Monday, December 24, 2007

Tracking Santa

The kids are already chomping at the bit for their visit from Santa. We are going over to Grandma and Grandpa Hagen's tonight for Christmas Eve. We have a plan to have a package delivered to their house with the kid's names on it. It will be called a "PajamaGram". Inside will be the kid's pjs to wear that night and a message from Mrs. Claus letting them know Santa has already left to deliver the toys to all of the good girls and boys.

Just to throw them off track...................

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Do you Have Christmas Spirit?

Your Christmas Sprit Level: 60%

You have a lot of Christmas spirit, and it's evident to most people who know you.
You love most things Christmas, and you do your best to make sure everyone has a great holiday.

While you like the more commercial aspects of Christmas, you truly know what the spirit of Christmas is about.
You're all about giving, being kind, and sharing the spirit of Christmas with everyone you know.

Ok. That description is just silly for a 60% "spirit" level! It should be saying something more like, "You can't believe it's Christmas again. You are bugged beyond comprehension that stores have been marketing Christmas stuff on their shelves since Labor Day. You have to fit time in not only for those school parties for your kids but also manage to make treats for everyone and oftentimes having to make them twice because you ate the first batch yourself, wrap the stocking stuffers, go back to the overcrowded mall because while wrapping your stocking stuffers, you realize you forgot to buy a child's pj's for Christmas Eve. You drown your stress with lots of Diet Coke and that new yummy fudge recipe you found. You don't understand how the One-stop-shop Walmart can run out of powdered sugar and cinnamon sticks yet they don't sell stamps so you can mail your belated Christmas Cards. And let's not forget how much you LOVE to watch "Charlie Brown's Christmas" over.....and over.....and over.....and over."

Contrary to what my 60% Christmas Spirit levels seems to say about me........I'm really not feeling the Christmas Spirit so much this year. Something about a crawling nine month old combined with a two year old. Oh yeah.....and a husband who still has a bruise left over from putting up lights and falling off of the extension ladder last year.......which means no outside lights either.

This is the extent of my decorating this year:

The stockings are hung by the chimney with care. So the kids don't freak out that Santa won't find them there.......

The tree is up in all its gated glory. That, I'm afraid is the end of my inventory.

Semi Wordless Wednesday

bad day?

This should make you feel better. I wonder if it is the same lady I saw walking around Disney World in stilettos.......

Sunday, December 16, 2007

School fundraisers


The following story is the reason the candle/wrapping paper/candy/cookie dough/needless junk fundraising forms my kids bring home from school end up in the circular file.

My son brought home a Christmas boutique preview sign up form home from school last week. I see the strategy. I must admit it's pretty sneaky. See, you get the kids to "preview" the useless junk then go home and tell mom and dad that they just HAVE to buy the $12.00 picture frame or $6.00 cookie tin for you for Christmas. Sure....wait until Christmas then you can hit 'ol mom and dad up for the money under the guise of "it makes a great stocking stuffer".

So, my son comes home with his checklist of things he wants to buy. Most are about $4.00. Some were $8.00. I told him he needed to narrow his list of twenty items down to two. So, he thought it would be nice to get me some kind of useless something or other. I honestly can't even remember what it was. All I know is that it was going to set me back four bucks. Then he wanted to get Grandma Hagen some kind of fiber optic Angel, because, who WOULDN'T want a fiber optic Angel? Another four bucks.


I stuck my $8.00 in the....get this......pre printed envelope that has spaces for the loved ones on any five year old child's list of people they need to buy gifts for.
I swear. I'm telling was marketing at its finest.
So I filled out the places where it said "gift for mom" and "gift for grandma". I specifically stated WHAT overpriced items it was I wanted my son to buy then put my exact change in the sealed envelope.

A couple of days later, I get a couple of quarters back and this:

Sorry to spoil the surprise Grandma Hagen, but you aren't getting a fiber optic Angel. Nor am I getting whatever it was that he wanted me to have that I can't even remember either. He came home with, as he calls it, a "moon" ring. I suppose it's really a "mood" ring but in reality, it is a $7.50, could have bought it at a flee market for a buck, would rather have had a fiber optic Angel, hunk of a piece of metal.
And this is why I don't do school fundraisers. I would have much rather written a check for eight bucks made out to his school.

