Thursday, July 31, 2008

On the Road Again...

Tomorrow we're off on vacation again, flying south to Acapulco. The Big Guy's parents own a time share in Mexico, and save up their weeks and then take the whole family there.

It's a rough life, but someone has to live it.

We've been to Acapulco as a family before. It was actually the first time we had to get a passport for The May Queen. This is what she looked like when we were there the first time:

16 months old. (note the ever present sippy cup. I noticed in over half the pictures we have of her there the sippy cup is in hand or nearby) Now she is nearly 6. Yikes.

She was always a little fish, though. Check out this picture I got of her at the awesome pool at the resort:

That underwater camera was worth its weight in gold, no?

Oh, I miss those chubby little arms. Anyhow...

The older girls at the pool were fascinated by her, and everyone seemed to know her name. "Hola, May Queen!" they would call, waving as we went by. I cannot count the number of times we were asked if we bleached her hair. Um... no.

So, we're off again! For the next week I will be swimming in the pool and the ocean, playing Bridge with the in-laws (and losing... I'm pretty bad at Bridge), and having fun in the sun!

Then we come home, The May Queen starts school 5 days later, and I'll get MY vacation!

brief school update

Remember how we decided to switch schools this upcoming year for The May Queen, in large part because we were worried that the small school she was in would close due to financial problems?

Guess what letter we got in the mail while we were on our Road Trip? Yup. The school closed. We're SO glad we took care of this last spring, and aren't scrambling for a new school now (she couldn't just go to the public schools, due to being 3 days younger than the cut off).

I'm sad the school closed, but OH SO GLAD we figured this one out early.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Long Live the Queen

"The fence is to keep the King out of her bedroom."

"The King is not allowed in the Queen's bedroom?"

"Not at night. He can go in there during the day to do stuff. Like make the bed."

"Make the bed?"

"Yeah. The King makes the Queen's bed."

Playing castle with The May Queen was a hoot today.

Monday, July 28, 2008

lost and found

I don't really listen to Christian music. This surprises a lot of people, what with my being a pastor's wife who sings in the praise band at church and leads the singing at Sunday School and all. But really, I usually can't stand it. I can enjoy it in worship (although really, can anyone sing "like a rose, trampled on the ground you took the fall, and thought of me above all" without thinking of "every rose has its thorn...just like every night has its dawn...") But I find most Christian rock to be unnuanced, over produced, and often full of shallow or even bad theology. There are exceptions, of course, and in a worship service I can take a full hour of "Oh God, you're so great" music. But that's enough for me.

On the last leg of our road trip, though, I listened to one of the only Christian bands (Lost and Found) that I own many albums of. That I purchased. And actually listen to.

Maybe it's because they actually have a snarky sense of humor:

I'm so surprise to see you up and out of bed
I guess you haven't heard yet that last night you were found dead
I heard it from the one who heard it from the one who knew
the one who heard it from the one who never checked with you

They encourage thinking for yourself:

And Jesus don't want to take away your brain. No.
Just wants for you to live again. Yeah.


Maybe it's because their references will have me running to my bible for a little self directed study:

I want to see like Daniel, I want to love like John
I want to Hope like Mary, be the rock that's built upon
I want to Laugh like Sarah, I want to preach like Paul
I want to live like Lazarus, play the trumpet watch the crumbling wall
- New Creation
Maybe it's because certain lyrics still choke me up:

How can you still love me
How can you still love me
You have seen me even when
I don't want you to and then
Somehow you still love me
-How Can You

Maybe it's because they've spoken so clearly to situations I've been in

But Lord these very people who say your word is true
Sometimes these very people make me feel what you went through
How could they be so blind and how could they not see
In one breath they say they love you Lord and in the next breath they hate me

And it's so nice to know you know, it's so nice to know you know...
-Nice to know

Maybe it's because I can hear a song I've been listening to for over 10 years and have to listen to it again, because it has struck a totally new chord in my heart and mind

