Category Archives: Best Husband

Theme Park Christmas, LegoLand Style

A few days before Christmas, we headed to LegoLand to check out their holiday decorations.  For some reason, the park was virtually empty!  Maybe people were scared of the cold and rain?  I’m like, uh, jackets and umbrellas … and GO!

We had a blast and rode a bunch of rides and did a ton of things.  I mean, if I listed every single thing we did, your eyes would glaze over.  So just go ahead and glaze now and wake up at the next paragraph break, because that’s where the pictures live and we all know that’s the fun part!  We took William to the Kid Power Towers (pulled themselves up 4 times), (the sky pedal ride wasn’t running), Junior Driving Club, then he rode the Sky Patrol ride, played in their seasonal snowman building area, rode on the Skipper School boat ride, the Flight Squadron ride, rode on the Royal Joust horse, did their dragon roller coaster two times, rode their Lego Technic roller coaster two times (love, love, loved it, I think that was his favorite), did their Lego Coast Cruise, the Safari Trek, the Coastersaurus roller coaster, the Fairy Tale Brook boat ride, the Legoland Express Train, Mia’s Riding Camp carousel, walked through the Lego Movie Experience set (which was like torture for kids… William kept asking why they had plexiglass in his way.  The plexiglass reached from the floor to six feet up, he checked both ends.)

Of course, we got pictures with Lego Santa and a few other characters.  Because that’s just how we roll.

Almost caught up with us today.  But tomorrow is another day with more memories!!

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Christmas Work Lunch

Every year my company tries to do something nice for their employees for the holidays.  There’s a lot of work and planning that goes into it, from the “what” to the “where” to the coordination of raffle prizes.  The year I had William, they had a fancy lunch at a restaurant… I didn’t get to attend that one.  The next year they did a fancy lunch on a harbor cruise boat.  The following year they did a fancy breakfast at Disneyland and gave everyone a park hopper pass for the day.  I don’t think they’ll ever be able to top that one!  The year after that, it was a fancy lunch at a ritzy shopping mall.  This year, it was a fancy lunch at a harbor restaurant.

I guess one of the options they explored for this year’s event was renting a theater for a preview of the new Star Wars movie.  Sadly, the theater didn’t get back to us timely, so we chose the fancy lunch at a harbor restaurant last Friday.  My co-worker told me yesterday that the theater had just called and cleared us for this Friday.  But, yeah, too late.

Anyway, we had a good time and the most interesting story I took away from the outing was my parking adventure.  So, valet parking was paid for by the company, including gratuity.  Except when I got there, the line for the valet was backed up into the street and was 10 cars deep.  So I backed out of the line and drove to the next stop light to make a left turn and park at a meter.  Except the stop light was malfunctioning, so I had to wait through two cycles and then went against the red light.  I finally got parked and started putting my hard earned coinage into the meter and realized that the meter didn’t allow payment over 1 hour, but it still took the money with no option for a refund.   Jerk!  The meter dude was standing right there and when I asked him about it, he shrugged and said, “Yeah, well, it says right there…” and he pointed through the inch thick, foggy acrylic cover at a minuscule sign inside the meter.  Ohhhh-kay.  My loss.  He suggested downloading their parking app and paying that way, then I wouldn’t have to leave the party to feed the meter.  Turns out, it was a good suggestion and was a good topic of table conversation, too.

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The best part of all these Christmas events, though, is the early release.  After we put in our appearance at the event, and sit through the endless raffle prizes that I never win, despite prayers and hopes to the contrary, I get to leave and go somewhere and spend the rest of the day with my little guy.  That is truly the greatest gift my company gives me.  Who cares about 55″ televisions?  I’d rather see a 45″ tall little guy any day over a 55″ square monster!

Plus, we discovered escalators, Chick-Fil-A, Baking Betty’s (creme brulee cookies… swoon), a gelato store, a koi fish pond and, of course, the super tall Christmas tree that is just perfect for running around like a silly goofball.  And when Tony arrived, William told him he needed a second dinner from Chick-Fil-A and a second dessert from Baking Betty’s.  Hmmmm.