Monday, December 10, 2007

When markers attack

Or rather, someone didn't put the lids back on the markers when they were done with them last.

And by the way......

Erasable does NOT = Washable.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

You better watch out! You better not cry!

Better not pout
I'll tell you why..........

Santa's watching you.

If you want to get your kids to behave even if it's just for a couple of weeks, then you need to try my new technique. It has worked like a charm for me the last few days. Call it guilt, label it manipulation. Whatever. I call it genius.

Here's what you do. Send a letter to your kids from "Santa". Be sure to add a little tid bit of info that only your child would think they knew. Like, "I saw you smack your brother yesterday with the toy" or "Maybe next time you take a bath you shouldn't pour water all over the floor to make a slip and slide. That is something that is best done outside."

So, here's my letter:

Dear Lauren,
Merry Christmas! The elves and I are very busy getting ready for Christmas, and I’m really excited that I’m going to be coming to visit your home in a few weeks.

Have you been a good girl this year? I’ve been making a list and checking it twice, and it says that you haven’t been naughty, but have been very nice. I’m very proud of you. Santa Claus likes bringing toys to little children who listen to their parents, are nice and polite to other people, and do their best in school.

Mrs. Claus has been baking Christmas cookies for all the elves so they have plenty of energy to build lots of toys. One of my elves told me that you want a bike for Christmas, and I’m going to do my best to bring you that or something that you really like.

Rudolph and all the reindeer are very happy that we’re going to be bringing you some presents this year. Rudolph says he would really like it if you would leave out some carrots and cookies for us before you go to bed on Christmas Eve because we all get hungry delivering so many toys all around the world.

Have a very merry Christmas!

Santa Claus

P.S. I'm glad you and Jack are enjoying your new little brother and being such a big help to your parents.

Then enjoy watching your kids spend hours writing a letter back to Santa and wondering how in the world he knew they had a new baby brother! Last night Lauren said, "Mom! You know why I took my shower and am brushing my teeth? Because I want to stay on Santa's 'nice' list!"

Brilliance. Now sit back. Relax and enjoy the cooperation and quiet. If only for a day.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Three Handsome Boys.....

Plus one pretty girl..................

Put them all together and you might get one remotely usable picture for Christmas cards on your third attempt.

At this rate, there may not even BE cards this year.

Other random shots:

Friday, November 30, 2007

the 12 Days of Christmas ( my version )

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me,
A baby with RSV

On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me,
Two kids home from school
And a baby with RSV

On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me,
Three attempts for pictures
Two kids home from school
And a baby with RSV

On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me,
Four letter naughty words
Three attempts for pictures
Two kids home from school
And a baby with RSV

On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me,
Five unwanted pounds!
Four letter naughty words
Three attempts for pictures
Two kids home from school
And a baby with RSV

On the sixth day of Christmas my true love gave to me,
Six stockings to stuff
Five unwanted pounds!
Four letter naughty words
Three attempts for pictures
Two kids home from school
And a baby with RSV

On the seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me,
Seven letter free shipping codes
Six stockings to stuff
Five unwanted pounds!
Four letter naughty words
Three attempts for pictures
Two kids home from school
And a baby with RSV

On the eighth day of Christmas my true love gave to me,
Eight work/school/church/white elephant parties
Seven letter free shipping codes
Six stockings to stuff
Five unwanted pounds!
Four letter naughty words
Three attempts for pictures
Two kids home from school
And a baby with RSV

On the ninth day of Christmas my true love gave to me,
Nine neighbor gifts
Eight work/school/church/white elephant parties
Seven letter free shipping codes
Six stockings to stuff
Five unwanted pounds!
Four letter naughty words
Three attempts for pictures
Two kids home from school
And a baby with RSV

On the tenth day of Christmas my true love gave to me,
Ten times hearing “You’ll shoot your eye out”
Nine neighbor gifts
Eight work/school/church/white elephant parties
Seven letter free shipping codes
Six stockings to stuff
Five unwanted pounds!
Four letter naughty words
Three attempts for pictures
Two kids home from school
And a baby with RSV

