Tuesday, April 26, 2011

prayers

I stole this from Melanie, who in turn stole it from Tina Fey - so I guess it's all good.


TINA FEY - A PRAYER FOR MY DAUGHTER


"First, Lord: No tattoos. May neither Chinese symbol for truth nor Winnie-the-Pooh holding the FSU logo stain her tender haunches.

May she be Beautiful but not Damaged, for it’s the damage that draws the creepy soccer coach’s eye, not the beauty.

When the Crystal Meth is offered, may she remember the parents who cut her grapes in half and stick with beer.

Guide her, protect her when crossing the street, stepping onto boats, swimming in the ocean, swimming in pools, walking near pools, standing on the subway platform, crossing 86th Street, stepping off of boats, using mall restrooms, getting on and off escalators, driving on country roads while arguing, leaning on large windows, walking in parking lots, riding Ferris wheels, roller-coasters, log flumes, or anything called “Hell Drop,” “Tower of Torture,” or “The Death Spiral Rock ‘N Zero G Roll featuring Aerosmith,” and standing on any kind of balcony ever, anywhere, at any age.

Lead her away from Acting but not all the way to Finance. Something where she can make her own hours but still feel intellectually fulfilled and get outside sometimes, and not have to wear high heels. What would that be, Lord? Architecture? Midwifery? Golf course design? I’m asking You, because if I knew, I’d be doing it, damn it.

May she play the drums to the fiery rhythm of her own heart with the sinewy strength of her own arms, so she need not lie with drummers.

Grant her a rough patch from twelve to seventeen. Let her draw horses and be interested in Barbies for much too long, For childhood is short – a Tiger Flower blooming Magenta for one day – And adulthood is long and dry-humping in cars will wait.

O Lord, break the Internet forever, that she may be spared the misspelled invective of her peers And the online marketing campaign for Rape Hostel V: Girls Just Wanna Get Stabbed.

And when she one day turns on me and calls me a Bitch in front of Hollister, give me the strength, Lord, to yank her directly into a cab in front of her friends, for I will not have that shit. I will not have it.

And should she choose to be a Mother one day, be my eyes, Lord, that I may see her, lying on a blanket on the floor at 4:50 A.M., all-at-once exhausted, bored, and in love with the little creature whose poop is leaking up its back. “My mother did this for me once,” she will realize as she cleans feces off her baby’s neck. “My mother did this for me.” And the delayed gratitude will wash over her as it does each generation and she will make a mental note to call me. And she will forget. But I’ll know, because I peeped it with Your God eyes.

Amen."

brothers



 Yoda got to meet her biggest brother last week.  It looked a little something like this.  The picture where she is lying prone on a scooter being shot like a hockey puck across the basement floor by both of her brothers has been omitted - even though I suspect that's the one that you really want to see.

Monday, April 25, 2011

easter

We were so busy sprinting to church and eating candy and making deviled eggs and visiting relatives that I sort of forgot to take pictures . . . but here's a glimpse:

Friday, April 22, 2011

not to brag but . . .

 . . . .well, actually, it's totally just to brag.

Guess who won "Best of Show" in the newspaper's "design an ad" contest.  Not sure how many entries there were - but I know it was more than 300, because Punk's entry was part of a writing assignment.  He walked out of school carrying this bad boy:


His ad will be featured in the newspaper (it's for a grocery store - you'll recognize his style, keen sense of detail and of course, signature sarcasm).

Sunday, April 17, 2011

no accounting for taste

No sooner did I post that little tidbit, then we decided to take Yoda out for Chinese food.

At 8 months old she is already completely refusing baby food, but had no problem holding her own at the Chinese buffet.  Normally, they don't charge for anyone under the age of two, but the hostess kept coming over to "check" on us, as she watched our infant pack away 3 pot stickers, half a cup of lo-mein noodles, a cream cheese puff, broccoli chicken and 6 spoonfuls of tapioca pudding - whereupon she proceeded to lick the melamine plate clean and then try to devour it as well.

Not sure which portion of her ancestry is going to get credit for her attempting to clean the plate with her face - but my money's on one of her grandfathers.