You preserve the prejudice but you violate the virtue
of the heroes you've abandoned and the memories that hurt you
And as the shades of night descend it surprises you to see
An ever brighter picture of the land you used to be

Now you're a long, long way
from your amber waves of home

Maybe it's their message of hope in midst of despair

Must be that the world's gone blind
Must be that the world's gone blind
I can't believe that we could see some things and just go on with our lives
Well it must be that the world's gone blind

Must be that the world's been saved
Must be that the world's been saved
The blind will see and the dumb will talk
The chains will fall and the lame will walk
And the dead will rise from the grave
Must be that the world's been saved
-Must Be

Maybe it's nostalgia. Maybe it's a lot of things. But I know that they are the rare Christian band that I can sing along to, rock out to, and stop and think with. (and apparently leave lots of dangling participles with)

(And for you Canadians: I've never heard this song, but i just found it in their songbook. they often write silly songs while on tour "Thirteen provinces, we can list them But we don't get the metric system There's a half an hour change when you go to St. John's But the time we like is Saskatchewan's")

This post has been part of Soccer Mom in Denial's Music Monday

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Shark in the Water

It's Shark Week!!!
(join the obsession. you know you want to)

Friday, July 25, 2008

road trip: by the numbers

4,598 miles

22 days

20 states

33 friends and family visited

7 dogs

2 of us pooped on by birds

2 brake pads replaced

3 relatives surreptitiously reading this blog (hello!)

8,000 french fries

8,000 dollars spent on gas (OK, those last two figures are rough approximations)

1 happy family

7 days until we leave for our next vacation

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Road Trip, Volume 4

It's been over 2 weeks and 3,000 miles and it's not over yet!
We had a lovely time in Massachusetts with The Big Guy's sister. Whenever we weren't doing something else The May Queen would grab one or more of us to play Uno with her. She also was rather taken with the dogs, although I'm not sure the feeling was entirely mutual. Picking blackberries in her Aunt's backyard was also a treat.
We took a few day trips - one up to York Beach in Maine where we went to a fun amusement park/zoo combo where we rode an elephant and a paddle boat, eyed the beach from the ferris wheel and enjoyed other carnival rides and animal viewing (the animals were really active, with lots of babies, so it was quite fun!)
Afterwards we ducked over to the beach so The May Queen could get into the Atlantic for the first time. It was so cold it was like icicles were stabbing us in the feet! She loved to stand still and "shrink" as the waves in and out pulled the sand out from under our feet and we sank lower and lower. We also built a sandcastle, a new home for a hermit crab we found, before heading back.
The next day we went into Vermont and canoed the Connecticut River. Alas, no pictures, but it was a nice morning in the Green Mountain State. We enjoyed our lunch in town, where it seemed every other store was a bookstore, but I missed my chance to go into the store that was named "Save the Corporations from Themselves" due to stopping to watch a little excitement with firetrucks.
We went into New Hampshire several times to visit with an old friend of The Big Guy's from when he lived and worked there. As we drove to the restaurant where they drank many a sangria together in times past MQ asked where we were going. "Down memory lane," I replied. I received a sideways glare. But I spoke the truth.
On the way out of Massachusetts we stopped at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, which was fun, and MQ enjoyed making her own tissue paper art. This may be the only picture I have ever taken in a public bathroom, but we loved all the animal tiles and enjoyed remembering which book they were from.
We stopped in Philly to visit again with friends there before heading south to drop The Big Guy off at camp with a group from church tomorrow. We girls will continue on to visit with more family in South Carolina. In some ways it's hard being so spread out from our family and friends, but it sure makes for fun vacations!
A few of the states we've visited since my last update:

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Girls Night in NYC

Dancing with the Most Narcissistic Generation Ever
(a road trip extra)

Saturday I went up to NYC to spend the night with my friend E. We met 8 years ago doing a show in Los Angeles, and what began as dancing each night in our dressing room to Prince morphed into a great friendship with one of my favorite LA dancing buddies. She introduced me to my favorite hole in the wall in Hollywood, Goldfingers, where we would dance on the stage to fabulous 80s and 90s music, and see the occasional celebrity (Dominic Monaghan: post Hobbit, pre-Lost).

