my concerns with him then. He also has a check up with his ADHD doctor in May, so I'll have another opportunity at that time. He's a very sweet boy, but socially awkward. His interactions with people are usually limited to his 1) attempts to educate them - he has near-encyclopedic knowledge on several subjects, or 2) his correcting them. He doesn't mean to be disrespectul, but he doesn't seem to get that adults are not his peers and should not be spoken to as such (unless invited to do so).

Also, he's speech impaired so his voice doesn't have the typical range of tones or inflection. As a result, he's unaware that he often has a pissy tone. Also, the kid does not know how to whisper. I'm serious. He'll equate talking low with whispering. I try to tell him that when he's doing in vocalizing. When I whisper, I'm not using my voice. He should be familiar with the concept because he's had 7 years (and counting) of speech therapy. For example, take "f" and "v". They make similar sounds, but the "v" is voiced, the "f" is not. This is only an issue really when he has questions during Mass. Yikes!

Son #2 is doing well, but he has organizational issues at school. He'll do a homework assignment and forget to turn it it. The teacher doesn't accept late assignments for partial credit because - gee, we're in the Big Leagues (4th grade)! :-(

Son #3 is as much a handful as ever. I'm still having a hard time accepting that he'll be going to kindergarten full time in the fall. What will I do with myself then?

One plus note: I joined Weight Watchers a few weeks back and have lost 7.4 pounds so far. Woo Hoo! Of course, I'm hungry and grumpy, but soon, I'll be hungry, grumpy and skinny!

Irreverent Thought of the Day: I'm not a complete idiot -- Some parts are missing.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Spring Cleaning

There's not much to blog about these days. I've been doing a little spring cleaning. Weekend before last, I sanded, primed, and painted our door frame (it was peeling terribly). This past weekend, we borrowed a friend's pressure washer and cleaned our exterior siding. I plan to buy my own pressure washer but now I can put that off another 9-12 months. I also know, thanks to my neighbor, what type of pressure washer (how much psi, for example) I want.

My sister-in-law loaned us her little inexpensive pressure washer once, but honestly, I could spit with more force than that thing generated.

We're considering replacing our front door (which is steel and rusting slightly). Of course, this will mean we'll have to rip up all that newly painted moulding that I worked so hard on weekend before last. Clearly I do not have a well thought out plan.

Gardening is up next. There's a nursery that will help me come up with a plan if I bring them measurements and photos of my garden space.

Meanwhile all is quiet between Son #1 and Bully. Hope it stays that way.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Some General Updates/Ramblings

Not much is going on these days, which is why I've been slow to blog. The older two boys are having standardized tests at school this week so things have been pretty quiet (no homework). Son #2 is in the 4th grade and his test is a "high stakes" test instituted several years ago to allegedly improve the state school system and increase accountability. Basically, it doesn't matter if you're a straight-A student. If you don't meet the minimum score on the test, you do not advance to the next grade level (you would have the opportunity to re-take the test in the summer). I'm not sure how effective the test is, though. I haven't heard of an excellent student not passing the test - I'm pretty sure someone would've sued to challenge the law if that had happened. But still. I'm sure Son #2 will do just fine.

Son #1 has an uneasy truce with the Bully, who has not, by the way, apologized. Son #1 just tries to keep his distance whenever possible but it does create for an awkward recess. Son #1, his best friend and the bully all used to hang out together. So now when Son #1 is hanging out with Best Friend and Bully joins them, my son excuses himself and leaves. That hardly seems fair to me and I told him so. He said that his teacher said he and Bully shouldn't be around one another. True. But I explained to Son #1 that he should always be the one to leave. Sometimes he should just say, "We're not supposed to be around each other. Best Friend and I are talking right now, come back another time." Of course, we don't want to put Best Friend in the position of having to choose.

Father-in-law spent the night in the hospital Tuesday. He went in for some more stents in his coronary arteries, but had a minor complication. All is well now but he'll have to go back for one more stent in a few weeks. I was able to spring him from the hospital yesterday. Today Son #3 and I are taking him out for lunch.

As for me, I've lost 5 pounds in my first two weeks of Weight Watchers.

