Thursday, March 31, 2011

All The Disney Details- Part Deux

It has been exactly 4 days since we returned from the Disney spring break road trip and my nephew has already called me today to ask if we can go back this summer!  I let him know that we would probably be doing other new things this summer.  It was a good try though.  I'm glad Nathan knows it never hurts to ask.

So to continue the story where I left off...  After 2 and a half days of basically not much more than just driving, we finally got to start the part of the trip that was the whole reason we went in the first place.  Nathan had always wanted to go to Lego Land and I had always wanted to take him to Disneyland.  So we were gonna' do both.  On Monday, we headed for Lego Land.

Nathan was super excited, but I was a little bit worried because it was supposed to rain.  As we were driving in from a half hour away, we even drove through a huge rain shower.  I knew this would be a real bummer after how long he had been waiting for this and it looked like it probably would be a rainy day.

There was no way I wanted to rain on this kids' parade

But you know what?  Everything worked out just fine for Nathan's special Lego Land day.  The rain never came and eventually even the puddles from the night before evaporated and we got a beautiful blue sky day!

Lego Land had just about anything you can imagine made out of legos.  There were animals, monuments and cities, and even some funny tongue in cheek stuff.

Yes, that dog is doing what you think he's doing.

Nathan's favorite ride was an insane sort of giant robotic arm that would twist and turn you all around in midair.  You get to choose which level you want when you get in the ride.  The levels are 1 to 5.  Nathan did level 5, every time!  The video below is an example of the ride, though not with my nephew on it.

There was also a unique and tasty treat that we tried at Lego Land park.  It was called apple fries.  It was deep fried apple strips with real whipped cream to dip them into.  Apple fries were truly yummy.

What an absolutely fantastic day!  And this was just the beginning...


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

All The Disney Details- In A Series

We are back from the Disney trip!  What a great time for my nephew, Nathan, and for us! 
There's so much to tell that I'm going to break this up into several posts because frankly I want to preserve these memories in as much detail as I can and this blog will serve as a perfect way to do that.  I want to remember everything- that my feet still hurt 3 days later and that I'm warding off any and all restaurant food for at least 30 days and even that I never want to stay in the 'kid' area of any hotel for any reason ever again!
I'll start with the fact that the first stop we made was at a Taco Bell and this is literally the first thing my husband pulled out of the bag:


Sometimes the universe has a weird sense of humor...  Can you believe this? 
I don't eat much fast food so maybe this is more common than I know.

Yes, this was a road trip.  We drove down to California, just as we have many times before.  I have had kids in the car on other trips so I know a little bit about what happens when you put a kid in the car for a 20 hour drive.  We had planned to alleviate some of  the pain of wondering, "Are we there yet?" with a tried and true trick of mine.  We had a big red bag full of other smaller bags with surprises in them that Nathan got to open, one bag every two hours while we were on the road.  By the time we got to San Diego this red bag had become the most important piece of luggage in the car.  Nathan would check to make sure it was in there before we took off again.  Who needs a toothbrush when you've got a 'magic red bag'?

In San Diego I had wanted to see the beach.  We have gone as far as Carlsbad before, but never to San Diego.  The weather was beastly on our way down and by the time we got to San Luis Obispo there were winds of 35 miles per hour and it was like being inside a sandblasting machine. 

Everything was blowing all over.

Even the TP wanted to take flight!

The parasailors even had to call it quits.

After only a short time out on the beach, we ended up with sand everywhere- as grit in our mouths and eyes and somehow it even got into our socks!  But no wind, sand or long car ride could stop the smile on this boys face:

Friday, March 25, 2011

'Disney'd Out!

Yes, I have been away enjoying the 'happiest place on earth' with my dear nephew and have had little time and poor Internet connections so have been unable to share any of the details.
I will post fun stuff just as soon as I get back home.  I promise!  Things have been wonderful for this trip so far and I appreciate that many of you have had me in your thoughts.
However, we are currently staying over in a small town in a rural area of California hoping that tomorrow will bring good enough weather to let us pass through the Mt. Shasta area.  If not, we will head out toward the coast and then through Grants Pass, where it is supposed to be merely rainy, not snowy like Shasta.
Wish us luck, and I will enjoy a bit of your blogging that I have missed before calling it a day.
It looks like there's some irresistible stuff out there just waiting for me.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Happy St. Patrick's Day, Y'all!
Looks like all the last details for the trip to Disneyland, that will be starting tomorrow, are falling into place.  Whew, what a relief...
Tonight my friend averted another overnight hospital stay with her husband who is terminally ill with a lung disease. 
Until I started writing this blog I never realized how many really sick people I know.  I did notice that I know a lot of really strong people, though.  Couldn't help noticing that.
I've also noticed that despite everything I've mentioned here on this blog about the rough stuff I have gone through with my nephew, I can't help but see that he and I are oh, so, lucky.  My nephew has me in his life and I have him in mine.
Off to celebrate this wonderful truth!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Keepin' It Real

