Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Vacation

Our Disney trip was awesome!
We went to all four Disney parks (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom and Disney Hollywood Studios) plus the two Universal parks (Universal and Island of Adventure) and on our non-park day, we visited Downtown Disney.

Nana and Boppa spoiled everyone rotten the entire trip. The kids had a great time--almost as much fun as the adults!

The kids got into pin trading this time. And by kids, I mean Spencer, IV, Joe.......and Will.
The kids were having fun with it---but the adults at the parks take that stuff SERIOUSLY!

This was our first "blended family" vacation and Will and I came back still engaged :) That was the final test, right?

It was the Happiest Place on Earth.... unless you tried to get Joe on a roller coaster....or walked behind Will after his infamous veggie sub....or let Jimmy set the pace for 9 people....or told Dad they ran out of smoked Turkey Legs......

Other than the morning it rained on us at Epcot, we had great weather. Plus we ate at great restaurants nearly every night (Spencer's favorite was Bubba Gumps and IV liked Bahama Breeze), we loaded up on fresh citrus on the ride home and now we are sorting through over a thousand  pictures and working on our scrapbooks!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

10 Short Years

Spencer and I were talking tonight about the DVR. He has had a DVR ever since he was old enough to hold a remote--it's not that he is spoiled (well...maybe) but in his lifetime, things that were once considered a luxury are just "normal" to him-  It's part of his culture. It made me think of other things that Spencer will never experience.

  • Even something as simple as my digital camera.  When we were kids, you got one chance at a picture. Now we fire off hundreds of shots without cost consequence of film, flash bulbs, Polaroid paper, developing fees, etc. Nice, right?
  • Because my family has classic Mustangs, Spencer is familiar with manual car windows--but how many kids his age have ROLLED down a window?
  • He thinks my CDs are old school, his lifetime is MP3 based.  One day I will show him my old cassettes in the basement. I am not even sure if I own any vinyl anymore.
  • I told him that we only had cartoons on Saturday mornings. I don't think he believed me. Now we have 20 satellite channels of cartoons. 
  • Remember when we didn't have a guide button?  You had to BUY a TV Guide or look it up in the newspaper.  OR you had to flip through the few channels you *did* have and try to guess what show or movie it was. And if your mom misplaced the stupid TV Guide when she was working on the crossword puzzle you were totally screwed that week.
  • Spencer has never heard the annoying screech of a modem...and the incessant busy signal of dial up when you would desperately try every local AOL number.
  • Spencer has never used a phone booth.  I'm not sure he has even seen one. And a beeper?  Even as I explained it I sounded crazy, "it was a little electronic box we clipped to our belts and if anyone needed us they would phone the beeper and enter their number.  Then we would get a "beep" and know which number to call back.  Oh no...we couldn't call from the beeper, we had to go find a phone. "
  • When I was growing up, we had a stinky, musty set of 1969 encyclopedias.  They were old even when I was a kid.  We hadn't even walked on the moon yet! Spencer will never need an encyclopedia.  We look up stuff from our phones!
  • Remember getting lost? GPS is awesome--I'm glad Spencer will never have to find a gas station with a map!
  • And remember when dinner was based on watching the 6:00 news? My Dad worked 1st we ate early, like at 5:00, then we watched the news. I get text alerts and check websites throughout the day now-- Spencer will never know "news time" and how it drove household activity.
  • I am pretty sure Spencer has seen a phonebook.  But I hope he won't see them in the near future. That's one big waste and not worth a nostalgic nod.
  • And I know several of my friends and I have recently debated the "should they teach cursive" argument.  I seriously wonder if Spencer will ever write anything other than his name in cursive.  Hell, even printing is so last century-- when is the last time any of you wrote a letter by hand?
  • Spencer has also been to a movie rental store-- but not in years.  I bet he won't remember it. Ugh--  that reminds me-- rewinding a VHS to return a rental. That was lame even back then.  Not sure Spencer has ever seen a VHS tape.
  • Even the traditional board games have changed in his lifetime-- Monopoly has an electronic banker, Battleship is electronic.  I don't even know how to cheat anymore.
  • As we have made the switch to a Kindle this year, Spencer will have at least 10 years of book buying to remember.  He can tell his kids about how books used to be in paper and we would go to a big store and shop for them while we sipped over-priced coffee.
Every generation has a "these kids are spoiled today" discussion, but I really think this generation has 100x the changes/advancements/technology as the previous generation.  Spencer is only 10 and things I had/did before I had him are already defunct.  I can't even imagine what his kids will have..I mean won't experience.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Hell Yeah...With a capital L