On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me,
Eleven times I’ve procrastinated
Ten times hearing “You’ll shoot your eye out”
Nine neighbor gifts
Eight work/school/church/white elephant parties
Seven letter free shipping codes
Six stockings to stuff
Five unwanted pounds!
Four letter naughty words
Three attempts for pictures
Two kids home from school
And a baby with RSV

On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me,
Twelve hours baking
Eleven times I’ve procrastinated
Ten times hearing “You’ll shoot your eye out”
Nine neighbor gifts
Eight work/school/church/white elephant parties
Seven letter free shipping codes
Six stockings to stuff
Five unwanted pounds!
Four letter naughty *&!@ words
Three attempts for pictures
Two kids home from school

And a baby with RSV

May your Christmas season be unmedicated and stress free!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

My new hiding spot

My cute little block picture holder thingy disappeared today. I knew exactly who took it since the evidence was laid out so nice and evenly on the couch right below where the picture holder was sitting.

I asked him if he knew where my picture holder went. He replied, "Hmmmm. Let's see?"
Yes. Let's see.

We then proceeded to play the "Where is it hiding?" game for the next fifteen minutes as we aimlessly walked around the family room, kitchen and living room while he curiously exclaimed, "No. Not in here." We even looked in three closets. Nothing. I hoped he might remember where he put such an odd looking, memorable object seeing that he remembered where he put the TV remote the last time he hid it on the bottom shelf next to the cereal boxes in the pantry. Or Lauren's sports bottle he stored in a bookcase.............for a month.

No such luck.
It wasn't until tonight as I was preparing dinner and opened the freezer that I realized where my picture holder had been hiding all day.

Wedged nicely between the frozen celery and home made enchilada sauce.

So then it dawned on me. I've got a few Christmas presents that need a good hiding place. Too bad it's not big enough to hold a bike or two.

Or a Wii.

JUST KIDDING! If I were getting a Wii, I wouldn't put it in the freezer.

Saturday, November 24, 2007


Who would have thought it was a good idea to put the children's department at Macy's on the same floor as the fine china and crystal? Which is on display right off of the escalators? And you have to walk through them to even get to the children's section?

Obviously someone who doesn't have kids.

Monday, November 19, 2007

I got a new vacuum!

Creating a new branch in the Hoover family tree while still adhering to the company's reputation for innovation and quality, this is the ideal machine. It's a sleak upright design with a HEPA ( He Eats Paraphernalia Always ) filtration system. It is light weight at only 20 pounds. It is designed to smoothly glide across your floor while picking up more dust and debris in corners and along baseboards. This latest advance technology ensures the highest, most efficient pick-up across all floor types.
As you can see, mine is a slightly older 8 month model. While mine has the old rear bag design and not the new bagless model, it still works like a charm!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Something new I discovered

Something I forgot to mention about our Tombstone trip.
I guess because we are a family of six, we are now considered a "group" at restaurants. Who knew having one more child would end up costing us so much more money this early in the game.
At least that's the way it happened at the restaurant we went to in Tombstone. It seems they counted the baby as a real food eating human body as well.
And what do restaurants typically do with groups of six or more? They shrewdly add an automatic 20% tip. Now normally, I wouldn't mind but this time, it was a little ridiculous. First of all, our "six" was a seven month old baby. And all he ate were some Cheerios which most of those ended up on the floor. So technically, we were a group of five. And the other reason is that the service was horrifically slow. It took us an hour and a half to get in and out of the place! Now moms with little kids know that you can't go anywhere unless you know you'll be done within 30, 45 minutes, TOPS. Otherwise, chaos in sues. So, imagine what it was like entertaining four kids for an hour and a half. I mean, there comes a point when the novelty of the boys/girls bathroom wears off.
I think what was the kicker was when we asked when the apple crisp that we ordered twenty minutes before would be out and she said, "Oh! I just put it in the microwave. It should be out in a few minutes."
Restaurant? Apple crisp? Microwave? 7.99? 20% tip?
Then only to discover that the "apple crisp" was the same concoction I've made at home using yellow cake mix and peaches/apples/cherries.
So the service we received to justify the automatic 20% tip was the pleasure of being gawked at ( yet again ) by old people, wasting an hour and a half of our already shortened time there, a really bad apple crisp, a majorly slow waitress, and saved us the need to figure out what 20% of the bill would be.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Can you tell what this is a picture of?