Not much else is new here. I'll post again soon.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Bullies are Mean People

I saw that on a t-shirt once. Well, duh! Unfortunately, Son #1 - who as I mentioned before, might be considered an easy target - seems to have attracted a bully. This kid has been in his class since the 4th grade (they're in 6th now). All through 4th and 5th grade, this kid would tease Son #1 - name calling, mimicry, etc.

Last summer Son #1 told me that he hoped Bully wouldn't be in his class again this year. Since they're both in the inclusion program, I told him that in all likelihood they would be in the same class again but to keep an open mind because people sometimes mature over the summer.

And that seemed to be the case. Son #1 and Former Bully actually became friends. Son #1 was invited to Former Bully's birthday party last fall (click here to read about it).

Last Thursday, I get a call from Bully's mom (he's no longer "former" - read on) asking whether Son #1 mentioned what happened at school that day. Um, no. It seem's Bully's mom received a note from the principal regarding an incident between Bully and Son #1. Bully wasn't forthcoming with info, however. Neither was my kid, apparently.

I asked Son #1 about it and he explained that out of the blue three weeks ago, Bully starts slapping my son when no adult is looking. Does Son #1 speak out? No. Why not, I asked? He was hoping Bully would stop. Not a great strategy, I remind him. Anyway, it seems that Son #1 finally had enough and started hitting back whenever Bully would hit him. Gym teacher sent them to the office. Fortunately Son #1 didn't get in trouble for his role and we talked - again - about the difference between defending oneself from harm and retaliating. We had this conversation a couple of months ago. Click here to learn more about that.

I sent a note to the teacher asking that Son #1 and Bully be separated - alphabetically, Bully comes right before Son #1. That could be a problem.

Sigh. Just (sigh....).

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Busy and Scattered

That pretty much sums up my mind this week. I've been keeping busy running errands during the day. Most evenings have been consumed with outside activities. And when I do have time to blog, my mind is so scattered* that I can't seem to form a coherent thought. Nevertheless, I shall try....

This week, I've been on a "quest." You know how it is when you're looking to buy something and you have the perfect thing in mind....but you've never actually seen said item in any store, catalog, website? Yeah, that's a quest. Anyway, I have an eat-in kitchen that has a small nook (approx. 58 inches wide and 27 inches deep) which currently houses my inexpensive computer armoire. The advantage of the armoire: it hides clutter. The disadvantage of the armoire: I think it actually encourages more clutter. Seriously, if we don't know where to put something, someone just tosses it into the armoire, which makes getting to my computer difficult. I'm not a fan of clutter, but I'm a pretty big contributer.

Anyway, the armoire is starting to look icky so I thought it might be nice to replace it with a desk. Of course, I'll need decorative storage boxes and trays for all the stuff we really do want to keep, but that's a quest for another day. Oh, and I'll splurge on a flat screen monitor for my p.c. But back to the desk idea....(see, I told you my brain is scattered this week). Every one I've liked is either 48" (which would leave a 10" gap of wasted space) or 60" (too wide). So I went to Lowe's on Monday to see what it would cost to create a built-in unit - we could match the drawers to my oak cabinets and the desktop surface could be matched to my kitchen countertops. Advantage: it would fit the space perfectly since it would be custom installed. Disadvantage: it lacks pizzazz. (Aside from Lowe's, on Monday evening, I took Son #2 to baseball evaluations an ended up working the registration table.)

On Tuesday, I stop by the furniture store (no, not the same one that was responsible for the sofa fiasco). Nothing on the showroom floor appealed to me so I looked through the books. Voila! There is was: a 56"X27" deep computer desk (keyboard drawer, CPU cabinet). It's black with a cherry top so it should coordinate nicely with my dining set (also black & cherry - although it looks like oak). A little pricey, but not outside my budget. I tell the salesguy I need to discuss it with Dear Hubby (who could not care less) so Sales Guy gives me the company's website so I could send the link to Dear Hubby and he can view pictures. That afternoon at home, I couldn't find this particular line on the furniture manufacturer's website. I just knew the line had been discontinued. I call Sales Guy who left a message for the company's rep and said he'd get back to me. (Tuesday evening, I volunteer with a ministry at our church.)

