Be Happy Anyway

Be Happy Anyway
From Brave Girls Club

Thursday, March 31, 2011

March is Over - What Did I Do??

The end of March is here and I have been flipping through my iPhoto files. It has been a busy month. I didn't capture everything on the camera, but I did get a few things.We celebrated this girl's 14th birthday.

I watched this boy enjoy the warm weather. He is such a character.

We ate lots of ice cream. His favorite is blue.

We went to lots of soccer games and practices.

April promises to be equally busy. I will try to take more pictures throughout the month.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


The theme for this month's Sketchbook Challenge. I can relate to this because it is my current state of being. Especially in the area of laundry. Little by little I am cutting through it, but not anything else. Just enjoying my time off with a smattering of appointments thrown in for good measure. I hope you are all enjoying your spring break as well or at least in the near future.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Spring Break Day 2



Today is James’ (James’s??) birthday. Caitlin’s is at the end of the week. She has been begging to go to Six Flags Over Texas for years. I haven’t been since the 80s. I was a little leery about long lines and the cost. I also didn’t want to be the only adult on the trip because I was worried about having to let Caitlin go on rides alone when James was too short to get on. However, my son has become a giant, so that wasn’t the problem. Instead, he was afraid to ride certain rides. For this reason I am glad I decided to bring along a companion for Caitlin.

We went on Sunday. The day started out at 5 a.m. with a text from a friend. (Don’t you just love time zones??) That was okay because I had scheduled a 6 a.m. departure. (For some reason, I thought needed to leave at that time.) We ran to the ATM and the donut shop for a little breakfast and hit the road.

There was NO traffic. We were the only people on the road, practically. We got to Fort Worth in no time, but I got off on the wrong Interstate. (If I don’t have printed directions, I get easily misdirected.) I passed familiar landmarks from the weekend before so I felt secure. I even saw familiar road names, but the buildings started looking less familiar, and I wasn’t seeing all the attractions that are located near the Amusement Park. Where had I gone wrong? That’s when I realized that there are two Interstate highways that run parallel to each other with similar numbers. I got off one highway too soon and was running about 10-20 miles south of where I wanted to be. I finally got onto a road I knew would run into the correct Interstate and was on my way to meeting my friend LB and her son CB. Thank goodness I left too early.

After picking up CB, we headed to the park. We had bought all of our tickets online including a Preferred Parking Pass, which put us only 100 yards from the front gate. I was so excited. I forgot to check the lot number however. :-P

We were quickly in the park and made a plan. We would ride as many rides as we could and try to leave by 5 p.m. so CB could go home and pack for his real Spring Break adventure with his dad. The first ride we encountered was The Spin. It looked simple enough. James was nervous though. It turned out to be a little bumpier than I thought it would be so it kinda soured him on all rides for the rest of the day. Somehow we convinced him to get on the Mini Mine Train – still a little too bumpy for him. From that point on, James refused to get on another ride. I let him stand with the ride operator while I rode a big swing ride. Then Cait and CB rode roller coasters without us.

The (DREADED) Spin

First, James and I followed them around, but it was a real downer to walk through the lines for rides and have to exit out the other side without enjoying the attraction. I had to create another plan. We ended up going to Looney Toon town to ride the kiddy rides. This had to work. I couldn’t imagine spending hours and hours at the park just sitting on a bench. First on the agenda, the spinning teacups. Too spinnie. Next, the flying airplanes. Too high. After searching for just the right ride, I decided that desperate times call for desperate measures…BRIBERY and THREATS:

James: I don’t wanna go.

Me: It’s just like the carnival Daddy took you to.

James: No it’s NOT!

Me: James, if you don’t get on a ride, we are going to go to a baby sitter.

James: Okay.

Me: The baby sitter will be Mrs. X

James: No

Me: Get on the ride.

James: No

Me: *dialing cell phone* Talk to daddy.

James: *through tears* Long conversation

Me: You getting on the ride?

James: No

Me: If you get on this ride you can ride the train that goes around the park.

James: Okay.

Did this dialog work? See for yourself.

Still not happy, but on a ride.

The Steam Train

From that point on we spent our trip searching for rides that weren’t too scary.

