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    Monday, April 28, 2008


    We survived California! Here’s a quick run-down: You have to pay the airline extra for a suitcase that weighs over fifty pounds (see “Packing Insanity” post.) Sea World is incredible for us mountain-bound folks, but skip the San Diego Zoo unless you love to watch animals sleep. Legoland can impress the teeth right out of a kid. I like fish tacos, but no one else in my family does. Harbor seals are good for your self-image. Monkey does not like Valley Girls and doesn’t mind telling them so, politely. Don’t climb Tarzan’s tree house at Disneyland after walking through five amusement parks in five days. Do not assume that twenty minutes is enough time to buy ice cream before the Pixar parade (thankfully the boys didn’t miss it, just Rachel and I.) Bubba Gump restaurant is the best place to eat near Disneyland. DO NOT, under any circumstances and for any reason, eat at Captain Kidd’s. Little boys think turbulence is fun.

    We had a blast and came back exhausted, infected, missing teeth, and in Chunky’s case, four years old. He had a birthday party at Disneyland and even got to meet the Mickey and Minnie characters. Chunky’s new stuffed Mickey Mouse is his prize possession now. Unfortunately, Mickey has eaten every meal with us since he joined our family. This morning Mickey had Honey Nut Chex—decidedly less messy than tacos.

    You may be wondering about the title of this post. In writing circles, we talk a lot about POV or Point Of View, meaning whose head the author’s in when he or she is telling the story. I’m pretty sure the folks at Disneyland study POV as well, but for them it means Point Of Vomit. Just how long can someone spin in a tea cup before they hurl? How many times can a person be turned upside down on a roller coaster before they lose the absurdly-expensive, hockey-puck burger they ate for lunch? How many shakes of the Star Wars simulator does it take to induce nausea? What exactly is the Point Of Vomit? I’m sure it’s someone’s job to find out. I’m just glad it’s not mine.

    Wednesday, April 16, 2008

    Packing Insanity

    No, I am not "packing insanity" like an action hero would "pack a gun." Although, if the ability to inflict insanity were a weapon, my little boys might be arrested for concealing it behind their adorable smiles. (Side note: Monkey lost his third tooth last night and his grin is irresistible.) But back to my suitcase-induced mental breakdown.

    Our family is leaving for California on Friday, and this means I'm packing for three people. My sadly deluded husband suggested packing light for this trip and only taking one suitcase for he and I and one for the two boys. In case your math skills are as pathetic as mine, that's 2 suitcases for 4 people. (If a train left Colorado at 1:55 p.m. carrying all of Evangeline's necessary clothing, what time would it arrive in California? Please take into account the Rocky Mountains and Evangeline's considerable shoe needs.)

    Adding to the stress of inadequate space has been the heaps of laundry and summer clothes to go through. You see, summer is still two months away for us Coloradons, but all weather reports indicate sun and warmth in California (no complaints there.) So I had to pull out last summer's shorts for the boys and, of course, Monkey has sprouted like an aspen over the winter, making last year's shorts humorously high water on his stick legs. Naturally, this meant shopping. Which I did. I know what you're thinking, but, yes, in the middle of my crazy week, I sacrificed time to shop. I am a saint.

    So today I went at those two measly suitcases with a vengeance. I filled my half (huh-hum, three-quarters) of our suitcase and then went on to the boys'. I piled sixteen outfits in their medium-sized suitcase, and let's just say, it will take an act of God to close that thing. You know how God closed the door of Noah's ark? Well, this will go down in history as the miraculous zipping of the suitcase.

    Now, Monkey and Chunky (that's my three, soon to be four-year-old) were downstairs peacefully playing computer games. I should have known, right? Well, it was so peaceful because Chunky had helped himself to graham crackers and blueberry Pop-tarts, then returned to play PBS kids on MY computer. It seems that graham crackers and blueberry Pop-tarts when enjoyed directly over a laptop keyboard, form a kind of crumby glue. I'm not sure my 'hhhhhh' key will ever be the same again.

    Those of you who are mothers know that you always pay dearly for a bit of quiet time. That's why I'm glad this vacation will be non-stop activity. Surely there will be no expensive equipment damaged. Then again, we are taking the camcorder.

    Wednesday, April 9, 2008

    Monkey See Monkey Do

    My oldest son has earned the nickname Monkey both for his wiry physique and propensity to swing from anything he can climb on. He is a particularly dangerous combination of curiosity, charm, and ADHD, and when all three come into play—watch out!

    You see, Monkey can get in trouble faster than you can say, “COME BACK HERE!” But when you’ve finally chased him down the block in your bunny slippers, tackled him to the ground, and persuaded him that 7:03 a.m. is not the time to go visit the neighbors, he will turn astonishing green eyes on you and come up with an absurd excuse that somehow works in his mind.

    Case in point. We were visiting my brother and sister-in-law for Christmas. It hadn’t been the best trip since most of us were sick. I had an ear infection that came on at 30,000 feet as we flew to Indianapolis. I cried through the last half of the plane ride because it hurt so much. But once we arrived at their house, we were able to drop into puddles of misery like you can only do with close family.

    At one point during our week-long visit, it became inescapably apparent that we needed to bathe our children. My brother and I drew the short straws, and as we prepared to give the two boys (ages 5 and 2) their baths, I noticed my little guys preparing to play their favorite game. You see, at home a rousing game of “Catch my Bottom!” nearly always occurred between shedding clothes and climbing in the tub. Now I doubt that my boys are the first to play this game, but just in case you had no siblings or grew up in Antarctica, “Catch my Bottom” is played by waggling your derrière, taunting family members, and running like only a garment-emancipated child can.

    So there I was, hopped up on Nyquil and partially deaf due to my infection, and I look at my son and see that mischievous gleam in his eye. I just couldn't take that level of hysteria in my miserable state. So, before he had a chance to bolt away in all his pink glory, I told him, “No playing Bottoms today” and gave him my best Mommy-means-business look.

    Monkey turned his extraordinary eyes on me and whimpered, “But Mom, where’s your Christmas spirit?” As you may have guessed, since then ‘Christmas spirit’ has taken on an entirely new meaning in our house. Needless to say, it’s not a term we bandy about during the holidays. We keep our “holiday cheer” to ourselves thank you very much, and I’m sure no one’s complaining, except Monkey, whose comfort with his own birthday suit is somewhat legendary.