E. now lives in NYC, and I managed to finagle a way to go spend the evening (and, er... early morning hours) doing what we love most: theatre and dancing. Ahh... the bliss.

I decided to see Tony and Pulitzer Prize winning play August: Osage County (which playwright Tray Letts commented during his Tony acceptance speech was a shocking mixture of a new American play done on Broadway with THEATRE actors. Snarky but oh so true - I cheered in my living room). It had me laughing hysterically in between the tears. (Unfortunately the 2 women who won the Tonys for it were no longer with the show, although nominee Amy Morton was astonishing!). It's a beautiful play, and we enjoyed it very much. Although it was a bit of a downer at the end. "Good thing I picked a light uplifting show for girls night out, huh?" I said to E. as we left, wiping our eyes.

After a cab ride and a quick bite to eat (pizza, of course) we hit a club that E. had chosen for its 80s music and laid back atmosphere.

Alas, times have changed a bit. The DJ still played mostly 80's music, but the selection was iffy at best, and he would stop songs in the middle. He definitely needed to work on the art of the segue. And how does one dance to 80s music for over 2 hours and hear a mere 1/3 of a Prince song? sigh.

The place was PACKED full of people who were barely born in the 80s and seemed way more interested in screaming when they heard a song they liked than they were in dancing. We managed to carve out a small place on the upper level against the railing (which gave us a prop to use in dancing, a view over the rest of the club. and a little extra breathing room). We had been there for well over an hour when 2 people literally started trying to push us out of the way with their rears. Frustrated, I mustered up some semblance of politeness and asked the guy if he could dance a little further that way. He told me no, that they were having a birthday party there, (I asked if he had the space reserved, and he told me no) and asked me to "just leave." I of course told him no, and kept dancing. Then a friend of his came over and tried to talk to us, again asking us to leave. Again he told us they didn't have the place reserved. We told him we'd move if someone from the club told us they had reserved the space, otherwise, we would keep on dancing, like we had come to do. They finally gave up. This is where the subtitle of the post comes in. Later, as we walked away from the club (at about 3am - these old girls still have some life in them) E. said, "If I had a blog I would write a post about this and call it "Dancing with the Most Narcissistic Generation Ever." (E. is a manager of a college dorm, and has seen statistics claiming that this is indeed the most narcissistic generation ever. This club experience seems to back that up).

This one's for you, E.

Jerks and bad DJs aside, we did have a good time, had our pictures taken and posted on a website showcasing NYC nightclubs, and even had to fend off a few men- proving that even though were around to enjoy the 80s, drunk young men still find us attractive (or easy marks, but we'll just let that idea slide...)

Monday, July 14, 2008

Road Trip Volume 3

It's been a while since my last Road Trip update, but we've been busy having a great time. Last Wed we travelled north.Although we weren't able to keep up our state picture streak (oddly enough they don't have a welcome area in Maryland as you exit Washington DC) we did get this great picture of The Big Guy (for all of you who doubted he was really with us!):

When we pulled into this Wendy's for lunch The May Queen had just fallen asleep (the ONLY sleep she's done in the car to date) and I had tried to gently wake her up with a "time for lunch," to which she opened her eyes and went back to sleep. But when we stopped she opened her eyes and exclaimed," Cool! I want a frosty." Now we know what it takes to wake her up!

We continued on to Philadelphia, where we stayed with my college roomie, her husband and their little boy (19 months old). It was so wonderful to hang out with them again - we spent a lot of time together when we all lived in Philly for the 3 years after we graduated. And it's wonderful to see what great parents they are now. The May Queen was very sweet with their boy. We had a very relaxed time there, enjoying trips to the park and a local orchard where we fed deer and other animals. The May Queen also went across the monkey bars all by herself for the very first time. Mom and Dad and their backs are breathing a big sigh of relief.
Abby also got her first taste of a Philly Cheesesteak.

