Thursday, July 30, 2009

Vacation 2008




Our Memorial Day mini-vacation for 2008 got started much like it did in May of 2007:
with a true test of our patience and determination. We got packed, loaded, everyone was in the van, we start to back out the driveway and Pete pushes the button on the remote to close the garage door. The garage door, previously having had no problems whatsoever, jumps off its tracks and crashes to the ground, crumpling and shattering all the glass that was in the garage door windows! It was like it was possessed...by our recurrent vacation demons. Naturally, we stopped, got out of the van and checked out the damage and what could be done about it....all the while with Alex jumping up and down with excitement, screaming, "Look! See! What happened? What we gonna do? We gonna fix it? We gonna call a bulldozer to clean it up? We gonna call a high lift to pick it up?" Only Alex would find sheer and utter delight in such a nuisance. We did the only thing we could do on late Friday afternoon holiday weekend: we got back in the van and drove off on vacation.

The first day at SeaWorld was somewhat uneventful, except for the thunderstorm we got caught in....of all places, at the sting ray lagoon and shark tank! We were there when the thunderstorm hit out of nowhere...buckets of rain, thunder, lightning, so we were stuck there. At least is was under cover. But what made me anxious after about 20 minutes was that so many people were crowded in there, trying to get cover from the rain, and it was crowded and loud and noisy and thundering, it made the sharks and sting rays anxious, and they started snapping and jumping up near the top of the water...all with my babies right there! I was really getting nervous, and we were stuck in there for about 45 minutes! What a heart-thudding time! We also visited Turtle Point, and saw the show, "Blue Horizons" (the dolphin show) and "The Adventures of Clyde and Seamore" where Alex got to feed the sea otters! We also visited the Dolphin Cove and the dolphin nursery, where mommy and new born baby dolphins are kept! The guy narrating about the dolphin nursery was named Alex, and at one point, we were standing immediately to his right, when Austin grabbed his microphone and bellowed into it, to be broadcast far and wide, in his own high-pitched, demon-summoning, ear-piercing way, "dadadadada, bobobobobobob, b000000b000000, deeeeeedeeeeee, mamamamamamama!" Yes, we have arrived! Leave it to my crew to make their presence known at SeaWorld!

The second day was a lot better, the rain from the day before had cooled things off considerably, and the day was very pleasant. We visited Shamu's Happy Harbour (a toddler playground) and saw the Clydesdale horses in a parade, visited the Manatee exhibit (no goldfish turds this year), and visited the Antarctic exhibit, where we saw the penguin habitat, the polar bear exhibit, walruses and whales. The walruses absolutely fascinated Alex, the kept performing, swimming around, rubbing their faces and butts and bellies on the rocks in the aquarium...Alex just loved them, their whiskers, their tusks, their flippers....I'm expecting any day now to be asked if we can get one and keep it in our bathtub at home!

Our third day there, Alex won a SpongeBob Square Pants stuffed...(not animal, not doll) stuffed....SPONGE from the giant claw machine at the midway! He's not a huge SpongeBob fan, but you'd have thought he won a million dollars, he was so proud of that sponge! We saw a very unique circus show called Odyssea where it proved that SeaWorld has acrobatic talent to rival Las Vegas! It was a fascinating show, but it didn't hold the kids' attention long. Luckily it was a short show! Of course, we had to see the show, "Believe", which is the Shamu show. It never fails to amaze and entertain, and Alex got a necklace made out of a wooden carving of a whale's tail as a souvenir!