Wednesday. Weight Watchers meeting. I lost 3.4 lbs. Lunch with my friends, Sandie and Dee. I probably gained 5 lbs. (kidding.) Sales Guy calls my cell phone and tells me that yes, the line has been discontinued. Sigh... A little while later, he leaves a message on my cell phone telling me that the manufacturer's rep called back and that, although discontinued, there are a few desks left. After lunch, I go back to the furniture store to place my order and put down my deposit. I'm not going to get excited until I get the call that the desk has arrived. (Wednesday night, I teach 4th grade religion at the church, plus Dear Hubby and I had another meeting at the church afterwards.)

Today, Thursday, was grocery day. I hate grocery shopping. I go every other Thursday on Dear Hubby's payday. Either tonight or tomorrow afternoon, I'll have to bring Son #1 to the grocery store. He'll meet another Boy Scout there and together they'll shop for this weekend's camping trip. (One of the scout advancement requirements is that each boy needs to plan a menu for a campout, buy the food and prepare one meal. Son #1 is working on this.) He and Dear Hubby will go camping Saturday. Also, both dogs are going to the vet tomorrow for their annual checkups/shots. Sons #1 & 2 do not have school tomorrow because it is the end of the grading period.

Oh, something fun on Friday night: Dear Hubby, Son #1 and I are attending our District PTA Awards Dinner at which Son #1 will receive an Award of Excellence for a PTA-sponsored essay contest! His essay advanced on to the state level where he won an Award of Merit (one step lower than an Award of Excellence, but still awesome!). We're invited to that Awards Banquet as well, but it's about a 2.5 hour drive in May and I'm not sure we'll attend. They'll mail his award if we don't.

* regarding my scattered mind, I am an adult (well, that's debatable) with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (that part is not debatable).

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Well, That Was Quick!

Just a quick update. I may have mentioned - if not in a blog post, then in my comments to some of you - that we received contradictory discharge papers from the ER re: Son #3's sutures. One sheet said to have the stitches removed in 7-10 days (that's also what the ER doc said). Another sheet said the stitches should remain in "no longer than 5 days." The pediatrician's office said 3-5 days.

I dunno, 3-5 days just seemed kind of short, but his chin is healing really, really well. We made an appointment to see the doc today (yes, it's Saturday, but that's when they suggested we come in). He said it would be fine to removed the stitches today so we did.

Again, Son #3 (who generally isn't very cooperative) was amazing. It didn't hurt him at all - an advantage to taking them out sooner, rather than later. We're instructed to keep it covered with a bandaid a while longer, primarily to protect it from being bumped.

Apparently, according to the doc, there's less scarring if the sutures are removed within 5 days, rather than leaving them in for 10. If the wound isn't quite healed, they'll often remove the sutures and replace them with Steri-Strips (butterfly tape) for another week. Son #3 didn't need that.

Poor fella will have to find some other way to milk some sympathy.

Hey, look, I invented an "emoticon" of Son #3's Boo Boo:


Boo! That's a bad one, I know.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

A Nice, Not Too Exciting Day...

I had plans, really I did. I was going to head over to my local Weight Watchers plan and - gulp! - join. That was until my friend, Sandie, called and asked if I was free today. Sure, Sandie. Diet dodged yet another day...

Sandie heard a commercial on TV about a garden show in a town about 40 miles away. Son #3 and I were game, so I picked Sandie up and we set out in my mom-mobile. It wasn't until we arrived at the site and noticed that there weren't any directional signs at the roadside - the commercial said "follow the signs." As we got closer to our destination, there was one teeny sign that said,

"Join us for Spring Garden Day
Saturday, March 10, 2007"

Uh, Sandie, you didn't hear the entire commercial did you? Did I mention that, although not formally diagnosed, this woman has ADHD worse than I do?! No biggie, though. We drive to the next town over and visit a nursery there. (At this point, I was not going home plant-less.) I bought a few things, Sandie bought a few things. You'd never know we were two days early for the garden show. :-)

I liked the nursery. The employees were attentive and helpful. When I told them that I love gardening, but I lack a plan, they suggested that I bring in photos of my garden, and measurements, and they'll help me come up with a plan. Even after I pointed out that I only buy plants a few at a time (read: don't expect me to spend hundreds of dollars at one time).