Last week, I met Lesley and Pam for dinner and drinks. We have known each other for years-- through job changes, births of children, divorces, marriages, bad hair-colorings, many bottles of wine and even more books...and odd containers of fat-free sour cream (what's up Lesley!)

When we were paying for our dinner, we commented on purses (usual girl talk) and I admitted that I was already using the new purse my sister-in-law gave me for Christmas even though I have a couple more months until the new initials embroidered on it are correct. Lesley teased me saying, "Wow. You're pretty confident aren't ya?"

On the drive home, I got to thinking about it-- it never even dawned on me that it could be presumptuous.  That's a good thing. In about 64 days, the embroidery will be correct and yeah, I'm confident about it.  There are several of things I am not confident about--we have several decisions and changes, but the happily ever after part is solid.
So now, every time I pick up my purse I hear Lesley's voice saying "Wow. You're pretty confident aren't ya?"  and I just smile, put it on my arm and say "Damn Straight!"

Now where did I leave my keys and phone?

Friday, January 07, 2011

Luck experiment update

Sing it with me in your best Hee-Haw twang..."If it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all...Gloom despair and ag-o-nee on meeee..."

So...I have spent a little more than my planned $1/week... But I have tried a couple of Mega Million tickets in addition to scratch-offs:  Here's my tally:
Spent $18.  Won $14
I am $4 in the hole.
This was the worst  plan evah!

Be right to buy more tickets.....

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Merry Merry and Happy Happy

Geez...time flies when you're on vacation.  I can't believe I haven't updated my blog!  Blame Will, he has been here for a week or so and he is such a pleasant distraction.....


Let's start with something I forgot to blog about on December 8:  Will's birthday! In addition to a few small goodies and things, his main gift was a family outing:  dinner and theater tickets for the Mel Brook's Musical of Young Frankenstein at the Durham Performance Arts Center. Will, Joe, Spence and I had dinner at the Tobacco Road Sports Cafe right across from the DPAC.  We couldn't take cameras in the theatre and I didn't get any pictures that evening other than one (blurry) picture of Joe and Spencer goofing off at a fountain (right before a police officer yelled at my kid to get off the fountain!)
At first Spencer was complaining because we were in the balcony and he wanted better seats.  When he saw people a couple of rows IN FRONT of us with binoculars he was irked....but once the show started, I'm not sure he even blinked for the first 10 minutes.  The set was HUGE, the lights and pyrotechnics were captivating, the sound was excellent....the entire play was FANTASTIC!

The week of Christmas, we held a little party at Mama Laura's Chocolates and Ice Cream for our soccer team.  We had pizza, ice cream and one of the wildest games of Naughty Santa I have ever seen!

Speaking of Laura...she and I had been scheming about what we could do as a gag gift for Valerie.  And when we say gag gift, we mean literally GAG.  I'm not sure how it started, but Val and I have sent each other nasty food things for years.  Right now my desk is decorated with her gifts of cans of tripe, liver, garlic squid, spam, etc.  Laura and I considered drizzling chocolate over a can of spam...but then Laura decided she could take chocolate out of her tempering machine and we could dip whatever I wanted... so I bought a single serving of spam.  We blotted it dry and Laura double dipped it, added festive sprinkles....all while modeling for pictures:
She wrapped it up in official Mama Laura's chocolates packaging and I shipped it to Val in Jacksonville along with a box of REAL Mama Laura's chocolates.  The chocolate covered spam oozed just enough to look like the filling of a chocolate covered cherry when Val opened her gift....and she took a bite....and I got a "colorful" text message...... and a sarcastic threat on facebook!  We are still giggling....