It's a still security camera shot of my husband at Piccadilly Circus in London standing to the right of the light post while on the phone talking to me.

Makes it seem like he's not really seven hours ahead and over 6000 miles away.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Can the creativity gene skip a generation?

Do you think my daughter inherited my Martha Stewartish knack of creativity?

I'm thinking sadly, it may have skipped a generation.

If you can't tell from looking at the picture above, then let me explain how I came to this conclusion.

My daughter brought home from school a piece of paper with a turkey on it. She was told she needed to decorate the turkey in a disguise so that it wouldn't be recognized and eaten for Thanksgiving dinner.

Creative, Martha Stewart me, thought she should glue a piece of white material over the turkey cutting out holes for just the eyes and letting the feet poke out from the bottom as if the turkey was hiding in order to avoid being the guest of honor at a Thanksgiving feast.

The next thing I knew, a box of Cheerios was out of the cupboard. I thought she was going to have herself a bowl as a snack. But alas, they were going to be used as part of her mixed media creation.

Notice only one Cheerio is ever so slightly colored in.

Here we have the head of the turkey and its blue/green framed glasses and gobbler which would make for excellent camouflage in the wild.

Next are the shoes in disguise as paper towels painted in brightly colored purples, oranges and pinks. All of which capture the colors of fall.

And to add the finishing touches, what incognito turkey wouldn't be complete without a floral headdress to adorn its feathery tail?

And one perfectly placed star for all to see.

My version of the "Mr. Turkey" song:

Mr. Turkey, Mr. Turkey,

Are you hiding under there?

Are those Cheerios for your belly?

And material for your hair?

Mr. Turkey, Mr. Turkey,

Do you really think you won't get caught?

Cause with a disguise just like that one

You for sure will get shot.

( If anything, just to put you out of your misery )

Wednesday, November 07, 2007


That's about how I would describe it.

This Dodge Grand Caravan is S.W.E.E.T. It's so sweet that it's the reason I haven't posted in a week. I've been too busy having fun.

I mean. When was the last time you got in your car and had this happen?

What? You've never seen this picture before? Let me point some things out for you:

Notice the kids sitting in their chairs quietly particularly the two year old? Notice the two children in the back seat not touching each other? Notice the 24 oz root beer in a cup holder? Notice the Nintendo being played?

Heaven I tell you. This is what it was like on our little road trip we took to Tombstone over the weekend. Pure Heaven. My husband and I talked while listening to either the songs from the Big '80s or the Hair bands stations on our Satellite radio. Yes, it had satellite radio but more importantly, we actually were able to "talk" without being interrupted a thousand times by a child saying, "He's touching me!" or "She's copying me!"

We reminisced about the days when we were young and piled seven people and luggage in our wood paneled brown Country Squire station wagon with brown vinyl seats and drove cross country to visit grandma. We talked about the dreams we have of one day taking the kids on road trips across the country to visit National Parks, Historical places in history and big balls of rubber bands. We knew we could totally do it if we had a car just like this one. We don't know how we even survived those trips when we were young without a TV and only AM radio. I'd pay for the extra features like the dual TVs and video game console plug ins. I figure, it would cost less to add those features and be able to drive and see more things than it would be to fly six people to one place......once.


This was my view from the back bench seat. I got to watch Spongebob Squarepants.

So people were pretty impressed with the ride. Men were jealous of the navigation system, tailgating bench option, automatic start button on the key fob and Sirius Satellite radio. Women were jealous of the fact that kids could watch Disney channel or Nick Jr. at any time and that the seats were made out of leather which cleans up those chocolate milk spills and projectile vomiting messes pretty easily.

Both were equally impressed with the rear-view security camera, swivel seats and the back bench that folded down with a simple push of a button.

The day came though, when I had to give up my ride. I thought how heartless and cruel it was for someone to dangle this thing in front of me for a week and then just take it away like that. I went through withdrawals. I started out not sure I'd even LIKE a minivan since I've driven an SUV for the last six years. I was afraid I'd be labeled a "Soccer mom" or that my SUV driving mom friends would shun me for going over to the dark side. But, I got in my Tahoe for the first time in a week and it felt I shamelessly admit that I fell in love with a minivan.

