Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Life Takes Ganas

Chills took over my being yesterday when my husband told me that Jaime Escalante passed away.  This man was amazing.  Legendary.  His passion for teaching has inspired me since I first heard of him when American Playhouse aired ‘Stand and Deliver.’ 

The news of his passing immediately took me back to my original passion – teaching.  I remembered the insatiable desire to teach and to change the world.  I didn’t want to be Jaime Escalante.  He was his own person.  My goal to be a teacher began when I was six or seven years old.  I remember my parents telling me I was loud and bossy and would make a good teacher.  For some reason it seemed like a good idea!  The older I got the more I realized what a teaching career meant.  The more I heard, regardless of negativity, the more I wanted it. 

The word “Ganas” was displayed in my locker throughout high school.  I would see that word and remember how dedicated Mr. Escalante was in everything he did.  I like to believe I was too.  People have always accused me of being an all or nothing person.  Black or white without seeing any gray.  It’s probably true.  My adolescence was spent digging in to fulfill my dreams.  Nothing was going to stop me. 

My dreams included far more than teaching.  Ganas got me through it all.  I am still in awe that I am living my dreams today.

I remember college.  It was not easy.  I can now look back on it fondly as one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my life.  I remember my education classes and the electricity that would surge through me as I sat in class.  There were so many girls who were in education because it would be an easy career for raising a family.  I was never in it for the ease and convenience.  Every once in a while I feel remorse for becoming a statistic.  The girl who became a teacher, sought a job in Utah where it was oversaturated with girls just like me, got the job, taught a few years, then quit to raise a family.  It was never my goal.  But sometimes you can’t plan life.

My passion for teaching was obviously fueled by Mr. Escalante.  But he taught me so much more.  He taught me that anyone can succeed with the proper motivation and enough hard work.  Intro to Special Ed was a required course for education majors at my school.  When my professor described Special Education as a way to level the playing field I was hooked.  I double majored in Elementary and Special Education as a result.  Jaime Escalante leveled the playing field for his students. 

Jaime Escalante was not afraid to try something different.  He was willing to try things that nobody else was willing to try and to believe in people others had written off.  I did that as much as I could as a teacher.  I continue to live my life that way now.  Dozens of my own personal success stories with students and youth I have worked with at church, come to mind when I think of Mr. Escalante’s legacy. 

Today I watched ‘Stand and Deliver.’ My six year old decided to watch with me.  I tried to explain the story as best I could but I know he is not yet mature enough to understand.  He hated the beginning of the movie and said the kids were mean.  Even though he didn’t fully grasp why they made the choices they did I believe he could see how they changed when Mr. Escalante inspired them to aim higher. 

My son wants to be a teacher.  He knows I used to teach so he may be emulating me.  One day he will get it.  One day he will understand how significant Jaime Escalante’s influence has been in education.  For now he wonders why the good people have to die. 

Jaime Escalante may have reached old age and lost his battle with cancer but his legacy will always live on.  My life has been changed significantly because I watched his story when I was 11.  Who knows how many more lives will be touched after all the lives he has touched already. 

Part of my teaching philosophy is a quote I love.  “You can count the seeds in a single apple but you can never count the apples in a single seed.”  Jaime Escalante is the definition of that quote.  He is amazing.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Controversial Book Report

Gavin loves Dr. Seuss. I was impressed when he picked an informative book about Dr. Seuss from the school library. It's called "Dr. Seuss" by Wendy Lynch, in case anyone is interested. Gavin was able to easily read the book and learn all about his favorite author.

Gavin was supposed to do a book report for school so we decided this book was the best one to report on. It was a lot of fun learning about Dr. Seuss and putting this video together. Gavin came up with all the questions himself and he prepped his dad on how to answer the questions. I thought it turned out really cute. My favorite part is the bow tie I cut out of cardstock. It looks like a cartoon!

I give up on uploading the video for now. I started the process around 10:30 am and it's now 4:00 pm. Maybe my blood sugar will drop low in the middle of the night and I can quickly upload it then. I will get it on eventually.

I have to say though, we don't put these videos together to make people jealous or feel bad or anything like that. The sea anemone video from last year seemed like a great way to do a report on sea anemones. The moms hated me for doing that. I don't know why. I just thought making kindergarteners do a freaking oral report was stupid in and of itself! We had fun researching and then making that video.

The Dr. Seuss book report video was received about the same way. The teacher loved it and said it was one of the best book reports. The kids thought it was cool. Gavin felt good for having a book report "outside the box." I almost forgot that he turned it in today. As soon as I got to the moms I stand by at pick up, one mom gave me this look. Then she said, "Gavin did another video huh?" I said yes wondering how on earth she knew since that class hadn't come out yet. Then she said her son was telling her all about it. The son she was referring to is in 3rd grade!