The rest of my holidays were chocolate covered Spam-free...thankfully!

Some of the newer things about Christmas 2010 is that I made new stockings this year and Will's mom doesn't care for his little Yoda looking dog so he left Lacie with us while he and Joe stayed with his Mom for a couple of days before Christmas.


We had our Christmas with Joe on Christmas Eve since he was traveling with his Mom on Christmas Day.  Joe got a Kinect, pajamas, Legos, Disney T-shirts/ jacket, a Lego store gift-card and goodies from Nana and Boppa, a Halo Mighty Blocks set from IV, III and Melissa and a bike, clothes, goodies, etc. from me and Spencer. Spencer and IV also got to open their Kinects from Nana and Boppa on Christmas Eve!

We all had lunch together on Christmas Eve before Will and Joe returned to Will's Mom's house to get ready for church.  (Will's Mom goes to a different church than we do, but they are within a mile of each other.) My Mom's decision to cook a big pot of chili for lunch before we all had to sit in church was debated....

My favorite part of Christmas Eve this year was giving Will a special gift.
About a month ago while looking for Christmas boxes in the storage room, I discovered an unlabeled box in the back of a closet.  It was filled with stuff from high school and college.  In a folder full of high school things, I found my acceptance letter from Carolina, notes from an old boyfriend, an old journal and....19 cartoons Will drew for me in High School Physics class. I had NO idea I had kept them.  Evidently they meant a great deal to me if I had them for twenty two years, right? It HAD to be fate...
So I put them in a scrapbook along with our senior pictures and gave them to Will on Christmas Eve.  My entire family was excited for me because they knew how happy I was to surprise him with it.

It was a wonderful Christmas Eve luncheon and might just be the start of a new tradition.

Christmas Eve also held our usual traditions that I adore: baking cookies, kumquats for Boppa, church service, ice cream on the way home from church and looking at Christmas Lights, watching A Christmas Story on TV, new pajamas, Reindeer food, cookies and milk for Santa, and Spencer and I read all of our Christmas cards together before he goes to sleep. Without a doubt, Christmas Eve is my favorite day of the year.


I guess Spencer ended up on the good list...because Santa was here!

Spencer got a notebook computer, bow and arrow set, tons of toys and Legos, clothes, games, goodies, etc. etc. etc.  Bowser got a stocking full of treats, too.  (Evidently Santa didn't notice he was on the naughty list?) Spencer gave me a beautiful bracelet and a lap blanket.

After Spencer and I celebrated Christmas at home, we went to Nana and Boppa's house for our traditional family breakfast-- a big ol' country style breakfast that we look forward to all year long! After breakfast we open presents together and the boys have a huge Nerf gun war in the front yard...every.single.year.

And after an afternoon of resting, cooking, playing with our new gifts (and sometimes a lil nap!) we meet back at Nana and Boppa's for dinner that evening.  This year, Will and his Mom joined us for dinner.
Will opened his gifts from the family- included was a new shop vac from Jimmy and Melissa and our first "together" present-- a new microwave from Nana and Boppa. As we ate dinner, it started to snow and ice so Will took his mom home early and then we all settled in for the night. 
The next morning we woke to a winter wonderland and Spencer got to use his new sled!  Boppa spent HOURS over the next couple of days dragging the boys on the sled behind the four wheeler!
The week between Christmas and New Years was filled with playing and resting , reading and Bowl Games.  Will, Spence and I had a wonderfully relaxing vacation

New Year's Eve

Mom, Dad,  Spencer, Will and I spent the day at Ft, Bragg shopping at the PX and the Commissary-- then we met Jimmy, Melissa and IV at East Coast Wings for dinner.  We came home and played soccer on Kinect then cuddled up and quietly welcomed 2011 with hugs and kisses.