Friday, April 15, 2011

traditions

To commemorate passover, Rico decided to make matzo meal pancakes for breakfast this morning.  Kooka managed to eat a couple. Punk (after declaring them to taste like oversalted eggs), poured half a cup of powdered sugar on on his plate and proceeded to eat all 5. I couldn't manage to swallow the one bite I took - even after Rico said, "they are supposed to remind you of suffering." (They did)

He was thrilled however that Yoda ate all three of hers without comment or complaint.  He declared it a testament to her 32.4% Hebrew DNA that she was able to choke them down. I however, have a hard time crediting her gastronomical choices to her jewish ancestry. There was certainly no hispanic geneology helping her put away that whole burrito she ate last week - and I'm pretty sure it wouldn't explain the half carton of lo-mein she scarfed in one sitting either.

But I digress.

When Rico and I first decided to take the plunge and become a family, there was much talk about child-rearing, and traditions, and religion, and how those would play a part in all of our lives.  And next week, for the first time ever, Rico will have all of his kids here - celebrating Easter together - building new memories and maybe even new traditions.

Let's hope those pancakes aren't one of them.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

kooka's new thang

When she was little, Dr. Becky would always comment on Kooka's perfect, china doll teeth.  "They are flawless," she would tell us, "but what it means, is that when she's about 9 - there won't be room for the big ones."

She was right.  After two consultations and some serious x-rays, there was no doubt that the child was in serious need of braces.

Thankfully Kooka was all for it. Apparently braces are a hipper fashion accessory for third graders than they are for sophomores. We were doubly thankful that Shelley is the one that has been working with Kooka.  She was one of my very favorite dance moms, and Kooka says that she can see why. 

Here's Kooka's new look. (And no, they did not have to remove her arms to take care of her teeth.  Not sure why she chose to stand that way.)


BEFORE
AFTER

hollywood

I've always liked the song - but the video is even better.

Just one of the many reasons Michael Buble is always on my list of favorite things.


HOLLYWOOD

Sunday, April 10, 2011

day 8 (pass the xanax)

We left early on Monday morning.


We neglected to tell the kids that the plane we had ridden to Florida was grounded.  But we figured that 2 extra layovers in Providence, Rhode Island and Chicago were better than a giant hole ripping through our Southwest fuselage. Needless to say, I spent the better part of all three takeoffs trying to hide my absolute panic from Punk - who is also a nervous flyer.

Rico, who is not a nursing mother - took both a xanax and dramamine.  He has absolutely no recollection of the fact that we even boarded a plane, let alone three.  We landed at 4 - were home by 5, and were homesick for our condo by 7.

day 7 (perfect)


There have been a handful of perfect days in my life and two of them have been spent on this beach. 

Although the big kids were initially reluctant to take the extra drive to Fort DeSoto - begging to head straight to the Tampa hotel, so they could dive into the pool, afterward, we all agreed that it was one of the best days of our vacation.

We were met by friends of Rico's who had blankets, umbrellas, cold drinks and snacks.  The sand was sugar-soft, and yes - the water really was that blue.  The kids could wander out 50 yards and still only be waist-deep.  The water was clear, the waves were soft, and there were plenty of shells to be found.






Within minutes the kids had christened the place "God's Swimmig Pool."  And were literally praying as they swam - thankful for such a beautiful place. Eight hours later, I had to drag them from the surf - and even then, we didn't get to Tampa until 8:30 pm.  Rico picked up vittles from his favorite chicken place Pollo Tropical, and we all sat poolside until 10:30 snacking on Jamaican chicken, corn pastries, Dr. Pepper, and potatoes.  Rico and I let the kids swim and rocked a sleepy Yoda under the warm, starry sky.

It was as perfect as life can be.




 

Punk searching for crabs and conch shells
seconds before she fell backward into the surf
Kooka gets burried

Friday, April 8, 2011

day 6 (yoda meets the mouse, kooka meets a t-rex -mama meets a snake)

There are half-a-dozen things that Punk loves more than breathing - and all of them are in Orlando:  legos, rootbeer,  cartoons, the Yeti Ride, the Dinosaur Ride, and Haunted Mansion.  Since we'd already knocked the beverage and the spooks off of the list, we figured we'd hit the rest today.

We started out at Animal Kingdom, where Punk couldn't wait to take Rico and I on Expedition Everest (which we all agree is the most intense Disney ride there is).  After that it was off to the Nemo show - a broadway-style extravaganza music and dancing and puppetry and bubbles (oh how Yoda loved the bubbles).



We couldn't leave the park without heading to Dinoland USA.  It was here that Punk and Rico and I cruised back in time on the dinosaur ride, Yoda and Kooka and I took a few twirls on Triceratops spin, and everybody played in the Boneyard. Rico had (and I quote) "the best burger of his entire life" at Restaurantosaurus, and I completed my fear factor list for the week.