"How does he know?" I asked.

"Because we had reading buddies today and we listened to book reports," he told me with that same look on his face.

"Are you trying to make us look bad?" she joked.

"It's three minutes long!" I exclaimed.

Then her son talked about how he liked the bowtie and he asked how we made the books look big. I told him we shot the video in front of a green screen and replaced the green with images we found online. The kid was impressed we have a green screen! Thanks for the green fabric Dawn!

Ta da! It finally uploaded and processed!

It's Working!

Just in case anyone read about my email woes, my email is now working. Yay!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Back in Business?

Maybe.  Maybe not. 

I recently posted about how my blog got lost.  Then I posted about how our email stopped working.  Today Heath tried to fix email and lost the blog again but then he said he got everything to work.  Yay! 

So I clicked the send/receive button and have been seeing errors all morning.  Even after closing and reopening my email.  Of course the only new email I had before trying to click the send/receive button was from Jo-Ann’s.  I don’t remember why I thought signing up for their daily emails was a good idea.  I rarely go to Jo-Ann’s and when I do I, of course, forget to print the coupon.  Usually I can’t use their coupons anyway.  There’s always a paragraph of fine print excluding items from the coupon.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen a coupon that didn’t exclude all the scrapbooking products. 

This no email thing makes me feel really isolated from the rest of the world.  This is the number one way to reach me.  There’s nothing quite like getting a phone call about how all my emails keep bouncing back.  Yep, I know.  I don’t know why and I’m sorry.  What can I do for you? 

There’s nothing like completing visiting teaching and thinking it would be great to be proactive and email my supervisor before she has her supervisor email me about it.  But I can’t.

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of flying without a net because the school emails all correspondence to me.  I thought there would be no homework this week since it’s a short week before Spring Break.  I talked to Gavin’s teacher anyway.  I told her that our email is temporarily not working.  She said that she can’t get on hers either.  Then she announced to the parents that if we didn’t get an email of the homework cover sheet a hard copy would be sent home.  Hmm.  I hope she understood what I told her. 

I clicked send/receive again.  No love from the email gods.  It’s still reporting errors that the server is down or can’t connect.  The walls are closing in on me.  The isolation is suffocating.  The trilling bong sound of a new email is a distant memory now.  So distant that I wonder if describing it as a trilling bong sound is even accurate.  Does it sound like the doorbell?  Or a bell?  The phone?  No, not the phone.  I don’t remember!  The tears are welling up even as I type threatening to spill over.  I feel as if I’m lost in the mountains behind a tree that people can’t seem to see.  I’m here!  I’m still alive! 

I know.  I’m so overdramatic! 

Friday, March 26, 2010

Communication

Jerry Seinfeld told a joke where he talked about people screening other people in person. He described someone walking toward you on the street. You don't want to talk to this person but how can you avoid it? The person comes up to you and you say, "I'm not in right now but if you would leave a message I can get back to you later. Beep." How awesome would it be if this was possible! I would love it.

People think I'm strange because I use caller ID to screen my calls (ok a lot of people do that), I don't answer the door unless I'm expecting someone, I have a cell phone but it's rarely charged and I never have it with me. How do I stay in touch? Email.

Email was created in the 70's believe it or not. After all these years techy geeks are coming up with better and faster ways of communicating. Cell phones, text messages, social media sites like blogs, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Google Buzz, etc.

That's great. I still like email. But my email is on the fritz. I haven't received any emails since yesterday morning when Heath emailed me back that my blog should be up and running in a few hours.

What did you say? You think I could just be a loser who never gets email? Maybe. But I know I should have gotten a whole bunch of blog comments emailed to me and not a single one has come through.

Heath has been trying to fix it all day. The felcore domain has had some changes lately so we figured that was why email was not working. But Heath can get his email. Not me. It's sad that my favorite form of communication is too pooped to work for me. I know it's not because I stink. I showered today.

Exercise in Futility

Overcoming bad habits takes the same steps.

1.  Recognizing there is a problem.
2.  Hoping the problem will go away on its own.
3.  Thinking good thoughts when step #2 doesn’t work.
4.  Work.

Two steps would make more sense but let’s be honest, we all have to throw in the extra two steps in the middle. 

Step #3 has been quite successful for my weight loss in the last couple months but it was time to move on.  I missed Julio, the name I gave my EA Active Wii Fit trainer.  He looks nothing like a Julio but it’s an inside joke so I call him that.  By the middle of the workout I was not calling him Julio anymore!

The workout started out really well.  I had great form and Julio agreed.  I was sweating and breathing hard but I was getting the job done.  Yeah!  I was doing something good for myself and it felt great. 