I made it home in time to plant my new purchases, and take Son #1&2 to the dentist (perfect checkups).

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Five Stitches

Tuesday evenings are pretty busy for our family. I volunteer with my church's RCIA ministry, Son #1 has his Boy Scout troop meeting (also at our church), and Dear Hubby sometimes has his Cub Scout committee meetings at church. Dear Hubby's committee didn't meet this week so we rode together and he took all three boys to Son #1's Boy Scout meeting.

Somehow walking to the meeting place, some scout accidentally bumped into Son #3, who fell on the concrete. He got up complaining that his knee hurt. Okay, so why is blood spewing from his chin? Dear Hubby takes him into the bathroom, gets a wet paper towel, cleans the boo boo and tries to assess the damage. Son #3 wanted nothing of it.

Dear Hubby brings Son #3, now holding a wad of wet paper towels uner his chin, to my meeting to get my opinion. Hard to tell how bad the cut is because of the initial swelling, but we come up with a plan.

The Boy Scout meeting was an important one - they were planning which merit badge classes to take at Summer Camp in June. As for my meeting, they could manage without me. I called Father-in-Law to see if he could pick Dear Hubby, and Sons #1&2 up when their meeting ends. He can.

I take the van and drive Son #3 to the emergency room. We check in with admitting, Son #3 balked at the hospital bracelet (I later snuck it on him when he wasn't paying attention), we met with the triage nurse who promised he wouldn't touch the boo boo. He was just going to take a look. "Oh yeah," he said. I knew what that meant, and we were escorted to Room 8.

We waited a little while, checking out the smiley/frowny pain indicator poster (Son #3 said he was at 6 earlier, but he's at 4 now). Dr. Luis comes in, assesses Son #3, and informs me of our options. The traditional, fast-acting shot to numb the area, or this blue gel applied topically that works well on deeper wounds like Son #3's. It takes about 45 minutes to completely numb it.

I had 3 stitches in my knee when I was about 8 and I still remember that first needle. YIKES! Blue gel it is. Dr. Luis soaks a cotton ball and tapes it to Son#3's chin. It burned initially but not for long. We settled into our 45 minute wait. The clock in Room 8 was broken. I sat on the bed leaning against the wall, Son #3 laid in the bed with his legs across my lap. I check out the knee that hurt so badly at first - a teeny brush burn about the size of a pencil eraser.

It was around 10 pm when Dr. Luis returned. He took this little needle and poked Son #3 in the boo boo. "Feel that?" "No." "Feel that?" "No." I was checking out that smiley poster again.
Dr. Luis showed Son #3 the special scissors used only to cut thread, and the thread itself. You couldn't even see the tiny curved needle attached if you weren't looking for it. Dr. Luis gets to work - again I'm memorizing the smiley poster. For a while, it seemed like Son #3 was dozing off, propped up on the squashy pillow he liked, eyes closed, obviously feeling no pain... I held his hand the entire time, peeking only occasionally. Son #3 didn't flinch at all. I did once or twice.

Son #3 was so brave and so good. He's generally pretty stubborn so I was surprised at how cooperative it was. Medicine sure has advanced since I was 8.

He's the first of my kids to require stitches (he needed 5). He's also the first to have any type of surgery (adenoidectomy). Son #1 holds the record for first limb broken (an arm). Ah, life with boys....

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Good-Bye, Disney! - Saturday, Feb. 24

At last, it's time to say goodbye to Mickey and Company. We woke early, packed our suitcases, loaded the minivan and drove from the building where our room was all the way around to the hotel lobby. It was on that half-mile drive that Son #3 became car sick. Lovely. Never a good thing, but we were getting ready to embark on a ten-hour road trip.

I went into the hotel's gift shop and requested three empty plastic bags (those Disney bags are pretty thick). Each boy had their "Bag of Fun" (toys, books, etc.) and their "Bag of Not Fun" (just in case...).

