Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I Want to Live!

We recently came back from Tampa, Florida where we visited Busch Gardens. Bob and I thought taking the kids on an animal safari would be a wonderful way to spend $300. I insisted first thing, that we ride the train through the theme park version of the African plains.

“It’s a train, Mom.” Chris pointed out. “Like they have at the zoo back home.”

“It’s a safari adventure,” I said as if renaming it would somehow make this all seem more adventurous to him.

He was right. It was a train. As we rode through the exhibit, the kids stared at the giraffes and zebras and asked how this was any different from the zoo back home.

“It cost $200 more and it’s much hotter here,” I explained. “Now look at those animals and enjoy it!”

Drew was the only one who actually gazed intently out the window. When we got off the train, I figured out why.

“Mom. I saw the coolest roller coaster on the other side of the giraffes. We have to ride it!”

There is no such thing as a “cool” roller coaster in my book - or Bob’s either for that matter. We’re the kind of people who like to keep our feet planted firmly on solid ground. We’re the kind of people who like to keep down that pizza we had before we saw the roller coaster.

We’re the kind of people who don’t wish to barrel headfirst down a metal path at a hundred miles an hour. We have no desire to tempt gravity and fate by strapping ourselves into a machine whose sole purpose is to flip us upside down repeatedly. . In a nutshell, we’re the kind of people who like to LIVE!

Drew is a ten-year-old boy. At his age, he still feels capable of thwarting gravity. Need I say more?

I looked at Drew’s hopeful little face and said the only thing a good mother could in such a situation.

“Drew, I carried you for nine months. I nursed you for a year. I’ve always been there for you when you needed me. But no way am I riding that coaster with you. Take your brother.”

“What?” Chris asked in horror. He might be ten just like Drew, but he understands the awesome force of gravity.

Being the good mother I am, I gave him a pep talk. “If you’d rather, we can ride the train again.”

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Take that You Bad Waves

Last week on the beach, the boys spent countless hours crafting sand castle communities so elaborate only the richest of ocean creatures could ever hope to live there. (See the start of one in the picture on the left.)

Chris built high rise sand homes complete with rooftop sundecks and cable tv hookups. Drew added in tennis courts and landing fields for their pretend helicopter-cars. Truly a paradise for the rich and famous.

After all this work, the boys were very discouraged to watch the ocean lay waste to all their hard work. Both boys strutted into the surf and started punching the waves.

"What are you two doing?" I asked after a few minutes.

"We’re getting back at the ocean for destroying our sand castle village," Drew said as he gave a wave a mighty right hook that barely even moved the water.

"Yeah," Chris added, nearly getting knocked down as he punched a big wave. "Maybe next time the waves will leave our stuff alone."

Or not.

Meanwhile, Lauren was busy running up and down the shoreline in search of tiny clams. (If you look closely in the picture, that's what she's holding in her fingers.)

When we first got to the beach, Lauren had been fascinated by the tiny shells she saw at the edge of the ocean. She kept bringing them to me until I explained that there were tiny sea creatures alive inside that needed to be by the ocean.

"If you take them too far away from the water, they’ll die," I said as I fished them out of my beach bag, afraid of the smell I’d get if the sun baked them in there too long.

I was concerned about the stink. Lauren became very concerned about the happiness of the living creature inside the shell. She’d watch the waves and if any clams washed in too far, she’d run to rescue it by throwing it back into the sea.

Her rescue efforts were about as effective as the boys’ wave punching. But that didn’t stop me from helping her, anymore than it stopped me from adding my own castle to the boys’ new sand village. Because who wouldn’t want to live in a home with a rooftop sundeck and built in cable hook ups?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

A Couple More Photos from Tampa

When we visited the Tampa History Museum, Lauren tried on the old time clothes. Inspired by nostalgic images from American Girl doll books, she couldn't wait to put on her stylish bonnet and flowery dress.

"I want to go back in time and be a Pioneer girl!" She told me.

Then I explained about outhouses and the complete lack of double-ply Charmin. She couldn't rip the bonnet off quickly enough.

Chris, on the other hand had no problem with the concept of peeing outside. His problem with the past? The clothes were too itchy. The vest came off the second I finished taking this picture.

Back from Tampa

The picture below is of the boys creating their very own Boy Village - a land dominated by castles and a seashell army. The boys spent hours creating a sand city which could be defended by land or sea.

In the meantime, Lauren was off creating Girl-ville. In Girl-ville, you could find a shopping mall on each corner. No shell armies in sight because why would anyone want to destroy a city with so many cool stores?

Drew about to be "eaten" by a shark. Though he looks like I've just asked him to do something horrible (like take out the garbage), he's really just trying hard to strike his best "terror" pose.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Heading to Tampa

Heading to Tampa for the week. I'll blog when I get back about all the funny stuff the kids did.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

GPS for Women

About two years ago Bob bought one of those car GPS devices which were obviously invented by men because men refuse to stop and ask for directions. Ever. You can be driving around in circles for three hours, but a man will not admit to being lost. Enter the male technological triumphant of the 21st century - a machine that tells you where to go.

Personally I hate navigating with the GPS, not in small part because it once told my husband to drive into a lake. I also hate the whiney female voice (I call her Martha) who says "recalculating" with a long suffering sigh anytime you refuse to follow her exact directions. Sorry Martha, I don’t care to drive into a lake, detour around road-closed barricades or drive the wrong way down one-way streets.

It’s not just the bad directions I dislike. I hate the way Martha tells me to turn in 50 feet at Henderson Road. If I’ve never seen Henderson Road, how am I to know where it is until I’ve driven close enough to read the street sign?

If a woman had invented the GPS, we’d get instructions like this:

"Turn left at the Dunkin Donuts up ahead. Actually turn into the parking lot at the Dunkin Donuts. Go inside and buy a chocolate glazed and a cup of coffee."

"Turn right at the boutique on the corner that sells the cutest earrings and necklaces which are half price on Fridays. Today is Friday. I’m just saying..."

"Continue 200 miles on I-95. So, now that we have time to chat, how ya been doing?"

"You seem tense. Turn left at the next stoplight and you’ll find a full-service spa on your right."

Now those are the kind of directions I need. Drive into a lake? No thanks.