Julio made me do a set of 16 squats.  Easy.  Then he made me do some lunges.  I hate lunges but I concentrated on my form and did each one as if it were the first.  What’s next Julio?  Fast kick ups. 

Fast kick ups are when you run in place while kicking your legs high enough to kick your own behind.  The person I created to look similar to myself does the same motion around a simulated track.  After a long set of squats followed by a long set of lunges, fast kick ups make me want to die.  There is no regular running.  No resting.  Just fast kick ups for what feels like three miles. 

My lungs were burning.  My legs of steel felt nothing like steel.  More like soupy Jell-O.  I panted for a while after the exercise was over before pushing the button to move onto the next. 

Thankfully it was an arm exercise.  As I finished the last rep, Julio said, “That got your heart rate up!  Nice!”  I wanted to shout back, “Dude!  My heart hasn’t slowed down from the track!”  But my concentration was all on continuing to breathe in and out.

I did another round of squats and two different types of lunges before I got to rest while working on my arms again.  All I could think of was the Friends episode where Rachel tells Joey that her gynecologist tried to kill her.  My trainer, a cartoon, was some sort of hit man in gray sweats and a tight T-shirt.  Nobody’s abs and pecs look like that in a T-shirt!

Somehow the torture ended.  I kept eying my bed and the futon in my room, wondering which one was closer to collapse on while my lungs exploded. 

Instead I grabbed my big, green, rubber fitness ball.  I could only get through two sets of 10 sit ups.  Good heavens!  How bad of shape am I actually in? 

My husband was working from home today, thank goodness.  I told him to get 911 on speed dial.  I was coming down to get some water.  I laid on the couch while my entire body trembled.  The only part of my body that was not emitting audible screams from torn muscles were my eyelashes. 

Happy first day of exercising.  Too bad it was an exercise in futility because I can only imagine the pain if I have to do this again tomorrow!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Where is your blog?

I’m not sure how many people asked this question today.  I know one person did because I got an email from my sister saying that she was not authorized to view my blog.  Was I going private or was the site having issues today?  Thinking that was strange I refreshed the page and saw this:

You are not authorized to view this page

The Web server you are attempting to reach has a list of IP addresses that are not allowed to access the Web site, and the IP address of your browsing computer is on this list.

Please try the following:

  • Contact the Web site administrator if you believe you should be able to view this directory or page.

HTTP Error 403.6 - Forbidden: IP address of the client has been rejected.
Internet Information Services (IIS)


Technical Information (for support personnel)

  • Go to Microsoft Product Support Services and perform a title search for the words HTTP and 403.
  • Open IIS Help, which is accessible in IIS Manager (inetmgr), and search for topics titled About Security, Limiting Access by IP Address, IP Address Access Restrictions, and About Custom Error Messages.

WHAT???

So I did what I always do when I don’t know what to do.  I emailed Heath.  He looked into it and fixed it.  As I suspected, he told me it was an issue with the address.  I used to use a blogger address but changed it to the felcore domain we own.  This was so Dawn could read my posts at school where blogs are banned.  We’re so sneaky!  Anyway, it was the felcore address that was having issues.  But it’s all better now. 

So for anyone who thought I was going private I’m still here!  Happy blogging everybody. 

I won

Success comes in different ways.  It is always accompanied by relief.  Being successful is hard work.  It takes a lot of determination, perseverance  and even more “in your face, I will prove you wrong” attitude. 

I don’t know why I am out to prove the world wrong.  It’s built into who I am.  When I win it’s a glorious thing.  Today I feel like I have won. 

Today I visited my endocrinologist. 

My husband prepped me for the visit by giving me nice words to say to my doctor to get my needs met and my point across.  I have spent my entire life attempting to hold my caustic tongue.  It’s not easy but I’m getting better. 

The visit went well.  Everything was down into a more acceptable range.  My weight, which he never commented on but I don’t care, my blood pressure, my average blood sugar readings, and the amount of insulin I use, which he didn’t comment on that either but I don’t care. 

I won because I brought all of these things down myself.  Well, my new ace inhibiting medication may have helped my blood pressure but it could be argued that my decreased stress level helped that too!  I won because not once did the doctor mention Symlin.  I recently read that diabetics don’t produce two different hormones.  We only take insulin but there is another hormone we are missing and Symlin helps fill that gap.  But that’s not why my doctor wanted me on it.  He thought it would curb my appetite and help me lose weight.  You can read all about that rotten day here

I won because I don’t have to see him next month.  He told me to see him in two months!  This is big.  It means he feels my diabetes management is stable enough to not have to see him next month.  I have been seeing this guy every month for 13 months.  My numbers have been spiraling more and more out of control every time I see him as he jacks up my basal rates which has created many, many issues. 