Those of us that were able, ate breakfast at the hotel. Son #3 was very tired (as his oldest brother was a couple of days earlier) so he just napped.

The drive home, fortunately, was uneventful. After a few hours it was clear that Son #3 was feeling better when he started asking for donuts and rootbeer (um, that's enough to make me sick and I don't have the bug!)

Approximately, one hour before we arrived home, Son #2 started feeling nauseated. The serious stuff didn't start until after we got home, though (thankfully). He slept most of the following day (Sunday, Feb. 25).

I registered Son #3 for T-ball today. We had been debating about it. I'm not sure he's - shall we say - compliant enough. Heck, he barely listens to Dear Hubby and me, so what makes us think he'll listen to a coach? Still, I thought it might be a nice opportunity for him to interact with kids his own age, before actually starting school in August. Son #3 is looking forward to playing ball, like his brother (Son #2). Games start next month.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Disney - Friday, Feb. 23 (Day 6)

Don't worry folks - not too much more Disney talk! Just bear with me for another day or so. (Besides, it beat the heck out of what's happening these days: norovirus. Ick. No need to elaborate.)

I was up late the previous night with Son #3, who had, uh, stomach issues. Can someone explain to me why there were *FIVE* people in the hotel room, but I was the only one who hear Son #3 say, "Mommy, I have to poo - NOW!" Everyone else slept through the ordeal. I'll let the other kids slide, but Dear Hubby paid. I woke him early, handed him a plastic bag, a few one dollar bills and informed him that he'll be having breakfast (a cereal bar) in the hotel's laundry room (thank goodness there *was* a laundry room. whew!). Enough said.

By the time the laundry was finished, the kids fed and dressed, and we ascertained that everyone was feeling great, we decided to go back to Animal Kingdom since we didn't stay long the day prior. (We blamed the previous night's incident on the change in Son #3's diet - that turned out to be wrong, but we wouldn't realize it for another day or two).

Anyhoo...we had a great time at Animal Kingdom. We arrived around 10:30 and checked out the message board that gives an idea of how long of wait time you'll have in line at certain attractions and what time the Fast Pass is issuing tickets for. Dear Hubby and Son #1 really wanted to ride the Expedition Everest rollercoaster, but the earliest the Fast Passes were being distributed were for 2:30 in the afternoon. Somedays it just pays to get their earlier!
The standby time for Expedition Everest (if you wanted to wait in the regular line) was 60 minutes, but past experience has taught us that is usually an over-estimation. Son #1 and Dear Hubby decided to wait in line. Sons #2&3 and I had a snack, then decided to the Maharajeh Trek, where you can view exotic animals, such as giant bats (the size of my cat!), a komodo dragon, tigers, wild birds etc.
We hadn't gone far on the trek, when Dear Hubby called my cell phone to tell me that they had finished their ride and loved it. (I strongly recommend bringing cell phones to Disney, especially if your family is like mine: small kid pluse older, more adventurous kids. This way we didn't waste a lot of time just hanging around waiting to meet up with the rest of our family.)
Here's Son #1 by a prayer tree. Certain cultures in India would hang little bells or bottles on the tree to represent prayers. The ribbons and scarves represent prayers answered. It sounded more interesting the way the guide explained it.

Below is a photo of all of my guys by the Tree of Life. Can you see the animals carved in the wood?

We walked to another section of the park (Asia, I think) and took a train ride to the Africa section. We visited some conservation exhibits - my kids want to build a bat house in our back yard, thanks, Walt Disney! - and the Affection Section petting zoo, which was a little disappointing (our local zoo has a better petting area).

For some reason, we didn't go on the safari ride that I wanted to go on. I think we were getting tired and hungry - once fed, we forgot about it. After lunch, we had a snack. Check out the size of these pretzels. It looked like it snowed around the bench where we sat eating these, because we kept flicking the salt off.