It's not enough that I'd already been mugged by a bush, and that Southwest airlines had blown a hole in one of the planes we were intending to ride home.  There also had to be snakes.

Why does it always have to be snakes?

Kooka and I were checking out one of the gift shops, when not ten feet from us, there is a huge (almost three feet long), HUGE black snake slithering from the shelf to the floor. At first glance - it could have been a dropped toy, or some uber-realistic Disney prop.  But no - it was real - and it had no fear.

 Kooka, Yoda and I backed away slowly, but the stroller-pushing woman next to us screamed and bolted through the door, which only served to piss off snake.  He raised his head like that cobra in Riki-Tiki-Tavi and licked his little snake lips before lunging on.

A salesman stepped forward to put some distance between the customers and the snake, while he shouted for somebody to call security.  The saleswoman did pick up the phone, but not before shrugging and and commenting "Well, it's animal kingdom - what do they expect?"

What do I EXPECT?

I expect that when I am reaching for one of your $28 dollar t-shirts, that you will do everything in your power to make sure that I and my 8-month old baby (but especially I) am not ambushed by a slithering, venomous reptile.  I expect, that a corporation who won't even let us see the trash being emptied,  could at least sprinkle some sort of snake-b-gone around the perimeter.  I expect - that somehow, via the magic of Disney, we could be spared this psychological trauma.

I couldn't wait to leave.

Hollywood studios is more my kind of place anyway.  Not that the natural wonders in Animal Kingdom are lost on me - but I'll take a 10 story-free-fall over a stray possum any day.

Punk loves the animation station. Kooka loves the movie ride. The line at Rock-n-Rollercoaster is too long for Rico and I, so we all head to the Indiana Jones stunt show.  We spend lots of time taking goofy pictures and Yoda finally gets to meet Mickey Mouse.

We stop at CiCi's for a pizza buffet (mac and cheese pizza and buffalo chicken are the hands-down faves), take a swim in the pool, and head to downtown Disney where Kooka tours the world's largest Disney Store, and Punk comes face to face with a lego sea-serpent (but decides that the hour long line at the lego store - just isn't worth it).

We take a boat back to the parking lot, make a stop for fresh Krispy Kremes and head for home.  Tomorrow is a beach day - and I can't wait.

Kooka's ears/snake nest - same diff
Best burger he ever had - direct quote.
Punk's favorite dino - a pachycepholasaurus
singin' in the rain
lego nessie meets lego maniac

yoda meets the mouse

day 5 (patience, patience, patience)

Since most of the state was under weather advisories the day before, we were not the only family who absolutely HAD to get to the Magic Kingdom today.

Thankfully, Frank and Sharon agreed to come with us - which was wonderful for many many reasons.  a) four grownups to three kids is an excellent ratio; b) Sharon knows all of the short cuts and came equipped with an internal Disney GPS, so we were never wandering aimlessly; c) Yoda got to spend the day with one of her godfathers; d) we all love these two - they are incredibly sweet, and there was nobody we'd rather spend the day with.

We started out with a 10 minute wait for haunted mansion (the new walk-thru part is super cool - but the change in the hitchhiking ghosts part made us all slightly furious). By the time we left the mansion, the wait lines for everything - including Small World were 60-90 minutes.  We did get to check out the Hall of Presidents and Thunder Mountain before our 1:30 lunch date at Liberty Tree Tavern - but our day was off to a rather slow start. 


Even though this is their absolute favorite place in the world, the kids got cranky quickly.  They both wanted to ride - but neither wanted to wait - which put us in a bit of a quandry, as there really was no choice.  Rico and I are not big line waiters either. So after a spin on Buzz Lightyear, the People Mover, and Stitch's great escape, we snagged some fast passes and headed back to the condo for a swim.  By this point, one of the children was furious that we had to leave, one was hot and cranky and one just wanted a nap. And it wasn't just us.  By the time we rode the tram to the parking lot, it was 5:00, and when the super-perky Disney driver asked if everyone had a great time it was silent except for the sound of Yoda dumping cheerios onto the tram floor.  Today it was sort of "The Stressiest Place on Earth."

However - after an hour in the pool, and a quick Burger King stop - everybody felt much better, and because we're us - and we just have to squeeze it all in, we headed back to the park.