I won because I took control of my basal rates and insulin to carb ratios and I lost nearly 10 pounds just by lowering my insulin needs!  I have less lows which means I don’t have to eat as much.  I won.  Any way you look at it I won. 

My husband says that my doctor probably thinks he won because he got me mad enough to make these changes.  It’s hard to say if this was all reverse psychology or not.  Either way I don’t care.  He can be happy and I can be happy.  He can sleep at night thinking he won and I will run through the streets, flailing my arms, screaming that I won. 

Regardless of who won, the point is I’m a healthier diabetic. 

It feels good to win.  It feels good to be back on the healthy side of Type 1 diabetes.   It feels insanely good to have lost as much weight as I have.  Only 20 more pounds to go.  That seems so doable since I haven’t even introduced exercise into this weight loss equation yet!  Too many lows.  Now my blood sugar is more stable and I think I’m ready to be told I’m doing awesome by my cartoon Wii Fit trainer again.

It has been sprinkling off and on all morning.  I walked out to my van with the sun shining.  The happy sunshine shone the whole way home enveloping me in warmth, relief and that high that comes from kicking some serious butt!  Skipalong by Lenka was playing on my drive home.  I was happy that I was no longer skipping along quite merrily, reveling in hating what’s going on.  I worked hard to change what was going on and I won. 

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

And so it begins . . .

As Gavin was excitedly telling me all the details of his field trip yesterday he took this out of his backpack.

Love-note

Me:  What is this?
G:  I don’t know.
Me:  Did she give this to you?
G:  No, it was just in my backpack.  Well, it was on the hook where I hang my backpack. 

Later I showed Heath. 

Me:  Is this what I think it is?
H:  That’s my BOY!

We had a good laugh over it.  Ah spring.  That time of year when fancy starts to blossom into harmless notes. 

My first boyfriend was in first grade.  I was in love with a boy in kindergarten but I don’t think he knew I existed.  So my first real love was Eric in first grade.  I won’t use his last name even though I remember it. 

Eric was tall, dark and handsome.  My mom tells me we even kissed.  I don’t remember that.  The funny thing about Eric was that he was popular.  In first grade everyone was friends but the politics of the inevitable childhood class system soon developed.  The nerds, the popular kids, everyone else. 

I was not a nerd necessarily.  The popular kids liked me but I never fully transitioned into their group because I was a goody goody.  Little Miss Molly Mormon.  I was friends with nerds.  I was friends with popular kids.  I fit in best with the wanna be popular kids.  The fact that Eric was my boyfriend and he was aware of this and accepted me as his girlfriend really cracks me up.  It was a short lived romance.  Nine whole months.  I did plan in some detail what our wedding would look like.  He never knew that though.  I was seven years old.  I didn’t want to scare the guy!

By second grade my love matured.  I found another boyfriend also named Erik.  And to protect his innocence I won’t use his last name either even though I remember it.  He was blond.  Our love consisted of severe blushing around each other, holding hands at recess, and Christmas gifts.  I don’t remember what I gave him but I did write “To my boyfriend Erik Blah Blah.”  He gave me hair clips and my face was several shades of red for a good 15 minutes.  Young love. 

I don’t know if I’m ready for my Gavin to be the hot topic of six and seven year old girl’s giggled conversations.  I don’t know how I’m supposed to respond actually.  In this day and age everyone walks on eggshells.  The slightest thing can be taken the wrong way.  What if the school suspends him if they both decide to *gasp* hold hands.  I have a whole new opinion on the kissing thing now that I’m a mother! 

Maybe for now I do nothing.  Gavin is a typical guy.  He could not care less that some cute girl made him a heart.  He didn’t even notice that another cute girl signed her Valentine to him with “love.”  He thinks a picture from a neighbor is just a picture.  For all I know that’s all it is too but she is best friends with the Valentine girl.  Hmmm . . .

I loved his reaction when I asked him about the heart.  “I don’t know.”  He’s a guy guy.  Impenetrable to women’s sly wiles. 

Then I look at Parker.  He is hilarious.  If you’ve never had the pleasure of a conversation with him you are missing something really special.  I don’t know that kindergarten is ready for Parker.  And the girl thing?  Forget it!  That kid is the complete opposite of Gavin.  He will have girlfriends in first grade.  I can see it now. 

I have decided that Gwen is not allowed out of the house.  I just hope that with all the advances in medicine and technology we’ve made that Bill Engvall’s wish can come true in time.  He says “girls should get boobs at 21.  Just happy birthday!  Poof.  There they are!”  I agree. 