My poor son. Yesterday after we had to give up the van, he got in our Tahoe and said, "Where's the TV?" This afternoon we saw a comerical on TV for "our" car. The kids excitedly pointed out the cool features that we were able to experience for ourselves as we took a little trip down memory lane and fondly talked about the memories of "our" car.


I can't wait until we replace the Tahoe.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Halloween 2007

Is it just me or is Halloween night nothing but chaos?

I would almost prefer going through security at the airport with four kids, two strollers, six back backs, a laptop, making sure the kids take off their shoes while digging for the quart size bags holding 3 oz bottles of liquids and/or gels.


After the last child comes home from school it's almost pure torture to try and get them to focus long enough to get their homework done right before a semi-nutritious hot dog dinner so that they can put on their costumes and go mooching for candy.

There's generally make-up that needs to be put on or touched up, Velcro and snaps that need adjusted, clothes that need to have the smeared candy leftovers from the school party cleaned off, and oh yeah......forgot about the trick-or-treat bags. Gotta dig those out of the closet.

Then there's always the one child who throws a fit about their costume five minutes prior to heading out. Notice Erik in the background flipping his noodle over wanting to be a turtle now instead of a dinosaur.

But give him a treat and that usually does the trick.

Then there was the costume that didn't get much thought until it was too late. Is it a butterfly? Or a fairy? Do fairies wear headbands with antennas? I'm thinking it's a butterfly. But she wants to be a fairy. So we shall call you.....a Butterfly Fairy Princess. Daughter responds, "Oh! Like from Fairytopia!"

Yeah. Just like that.............

Jack was a Ninja Turtle. Pretty self-explanatory.

Ian was the token baby (so the parents have an excuse to get a bag of candy) and went as a ferocious, drooling, snot-running-down-his-face, get-me-the-heck-out-of-this-sweaty-thing tiger.

The kids usually have more fun passing out the candy than trick or treating themselves. Our house was a hit, by the way, since we were passing out real life size bags of Hershey's Kissables seeing that we picked up a few gazillion on our Disney trip. It was fun hearing the kids say, "No WAY!" "Cool!"

I'm just glad to be rid of them.

And of course, after the kids got home, and looted their stash, then went to bed......... Mom took the good stuff out and saved them for herself in her secret hiding place. MmmmWAaaaHAhahahaha!

I am evil. I know.

Edited to add: Lauren just came home from school today and told me that she asked her teacher what she would be for Halloween if tomorrow was Halloween again ( at least that's the story I'm hearing from a seven year old so it might be a little skewed ). She said her teacher would go as a "Nippy".

A Nippy? What's a Nippy?

She said, "You know. People who lived like 60 years ago......or maybe a 1000 years ago and dressed kind of funny?"

You mean, HIPPY? Like from the '60's?

"Yeah. Hippy".

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

I'm "influential"

I was recently voted as one of only fifty influential women in the Phoenix area.

Well, OK. So maybe "voted" isn't the right word. "Selected" might be a better word choice. Alright, FINE. I responded to an email I got on my Facebook account and was probably the only one out of fifty that responded.

But, in my defense, according to the email they sent me it said, and I quote, "You are one of only 50 influential women in the Phoenix area who have been selected to participate in the latest word of mouth marketing program."

And what is it I get to market, you ask? Don't get all jealous now......but I have the pleasure of test driving the new 2008 Dodge Caravan this week and am encouraged to share it with my closest friends and family members. They call it a "living room on wheels". Let me tell you.....this thing is totally decked out! It has two TV monitors that come down and the option of two different videos or satellite TV that can be viewed at the same time. It has a navigation system, Sirius satellite radio, a computer to download your pictures and other miscellaneous stuff ( my husband is totally not going to let me drive this thing this week I know it! ) limo lights in the ceiling, automatic side door openers, reversible bucket seats with an optional table between the middle bucket seats and the back bench seat, back bench seats that adjust to the folded down position with a push of a button, back bench can also adjust as a bench for tailgating parties, outlets and plug ins for your video game console, six disk CD holder that will record the CD so you don't have to keep them in the car and mp3 player. Side windows that open and an alarm with a video monitor to see in the back outside of the van in case a child or object is in the way. If it is, the alarm will sound. And the best thing of all? THIRTEEN CUP HOLDERS!!!!