With fast passes for Space Mountain and Peter Pan, the kids got to ride immediately.  The weather was cooler, there were no lines for Haunted Mansion, Tomorrowland Speedway, Snow White or Small World (which Yoda LOVED). And of course, there were fireworks.  Kooka, Yoda and I stood under the shadow of the castle while the boys rode Space Mountain (again).  She sang me a song she wrote, we nibbled Swedish Fish, and watched Yoda sleeping in her stroller.  We listened to the music and both of us commented out loud how very lucky we felt to be together right then, right there.

And there were still 2 and a half days to go . . .

Yoda getting (and eating) her "first visit"button
Punk's favorite view
It sort of felt like this after a while
Kooka shares small world with her sister


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

day 4 (a good day for nothing)

I woke up on day 4 to find the kids room looking like this:



It is a complete testament to their personalities - you don't even have to guess which kid belongs to which bed.


We had nothing planned for day 4 - which was a good thing since there was incessant rain and three tornado warnings.  

It was too bad for Kooka who had her heart set on lounging poolside all day.  She did settle for a soak in the giant jacuzzi tub in the bathroom, and a game of bingo in the activities hall.

She somehow managed to win the blackout round, but not before the rabid bingo players next to her threatened to call management because the caller was not performing up to their standards (no joke).  They were furious that she had not properly mixed the Ns, and started a ruckus.  For the record - Kooka's grand prize was a keychain advertising the condos - hardly worth getting the poor bingo caller fired over.

Thankfully, Uncle Frank and Aunt Sharon showed up in the nick of time and we all took off to dinner at Bahama Breeze. 

Kooka kicking some bingo booty.

day 3 (because spring break in orlando isn't humiliating enough)


It's true.
There are few things more embarrassing than being in Orlando over spring break.

Day three found us at Universal Studios Islands of Adventure - the only place in the world that is actually designed to force you into confronting your own geekiness.

Apparently everyone under the age of 28 received some sort of exclusive manual on how not to look like an absolute fool at this place.

They are all dressed in tube tops and hot pants (not that they all should be if you know what I'm saying - but still, my quick-dry T-shirt and hiking sandals, practically scream Saturday Night Live skit).

And they all know exactly when to smile, or flash the peace sign, or moon the world or whatever when the camera goes off on those ride photos.  I always look like a terrified Joan Rivers caught in a wind shear.  I didn't pay $15 for those when I looked good in them - not gonna start now - no matter how much Punk begs.


Then there's the fact that I am a full-grown-adult headed to Harry Potter's Hogsmeade Village.  If that don't make you shout "dork", then the fact that I'm wearing a green plastic poncho will.  We were caught in a gale force storm, and had to huddle in the "owlry" with 200 other muggles until it blew over. Kooka was still young enough (and smart enough) to not care how she looked. Punk, on the other hand, immediately discarded his upon learning the threat of imminent hypothermia had passed.

And to add insult to injury - I got jumped by a dancing bush.  But this time it wasn't just the park cameras that caught me in all of my glory - it was the video crew from the Ellen show.  If you haven't seen it by now, I'll repost the link here. But suffice it to say - it was most hideous. This is how it went down:  Rico had been talking up the Jurassic Park ride, and nobody but he and I wanted to go - everyone else was scared (smart kids).  One of us had to stay with the kids, so he asks the attendant if there is a single rider line, so I won't have to wait for 80 minutes.  The attendant directs me to his left, where I begin walking down a jungley path.

If you see the video, you'll notice that I am looking down.  The reason for this, is because the last ride we went on had 5 lizards and one long-ass snake slithering across the path.  So the whole time, all am thinking is that this walk is a thousand times scarier than anything that could possibly be on the ride.

I was right.

So I am minding my own, snake-searching business, when all of the sudden my worst nightmare becomes reality. There is a loud hiss from my right and the lower part of the hedge starts moving.  My brain just keeps telling me "if that things on the ground, then you don't want to be" (hence the hysterical jumping).  After about 4 jumps I realize it's a dude, and simultaneously realize how ridiculous I must have looked. Then I start thinking about what a cool gig that guy has - that somebody actually paid him to scare the crap out me - I want a job like that.  So by this point I am equal parts terrified, laughing and jealous.

I am met at the end of the line by the film crew who asks me to sign a waiver (which I did - you're welcome).  They said they had been filming all day and hadn't seen a reaction quite like mine - that mine was the most athletic.  They asked if I could come to the show taping - but they couldn't let the kids on the set, so we didn't.  Regardless - apparently 12 seconds of my 15 minutes of fame have been spent.