On Saturday I headed up to NYC with another friend for a girls night, and that is a whole other post...
While I was up there The Big Guy and MQ took in a few historical Philly sites.
The next morning I took a train out to New Jersey where I met up with my family and had brunch with an old friend and his family (again, fun to see how great a dad he is to his adorable children).
We then continued on to Rhode Island (again, no welcome center in Connecticut as you exit NYC!), where we stopped for an early dinner with a family who moved away from Louisiana earlier this year, and then continued on to Massachusetts, where we are now staying with my sister in law.

(even without the photos, The May Queen is enjoying adding the states to her magnetic map as we add them to the list! Right now she has been to 24 states - no all on this trip, of course!)

Friday, July 11, 2008

musings at the park

I'm hanging with friends in a suburb of Philly, a very college town, liberal place. We were at the park today and I noticed something:

Where I live now, the majority of the moms at the park have perfectly coiffed hair and meticulously applied makeup. They are usually in their yoga pants, and have just come from a tennis match at the gym. The park is their stopover before they take their children to dance class.

Here, the women wear no makeup. The grey shows in their hair. They are in comfortable but not necessarily trendy clothing. When they leave they are off to walk to the library, where their kids will pick out their own new books for the reading program.

I feel much more at home here.

There are a lot of things I love about where I live. But I think I just put a finger on why I haven't made a close friend yet.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Road Trip Volume 2

double double toil and trouble
We've been teaching the May Queen some magic potions on this road trip. OK, she's really learning about clouds at this GREAT science museum (The Museum of Life and Science) in Raleigh, NC that my Aunt and Uncle took us to. We spent nearly 6 hours there, and could have spent more. It was very hands on, and very diverse. We've been having a great time here. The May Queen adored my cousins (high school aged), and they were excellent at entertaining her (Uno, Wii, coloring, a secret clubhouse, playing with the dogs...). Getting here we were able to bring The May Queen into two new states.

It also just so happens that a friend of mine from high school JUST MOVED HERE (the moving van was arriving TODAY) so last night we were able to go out for drinks and catch up, which was a lovely addition to the trip.

Tomorrow we have another long day of driving to bring us to Philly, but fortunately The May Queen has been a stoic little traveler. And I still have a bag of tricks.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Road Trip Vol. I

We're off to a good start to our Road Trip. We left Thursday morning at 9:16. The May Queen was very happy. At 10:28 she asked "How much longer?" and so began our next 7 hours of "are we there yet?"

Three states later we arrived at our first destination, my aunt and uncle's house outside of Atlanta, GA. We've been having a great time here. We enjoyed the Zoo, where this panda was kind enough to pose with The May Queen before showing off with a somersault! We were also highly entertained by this kangaroo and her baby, whose legs you can see sticking out of the pouch!
Although I was very disappointed that the "swim the sharks" adventure was all booked up, it was still pretty cool to see whale sharks at the Georgia Aquarium. As you might imagine I could have sat there and watched them all day, but we did see the rest of the place, too, and really enjoyed the Beluga whales as well.
While we were waiting for our time to hit the aquarium we girls played in the park while the boys went on a tour of CNN (known in our house as "the daddy channel").

We've also enjoyed swimming in the neighborhood pool, watching fireworks from the back patio on the 4th, and roasting marshmallows around a campfire tonight. My uncle and I subjected The May Queen to all sorts of old campfire tunes, from "I'm a little piece of tin..." to her new favorite "Going on a Lion hunt."

Tomorrow we head off to North Carolina to visit more relatives, and The May Queen will be able to add a new magnet to her state map - she's never been to NC before!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Multiple Choice

If you will be attending Blogher, please read option A.)

Everyone else, please read option B.)