Got to love American cars!

I'm tempted to take a little "test drive" to San Diego for the weekend. I asked if there was a mileage restriction. They said "no". I almost asked if we could "test drive" it in Florida so we wouldn't have to rent a minivan when we go but I didn't want to push it.

So, it will give me something fun to blog about. Me and my exciting exploits with the minivan. Have a child who needs carpooled? Someone to drive them to a football practice or dance class? Anyone just want to borrow it for themselves for the day? You are more than welcome! You can even sign the test drive guest book they gave me. It will also look like I have lots of friends.

My husband said we should slap the bumper sticker on the back that says, "If the vans a 'rock'n, don't come a knock'n". I'm guessing Dodge wouldn't appreciate that so much.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Disney World 2007

I have wondered the last few days what it was that I was smoking the day I thought it would be a good idea to fly across the country with a two year old and a teether. I'm still not really sure but now that our whirlwind trip is over, the stanky laundry is all done, and suitcases are put back in their proper places where I have decided they will stay for another five years, I finally have time to write about our "vacation".

It started out with a phone call from United at about 4pm the night before we left. The agent on the phone wanted us to switch to the 830am flight the next morning instead of the 11am flight we were scheduled to fly. Take a wild guess at how much fun it is to get four kids plus yourself ready at 5:30am which is why we booked the 11:00am flight to begin with. I guess they were oversold so she upped the anti and offered us a $500 voucher if we would switch along with implying that because we were traveling on Frequent Flyer miles, more than likely, we would get bumped if we showed up. Before committing, she told us that she would be able to sit us together which was our biggest concern with a two year old and all. Needless to say, in reality, we were scattered on the very much full plane. Luckily, a nice old grandpa switched with us so that we could be closer together. I'm glad we didn't have to use our "We're putting our two year old holding our lap baby in that seat next to you unless you want to switch" threat. At the airport, I enjoyed seeing the faces of the waiting passengers as they gawked at us. I imagined them thinking something like, "That is one HUGE family! Those poor parents have their hands full!" or rather more likely, "I REALLY hope I'm not the one sitting next to them on the plane."

The earlier morning flight that was supposed to get us in sooner actually got us in about thirty minutes after our original flight did thanks to delays in DC from some "Security Breach".

I enjoyed the varying FAA rules and regulations which changed based on the airport and day we traveled. We learned that a child booster seat isn't an FAA regulation seat when flying from Phoenix to Washington DC but is acceptable if flying from Orlando to Denver. I'm still trying to understand how it is that a seat that is acceptable for use in a car is not acceptable for use on a plane. Because odds are, the seat will probably save a child while in a car going 60 miles per hour but if a plane is going down, unless the seat is lined in titanium and surrounded by silicone gel and an airbag which deploys just prior to hitting the ground, whether a seat is FAA regulated or not, seriously, a rapid descent from 30,000 feet, it's really not going to matter.

And speaking of descents....we learned after the first leg that my two oldest inherited their dad's "throw up on the descent" gene. I can honestly admit that there was never a dull moment.

We spent our first day at the Magic Kingdom. On the road between our condo and the park, I was thinking to myself that the street needed something......I don't know what.......maybe a big building with a huge wizard head poking out on top. I'm guessing a parent or two in order to save a buck has actually taken their child to this building under the guise that it really is Disney World. Before we headed to the park, we drove out towards Cape Canaveral and took those pictures I posted earlier from the Space Shuttle launch. That really was pretty impressive!

We had a fun first day and learned early on that the time it takes to get through the park increases exponentially based on the number of kids you have. When there are just two of you, you don't have to deal with potty breaks every two hours, nursing a baby every three hours,a screaming baby who won't nap and kids who wanted to spend hours playing in the play yards and water yards. Because of the delays we were already facing, we nixed the idea of getting in lines to get the character's autographs. Our time was precious so we just pointed them out and said, "Hey look kids! It's Chicken Little! Ok....let's go get a fastpass for Big Thunder Mountain."