The rest of the day was wet - but wonderful.  We spent time in Hogsmeade Village where we tasted pumpkin juice (much better than we imagined), treacle fudge, caldron cakes, shepherd's pie, roast turkey, and of course butterbeer (which was initially amazing, and soon turned into a tasteless version of overcarbonated cream soda - even Punk didn't finish his - which is saying something).

Yoda rode the Dr. Suess Carousel. We visited the Street of the Lifted Lorax (from one of Punk and Kooka's very favorite stories); rode the journey through Hogwarts (the lady escorted us right past the 90 minute wait line to the front thanks to Yoda); Punk and Rico rode Spiderman; Kooka choose a magic wand from Olivander's; we strolled through cartoon alley; ate dinner at The Three Broomsticks; went for a spin on Storm Force Acceleration - and finally headed home.

Day 4 was our day "off" and we were all looking forward to it.

Even Yoda had a butterbeer moustache.
cartoon alley

I've seen him walk a dog - it looks pretty much the same.
my killer green poncho
Kooka picks a wand, (She chose Neville's)




Punk at a Harry Potter shop
Moving walkway to the park was one of their favorite rides.
Kooka at the Lorax house.
Punk at the Street of the Lifted Lorax

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

days 1 and 2 (the adventures begin)


I'm not sure what made us decide to head to Florida in the first place.
I think it was Rico - but it's not like he got any complaints from the rest of us.

The itinerary was carefully laid out . . . one day to fly, two days at Universal Studios, a day off, two days at Disney World, a day at the beach, and about 6 hours to fly home.  And for the most part, things went just the way we planned - mostly. Unless you count that gale force storm that nearly blew us out of Hogsmeade, or the snakes, or the fact that Yoda decided to stay up until midnight, or the fact that Southwest blew a hole in one of the exact same planes that we were using to transport ourselves, or the fact that I got jumped by a dancing bush, or nearly getting run out of the game room by two rabid bingo players . . . if you don't count any of that, things went exactly as we planned.

After a rocky ride to St. Louis, and a two hour layover, we made a very turbulent descent into the Tampa airport, we picked up our rental car and we (along with the rest of the free world) headed to Orlando for spring break.

It was almost 11:30pm when we pulled into our condo, so after a bit of Cartoon Network, we all fell asleep. It had been a long day - and tomorrow would be even longer.


On Tuesday we headed to Universal Studios.  The day went something like this:
Photos with Marilyn Monroe, and Lucy and Ricky
Men In Black ride (3 times for most of us - 8 times for Punk)
A few spins on the Simpsons
Jaws for Kooka and I
Three of us braved the Twister ride
The Beetlejuice show
The ball factory
Shrek 4D
A few more spins on Men In Black (just for good measure)
Back to the condo - then bed.

I know this is short . . . but for now, I'll let the pictures do the talking.  I have plenty of days left.

Yoda meets Luuuuuuucy and Rick Ricardo
Punk's favorite ride
Yeah - we left our baby unattended in a clown's mouth.
So happy together.


The start of our adventures.

Dance Attack Hits Orlando! - The Ellen DeGeneres Show

Dance Attack Hits Orlando! - The Ellen DeGeneres Show

getting it over with

I was just going to wait until I got to blogging about it - but so many people have been asking to see it  - I figured I should just post a link now and get it over with.

I was ambushed by a "dance attack" on the Ellen show.  I am the very last person shown.  I was walking onto the Jurrassic Park ride.  What you don't see on this cut is Ellen mocking me and saying I was her "favorite."  

They actually wanted me to come to the show.  Probably so that guy could pretend to be my chair and pop out again.

Anyway - here it is.  (and don't ask why I'm walking like George Jefferson - I have no idea).

Check it out:  Me on Ellen.

Monday, April 4, 2011

juicy life


The trouble with having Rico and I in the same family, is that we both always try to get the most out of life.  We want to see more, do more, taste more, feel more.  We stay out late, try some of everything, and will do almost anything once. We are always trying to live a juicier life.

So when our friends say that the thought of vacationing with us is exhausting, they are absolutely, completely correct.  Which is one of the reasons I did not have time to update about our grand adventures (well that, and we forgot the laptop charger).  But have no fear, we'll be back soon with plenty of tales, including:
Butterbeer, broken knees, an escaped snake, a dance assassin, a baby who stays up all night, Mummy Rides, God's swimming pool, shooting aliens, how some things never get old, and how good it feels to be together. 

But for now, it is 7:30 on a Monday night and everyone is in bed (except for me - and I should be).