By the time we were ready to leave, we had ridden a real steam train and The Runaway Mine Train, spent money on midway games (something I would never do) and rode the steam train one more time before meeting the older kids. To top it all off, James had cotton candy and pretzels with soda.

Sizing himself up for another ride...still not sure he wants to go.

About to go on the Runaway Mine Train

"I did it, Daddy! I was Brave"

More his speed.

James and I found Cait and CB and headed out of the park, but remember the part about forgetting the parking lot??? It was kind of important. We wandered around for a while before realizing we were in the wrong section and had to double back. So much for preferred parking.

Despite James apprehension about the rides, we had a good time. There were no fights among siblings and I think it was worth the drive.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Kicking Off the Holiday

While many of my friends in Norway and such are enjoying the last few days of Winter Holiday, we are just beginning our Spring Break. It's not that it won't technically be spring up there, but they are still having lingering snow and cold weather. Today was a perfect day here in Texas. The only thing it was missing was a kite.

We started this wonderful day off with an early trip to the park for James' first soccer game. Our team shirts weren't ready so we were told to wear a green shirt. Oddly enough (being almost St. Patrick's Day) there were hardly any available for a five year old boy who is the size of an eight year old. There were two that had ugly characters on them, and I wasn't spending several dollars on a shirt that he was never going to wear again. I ended up finding a plain green Hane's t-shirt in the men's department in size small. I decided it would have to do. Since it was so early, it was still a little chilly and a LOT windy. James decided he needed a second shirt on under his green one so I threw on another one, but I soon realized that his shorts were a little too snug to tuck everything in. I'm sure it would have been funny to watch us as I was tucking and pulling out and reaching under the shorts and straightening it all, but I got it all straight.

The players were typical 5 year-olds running up and down the field in a cluster, kicking each other's shins and the other team's ball in to their own goal. LOL Thirty minutes later, it was almost over, but not quite. They had a second game an hour and a half later.

Both games could have been the same game in instant replay except for the color of bibs they wore over their shirts. (Why did I have to go buy a green shirt??)

The only problem I had was with my camera. The zoom button is broken so this is what all of my pictures looked like before editing.

Here are some action shots (all taken blindly since the sun was too bright for the LCD screen):

Major concentration

This little man made almost all 8 of the other teams goals.

This is James throwing the ball in. Need to work on that technique.

Love that boy even if he won't smile.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

I Probably Jinxed Myself

I should have just stopped complaining while I was ahead.

Instead, I went to meet two college friends for lunch on my last day out of town for the dance competition. I can't remember the last time I had seen either of them outside of Facebook.

Last week, James' seat belt buckle broke, so I moved him to the other side of the car, but didn't remember to click the child lock on that side of the car. He is not allowed to let himself out of the car for many reasons. Caitlin or I have to do it every time.

We were sitting in the restaurant's parking lot waiting for my friends to arrive. The text came that they were there, so I said, "Let's go." As I was getting out of the car, I heard the most horrific scream and turn around to see James' finger stuck in the door. I quickly opened the door and when I first saw it, I thought, maybe it was just pinched. As time passed, the finger turned red and purple under the nail and the skin around it had scraped. I ran him into the restaurant for some ice, but it only made the pain worse. I walked back to meet my friends and this was their first impression of my son, screaming and yelling at me. We tried to get him to put it in ice water. He wouldn't stop yelling, and we had to leave the restaurant. I found a bandage for the scrape and told him to hold it over his head. He didn't believe it would work. We tried deep breathing, tickling, distraction of all kind. We finally called Daddy who would ask him distracting questions about his weekend, but then forget and start talking about the finger. Thirty minutes after it all began, James was calm enough to sit at the table, but he was still crying. Ten minutes later, he was asleep in my lap, which is how I enjoyed the rest of my afternoon with my friends.

When it was time to leave, I managed to get him in the car. (I had to carry him out of the restaurant because he refused to leave the table. Remember he is over 4 feet and over 60 lbs.) I then remembered, I had better get a picture to capture the moment I was with these girls because they probably were never going to want to do that again. :-)

The drive home was uneventful but punctuated with stops for shakes, ice cream, soda, candy...anything to keep him happy.