 

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Theme Park Christmas, Sea World Style

As usual, we are on a quest to visit as many theme parks during December as possible. At the risk of not decorating our house … uh, wait, Tony put it on our calendar for the morning of 12/12. Our neighbors put up outside lights the day after Thanksgiving, and I noticed Tony digging stuff out of the attic late one night this past week and the next morning, there was a small showing of Christmas decorations outside our house.  Likely related, yes?

I’m actually OK with keeping things smaller this year. It seems like every year electricity gets more expensive and I feel more grinch-like when it comes time to pay that particular bill and threaten to put our blow-ups on a hanger instead of blowing them up, because those things are cute when they’re up, at night, but they spend most of the day in a deflated pancake state, which is just sad for the exorbitant prices of purchase and blowing. (And why does all that sound like an awful euphemism?)

Now there’s an invention for someone to make… a hanger for blow-up decorations! I envision it being something like a foldaway shepherd’s hook with arms or something. I don’t know, I’m not an inventor, YOU ARE!

ANYWAY, theme parks. Yes, back to that. This past weekend, we went to Sea World and celebrated my mom’s birthday there with her. Their Santa was actually decent this year and we were able to get some good pictures! We love their Pets Rule show, and particularly the cat portion of the show (I know, big surprise there!). I wish we could train our cats to do some of those tricks, seems the only trick we can get them to do consistently is to actually poop in their litter box. If only we could teach them to barf in their litter box or even on the tile entryway would be OK, instead of on the rug (soft surface and all that).

We intended to stay for the tree lighting ceremony, which is the BEST tree lighting ceremony I’ve ever seen. Just the right amount of time and lots of audience participation. Then, in a feat of Tony’s stubbornness persistence we decided to wait the two hours to see Santa again (we had seen him at breakfast, but this time it was in his cottage), because they had pagers instead of a long line. Santa visits have gone high tech! While we waited, we could go visit the reindeer (caribou) and William wanted to serenade them in a failed attempt to have them come over so he could pet them. But he had a great time singing them Christmas carols! And, we were allowed to sit in Santa’s sleigh for a photo op.

It was an all-around good day!

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The Other Side of Real.

I am tired today. I’ve been tired all week, really, but today, the tired is overwhelming. The reasons all relate to a little boy who, for various reasons, is waking in the middle of the night and crying out for comfort, for love. He needs extra in those wee hours of the morning. More than what we give him during the day. It is exhausting for me to be awakened out of my sleep cycles; I struggle hard with getting back to sleep.

Right now, I should be doing this, or that, or the other thing. But I don’t feel like it. So I turn to the internet instead, to hide, to avoid, to read about other people’s joys and their struggles, too, and to write here. I’ve learned over the years that I am not alone. Never alone. There is a world of people out there who struggle with similar things. It’s reassuring.

I did not have the patience for problems this morning, like I should have. I wielded words in an email unkindly. Accurate, yes. Unkind, yes. I could have been nicer. I wasn’t. I didn’t want to be. I’m tired of people being stupid, and I’m tired of people not communicating properly. It’s frustrating. I’m tired.

William has a class he doesn’t like. He tolerates it on a good day, but today he sat down at the door. A little lump of obstinate human boy. He didn’t want to participate. His grandma told him he had to, I told him he had to. He wasn’t rude (progress?), he just didn’t want to do it. He told his teacher he was tired… and when my mom told me that, it rang a bell in my head.

Every time that he has acted out or not acted appropriately, it’s been on a Friday. It appears that he is just like his parents, and maybe the rest of us… Fridays, well, we’re just kind of done.

Here’s hoping for a better week next week. And I’ll give a thought to being kinder then, too. But not today. Today? People need to stop being stupid.