There were hardly any people there. We were able to get on and off and back on rides again without any waiting. We got spoiled. It was decorated really cute for Halloween.
We made the mistake of taking Lauren on the first ride down Splash Mountain. She wouldn't go near a roller coaster ride after that. Jack on the other hand had a BLAST! It was so fun to go with him and see the grin from ear to ear and hearing him say, "WEEEEEeeeeee" as the roller coaster sped around on the track. By the way, you get over the shock of a $10.00 hamburger and $15.00 toy souvenir that I swear was in the kid's happy meals a few months ago pretty quickly. You really just kind of go numb to it after that first day and figure you'll just deal with the debt and taking out a second mortgage when you get home. It took all of about a half of a day to realize all of that gawking didn't end at the airport. Everywhere we went people stared as we walked by like we were some freaky park attraction. We had a lot of people ask us if the kids were all ours and then a lot of "Wow? Really? You're brave" thrown in now and again. Either we don't get out of Arizona much or some people clearly have never visited Utah, Idaho or Mesa, AZ. I kept thinking, "I know people with six or more kids so if you think my four is huge......" My husband replied to the United agent on the flight home who kept commenting on our family size, "It's not like we're the Brady Bunch!" So I started taking note myself of other people at the park and discovered that I didn't see a single family with more than three kids in tow. So, maybe we were a novelty after all. Which got me thinking....since Disney can make up their own rules by claiming that a nine year old is an adult, then at the very least, the park should give a group discount for families of 6 or more.

We went to Epcot the second day. We had a lunch with the Princesses. We got to meet Cinderella,
Belle, Ariel, Jasmine and Sleeping Beauty. For some reason, Jack wasn't in the mood to eat so I put his $15.00 hot dog in a plastic baggie for him to eat later.

And my all time favorite picture from the whole trip is this one of Erik ogling Belle.........I couldn't get a single picture of him looking at me. He kept giving her "the look" out of the corner of his eye.

Kirk and I made a colossal error by going on the Mission:Space ride first thing after the lunch with the Princessess. See, they had two ways to experience the ride. There was the "green" line ( non spinning ) and the "orange" line ( spinning). I took Jack with me on the green line experience. He had a blast ( so to speak ). Kirk went on the orange experience and came out green which is when I realized they made a gross error in their color coding system. I thought he was just being a wimp and decided I wanted to try the orange line for myself. Let's just say that no matter how much we may have thought about how cool it would be to be an astronaut.....we would never survive the blast off into space and traveling 17,000 miles per hour. I was nauseous the rest of the day.

We also went to MGM Studios but I don't think the kids really understood the park. It was a lot of shows and thirty-somethings reliving their eighth birthdays as they watched the Star Wars Jedi show. The coolest part of MGM that day though was as we were leaving, we ran into some old friends who we haven't seen in probably ten or more years! I mean, it was so completely random that we happened to run into them. I still can't get over it! And I'm kicking myself that we didn't get our camera out and take a picture! So here's my shout-out to our friends, the Wilsons......"Hi Wilson family! It was so great to see you again!" So, it was totally worth it to go to MGM!

We also went to Animal Kingdom where the new ride Everest resides. Jack calls it the Yeti ride. He looked forward to riding it all week long. So, knowing how much fun he had on the previous roller coasters, I took him with me to ride it. It was pretty intense and after we got off, I excitedly said, "That was SO cool! Do you want to go on it again with daddy?"

He said, "No. I don't want to ride it again."

I replied, "But, who will go with daddy then?"

His response was "He can just go by himself."

We had breakfast with Mickey and other assorted Disney characters while at Animal Kingdom.

Later in the day, it poured rain so we got our ponchos out and had some teenage boy take our picture. Afterwards, he made some snotty remark saying, "It's just rain!" So I said back, "Yeah. Well we're from Arizona and our kids see rain all of five times a year. So, get over it!" Punk. Our last day was spent back at Magic Kingdom. We ended up buying the tickets for the after hours "Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party". They had fun activities for the kids like free face-painting which would have been really nice to know a few hours earlier so I wouldn't have spent $15.00 for Lauren to get hers done.

There was a Not So Scary parade and rides that were open for people to ride. They even had places where you could trick or treat. And that we did. We had so much candy that we literally had to check two extra bags on the flight home because we didn't have enough room. All of that candy almost made up for the cost of the tickets. On the bright side, I don't need to go out and buy candy to pass out on Halloween.

All in all, we had a really great trip. The kids had a lot of fun and that's the most important part of all.