My kids are 2, 4, and 6 years old.  Why do I have to worry about all this craziness now?  Because it’s reality.  I read about a woman who finally was able to adopt a baby.  She picked up her baby girl recently and besides the concern over how to deal with a newborn she is wondering how to keep the girl from dating until she’s 25.  That’s life as a parent.  And so it begins . . .

Monday, March 22, 2010

A picture is worth a thousand words

I'm taking a break from writing today. Please leave a comment with your captions or creative stories for these pictures. May the best comment win.









Friday, March 19, 2010

Carpe Diem

At 5:55 am, Love is a Battlefield shattered my dreams with explosive energy not yet appropriate for the hour.  My first thought . . . well my first thought was why does the only radio station I can get to come in clearly play so much Pat Benatar?  She wakes me up quite frequently in the morning.  My next thought was something along the lines of carpe diem.  Seize the day.

This was a day worth seizing. 

I don’t know why.  Maybe I finally realized that it was time I have something real to show for my existence on this planet.  I have been in a sluggish slump for months.  Not really a negative, depressing slump.  Just an addiction to laziness and procrastination. 

Today was the day to change all that.  My day. 

I hit the snooze button several times.  Come on!  I’ve been suffering from a severe addiction to laziness.  You really think that was all going to change at 5:55 am? 

At 6:30 I realized sleep was never going to return, especially in short 10 minute bursts.  I got up with an extra spring in my step.  After all this was my day to shine. 

I gathered all my tools and cleaned my bathroom.  The whole time my emotional high got higher and higher until I was soaring in my own self congratulations.  My bathroom takes forever to clean.  Hard to say why since it contains everything a normal bathroom does only in larger square footage. 

The bathtub sparkles.  The toilet gleams.  The shower is squeaky clean, including the glass door that I don’t clean often enough because it’s a real pain in the neck to achieve that spot free shine.  I usually hope that the Method shower spray will be enough even though the bottom of the door gets gunky after a while.  I even Windexed the closet mirrors as high as my hand could reach while I stood on my tip toes.  They’re really tall doors. 

My cleaning euphoria was cut short for a break.  I had to shower and clean my sweaty self off so I could take my kids to Park Day.  It’s nice to get out and soak up more sunshine while shooting the breeze with friends.  Once we were back home Project Spring Cleaning was back in full swing. 

My bedroom is now surprisingly large again.  Amazing what can happen when one decides to put away all the Disneyland clutter.  I spent several minutes sighing and drinking in the beauty of a tidy, clean, and sparkly master suite.  Whenever I had a chance I stole more admiring and lingering glances at my bedroom.  Wouldn’t Heath be so excited to come home to a haven instead of a hovel after a quick business trip to Chicago? 

In all my tidying and cleaning I carefully took care of everything but the one room that has dampened my mood for days. 

THE KITCHEN.  dun dun dun!

When there was virtually nothing left to do I looked at my frenemy square in the eye and proceeded to tackle it.  Dirt, grease and grime never knew what hit them. 

In the midst of all this I washed Gavin and Gwen’s sheets.  I love that Parker asked me if they wet the bed and that’s why I was washing their bedding.  No son, just because your sheets get washed every other day does not mean that’s the only time other people’s sheets get washed. 

The afternoon slipped away from me and suddenly it was after 6:00 pm.  My head ached as I forced myself to get up from the evil computer that has a nasty habit of wasting my time even on my carpe diem day.  Once I stood up the heart racing began with the swooning dizziness I now seem to get with every hypoglycemic moment.  Yep, my blood sugar was 49.  Time for dinner after Mama snacks first! 

Gwen was in her booster seat covered in sticky Tootsie pop.  Gavin was in another world with his toys.  I was finally feeling well enough to make some real food for my children when Parker started yelling down to me from up in his bedroom.  He came down and told me that he sweated while he napped.  Uh huh.  Of course you had to “sweat” today.  Right now while I’m dealing with raw chicken and attempting to suppress my gag reflex over the sight of the raw meat. 

Another load of sheets started. 

Dinner turned out great.  It was another one of my standard meals I make when I have to cook.  Last night was traditional breakfast for dinner.  Tonight was Pasta Roni with chicken and some green vegetable.  Broccoli in the case of tonight! 

I managed to get the kids to put away all their toys and I finished vacuuming upstairs.  They’re all in bed with their cute little flushed cheeks and happy smiles.  Tomorrow is Saturday and they get to play with their daddy all day. 

Heath just got home.  I feel like I haven’t seen him in a couple weeks just because I’ve had to share him with other people so much lately.  A business trip right after Disneyland didn’t help.  He brought me a Diet Pepsi from Taco Bell with his dinner/late night snack.  I don’t like Diet Pepsi but the drink is cold, refreshing and sparkly in my mouth.  Kind of like a party of bubbles thanking me for seizing the day.  Yay me. 