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Filed under Best Husband, I feel Irritated, Life Encompasses Me, Our Kid is Cute

Sweetness.

The last few weeks, we have had a rough spell with William. His behavior was just very… difficult, for him, for us (his parents) and for his grandma. It *seemed* he was battling us on nearly every single thing. Through the counsel of a very dear friend, she helped me “hear” what he was saying, and we made some adjustments.

Yesterday, we took him to LegoLand and, unbeknownst to me, my former grade school teacher was there with her grandkids. I received an email from her this morning, and I can’t tell you how much it means to me on the heels of such a difficult month.

“My dear girl! My husband and I took two of our grandkids to Legoland today and I had a wonderful time observing you and your sweet family playing in the water. I didn’t want to disturb you so I just loved watching your family interact. Your little guy is adorable. Your husband is very sweet with him. I loved all the selfies you guys were taking. No, I’m not a creeper, I just wanted you to know that I think you’re special.~Love, Mrs. ***”

Some behaviors are phases, other behaviors are children using their actions to tell us something that they may not have the words for, or they may not even know themselves what the problem is, even as they get older. I mean, there are times as an adult when I have trouble discerning the root problem in my own issues. Suffice it to say, William is like a different kid this week. Sometimes, behavior is the only “communication” that children CAN give us.

I’m grateful for having such a wise friend. I’m grateful for having such a wonderful husband. I’m grateful for kind words from a former teacher. Now… if she had just come up to say hello, it might have evened out the score a bit from all the people who know Tony and not me.

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More About Last Month’s Vacation.

In a previous post, I shared one of the funny moments that happened late in our vacation while it was still fresh in my mind. I also shared some tidbits of things we did while on vacation in William’s monthly post. I wanted to share an overview of all the things we did.

Our airline experiences this time were much better and on par with what I expect from Southwest Airlines. We managed to rack up $400 a person in complimentary vouchers from Southwest for the shoddy way they treated us last October, and those vouchers mostly funded our trip to San Francisco the end of May and our trip back to Nebraska. Sadly, since they did so well, that is the end of our free ride. Thank you, Southwest Airlines!
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We stayed with my dear Aunt Marjorie (paternal side) for a few days while we visited the Omaha Zoo and Lauritzen Gardens again. We had visited those places last October, but our gardens visit got cut short due to a fast moving rainstorm. They have a model train garden that is quite amazing to watch, it’s so detailed! So we visited that again, and also walked up to see the two real-size, huge, famous engines they have on display.
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We were well pleased with our visit to the zoo last time, except they had ended the season of camel rides and their train wasn’t running the day we went. This trip it was overwhelmingly hot and humid. While the weather wasn’t necessarily a surprise, it was challenging for me (us?) because we’re used to California’s weather. Sadly, I wilted quicker than I expected in the heat. While at the zoo, We managed to meet up with some friends, a lady I know from an online Facebook group (and her family). Fortunately, they were willing companions for our agenda and didn’t protest when we suggested going and getting lunch. She had her two boys with her, the older of them shares a birthday with William. William LOVED meeting him and I loved hanging out with her. Tony pretty much gets along with anyone, and her husband was great to converse with. So, we kind of went to get some lunch and then just never stood back up again until it was time to leave.
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The timing of our trip was stipulated by a family gathering that happens annually the last Sunday of July in Albion, Nebraska. So, we did a road trip from Omaha to the middle of Nebraska, a two hour drive made longer by construction and ill-timed traffic lights on a timer in the middle of nowhere.
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My uncle (maternal side) graciously hosted us in their basement, which was blissfully cool and mostly comfortable. They are gracious hosts and very accommodating to quirky travelers. I highly recommend them. I just love staying with them on their farm. They have animals galore… cats and kittens(!!), dogs, horses and ponies, goats, guineafowl, cows, and… I’m sure I’m missing naming a species here. Also, my cousin has two girls and William just loved playing with them!
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The drive to the family gathering was mostly on dirt roads, which William thought was fabulous thanks to the off-roading scenes in the Cars movie. It was made more entertaining for me by texting with my cousin, who was in the vehicle in front of us. She acted like a tour guide with such things like, “This is corn fields on your right and soybeans to your left. Upcoming to your right is a house where no one famous lives.” She would switch the types of fields appropriately. As we drove, we passed a farm that had a bunch of old buildings on it. There were a couple of churches, a sheriff building, and other things. It looked like a little Western town. I later learned from my uncle that the owner of that farm had a vision of building a little town, but he passed away and now his family doesn’t know what to do with the buildings. I guess his vision isn’t theirs.
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At the family gathering, the couple who hosted it are 2nd or 3rd cousins, once removed, to me, I think. I’m not really sure. Anyway, they have grandkids around William’s age, and while the kids weren’t in attendance, their toys were. William and my cousin’s girls had a fabulous time playing down in their basement. They have a pool table down there and William loved putting the balls in the holes and then listening to them rumble to the end. Best kid entertainment ever! I enjoyed seeing one of my cousins who I haven’t seen since he was 6 or 7 years old, and meeting his wife. There were also other distant relatives there and it was just an enjoyable relaxing time. The food was set up buffet style, entrees on one side of the kitchen island and various “salads” (the notion of salad is very different in the Midwest vs. California) on the other side. Also, desserts.
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The days went quickly (surely a sign of a good vacation?) and before we knew it, we were headed back to Omaha to stay with my Aunt Marjorie one last night and catch our flight the next morning. Now… where do we go next?