And lastly, the show Alex really wanted to see was "Pets Ahoy"! It's a stage show done entirely by trained pets: cats, dogs, birds and pot-bellied pigs. No people, just pets. Every time on each day there, by the time we got to the theater, the show was full or had already started, or had been canceled due to a stage prop malfunction....so here it was, our last day, and it was mid-afternoon...we were going to see this show one way or another! We get in a LONG line, outside in the heat, and then inside a hot, crowded hallway.... and wait. FINALLY, we get in there. We get our seats, settle in, and are waiting for the show to begin when, guess what, Alex falls asleep! We tried to wake him, but he would NOT wake up! We enjoyed the show, but were nervous about the hissy fit to come when Alex woke up and realized he missed the show. And while he was sprawled out sleeping, he also pooped his pants! And the diaper bag is outside with the parked stroller. So that was fun. When the show ended, the animal handlers invited everyone to come down to the stage and meet and greet the animals. So Pete took the babies outside and Alex and I (when he woke up at the end of the show) get at the end of a long line to meet the animals. I don't know how else to say this, but this huge dog that had been in the show, that is now at the opposite end of the line we're standing in smells Alex. His dirty diaper, I mean. So this sweet, gentle, although huge, hairy dog, makes a beeline for Alex. For Alex's rear end, to be exact. I'm trying to pull Alex away, he's reaching for the dog, wanting to pet and play with him, and the dog is sniffing and trying to put his nose down Alex's pants, and the dog's handler is pulling, tugging, trying to get the dog back to the front of the line where he belongs! What fun! I'm praying no one figures out why this dog has made such instant best
friends with my son's butt! I didn't want to give Alex a tantrum by dragging him out of the theater without seeing the animals, especially since he'd missed the show! But I also don't want this beautiful white show dog to reach down Alex's drawers and come up with the noseful of poop, either! Lord, please help me!

Eventually, Alex got squirmy from the dirty diaper, the trainers took the animals backstage, and we left. Whew! But, the fun isn't over yet, because Alex still wants to see the show! So, we've done everything else there is to do, it's late in the day, and by the time I change three boys' diapers and get a cold drink, the next show is in 20 minutes, so Pete takes Austin for a walk by the sprinklers and the little "beach" area they have, and Mommy, Alex and Andrew get back in line for the show. For me, it was just as enjoyable the second time in a row, even more so, because Alex truly loved, loved, loved the show. It was worth standing in that hot line just to watch Alex's face and eyes and smile light up every time a new animal took the stage and did a stunt. Truly, there's nothing like having kids to really wake you up to the joy and fun that is all around us...if we'll just take the time to look and see.

So this time, at the end of the show, Alex wants to pet the animals again. Stand in line again for that, this time without big dogs making beelines for Alex's butt, and for some reason, Alex becomes very, very timid. He loves animals, and it's only cats and dogs on stage for the meet and greet, and he's been around cats and dogs since birth! So I don't know all of a sudden why he got so timid. He kept going to the back of the line to "just watch, Mommy". Finally, the line is down to just us and a couple of other kids, and the animals are waiting to be petted. Alex kept saying, over and over and over again, "do they have big teeth, Mommy? Will they bite me, Mommy?" Over and over...he'd reach his hand out and then pull it back. I was petting the animals, Andrew was petting the animals, but Alex was so afraid of their "big teeth" and getting "bit" he barely managed to touch the pets. So after a few minutes of this, he says "thank you" to the animal handlers, and then, of all things, loudly announces, "now it's time to go play with the sharks!" Uh, hello, he's afraid of big teeth and getting bit by a little kitten, but he wants to go play with the sharks? Everyone cracked up at that announcement! As I've said many times before, only Alex!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Time for a Trim!




Alex and Austin decided to play barber shop one day. Both boys were in the bathroom while Pete was dressing and shaving for Family Dinner Night, and Alex was watching Pete very closely while Pete used his side burn trimmer. He asked questions, Pete answered questions, and when Pete put it up and away after he was done, he made the colossal mistake of turning his back for one moment. The boys got ahold of the sideburn trimmer, took it outside, Austin sat down on the steps and bent his head down, and Alex proceeded to shave Austin's head! Yep, our middle son is now known as baboon butt! We don't even know what to do with it. There is no pattern to it. Just one big streak on the top, middle of his head, and then a big, round spot on the back of his head. Pete says at least Austin looks a little like him now.

When Pete found them, he had to walk away, he was laughing so hard. It was much later before he could actually talk to Alex about the possible dangers of what he had just done, without laughing. Austin doesn't seem to mind it, and it's only hair: it'll grow back. But it is funny looking, to see our little, round jock Austin, now with this weird, half-reverse mohawk haircut! When Austin gets older, I'm afraid Alex is going to have to look out! At the very least, I'm sure Austin will wait until one night when Alex is asleep and then paint his fingernails, or draw a magic-marker mustache on Alex, or both! Boys!