Friday evening, we returned to Downtown Disney to eat at Cap'n Jack's restaurant. I had the two lobster tail dinner (it was on our meal plan!), Dear Hubby and Son #1 (who at age 11 is considered an 'adult') had the option of adding one lobster tail to their meal at no additional charge. Thanks to Son #1, I had 2 and three-quarters lobster tails. All was going on well until Son #3 became ill. It's a small consolation that he was discreet about it (on the plate, we put the napkin on top). But still....we got dessert "to go."

Back to the hotel and to bed for all.


We had a nice weekend. We celebrated my birthday and my brother-in-law's with Dear Hubby's family. Lunch, followed by cake, ice cream and gifts at my father-in-law's house. It's a tradition. Yesterday was relaxing. Today, Son #3 is back at it (tummy trouble again). He's feeling okay though, but has a poor appetite. As for me, still hanging in there.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Disney - Thursday, Feb. 22 (Day 5)

Uh oh! Son #1 woke up sick this morning. After some time in the bathroom (ahem, I'm trying to avoid giving too much info), he said he felt much better so against my better judgment we took the bus to the Animal Kingdom theme park. Sons #2&3 and I went to "It's Tough To Be A Bug" - a 3D movie, while Son #1 and Dear Hubby waited on a bench. The fact that Son #1 - who normally operates at warp speed - was settling in for a nap on the bench told us it was time to go back to the hotel.

But that's okay. Our plans were flexible because we had built in a free day to shop, re-visit a favorite attraction, etc. We simply made Thursday our free day, and re-scheduled Animal Kingdom for Friday.

We went back to the hotel so Son #1 could rest. Quite a bit later, when he really was feeling better, we took the water taxi to Downtown Disney to do our shopping. I wanted to buy something for the folks who were looking after our pets while we were on vacation (a cute blue and white Mickey Mouse tea set for one for Amy, and a Jack Skellington baseball cap for Adam). Dear Hubby bought a baseball cap for himself and a set of Mickey Mouse ears for Son #3 which his name embroidered on the back (see above photo). I wanted a pair when I was little but for some reason didn't get them. I love that I have a kid young enough to appreciate them (a week later, he's still wearing them). I thought Sons #1&2 were too old for mouse ears (they're 11 and 9, respectively), but they decided that they wanted a set too so I relented. I didn't spend as much on theirs since they're not personalized.
For myself, I picked out this little canvas messenger-type bag with the Mickey Mouse crest on it - I thought it would be perfect for chaperoning field trips, once compartment for the camera, another for a few necessities, but not too big.

Son #3 fell in love with some Star Wars toys at the MGM gift shop and I was happy to find the same stuff in a Downtown Disney shop. Sons #1&2 spent their money at the Lego Store. Son #2 bought a Bionicle that hasn't been released to the regular retail stores yet. He also bought a Star Wars Lego set. (A Downtown Disney employee told me that almost anything we'd see at the theme park gift shops can be found at Downtown Disney. Good info to know if any of you are planning a trip.)

Check out the T-Rex made completely of Lego building bricks, and thankfully glued together:

Son #1 opted to spend his money on some custom Lego items. There was one station where you could build three Lego people (one head, one torso which includes arms, one set of legs, and one accessory - either hair, hat, tool, weapon). When you're finished, you put your three people on a little Lego strip and tuck them in a plastic pouch hanging on a lanyard. It was a little expensive, but Son #1 made a Boy Scout version on himself (the face even had glasses).

Next up was the custom Lego set. You choose a cup (approx. $6.95 for small, $12.95 for large) and fill it with as many pieces as you can fit, selecting from bins on the wall. The selection was great, and it afforded Son #1 the opportunity to get some harder-to-find pieces that he might not have gotten with his numerous collections.

Here's a photo of Son #2 with a statue of Buzz Lightyear. We have an expression in our house. When we saying someone is "pushing our buttons," it means they are annoying us. Here he's demonstrating that he, indeed, knows how to push buttons (mostly Son #3's).

After we finished shopping, we returned to the hotel, ate dinner, and called it a day.