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Video Post

Gavin was asked to keep a journal for the days he missed at school. I told his teachers I would have him type it and include pictures. Then I had the idea to make a video to email with his journal. The video was too big. Pictures get big in email too so I only sent two pictures. I was disappointed. It should have been cooler than that! Here are the videos I made.

Sunshine and Creativity

What is it about sunshine that sparks creativity?


Maybe it's the change in scenery.

Or the fresh air that releases the inner Picaso.

I don't know what it is.

But something about the sunshine and a warm breeze

Inspires masterpieces!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

What happened in your birth year?

This link is pretty cool.  Take a few minutes to click on it and learn something new today. 

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Everything will be all right when we go shopping

For some reason Barenaked Ladies song titles or lyrics make good post titles.  Gwen loves their shopping song but I can’t find a good version of it on youtube to share. 

We told the boys to save their money so they could buy stuff at Disneyland.  They have had a few opportunities to learn the value of a buck.  Gavin seems to really get money and what it can and cannot buy him.  That is impressive to me.  Parker, on the other hand, is still young and is motivated by instant gratification. 

The rule we came up with was there was no shopping until after lunch on Friday.  We looked at a couple of stores but the boys knew they couldn’t spend their money until after lunch on Friday.  This rule was great because it helped the boys decide what was really important to them instead of blowing their money on the first thing that caught their eye. 

Friday afternoon came and Parker and Gwen were actually asking for naps!  Heath decided to take Gavin out shopping while I rested with Parker and Gwen. 

They started out at the Lego store.  Gavin is amazing with his Lego creations.  After the Lego store they went to The World of Disney. 

Disneyland-Trip-003 Disneyland-Trip-006 Disneyland-Trip-004 Disneyland-Trip-005

World of Disney structure and view from our room.

Throughout the shopping trip Heath kept telling Gavin that he only had so much money to spend.  Gavin would grab something and Heath would ask him if that was the one and only thing he really wanted.  If Gavin shrugged the item went back.  At one point Heath asked the question and Gavin said, “I don’t know.  It makes me want to shrug.”  So it went back.  He ended up getting some great things.  He got a firefighter kit from the Lego store, a bag of plastic Pixar characters, Mickey ears with his name embroidered on the back, and a hard bound book of Pixar stories.  He was eyeing that book when we were window shopping earlier.  I knew that was something he really wanted.  He spent all but one dollar of his money.

Parker wanted to shop after the Pixar parade.  The store was so crowded with everyone leaving the parade.  Parker would grab something and say he wanted it only to immediately set it back down for something else.  He only had enough money for one thing.  I was ready to scream in the crowded store so I suggested we go outside to talk to Parker. 

He flipped out thinking he wasn’t going to have his chance to buy anything.  We told him that he could only pick one thing and he had to be sure that one thing was his favorite.  We told him he didn’t even have to get it from that one small store.  We could go back to the World of Disney.  His eyes lit up and he got very excited.  While he jumped up and down he said, “I get it!  I get it!  I want a Monsters Inc. toy that’s right by the bathrooms in the other store.” 

We walked to Downtown Disney and into the last entrance where the bathrooms are in the back.  He walked straight to the stuffed Mike Wazowski and announced that was what he wanted.  So he paid for it and is holding onto the rest of his money for now. 

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Gwen isn’t old enough for allowance so we got her stuff.  Heath got her a Tinker Bell cell phone and a bag of plastic Disney princesses similar to the Pixar character bag Gavin bought.  I had seen girls with those plastic princesses and I thought it was a stupid toy.  I wanted her to have the Tinker Bell Barbie.  I’m glad I wasn’t there when Heath made the decision because his idea was better than mine.  She is so in love with those princesses and I know she would have ruined the Barbie in a matter of days. 

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I loved how she set them up to have little conversations with each other. 

In Gwen talk they are Belle, Cin lalala, Arial, Sleeping Booty, Tee Bo Bo, and No Wipe. 

She hasn’t stopped playing with these princesses since we got home. 

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We also bought Parker some Lightning McQueen Mickey ears and Gwen got princess Mickey ears with a tiara and veil.  Last night we saw a Tinker Bell and friends bathing suit at Costco so we had to buy it for Gwen.  She twirled and twirled in the bathing suit, matching cover up, plus her shoes and socks! 

Monday, March 15, 2010

More Rides, Shows, and Attractions

One thing I had asked in my Disneyland Advice post was if people had ever done the babysitting thing at Disneyland.  I saw a tweet on Twitter where someone said that was overlawyered.  Apparently you have to give permission on some card through snail mail.  I saw the tweet maybe five days before we left.  So we did not do babysitting. 