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Memorial Day Weekend.

Over the Memorial Day weekend, we went to San Francisco. We’ve been there several times before, so we pretty much knew the things we wanted to do while there, but we knew it would likely be a different experience with having a child along.

William is a remarkably good traveler, so, not surprisingly, we were actually able to do most of the things we had on our list. The price we pay for traveling with him is researching and scheduling time at a playground once or twice while traveling, so he can have something that’s “his” on the itinerary, too. That’s about the only concession we make, though.

To start, Southwest stopped us when we were boarding the plane and invited William into the cockpit to say hello to the pilots and look around. Dude, I didn’t know airlines allowed that anymore! It was really neat!

When we got to SFO, the car rental agency had overbooked themselves and, so, when we arrived, the check-in line was a mile long (we should have pre-checked in, doh!) and when we finally got out to the parking structure to claim our car, there was a grouping of people standing there, and they literally had no cars available. The workers were running to other agencies and “borrowing” cars from them. Exhausted, I took one look at the chaos, spotted a bench off to the side, and went over there with William and wilted on it. One of the guys who worked there chased me down and told me he’d be back with a car for me. When he came back, he had a fully-loaded Chrysler Town & Country van, proclaiming it to be a free upgrade. Before the guy could finish his sentence, Tony had claimed it and we were on our way. Sort of. We had to navigate our way around the guy in front of us who was trying to start his GPS in the parking garage, but… yeah, mostly we were on our way. And for William, vacation will never be the same again… because the “fully-loaded” part meant that he had a DVD player for movies while driving around. ha

We were generously invited to stay at Tony’s cousin’s apartment. They live right down near everything we wanted to do, while they were in Hawaii for the weekend. (Which answers the question of, where does someone who lives in San Francisco go on vacation? Hawaii, of course!!) They saved us mega-bucks in hotel costs, plus we were super comfy in an awesome and convenient part of town.

Our first day there, we found a little rose garden where William was pretending he was a rabbit, hopping around, twitching his nose, pretending he was nibbling flowers and various other rabbit kind of stuff. It was around 7pm and we had just finished walking Lombard Street. One of the city workers told us she needed to lock the gates of the park, and William started crying, heart-broken. He’d been having such a good time, but sadly, the lady needed to do her job. A woman and her friend were walking by and felt so bad for him, she offered a granola bar to us from her backpack. Even though we declined her offer of the snack, the compassion and kindness behind her offer meant the world to us.