I Have the Worst Luck...

...when dining out. (One of my best friends loves to see what I will be getting for free when we go to eat. It is that bad.)

We had been out of town for a dance competition this weekend. We were staying in a new hotel so everything was clean. The girls won first place for their tap routine. The weather had been generally good. All in all it had been a good weekend.

But the usual chaos ensued when I tried to go out to dinner with the kids. It started with a trip to Sam Moon as a surprise for Caitlin and her upcoming birthday. She had never seen one before. Neither had I for that matter, but had heard rave reviews from all sorts of people. That's why I drove an extra 30 minutes out of our way to go.

If you have never been, here is a small idea of what this mega store is all about. Walls and walls and rows and rows of jewelry and purses and scarves and hats and totes and so on. It ended up not being that big a deal for me as it was for my friends, but we can go into that issue in another post.

The kids were hungry, but I promised Caitlin that she could have whatever she wanted from there as an early birthday surprise, so we were there about an hour. While we were there, my phone died and I hadn't packed a charger. I thought I was up a creek since I had plans to meet friends the next day and still had a long drive home as well. As we walked out of the store, I saw a phone accessory store and ran over there. The nicest people were in there. ( I had no idea they were about to close because most retailers don't close until 8 or 9 and it was only 6:30.) They helped me find a car charger for my phone for only 12.95, opened up a register, and I was on my way.

So far an okay day...

When we had pulled into this new shopping center, we spied several restaurants, two of which we have at home. I suggested we go to BJ's because James was set on having chicken and french fries. Since we waited to eat until after our shopping spree, the restaurant was packed, but they said it was a 20-30 minute wait. I didn't know the area and figured it would another 30 minute trip back to the hotel and the restaurants around it, so we stayed. It turned out to be longer than that and I started seeing people who came after me get seated and I asked when we would be seated. The girl at the check in stand said we were next, so you can imagine my surprise when another party of three was called before me. I walked up with my pager and said, "You said I was next." The girl tried to push the problem off on the other hostess who then said we would be the very next party to be seated. I then posted myself right by her station until she gave us a table.

I have eaten many times at this chain of restaurants. I have never had a problem, even though I have terrible problems at restaurants in general. (I have earned many a free meal/gift card.) That's why it never occurred to me that there would be a problem here.

Drinks and appetizers arrived without a hitch. Then we wait and wait a.n.d...w.a.i.t. The front end manager comes out and says their was a problem with Caitlin's food and they had to remake it. James and my food is ready would I like to have it now. I suggest they bring James' dinner because it is now late and he is losing all sense of restaurant decorum. Then we wait and wait (well you get the picture.) Then a kitchen manager comes out with our food only Caitlin's is obviously burnt. "Seriously?? Would you have eaten that?" I think to myself. I tell him she is not eating it, and he takes it back to the kitchen to try again. When it finally comes back, I am halfway through with my dinner. James has given up being good. He wants to sit next to his sister and hug and kiss her. (This may seem like a sweet thing to those of you who don't know Caitlin, but she hates to be touched.) I am trying to not make a scene.

The manager comes over and apologizes for all the problems and offers to make it up to me by not charging us for Caitlin and my food and by offering her dessert. (Great, we will be here even longer.) He brings us the best dessert ever, but the kids are fighting over what's their part even though I clearly delineated, "This is yours and this is hers."

As I stagger out of the restaurant into the cold (the weather took a sudden change for the worse,) I look at the clock and see it is now 9 pm. Holy moley, we were in there over 2 hours. Now I still have to drive back 30 minutes to our hotel, wrangle James into bed and somehow fall asleep in strange bed.

As I mentioned before, this is NOT an unusual event for me at restaurants. My food is usually the one that is lost or forgotten or wrong. Sometimes my entire party is forgotten by the waitstaff. But the fun we have sitting around laughing and telling stories makes up for this most of the time...oh yeah and the fact that I usually get it for FREE.

Today, I am meeting one more friend for a meal. A friend that I haven't seen in 20 years. Maybe I should warn her beforehand.
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