Dear Hubby was feeling better so he went to work today. Son #3 and I went to the recreation district park to register Son #2 for baseball, and discovered that Son #3 is old enough to play T-ball this year. Registration deadline is Tuesday so we have time to decide. Next, we stopped at Baskin Robbins for an ice cream cone, then Lowe's to buy a gift card for my brother-in-law's birthday, picked up lunch, then home to tidy up the house.

So far - knock wood - I've avoided the cooties that have otherwise invaded the household. I've been feeling just a tad less than my usual self, but that's it. This weekend we'll celebrate my birthday and

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Disney - Wednesday, Feb. 21 (Day 4)

This is how our day started. I'm not kidding. We woked to find Son #2 like this - sound asleep. How goofy is that?? Fortunately he doesn't do this at home: he sleeps in the top bunk.

We all got ready and then took the bus to....

Epcot! It was pretty nice, but the least favorite of the theme parks we visited all week. I was a little disappointed because I expected to enjoy it more than I did. It was fine, worth seeing, but just not as much fun as the others (in my opinion).

Dear Hubby and the older two boys rode Mission Space while Son #3 and I visited The Seas with Nemo & Friends (part ride/part movie). Below is a photo of Son #1, Son #2 and Son #3 in front of Nemo and Friends ("Finding Nemo" is a favorite movie in our house). Son #2 is holding an astronaut Mickey. Sons #1 and #3 selected Jedi Mickey from the MGM park on Monday.

Just beyond the area in the above photo is the Nemo attraction (part ride/part movie), a fish themed gift shop and a 5 million+ gallon two-story aquarium. There was also this shark learning center. Below is a photo of the boys with Bruce (also from "Finding Nemo") Repeat after me, Bruce, kids are friends, not food!

We ate lunch at the Coral Reef restaurant, which was really neat because every table had a great view of the aquarium I mentioned above. Fish, a squid, a giant sea turtle, sting rays, sharks would swim past while you were enjoying your meal. I hope they didn't recognize me eating Uncle Bob (it was Ash Wednesday and, as Catholic,s we avoid meat that day as well as on Fridays during Lent). Occasionally a scuba diver would swim by and wave. This was our favorite restaurant that we visited, both in terms of food and ambience.

After lunch, we visited ImageWorks, sponsored by Kodak. There's a booth there where you can take your photo, add special effects if you choose, and email it to someone. Here's Son #1 after morphing his photo with that of a chimpanzee :

We used our Fast Passes to get advanced tickets to Soarin'. While in line, we chatted with a nice family from upstate New York, who happened own vacation homes in Vermont and Clearwater, Florida - must be nice! Soarin' was interesting. You're seated in three rows in front of this giant movie screen. Just before the start of the movie, each row of seats rises. We were in the front row, which mean we rose to the top. The second row became the middle row and the third row became the lowest row. (I don't remember whether there was a 4th row.) All I know is that I'm strapped into this seat with my feet dangling I'd guess at least 2 to 3 stories high. Did I mention that I hate heights? The movie projected on to the giant screen was cool - all heights as the title implied (first you're ballooning over Napa, then hang gliding, then flying over a golf course, then skiing in the mountains, etc.). I was okay with all that. What I had problems with was the feeling that I was dangling way up there and the seat belt didn't feel very tight. Dear Hubby and the kids loved it. Me, not so, but I didn't admit that.

We browsed around the international section a bit, but were getting kind of tired, so we went back to the hotel. The weather had warmed enough to play in the pool. Here's a shot of Dear Hubby and Son #2.

And here's one of Son #3 playing in the kiddie pool. Don't let the leaves in the water fool you. They really keep things clean at Disney. However, there was this other kid, around 3 years old, that dumped a whole bunch of leaves in the kiddie pool.

We had a quick dinner at our hotel restaurant and called it a day.


Another one bites the dust. That's the song that's running through my mind as Dear Hubby is ill with the same stomach bug that's plagued every member of our family, except me (knock wood). He stayed home from work and looked after Son #3 while I went grocery shopping (ha! Given Dear Hubby's condition, I'm certain Son #3 had free reign). It's interesting how productive grocery shopping can be without a 5 year old. Son #3, by the way, seems to be feeling better today. Perhaps he's on the mend, although we had our share of false alarms there.