I only considered it because I thought Gwen wouldn’t be able to go on hardly any rides.  I thought it would be nice to let the kids rest at the hotel while we did some big rides they wouldn’t be interested in.  It ended up not being an issue.  There were only two rides Gwen couldn’t go on.  The train roller coaster I talked about earlier and Mickey’s Fun Wheel.  That was a Ferris Wheel I have to talk about in a minute. 

I was impressed with how the rides worked.  Remember, my only experience was Lagoon.  Most of the rides at Lagoon require real shoes.  No open toed shoes.  And forget about taking your purse on a ride!  Disneyland was totally different.  Babies were sitting on parent’s laps.  People took bags and purses and all kinds of stuff on rides.  The only ride I worried about having Gwen go on was the Autopia ride. 

They let her on.  Gavin was with me and Heath had the rest of the kids.  He couldn’t have Gwen on his lap for that ride.  So she was squished between Heath and Parker.  Heath said it would have been a lot easier for him to help Parker drive if he didn’t have to maneuver around Gwen. 

That ride killed my leg.  We climbed into the car and as soon as we were buckled the girl was telling us to go.  Gavin couldn’t reach the pedal well enough and I didn’t trust him!  I didn’t have time to get my right foot on the gas pedal so I drove with my left.  I was pretty good.  The car didn’t lurch like other people.  I was smooth but that was harder than I thought it would be.  Gavin steered well when he was paying attention.  At one point he stopped caring so he was jerking the wheel around for the fun of it.  I was getting a headache!  Yep, there’s a reason why they make kids wait until they’re 16 before they can legally learn to drive! 

Parker gave up or something.  Heath said he took over driving about halfway through the track.  His legs were bruised because he could barely fold his tall self into the car and every time Parker missed the turn the car would bang along the track.  Then Heath was trying to reach the steering wheel in front of Parker while reaching around Gwen.  Poor Heath.  The kids were asking to go back to the hotel to take naps after that ride and we were happy to make that happen! 

The Ferris Wheel was a hilarious experience.  Gavin may need counseling after that one!  So we’re in California Adventure and had just finished doing the Midway Games ride with the Toy Story characters.  Very fun.  Across from the Midway Games is the Ferris Wheel.  I suggested we go.  Parker wanted nothing to do with it.  Gavin wasn’t so sure.  I talked him into going with me.  There was no line.  It was a Friday morning and apparently everyone was at Disneyland. 

We work our way through the line obstacles for when it is crowded and as we walked around one corner I see a sign that says something about non swinging gondolas.  My agoraphobia makes me have tunnel vision most of the time.  I don’t like being in charge when I’m trying something new.  I had no idea where to go because there wasn’t anyone to follow!  Non swinging gondolas made no sense to me.  All the gondolas were swinging.  That’s a Ferris Wheel!  I didn’t realize there was another line to stand in to get a “non swinging gondola!” 

We get up there and a family climbs into a gondola.  Then it’s our turn.  We climb into a green one.  Gavin sits right next to me and is visibly nervous.  I’m nervous too but I can’t tell him that!  We start going up and the gondola starts to swing.  Gavin starts to panic.  I hold his hand and reassure him.  We go up higher and he’s still ready to die each time we move. 

Then the end of the world happens!

The gondola slides back and forth on this squished oval shaped track thing.  Gavin loses his mind.  I’m looking at all the other people wondering why we seem to be the only ones sliding.  I saw some guy holding his infant in a snuggly on his chest.  That seemed safe until we started sliding all over the place.  What is going on?  My fears were only squashed because I had to be brave for my 6 year old who looks like he may pee his pants he’s so freaked out! 

Every time we move the gondola either swings or slides or both.  Gavin is screaming at the top of his lungs.  “MOMMY!  THIS IS SCARIER THAN THE LAST TIME!  THIS IS SO SCARY!  I’M GOING TO DIE!  WHEN WILL IT BE OVER?”  And other similar things.  Every eye is on us.  Couples stop making out long enough to stare at us, the Ferris Wheel spectacle, and laugh.  Then they resume kissing.  Meanwhile Gavin’s fingers are blue because I don’t know what else to do but squeeze his hand and say empty words like “It’s going to be ok.  You’re fine.  Just relax, you’re fine.  We’re almost done.”