After a couple of months of living in a bit of la la land, some realities have come home to roost. 
What am I referring to?
Well, last December I got the wonderful news that my nephew would be going to live with his Dad.  This was something that desperately needed to happen.  Life was getting really complicated for this little guy and we were all overjoyed at the idea that he would be getting a real second chance.
I still could not possibly be any happier with the new living arrangements for my nephew.  He is definitely right where he is supposed to be.
However, a bit of reality has set in.  Don't get me wrong.  I am not ungrateful.  Just taking in some things on a deeper level.
So after the initial euphoria, the new reality is this:  My nephew is 9 years old.  Although he is an immature 9 socially, he is highly intelligent.  I cannot thank God above enough for that fact.  However, it turns out his social issues are pretty complicated.  This is going to require a lot of work.  9 is not an age that it is easy to learn things that should have been taken in at age 3 or 4.  And this guy has anger to spare, that's for sure.  And totally understandable.  The indicators are all there that this is going to be a 2 steps forward, 1 step back process.  Even things we know and accept rationally are not all that easy to accept emotionally. 
He has wonderful counselors and understanding teachers and relatives.  We are all in this together and we will love him through it.  And we will all learn a lot by going through this process.  For me, personally, it is hard to trust that everything will work out for the best.  I know I can be a bit of a control freak, but I continue to work on that.  In the end, this will be good for all of us.  We couldn't possibly be working together toward any greater goal.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Can't Keep A Good Flirt Down

With all that I have read lately about the special relationships of many of my blogger friends with their fathers, I had been feeling a little left out.  As fate would have it, my biological father is just as big of a mystery to me as it would be to you.  However, rather that stew in what I don't have I would like to take a short moment to introduce you to a fun guy that makes a great father figure of sorts.  And tell you about his latest adventure!

This guy is one of the members of a dance club that my husband and I belong to.  He is gregarious, generous, and seriously funny.  He is always there for anyone in a pinch.  Recently, this guy ran into his own difficulty of sorts.  Over a weekend, he suddenly had a very alarming vision loss.  Sure enough, doctors determined that he had experienced a stroke.  He had no other symptoms.  While all of his friends and family were grateful that he was otherwise healthy, we couldn't help but think that this vision loss was especially cruel for our dear friend.  You see, he is an insatiable flirt!  He is super visual in every way and just loves to appreciate the ladies of all shapes, sizes and ages.  Yes, he has a wife and she is super cool about all of this.  He is an older gentleman and this is just part of his personality and charm.  So naturally when I heard about this problem of his, I was saddened to think that this situation might change who he is.

Never fear!  Miracles do occur!  He has worked hard at rehab doing lots of vision therapy exercises and his prognosis is wonderful.  His vision has returned with only a tiny bit of an issue leftover in the peripheral area.  He has already returned to dancing with our club again.  As his wife says: "he thinks he now has an excuse for mistaking a boob for an elbow!"

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Now That You Got Through That Test, What's Next?

You know that question that always comes at the end of the Super Bowl...  Well, around here we have our own version of that little scenario. 
Now that my husband has passed his latest nasty actuarial exam, what are we going to do?
We're going to Disneyland, of course!

 Goofy is there waiting for us!

Actually passing the test had nothing to do with these plans, but the timing is nice.
The real reason we're headed back to see Mickey and friends is because my wonderful nephew has never been to Disneyland and we have been promising him a trip there for over a year and a half now.  Last year it didn't happen due to some pretty sad circumstances.  Basically his mother was using him as a pawn.  I was so mad I could have spit.  And that's pretty mad for me, 'cuz I think spitting is just nasty.
But finally, after plenty of time and heartbreak, the plans are really rolling and we are all getting super excited to make this truly happen.  My nephew is counting down the days and now I am too, with my new little ticker at the top right of my page here, thanks to seeing the one over on Loretta's blog.  I am so happy to be sharing the excitement of heading to the happiest place on earth with my nephew, with all of you!
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