When we went out to Alcatraz island the next morning, our intention was to do the garden tour. We get a lot of island history and are allowed to go in cordoned off areas that are normally off limits. It’s a special thing, free, but only once a week on Sunday mornings. William wanted to ask the docent 10 million questions, and I kept telling him he had to listen, not talk, just like he does in library story time. He was not a fan. At the end of the tour, the docent announced she had one more story… when she finished that story, William said, with a hurt feelings look in his eyes, quite loudly and repeatedly to me, “We’re done! We’re done.” I would feel guilty, except… if I can tolerate 3 hours in a playground with a bunch of kids, dirt, sand and germs, he can certainly tolerate a mere 45 minute tour about plants, birds and history, especially since it was book-ended by running around time and boat rides. We caught the same boat back to the mainland as the docent did, and when she caught sight of William, she told him, “I need more people like you on my tours, you liven things up!”

The Golden Gate bridge was awesome as usual… since we’d been there last, they’ve made some changes to the pedestrian traffic, bikes go on one side of the bridge, foot walkers go on the other. That was a nice change, and one I appreciated for the safety aspect of it. When we got on the bridge, William requested, “I want to walk on it all by myself!” and so I let him down. His grandma D. had done a fantastic job of building the hype about the bridge, so he was super excited about it the whole trip. When the Southwest flight attendant gave him a coloring book, he spotted the bridge on there and said, “That’s where were going!!” Of course, he also spotted the alien spaceship representing Roswell, NM and said we have to go there, too, because that’s where Buzz Lightyear lives. ha!

The other highlight of our trip was our dinner at Scoma’s. I utilized the opentable app to schedule our reservations, and ended up rescheduling twice because it just didn’t fit in with what ended up happening for us each day. I was grateful for being able to do that on the fly, and we had a fantastic meal. I branched out and tried their salmon this trip and was ever so glad for it, because it was melt in my mouth delicious. Tony was sad to discover they no longer serve lobster tail, so he ended up with some sort of lobster dish that he was fairly happy with.

Oh, and a vacation update wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t include potty talk, right? So, there we were driving around and I realize I have to go to the restroom. Like, bad. And things just aren’t the same down there for me since giving birth, if you know what I’m saying (a post for another day, I guess). So we hunted down a public restroom, and I hopped out and waited in line. Because there’s a line for all public restrooms in San Francisco. Thankfully, I made it… in case you were wondering. In kind of a karmic universe balancing itself out thing, when we went to Pier 39, I was shocked when I walked past the public restrooms there and the line for the MENS room was super long. When does THAT ever happen?

I had a bit of a run in with TSA when we were heading home… I was wearing William through the inspection point, and I passed the metal detector and hand swabbing test. However, in all the hulabaloo, I forgot to remove my netbook from my backpack, and instead of them just simply removing it and re-scanning it, they decided to have me go through a full body pat-down, which meant I had to remove William (essentially giving him freedom in a super busy airport), and they dumped all the contents of BOTH my purse (which HAD passed the scan) and my back pack (which hadn’t passed) out in bins to hand inspect, swab, and finally re-scan. Tony had gone ahead to the gate, so he had no idea what was happening. They denied my requests to communicate with Tony, they denied me going after William when he wandered off (I had to verbally coax him back)… words can’t even express how helpless, violated and anxious that experience made me feel. And when they crammed all my stuff back in the bags, I couldn’t find my boarding passes!!

Thankfully, Southwest redeemed themselves in spades to me this trip. The pilot of our plane even came to the end of the gate and reassured me they were holding the plane for me while they reprinted my boarding passes. The flight attendants were super sweet to us. We were very blessed to have had a great experience with Southwest this trip.

I guess now we’ll see how Southwest does when we fly in July… and we’ll see if TSA responds to the letter I sent them.

Pictures from our trip can be seen here: Click

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