Mercifully the ride ended after we went around twice.  I couldn’t stop laughing.  What else could I do?  I am the worst mother in the world scaring the pants off my kid, who I know darn well is easily scared by anything a smidge off of mellow!  As soon as I saw Heath I said, “He may need counseling.”  Heath just looked at me.  I said, “Didn’t you hear him screaming?”  More confused stares.  Then I said, “Who didn’t?  That poor kid hated the ride.”  I apologized to Gavin and we moved on to something really tame.  A firefighter playground.

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We rode the carousel twice without having to wait either time. 

Disneyland-Trip-082 Disneyland-Trip-083 Gwen is getting her two year molars.  She has been chewing her hand constantly.  I love how she is saving it for later here!

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Toon Town was a lot of fun.  I especially loved being an honorary citizen because we got there early.  Heath convinced Gavin to go on the roller coaster in Toon Town.  Gavin wasn’t so sure about it.  When he was done he decided it was ok.  Parker was still anti roller coaster so I was out of luck since Gavin didn’t want to go again. 

We went on the Jungle Safari and that was a blast.  The tour guide was hilarious.  Gwen loved every second of that ride.  When we were done she kept saying, “Jungle!  Jungle!” 

Disneyland-Trip-119 Gavin looks nervous.  I don’t know if he was or not.  I admit I was nervous in the Storybook boat ride that goes through the whale’s mouth and shows all the miniature towns the fairy tale characters live in.  I was nervous because of the way the boat was.  It felt like we were sitting right on top of the water.  That was weird to me.  The jungle safari was great. 

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The Finding Nemo Submarine ride was really cool.  It was well worth the very long wait. 

Another ride worth mentioning was the Monsters Inc. ride.  Gavin has been terrified of Monsters Inc. for years.  We figured it was because of the monsters.  Parker likes to watch that movie but he usually has to wait for Gavin to be at school or something.  Gavin knew about the Monsters Inc. ride and agreed to be brave. 

We let the kids watch movies on the drive.  Parker had chosen Monsters Inc. and Gavin agreed to have the movie in the van.  But when Parker chose to watch it Gavin threw a fit.  We had to do a lot of talking to get him to be ok.  We learned that what he was afraid of was Roz, the mean lady who collects the paperwork.  He watched the movie, closing his eyes when she was on.  By the end of the movie he was ok with her and realized she wasn’t that mean or scary. 

So we get the chance to go on the Monsters Inc. ride.  All five of us could go on it together but we had to be spread out among three cars in the train.  I don’t know what possessed us to do this but we had Gavin sit in his own car.  Heath had Gwen and I had Parker.  Gavin was fine with the ride.  He really enjoyed it.  At the very end the train kind of stops.  There is a huge, larger than life statue of Roz right where the train stopped and we were waiting for other trains to empty out so we could go. 

We’re looking at her and suddenly she says, “Young man in the second row . . . I’ve got my eye on you!”  That was when it dawned on us that we were idiots for letting him sit alone.  But he giggled.  Ever since then he has felt a lot of pride for being singled out by the one character who caused him such mental turmoil.  That was a great moment. 

Some of those rides have the capability of reacting to the crowds.  We don’t know how but it has to be true.  Roz talked to another family by saying, “Young lady . . . Is that your brother?”  How else could she have known to say it unless she saw a young boy and girl sitting together?  Mr. Potato Head would say things to people in line for the Midway Games.  Some teenager walked by and yelled out, “Mr. Potato Head!  I love you!”  Mr. Potato Head stopped mid sentence and said, “That never gets old.”  Then he went back to what he was saying. 

The rides were spectacular.  Much better than I could have ever imagined. 

We saw a couple of shows in between all the rides.  We saw It’s Tough to be a Bug in California Adventure.  That was much more interactive than I thought it would be.  Heath laughs at me for jumping up when the bugs were leaving the room at the end of the show.  In my defense, it felt like a bug crawled underneath me! 

On Saturday we went to the Tiki Room.  I thought it was a lot of fun.  My favorite part was that the birds weren’t real so there was no unsightly bird poop. 

Another show we saw we was the Playhouse Disney live show in California Adventure.  Maybe we talked it up too much.  Maybe we were tired and hungry.  Maybe it lacked luster because California Adventure seemed to be bursting at the seams with local LA residents who walked around with the attitude “Entertain me.  I dare you!” 

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Gavin would have participated more if his brother and sister would have gotten into it.  Gwen surprised me with how quiet and observant she was.  Parker did not surprise me with how ornery he was.  He sat next to me with his head buried in my arm for most of the show.  He refused to sing or otherwise participate.  This is why we don’t go to Music Makers anymore. 

We saw the Pixar Parade.  I will put together a movie with the video and pictures later.  We also saw the fireworks which I will put together in a movie later. 

So many rides and so many shows.  It was a great couple of days.  We didn’t take as many pictures as I thought we would.  We were too busy having fun.