A.) I am in such a jealous snit that you are going to Blogher without me. You will be listening to fabulous bloggers speak, participating in forums and going out for drinks with even more fabulous bloggers. If it's anything like I heard about last year there will surely be boob grabbing and more swag than you can pack in your suitcase. My jealous rage prevents me from reading your blog, or even being able to post on my own blog.

B.) I am currently on the road with my family for our long anticipated Road Trip. We left on the 3rd. We are visiting friends and family in Georgia, the Carolina's, Philadelphia and Massachusetts. I will be sneaking away for a girls night in NYC with a friend, which will include taking in a show and going out dancing, and the next morning will be having brunch with my high school boyfriend and his wife and 2 kids. I will surely have tales to tell when I return. Unfortunately I had to mark my google reader as "all read" before I left, for surely the posts will number in the thousands by the time I return home after 3 weeks away. I may get a chance to stop by now and then, but probably not much. Catch you later!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Goodies Galore - and The May Queen's debut as a photographer

There was about a 2 week window last month where it seemed I was winning all sorts of drawings and such at blogs across the nation, and I've gotten some great stuff! As I said last week, I've been remiss in posting about it in my NOT AT ALL LAZY summer blur. But I am trying to put that right, because really, you gotta check out the loot. How did I get so lucky? And why didn't I buy a lottery ticket while the luck was hot?

In all honestly, pretty much everything I won was for The May Queen, so maybe SHE should have bought the lottery ticket, although I don't believe that's legal. I could have let her pick the numbers, though, like my grandparents always did with us.

This week the May Queen has been enjoying taking pictures with her brand new Discovery Toys Slide and Shoot Digital Camera, won in a mother's day drawing from the fabulous Susie J.

She instructed my husband to tickle me so she could take a picture. My husband more than willingly obliged.
She thought it would be fun to get a picture of me first thing in the morning. Ack. She took pictures of her toy creations.

However, the cat remains her most constant and reluctant muse. Yesterday I heard her insisting "Shakespeare! Look at the camera!!!"

There's no flash on the camera, and the resolution isn't good, but there's no question that she's having a ball with it. She loves that she can wear it around her neck and take pictures all she wants. We admittedly haven't played with the software that came with it... maybe when we come back from vacation. Speaking of vacation, this will be great for her to have on vacation, and she's really looking forward to taking her own pictures. Oh, and it's pink. That was a high point. Here she is checking out her latest shot.
(FYI - the price listed on the box is 39.95, which I think is steep for a camera with such low quality. You can get cameras with much higher pixels and a flash and a zoom, etc for not much more than that, but it is really nice to have an easy to use camera for her to start off on, and maybe once she gets used to this and gets better, I'll pass my old camera on to her. Plus, it does come with software, which, as I said, we haven't played with yet.)

This adorable barrette was won from a drawing at Jen's review site. As promised it was both adorable AND stayed in The May Queen's super slippery fine hair. And it sparkles. (don't mind the green hair. That's from swimming every day at camp. But here's a tip: cover the hair in tomato sauce and let sit for 10-30 minutes, wash hair and... NO MORE GREEN! How did people learn these things before google, I ask you?) You can't see the barrette in this picture very well, but she is wearing it. I couldn't pass up a chance to show her off with her daddy. And yes, the family resemblance is scary. She has my pointy chin, but otherwise looks nothing like me.

And finally, on our road trip I hope to read this book to The May Queen. Magpie had an extra copy, and passed it on to us. When I opened the package the picture on the cover instantly brought back memories of reading it as a child. I hope reading it on our road trip creates some fond memories for the May Queen. It is all ready to go with a bookmark I made just waiting to hold our place.

Thank you all very much! During a very busy and hectic time it was great fun to open the mailbox and find your goodies there!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

For Your Information

If you happen to be upstairs with your hair piled on top of your head soaking in hair dye, your face covered in a green mud mask, and completely naked... and your child is downstairs making elephant noises through her new snorkel... it sounds an awful lot like your child is screaming in agony.

I'm just saying.